Daily Archives: December 23, 2016

(Church Times) Spring push to end fossil-fuel reliance

Churches, parishes, and indi­viduals will be urged next spring to join a global disinvestment mobil­isa­tion to end the dependence on fossil fuels.

The campaign Bright Now will launch the event next May to increase pressure on big investors to move their money away from coal, oil, and gas producers into green-energy technologies.

The campaign, which is run by a Christian charity that campaigns on climate change, Operation Noah, is putting together a resource for churches on how they can disinvest from fossil fuels and reinvest in renewable energy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

[Politico] U.S. government begins asking foreign travelers about social media

The U.S. government quietly began requesting that select foreign visitors provide their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts upon arriving in the country, a move designed to spot potential terrorist threats that drew months of opposition from tech giants and privacy hawks alike.

Since Tuesday, foreign travelers arriving in the United States on the visa waiver program have been presented with an “optional” request to “enter information associated with your online presence,” a government official confirmed Thursday. The prompt includes a drop-down menu that lists platforms including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, as well as a space for users to input their account names on those sites.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

Journalist+Skeptic Nicholas Kristof talks to prominent evangelical pastor+author Tim Keller

I wouldn’t characterize the New Testament descriptions of the risen Jesus as fuzzy. They are very concrete in their details. Yes, Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus at first, but then she does. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) also don’t recognize Jesus at first. Their experience was analogous to meeting someone you last saw as a child 20 years ago. Many historians have argued that this has the ring of eyewitness authenticity. If you were making up a story about the Resurrection, would you have imagined that Jesus was altered enough to not be identified immediately but not so much that he couldn’t be recognized after a few moments? As for Mark’s gospel, yes, it ends very abruptly without getting to the Resurrection, but most scholars believe that the last part of the book or scroll was lost to us.

Skeptics should consider another surprising aspect of these accounts. Mary Magdalene is named as the first eyewitness of the risen Christ, and other women are mentioned as the earliest eyewitnesses in the other gospels, too. This was a time in which the testimony of women was not admissible evidence in courts because of their low social status. The early pagan critics of Christianity latched on to this and dismissed the Resurrection as the word of “hysterical females.” If the gospel writers were inventing these narratives, they would never have put women in them. So they didn’t invent them.

The Christian Church is pretty much inexplicable if we don’t believe in a physical resurrection. N.T. Wright has argued in “The Resurrection of the Son of God” that it is difficult to come up with any historically plausible alternate explanation for the birth of the Christian movement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Evangelicals, Media, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

A Great anecdote about General Mattis at Christmas from Mark Shields

Found here:

….the one quick anecdote, and that is, when General Charles Krulak was commandant of the Marine Corps, every Christmas ”” this was in the late ’90s ”” he and his wife would bake cookies for the last couple weeks before Christmas. And he would get up at 4:00 in the morning with General Krulak and deliver them in little packages to the Marines who were standing duty that day, because every Marine base, every Marine post has be somebody standing duty.

And he showed up at Quantico and he asked the Marine lance corporal who was on duty, where is the officer of the day and who it is? He said, it’s General Mattis, sir. He said, no, no, it’s not General Mattis. I mean, who is the officer of the day? And he said, it’s General Mattis, sir.

And up comes Jim Mattis and a general, brigadier general, and he is on duty and he has got his sword. And the commandant says, what are you doing here? He said, well, there was a young lieutenant who was on duty today, and he has a wife and two children. And I thought it was better that he have Christmas with his family.

That’s the kind of man he is. It’s the kind of values he’s embodied. He’s independent. He’s strong. And he will be good for the country.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family

(Guardian) Five in custody over alleged Melbourne Christmas terrorism plot

Victoria police say they have foiled an alleged plot by terrorists to attack landmark locations in Melbourne’s CBD including St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders Street station and Federation Square with explosives and other weapons, possibly on Christmas Day.

The chief police commissioner, Graham Ashton, told reporters on Friday morning that five search warrants were conducted at properties in Flemington, Meadow Heights, Dallas, Campbellfield and Gladstone Park on Thursday night.

Seven arrests were made, with five people remaining in custody, he said. Some of the men would appear in court on Friday afternoon, he said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism

(BBC) The Prince of Wales offers Thought for the Day on Religious Persecution

The scale of religious persecution around the world is not widely appreciated. Nor is it limited to Christians in the troubled regions of the Middle East. A recent report suggests that attacks are increasing on Yazidis, Jews, Ahmadis, Baha’is and many other minority faiths. And in some countries even more insidious forms of extremism have recently surfaced, which aim to eliminate all types of religious diversity.

We are also struggling to capture the immensity of the ripple effect of such persecution. According to the United Nations, 5.8 million MORE people abandoned their homes in 2015 than the year before, bringing the annual total to a staggering 65.3 million. That is almost equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom.

And the suffering doesn’t end when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land. We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

BBC-Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri killed in Milan

The Berlin market attack suspect Anis Amri has been shot dead by police in Milan, Italy’s interior minister says.

The man, who opened fire on police who asked him for ID during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area in the early hours of Friday morning, was “without a shadow of a doubt” Anis Amri, Marco Minetti said.

One police officer was injured in the shootout.

Germany has been on high alert since the attack, which left 49 injured.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Germany, Italy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Todd

O God, who didst promise that thy glory should be revealed, and that all flesh should see it together: Stir up our hearts, we beseech thee, to prepare the way of thine only begotten Son; and pour out upon us thy loving kindness, that we who are afflicted by reason of our sins may be refreshed by the coming of our Saviour, and may behold his glory; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth one God, world without end.

–James Todd

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari”²ah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

–Luke 1:57-66

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) Scientists develop device to detect 17 different diseases ”“ just from patient's breath

The technology allows for an inexpensive and portable breathlyser-style device, which costs as little as £24 and is able to screen for various diseases in a non-invasive way.

Lead author Professor Hossam Haick, said: “We found that just as we each have a unique fingerprint, each of the diseases we studied has an unique breath print, a ‘signature’ of chemical components.

“We have a device which can discriminate between them, which is elegant and affordable.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

Magical Footage from British Columbia

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Photos/Photography

(CEN) The Anglican church of Uganda launches appeal as South Sudan refugees flee turmoil

An urgent call for funds to help fleeing refugees from embattled South Sudan has been issued by the Archbishop of Uganda.

The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali, issued his appeal last week following the influx of South Sudanese refuges in West Nile and Northern Uganda.

Archbishop Ntagali said that there was a need for the Church in Uganda to supplement government efforts to respond to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.

In his appeal, he said that the increasing numbers of refugees still need shelter, food, clothing, psycho-social support, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); and for their sustainable livelihood, the need to acquire vocational skills is a requirement.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Defense, National Security, Military, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Sudan, Uganda