Daily Archives: August 28, 2011

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–MLK National Memorial

[FRED] DE SAM LAZARO: This unveiling comes at a time of serious political polarization in this country. Do you think that the monument has the potential any way to provide some healing in that divide?

[THE REVEREND DR. ROBERT] FRANKLIN: I believe so, and I certainly hope so. Dr. King was a man of healing and reconciliation even in the context of calling for justice. American politics is broken today, and Dr. King’s message, his life, his values and virtues can offer us a strategy for healing what is broken. It means political opponents must never dehumanize each other. They must speak truth to power, but they must also be willing to negotiate as well as confront, and I think the King memorial will be an inspiration and a reminder that that reconciliation is possible in America.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Marilynne Robinson's 2011 Principal Address at Holy Cross

I will tell you something you may not hear elsewhere. You live at a wonderful time in a wonderful country. I feel as strongly as anyone that everything could be much better, and ought to be better. But one of the pleasures of my self-defining life, my life as writer and teacher, is that I have read history, and I have traveled to and talked with people in those regions of America considered by many in this country to be alien territory. I have taken from history an awareness of the human tendency toward destructiveness and bitter violence. We share this tendency, certainly. But, in terms of our national life, we have cultivated an ethic of civil peace which has allowed for the flourishing of a great many wonderful communities and institutions. At the moment this ethic is under great stress, a fact that makes it all the more important to acknowledge it and recognize its value….

It is easy to be disappointed, exasperated, with our religious culture, with blandness here and intemperance there, with fads and hypocrisies and a general failure to inculcate tradition. So it can come as a surprise to learn that on balance America gives religion a good name, that religion is associated through us with ethical seriousness among other things, and that its importance among us is considered by many to be enviable.

For those of us who are religious in any way or degree, the fact that much of the world, and certainly the secularized Western world, looks to us to see how religion is lived out, implies responsibility of a very high order….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Theology

Scranton, Penna., Temple performs same-sex marriage ceremony for South Carolina Couple

The Rev. Peter D’Angio, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, said the Episcopal church ruled in 2009 to allow same-sex blessing ceremonies on a national level.

In states that legally recognize gay marriages, episcopal churches are allowed to perform the actual marriage ceremony when the bishop in that district gives the OK, he said.

“I think religion has a part to play in same-sex blessings,” the Rev. D’Angio said. “People have the desire for a member of the clergy, whatever religion, to invoke God’s blessing on their relationship.”

Read it all.

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

A Look Back to 1961–Episcopal Bishops Vote Unanimously to Approve Merger Steps

“I am quite speechless,” remarked the Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Arthur Lichtenberger of New York.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

The 10 best places to live in the U.S.

See how many you can guess and then check out the slideshow.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Psychology

Albert Mohler–The PKN in the Netherlands, a Laboratory for Christianity’s Destruction

As the BBC reports, some church leaders in the Netherlands want to transform their small nation into a laboratory for rethinking Christianity ”” “experimenting with radical new ways of understanding the faith.”

Religious Affairs Correspondent Robert Pigott tells of Rev. Klaas Hendrikse, a minister of the PKN, the mainstream Protestant denomination in the Netherlands. Pastor Hendrikse doesn’t believe in life after death, nor even in God as a supernatural being. He told the BBC that he has “no talent” for believing historic and orthodox doctrines. “God is not a being at all,” he says, but just an experience.

Furthermore, as Pigott reports, “Mr. Hendrikse describes the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Secularism, The Netherlands, Theology

Peter Moore–My Last Visit With John Stott

“There was a man sent from God whose name was John”

John the Baptist, to whom the above reference refers, was beheaded by a king in a palace at a relatively young age. John Stott , who I met in January of 1957, spent his final days on earth in a small bed-sitt er in a rest home for retired clergy about 30 miles south of London. He was weak, frail, nearly blind, and bedridden. He had turned 90 this spring, and was expecting to go home to the Lord very soon. But in his heyday, and for more than a half century, John Stott had an impact on his world akin to that of John the Baptist.

Both were sent from God. Both pointed to Jesus. Both att empted to live very simply. Both had few possessions. Bothwere fi lled with the Holy Spirit….

Read it all (page 4)

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast brought life and immortality to light by the gospel, and hast begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Make us steadfast and immovable in the faith, always abounding in the work of the Lord, who died for our sins and rose again, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, world without end.

–James Mountain

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

–1 Timothy 4:7-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Even in Hurricane Irene, Still Watching the Tomb

He is still standing guard–take a look.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Military / Armed Forces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

Living to 100 and Beyond

The number of people living to advanced old age is already on the rise. There are some 5.7 million Americans age 85 and older, amounting to about 1.8% of the population, according to the Census Bureau. That is projected to rise to 19 million, or 4.34% of the population, by 2050, based on current trends. The percentage of Americans 100 and older is projected to rise from 0.03% today to 0.14% of the population in 2050. That’s a total of 601,000 centenarians.

But many scientists think that this is just the beginning; they are working furiously to make it possible for human beings to achieve Methuselah-like life spans. They are studying the aging process itself and experimenting with ways to slow it down by way of diet, drugs and genetic therapy. They are also working on new ways to replace worn-out organs””and even to help the body to rebuild itself. The gerontologist and scientific provocateur Aubrey de Grey claims that the first humans to live for 1,000 years may already have been born.

The idea of “conquering” aging has raised hopes, but it has also spurred a debate about whether people should actually aspire to live that long.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Science & Technology

(BBC) Is there a novel that defines the 9/11 decade?

According to Bowker’s Books in Print database, which tracks print and e-books published and distributed in the United States, 164 such works have been written so far – they either directly address the event or use it as a peg to hang greater literary concerns about love, life and loss.

According to Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of The Times, such epoch-making events have traditionally proven to be great canvasses for the imagination.

“Everyone wonders: what if it had been me? What would I have done? It is the job of the novelist to think that through,” she says.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, History, Terrorism

Al Qaeda’s No. 2 Killed in Pakistan, U.S. Official Says

A drone operated by the C.I.A. killed Al Qaeda’s second-ranking operative in the mountains of Pakistan this month, an American official said Saturday, further weakening a terrorism network shaken by the killing of Osama bin Laden this year.

The official said that a drone strike on Aug. 22 killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan who in the past year had taken over as Al Qaeda’s top operational planner. Mr. Rahman was in frequent contact with Bin Laden in the months before the terrorist leader was killed in May by a Navy Seals team, intelligence officials have said.

American officials described Mr. Rahman’s death as particularly significant compared with those of other high-ranking Qaeda operatives because he was one of a new generation of Qaeda leaders who the network hoped would assume greater control after Bin Laden’s death.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Pakistan, Science & Technology, Terrorism