Daily Archives: July 30, 2011

(WSJ) China's Banned Churches Defy Regime

On a recent Sunday at the Beijing Zion Church, Pastor Jin Mingri laid out a vision for Christians in China that contrasts starkly with the ruling Communist Party’s tight reins on religion.

“Let your descendants become great politicians like Joseph and Daniel,” said Mr. Jin, referring to the Old Testament figures who surmounted challenges to become political leaders. “Let them influence the future course of this country,” the pastor said in one of several sermons to his 800-member church.

Mr. Jin is one of a growing group of Protestant leaders challenging China’s state-run religious system, in an escalating struggle largely unnoticed by the outside world. For the first time, China’s illegal underground churches, whose members are estimated in the tens of millions, are mounting a unified and increasingly organized push for legal recognition.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

More on Jonah from the South Carolina Cathedral–Chris Warner on Jonah 2

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Christians in the Holy Land

PROFESSOR BERNARD SABELLA (Al-Quds University): The places are important, but you need to make these places to come alive, and you cannot do that without indigenous Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land.

[KIM] LAWTON: The overwhelming majority of Christians here are Arabs. They were among the hundreds of thousands displaced in 1948, when the State of Israel was established and in the wars that followed. For decades now, Palestinian Christians have continued to emigrate at disproportionately high rates, and their birth rates are much lower than those of Muslims. Roughly 150,000 Christians live in Israel proper””about two percent of the population. In the Palestinian Territories, it’s estimated that Christians make up just over one percent of the population. There are also small Christian minorities in disputed East Jerusalem. The circumstances for Christians vary in each of those places and, like most things here, a lot of it is shaped by the ongoing conflict.

SABELLA: The challenge, I think, to Palestinian Christians, in my view, and to Christian communities in Israel and the Middle East, is really to stay put.

Read or watch it all and you can watch more extended excerpts there if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Sharon Autenrieth–John Stott: "A walking embodiment of the simple beauty of Jesus"

Fifteen years or so ago I purchased a copy of The Cross of Christ by John Stott. I’d heard his name, knew he was “famous” in evangelicalism, but had never read any of his writings. It took only a chapter or two in The Cross of Christ for me to be won over to Stott’s style of writing. He was intellectually rigorous but clear and accessible. More than that, though, I was drawn to the devotion that permeated Stott’s writing. It was contagious, the passion he had for Christ and His church. I wanted it to characterize my own spiritual life.

John Stott was 90 years old when he died in London on Wednesday. Surrounded by friends, Stott passed away listening to “Handel’s Messiah” and the reading of scripture. If there is such a thing as a good death, it sounds like a good death to me. In life and in death, John Stott’s was soaked in scripture and dedicated to Christ the Messiah.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

(SMH) Prayers unanswered as Sydney Anglicans brace for more cuts

The Anglican Church’s Sydney diocese faces another year of belt tightening and cuts to community services after its investment arm warned of a ”substantial reduction” in its annual payout.

Two years after it lost $160 million because of a high-risk gearing strategy, the investment arm of the country’s largest Anglican diocese has blamed a 71 per cent fall in earnings – to $3.2 million for the year to December – on a ”subdued performance” by the Australian sharemarket. The result would have been worse if not for a $4.5 million rise in the value of its investment in St Andrew’s House.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Credit Markets, Economy, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

House set to reject Reid debt plan as endgame nears

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is set to reject Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling Saturday — partisan payback for the Democratic-controlled Senate’s rejection of Speaker John Boehner’s plan Friday night.

The twin votes are a likely prelude to a long weekend of furious back room negotiations between congressional leaders looking for a way to end a tense political standoff and avoid a potentially catastrophic federal default next week.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Chart of the day: How did America ever come to be over $14 Trillion in debt?

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Update: Megan Mcardle has further thoughts on this over there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Local newspaper Editorial–Hope amid a debt debacle

Tea Party activists in and out of office, including 1st District Rep. Tim Scott, have been demanding more spending-cut assurances than House Speaker John Boehner can deliver on the debt accord. They should realize that with Democrats still controlling both the Senate and White House, they can’t get everything they want this time around.

Tea Party folks also should realize that unless the debt ceiling is raised in time, the immediate bottom-line consequences could include a federal default and U.S. credit-rating downgrade.

Of course, even with a debt deal, the nation still faces serious financial risks — including a credit-rating demotion. Fortunately, next year’s presidential and congressional elections will give voters another chance to send the message that Washington can’t keep spending so far beyond our means.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Medicare, Social Security, Stock Market, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Americans Are More Indebted Than the U.S. Government

Strangely, as the U.S. citizenry passionately criticizes their government for running up the budget deficit, a greater irony is afoot: When it comes to debt management, Americans are sadly worse than their government.

While government debt sits at 94 percent of national revenue, U.S. household debt sits at a whopping 107 percent of personal income. The household balance sheets of Americans are in worse condition than anytime since the Great Depression. The ratio of household debt-to-GDP is greater than anytime since 1929. And while we all are trying to comprehend a poorer nation, many American’s have not yet comprehended their own personal poverty.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Personal Finance, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

The Latest from Anglican TV including AS Haley and Bishop Love of Albany

The segment description is as follows:

George Conger and Kevin Kallsen discuss this day in History and the death of John Stott. This week we also have two contributors – AS Haley delves into New York states new same sex marriage law and Bishop Love discusses how this new law affects the Diocese of Albany NY. –Oh and for the curious…. we have the blooper reel at the end of the show.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), State Government, TEC Bishops

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joseph of Arimathaea

Merciful God, whose servant Joseph of Arimathaea with reverence and godly fear did prepare the body of our Lord and Savior for burial, and did lay it in his own tomb: Grant, we beseech thee, to us thy faithful people grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Heavenly Father, we pray that thy Holy Spirit may rest upon me now, as I approach the study of thy holy Word, and that he may make that Word a living message to my soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat; and if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come a long way.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these men with bread here in the desert?” And he asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven.” And he commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish; and having blessed them, he commanded that these also should be set before them. And they ate, and were satisfied; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away; and immediately he got into the boat with his disciples, and went to the district of Dalmanu′tha.

–Mark 8:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Episcopal Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast Issues Immigration Statement

“Jesus wept.” (St John 11:35) As a child I learned that “Jesus wept” was the shortest sentence in the Gospels. I grew to understand that it is also one of the most powerful. I wept not long ago when I learned that the State of Alabama (the lower part of which is within my episcopal jurisdiction) passed legislation that would put me in violation involuntarily with State law because of my faith and religious convictions. With the implementation of HB56, we face one state’s edict to limit assistance and ministry only to those who can produce certain documentation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, TEC Bishops, Theology

Grants will fund conclusion of Episcopal Church work on same-gender blessings

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Stewardship, Theology