Daily Archives: February 11, 2011

(WSJ) Rob Moll: Doing God's Work””At the Office

Christian business professionals have long had an uneasy relationship with the church. Not only does the church tend to privilege church and missionary service over business, but it often condemns business practices and implies the guilt of any participants. Yet there are signs that this dynamic is changing””not least because churches rely on the donations of business professionals.

Many pastors now visit their congregants at work to better understand their professional lives. Justin Buzzard, pastor of the Garden City Church in San Jose, Calif., wrote last year about ministering to professionals in his congregation. “It shows them that I care about their callings, how they spend 50-plus hours of their week.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

The New York Times Reviews Two Charleston, S.C., Restaurants–Yet Another Reason You need to Visit

I came to this port city to see if I could get in anyway. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

I discovered a good, young restaurant with a zeal for its location and a passion for selling it hard. Mr. Brock makes a mean shrimp and grits at Husk, which is in a beautiful restored 1893 Queen Anne home in the town center. Bartenders carve fine country ham from suppliers like Finchville and Newsom’s and serve it with top-notch bourbon in a barroom next to the restaurant that’s as pretty as any on earth. It’s comfortable on the Husk bandwagon. Everyone’s happy. But as they say down here, I’ll tell you what: I ate at McCrady’s, too. And that restaurant is one of only a few outside the first tier of American cities that could compete in any of them. It is marvelous, well worth a two-hour drive from Columbia, the state capital, or the flight from New York.

Of course, coming to this salty gem of a city would be worth it even if neither restaurant had ever opened. Charleston, with fewer than 125,000 residents, is one of the great eating towns of the American South, on par with New Orleans for quality if nowhere near it for size or variety.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Dieting/Food/Nutrition

(RNS) Vatican Says iPhone Apps Won’t Forgive Sins

Just in case Catholics are wondering if a new iPhone app might be able to forgive their sins, the Vatican has issued a clarification: No.

“One may not speak in any sense of confessing via iPhone,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb. 9).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Theology

(USA Today) Survey: Veterans are 16% of homeless

Military veterans are much more likely to be homeless than other Americans, according to the government’s first in-depth study of homelessness among former servicemembers.

About 16% of homeless adults in a one-night survey in January 2009 were veterans, though vets make up only 10% of the adult population.

More than 75,000 veterans were living on the streets or in a temporary shelter that night. In that year, 136,334 veterans spent at least one night in a homeless shelter ”” a count that did not include homeless veterans living on the streets.

Simply heartbreaking–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Military / Armed Forces, Poverty

Vicki Thorn–Springtime in the Roman Catholic Church?

Recently, I was blessed to be a speaker at a couple of the regional gatherings of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. As always, I was very impressed with what I saw ”“ 1200 young adults at one gathering and 1500 at another. These are serious seekers, looking for truth and faith. In the evening, a very long line stood patiently waiting for the Sacrament of Reconciliation or to be prayed with….

Many of them have shared with me their profound experiences of conversion ”“ growing up in families without much faith experience or being raised nominally Catholic, and only later discovering the richness of faith and truth.

One young man shared how he was raised going to Mass on Sunday but left the Church and God behind in college. Yet an encounter with an evangelical group recaptured his search for God, and he eventually became a Protestant pastor of a thriving community. Finally, through the friendship of a Catholic bishop, who invited him for coffee and conversation, he rediscovered the richness of Catholicism and came back to the Church of his birth. Now he works with young adults who are seeking the Lord.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Young Adults

(Church Times) C of E General Synod wrestles with an England that no longer understands

The General Synod agonised over the Church of England’s relationship with English society when it met at Church House, Westminster, this week.

In his presidential address on Tuesday afternoon, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said that the C of E faced many criticisms from secular­ists, some of whom wanted to remove particular responsibilities from the national Church.

Referring to Dame Mary Warnock, who recently argued that faith had no part to play in moral discourse, Dr Sentamu said: “From where she stands, religion and morality must be prised apart.” This, he said, was “false prophesy, and potentially fatal to our social fabric”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

(CEN) ARCIC appointment does not violate American ban, ACC says

The appointment of an American priest to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) does not mean that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ban on members of churches in violation of the Windsor Report serving on ecumenical dialogue committees has been lifted, the staff of the Anglican Consultative Council reports, as the new commission member is not American enough to trigger the ban.

The appointment to the ARCIC III team of one of the author’s the Episcopal Church’s apologia for gay ”˜bishops and blessings’ has caused disquiet among conservatives. It is also likely to set back Dr. Rowan Williams’ hopes for regaining the trust of the majority faction within the Communion, who hold a jaundiced view of the probity of the ACC staff.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

Independent Leading Article: The democratic world must stand with the Egyptian protesters

The three-decade long rule of Hosni Mubarak over Egypt was crumbling last night. The old dictator, confronted by an unprecedented wave of popular protests and strikes, was not prepared to go without a struggle. First he tried to divide the protesters, announcing his intention to step down as president later in the year. When that failed to disperse the crowds, Mr Mubarak is believed to have sent state-sponsored thugs to attack the pro-democracy protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Mr Mubarak’s allies abroad tried their best to prop up the Egyptian strongman too. Frank Wisner, the veteran diplomat sent by Barack Obama to deal with the Egyptian regime, was arguing a week ago that Mr Mubarak “must stay in office”. We learned yesterday that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah pressured the White House to support Mr Mubarak, even threatening to replace any financial aid to Egypt withdrawn by the US. The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, praised the Egyptian autocrat as a “wise man”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Egypt, Europe, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General

(TGC blog) Fred Sanders: What Are Your Reading Habits?

I told my wife I was going to write a few words about my reading habits, and she replied: “You should be able to do it in one.” I knew the word she meant: “Constantly.” After 20 years of marriage to a constant reader, she has the right to make that pronouncement.

The most important advice I can give about reading is to make decisions in advance about what you want from the book you’re about to read. You’ve got to stay in charge, and not just let yourself accidentally fall into the reading experience. Before you really engage the book, decide if it’s the kind of book you need to read slowly, repeatedly, taking notes, and pondering. Or is it the kind of book that covers familiar territory and will only offer a few new details? Is it a book you want to immerse yourself in and get lost in, or the kind you want to dip into for bits of information? Or is it a book that you need to figure out so you can put it on your shelf and know how to use it for reference later on? Some books contain analysis and perspectives that are brand new for you, and require slow assimilation. But others just confirm, deepen, or extend things you already know. And it’s fine to read for fun and entertainment, or even to read haphazardly. But you need to have made a decision that you’re going to do so.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Education

(On the Square Blog) Nicholas Frankovich–Why Study Biblical Languages?

[The originial languages are]…good for helping us understand the Bible, the Word of God, which for Christians is a person, who asks us to connaître him. This involves spending time with him, pondering the Word, contemplating it, mulling it over, chewing on it even. For an Orthodox Jew, the object of meditation is Torah, and the notion of meditating on it in translation would be almost inconceivable. You want the prize itself, not someone’s prosaic description of it.

By contrast, most Christians who meditate on scripture don’t consult it in the original languages. The argument is sometimes made that the gospel, which is to be preached to all the nations, is by its nature always a translation. For an image of this idea, see the account of Pentecost in Acts, where by the power of the Holy Spirit each member of the international audience assembled in Jerusalem hears the apostles in his own native tongue. Christian faith does not depend on a reading knowledge of Koine Greek.

Still, just as all things lawful are not expedient, not all things optional are bootless. Let’s concede that the fine points you miss by meditating on scripture in mere translation are only a few pixels that drop out of the picture. The subject and the general shape of things are still clear enough. What you’re missing is the meaning of the expression in the subject’s eyes. You can identify their color, however, and the other physical features of his that can be measured and recorded on a driver’s license. You can savoir his identity. That counts for a lot. But you don’t connaître him.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Roman Catholics Spar with Federal Officials over Unions

A small Catholic college in Riverdale, N.Y., last month got some news that sent shivers across religious higher education: part-time faculty have a right to form a union on campus.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. The National Labor Relations Board also isn’t convinced that the Catholic school is actually Catholic.

According to Elbert Tellem, the NLRB’s acting regional director, Manhattan College can’t prohibit adjunct faculty from unionizing because the school’s core purpose isn’t religious enough to trigger a labor law exemption.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, The U.S. Government

(Barrons) Randall Forsyth–Selling the Family Jewels at Wall and Broad Strasse

When the rich fall on hard times, they often end up resorting to selling the family jewels to meet their debts or living expenses.

That is the image that came to mind after hearing reports that Deutsche Borse was in advanced talks to merge with NYSE Euronext…in a seeming merger of equals. But the German exchange operator would wind up with a majority stake in the New York Stock Exchange, an icon of the city from which it takes its name.

The Big Board is the very embodiment of U.S. capitalism, and for it to fall under foreign control can’t help but be disquieting to many Americans. The takeover of this citadel of securities trading at the intersection of what may become Wall and Broad Strasse could raise a similar ruckus as the acquisition of that midtown Manhattan icon, Rockefeller Center, by Japanese investors in the late 1980s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Foreign Relations, Germany, Globalization, Stock Market

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son declared to his disciples, I am among you as he that serveth: Take from us, we pray thee, the spirit of selfishness, and deepen within us the spirit of service; that we may think less of our own interests and more of the needs of others, after the perfect example of the same thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

–2 Timothy 3:14-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

WSJ: Egypt in Chaos as Leader Refuses to Go

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak handed power to his vice president but retained his title, a half-measure that confused observers, angered opposition leaders and provoked an uproar from hundreds of thousands of protesters massed in the center of the country’s capital.

The move sets up another conflict with the opposition movement, which has called on supporters to gather for a huge protest Friday. Expectations that the president would resign had built through the day, and the immediate reaction to the speech was anger, with protesters chanting “Leave, leave.”

An Army officer using a loudspeaker tried to calm protesters. “Let’s save our energy for tomorrow,” a man screamed to the crowd. “Go home and sleep, because tomorrow will be the day of judgment.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East, Politics in General

Philip Turner responds to Paul Bagshaw on the Dublin Partial Primates Meeting

(Please note the piece to which Dr. Turner is responding may be found here).

Bagshaw envisions regional groupings of autonomous provinces committed to ongoing conversation and where possible cooperation. These groupings need not, however, be committed to mutually recognized forms of belief and practice. In his future, there need no longer be “eagerness to maintain unity in the bond of peace.” There need be only occasional meetings that might prove mutually advantageous or serve to further regional and local self-interest. What Bagshaw sketches as the future of Anglicanism more closely resembles the British Commonwealth of Nations than the body of Christ. In Bagshaw’s world adjustments to division are perfectly acceptable. As in all free trade zones, divisions simply become opportunities for regional cooperation and mutual benefit on the one hand or self-assertion on the other

I am profoundly troubled by all this first because Bagshaw’s view of an Anglican future gives the lie to all that God is up to; namely, to unite all peoples in Christ so that all people worship the one true God as God truly is. I am also troubled because the free trade zone of autonomous churches that may well lie in our future is to be ordered by centers of bureaucratic or local power rather than by Bishops whose particular charism is to maintain unity of faith, holiness of life, and peace within the church. If one thing the recent meeting in Dublin makes clear, it is that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates there assembled have abdicated the responsibility of Bishops to maintain catholic belief and practice not only within but also beyond the borders of their particular dioceses or provinces. I am troubled, in short, because Dublin spells the end of catholic order within the Anglican future he foresees. Bagshaw is quite comfortable with this eventuality. Indeed, in one place he makes the amazing statement that the discussion of the Primates present in Dublin about the differences in their roles in their various provinces was not about theology but how “to work better in the new Anglican Communion.” Just imagine a communion where theology and polity have nothing to do one with another! Bagshaw can do so with no difficulty at all. I can only say, I have a great deal of difficulty!

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Primates, Ecclesiology, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Theology

(VOA) Egypt's Mubarak Vows to Stay Until September

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak said in a national address Thursday evening that he will not step down until a new president is selected in elections scheduled for September. He added that some powers are being transferred to Egypt’s vice president.

Saying a peaceful transfer of power is underway, Mr. Mubarak refused to give in to demands of tens of thousands of anti-government protesters who took to the streets for a 17th straight day to demand his immediate resignation.

Demonstrators in Cairo’s main Tahrir Square jeered and chanted “get out” during the speech. They had earlier danced in expectation that Mubarak would resign.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East

(AP) Connecticut Supreme Court Hears Episcopal Dispute

Lawyers for a Groton parish and the Episcopal Church have clashed before the state Supreme Court over whether the parish can keep its building and land after breaking ties with the national church.

Read it all.

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

(CDN) Nigerian Violence Claims Lives of Christians

Amid sectarian violence by Muslims, Christians and security forces in this capital city of Plateau state, a flash point for ethnic and religious conflict in Nigeria, scores of Christians were estimated to have been killed in the past month.

Christmas Eve bombings by Islamic extremists have touched off tit-for-tat violence that has killed more than 200 people in Plateau state, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). A Jan. 27 report by HRW said the Christmas bombings in Jos left at least 107 dead.

In the predominantly Christian Barkin Ladi Government Area on the outskirts of Jos, Muslim assailants led by a police officer from Abuja on Jan. 27 killed 14 Christians, according to a military spokesman, and the next day Muslim youths stabbed two students at the University of Jos on the assumption that they were Christians.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence