Daily Archives: December 8, 2016

(Wash Post) ”˜Evil, evil, evil as can be': Emotional testimony as Dylann Roof trial begins

The dead appeared in court today, staring out from video monitors at their families and friends, their congregation’s pastor, a federal judge, a jury and Dylann Storm Roof, the man charged with firing more than 60 bullets into the nine of them in an effort to start a race war in America.

U.S. attorney Jay Richardson, prosecuting Roof on 33 counts of federal hate crimes, used his opening statement to introduce jurors to the men and women he said Roof killed during a church basement Bible study on June 17, 2015.

As their pictures appeared, Richardson sketched them in words: the Rev. Clementa Pinckney: pastor, husband, father; the Rev. Daniel Simmons: spiritual guide; the Rev. Sharonda Singleton: ray of sunshine, loving mother, track coach; the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor: singer, whose four young daughters always carried milkshakes to church; Cynthia Hurd: wife, sister, librarian; Ethel Lance: grandmother, church usher; Susie Jackson: called Aunt Susie by everyone, proud matriarch of the sprawling Jackson family; Tywanza Sanders, 26, a man just beginning to see the promise of an extraordinarily bright future; and Myra Thompson, leading her first Bible study.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(PA) Top lawyer calls on Scottish Government to tackle homophobic bullying in schools

A leading human rights lawyer is backing a campaign for inclusive education in a bid to stamp out discrimination in Scotland’s schools. Aamer Anwar is urging the Scottish Government to take steps to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, in order to “save the lives” of young people.

It comes as part of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign for a government commitment for mandatory teaching of LGBTI issues to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Scottish schools.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Theology

([London] Times) We need proper rules for those who wish to be frozen after death

Judges will seek, if possible, to respect the wishes of people like JS who wish to be cryonically preserved after their death. Even though Hell is likely to freeze over before any cryonic unfreezing successfully occurs. And even though most of us would echo the words of the song in the Disney film Frozen: “Let it go, let it go.” The proper role of the law is to regulate the practice to protect vulnerable people.

Those who wish to offer a cryonic service should require a licence. A regulator needs to be satisfied that they are a fit and proper person to operate in this field, in particular that they have adequately trained staff and effective procedures at least to ensure preservation ”” though no degree of regulation can guarantee future resuscitation. The Human Tissue Authority would be an appropriate regulator. It is the statutory body which controls the use of organs and body parts, but it presently has no responsibility for cryonic preservation.

In the graveyard, Hamlet picks up what he contemplates may be “the skull of a lawyer”. Where, he asks, are now “his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?” It is exceptionally unlikely that in some Supreme Courtroom in hundreds of years time, cryonically preserved and resuscitated lawyers from the early 21st century could again argue and decide cases, even if they would wish to do so. But if any lawyer, or judge, is, like JS, contemplating a freezing process on their death, they are entitled to expect the law to provide regulation. The government should start consulting.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Tel.) When JRR Tolkien bet CS Lewis: the wager that gave birth to The Lord of the Rings

Once upon a time two friends made a wager. “Tollers,” one said to the other, “there is too little of what we really like in stories. I am afraid we shall have to try and write some ourselves.” At this time CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were “like two young bear cubs… just happily quipping with one another”, in the words of an Oxford contemporary.

Their historic wager to write about space- and time-travel was a vital step on the road to their most famous fantasy works ”“ yet it has never been pinpointed more precisely than 1936”“37. Now, however, we can reveal that the germ of the idea emerged during a few days precisely eighty years ago.

The year 1936 had seen the two Oxford English dons hit their academic zenith with works that still shape medieval literary studies today: Lewis’s The Allegory of Love and Tolkien’s Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics. Yet they were also wannabe authors ”“ Lewis, 38, was an unsuccessful poet, and Tolkien, almost 45, an unpublished mythmaker.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, England / UK, History

(Economist Erasmus Blog) A new Orthodox church next to the Eiffel Tower boosts Russian soft power

The skyline of Paris has just acquired yet another arresting feature. Only a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, a spanking new Russian Orthodox cathedral, complete with five onion domes and a cultural centre, was inaugurated on December 4th by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, amid sonorous rhetoric about the long and chequered history of the Russian diaspora in France.

To secular observers, this was the latest success for Russian soft power, showing that even in times when intergovernmental relations are frosty, ecclesiastical relations can still forge ahead. In October, Patriarch Kirill reconsecrated the Russian cathedral in London and had a brief meeting with the supreme governor of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth; this was a more cordial chat than any conversation the political leaders of Britain and Russia have had recently.

The new temple in Paris was, in a sense, both a product and a hostage of secular politics. Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s then-president, agreed to its construction, with Russian funds, back in 2007 as a good-will gesture to Russia. Plans to turn the cathedral’s opening into a moment of diplomatic togetherness, attended by the French and Russian presidents, foundered after the countries’ row over Syria sharpened. But nothing prevented Patriarch Kirill from inaugurating the new house of prayer, with French cultural figures like the singer Mireille Matthieu in attendance.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Architecture, Europe, France, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Russia, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Jeremy Pemberton loses hia employment appeal

One question which hovered over the initial ET judgment was in relation to the doctrine of the Church in relation to marriage. I was startled when, under cross-examination, Richard Inwood had agreed that the doctrine of the Church ”˜was a busted flush’. But both the ET and the EAT have ruled that, in the context of employment law, the Church’s doctrine of marriage is both clear and enforceable, and that clergy can reasonably be expected to conform to it.

As for the doctrines of the Church, this referred to the teachings and beliefs of the religion and the ET had been entitled to find these were as stated by Canon B30 (“marriage is ”¦ a union ”¦ of one man with one woman ”¦”), evidenced, in particular, by the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The Respondent had applied a requirement that the Claimant not be in a same sex marriage so as to comply with the doctrines of the Church; it was not fatal to the ET’s conclusion in that regard that a different Bishop might not have done the same.

That final comment seems to me to be highly significant. Even if the Church’s doctrine has been applied inconsistently in the past, and elsewhere in the Church, then that does not undermine the action of a bishop who acts on it. In other words, if the collegial support for this doctrine in the House of Bishops collapses, and some bishops decide to declare UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence] and ignore the doctrine, then other bishops are still secure in law in enacting discipline based on this doctrine.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Richard Baxter on his Feast Day: the Nature of the Saints Everlasting Rest in Heaven

What this rest presupposes…. 5. It contains, (1.) A ceasing from means of grace ; 6. (2.) A perfect freedom from all evils ; 7. (3.) The highest degree of the saints’ personal perfection, both in body and soul ; 8. (4.) The nearest enjoyment of God the Chief Good; 9 ”” 14. (5.) A sweet and constant action of all the powers of soul and body in this enjoyment of God ; as, for instance, bodily senses, knowledge, memory, love, joy, together with a mutual love and joy.

The Saints Everlasting Rest (1652)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Eschatology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Richard Baxter

We offer thanks, most gracious God, for the devoted witness of Richard Baxter, who out of love for thee followed his conscience at cost to himself, and at all times rejoiced to sing thy praises in word and deed; and we pray that our lives, like his, may be well-tuned to sing the songs of love, and all our days be filled with praise of Jesus Christ our Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(National Portrait Gallery)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Richard Baxter

Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after thee, and in an affectionate walking with thee, every day of our lives; that when thou comest, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now the feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death; for they feared the people.

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and engaged to give him money. So he agreed, and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of the multitude.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, and tell the householder, ”˜The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready.” And they went, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover.

–Luke 22:1-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Canon Jeremy Pemberton loses tribunal appeal

Mr Pemberton, a hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire, was barred in 2014 by the then acting Bishop of Southwell from taking up a job for the NHS in Nottinghamshire, just weeks after marrying.
The Church had warned him marriage other than between heterosexual couples was against its teaching.
In a statement today, Mr Pemberton said his appeal had been dismissed on every ground but judge Jennifer Eady QC had granted leave to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Pemberton said: “The result is, obviously, not the one my husband and I had hoped for….”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(C of E) Role of communications recognised in new Lay Canon appointment

Rachel Harden, Deputy Director of Communications for the Church of England, is to have her contribution to the church recognised as she is made a Lay Canon of Liverpool Cathedral during the Evensong Service on Friday (December 9).

Rachel has longstanding connections to the Diocese of Liverpool and the city. Rachel worked on a range of Liverpool media outlets having trained as a journalist on the South London News Group. She was a reporter for the Liverpool Post and Echo and also contributed to BBC Radio Merseyside and edited the diocesan magazine Livewire.

During that time her husband John Kiddle, now Archdeacon of Wandsworth, served as a curate in Ormskirk and a vicar in Huyton.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

I can do no more. Such things have been revealed to me that all that I have written seems as..straw

Brief and fragmentary as are the phrases that record it, we can gather that he came back with a sort of horror of that outer world, in which there blew such wild winds of doctrine, and a longing for the inner world which any Catholic can share, and in which the saint is not cut off from the simple men. He resumed the strict routine of religion, and for some time said nothing to anybody.

And then something happened (it is said while he was celebrating Mass), the nature of which will never be known among mortal men.

His friend Reginald asked him to return also to his equally regular habits of reading and writing, and following the controversies of the hour. He said with a singular emphasis, “I can write no more.” There seems to have been a silence; after which Reginald again ventured to approach the subject; and Thomas answered him with even greater vigor, “I can write no more. I have seen things which make all my writings like straw.”

Read all of what happened on this day in 1273 to Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology