Daily Archives: February 6, 2017

(CC) Philip Jenkins–Ethiopia's Martyred Monks

Italian television recently broadcast a heartrending documentary about one of the largest single acts of mass Christian martyrdom in the 20th century. This happened in 1937 when soldiers and militias slaughtered some 300 Ethiopian monks at one of the country’s holiest religious houses. In this instance, the perpetrators were neither communists nor Islamists but Catholic Italians, serving the fascist regime of Benito Mus­solini. That massacre at Debre Libanos was one in­stance in a larger campaign of several years’ duration in which Ethi­o­pian monasteries and churches were systematically bombed and subjected to mustard gas attacks. Outside Ethiopia, the persecutions remain largely unknown.

In popular memory, fascist Italy has always been regarded as a less pernicious member of the Axis powers, but in his colonial policies Mussolini yielded nothing to Hitler. In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia, and in the words of its local commander, Rodolfo Graziani, “the Duce will have Ethiopia, with or without the Ethiopians.”

The savage Italian campaign ultimately killed several hundred thousand Ethio­pians””some sources say a million. Graziani envisaged the extermination of all local chiefs and elites, much as Hitler would later attempt in Poland. Given the profound identification of the Ethiopi­an church with national spirit, Italian forces particularly targeted religious establishments….

A global church must have a global memory. Let’s never forget Debre Libanos.

Read it all (this appeared in the Christian Century print edition of January 18, 2017 on page 45).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Europe, Italy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Violence

(LADN) Heroin use fuels surge of ER visits among California millennials

California’s millennials continue to flood hospital emergency departments because of heroin, a trend that has increased steadily statewide and in Los Angeles and Orange counties over the past five years, according to the latest figures.

The state data released last week show that in the first three months of 2016, 412 adults age 20 to 29 went to emergency departments due to heroin. That’s double the number for the same time period in 2012.

Overall, emergency department visits among heroin users of all ages increased, but the sharpest was among the state’s young adults. About 1,500 emergency department visits by California’s millennials poisoned by heroin were logged in 2015 compared with fewer than 1,000 in 2012.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Young Adults

Alexander Lucie-Smith-On her Sapphire Jubilee, the Queen remains a wonderful inspiration to all

As the Queen sits at home reflecting on her long life and her long reign, we too could profitably do the same. First of all, hers has been a lifetime’s commitment to the role given her by Providence. In a world of chopping and changing, she has remained steady. This is a good reminder to us all of the lifetime commitments that we have taken on, in particularly our lifetime commitment that comes from our baptismal covenant; as well as the other lifetime commitments made by married people, those in religious life, and the clergy. The Queen is a wonderful example of faithfulness to a call.

The second thing about the Queen that comes to mind is her unshowy devotion to duty. It really is not about her at all, but about the nation, and of course, the Commonwealth. She serves us, not the other way around. In 65 years she has never failed in her duty. This makes her not simply the most remarkable and admirable woman in the country, but perhaps in the world. Her style is in marked contrast to the celebrity culture that is all around us.

Read it all from the Catholic Herald.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(NR) Group discusses Saint Augustine's City of God on Twitter


That should keep you busy,” an Amtrak conductor commented as he saw my already-worn copy of Saint Augustine’s City of God in front of me shortly after boarding in Baltimore for New York. Reading the 1,000-plus-page classic was not something I had planned for 2017, but something Twitter, of all things, drew me into.

Chad Pecknold, a professor of theology at my alma mater, the Catholic University of America, had the idea to conduct a 15-week seminar over Twitter on a book he was teaching this semester anyway. Of course, a classroom is one thing; social media, very much another. But sure enough, as I got myself to Twitter on that first Thursday night, a father announced he had put his kids to bed and was ready, a federal judge weighed in with his insights, and all sorts of people from varied backgrounds shared their favorite quotes from the first chapters of City of God, and made connections to politics and religion and culture today.

Now entering its fifth week, held from 8 to 10 (Eastern time) on Thursday nights, the discussion is led by Pecknold, who designates chapters and half-hour slots, all flagged by the hashtag #CivDei, which makes it easy for anyone who misses “class,” as I have already a week or two, to catch up at another hour.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Church History, Education, Science & Technology, Theology

Gafcon Statement on TEC Voting in Lusaka

From here:

The agreement from the January Primates meeting in 2016 was broken when The Episcopal Church (TEC) took part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity and doctrine in Lusaka. Equally damaging, was an attempt by the Anglican Communion Office to deny the fact by claiming that, technically, the process included no formal votes. This is sophistry.

The Primates agreement in January was never limited to the narrow issue of the method of voting. It said that “[The Episcopal Church] will not to take part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity or doctrine.” [Primates 2016 Communique]
Whether a meeting uses a consensus model, or a voice vote, or paper ballots, or electronic ballots is of no relevance. The Episcopal Church was not to take part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity or doctrine. They did.

As the GAFCON Primates Council has said: “The future of the Anglican Communion does not lie with manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths; the future of our Communion lies in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God written.” [Gafcon Primates Communique, April 2016]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Media, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–the heart of the Christian life of light+salt (1 Cor. 2:2)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

(Christ/St. Paul’s Church Yonges Island SC; photo by Jacob Borrett)

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Japan

O God our Father, who art the source of strength to all thy saints, and who didst bring the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of life eternal: Grant that we, being encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith that we profess, even unto death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Japan, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from An Ancient Collect

O Thou who art the Sun of Righteousness and the Light Eternal, giving gladness unto all things; shine upon us both now and for ever, that we may walk alway in the light of Thy countenance; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–James Manning,ed., Prayers of the Middle Ages: Light from a Thousand Years (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1954)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to the New England Patriot, Super Bowl 51 Winners

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

Sunday Food For Thought–"“I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please…"

“I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a warm cup of milk, or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please”

[Chuck Swindoll comments] That’s it. Our inner ”˜self’ doesn’t want to dump God entirely, just keep Him at a comfortable distance. Three dollars of Him is sufficient. A sack full, nothing more. Just enough to keep my guilt level below the threshold of pain, just enough to guarantee escape from eternal flames. But certainly not enough to make me nervous”¦to start pushing around my prejudices or nit-picking at my lifestyle. Enough is enough!”

–Charles R. Swindoll, Improving Your Serve, cited by yours truly in the sermon at the later service

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to Cameroon, Winners of AFCON 2017

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Cameroon, Men, Sports