Daily Archives: April 10, 2011

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Orthodox Lenten Meals

BOB ABERNETHY, host: For Eastern Orthodox Christians this is Great Lent, the 40-day period of strict fasting leading up to Easter. The Orthodox are supposed to observe fasts of one kind or another nearly all year; no meat on some days, no dairy or oil on others. Their calendars serve as reminders. The discipline of fasting is supposed to help focus the mind on God and bring the person fasting closer to God. Catherine Mandell of Clearfield, Pennsylvania talked with us about her family’s fasts.

CATHERINE MANDELL: The church generally gives us a calendar to help us track those days that we are to fast and which days we’re allowed not to fast. We have several others fasting periods during the year. If you take all those days together you are fasting for more than half the year….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Lent, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(Christianity Today) Exit Visa: Iraqi Christians Look for Safe Haven

The governments of the Netherlands, Great Britain, and other European countries have refused asylum to many Iraqis, including thousands of individual Christians. But this year, evangelical leaders and human rights groups are pushing to resettle Christian refugees in groups to help them maintain their church identity.

The stream of Christian refugees from Iraq and surrounding countries has increased in recent years, though exact numbers do not exist because refugees are not counted by religious affiliation, said Grégor Puppinck, director of the European Center for Law and Justice, the European arm of the American Center for Law and Justice.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Violence

(SMH) China stops prayers in crackdown on religion

Chinese police detained dozens of members of an underground Protestant church yesterday after the congregation tried to pray in a public plaza in the north of the capital.

The police corralled scores of parishioners into buses and blocked church leaders from leaving their homes. Among those detained was a photographer from The New York Times, who was later released.

Last week the church, Shouwang, was evicted from the space it had been renting after the government pressured the landlord not to renew the lease. The congregation, one of the largest so-called house churches in China, has been seeking legal recognition from the authorities since 2006 without success.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

Bomb Sniffing Puppies Honor 9/11 Victims

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch it all–this one made me cry.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Parish Ministry, Terrorism

Franciscan friar provides food, clothing, other essentials to homeless in Detroit

On most days, Brother Al Mascia pedals his bicycle cart through downtown Detroit handing out much-needed food to homeless people.

Mascia, 56, is lean and lithe, and handles the cart with ease.

The idea of the cart came from the Franciscan friar’s memories of growing up surrounded by street vendors in New York. The food cart fits over the bicycle’s front end.

The cart, purchased from California with the aid of a benefactor, was outfitted with foldable countertops, insulation and a battery for lighting. It holds Thermos bottles of coffee and hot chocolate. Some days, Mascia dispenses muffins and cookies. On really good days, he has hot, homemade breakfast sandwiches donated by churches.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Roman Catholic

(London Times) Scriptures fit for King James

Not that the “new translation”, as it was known, was popular when it came hot off the printing press. The early responses were unenthusiastic, if not furious. One leading Hebrew scholar wrote: “Tell his Majesty that I had rather be rent in pieces by wilde horses, than any such translation, by my consent, bee urged upon our poore churches.” Like all innovations, it took time to cross the English-speaking world, to influence preachers, poets and politicians and to bed into the national psyche. Melvyn Bragg’s The Book of Books is subtitled The Radical Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011 and attempts to chart these widespread effects. Bragg’s skill is in translating lofty subjects into a language that we all understand. As such, his endeavour could be compared with that of the 17th-century translators, whose job it was to produce an acceptable vernacular Bible that could be read by every literate English speaker.

As Bragg explains, the enterprise was originally prompted by James I’s need to throw a bone to the Puritan faction, who at the time of his accession were threatening to become a political problem. Rather than accept their proposed liturgical reforms, he seized upon a relatively minor demand for a new version of the Bible, strategically declaring: “I wish some special pains were taken for an uniform translation, which should be done by the best learned men in both Universities … ”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ENI News) Muslims and Christians in Kenya hijab debate

Muslim leaders in Kenya are calling for government action on Christian schools which have banned students from wearing the hijab, the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim girls and women – writes Frederick Nzwili.

Church leaders have defended the ban, saying head teachers have the right to determine dress code in the schools, according to a denomination’s religious traditions, discipline and philosophies.

“The problem has been with us for some time. In our private schools, we do not encourage or allow hijab. We insist the children have to be children just like the others. These are our laid-down procedures,” Roman Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa told ENInews on 6 April 2011, six days after the Muslim leaders issued the demand in the coastal city.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Education, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Kenya, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

[(London) Sunday Times] Police turn 1,000 Muslims away from terrorism

More than 1,000 Muslims, including teenagers and children as young as seven, have been identified as being “at risk” of becoming Islamist terrorists in Britain, police have revealed.

The youngsters include a boy who told classmates he wanted “to go to Iraq and kill Americans” and another child who wrote in an exercise book: “I want to be a suicide bomber.” A 15-year-old white boy who converted to Islam said he was prepared to die for his religion.

The 1,000 cases were all referred for monitoring under a special “deradicalisation programme” called the “channel project”, set up by police, schools and social workers. Their numbers have increased dramatically in recent months, with 500 reported in the past year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and most merciful God, who hast given thy Son to die for our sins and to obtain eternal redemption for us through his own blood: Let the merit of his spotless sacrifice, we beseech thee, purge our consciences from dead works to serve thee, the living God, that we may receive the promise of eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus our Lord; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end.

–The German Reformed Church

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes; they speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to every one who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.'”

–Jeremiah 23:16-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Irish Times) At the Masters, the kid stays in the picture

At the tender age of just 21, Rory McIlroy stands on the brink of golfing immortality after another nerveless display at the US Masters in Augusta. At 12 under par, McIlroy will take a four shot lead into the final round later today.

Even with Tiger Woods unable to mount the charge he was looking for and defending champion Phil Mickelson remaining in the pack, McIlroy found it tough going for much of the third round.

But then, as the sun went down, the Holywood wonder kid regained control of the season’s opening major in thrilling fashion. After finding the green and two-putting the 13th and 15th, the two par fives on the back nine, McIlroy gave his biggest fist-pump of the week when he rolled in a 25-footer at the 17th.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ireland, Sports, Young Adults

Anglican Diocese of Newcastle Parish Headed for Reprieve or Destruction?

Sandwiched between vast coal pits and the roar of highway traffic, the atmosphere at the historic St Clement’s Anglican Church is surprisingly tranquil.

Old trees shade headstones that tell the story of the rise and fall of the once thriving hamlet of Camberwell, north of Singleton on the New England Highway, and many in the Upper Hunter community have strong ties to the grand Georgian-style church.

But its days are numbered, with the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle planning to demolish what is one of the oldest churches in NSW, despite a sustained fight by locals for the past two years.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry

(BBC) Mid-East unrest: Is al-Qaeda still relevant?

As uprisings challenge the old order in the Middle East and North Africa, one organisation which for many years claimed it was at the vanguard of toppling authoritarian regimes has so far played almost no part. So is al-Qaeda still relevant? Do the uprisings represent a threat or an opportunity to its role?

In the short term, al-Qaeda has proved slow to respond and is struggling to make any impact, its ideology of violence undermined, experts believe.

But out of the current chaos and instability in the region, they warn, it could still be able to find new opportunities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Middle East, Politics in General, Terrorism

At California Mental Hospitals, Fear Is Part Of The Job

At a recent demonstration held by Napa employees demanding better safety measures, finding people who had been attacked by patients wasn’t difficult.

There’s Chris Cullen, a psychiatric technician who says he was punched in the face; and Zach Hatton, a recreation therapist who recounted two injuries. “I was punched in the face about a year and a half ago,” Hatton says, “and then my wrist was twisted up pretty badly and just has never healed.”

Dr. Richard Frishman, a psychiatrist, was attacked while interviewing a new patient. “He came flying across the table, fists flying,” Frishman says. “He was able to hurl me against the wall where I struck my head and fractured my wrist.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Mental Illness, Politics in General, Psychology, State Government, Violence

In a Survey of Bosses, Good News for Job Seekers

American companies say they plan to hire. If they do as they say, the unemployment picture will brighten considerably.

In a quarterly survey of chief executives, the Business Roundtable found that 52 percent of companies planned to hire workers in the United States over the next six months, while just 11 percent said they expected to reduce employment.

Never before have so many chief executives said they planned to hire, or so few said they planned to cut payrolls. The survey has been taken every three months since late 2002.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--