Daily Archives: May 9, 2011

How Rembrandt Reinvented Jesus

Did Christ really have awesome abs? Western art has frequently stumbled over the contradiction between the ascetic figure of Jesus of Nazareth and the iconography of Christ inspired by the heroic, Hellenistic ideal: Christ as beautiful, tall and broad-shouldered, God’s wide receiver; blue-eyed, fair-haired, a straight aquiline nose, Christ as European prince.

Rembrandt van Rijn, in a career rich with artistic innovation, begged to differ. A new exhibition at Paris’s Louvre museum””and coming to Philadelphia and Detroit later this year””shows in dozens of oils, charcoal sketches and oak-panel studies how the 17th-century Dutch painter virtually reinvented the depiction of Jesus and arrived at a more realistic portrait.

As “Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus” shows, before Rembrandt painters tended to reiterate the conventional imagery of Christ. Catalog authors Larry Silver, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Shelley Perlove, of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, call this “the predictable majesty” of the subject.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Art, Europe, France, History, Religion & Culture, The Netherlands

Church of England: ”˜Customise your church services’ encourages long-awaited simple guide

Priests and others preparing Church of England worship are being encouraged to customise services to congregations’ local needs, in a long-awaited book launched on Tuesday, May 10th by Church House Publishing: Finding Your Way Around Common Worship – a Simple Guide.

The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who contributed a foreword, said: “This book will answer all the questions about Common Worship that you were afraid to ask or didn’t even know you needed to ask. I hope that it will soon appear on the desk of everyone who is given the sacred responsibility of preparing forms of worship.

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

New Provincial Episcopal Visitors announced in the Church of England

Downing Street has…announced the appointment of the Reverend Jonathan Baker as Bishop of Ebbsfleet and the Reverend Norman Banks as the Bishop of Richborough, both of whom will be consecrated at a service at Southwark Cathedral on 16th June.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(CNS) Tweets at St. Pete's: What happens when bloggers and the Vatican meet

Some things just can’t be done online. Like shake the hand of a blogging Benedictine nun (aka @Digitalnun on Twitter) and get her advice on how to create a profitable app with no start-up money.

Or drink prosecco, nibble on focaccia and discover while chatting with a scientist who blogs about biology and religion that he is a Protestant married to a Muslim and couldn’t believe he was invited to a Vatican event.

At a landmark “Blog Meet,” the pontifical councils for culture and for social communications brought together 150 bloggers — in the flesh — from all parts of the world May 2 to get a sense of their hopes and concerns. Once again, the church insisted the virtual world should only be a tool, not a substitute for, real human contact, even when the meeting underlines the extraordinary powers of new media.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(WSJ) Irshad Manji–Bin Laden's followers interpret Islam, Why don't more Muslims challenge them?

President Barack Obama should be applauded for his risky””and lonely””decision to take out Osama bin Laden. But in announcing bin Laden’s demise, the president fudged a vital fact. Echoing George W. Bush, he insisted that al Qaeda’s icon “was not a Muslim leader.”

But this is untrue. Bin Laden and his followers represent a real interpretation of Islam that begs to be challenged relentlessly and visibly. Why does this happen so rarely?

“Moderate” Muslims are part of the problem. As Martin Luther King Jr. taught many white Americans, in times of moral crisis, moderation cements the status quo. Today, what Islam needs is not more “moderates” but more self-conscious “reformists.” It is reformists who will bring to my faith the debate, dissent and reinterpretation that have carried Judaism and Christianity into the modern world.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(WSJ Front Page) Home Market Takes a Tumble

Home values posted the largest decline in the first quarter since late 2008, prompting many economists to push back their estimates of when the housing market will hit a bottom.

Home values fell 3% in the first quarter from the previous quarter and 1.1% in March from the previous month, pushed down by an abundance of foreclosed homes on the market, according to data to be released Monday by real-estate website Zillow.com. Prices have now fallen for 57 consecutive months, according to Zillow.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(BBC) Pakistan to assess Bin Laden raid

Pakistani PM Yusuf Raza Gilani is to make a statement in parliament about the US special forces raid which led to the death of Osama Bin Laden last week.

The address comes amid questions about how the al-Qaeda leader was able to live apparently undetected in the town of Abbottabad near the capital.

On Sunday, US President Barack Obama called on Pakistan to investigate the network that sustained Bin Laden.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Terrorism

Fran Wilson–A mother remembers the son who gave his life to get the bin Laden mission done

My son, Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson, was killed in Afghanistan just over a year ago.So the death of Osama bin Laden is personal and bittersweet.Just knowing that he cannot hurt another soul brings me peace, but at the same time, I can’t help being sad that so many good people had to die to rid the world of this monster.

It doesn’t bring my son back, but it is a landmark event in the battle against terrorism to which he committed his life and for which he gave his life. Justin believed we were winning this war, but the progress he saw was harder to see across the distance of an ocean.The death of bin Laden is progress that the entire world recognizes.

Osama bin Laden played a role in shaping Justin’s patriotism.He was 15 on Sept. 11, 2001, and we lived on Long Island, N.Y., then. The events of Sept. 11 inspired Justin’s commitment to serve his country. He was part of the post-9/11 generation who believed that they could serve their country best by joining the military and defending the nation against foreign terrorists.Some, like Justin, have made the ultimate commitment, risking and losing their lives in the battle to defeat terrorism.I have heard from some of Justin’s fellow Marines and their families this week.Like me, they feel that bin Laden’s death reminds the world that their dedication and sacrifice in this long fight against terrorism is worthwhile.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, War in Afghanistan, Women

(Washington Post) Teens click past privacy concerns

At an age when his parents won’t let him go to the mall alone and in an era when he would never open up to a stranger, [Scott] Fitzsimones, who lives in Phoenix, already has a growing dossier accumulating on the Web. And while Congress has passed laws to protect the youngest of Internet users from sharing much information about themselves, once those children become teens, the same privacy rules no longer apply.

“It’s the Wild West for teens when it comes to privacy online,” said Kathryn Montgomery, a privacy advocate and communications professor at American University.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Gregory of Nazianzus

Almighty God, who hast revealed to thy Church thine eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like thy bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of thee, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who art worshipped by the heavenly host with hymns that are never silent and thanksgivings that never cease: Fill our mouths with thy praise that we may worthily magnify thy holy name for all the wonderful blessings of thy love, and chiefly in this season day for the resurrection of thy Son; and grant us, with all those that fear thee and keep thy commandments, to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost may praise from all the world be given, now and for evermore.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.

—Psalm 25:4-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Thabo Makgoba–"Climate Change issue is Moral Imperative for All"

(ACNS) The Archbishop, who is a participant at the World Economic Forum in Africa, has written to his faithful that the issue of climatic change must be regarded as a moral imperative for all and hopes that others at WEF will take heed of his call. His full statement follows:

In one sense, I imagine I might be ”˜preaching to the choir’ about climate change, as we sometimes say in the church. But even if we agree on its reality and the dangers which it poses for our planet and our people, we need to make our witness bolder and take more courageous steps to bring others to our state of awareness and to work for real change.

We in the faith communities know that climate change will be hugely damaging to both people and our planet. We know too that it is not only an environmental, economic and social issue but essentially a moral issue. It must therefore be solved through moral principles….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

(Forbes) Jerry Bowyer–The Seminary Bubble

Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school. Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no resemblance to the job in question, and that the pay for graduates is far lower than other professions. You have just imagined the relationship between the Christian Church and her seminaries.

Mainline churches are nearly universal in their requirement that their Priests/Pastors/Ministers/Reverends be seminary graduates, and since seminary is a graduate school, this means the students must first be successful undergraduates. So take all of the arguments about a college bubble and add at least three years of tuition cost and forgone income.

But you’re not quite done: My friend Father Jay Geisler counsels seminary students. He tells me that in his experience roughly half of matriculated students do not graduate within three years. In addition, he tells me that the living costs tend to be higher for seminary students than for undergrads because undergrads are almost never married with children, but seminary students often are. As such, dorm room type accommodations for grads will not do….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer for Mother's Day

Heavenly Father and gracious Lord, we thank thee for our mothers and all that they do for us. Help us to repay their love by being kind and cheerful in our homes, helping our mothers and the other members of our families; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

(WSJ) Manchester United's Fantastic Four

Manchester United defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday, virtually clinching the Premier League title. United would have to lose its last two games, with Chelsea winning its final two””a combined scenario which is extremely improbable. It would be United’s 19th championship, putting the club one ahead of Liverpool as the most-successful domestic side in the English game.

…it was somehow fitting that the four men responsible for United’s goals were those who proved crucial to the club this season. Park’s playing time had been limited through injury and participation in the Asian Cup””he was out from late December to early April””but it was the hard-running Korean who scored the winner against Arsenal at Old Trafford, sending United to the top of the table. Vidic, the rugged defensive colossus, played more Premier League minutes than anyone else and gave an injury-plagued back four some much-needed stability. Hernandez, the newly arrived Mexican striker, went from project to super-sub to stalwart, chipping in 13 league goals””many of them late, many of them decisive.

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

(CNS) New Mass translation is ecumenically harmful, Anglican says

Because the Roman Catholic Church was a driving force behind the development of a common English translation of basic prayers used by many Christian churches for 40 years, more recent Vatican rules for translating Mass prayers “came as a bombshell,” said an Anglican liturgist.

“I do not contest for a moment the prerogative of churches to change their liturgical texts,” said the Rev. David Holeton, a professor at Charles University in Prague.

But he said other Christians were “both stunned and dismayed” when the Vatican abandoned the English texts of prayers Catholics had developed with them since the Second Vatican Council and when the Vatican discouraged Catholics from consulting ecumenically on the new translations.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Syria Broadens Deadly Military Crackdown on Protesters

A military crackdown on Syria’s seven-week uprising broadened Sunday, with reinforcements sent to two cities under siege and more forces deployed in a town in a restive region in the south of the country, activists and human rights groups said. Fourteen were killed in Homs, the groups said, and hundreds reported arrested.

The crackdown ”” from the Mediterranean coast to the poor steppe of southern Syria ”” seemed to mark a decisive turn in an uprising that has posed the gravest challenge to the 11-year rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Even though government officials have continued to hint at reforms, and even gingerly reached out to some dissidents last week, the crackdown seemed to signal the government’s intent to end the uprising by force.

At least 30 tanks were said to be inside Baniyas, one of Syria’s most restive locales, where the military entered Saturday. Activists and human rights groups said they had almost no information about the coastal town of 50,000, but one activist said at least six people were killed and 250 arrested since the operation began.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria