Daily Archives: April 9, 2011

Loopy and Profound, Show Tells the Drama of Missionaries’ Work

For all of its lewd jokes and potty-mouth banter, “The Book of Mormon” commingles the profane and the sacred, dramatizing the culture shock, the physical danger and the theological doubts that infuse what one might call the missionary narrative. That narrative has been lived out for centuries by Western missionaries in a range of denominations, and it has been expressed in recent decades in a spectrum of art and literature.

“The Book of Mormon” forms part ”” admittedly a loopy and idiosyncratic part ”” of that corpus of work. Both the musical’s respect for faith-based idealism and its criticism of fundamentalist certitude have informed such films as Roland Joffé’s “The Mission” and Bruce Beresford’s “Black Robe,” novels including “The Call” by John Hersey and “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, as well as nonfiction accounts like “The Rebbe’s Army” by Sue Fishkoff, which is not even about Christians but the Hasidic Chabad movement’s emissaries to wayward, far-flung Jews.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Missions, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(NPR) For Dying People, A Chance To Shape Their Legacy

Experts say honoring someone’s life and legacy has always been part of the hospice philosophy. There are 25 volunteers with the Lumina program, and most are not trained medical personnel. Instead, they’re storytellers who learn how to interview dying people so they can help them leave tangible statements of values and legacy ”” books, CDs, photo albums, letters.

Volunteer Susan Kissinger says it’s difficult and emotional work. She helped a middle-aged ALS patient write a series of letters to his wife and kids before he died. But Kissinger says it’s a gift to be let into hospice patients’ lives.

“There will be times when the emotion will rise up,” Kissinger says. “And I guess that’s just a gift I have to offer: I can just be present here and accept the gift without being overwhelmed.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

Stuff Piled in the Aisle? It’s There to Get You to Spend More

Americans like stuff.

That’s a given. But it turns out that lots and lots of stuff piled onto shelves or stacked in the middle of store aisles can coax a shopper to buy more.

After the recessionary years of shedding inventory and clearing store lanes for a cleaner, appealing look, retailers are reversing course and redesigning their spaces to add clutter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology

Matt Ridley–Connecting the Pieces of the Alzheimer's Puzzle

…we can begin to tell a coherent story. Stress and inflammation produce derivatives of cortisol and cholesterol, which trigger misfolding in A-beta proteins. This, in turn, overwhelms the cells’ quality-assurance mechanism and results in growing numbers of insoluble proteins, which aggregate in plaques and tangles. And this blocks the transport of vital ingredients around brain cells, which causes the cells to die.

Somewhere along this chain, there is a link, we must hope, that can be attacked by medication””to prevent inflammation, discourage ozone reactions, encourage the refolding apparatus, improve protein solubility or boost the plaque-removal mechanism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

109-Year-Old Woman Throws Out The First Pitch

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Christianity.com: An Evening with Bonhoeffer Biographer Eric Metaxas

Christianity.com:An Evening with Eric Metaxas from ChristianityDotCom on Vimeo.

Watch it all (and careful blog followers may note where it took place)–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Church History, Europe, Germany

Notable and Quotable (IV)

In the spring of 1933, Bonhoeffer was declaring it the duty of the church to stand up for the Jews. This would have seemed radical to even staunch allies, especially since the Jews had not begun to suffer the horrors they would suffer in a few years. Bonhoeffer’s three conclusions””that the church must question the state, help the state’s victims, and work against the state, if necessary””were too much for almost everyone. But for him they were inescapable. In time, he would do all three.

Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy ( Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010), p.155

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Germany

Notable and Quotable (III)

This is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His son: ‘ye were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Germany, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Notable and Quotable (II)

Precisely because of our attitude to the state, the conversation here must be completely honest, for the sake of Jesus Christ and the ecumenical cause. We must make it clear””fearful as it is””that the time is very near when we shall have to decide between National Socialism and Christianity. It may be fearfully hard and difficult for us all, but we must get right to the root of things, with open Christian speaking and no diplomacy. And in prayer together we will find the way. I feel that a resolution ought to be framed””all evasion is useless. And if the World Alliance in Germany is then dissolved””well and good, at least we will have borne witness that we were at fault. Better that than to go on vegetating in this untruthful way. Only complete truth and truthfulness will help us now.

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer as quoted in No Rusty Swords, my emphasis

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Germany

Notable and Quotable (I)

Bonheoffer’s life and death belong to the annals of Christian martyrdom”¦his life and death have given us great hope for the future. He has set a model for a new type of true leadership inspired by the gospel, daily ready for martyrdom and imbued by a new spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty. The victory which he has won for us all, a conquest never to be undone, of love, light and liberty.

–Gerhard Leibholz (1901-1982), Bonhoeffer’s brother in law

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Germany

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Gracious God, the Beyond in the midst of our life, who gavest grace to thy servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer to know and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, and to bear the cost of following him: Grant that we, strengthened by his teaching and example, may receive thy word and embrace its call with an undivided heart; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who by the lowliness of thy Son hast raised a fallen world: Grant to thy faithful people perpetual gladness; and as thou hast delivered them from eternal death, so do thou make them partakers of everlasting joys; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race. They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.

–Romans 9:1-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Primate of Brazil on the school shooting: "This is a moment of sorrow and pain"

With great sadness we have been witnessing a day of tragedy in a school environment, at Tasso da Silveira elementary school, in Rio de Janeiro.

It is time for us to discuss our security system, especially the security in our public schools. It was a beautiful day, which looked like a normal day, just one more day of school for so many young students of Tasso da Silveira elementary, in Rio de Janeiro.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican Provinces, Brazil, Education, South America, Violence

(Church Times) Ordinariate Parishes and C of E parishes may share facilities, but not yet

The Archbishop of Canterbury said this week that there was “no for-ever-and-a-day prohibition” on Anglican and Ordinariate congregations’ shar­ing buildings, but “pastoral sen­sitivities” meant that it was too early to happen yet.

Speaking after the fourth bilateral meeting of Anglican and Roman Ca­tholic diocesan bishops, which was held at St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark, on Monday, Dr Williams said: “I don’t think there’s any objection in principle [to sharing buildings], but if you have a congregation that’s just divided, it’s not ideal that they’re sharing the same church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

(Living Church) Bishop Geoffrey Rowell: Belonging Together

All ecclesiology is about our belonging together, and our belonging together in Christ. The great images of the Church in the New Testament ”” the people of God, the vine and the branches, the living temple, the Body of Christ ”” all point in their different ways to the fact that to share in the redeemed life of the new creation is not something anyone of us can do alone, either as an individual or as a group or province. To be in Christ is to be bound together in mutual responsibility and interdependence.

That mutual responsibility and interdependence is expressed through the structures of the Church which flow from our common baptism and our common participation in the Eucharist. We belong to each other and what one does affects all. The four marks or notes of the Church ”” unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity ”” are all outworkings of this “belonging together.” They are expressions of the “belonging togetherness” ”” the communion, the fellowship, the koinonia, of the Holy Spirit, or, to use an image from today’s world, the internet of the Holy Spirit. In a divided Church seeking unity we have learned to be sensitive to how we tell our history, and how we can go back behind statements and understandings coming from past battles and entrenched positions, to learn what we share in common. The ecumenical dialogues have produced remarkable convergences and agreements in the statements of the ARCIC dialogues and the recent report of the Anglican-Orthodox dialogue, The Church of the Triune God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Europe, Theology