Daily Archives: May 15, 2011

Episcopal Priest and Parishioner Still in a legal Tussle in Michigan

Two months after the Rev. Jay R. Lawlor allegedly shoved an elderly parishioner at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo, both sides are standing their ground.

Marcia Morrison wants Lawlor to be prosecuted for assault; Lawlor wants a trial to prove his innocence. There were no resolution during a status hearing earlier this week, and the case goes to trial today before District Judge Vincent Westra, said Carrie Klein, Kalamazoo County chief assistant prosecutor.

Lawlor, 41, is facing a charge of assault and battery for allegedly shoving Morrison during a confrontation at the church on March 6. Lawlor resigned as pastor three days later.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

More churches signed up to Olympics outreach than ever before

With just over a year left before the Games come to the capital, churches are drawing up their plans for coordinated outreach and engagement during the Games.

David Willson, chief executive of More than Gold, the umbrella group for outreach during the Games, has coordinated church engagement in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and Vancouver.

He said there were more churches and agencies getting behind the London Olympics than with any other Games previously.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sports

Thom Rainer –Where Have All the Churches Gone?

The largest church in the United States is Akron Baptist Temple in Akron, Ohio. Okay, it was the largest church in 1969. I haven’t seen the church on any lists of largest churches for at least two decades.

By the way, the primary metric for measuring church size in 1969 was Sunday school attendance. Today the metric is worship attendance.

A lot of changes in churches take place in just a few years. For many, if not most, American churches, the changes are more negative than positive. Many churches today are shadows of what they were not too many years ago.

Where have all the churches gone?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the necessary Criteria for legimate Military Action

We tangled with this and the question of the killing of Osama Bin Laden in adult Sunday School this morning–KSH

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
– the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

– all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

– there must be serious prospects of success;

– the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.

The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Michael Nazir-Ali's Homily at Trinity School for Ministry

Bishop Michael’s homily focused on the Resurrection narratives (noting his early sighting of a Pittsburgh road sign proclaiming Resurrection Avenue – “you can’t get better than that!”) Calling the post-Resurrection appearances “spine-tingling” and “out of this world, in every sense of that term”, he expressed his puzzlement as to why the Apostle Thomas has had such an unfavorable press, given that he is a model for Christians and Christian community. It is he who acknowledges Jesus with the stunning declaration “My Lord and My God”. From Thomas, members of the Church – and future clergy – should learn to point always to Jesus and our Lord’s encounter with Thomas may be understood in liturgical terms, as both acknowledgment and acclamation.

Bishop Michael decried the tendency of contemporary evangelical revivalism to emphasize the person making the decision to accept Christ, almost to a Pelagian level, when the truth is that such decisions can only be a response to God’s choosing and calling. Everyone will have a different story – as it should be – and the call of today’s graduating class has been tested and matured and will now be evidenced in ministry. Companionship – not just of God but of mentors – will be important on their present journey.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Soteriology, Theology

Deonna Neal on the killing of bin Laden–”˜No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked’

Even if we were justified in using force to kill Osama bin Laden and his death brings a sense of “closure” to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, his death has not broken the cycle of violence. We have already seen that 80 people in Pakistan have been killed as an act of “revenge” for bin Laden’s death. Will someone avenge those 80 deaths, too? And then who will avenge the avengers? Will anyone be marked as Cain so that he may not be killed in revenge?

As has been so often said, the Christian duty to love is not a feeling, but can be understood as an act of fulfilling our responsibilities to God and our neighbor. Augustine believed that taking someone’s life to defend the innocent in order to preserve a “provisional and earthly peace” could be understood as a paradoxical act of love. But he also understood these responsibilities of political authority to be a tragic necessity, borne from the responsibility that comes with trying to preserve a common life in the face of evil.

Those who render this provisional and earthly judgment, Augustine says, do so “with tears,” knowing that the death of one’s fellows can never be something to celebrate. “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live” (Ezek. 33:11).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Terrorism, Theology

Al Mohler–Follow Jesus but Reject Scripture? Yet Another Tragedy, the Presbyterians this Time

[For the PCUSA now]…all references to marriage and chastity are gone, along with the language about refusal to repent of sin. The new language speaks instead of submission to the Lordship of Christ and being guided by Scripture and confessions. In any other context, that language might not seem revolutionary, but in this case, it means the denomination’s surrender to those pushing for the normalization of homosexuality.

Put another way, this church has now decided that “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness” is just too restrictive.

Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) General Assembly, explained the meaning of the change: “Clearly what has changed is that persons in a same-gender relationship can be considered for ordination . . . . The gist of our ordination standards is that officers submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and ordaining bodies (presbyteries for ministers and sessions for elders and deacons) have the responsibility to examine each candidate individually to ensure that all candidates do so with no blanket judgments.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Pray for St. Luke's Church in Abbottabad, Pakistan

St. Luke’s Church, Abbottabad is a treat for the eyes. It is a Gothic Victorian structure, a popular landmark, standing tall, right in the heart of the town; thus, adds grace to the tranquility of the town.

The Garrison city of Abbottabad lies in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. It is a small, but most valuable city in the entire mountainous belt of Harripur, Hazara in the North of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Province under the pastoral and Episcopal care of the Diocese of Peshawar, Church of Pakistan. In addition the famous Silk Route journey starts from Abbottabad, as it is situated on the cross-roads towards all the hill stations/cities in the region, including Kashmir leading to China.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan, Parish Ministry

The WSJ Weekend Interview–Stanley Druckenmiller on the U.S. Budget Deficit Crisis

Mr. [Stanley] Druckenmiller is puzzled that so many financial commentators see the possible failure to raise the debt ceiling as more serious than the possibility that the government will accumulate too much debt. “I’m just flabbergasted that we’re getting all this commentary about catastrophic consequences, including from the chairman of the Federal Reserve, about this situation but none of these guys bothered to write letters or whatever about the real situation which is we’re piling up trillions of dollars of debt.”

He’s particularly puzzled that Mr. [Tim] Geithner and others keep arguing that spending shouldn’t be cut, and yet the White House has ruled out reform of future entitlement liabilities””the one spending category Mr. Druckenmiller says you can cut without any near-term impact on the economy.

One reason Mr. Druckenmiller says he spoke up in 1995 was his recognition that the first baby boomers would turn 65 in 2010, so taxpayers would soon have to start supporting a much larger population of retirees. “Well,” he says today, “the last time I checked, it’s 2011. We don’t have another 16 years this time. We’re there. I don’t know whether the markets give us three years or four years or five years, but we’re there. We’re not going to be having this conversation in 16 years. We’re either going to solve it or we’re going to find ourselves being Greece somewhere down the road.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, from whom every good and perfect gift doth come: Give us grace to consecrate to thy service the talents which thou hast committed to our charge; that we may do all things as in thy sight, and to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. So I have looked upon thee in the sanctuary, beholding thy power and glory. Because thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise thee. So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name.

–Psalm 63: 1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Library of Congress Launches, with Sony Music Content, the National Jukebox

The Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment …[this month] unveiled a new website of over 10,000 rare historic sound recordings available to the public for the first time digitally. The site is called the “National Jukebox” [and it may be found here].

Developed by the Library of Congress, with assets provided by Sony Music Entertainment, the National Jukebox offers free online access to a vast selection of music and spoken-word recordings produced in the U.S. between the years 1901 and 1925.

The website was launched at a Library news conference featuring an appearance by Grammy-winning pianist, singer and actor Harry Connick, Jr. The Columbia recording artist performed the song “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” which is on the site performed by composer Eubie Blake.

Read it all and, yes, check the site out it is incredible.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, History, Music, Science & Technology

Saturday Diversion–Animal pictures of the week: 13 May 2011

Check them out–31 in all.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

2008–Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali: Radical Islam is filling void left by collapse of Christianity in UK

Reread it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Islam, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

The Walrus on the Faith and Ministry of Quebec’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet

The Quebec [Marc] Ouellet returned to was almost unrecognizable. With the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, which he had spent in the relative isolation of the seminary, the Catholic Church no longer controlled the educational system, and church membership had plummeted from 99 percent in the late 1950s to 16 percent by 1990. The pill and abortion were legal, marriage was in decline and divorce on the rise, and the birth rate was low. Like the rest of Canada, Quebec was flooded with immigrants, many of them Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists; it was no longer even remotely a homogeneous society. “We [Catholics] had never fought for our faith, because it was always part of our culture,” says Ouellet, “so at the time we didn’t fight for our faith, and I think we lost our balance. From a religious point of view, Quebec is a disaster.”

As the archbishop of Quebec and the primate of Canada (he was promoted to cardinal in 2003, giving him a vote in the election of the pope), he had the authority to make some changes. “I tried to take public positions, saying the government was very left wing, with a project for marginalizing the Church,” he says. He also challenged what he saw as lax practices within the clergy. One of his first acts after he returned to Quebec was to reverse the practice of communal absolution, common across the province partly because there were not enough priests, in favour of the more traditional individual confession. He hardly did so unilaterally ”” he went out to his dioceses and consulted with the priests ”” but, as Bishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, who was recently appointed to replace Ouellet as archbishop, says, “It’s one thing to consult, another to make a decision,” and feathers were inevitably ruffled. Members of the Quebec priesthood were set in their ways and resistant to change, especially when it came from an outsider. “People saw me as a man from Rome,” Ouellet says, “but really I was a man from Jerusalem.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic