Daily Archives: May 4, 2011

David Bentley Hart–John Paul II Against the Nihilists

…this brings me back to John Paul II’s theology of the body. The difference between John Paul’s theological anthropology and the pitilessly consistent materialism of the transhumanists and their kith – and this is extremely important to grasp – is a difference not simply between two radically antagonistic visions of what it is to be a human being, but between two radically antagonistic visions of what it is to be a god.

There is, as it happens, nothing inherently wicked in the desire to become a god, at least not from the perspective of Christian tradition; and I would even say that if there is one element of the transhumanist creed that is not wholly contemptible – one isolated moment of innocence, however fleeting and imperfect – it is the earnestness with which it gives expression to this perfectly natural longing.

Theologically speaking, the proper destiny of human beings is to be “glorified” – or “divinized” – in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, to become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), to be called “gods” (Psalm 82:6; John 10:34-36).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Apologetics, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

For 9/11 generation, a turning point

The events of 9/11 and the subsequent decade ”” including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, worldwide terror alerts, increased security at airports ”” have affected everything from dreams to fears of those who were under 18 in 2001. In many ways, analysts say, it’s sculpted a more politically aware and socially active generation.

“You’ve heard how baby ducks imprint on whoever raises them? Social scientists believe there’s an imprinting effect on young people when they get closer to the age to get involved politically, sometime prior to 18,” says Thomas Sander, who studies civic engagement at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. “So the hypothesis was that 9/11 was kind of an imprinting moment where young people realized their fates were much more interconnected then we’d been led to believe … and that international affairs are much more consequential than they were for their parents.”

Bin Laden “became a symbol for my generation. … He symbolized loss and grief and hatred, and that’s how many of us defined this era,” says Eric Dinenberg, 28, a business school student from Paramus, N.J., who was a freshman at George Washington University in September 2001.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Terrorism, Young Adults

Church of England Cathedrals Headline Mission Statistics for 2010

Attendance levels at regular weekly services in Church of England cathedrals have increased significantly more this year, by 7%. Since the turn of the millennium, they have steadily grown by a total of 37%, which is about 4% on average each year. At Sunday services alone 15,800 adults and 3,100 children and young people are usually present while over the whole week the figures rise (by 73%) to 27,400 and 7,600 respectively. Westminster Abbey adds, on average, 1,800 people each week to these number

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

Richard Hooker's A Learned Discourse on Justification

You can find the whole thing online here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Bishop of Norwich on the Death of Osama bin Laden

Go here then click on the “Latest programme in full” link to launch the audio player. It starts at about 1:49 in, and lasts about 2 minutes. Bishop James references Augustine, the challenge of understanding evil, and the Easter season.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, Theodicy, Theology

Rowan Williams–”˜Cloven Tongues’: Theology and the Translation of the Scriptures

God’s meanings in revelation are clear, but they are also fluid in their boundaries: there is a normative story to be told, one which, for the 1611 translators is focused upon the sovereignty of grace and the consequent impotence of human mediation between God and the world. Everything has to be read against the backdrop which alone makes sense of Scripture as a whole ”“ the unique divinity of Christ and the gift of absolving and transforming grace to all who repudiate trust in their own works. The translators were not all in precisely the same place in the complex map of internal Protestant controversy in the early seventeenth century, but all would have subscribed to this overall view. This being said, however, the exact way in which the words of Scripture are seen and read as transparent to these mysteries will not be settled once and for all by this or that particular bit of human hermeneutical enterprise. Thus, knowing what is going on in the work of translation is a stimulus to recognising the ”˜common imbecility’ of which Hooker speaks and so to deeper involvement in the common life of the congregation. The qualified indeterminacy of Scripture, manifest in the sheer fact of the translatability of Scripture and the diverse possibilities of saying what it says, becomes an ecclesiological matter: it brings into focus the biblical vision of mutual edification within the Body of Christ. And insofar as it thus becomes part of the opening up of the believer to the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, we can see that the Christological hints which we noted in Smith’s preface are indeed not simply about removing obstacles to a clear and straightforward message but connected with the strengthening of the common life in which alone revelation is rightly received.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Magazine) The University Has No Clothes

As long as there have been colleges, there’s been an individualist, anti-college strain in American culture””an affinity for the bootstrap. But it is hard to think of a time when skepticism of the value of higher education has been more prominent than it is right now. Over the past several months, the same sharp and distressing arguments have been popping up in the Times, cable news, the blogosphere, even The Chronicle of Higher Education. The cost of college, as these arguments typically go, has grown far too high, the return far too uncertain, the education far too lax. The specter, it seems, has materialized….

[Indeed]…the skepticism is spreading, even among foot soldiers on the academic front lines. In March, “Professor X,” an anonymous English instructor at two middling northeastern colleges, published In the Basement of the Ivory Tower, an expansion of an Atlantic essay arguing that college has been dangerously oversold and that it borders on immoral to ask America’s youth to incur heavy debt for an education for which millions are simply ill-equipped. Professor X’s book came out on the heels of a Harvard Graduate School of Education report that made much the same point. The old policy cri de coeur “college for all,” the report argues, has proved inadequate; rather than shunting everyone into four-year colleges, we should place greater emphasis on vocational programs, internships, and workplace learning. Then, last month, a front-page article in the Times delivered striking news: Student-loan debt in the U.S. is approaching the trillion-dollar mark, outpacing credit-card debt for the first time in history. With all that debt, more and more are asking, what are we buying?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Education, Personal Finance, Young Adults

Archbishop of York urges English to be more patriotic and celebrate St George's Day

The Archbishop of York.. urged the English to embrace patriotism, as a calendar anomaly allowed the Church of England a rare opportunity to celebrate St George’s Day on a Bank Holiday.

Dr John Sentamu, who has campaigned for the English patron saint’s day to be made a public holiday, said people should mark the occasion with patriotic songs and real ale.

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

Christopher Tollefsen on bin Laden's Demise– A Man Who Used Any Means Necessary

[Osama] bin Laden was for some time largely neutralized as an operative force for terror, yet he has symbolically represented much worse than the damage he personally has been able to cause: namely, a willingness to put aside all moral norms of justice, charity, honesty, and decency in service of a cause he deeply believed in.

There are two victories, then, in this mission: one over bin Laden as a threat to our safety and security, and one over bin Laden as the face of moral fanaticism. This second victory can only be sustained, however, if we refuse the temptation of joining bin Laden by being willing to do anything in service of our ends. Our success, significant though it is, cannot become for us the measure against which all that has been done these past ten years is to be measured.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, Theology

Stephen Cavanaugh's New Book "Anglicans And The Roman Catholic Church"

The beginning of a specifically Anglican liturgy and culture within the Roman Catholic Church was established in the United Sates by Pope John Paul II. Since then, Anglican Use parishes have been worshipping in a distinctively Anglican style within several American dioceses. Thanks to Pope Benedict XVI, these communities are now able to form into personal ordinariates led by bishops who were previously Anglican clergy. As a result, even more Anglicans seeking full communion with Rome can find a home within the Catholic Church.

The twelve essays in this book discuss the reasons Anglicans have sought reconciliation with the Holy See, while retaining elements of their own liturgy and traditions.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

China Swings to the Defense of Pakistan

China on Tuesday stood by its ally Pakistan amid growing questions in the U.S. about whether the country was complicit in harboring Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader killed in a sprawling mansion in a garrison city close to Islamabad.

Meanwhile, an outpouring of discussion on the Chinese Internet revealed mixed views of bin Laden. Many users said the world was safer following his killing while others””including some prominent social and political commentators””expressed sympathy, and even respect, for the mastermind of the World Trade Center attacks.

After hailing bin Laden’s death as a “positive development in the international struggle against terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday swung to the defense of Pakistan.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Terrorism

Local Paper Editorial–New start from Osama's end

Osama bin Laden’s death is, at the very least, a major psychological victory in the war on terror this nation has been waging for nearly a decade since 9/11. It is potentially a turning point in America’s difficult relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is also the result of impressive intelligence and military teamwork — and the willingness of President Barack Obama to take the risk that the mission might fail.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Terrorism

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Monnica

O Lord, who through spiritual discipline didst strengthen thy servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we beseech thee, and use us in accordance with thy will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Risen Christ, who has said, Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed: Mercifully grant that this benediction may be ours; so that, walking by faith and not by sight, we may evermore rejoice in thee, and confess thee as our Saviour, our Lord, and our God.

–Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel said: “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever. to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and mysterious things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for thou hast given me wisdom and strength, and hast now made known to me what we asked of thee, for thou hast made known to us the king’s matter.”

–Daniel 2:19-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Canadian shake-up: Conservatives win but opposition makes head-turning gains

Canadians woke up to a strikingly changed political landscape today, largely because of one national politician’s charisma and another’s lack of it.

National elections yesterday produced Canada’s first majority government in seven years. At the same time, it all but wiped out Canada’s traditional ruling party, the centrist Liberal Party, and propelled the historically marginal socialists to the important role of official opposition. Observers are already talking about the permanent demise of the Liberals, which has governed the country for most of the past century.

“This is a huge defeat. It’s almost as if the Democrats were elected in only three States, and it changes the map of Canadian federal politics,” said political scientist Stephen Clarkson.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Politics in General

CIA Chief Breaks Silence: Pakistan Would Have Jeopardized bin Laden Raid, Great Intel Captured

In his first interview since commanding the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, CIA chief Leon Panetta tells TIME that U.S. officials feared that Pakistan could have undermined the operation by leaking word to its targets. Long before Panetta ordered Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of the Joint Special Forces Command, to undertake the mission at 1:22 p.m. on Friday, the CIA had been gaming out how to structure the raid. Months prior, the U.S. had considered expanding the assault to include coordination with other countries, notably Pakistan. But the CIA ruled out participating with its nominal South Asian ally early on because “it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets,” Panetta says.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Terrorism

(ENS) Episcopalians contemplate implications of Osama bin Laden's death

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Terrorism

Adrian Pabst–The Pope's Jesus: Divine Gift, New Politics

God – not natural science or human artifice – is the ultimate source of meaning, the origin and end of the new kingship that is revealed in Jesus’ ministry. That is why Christian prayers speak of Christ as God and King – new sovereign and eternal high priest.

Thus, Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week broadens and deepens his meditation on the “figure and message of Jesus” begun in the first volume. In the second volume, he develops a new, theological hermeneutic that blends a faith-hermeneutic “appropriate to the text … with a historical hermeneutic, aware of its limits, so as to form a methodological whole.”

As such, the pope provides an extraordinarily rich and deeply philosophical exegesis that outflanks the old, narrow divide between liberals and conservatives.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Christology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

(ENI) Cautious, somber reactions to Bin Laden's death from religious leaders

Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders greeted the news of the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden with varying degrees of relief, regret and caution.

Considered the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. that killed nearly 3,000 people, bin Laden was killed by United States forces in Pakistan, U.S. President Barack Obama announced on May 1.

Some Muslim groups welcomed the news, with several stressing that bin Laden did not represent the values of Islam. “We hope his death will bring some relief to all the families of every faith and walk of life who lost loved ones on 9/11 and in every other terrorist attack orchestrated at the hands of Osama bin Laden,” the Islamic Society of North America said in a news release.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Islam, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

An Anglican Journal article on the recent Anglican-Lutheran Celebration

On May 1, four groundbreaking churches celebrated 10 years of full communion in joint celebrations on the U.S.-Canadian border. The four are the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Two parishes, St. Paul’s Anglican in Fort Erie, Ont., and Holy Trinity Lutheran in Buffalo, N.Y., held simultaneous services at 3 p.m. to honour the call to a common mission first made in the Waterloo Declaration of 2001.

And the celebrations did not go unnoticed in the international church community. “The eyes of the world were on this service,” said the Rev. Donald McCoid, a member of the executive for ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations. At the close of ceremonies in Buffalo, he read out congratulatory statements from the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation and the general secretary of the World Council of Churches , who commended the two denominations on their decade of working together in unity and Christian mission. “Years later, your churches have much to celebrate””shared ministries between Anglican, Episcopal and Lutheran parishes in Canada and the United States,” wrote the Rev. Martin Junge, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. Of the courageous decisions that set this cooperation in motion, he said, “These were truly acts of faith.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches