Daily Archives: February 3, 2011

(AP) Muslims seek change in their Hollywood story

After years of watching Muslims portrayed as terrorists in mainstream TV and movies, an advocacy group hopes to change that image by grooming a crop of aspiring Muslim screenwriters who can bring their stories ”” and perspective ”” to Hollywood.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council is hosting a series of workshops taught by Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated veterans over the next month, an initiative that builds on the group’s outreach for a more representative picture of Muslim-Americans on the screen.

The workshops are the natural evolution of MPAC’s efforts to lobby TV networks and movie studios from the outside, and they fit into a small, but growing, movement to get more Muslim-Americans behind the cameras.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths

(Belfast Telegraph) Church of Ireland chooses new Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough

Dr Michael Jackson (54), the current Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, was elected as the new Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough in succession to John Neill, who has retired.

Speaking last night in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Archbishop-elect Jackson said he was looking forward to establishing a good working relationship with his Catholic counterpart, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

He pledged to work in close partnership with the Anglican Primate of All Ireland, Alan Harper, who presided over the electoral college at which he became the first Northerner since 1969 to be chosen as the senior Anglican prelate in the Republic.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland

The Boston Globe Talks to Author John Banville

Q. So is your work getting better?

A. The more you practice the better you get. I’ve been writing for more than 50 years, so inevitably I get a bit better. But you have to beware of facility. The danger is that you’ll say any old thing. Nothing good was ever easily got.

Q. How electronic are you? Do you own a Kindle?

A. I don’t own a Kindle, no. I love books, they are beautiful objects. I’m leaving for a trip to Italy now, and I have four huge doorstoppers in my suitcase. I can’t be without them. I’m a print man. I grew up writing with a fountain pen. I’m barely computer literate. I use the computer as a glorified typewriter. I don’t know what the computer can do. Every now and then I hit a button and weird stuff comes up, for instance the type will change color. But I am addicted to e-mail. I hate weekends. Nobody ever writes to me on the weekend.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books

Notable and Quotable

Evangelicals may well be nervous about the notion that doctrine develops. Examples of Catholic dogmas such as the immaculate conception of Mary and her assumption immediately come to mind. Isn’t that where development of doctrine inevitably leads?

However, before we throw out doctrinal development, we might want to listen to what Vanhoozer has to say about it. His understanding is hardly different from Congar’s. Although he does not ground development in Christology the way Congar does, I suspect that Vanhoozer would agree with Congar on the christological foundation. Vanhoozer speaks quite freely about the “meaning potential” of biblical texts, and makes this observation: “As the potential of the Old Testament is realized over the ‘great time’ of the canon, so too the potential of the canon is realized over the ‘great time’ of church history.” Vanhoozer explicitly uses “development of doctrine” language to describe this unfolding of the meaning potential of the biblical text: “The development of doctrine is thus a matter of improvising with a canonical script.” In fact, Vanhoozer’s language emphasizes development in some ways more strongly than does Congar’s. We repeatedly encounter in Vanhoozer the language of imagination, as well as related terms, such as improvisation, spontaneity and creative understanding. For Vanhoozer, development of doctrine is based on the church’s creative improvisation on the biblical text.

–Hans Boersma, J.I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College, Vancouver. B.C., Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011)

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

ABC News Nightline–Salvia Drug Dangers?

This program really scared me–I was not aware of this. Take the time to watch it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Psychology, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

(Barna Group) Teen Role Models: Who They Are, Why They Matter

The study pointed out that relatives were most often esteemed because of goals accomplished, personality traits, and overcoming adversity, while friends were most highly regarded because of the encouragement and support they provide the teen. Faith leaders received recognition because of their strong spiritual convictions, their moral lifestyles, and because the teen hopes to pattern their lives like these leaders. Coaches and teachers also made the grade because teens hope to follow their lifestyles and because of the encouragement coaches and educators dole out.

Not surprisingly, entertainers and sports figures are recognized most often for their talent. However, the profiles of the two types of celebrities diverge from there. Entertainers earned teens’ attention not only with their humanitarian efforts but also with fashion and money. In contrast, sports stars scored points with teens based on their accomplishments as well as their ability to overcome adversity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Youth Ministry

Duffy Robbins–A Youth Minister Wrestles with What to Teach

…somewhere around the 10 year point in my own youth ministry experience, I began to realize that I was teaching on some of the same topics over and over again, and there was really no plan guiding me. Looking over the messages I had delivered over the previous three years, I discovered that we spent almost six times as much time in the New Testament as we did in the Old Testament; that we spent more time studying general topics than we spent studying specific biblical texts; and that our teaching curriculum was more a reflection of my training and biases than it was a reflection of the whole counsel of God.

I took my concerns to our volunteers and we began with the basic premise that we might have a student in our ministry for three years. On the basis of that assumption, and with input from our pastor and some members of our Youth Advisory Team, we developed a curriculum plan of topics and texts that we wanted our teenagers to be exposed to prior to graduation. For students who were in our youth group from grades 7-12, we decided there was no harm in their repeating the cycle a second time as long as we used different lesson plans.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

(RNS) Miracle Detectives on the Hunt for Answers

Were these acts of God, or is there a scientific explanation for events that seem to defy reason?

For an hour every Wednesday night (10 p.m. EST), that divisive question is the focus of “Miracle Detectives,” one of prime-time television’s first forays into exploring the miraculous.

The show features two investigators””one a believer, the other a scientist””who seek answers to “mysterious incidents that seem to transcend logic.” It’s one of 17 programs on the new Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which debuted New Year’s Day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(NPR) Storm Strands Motorists, Workers At I-70 [Pilot's Flying J] Truck Stop in Missouri

Interstate 70, through central and eastern Missouri, was closed down for a while because of snow and ice. The closure stranded many motorists and workers along the highway. Host Michele Norris speaks to Terri Brackney and Greg Stratton, who work at the Travel Plaza Truck Stop in Warrenton, Mo., and have been stranded there since Monday.

Over 200 trucks parked overnight! Egads! Listen to it all–KSH (Hat tip: Elizabeth).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Travel, Weather

Dan Reid–Take a Moment to Describe

Of the many things I learned in seminary, several of them were from David Hubbard. One of these I’ve turned into a regular practice. Back in that day Hubbard was president of Fuller Seminary as well as professor of Old Testament. Now, Hubbard was a master of language, and every student knew it. So he had our attention.

It was an aside, probably sparked by an Old Testament wisdom text. Hubbard broke away from Proverbs or Ecclesiastes to speak of the value of effective language in communication.

He encouraged the class to improve our skills in using descriptive language. And he gave us some simple, practical advice: while driving””that mentally idle time between life’s real appointments in Southern California! ””we should practice describing what we see, whether it be a tree, a building or a landscape….

It is good advice for anyone. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(First Things) Byron Johnson: The Good News About Evangelicalism

Evangelicalism is not what it used to be. Evangelicals were once derided for being uneducated, unsophisticated, and single-issue oriented in their politics. Now they profess at some of our best universities, parse postmodernity, and preach “creation care” with liberal fervor. Looking at the supposed repudiation of “the religious right” in the 2008 election, many pundits chortled gleefully that evangelicalism””the conservative brand of Protestantism reflected by Southern Baptists, the Assemblies of God, the Church of the Nazarene, and others who believe in the final authority of the Bible and the need for conversion””is smaller than most have thought, and that the evangelical young have morphed into social liberals.

In other words, evangelicals are not as powerful a cultural force as previously thought, and in the future they will be even less so. Neither of these claims is true.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: India Microlending

DE SAM LAZARO: Microlending began in the nonprofit world as a means to help poor people start enterprises that would make them self-sufficient.

VIJAY MAHAJAN (Founder, BASIX): We were from the world of development, and we spent a frustrating number of years trying to get small amounts of credit for poor people. Then there’s a limit to how much you can do as a nonprofit, and then eventually we restructured as for-profit.

DE SAM LAZARO: In less than decade, microlending grew into a seven billion dollar industry. One company, SKS Microfinance, raised $350 million in an initial public stock offering. Salesmen from various new companies fanned out into rural areas like this village in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, offering money to people, no questions asked….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Law & Legal Issues, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, that in whatever dangers we are placed we may call upon thy name, and that when deliverance is given us from on high we may never cease from thy praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Leonine Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

–Galatains 5:1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

GetReligion–On seminaries: Time ignores the obvious

Now, the key is that this is not a story about a trend in the Episcopal Church or even the world of oldline Protestantism. The heart of the story is a set of new statistics out from Association of Theological Schools, which, as Time tells us, includes more than 250 graduate schools in North America. The whole point is that gray-haired baby boomers are now the fastest growing niche in theological education….

Also, it would help to know the overall numbers and demographics at General Theological Seminary ”” a school which reported 202 students (134 full-time equivalents) in the same time frame as the Time report. Meanwhile, there were 108 students (62 FTE) up at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass.

As a point of comparison, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth had 3,042 students (2,068 FTE) that year and, on the various campuses of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there were 2,134 students (1,492 FTE)

I was going to post this when Time made the etext available, since I first saw it in my paper subscription, but alas, it never occurred. In any event, read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Middle Age, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(WSJ) Maajid Nawaz–The Muslim Brotherhood Lacks a Khomeini Figure

Egypt’s old guard has long presented the world with a potent choice: Accept our police state or extremists will take over. Rooted in the old politics of colonialism, this dichotomy effectively deterred democracy in the Arab world. What the ongoing uprising shows is that this dichotomy is no longer valid. Real change is now possible, and the old analysis that it can come only through empowering Islamists has been shattered.

The new Egypt””led by but not restricted to the youth””has little time for the octogenarians of old, who include not only Hosni Mubarak but also Mohamed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and my former cellmate. Within the Brotherhood, Mr. Badie has recently been challenged by a reformist faction now led by the younger Abdul Monim Aboul Fatouh (another former cellmate of mine).

The leaderless nature of Egypt’s street uprising raises the question of who will fill the vacuum after victory. Concerns about an Islamist takeover are valid. But that scenario is unlikely.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(WSJ Real Time economics Blog) Some 43 Million Americans Continue to Use Food Stamps

Nearly a year and a half into the economic recovery, some 43.6 million Americans continued to rely on food stamps in November.

More than 14% of the population drew food stamps in November to purchase groceries as high unemployment and muted wage growth crimped budgets. The number of recipients was up 0.9% from October, according to the new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Compared to a year ago, the number of people receiving food stamps was up 14.2%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

ACNS–A Letter from the Bishop of Egypt, Mouneer Anis

Our concern was that extremist groups would take advantage of the demonstrations to push for violence. We thank God that this did not happen. It seems that the majority of the youth who are demonstrating are aware of this possibility. Many of them started to see this possible risk. The youth who were interviewed by the television yesterday mentioned that all what they need is democracy. Many groups this morning are demonstrating in support of President Mubarak, the new government, and peaceful transfer of authority at the end of the Presidents term.

Egypt is a very important country in the whole of the Middle East, and whatever happens in Egypt affects the rest of the countries. I was amazed at how the President of Yemen, this morning, announced that he will not seek re-election and will not promote his son to be the next president. We pray that we can set a good example to the surrounding countries.

We appreciate your prayers for:

Our churches and institutions, so that we can fix our eyes on God who is in control. May what is happening help us to draw nearer to God and to know that the time is short.
The end of demonstrations, especially in view of the changes that President Mubarak announced. This will bring Egypt back to normal and the curfew will be ended.
The new government, in order to achieve the desired targets in serving the people, especially the Minister of Interior who is now trying to re-build the trust with the people of Egypt.
People to find their needs of food and health care.
Wisdom for the youth, in order not to allow the extremists to stir them up.
The families who lost their loved ones in the violence, and those who are injured.
Our beloved Egypt to recover this turmoil.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, - Anglican: Primary Source, Anglican Provinces, Politics in General, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Violence