Daily Archives: June 6, 2011

Stephen Prothero–You can't reconcile Ayn Rand and Jesus

If you are going to propose a Robin Hood budget, you have to decide whether you are robbing from the poor to give to the rich, or robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Because you cannot do both. You cannot worship both the God of Jesus and the mammon of Rand.

I don’t agree very often with the Watergate criminal and evangelical leader Chuck Colson, but he has it right when he refers to Rand’s “idolatry of self and selfishness” as “the antithesis of Christianity”

Rand’s trinity is “I me mine.” Christianity’s is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So take your pick. Or say no to both. It’s a free country. Just don’t tell me you are both a card-carrying Objectivist and a Bible-believing Christian. Even Rand knew that just wasn’t possible.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Philosophy, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Ugandan Roman Catholic Archbishop Sabino Calls for Dialogue to Solve Political Rifts

At least a million Christians celebrated the Uganda Martyrs’ Day at Namugongo shrine yesterday with the lead celebrant calling for “serious dialogue to address political and social problems in the country”.

Clad in the ceremonial catholic robes, Archbishop Sabino Ocan Odoki of Arua Diocese, told pilgrims that this will be the only way to amicably solve the country’s problems instead of “the walk-to-work campaign and teargas”.

“Uganda is known for her beauty and hospitality but it is also known for political turbulence and tribalism. We should address this through dialogue,” he said to a crowd which included the newly-appointed Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi who represented the President, and pilgrims who had trekked from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, DR Congo, among other countries.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Religion & Culture, Uganda

Hillary Clinton Defends Religious Freedom Envoy

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom on Thursday (June 2), calling the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook a bridge-builder who is right for the job.

Speaking at Cook’s ceremonial swearing-in, Clinton cited Cook’s firsts as an African-American Baptist minister and New York police chaplain, as well as her involvement in international activities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, The U.S. Government

Call Your Members to Order, Nigerian Anglican Church Bishop Tells Islamic Leaders

The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has urged Moslem leaders in the country to call their members involved in the killing of Christians in the North to order, warning that Christians could no longer continue to be on the receiving end during riots in any part of Nigeria.

In a speech delivered at the second session of the 28th synod of the Diocese on the Niger, taking place at the Immanuel Church, Onitsha, the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Owen Nwokolo, wondered why Christians should be massacred in the guise of protesting in favour of a political candidate who lost during the recent general elections.

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

Nebraska Episcopal diocese taps Omaha native

A New Yorker would return to some deep Omaha roots if he ends up the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska.

The Rev. J. Scott Barker was elected Saturday during a special diocesan council at St. Mark’s Pro-Cathedral in Hastings, Neb.

Barker is among the sixth generation of the Barker family in Omaha. The prominent family at one time owned thousands of acres of prime Omaha real estate. One of those locations became the site of the Barker Building on the southwest corner of 15th and Farnam Streets.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Hackers attack FBI-affiliate InfraGard

After venting out their ire against Sony PlayStation Network and Sony Pictures, hackers have pointed their guns at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The group LulzSec has hacked an FBI-affiliated website called InfraGard and siphoned off with the details of around 180 users. The attack was on their Atlanta chapter.

InfraGard is a government and private sector alliance which provides actionable intelligence to protect critical national information infrastructure. The website defines its role as: “InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government

The Steeple may be gone, but this Massachusetts Church is unbroken

During the first Sunday service since three tornadoes ravaged central and western Massachusetts, worshipers including volunteers and veteran congregation members packed the nave to hear a message of hope and community.

“Any time there is a disaster, even people of faith have questions,’’ [The Rev. Bob] Marrone said. “Why did this happen? Where was God?’’

Since Wednesday, volunteers have used the church as a relief hub, keeping it open round-the-clock to provide free food, clothing, and guidance. For two hours yesterday, the church also gave the weary a quiet place to relax, reflect, and be thankful.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

Letters to the Telegraph–It is a mistake to exclude Christianity from Professional Life

Here is one:

Last Sunday, in my local Anglican church, we were enjoined to take our Christian faith to the work-place, as “worship” is not just about sitting on a pew, but informs every part of our lives. That is why William Wilberforce worked to abolish slavery; that is why many work with the homeless and addicts here, or are going abroad to help the poor and disadvantaged there.

The Christian faith is the motivating force for many who seek to do good. Why? Because Christians are obeying the words of Jesus as written by St Matthew: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

For two thousand years this is what Christians have been doing, and in the process they have played a part in shaping Western civilisation. For as long as society, judges and the General Medical Council allow freedom of religion and speech in our country, Christians will continue to do this.

Juliet Lloyd
Northwood, Middlesex

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(ACNA) Anglican Fellowship of the Southwest Holds First meeting

The first meeting of the newly elected Standing Committee of the Anglican Fellowship of the Southwest took place Thursday, May 26. Nine Anglican churches in New Mexico and West Texas agreed by votes of their respective Vestries to apply to the Anglican Church in North America’s Provincial Council to become a Diocese-in-Formation (DIF). The Provincial Council starts its meeting on June 21 in Long Beach, California. The proposed name for the DIF is the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest (Diocese-in-Formation.)
At the first Synod meeting of the Anglican Fellowship of the Southwest, held at Christ the King Anglican Church, Albuquerque, NM on May 13-14, a constitution was adopted for the proposed DIF. Along with the election of a Standing Committee, Bishop Win Mott was unanimously nominated by the Synod to serve as Vicar General, subject to the approval of Archbishop Duncan and the Provincial Council. These are exciting times for Anglicans in the American Southwest.

Bishop Mott said: “The rapid growth of Anglicans in our area has necessitated the formation of a diocese. It is impressive and exciting to see the emergence of a strong Anglican presence here.”

The website of the Anglican Fellowship of the Southwest is found at www.anglicansw.org.

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

Universities 'complacent' over Islamic radicals, Home Secretary Theresa May warns

Theresa May told The Daily Telegraph that universities were not taking the issue of radicalisation seriously enough and that it was too easy for Muslim extremists to form groups on campuses “without anyone knowing”.

She also said the Government would cut funding to any Islamic group that espoused extremist views, and set out the “key British values” to which those seeking support must subscribe. It is understood that about 20 groups are already losing their funding.

Mrs May made her comments ahead of the publication this week of the updated version of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, whose dearly beloved Son was, by thy mighty power, exalted that he might prepare a place in thy kingdom of glory for them that love thee: So lead and uphold us, O merciful Lord, that we may both follow the holy steps of his life here upon earth, and may enter with him hereafter into thy everlasting rest; that where he is, we may also be; through the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

–Hebrews 6:11-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Diocese of Durham Press Release on Justin Welby Their New Bishop Designate

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

([London] Times) Seven more Clergymen head for Rome

Seven former Church of England clergy [yesterday were] ordained Roman Catholic priests at St George’s Cathedral Southwark in London. It marks the start of a wave of ordinations over the next two weeks in which more than 50 former Anglican clergy, many married, will become Catholic priests.

The first of the Pentecost ordinations by the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, …[Saturday] mark[ed] the formal establishment of the new Ordinariate as a going concern. More than 900 laity have already been received into the Catholic Church but have until now been worshipping with existing Catholic congregations while their clergy trained for the Catholic priesthood at Allen Hall seminary in Chelsea, West London.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Notable and Quotable

I have known few preachers with more reverence for the homiletical arts and almost none who were more grateful that God had called him to preach. He once told me that he was ready to “robe up for the game anytime Harvard wants something said in a way that adds weight, no matter how trivial the occasion.”

When I got Peter [Gomes] to speak at my alma mater, Wofford College in Spar­tanburg, South Carolina, Peter ad­dressed a packed house in Wofford’s Old Main, a building built by slave labor with bricks made by slaves on campus.

“I am not unmindful of the significance of this building, nor my presence in this pulpit,” he said. “As a preacher, I’m accustomed to answering to the claims of the dead. I am acutely aware, at an occasion such as this, we are accompanied by the dead, anonymous and remembered, surrounding us, wanting to speak to us. Yet the voiceless dead cannot speak without us. Thus I speak to you . . .”

–Will Willimon in “Harvard’s Preacher” (on Peter Gomes 1942”“2011), Christian Century, April 5, 2011, edition, page 11

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

(NPR) Don't Believe Facebook; You Only Have 150 Friends

Most of [University of Oxford Professor Robin] Dunbar’s research has focused on why the GORE-TEX model was a success. That model is based on the idea that human beings can hold only about 150 meaningful relationships in their heads. Dunbar has researched the idea so deeply, the number 150 has been dubbed “Dunbar’s Number.”

Ironically, the term was coined on Facebook, where 150 friends may seem like precious few.

“There was a discussion by people saying ‘I’ve got too many friends ”” I don’t know who half these people are,'” Dunbar says. “Somebody apparently said, ‘Look, there’s this guy in England who says you can’t have more than 150.'”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, Science & Technology

(BBC) Many thousands flock to hear Pope Benedict in Croatia

Pope Benedict XVI has celebrated Mass, focusing on family values, before tens of thousands of people in the Croatian capital, Zagreb.

He spoke of the “disintegration” of the family, and urged couples not to give in to a “secularised mentality” of living together instead of marrying.

He later visited the tomb of a controversial wartime cardinal.

This is Pope Benedict’s first visit to the staunchly Catholic nation and he has received a warm welcome.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Croatia, Europe, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A.S. Haley on the Latest Fort Worth Legal Developments

The appeal is a Texas-sized piece of litigation: take a look at the first five pages of the Jurisdictional Statement, which are required just to list all of the parties involved and their counsel!

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

The Economist–A Litany of special factors exposes the recovery’s fragility

Economists have found themselves repeatedly making excuses. First it was the snowstorms. Then it was Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster which crimped the supply of parts to car assembly plants in America. Then, as the snow melted, floods ravaged Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, and tornadoes battered Alabama and Missouri. America has suffered five incidents of extreme weather this year, each inflicting at least $1 billion in damage.

The most important special factor has been petrol. Prices jumped from $3 per gallon at the end of December to $3.90 in early May. That has siphoned off much of the purchasing power that consumers should have extracted from December’s tax agreement and subsequent gains in employment. Total consumer spending rose at just a 6.7% annual rate in the three months to the end of April, but most of that increase was eaten up by inflation. Real spending grew by a paltry 2.2%.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Japan, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Weather

PBS' Religion and Ethics Weekly–Shavuot

RABBI SHIRA STUTMAN (Director of Community Engagement, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Washington, DC): The Shavuot holiday is actually one of the more important holidays in the Jewish tradition, and it basically has two reasons for being. The original reason comes out of the Israelite people being an agricultural people a few thousand years ago in the land that we now call Israel. The Israelites would bring the bikkurim, the first fruits, the first offerings, of their harvest up to the temple as an offering to God, as a way of saying thank you and in hopes of a good harvest.

After the temple was destroyed in about 70 CE, the rabbis needed to enlarge the understanding of Shavuot because we no longer had a temple to which people could bring their offerings. So they brought forward this understanding of Shavuot as being the anniversary of revelation: the anniversary of the moment that God gave the Torah, our Bible or a part of the Hebrew Bible, to the Israelite people on Mount Sinai, basically turning them from this rag-tag group of slaves who had just weeks ago come out of Egypt into a people complete with its own set of texts and ways of being in the world.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture