Daily Archives: February 7, 2011

(USA Today) Joseph Bottum–Who will defend Mideast Christians?

More African than Arab, Southern Sudan might not provide much assistance to minorities in the Middle East. But its existence teaches the lesson that commitment from the United States actually works. In the 1980s and 1990s, a broad political coalition forced the Bush and Clinton administrations to treat Sudan as a rogue state for its oppression of minorities. The 2011 independence of Southern Sudan is a fruit of that effort ”” proof that, though it might take decades, international pressure can succeed.

Unfortunately, in the years since, America foreign policy has been little concerned with religious persecution. George W. Bush, for example, refused to insist on a non-Islamic constitution for Iraq. And Barack Obama has systematically watered down U.S. diplomacy: Where we once demanded “freedom of religion,” a public liberty, we now speak only of “freedom of worship,” a lesser and private right.

This American abdication has produced only more oppression ”” and it’s accelerating at a horrifying rate. Nearly every day since Christmas, Christians have been murderously attacked for the simple fact of being Christians….

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

(NY Times Well Blog) Teenagers, Friends and Bad Decisions

Why do otherwise good kids seem to make bad decisions when they are with their friends? New research on risk taking and the teenage brain offers some answers.

In studies at Temple University, psychologists used functional magnetic resonance imaging scans on 40 teenagers and adults to determine if there are differences in brain activity when adolescents are alone versus with their friends. The findings suggest that teenage peer pressure has a distinct effect on brain signals involving risk and reward, helping to explain why young people are more likely to misbehave and take risks when their friends are watching.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Teens / Youth

Church Times Editorial on the Primates Meeting–Decommissioning

The Canadian Primate, Archbishop Hiltz, reported afterwards that the Primates at the meeting had “endeavoured to consider, as much as we could, their perspective on the issue before us”. They were successful on at least one point: the Global South absentees had wished to signal by their absence the insignificance of the Primates’ Meeting, as long as it proved unable or unwilling to enforce earlier disciplinary measures against the Episcopal Church in the United States concerning gay bishops and same-sex unions. The Primates who were present in Dublin showed remarkable compliance, redefining the Primates’ Meeting as an essentially toothless body.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011

Church of Ireland Gazette Editorial–The Primates' Meeting

The Anglican Communion needs to get beyond its difficulties over sexuality issues and to focus, as the Primates did at the Emmaus Centre, on much wider issues, not least the mission of the Church. While also addressing the unity of the Communion, which touches not least the proposed Anglican Covenant, the discussions at this Primates’ Meeting were indeed wide-ranging.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011

BBC Radio Four Sunday Programme Interviews Bishop Mouneer Anis about recent developments in Egypt

You can find the audio link here. The interview starts about one minute into the programme and focuses in particular on the Muslim Brotherhood (it last about five minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Green Bay Press Gazette Editorial–Packers' hard work a tribute to Vince Lombardi

The smallest city with a professional sports franchise still is celebrating and the excitement no doubt will continue for days and into the next season.

Fans will have a chance to cheer for the team today when the Packers return home by motorcade from Austin Straubel International Airport to Lambeau Field via Packerland Drive and Lombardi Avenue. The team announced last week that police would secure Packerland, Lombardi and Hazelwood Lane along the return route where fans can watch as the team passes by. No other public appearances had been scheduled for today.

Read it all.

Update: Rob Rogers has a fun picture.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Christianity Today–The Most Redeeming Films of 2010

Our film critics are not on Pixar’s payroll. Nor are they getting any under-the-table perks from the animation studio. There’s a much less sinister reason that a Pixar movie””in this case, Toy Story 3””tops our Most Redeeming Films list for the third consecutive year: We think their movies rock.

It’s not just the astonishingly good animation. It’s the phenomenal storytelling, the depth of character development, the keen insight into the human condition””even from the perspective of plastic playthings. One of our critics confesses that he cried at the end of TS3 all three times he watched it””and will likely do so the next three times. That’s what Pixar films do to us.

Read it all.

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

(NY Times) Who’s the Boss, You or Your Gadget?

… all of this amped-up productivity comes with a growing sense of unease. Too often, people find themselves with little time to concentrate and reflect on their work. Or to be truly present with their friends and family.

There’s a palpable sense “that home has invaded work and work has invaded home and the boundary is likely never to be restored,” says Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “The new gadgetry,” he adds, “has really put this issue into much clearer focus.”

The phenomenon started with the rise of BlackBerrys and has snowballed with the use of more smartphones, social media and tablet computers. Employees are using their smartphones and other devices to connect with corporate e-mail, applications and data wherever they happen to be ”” whether at home, on the go or even on vacation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Science & Technology

Karl Barth on part of the meaning of "a sabbath rest for the people of God" (Hebrew 4:9)

It is not a question of recuperation after a toilsome and well-done job. Even the Sabbath rest of man corresponding to the divine rest does not have this sense in the Old Testament, but means negatively a simple cessation and abstention from further work. The freedom, rest and joy of the Sabbath consist in the fact that on this day man is released from his daily work. On the Sabbath he does not belong to his work.Nor is it merely a question of having to recuperate from the work that lies behind him and to fortify himself for the new tasks that are ahead. On the Sabbath he belongs to himself. Whether he be farmer, artisan, servant or maid, he is just the man who for six days had to be these things and to perform the corresponding tasks, but whose being and existence are more than all these things and his work, who in and with these things seeks to be a man, male and female, and as such before God. That he does not strive in vain towards this goal; that his work cannot devour him but consists of steps towards this goal, is confirmed at the end of each week by the proffered freedom, rest and joy of the workless Sabbath which he is granted. It is this which gives perspective and depth, meaning and lustre, to all his weeks, and therefore to his whole time, as well as to the work which he performs in his time.

–Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics (ed. Geoffrey Bromiley and Thomas Torrance, Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1958 E.T. of the German 1945 original) III.I.para. 41, Creation and Covenant, p. 214

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Europe, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(London Times) Clergy defecting to Catholic Church risk ”˜heresy trials’ for disobedience

Church of England clergy who resign and become Roman Catholic priests in the new Ordinariate group set up by the Pope could be subject to Anglican “heresy trials” for disobedience.

As the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, opens today in Westminster, legal advisers have warned in a note to members that clergy who defect to Rome must first “relinquish” their orders under the 1870 Clergy Disability Act.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Church of England Provisional attendance figures for 2009 released

The latest local church attendance figures from the Church of England show that approaching 1.7 million people continue to attend Church of England services each month, and around 1.1 million attend church as part of a typical week – and not just on a Sunday.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Cornelius the Centurion

O God, who by thy Spirit didst call Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles: Grant to thy Church, we beseech thee, such a ready will to go where thou dost send and to do what thou dost command, that under thy guidance it may welcome all who turn to thee in love and faith, and proclaim the Gospel to all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Enable us, O heavenly Father, to walk with thee this day and every day in sure and simple trust; ever remembering that our little things are all big to thy love, and our big things are all small to thy power; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

–Galatians 6:14-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers for winning the Super Bowl

A very sloppy game, but Pittsburgh deserved to lose with the turnovers and Green Bay’s offense outplayed the Steeler’s offense.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Thomas Friedman–China, Twitter and 20-Year-Olds vs. the Pyramids

Anyone who’s long followed the Middle East knows that the six most dangerous words after any cataclysmic event in this region are: “Things will never be the same.” After all, this region absorbed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of Google without a ripple.

But traveling through Israel, the West Bank and Jordan to measure the shock waves from Egypt, I’m convinced that the forces that were upholding the status quo here for so long ”” oil, autocracy, the distraction of Israel, and a fear of the chaos that could come with change ”” have finally met an engine of change that is even more powerful: China, Twitter and 20-year-olds.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China, Egypt, Jordan, Middle East, Science & Technology, Young Adults

British PM: Multiculturalism has failed

Prime Minister David Cameron, in a speech attended by world leaders, on Saturday criticized his country’s longstanding policy of multiculturalism, saying it was an outright failure and partly to blame for fostering Islamist extremism.

He said the U.K. needs a stronger national identity to prevent people turning to extremism

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, History, Religion & Culture

Super Bowl Ads Will Leave a Religious Question Unanswered

But according to Fox Sports, which will broadcast the Super Bowl this year, the verse you can see in the stands on television is not suitable for a commercial. The network’s rejection of a 30-second spot centered on John 3:16 is just one example of an advertising culture that can be allergic to expressions of faith.

According to Larry Taunton, executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation, which produced the advertisement, inspiration came during last year’s Super Bowl.

“Corporate America uses its creativity and millions of dollars to come up with 30-second blasts to get you to buy a beer or Coke or tennis ball,” said Mr. Taunton, whose evangelical group, based in Birmingham, Ala., promotes campus debates between atheists and believers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Religion & Culture, Sports

(O.C. Register) David Whiting: Episcopal Priest finds Redemption in desert

Emergency trips to the hospital to save Erik’s young life were frequent. An ever-changing series of drugs helped. But every night, [the Rev. Brad] Karelius slept by his son’s side, ready to save his boy.

It helped that Karelius’ wife, Janice, was a family nurse practitioner. And it also helped that the couple’s other child, Kathryn became not only one of Erik’s helpers but her brother’s best friend.

On the outside, it appeared Karelius was handling things. He was building the congregation from 150 to more than 700 members. And Karelius was being courted to become rector at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.

But his son’s suffering tore Karelius apart.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Protests in Egypt

[PAUL} ABERNETHY: In the demonstrations in the streets there wasn’t much evidence of a religious influence. It seemed pretty secular, but lots of people expect that in a new government there will be strong religious representation. Is that fair to say?

[QAMAR-UL] HUDA: That’s a fair assessment. We know that the mass protest in Egypt is a mass public crossing all ideologies. This is a national issue for Egypt, and it’s not contained to any one group. The new government or the transitional government that will be formed in the near future””I think the religious voices or the religious parties will be at the table but will not dominate the party.

Read or watch it all.

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

NPR–What Is Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood?

[STEVE] INSKEEP: OK. Is that a fair comparison, Tarek Masoud? Are they just a conservative party or are they something more now?

Dr. [TAREK] MASOUD: Well, there’s two kinds of extremism. OK, there’s an extremism of ends and an extremism of means. OK. Extremism of means is if they’re willing if they want to use violence to get what they want. I certainly think they are not that. Extremism of ends, do they want things that we think are really, you know, out of the norm? I think a lot of them do, but again, you know, you let them participate in the political process and you hopefully beat them. I think and there’s evidence that the brothers, as Dr. ElBaradei said, would not necessarily capture a majority of votes in Egypt, although they are a very strong and organized party. But, you know, there’s other ideological trends and we’re seeing them being played out right now on the Egyptian street.

Read or listen to it all.

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

(The Tablet) The Christian Minority is a vital presence in the Middle east

It is all too easy to be the bearer of bad news about Christianity in the Middle East. The last 100 years of their history has witnessed a profound series of crises from displacement by war, genocide and inter-religious conflict, to loss, emigration and exile.

Against this background, Christians have tried to resettle and build anew. They have been able to make a significant cultural, political and economic contribution to Middle Eastern society.

Some observers have suggested that there is a “Christian barometer” which provides the world with an accurate measurement of the political atmosphere in the Middle East. Progress towards freedom, particularly religious freedom, in the Middle East can be gauged by focusing on the status of the large Christian minorities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(NY Times) Protesters Vow to Escalate Pressure on Mubarak

Representatives of the Egyptian democracy movement vowed Sunday to escalate their pressure for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, even as his government sought to portray itself as well on the way to successfully negotiating an end to the uprising now in its 13th day.

In a historic first, Vice President Omar Suleiman met with representatives of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood as part of a group of about 50 opposition members that included prominent politicians and youth organizers.

The encounter itself was remarkable for bringing together members of the brotherhood ”” Egypt’s biggest opposition movement ”” and the autocratic government that has for decades repressed it as an Islamist threat.

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

The full text of the Time Magazine article on some Seminarians is now Available

(Please note that the article, enttiled “Holy Enrollers,” was originally discussed here on February 2, 2001–KSH).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Middle Age, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(London Times) Bishop Geoffrey Rowell: Why I shall stand firm in the Anglican catholic tradition

The Church of England did not abandon the historic apostolic ministry but sought to reform it. Ever since Anglicans have held that those ordained as bishops, priests and deacons, are ordained as bishops, priests and deacons of the Church of God. Change in that ordering of ministry is therefore a matter not just for the Church of England or the Anglican Communion but for all those Churches who claim to share that ministry. Developments in faith and order need this wider reference.

At the end of November I was privileged to have an audience with Pope Benedict, and was able to say to him that, as an Anglican bishop, standing in the catholic Anglican tradition, I ”” with others ”” wished to continue to witness to the catholic identity of Anglicanism, and received his encouragement to do so. The Anglican patrimony is not just a matter of hymn books and liturgy, of evensong and the English choral tradition, important as those things are. It is a sacramental way of living out a catholic identity, expressed in relation to the community and in a wise application of moral ideals to personal and pastoral realities. It is what the Churches of the East have sometimes recognised as a Western Orthodoxy. Above all it is about a faithfulness in a way of Christian living that expresses the beauty of holiness, which is about transfiguration into the likeness of Christ, living out… [Marco Antonio De Dominis’] maxim: “In essentials unity, in doubtful things liberty, and in all things charity.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Theology

Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Release on the Appeals Court Decision

Read it all as well.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Release on St. Philip's Church, Moon Township

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh