Prayer is not only the most common faith practice among American adults (79% have prayed at least once in the past three months), it’s also one of the most complex and multifaceted. The Bible speaks of numerous kinds of prayers (supplication, intercession, faith, etc.) and uses diverse language to describe the practice. Different traditions and denominations tend to emphasize certain kinds of prayer over others, or even develop and build upon those laid out in scripture. Perhaps the only consistent thing about people’s prayers is that they are different. Americans do not think about approaching prayer in any kind of homogenous way—or even pray to the same deity (if they pray to a higher power at all). A new study from Barna reveals the diverse prayer habits of American adults….
Daily Archives: August 18, 2017
When the Acton Institute was founded in 1990, America was in a heyday of harmonious thinking about capitalism and Christian values. Catholic intellectuals such as Michael Novak, Richard John Neuhaus and George Weigel gained renown for defending economic freedom. Novak described the ideal Christian economic creed as “ordered liberty”: a system that acknowledges the risks of consumerism and competition and mitigates them with a moral culture rather than state regulation.
This cohort influenced Acton Institute co-founder and president Father Robert Sirico. His ordination as a Catholic priest in 1989 followed his conversion from the leftism that marked his early career as a Pentecostal minister and political activist. One year after the think tank opened, Pope John Paul II published his encyclical “Centesimus Annus.” The document rejected socialism and embraced private property. Father Sirico calls it a limited but explicit blessing of the union between faith and economic freedom.
This school of economic thought transformed politics in the coming years. Jack Kemp, the Republican vice presidential nominee in 1996, argued that limited government would help lift up poor Americans, a direct appeal to the needy largely missing from the middle-class orientations of the Reagan and Bush administrations. In the same year, Congress enacted welfare reform that brought millions of Americans back to the work, guided by the premise that there is more dignity in a job than an endless stream of checks.
Two decades later, the capitalist consensus has begun to crumble.
China is the world’s least religious country, according to a survey by WIN/Gallup International. Only 9% of the country considers itself religious, while 67% claims to be atheist – more than twice the amount of any other country.
The data, which is based on a survey of more than 66,000 people in 68 countries, suggests a further 23% of Chinese people are non-religious. The results reflect attitudes towards religion in the country, as education rules introduced in China last year said parents should not promote hardline religious beliefs in children or make them dress in specific clothing. The new regulations also banned any form of religious activity in schools.
Sweden, the Czech Republic and the UK are the next least religious countries. In Sweden, 18% of people define themselves as atheist and 55% as non-religious, while the Czech Republic is 25% atheist and 47% non-religious. In the UK, 11% of people claim to be atheist and 58% non-religious.
Visitor numbers at churches and cathedrals fell significantly last year, “largely driven” by a drop in visitors to St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey, a report by Visit England states.
The report Visitor Attraction Trends in England 2016, published last week, recorded a two-per-cent rise in the number of visitors to English sites in general in 2016 compared with 2015. But the number of visitors to places of worship dropped by eight per cent.
The sharp drop came as a surprise: between 2014 and 2015 there was a decline of less than one per cent in visitors to the cathedrals and churches monitored by Visit England.
No single reason has emerged as to why churches and cathedrals could be struggling to attract visitors. The fear of terrorism, rising entry fees, a post-London Olympics lull, and different ways of counting have all been suggested.
A division of the Church of England would be required’ if the Church declares that ‘permanent, faithful same-sex relationships are a legitimate form of Christian discipleship’, warns the ‘realistic’ Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC).
A letter from CEEC President, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, its Chair, the Rev Hugh Palmer, Treasurer, the Rev George Curry and Secretary, Stephen Hofmeyr, warns that there are three options available for the Church of England, but that only one of them will ensure that evangelicals represented by the CEEC won’t leave.
They say that while they were encouraged that the House of Bishops sexuality report contained no proposal to change the Church of England’s doctrinal position on marriage, there have been ‘disappointing developments’. They pointed to the fact that ‘a small majority of the House of Clergy refused to “take note” of the report and so, although the majority of General Synod members wished to do so, it was not taken note of by Synod’.
More than a million people have fled South Sudan for Uganda. 📻https://t.co/zH5EMMVQWu
— BBC World Service (@bbcworldservice) August 18, 2017
Uganda is now hosting more than one million refugees who have fled civil war in neighbouring South Sudan, according to the United Nations. The conflict in the world’s newest country has created Africa’s biggest refugee crisis in more than twenty years, and women and children represent 85% of those who’ve crossed the border. BBC reporter Catherine Byaruhanga tells BBC Minute about Uganda’s unique system for welcoming refugees.
Listen to it all (60 seconds).
Whenever white supremacists march to proclaim their Europid purity and superior cranial virtue, they are usually met with an equal and opposite force of scorn and condemnation: protest meets counter-protest; hate meets hate. The result so often is violence and injury, if not death. You can quibble over whether neo-Nazis or Antifa are the more extreme; whether to be anti-black is more evil than those who are anti whoever offends them. Ultimately, it is angry people railing against more angry people; man throwing Molotov cocktails at man; woman spitting venom at woman. And so hate stokes hate; punching and kicking breeds window-smashing and car-burning. The bigots, racists and phobes can shout their disgust, but ‘We the people’ can break bones, too: just “punch a Nazi in the mouth” or ransack his house because “property destruction does not equate to violence“. To hate is to curse, and persecution is murder.
‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you‘ (Mt 5:44).
There is a black Christian musician by the name of Daryl Davis. He has spent three decades befriending members of Ku Klux Klan, and hundreds have abandoned their white supremacist views because of him. He doesn’t set out to convert them: he goes to their rallies, has dinner with them, listens to them, and talks to them. Instead of protesting and yelling, he gets to know them, and asks: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me? Look at me and tell me to my face why you should lynch me.”
And, of course, they can’t: over time, the white supremacists look into the black man’s eyes, and they see an equal human person.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant William Porcher DuBose special gifts of grace to understand the Scriptures and to teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant, we beseech thee, that by this teaching we may know thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
— Church of England (@c_of_e) August 18, 2017
We render unto Thee our thanksgiving, O Lord our God, Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by all means, at all times, in all places. For that Thou hast sheltered, assisted, supported, and led us on through the time past of our life, and brought us to this hour. And we pray and beseech Thee, O God and loving Lord, grant us to pass this day, this year, and all the time of our life without sin, with all joy, health, and salvation. But all envy, all fear, all temptation, all the working of Satan, do Thou drive away, O God, from us, and from Thy holy Church. Supply us with things good and profitable. Whereinsoever we have sinned against Thee, in word, or deed, or thought, be Thou pleased in Thy love and goodness to forgive, and forsake us not, O God, who hope in Thee, neither lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one and from his works; by the grace and compassion of Thine only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
—-James Manning,ed., Prayers of the Early Church (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1953)
But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered; and all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. And it was told David, “Ahith′ophel is among the conspirators with Ab′salom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahith′ophel into foolishness.”
–2 Samuel 15:30-31
Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD: that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die; that men may declare in Zion the name of the LORD, and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the LORD. He has broken my strength in mid-course; he has shortened my days. “O my God,” I say, “take me not hence in the midst of my days, thou whose years endure throughout all generations!” Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They will perish, but thou dost endure; they will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away; but thou art the same, and thy years have no end.
–Psalm 102:18-27 (emphasis mine)