Daily Archives: January 19, 2012

Faith Based Films Major Source of Revenue for some Churches

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Ben Chambers and Sharon Paynter–Poverty in North Carolina: the real numbers

Through some basic analysis of census data, we can see what adopting the 180 percent [of the Federal poverty] line as the definition of poverty in North Carolina would have meant over the last nine years.

In every year since 2003, the number of North Carolinians under a 180 percent line hovers around 35 percent of the population, while the number of people falling below current poverty standards averages about 15 percent.

That is, the current poverty definitions show that approximately one in six people in North Carolina are in poverty. Using the more accurate 180 percent line would increase that proportion to one in three.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government

Pope Benedict XVI's Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus

Let us return again to the theme of witnessing. In the second reading the Apostle John writes: “It is the Spirit who bears witness” (1 John 5:6). He is referring to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, who bears witness to Jesus, testifying that he is the Christ, the Son of God. This is also seen in the scene of the baptism in the Jordan River: the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove, revealing that he is the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father (cf. Mark 1:10). John underscores this aspect as well in his Gospel when Jesus says to his disciples: “When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you too will bear witness to me, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27). This is a great comfort to us in educating others in the faith because we know that we are not alone and that our witness is supported by the Holy Spirit.

It is very important for you parents and also for you godfathers and godmothers to believe strongly in the presence and the action of the Holy Spirit, to call upon him and welcome him in you through prayer and the sacraments. He is the one in fact who enlightens the mind, who makes the heart of the educator burn so that he or she knows how to transmit the knowledge of the love of Christ. Prayer is the first condition for educating, because in praying we create the disposition in ourselves of letting God have the initiative, of entrusting our children to him, who knows them before we do and better than us, and knows perfectly what their true good is.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Children, Christology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(NY Times) A Changed Way of War in Afghanistan’s Skies

Commander [Layne] McDowell banked and aligned his jet’s nose with the canyon’s northeastern end. Then he followed his wingmen’s lead. He dived, pulled level at 5,000 feet and accelerated down the canyon’s axis at 620 miles per hour, broadcasting his proximity with an extended engine roar.

In the lexicon of close air support, his maneuver was a “show of presence” ”” a mid-altitude, nonlethal display intended to reassure ground troops and signal to the Taliban that the soldiers were not alone. It reflected a sharp shift in the application of American air power, de-emphasizing overpowering violence in favor of sorties that often end without munitions being dropped.

The use of air power has changed markedly during the long Afghan conflict, reflecting the political costs and sensitivities of civilian casualties caused by errant or indiscriminate strikes and the increasing use of aerial drones, which can watch over potential targets for extended periods with no risk to pilots or more expensive aircraft.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, War in Afghanistan

19-year-old British girl dresses up as a boy to dupe her friends into dating her

(Please note the content of this post is unlikely to be suited to some blog readers–KSH).

Gemma Barker, from Middlesex, wore boy’s clothes and gave herself three false identities so she could have sexual encounters with her 15- and 16-year-old friends, the Daily Mail reported.
Prosecutor Ruby Selva told Guildford Crown Court Barker set up Facebook profiles for her different personas and had individual dress styles for them.
She completely fooled her friends and their families by posing as Aaron Lampard, Connor McCormack and Luke Jones, the court heard.

Read it all and you can you can find the Daily Mail article there.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology

(CNS) Supreme Court Ruling over teacher's firing could have far-reaching implications

Some commentators have been quick to hail the ruling. It’s “the greatest Supreme Court religious liberty decision in decades,” opined the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which acted as co-counsel to Hosanna-Tabor.

On the other side, David Gibson, a columnist for Commonweal, observed in a post on the magazine’s blog that while the ruling “is clearly the right one,” celebration seems premature. Under the headline “High court: Religions are free to be jerks,” Gibson cautioned about how churches might exercise their protected right.

“How can churches be held to account?” he wrote. “This is a real difficulty, given that religious institutions behave just as badly as secular groups, and often worse. And that truly does hurt the witness of religious communities.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Washington Post Editorial) Obama’s Keystone pipeline rejection is hard to accept

We almost hope this was a political call because, on the substance, there should be no question. Without the pipeline, Canada would still export its bitumen ”” with long-term trends in the global market, it’s far too valuable to keep in the ground ”” but it would go to China. And, as a State Department report found, U.S. refineries would still import low-quality crude ”” just from the Middle East. Stopping the pipeline, then, wouldn’t do anything to reduce global warming, but it would almost certainly require more oil to be transported across oceans in tankers.

Environmentalists and Nebraska politicians say that the route TransCanada proposed might threaten the state’s ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region. But TransCanada has been willing to tweak the route, in consultation with Nebraska officials, even though a government analysis last year concluded that the original one would have “limited adverse environmental impacts.” Surely the Obama administration didn’t have to declare the whole project contrary to the national interest ”” that’s the standard State was supposed to apply ”” and force the company to start all over again.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The U.S. Government

With a Mother and Two Daughters Dangling over a Bridge's edge Trapped in a Car, Seabees Act in Time

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch it all, very heartwarming.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family, Travel

(Christian Century) Stephanie Coontz–Mating games: Changing rules for sex and marriage

Equal marriage is a social experiment of yet unknown proportions. No wonder we are confused. Most of our social scripts””from romance novels, fairy tales, movies, the advice that we gleaned from our parents and grandparents””are based on older forms of marriage that placed little value on emotional intimacy, sexual compatibility, shared (as opposed to specialized) skills and interests, or equal decision making.

Consider that it was only in the late 18th century that society began to approve of love as a primary consideration in the choice of a spouse. Only in the early 20th century did mutual sexual satisfaction become an accepted goal of marriage….

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(WSJ) Long-Term Unemployment Ripples Through One Georgia Town

Roswell, Georgia–The waiting list for subsidized housing here, just 40 families long a year ago, is up to 500. The number of children eligible for free or reduced lunch is up 50%. A little more than a year ago, the Methodist church began seminars for marriages strained by job losses.

Roswell is a pre-Civil War cotton mill town that grew into a wealthy bedroom community of Atlanta as the metro area prospered. More than half the city’s 88,000 residents have four-year college degrees. But Roswell sits in a region with an unusually severe case of long-term unemployment: About 40% of the unemployed in the Atlanta metro area in 2010, the most recent local data available, were out of work for a year or more versus the national average of 29%.

One of them is Marcy Bronner, 57 years old. When she lost her job at Pennzoil back in 2000, it took her seven months to find a new one at Quintiles, a bio- and pharmaceutical-services company….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Rural/Town Life, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NC Reporter) Seismic shifts reshape US Roman Catholicism

From Philadelphia to Newark, N.J., New York to Boston, Cleveland to Chicago to Detroit and beyond, the church of the immigrants is going the same route as the old industrial America of our forebears. The huge plants — churches, schools and parish halls — markers of another era, like the hulking steel mills and manufacturing plants of old, can no longer be sustained. There aren’t enough Catholics left in those places, not enough priests and nuns and certainly not enough money to maintain the church as it once was.

According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, the church in the United States has lost 1,359 parishes during the past 10 years, or 7.1 percent of the national total, and most of those have been in the Northeast and the Upper Midwest.

“I’m developing a theory that one of our major challenges today is that American Catholic leadership is being strangled by trying to maintain the behemoth of the institutional Catholicism that we inherited from the 1940s and ’50s,” New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan told NCR’s John Allen in the recently released book-length interview A People of Hope.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Census/Census Data, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Michael Ramsden–The Problem is me–A memorial to John Stott

The homily at Friday’s service could not have been more appropriate. Mark Greene, now executive director of the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC) that John Stott founded, summed up Stott’s unwavering commitment to Biblical teaching on the calling, convictions and lifestyle of all those who would claim Christ as their saviour.

“He yearned not only for the conversion of medics, lawyers and factory workers, he yearned for the transformation of medicine, law and manufacturing,” said Greene. Stott’s emphasis was on whole-life disciple-making, on the supreme transformative power of the gospel in the individual and through the Christian individual into the workplace. He longed for lay Christians to be biblically envisioned and equipped for that mission in their daily lives.

“What would Stott’s emphasis on whole-life disciple-making say to us today in areas such as the moral and directional crisis in our economy ? “ Greene asked the assembled congregation, an audible silence falling across the great church, as he referred to both to the bankers of the city and the Occupy protesters in their tents still spread across the churchyard outside.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Christology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Wulfstan

Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son hath led captivity captive and given gifts to thy people: Multiply among us faithful pastors, who, like thy holy bishop Wulfstan, will give courage to those who are oppressed and held in bondage; and bring us all, we pray, into the true freedom of thy kingdom; through 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, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord of the Church, who hast given to thy servants a diversity of gifts, that they may share them with their brethren: Grant us the generous heart to give, the humble heart to receive; that we, with all that love thee, may know the fullness of thy grace; that thy love may be perfected in us; to the glory of thy Name.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now the whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Ba’bel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

–Genesis 11:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bruce Hindmarsh becomes the first non-American President of the American Society of Church History

Regent College is pleased to announce that Bruce Hindmarsh, the James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College, has been appointed as the incoming President of the American Society of Church History.

The appointment began on January 1, 2012, and finishes on December 31, 2014, and includes one year as President-Elect and another year as Past-President. Dr. Hindmarsh’s responsibilities include planning the program for the 2013 annual meeting in New Orleans, chairing the council and executive committee, providing the presidential address to the society in 2014, and chairing the nominating committee in his final year.

“This is a great honour for Bruce and for Regent, not least because Bruce is the first non-American to be awarded the post widely seen as the highest academic honour for the discipline in North America,” says Paul Williams, Academic Dean of Regent College.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Church History, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Congratulations to Father Dan Clarke in his new ministry in Stateburg, South Carolina

Father Clarke, formerly on staff at Holy Communion, Charleston, began a new ministry yesterday at Holy Cross, Stateburg.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Bishop Mark Lawrence's Sermon on the Baptism of Jesus 2012

You can find the audio link here (about 22 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, Theology

(Living Church) Father Steenson: 'Leave All that Anger Behind'

If the Ordinariate in the United States is a Vatican effort to poach disgruntled Anglicans, Sunday-golfing ex-Anglicans or never-were Anglicans, its newly appointed leader has not received that memo.

In fact, says the Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Anglican does not appear in the new body’s formal name, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, because members will make no pretense of remaining Anglicans. And anyone who wants to enter the Ordinariate because of anger toward Anglicanism rather than a desire for deeper communion with the Roman Catholic Church probably ought to wait.

Steenson, who was bishop of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of the Rio Grande from 2004 to 2007, will be invested as the first Ordinary of the Ordinariate during a Mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, Feb. 12.

Read it all.

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

(Vatican Insider) England–When Catholic priests comes with baggage

“Be fruitful and multiply”. There is one man in England who has taken this old biblical call too seriously. His name is Ian Hellyer and together with his wife Margaret is raising not one but nine children. He is also more than well acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, being a Roman Catholic pastor. Yes, that is right, he is both a father and a priest, and yet there is no excommunication on the horizon for him. The story appeared a few days ago in English daily newspaper The Guardian. Beware though, the Fr. Ian affair is no theological trick. The 45 year father of nine was an Anglican priest until last year and following a spiritual journey and a course of study, he decided to convert to Catholicism.

Fr. Ian belongs to the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingam in England and Wales. Ordinariates were established two years ago by the Holy See: they are essentially new organisations and canonical structures that allow Anglican “defectors” who wish to join the Catholic Church, to keep some of their liturgical traditions. Above all, however, the Ordinariate grants former pastors special “permission” that authorises them to stay married. According to information obtained by the Vatican Insider from the Ordinariate and the English Episcopal Conference, there are currently 57 former Anglican pastors who have joined the Catholic Church. Forty two of these are married and Hellyer is one of them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic