Daily Archives: May 22, 2011

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Builders of Hope

BOB FAW, correspondent: Question: What do this longtime alcoholic, this up and coming project manager, this receptionist who was homeless, and Noah Haynes, who just turned one, have in common? Answer: The chance at a better life because of this former corporate high-flyer and mother of four.

NANCY MURRAY (Builders of Hope): We’re building houses. We’re rescuing houses that are slated for demolition, rebuilding them and making them available and affordable to families who otherwise would be living in pretty substandard conditions….

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Terry Mattingly–Bible debates after bin Laden's death

….66 percent of white evangelical Protestants said that “do not rejoice when your enemy falls” applied to bin Laden — compared to 53 percent of those from liberal “mainline” Protestant denominations. At the same time, 70 percent of those polled from “minority” churches — mostly African-American evangelicals and charismatic Latinos — said it was improper to celebrate in these circumstances.

Believers from the biblically conservative flocks were, however, more likely to believe God played a direct role in bin Laden’s defeat, with 54 percent of white evangelicals and 51 percent of minority Christians taking that stance.

“It’s a careful line that they are drawing, but that line is quite clear” in the survey results, said Robert P. Jones, chief executive officer at the Public Religion Research Institute.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pakistan, Terrorism, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The End is Near? The False Teaching of Harold Camping

Given the public controversy, many people are wondering how Christians should think about his claims.

First, Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge….[Also] Christians are indeed to be looking for Christ to return and seeking to be found faithful when Christ comes. We are not to draw a line in history and set a date, but we are to be about the Father’s business, sharing the Gospel and living faithful Christian lives. We are not to sit on rooftops like the Millerites, waiting for Christ’s return. We are to be busy doing what Christ has commanded us to do.

In Hebrews 9:28, we are taught that Christ will come a second time “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” That is the faithful Christian response to the New Testament teachings about Christ’s coming.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Eschatology, Religion & Culture, Theology

David Yeago's 2007 Seminary Commencement Address

In your time at the Seminary, you have doubtless learned many things, but I hope above all that you have had occasion for perception. I hope this, but I also expect that it’s true: that in some class, or in some conversation, or at some chapel service ”“ when you were studying the lives and words of Christians of the past, or exegeting Holy Scripture, or learning about the practice of ministry, or even wading through theology assignments ”“ at some point, the sun peeked through the clouds, the world lit up in a strange way, and it dawned on you that Jesus is not… not ordinary.

My first word of counsel, then, is simply this: remember that you saw that. Don’t try to recapture the feeling: that’s totally unimportant. Even if you can’t remember just exactly what you saw, even if you’ve not quite mastered the theological language needed to describe what you saw ”“ remember that you saw it. Remember that it once dawned on you that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is more than you can handle, that we have no methodological nets or ecclesiastical boats that can hold all that he is and all that he means. Remember that you saw that, once ”“ and don’t settle for a smaller Jesus.

We live among all kinds of pressures to scale Jesus down, to shoehorn him into categories familiar and easy to us. We are glad to have him tell us things we already know: that God is accepting, that we should remember those in need, that the Church should be compassionate and caring. We don’t mind him motivating us to do the things we already know we should be doing. We are delighted to make him into a symbol of our highest aspirations and our best ideals. But some time or other, I’d be willing to bet, here or elsewhere, in class or at worship, it has dawned on you that Jesus is more than any of that. Whether that perception was weak or strong, articulate or inarticulate, remember that you saw that, and don’t settle.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Christology, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Nigerian Election violence: 84 churches burnt -Anglican synod

The synod said the 84 churches were burnt in riots that took place in Kaduna, Niger Adamawa Bauchi and Kano states, but did not give a breakdown of the churches burnt in each state.

A communiqué issued after the third session of the Seventh Synod of the Diocese of Minna Anglican Communion held at St James Anglican Church, Suleja Niger State also bemoaned the death of a number of members of the National Youth Service Corps taking part in their national service during the crises.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

Multi-faith cathedral unlikely, says New Zealand Dean

A multi-faith rebuild of the quake-shattered ChristChurch Cathedral is unlikely, says Anglican dean, Peter Beck.

“It’s a holy place, a sacred space for people of all faiths, [but] at the heart of it, it is a Christian church. It’s the Anglicans’ cathedral.

“The Anglican Church was part of the foundation of this city and has been a living part of its growth and heritage for all these years and we have no intention of doing anything other than continuing to contribute to the life and spirit of our city.”

He said Christchurch was a multi-faith society, and the Anglican Church would work with other religions “in all sorts of ways ”“ but the cathedral will continue to be the cathedral”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

North Sudan army takes control of border town Abyei

South Sudan is due to become independent in July, but Abyei is still claimed by both sides.

The northern Sudanese Army says it has taken control of Abyei, a contested area on the border with South Sudan.

Sudanese state television, based in Khartoum, said northern troops had “repelled enemy forces” in Abyei town. UN officials confirmed the development.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Other Churches, Sudan, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, we most humbly beseech thee to give us grace not only to be hearers of the Word, but also doers of the same; not only to love, but also to live thy gospel; not only to profess, but also to practise thy blessed commandments, unto the honour of thy holy name.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

–2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Notable and Quotable

To be surrounded by the most concentrated beauty the world has to offer and yet be chronically depressed is to confront the sad reality that material bounty may bring fleeting pleasure but nothing resembling peace of mind. To realize that you may have the world while still feeling as if you have nothing is to experience a closer encounter with the void than most of us are likely to have.

As his depression deepened [Yves] Saint Laurent was joyful only twice a year, on the days a new collection was shown, usually to wild acclaim, according to friends interviewed in the film. Within 24 hours that joy had evaporated. Saint Laurent was so attached to his favorite objects that to part with even one of them would leave “a black hole” in his life, recalls Pierre Bergé, his partner (in business and in life) for a half-century. But the pride of ownership went only so far.

Stephen Holden in “The Passions and Demons of Yves Saint Laurent”, a review of the documentary just out

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Nigerian Anglican Primate Tasks FG on Post-election Violence

Primate of the Anglican Church[Nigeria] , Most Rev. Archbishop Nicholas Okoh Friday in Abuja urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to derail in the task of unmasking the sponsors of the post-election violence that swept across some northern states after the announcement of the 2011 presidential results.

The Anglican head was speaking at the First Session of the Eight Synod of the Abuja Diocese.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

Virginia Anglicans Vote to Become a Diocese within Anglican Church in North America

The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) held a Constitutional Convention on May 20-21, 2011 at Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, Va. At this event, ADV delegates voted to petition the Anglican Church in North America to become a diocese and adopted new governing documents (Constitutions and Canons). Pending approval of the diocesan petition, the Anglican District of Virginia elected The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey to serve as bishop of the diocese, to be named the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.

Bishop John Guernsey has served in various clergy roles during his years of ordained ministry in Virginia. He served as rector of All Saints’ Church in Dale City, Va., for 29 years before serving as the head of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit in the Anglican Church in North America….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Tom Harpur reflects on the evolution of his beliefs

Born Again is a memoir, but also a theological reflection. The blending of autobiography with theology works because wit leavens the religion. Harpur describes a visit to a parishioner when he was a young minister: Having trouble balancing a tea napkin on his knee, he joked that he wished he had a wooden leg so he could use a thumbtack to pin the napkin on. The parishioner glared at him: “I’ll have you know my late husband had a wooden leg and that’s anything but humorous.” Many a minister could tell a similar story.

Harper isn’t a faithless atheist. “The holy spirit of God,” he writes, “does indeed guide and inspire us.” Now in his early 80s, he still studies scripture, still meditates, still prays. But he has pretty well dismissed organized religion. His reason, I sense, is a familiar one: much seminary teaching and parish preaching is mired in antiquated concepts and credalisms. (Leadership in the church, he says, is too often soiled by careerism.)

He’s right to a point….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Canada, Religion & Culture

Rowan Williams at Fresh Expressions–the Church's mission involves walking alongside

One of the things that the whole fresh expressions story has, I think, helped many of us to see more clearly is that we need to push away the notion of church as simply something to which people sign up in one go and in one way. And we are discovering, sometimes discovering the hard way, just how complex, how varied, people’s journeys are towards the heart of church because those are journeys towards the heart of God’s purpose – if my starting point here is right. And journeying towards the heart of God’s purpose is really quite a long business; in fact it’s one you never come to the end of. Literally never.

But I think that helps us a little bit in looking at how the church does, as a matter of fact, take something of the shape we usually think about in the New Testament. And if we read the Gospels I’d want to say with some emphasis that the Church begins where Jesus is with others and exactly how it shapes up to be something more like what we usually mean is quite a story but it begins with that encounter.

And as we read the Gospels what we see of course is an extraordinary spectrum of different kinds of encounter….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Missions, Theology, Theology: Scripture