Daily Archives: August 26, 2011

Rasmussen–55% Say Abortion Morally Wrong Most of the Time

Slightly more voters continue to classify themselves as pro-choice rather than pro-life when it comes to abortion, but a majority still believes it is morally wrong.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters say, generally speaking, on the issue of abortion, they consider themselves pro-choice. Forty-three percent (43%) describe themselves as pro-life.

Pro-choice voters have slightly outnumbered pro-lifers in surveys for several years. Still, 55% believe abortion is morally wrong most of the time, a finding that shows little change since April 2007.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Science & Technology

Rodney Stark and Byron Johnson–Religion and the Bad News Bearers

The national news media yawned over the Baylor Survey’s findings that the number of American atheists has remained steady at 4% since 1944, and that church membership has reached an all-time high. But when a study by the Barna Research Group claimed that young people under 30 are deserting the church in droves, it made headlines and newscasts across the nation””even though it was a false alarm.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Religion & Culture

Local Paper front page–Torah-saving rabbi arrested

The man behind the discovery and restoration of the [Vengrov] Torah, Rabbi Menachem Youlus, was arrested Wednesday on federal fraud charges.

Youlus, 50, was released on $100,000 bail after appearing before a U.S. magistrate judge. His lawyer, Paul Rooney, denied the accusations, according to news reports.

Court documents show that Youlus, who had been affiliated with the nonprofit Save a Torah, was charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud for allegedly scheming to “(obtain) money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(CEN) Archbishop Rowan Williams to seek Mugabe meeting

The Archbishop of Canterbury will travel to Harare in October and will seek a meeting with Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe to plead the case for the country’s persecuted Anglicans.

Dr Williams will also visit Malawi and Zambia during his tour of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, and is expected to offer moral encouragement to the Church. President Mugabe’s office has not decided whether the country’s leader since independence will meet with Dr Williams ”” who has been a harsh critic of the regime.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace confirmed “the Archbishop is visiting Zimbabwe as part of a wider trip, which will also see him visit Malawi and Zambia,” but noted the itinerary had yet to be finalised.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Zimbabwe

Church Times–”˜Respectful’ hearing for debate over proposed rites for same sex unions

Participants [at the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation] came from 19 An­glican provinces, including Brazil, Hong Kong, Nigeria, and the Southern Cone. Topics included theology, cultural contexts, and the shape and elements of ritual. Papers were delivered by the Bishop of Central Tanganyika, the Rt Revd Mdimi Mhogolo, and by the Revd Dr Simon Jones, of Merton College, Oxford.

Dr Jones drew attention to the particular issues faced by Church of England clergy who frequently have to deal with couples presenting themselves for marriage in church, neither of whom are baptised, or attend church regularly.

Bishop Mhogolo explained that Christian missionaries who came to Tanzania had paid no attention to traditional Tanzanian marriage-customs, in which washing and anointing rather than rings and vows were the principal symbols.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(ENS) Pamela Chinnis, first female House of Deputies president, passes from this life to the next

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Parish Ministry

One Episcopal Church's Self-Understanding–The Mission of St. James

From here:

The mission of St. James Episcopal Church, Knoxville, is “to feed and tend God’s sheep,” a ministry we attempt to live out day by day.It means nourishing our own parishioners through our vibrant liturgy, our rector’s learned, inspirational preaching, and our 30-member choir’s glorious singing.
It means raising up mature Christians through Christian formation classes on Sunday, as well as weekly Disciple groups.

It means building community at St. James through our Wednesday fellowship dinners and the meetings of our ECW and Daughters of the King, our Men’s Group, our Episcopal Peace Fellowship, and many other groups.

Having been fed ourselves, we are able to help the transitional neighborhood–and world–around us, whether through our Doorstep Ministry’s daily gifts of food or our Helping Hands Food Pantry’s distributions of non-perishable food to more than a hundred people every other Saturday, through our Mobile Meals volunteers or Appalachian Resource Team workers, through our Career Closet, which provides interview clothes to job-seeking women, or through the countless, often anonymous, charitable acts of our members.

To walk into our nave or parish hall is to enter a community that embraces both the Gospel call to personal transformation and the Gospel command to bring God’s kingdom to the world in which we live. Any day of the week you are likely to see this lively process of feeding and being fed under way at St. James Church.

Also, you may explore the parish’s website there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes, Theology

(ENS) Episcopal Church Executive Council draft triennial budget preparation process underway

In preparation for the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in July 2012, the year-long budget preparation process for funding the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church has begun, according to a press release from the church’s Office of Public Affairs.

The Executive Council Aug. 25 announced a new approach to solicit input broadly from across the church on what the church’s funding priorities ought to be and what the program section of the draft budget.

“Changing and challenging financial realities at the churchwide level and for dioceses and congregations demand that a reassessment be done,” the release said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(NY Times) Asking Candidates Tougher Questions About Faith

This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life ”” and to get over them. We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons, a faith that many conservative Christians have been taught is a “cult” and that many others think is just weird. (Huntsman says he is not “overly religious.”) Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are both affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity ”” and Rick Santorum comes out of the most conservative wing of Catholicism ”” which has raised concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction.

I honestly don’t care if Mitt Romney wears Mormon undergarments beneath his Gap skinny jeans, or if he believes that the stories of ancient American prophets were engraved on gold tablets and buried in upstate New York, or that Mormonism’s founding prophet practiced polygamy (which was disavowed by the church in 1890). Every faith has its baggage, and every faith holds beliefs that will seem bizarre to outsiders. I grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ.

But I do want to know if a candidate places fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon (the text, not the Broadway musical) or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Office of the President, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Hurricane Irene's Latest Track

Check it out and there is a good image there. If you have java, the moving water vaper loop picture is fascinating.

Posted in * General Interest, Weather

Enjoying God's Creation–what a great Raccoon!

Check it out.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

(LA Times) Advertisers start using facial recognition to tailor pitches

Picture this: You stop in front of a digital advertising display at a mall and suddenly an ad pops up touting makeup, followed by one for shoes and then one for butter pecan ice cream.

It seems to know you’re a woman in your late 20s and, in fact, it does. When you looked at the display, it scanned your facial features and tailored its messages to you.

Once the stuff of science fiction and high-tech crime fighting, facial recognition technology has become one of the newest tools in marketing, even though privacy concerns abound.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Science & Technology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast received us into the fold of thy Church, and hast given us thy Holy Spirit to abide with us for ever: Keep us, we beseech thee, under thy fatherly care and protection; enrich us abundantly with thy heavenly grace; and lead us to witness a good confession, and to persevere therein to the end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure. For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit. Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.

–Psalm 16:8-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Syrian Pro-Democracy Demonstrators Attacked

Syrian security forces carried out military operations in several areas across the country on Thursday against pro-democracy protesters seeking to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and activists and residents said nine people were killed.

Masked gunmen also severely beat the country’s best-known political cartoonist, Ali Farzat, leaving him to bleed along the side of a road, days after he published a cartoon showing Mr. Assad hitching a ride out of town with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya. Since the start of the Syrian uprising in March, Mr. Farzat, renowned through the Arab world, has published cartoons critical of Mr. Assad and his brutal crackdown on protesters.

Activists and residents in Shuhail, a town southeast of the provincial capital of Deir ez-Zour, a tribal area in eastern Syria, said tanks and armored vehicles had entered. Shuhail, they said, has had daily protests against the government since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

Google Cuts Churches Out Of Nonprofit Program

Brian Young had big plans for his church’s IT strategy. But his vision suffered a serious setback this summer after Google Inc. altered its nonprofit program to prohibit all churches and religious organizations from participating.

For years, the search and software giant individually offered some of its products””including its office software and popular Gmail””for free or discounted use to qualifying nonprofits. Eligibility requirements varied by product, but churches and faith-based groups were welcome to use some.

All of that changed in mid-March when the company launched “Google for Nonprofits.” The new initiative united a robust set of Google’s tools into one program, but it also came with new guidelines that excluded numerous entities, including schools, political thinktanks, churches, proselytizing groups, and any organization that considers religion or sexual orientation in hiring decisions.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Zimbabwe Anglican Church fights to reclaim its properties and end attacks

Beatings and evictions of Anglican priests in Zimbabwe have caused the Church there to appeal a legal decision to give custody of its property to excommunicated bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

The Church’s decision to instruct its lawyer to file a Constitutional appeal against the August 4 ruling by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku comes after a string of successful and attempted evictions left one priest homeless and another hospitalised with a head wound.

A press release from the Diocese said: “Clergy and members of the laity belonging to the Anglican Diocese of Harare (CPCA*) across Harare, Mashonaland West, East and Central have been receiving threats, constant harassment and lately severe beatings from Kunonga’s hooligans, masquerading as clergy, accompanied by ”˜certainly hired thugs’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Religion & Culture, Violence, Zimbabwe

Slain Navy SEAL Petty Officer Jon Tumilson's Loyal Dog Remains by His Side at Funeral

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend, and for Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, 35, and his beloved and loyal dog Hawkeye, not even death could break this powerful bond.

At Tumilson’s funeral in Rockford on Aug. 19, his beloved canine lay at the foot of the casket throughout the ceremony. Tumilson’s cousin Lisa Pembleton took the heart-wrenching photo of the devoted dog, known to Tumilson’s family and friends as his “son.”

“I took this picture and that was my view throughout the entire funeral. I couldn’t NOT take a picture,” Pembleton said. “It took several attempts since every time I wasn’t crying and could focus on taking it, there was a SEAL at the microphone and I didn’t want to take a picture with them for security and respect reasons. Our family is devastated to say the least.”

Read it all and do not miss that picture.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, War in Afghanistan

Video of the SEALs killed in Afghan crash on rescue mission

All the pictures (and if you click on the “more” link all the names).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Parish Ministry