Daily Archives: January 21, 2012

(NY Times Motherlode Blog) Parental Quandary Considered: Lying to the In-Laws About Church

S. admits it. She and her husband have been lying to her in-laws about going to church. I suggested they were fibbing, but whatever you call it, the truth remains: it’s so much easier to pretend, on the phone to her husband’s minister father and his wife, that the religion S. and her husband both grew up in remains a part of their daily life. But as S. said when she described her quandary to me, the differences between the way she and her husband practice their religion and the way his parents do can’t be tiptoed around for long ”” not with a chatty toddler in the mix.

S. wanted to know how she and her husband could navigate this generational divide without alienating his parents (and although S.’s husband wasn’t the writer, he’s trying to figure this out, too). And (as many of you suspected) she was kind of hoping for a bigger endorsement of taking the easy way out: teaching her daughter the art of evasion, and dancing around the subject forever more.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

([London] Times) Stuart Weir–God and the Olympics

In 1 Corinthians, Paul calls attention to the vigorous training of the athlete. The Christian is challenged to follow the example of the athlete and to strive for the crown which lasts: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24”“27).

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics, said at a banquet in London for the members of the International Olympic Committee attending the 1908 Olympics: “The importance of these Olympiads is not so much to win as to take part”¦The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have won but to have fought well”. Those words have become effectively an Olympic motto.

What is less known is that de Coubertin was inspired by a sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral by the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Religion & Culture, Sports, TEC Bishops

Mark Oppenheimer–Many Evangelicals See Something to Admire in Candidates’ Broods

From the beginning of Christian history until the 19th century, the teaching held that contraception was sinful, says Allan Carlson, the author of “Godly Seed: American Evangelicals Confront Birth Control, 1873-1973.” “ ”˜Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth’ ”” until the 1920s, all Protestants formally read that as being a ban on contraception,” Dr. Carlson says, “and all Protestants held to the Christian convention that birth control was sinful, for the same reason and in the same way abortion was.”

But that consensus “started to break down in the 1920s,” Dr. Carlson says. The Church of England accepted birth control in 1930, and American Protestant bodies soon followed. As recently as “10 or 20 years ago,” Mr. Santorum’s rejection of birth control “would have been an immediate no” for nearly all Protestants.

Today, however, even those evangelical Protestants who use contraception ”” the vast majority, it would seem ”” have developed a cultural respect, in some cases a reverence, for those who do not.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, History, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

([London] Times) Churchwardens quit in row with rector

Four churchwardens have resigned from a small rural parish in Kent in a long-running saga in which the diocesan bishop was forced to intervene.

In their extraordinary joint letter of resignation the four churchwardens accuse their rector, Dr David Attwood, of “poor personal relationships with several leading parishioners” and of being “extremely verbally aggressive” on a visit to one former churchwarden.

The four ”” Penelope Bell, Trevor Champ, Roger Flint and Michael Moore ”” say that when he arrived in 2002, having overcome an original rejection, the three parishes of Sundridge, Ide Hill and Toys Hill near Sevenoaks were thriving, with growing congregations and healthy finances.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Chicago Tribune) Roman Catholic priest leaves his post for the sake of love

Like many Roman Catholic men who feel called to the priesthood, the Rev. Jim Hearne wrestled with whether ordination was right for him.

The youngest of seven in an Irish Catholic family, he saw the joy of family life firsthand and never could quite extinguish the desire to one day have children of his own. But spurred to help stem the priest shortage and strengthen the integrity of the cloth, Hearne donned a priest’s collar in 2005 at age 25.

Now he wonders if his six years in the pulpit as “Father Jim” might have been preparation to become Jim, the father. After a six-month leave of absence from St. Giles Roman Catholic Church in Oak Park, Ill., Hearne has decided he will not return to the pulpit, but he will stay in the pews and pray to one day start a family of his own.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(NY Times) With Hours to Decide, Few in South Carolina Are Willing to Commit

..Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the state’s Republican presidential primary, …[Heidi Trull’s] ban on political talk did not matter one bit.

No one had found a candidate they liked enough to argue for.

From country restaurants like this one to suburban shopping malls in Spartanburg and espresso bars in Greenville, voters facing four options in the Republican primary seemed to shrug and say, “I haven’t decided.”

As South Carolina residents began voting today, polls were showing Newt Gingrich gaining ground on Mitt Romney while Ron Paul and Rick Santorum battled for third place. But those polls do not always reflect what is happening on the ground, particularly in a region that has emerged as a coveted electoral battleground.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Office of the President, Politics in General

The Latest South Carolina Numbers from Intrade on the Republican Primary

As i write this, Gingrich is just under 82, and Romney is around 16. Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Office of the President, Politics in General

Local Newspaper Editorial–Fix Medicaid failures STAT

No wonder the Medicaid system has so many critics in South Carolina. During the year that ended September 2010, about $490 million in public money was paid in error by the state.

The program intended to help the neediest was apparently helping others, too. Meanwhile, some of the people who needed help were not given it.

According to a recently released federal audit, an estimated 10.7 percent of South Carolinians approved for Medicaid should have been ruled ineligible. Then there were overpayments to hospitals and behavioral health providers due to coding errors.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

(Washington Post) Romney scrambles to fend off Gingrich in South Carolina

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich exhorted conservatives to rally behind his ascendant candidacy as he bid for an upset victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who only a week ago appeared to be on an easy march to the Republican presidential nomination.

With two strong debate performances this week and missteps over taxes by his rival, Gingrich has managed to puncture the aura of inevitability that surrounded Romney. A Gingrich victory Saturday would extend the race on to Florida, whose primary is Jan. 31, and possibly well beyond, with the party divided between its insurgent and establishment wings….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Office of the President, Politics in General

(AP) Church Affiliates Get Birth-Control Extension

In an election-year decision certain to disappoint religious conservatives, the Obama administration announced Friday that church-affiliated institutions will get only one additional year to meet a new rule to cover birth control free of charge.

Friday’s announcement by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius doesn’t apply to houses of worship. Churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship were already exempt from the birth-control-coverage rule.

But in many cases, other religious-affiliated employers such as hospitals and universities traditionally haven’t provided any birth-control coverage for their employees.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, The U.S. Government

(First Things on the Square Blog) Russell Saltzman–What a Young Wife Ought to Know

[In her 1901 book] Dr. [Emma F. Angell] Drake gets in your face. “The wife has a right to expect that the man she marries shall be as pure as herself, and she has a right to know it.” And if she cannot learn this for a certainty, then “as she values her happiness, let her take no step further. Better by far, single blessedness, than marriage with a moral leper.”

A brief note to moral lepers: If that “purity” thing sounds just too weird for today, insert one or all of these: “intelligent,” “hard-working,” “compassionate,” “constant,” “devout.” They will do as well….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Marriage & Family, Men, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Agnes

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the world deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; 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

Almighty God, the giver of strength and joy: Change, we beseech thee, our bondage into liberty, and the poverty of our nature into the riches of thy grace; that by the transformation of our lives thy glory may be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

–Hebrews 7:23-27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Jonathan Fitzgerald –Can You Come to Jesus Without Church?

YouTube videos go viral all the time, but sermons rarely do. Enter Jefferson Bethke, a young “spoken-word” poet who recently posted the video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” It has been viewed more than 10 million times in the past 10 days.

The video opens with an eerie soundtrack and the phrase “Jesus>Religion” in a stark, white typeface. His poem begins, “What if I told you, Jesus came to abolish religion?”

In a polished, hip style, he continues with such controversial questions for four minutes: “If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars? Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?” Mr. Bethke describes religion as no more than “behavior modification” and “a long list of chores.” This leads him to conclude, “Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums.” And his grand finale: “So know I hate religion, in fact I literally resent it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Christology, Ecclesiology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology