Category : Blogging & the Internet

(Sky News) Government urged to close loophole that allows extremists to radicalise others

The government has been urged to close a loophole in the law that allows extremists to operate with impunity, spreading hateful ideologies without fear of prosecution.

The Commission for Countering Extremism wants to see the introduction of a legal framework, enabling authorities to prosecute those who propagate harmful and hateful extremist views.

It said the “gaping chasm” in existing legislation meant many groups – from radical Islamists to far-right neo-Nazis – were able to spread hatred and radicalise others.

The commission – which was formed in the wake of the 2017 London Bridge attacks – said current legislation was focused on dealing with the threat of terrorism.

However, it meant that much extremist activity – so long as it did not cross a certain threshold – was not covered by the law.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Terrorism

(CS Monitor) No pew? No problem. Online church is revitalizing congregations.

All that changed last year, however, when joining another church became an option – a church 2,000 miles away.

Ms. Schultz began worshipping at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, one of many making room during the pandemic for new “virtual members” who attend only online. She watches services on YouTube in her bathrobe, attends social gatherings on Zoom, and is glad to be rid of what she calls “the judgment factor” that she’s too often felt when visiting churches in person. So when Wilshire Senior Pastor George Mason started inviting online attendees to join the congregation, no matter where they live, she eagerly signed up.

“It’s nice to be seen, noticed, and welcomed when you show up alone,” says Ms. Schultz, who tithes to her faraway church and sometimes has a speaking role during worship. “It feels like less pressure when you’re behind a screen. You don’t have to talk, but you can talk when you’re ready to talk.”

It’s a pandemic shift no one saw coming at the start of 2020. Churches that had long assumed their members would live nearby are no longer resigned to geographic constraints. As congregations have gone online to maintain ministries while social distancing, new worshippers from other regions have been showing up. Now some are getting even more involved. They’re becoming part of the fabric of church life as members, regular donors, and active participants in a host of church activities.

“Online really is a way to reach people that maybe we couldn’t reach in a local setting because some people wouldn’t come into a church building,” says Gary McIntosh, professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Biola University in La Mirada, California, and author of 23 books on church growth. “But they will observe a worship service online, and they will get involved in a small group online

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Charleston, South Carolina’s St. John’s Chapel Experiences Growth through Social Media During COVID Pandemic

Before the lockdown, the Rev. Matthew Rivers wasn’t a fan of Facebook. But last spring when COVID-19 shut the doors of St. John’s Chapel, he reluctantly ventured into preaching via social media. To his surprise, the sermon and worship videos allowed the church to grow during the pandemic and expand the ministry far beyond its Eastside setting.

“God used the thing I wasn’t really enamored with, to enlarge the church,” Rivers said with a laugh.

In recent months, 22 new members have joined St. John’s Chapel, with about 30 percent discovering the church through its Facebook postings. In addition, more than 60,000 people around the world are following its Facebook services, which also feature the First Lady of the church, Chaplain Henrietta Rivers.

“The online ministry has been pivotal; St. John’s has been exposed,” Henrietta says. “We know God’s vision is larger than our small building.”

Read it all.

There are so many ways God can use us, especially when we follow him into uncomfortable and unknown places. Rev. Matthew…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Saturday, February 6, 2021

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Latest News, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Parish Ministry

(FT) Boom in private companies offering disinformation-for-hire

Politicians are increasingly hiring private companies to spread disinformation online, according to researchers who found campaigns run by third-party contractors targeting 48 different countries over the past year.

The Oxford Internet Institute said the “disinformation-for-hire” market is booming, with advertising, marketing and public relations companies offering to manipulate online opinion for political parties and governments.

The OII said private contractors help to identify which groups to target with messages, and then “prompt the trending of certain political messages” either through fake accounts or with armies of bots, or automated accounts.

Researchers said they had found evidence of at least $60m of spending on such campaigns since 2009, although the real total may be far higher.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Blessed New Year to all Blog readers

Posted in Blogging & the Internet

Happy Boxing Day to all Blog Readers!

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, England / UK

Making a Blog Transition for Christmas 2020

We are going to take a break from the Anglican, Religious, Financial, Cultural, and other news until later in the Christmas season to focus from this evening forward on the great miracle of the Incarnation–KSH.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Christmas

(LA Times) Muslims reel over a prayer app that sold user data: ‘A betrayal from within our own community’

Five times a day, tens of millions of phones buzz with notifications from an app called Muslim Pro, reminding users it’s time to pray. While Muslims in Los Angeles woke Thursday to a dawn notification that read, “Fajr at 5:17 AM,” users in Sri Lanka were minutes away from getting a ping telling them it was time for Isha, or the night prayer.

The app’s Qibla compass quickly orients devices toward the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia — which Muslims face when praying. When prayers are done, the in-app Quran lets users pick up reading exactly where they left off. A counter tallies the days of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Listings guide users to halal food in their area.

These features make it easier to practice the many daily rituals prescribed in Islam, turning Muslim Pro into the most popular Muslim app in the world, according to the app’s maker, Singapore-based BitsMedia.

But revelations about the app’s data collection and sales practices have left some users wondering if the convenience is worth the risk.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Wired) The Russian Hackers Playing ‘Chekhov’s Gun’ With US Infrastructure

Over the last half a decade, Russian state-sponsored hackers have triggered blackouts in Ukraine, released history’s most destructive computer worm, and stolen and leaked emails from Democratic targets in an effort to help elect Donald Trump. In that same stretch, one particular group of Kremlin-controlled hackers has gained a reputation for a very different habit: walking right up to the edge of cybersabotage—sometimes with hands-on-the-switches access to US critical infrastructure—and stopping just short.

Last week the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency published an advisory warning that a group known as Berserk Bear—or alternately Energetic Bear, TEMP.Isotope, and Dragonfly—had carried out a broad hacking campaign against US state, local, territorial, and tribal government agencies, as well aviation sector targets. The hackers breached the networks of at least two of those victims. The news of those intrusions, which was reported earlier last week by the news outlet Cyberscoop, presents the troubling but unconfirmed possibility that Russia may be laying the groundwork to disrupt the 2020 election with its access to election-adjacent local government IT systems.

In the context of Berserk Bear’s long history of US intrusions, though, it’s much harder to gauge the actual threat it poses. Since as early as 2012, cybersecurity researchers have been shocked to repeatedly find the group’s fingerprints deep inside infrastructure around the globe, from electric distribution utilities to nuclear power plants. Yet those researchers also say they’ve never seen Berserk Bear use that access to cause disruption. The group is a bit like Chekhov’s gun, hanging on the wall without being fired through all of Act I—and foreshadowing an ominous endgame at a critical moment for US democracy.

“What makes them unique is the fact that they have been so focused on infrastructure throughout their existence, whether it’s mining, oil, and natural gas in different countries or the grid,” says Vikram Thakur, a researcher at security firm Symantec who has tracked the group over several distinct hacking campaigns since 2013.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Science & Technology

(NBC) Best Story of the Week Candidate–Man’s Groovy Morning Commute Goes Viral

‘When Nathan Apodaca’s car broke down, he made a TikTok video of himself riding his longboard, drinking juice and listening to Fleetwood Mac. Now millions of Americans have enjoyed his video, and it’s changed his life forever.’

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Music

(Phil Inquirer) Excessive social media use linked to depression during pandemic

Excessive social media use during the pandemic is a predictor of symptoms of depression and secondary trauma, suggests a new study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and Jinan University in Guangzhou, China.

The study, published last month in Computers in Human Behavior, surveyed 320 participants living in Wuhan about how they accessed and shared health information with friends, family members, and colleagues over WeChat, China’s most popular social media app. They also used a stress scale to measure anxiety and depression by asking participants to rate statements such as “I felt that life was meaningless” and “I had disturbing dreams about the coronavirus epidemic.”

Bu Zhong, a journalism professor at Penn State and a coauthor of the study, said that the team began looking into the effects of social media use on people’s mental health right after Wuhan was locked down to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

“We didn’t expect that this would become a global pandemic,” he said. “We were just thinking that we could reveal some invisible harms caused by the outbreak. In China’s situation, local media was not reporting on COVID-19. If you just read the local newspaper and watched television, you didn’t get information about the virus. This made people extremely stressed, and they began relying overwhelmingly on social media.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology

(MIT News) Why social media has changed the world — and how to fix it

The numbers make this clear. In 2005, about 7 percent of American adults used social media. But by 2017, 80 percent of American adults used Facebook alone. About 3.5 billion people on the planet, out of 7.7 billion, are active social media participants. Globally, during a typical day, people post 500 million tweets, share over 10 billion pieces of Facebook content, and watch over a billion hours of YouTube video.

As social media platforms have grown, though, the once-prevalent, gauzy utopian vision of online community has disappeared. Along with the benefits of easy connectivity and increased information, social media has also become a vehicle for disinformation and political attacks from beyond sovereign borders.

“Social media disrupts our elections, our economy, and our health,” says Aral, who is the David Austin Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Now Aral has written a book about it. In “The Hype Machine,” published this month by Currency, a Random House imprint, Aral details why social media platforms have become so successful yet so problematic, and suggests ways to improve them.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Science & Technology

Easing back into the Swing of Things Post Labour Day

We are back at it full time again, but give it some time for the blog to be back at full speed.

Posted in * By Kendall, Blogging & the Internet

Blog Post Frequency will go down while Taking a Break for Summer Vacation

As I said to a friend today the word “break” in this midst of this current situation has to be put in quotes. In any event it needs to happen somehow even give the limitations .

I have been at this blog since the first part of 2003, and it is time to step back. As I am constantly insisting to my friends, none of us is indispensable, and this is a way of living that out by yours truly. Remember I told you I am the type of person who goes to bed every night just a little sad–only a little–about how much I don’t know (and still wish to find out). So moving away from the information addiction for me will not necessarily be easy–but it is important.

Posts will be catch as catch can until I let you know–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, Blogging & the Internet

(Church Times) National Church Survey: respondents bored, but prayerful during lockdown

What did the laity experience?

Throughout the lockdown, most laity felt well supported by their clergy (51%) and by the members of their church (49%). A high proportion accessed services online (91%), but this figure needs to be read against the fact that these were people also responding to an online survey.

Among those who attended online services, the sense of participation was not as high as may have been expected. About two-fifths reported that during online services they actually prayed (40%) or recited the liturgy (36%), but fewer reported that they joined in singing (27%).

Privatising holy communion

The lockdown brought into sharp focus questions about celebrating and receiving communion. The survey revealed some significant differences between the views of those giving ministry and those receiving ministry. Whereas 41% of laity agreed that it was right for clergy to celebrate holy communion in their own homes without broadcasting the service to others, only 31% of ministers did so.

Similarly, 43% of laity argued that it was right for people at home to receive communion from their own bread and wine as part of an online communion service, compared with 34% of clergy.

The survey also revealed divided opinion between people from different traditions: 49% of Anglo-Catholics agreed that it was right for clergy to celebrate communion in their homes without broadcasting the service to others, compared with only 25% of Evangelicals.

Conversely, only 23% of Anglo-Catholics argued that it was right for people at home to receive communion from their own bread and wine as part of an online communion service, compared with 55% of Evangelicals.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(RNS) Tara Burton–How millennials make meaning from shopping, decorating and self-pampering

[Millenial]…’values hold that the self is an autonomous being, the self’s desires are fundamentally good, and societal and sexual repression as not just undesirable but actively evil. These millennials, which in my new book I called “Remixed Millennials,” are at once attracted to moral and theological certainty — accounts of the human condition that claim totalizing truth or demand difficult adherence because the challenge is ultimately rewarding — and repulsed by traditions that set hard limits on personal, and particularly sexual or romantic, desire.

That, for better or for worse, is where corporations come in. Increasingly, companies have recognized that there is a gap in the needs of today’s Remixed: institutions, activities, philosophies and rituals that manage to be challenging and totalizing while also preserving millennials’ need for personal freedom. It’s the dot-com bubble for spirituality, a free marketplace of innovation and religious disruption. No sooner does something become a viral movement than an ingenious startup finds a way to re-create it at a more profitable price point. (Columbia Business School is currently hosting an incubator for “spiritual entrepreneurs,” offering a certificate in spiritual entrepreneurship for those who complete a 20-week course.)

Consumer-capitalist culture offers us not merely necessities but identities. Meaning, purpose, community and ritual can all — separately or together — be purchased on Amazon Prime.

As journalist Amanda Hess wrote in The New York Times, “Shopping, decorating, grooming and sculpting are now jumping with meaning. And a purchase need not have any explicit social byproduct — the materials eco-friendly, or the proceeds donated to charity — to be weighted with significance. Pampering itself has taken on a spiritual urgency.”’

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Uncategorized, Young Adults

(FT) Digital ad market set to eclipse traditional media for first time

Digital advertising on platforms such as Google, Facebook and Alibaba is set this year to overtake spending on traditional media for the first time, a historic shift in market share that has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Excluding online ads sold by old media outlets such as news publishers or broadcasters, digital marketing is predicted to account for more than half the $530bn global advertising industry in 2020, according to GroupM, the media buying agency owned by WPP.

Separate forecasts released last week by Magna, part of IPG Mediabrands, also expect 2020 to be the year traditional media is upstaged.

The digital revolution in marketing under way since the millennium, when the internet accounted for under 2 per cent of spending, has transformed the ad market at a pace and scale that far outstrips the advent of television in the 20th century.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media

ACNA has Launched a new website

Check it out.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Blogging & the Internet

(NBC) Father Inspires With Viral ‘Dadvice’ On YouTube

‘Rob Kenney is using YouTube to share lessons he wished he had learned as a child growing up without a father. On his page, “Dad, How Do I?” Kenney shares useful advice on tasks such as tying a tie, changing a tire, and fixing a toilet, while providing encouragement to his over two million subscribers.’

Watch it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Marriage & Family, Men, Science & Technology

(New Atlantis) Stefan Beck–Do We Want Dystopia? On nightmare tech as the fulfillment of warped desire

Inasmuch as there are canonical texts of American education, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is one of them. But students may wonder why their teacher presents as “dystopian” a text that reads, in 2020, like an operating manual for the technocratic American Dream. The taming of reproduction and heredity by science; the banishment of boredom, discomfort, and sorrow by entertainment and pharmacology; the omnipresent availability of attachment-free sex; the defeat of death, sort of, by blissed-out euthanasia: Huxley foresaw not our fears but some of our deepest aspirations.

To read and teach Brave New World as dystopia is at best an oblivious atavism, at worst a piece of deluded self-flattery. As a character (not even an especially bright one) observes in Michel Houellebecq’s The Elementary Particles (1998), “Everyone says Brave New World is supposed to be a totalitarian nightmare, a vicious indictment of society, but that’s hypocritical bullshit.” The only thing Huxley got wrong, the character adds, is society’s acceptance of genetic caste stratification. In reality, we expect “advances in automation and robotics” to render such attine division of labor as obsolete as the sundial, the cotton gin, and the dot matrix printer.

It’s easy to look back at Huxley’s novel and attribute the radiant, meaningless future toward which it so fearfully looked as the realization of the dreams of scientists — including Huxley’s own brother, the eugenicist Julian Huxley — with their Promethean curiosity and procrustean “solutions.” But Huxley fretted about the machinations of industry as much as he did about scientists: Brave New World is peppered with the surnames of Henry Ford, Sir Alfred Mond, and Maurice Bokanowski. Huxley seemed convinced that when the last irregularity was removed from the human condition, and the last inconvenience stripped from the human experience, it would be scientists’ and industrialists’ hands wielding the plane. But where the scientists pursue knowledge for its own sake, or in service of the good as they see it, the tech titans pursue it the better to sell us what we want. How well the would-be Aldous Huxleys of our day understand that — and how much blame they place on us and our appetites — is the subject of this essay.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Corporations/Corporate Life, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Science & Technology

Blessed Trinity Sunday 2020 to all Blog Readers

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

(PA) On Pentecost, Pope to take part in online service with UK church leaders for first time

Pope Francis is to take part in an online service alongside senior UK church leaders, including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, for the first time.

He is set to call on people to turn away from the “selfish pursuit of success without caring for those left behind” and to be united in facing the “pandemics of the virus and of hunger, war, contempt for life and indifference to others”.

His special message is to mark Pentecost Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.

The virtual service is the finale of this year’s global prayer movement, called Thy Kingdom Come, which is usually filled with mass gatherings and outdoor celebrations involving 65 different denominations and traditions.

It has had to be adapted due to the pandemic so people can take part in their homes.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pentecost, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

(NYT) After Weeks on Zoom, Churches Consider Plans to Reopen

When everything began shutting down back in March, Steve Wiens thought he would be leading church via Zoom for two, maybe four, weeks.

Members of his church, Genesis Covenant in Robbinsdale, Minn., rose to the challenge. They celebrated the Eucharist from their kitchens, with coffee and doughnuts, Capri Sun and Oreos. They divided themselves into small groups across town to keep tabs of who needed groceries or supplies.

“We’ve somehow maintained a real intimacy and sweetness because we leaned into the values that always held us,” Mr. Wiens said.

But as the weeks have turned into months, and Zoom fatigue is settling in, many church leaders are contemplating how — and when exactly — to reopen. This week, Mr. Wiens mapped out a four-stage plan of what a return to safe in-person worship might look like. Maybe by July they could worship in socially distant groups of 50, he guessed, and maybe they could lift all limits in the fall.

“That may be optimistic,” he said. “What we are doing right now will change how faith is expressed in worship, whether we like it or not.”

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(BNG) Even limited to screens, COVID-19-era virtual church is fostering fellowship believers need

More than a month into virtual services, ministers are finding ways to engage with their congregants, even if services are watched in living rooms amid real-life distractions.

Online worship services can provide a sense and value of authenticity, said Alan Sherouse, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“It’s a powerful reminder about the way the holy and sacred meet the everyday or ordinary,” he said. “Those little interruptions have been a reminder that God meets us right in the midst of all these hard circumstances.”

Increased virtual ministry efforts allow congregants who are unable to attend in-person services due to work schedules, health issues and now social distancing an opportunity to participate in a worship service.

“We’ve been encouraged to see that the people we have been wondering about are really loving to be connected to the church through online worship instead of in a sanctuary,” Sherouse said.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(WSJ) A High-Tech Daily Prayer Unites a Family

Abel León dreaded saying goodbye to his mother, Josefina León. Last month, Mr. León and his sister quietly celebrated their mother’s 70th birthday in Springfield, Ill. Mr. León, 44, who lives in Chicago, wasn’t sure when he would see his mother again amid social distancing. To prolong their goodbye, Mr. León suggested they say a rosary, a prayer that his mother has said every day for years.

“I saw how much that seemed to give her some peace,” Mr. León says. Then inspiration struck. “I said, ‘you know mom, we could stay in touch doing rosaries.’’’

The following evening, March 16, Mr. León and his three siblings joined their mother on a video conference to begin their new daily practice of saying the rosary, following along with a string of beads that represent the cycle of prayers. “This was a way we could just check in and be together as a family,” says Mr. León. “Mom is a widow and everyone worries about her.”

As word spread throughout Mr. León’s large extended family—his mother is one of 12 siblings—the rosary video-call quickly grew to include relatives spanning Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, California, North Carolina and Mexico. Mr. León, who works as a corporate-compliance investigator, offers the group technical support. Since his relatives are familiar with different video-conferencing services, Mr. León props up his iPad in front of his laptop screen, allowing people calling in through different services to see each other. “They can definitely all hear each other so it ends up working out,” he says.

It takes around 15 minutes for a critical mass of people to join the call at 8 p.m.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Spirituality/Prayer

(Local Paper) South Carolina churches reaching the masses through online services amid coronavirus

Tucked on a short rural street in McClellanville, Greater Howard Chapel is used to seeing about 125 members on a Sunday.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic, the AME congregation is reaching hundreds, if not thousands, more through its online services.

An Easter drive-in worship experience welcomed members who parked cars on a grassy lot as they listened to songs from musicians and a message from the Rev. Leondra Stoney.

About 300 people had tuned in to watch the service live via the church’s Facebook page. By mid-week, the video had more than 7,000 views.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting it,” said Stoney, who noted she was more focused during Resurrection Sunday on drive-in logistics, such as maintaining internet access in the rural area.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Church Times) Dana Delap–How we shared the bread and wine on Zoom

LAST Sunday morning, the glorious first Sunday of Easter, I asked my congregation to bring bread and wine to their front rooms and kitchen tables. I was aware that the situation was domestic, but I want to believe in a God who meets us in our homes and places of work, as well as in our churches.

We had a short service of holy communion on Zoom, at which I and many of the 90-plus people who joined me shared together, as our Saviour taught us whenever we gather together. They intended to be fed by Christ with the sustenance that they need for their ongoing journey during their isolation, lockdown, and Covid-19 illness.

As I reflect on the service, I think that it was the least-worst way to offer holy communion. I do not think that I will need to offer it again, unless we are still locked down at Christmas. But it was a gathered community, it was seemly and reverent, and people who were there have described it as a community communion.

Maybe it was even a little more inclusive than communion in church might have been, because I was in my home and so were the congregation. We made a holy space for God into our Sunday to Saturday lives.

Our sisters and brothers in other denominations have been pondering the same big theological questions during this pandemic. I hope that the House of Bishops will spend some time considering the work of those whose area of study is of digital worship — for example, as CODEC (Centre for Digital Theology) at Durham University.

IT MAY be that I am clinging to the eucharist as Mary did to Jesus. I know that, in presiding, I have broken my promise of obedience to my bishop….

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Eucharist, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Sacramental Theology, Science & Technology

(CT’s The Exchange) On Christians Spreading Corona Conspiracies: Gullibility is not a Spiritual Gift

Sadly, Christians seem to be disproportionately fooled by conspiracy theories. I’ve also said before that when Christians spread lies, they need to repent of those lies. Sharing fake news makes us look foolish and harms our witness.

We saw this in the last election when some of the troll factories focused on conservative, evangelical Christians. Here we go again.

What now?

First, we need to speak up— particularly to those fooled yet again— and lovingly say, “You need to go to trusted sources.” Social media news feeds are not a trusted source. That’s why we created coronavirusandthechurch.com, to provide credible information for pastors. But, there are plenty of credible news sources— generally from outlets that do not have a track record of conspiracy peddling.

Second, God has not called us to be easily fooled. Gullibility is not a Christian virtue. Believing and sharing conspiracies does not honor the Lord. It may make you feel better, like you are in the know, but it can end up harming others and it can hurt your witness.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Politics in General, Theology

(CEN) C of E Priest is the first to be licensed virtually

A PRIEST in Wrexham has become the first in Wales to be licensed for a new ministry through a virtual service.

The Rev Heather Shotton was due to have been licensed as assistant curate for the Offa Mission Area at a large church service in St Mary’s, Ruabon, last Sunday. That had to be called off due to Covid-19 restrictions and the closure of all church buildings. So she was licensed instead in a virtual service carried out via Zoom from her study with just her husband physically present.

Six vicars from different churches gathered online for the service to celebrate Heather’s new role.

It was led by the Archdeacon of Wrexham, John Lomas…. He said: “Priests can only operate under a license from a Bishop. There are clergy like Heather who had already been placed and were awaiting their license before the present crisis. This would normally take place within a service at their new appointment. So as not to create difficulties and gaps in mission the Bishop asked if we could conduct the licensing virtually.

“We used the form of service that had been prepared for Heather’s welcome and licensing. I brought clergy together from Heather’s former church, St Giles in Wrexham and her new Mission Area which includes Ruabon, Chirk and Penycae and we did the service and the licence by Zoom.

“Heather needed to sign the licence so it has been posted to her.”

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Blog Transition for the Triduum 2020

As is our custom, we aim to let go of the cares and concerns of this world until Monday and to focus on the great, awesome, solemn and holy events of the next three days. I would ask people to concentrate their comments on the personal, devotional, and theological aspects of these days which will be our focal point here. Many thanks–KSH.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Holy Week