Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, who for the well-being of our earthly life hast put into our hearts wholesome desires of body and spirit: Mercifully increase and establish in us, we beseech thee, the grace of holy discipline and healthy self-control; that we may fulfill our desires by the means which thou hast appointed, and for the ends thou ordainest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Euchologium Anglicanum

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.”

–1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Syrian Roman Catholics ”˜say farewell after each Mass'

Catholics in Syria are so fearful of losing their lives at any moment that they say farewell to each other at the end of every Mass, the Archbishop of Damascus has said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Syria, Theology, Violence

A Growing number of people in the U.S. are becoming 'super-commuters'

A growing number of people are traveling really long distances to work.

Researchers call them “super-commuters.” Many of them travel hundreds of miles from their homes to work. They take a combination of cars, planes, trains and buses to get from home to the office.

New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation reports from 2002 to 2009 the number of super-commuters grew in eight of the 10 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. They grew in the Philadelphia area by more than 50 percent during that period.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

Dio. of Washington–Process for Discernment about ordained ministry Temporarily Halted

First, you can find the diocesan announcement here.

Then you may read the whole letter about it from the Bishop here. It includes the following:

Given the number of relatively healthy congregations and the appeal of our location, the Diocese of Washington has far more people interested in pursuing ordination than can reasonably hope to find employment in the Church. There are currently almost 30 people in the ordination process, a number that well surpasses the diocese’s current need for clergy for traditional parish positions. In addition, there is a significant number of unemployed and underemployed priests in the diocese who are seeking to be called to stipendiary ministries.

A Roman Catholic colleague once asked me if the Episcopal Church was also experiencing a clergy shortage. “No,” I said. “What we have is a shortage of lay people.” The work before us is to rebuild our congregations into the vital centers of Christian community, discipleship formation, and mission that Christ needs us to be. The ordination process, as with all other aspects of our diocesan life, is ultimately in service to that work.

Posted in Uncategorized

Roger Chesley–Getting ashes should be about more than convenience

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lent, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Mormons, Methodists meet to consider similarities, compare cultures, theology, music

Methodist and Latter-day Saint historians, theologians, preachers and congregants gathered Friday in Washington, D.C., like long-lost family members becoming reacquainted.

The common roots and differences between Methodists and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were explored at an interfaith conference titled “At the Crossroads, Again,” hosted by the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy and the Wesley Theological Center.

The Foundation for Religious Diplomacy exists to build trust and friendship between religious traditions which are often suspicious of each other, foundation president Randall Paul said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Methodist, Mormons, Other Churches, Other Faiths

(LA Times) Gas prices keep rising: $3.70 nationally, $4.29 in California

Going somewhere? It’ll cost you even more this week, with the national average price of a gallon of regular fuel now up to nearly $3.70 and rising 26 cents to $4.29 in California.

That’s up 14 cents a gallon from a week ago and a 29-cent increase from a month ago. A gallon is now more than 10% more expensive than the $3.35 it cost this time last year, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

But in California, drivers are wishing prices were still that low. The state’s average cost for a gallon is $4.29, compared to $4.03 a week ago. That’s nearly 15% more than the year-ago cost of $3.74 a gallon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Personal Finance

Kendall Harmon at Cathedral Church of the Advent (III): Right relationship with God (Philippians 3)

Check it out if you wish to listen to this recent sermon.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times Letter from Europe) Anglicans Seek a Quiet Strength

When the central heating broke down at a North London church midway through a snap of icy weather the other day, the vicar offered the faithful a choice: Attend another church for a cozier celebration, or display what he wryly called “muscular Christianity” by worshiping in a side chapel in their own, unheated church.

Perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, the muscular, if shivery, Christians seemed to outnumber those who headed for warmer pews ”” an indication, some might argue, that Britain’s established state religion can draw on doughty reserves in the face of adversity.

It might need to….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

Melanie Baker–What’s at Stake in the “Same-Sex Marriage” Debate?

Why is this important, and how does it affect even those who do not live in Maryland? Isn’t it best just to let people do what they want with their lives and leave well enough alone, as long as we are left in peace to do what we want with our lives? That’s a pipedream. This law is a misnomer, and its passage signals the destruction of, not greater protection for, marriage. Let me explain why.

First, let’s step back from the rhetoric and define our terms. Fundamentally, what defines a marriage? What makes it unique and distinct from all other human relationships? It is the only relationship that naturally leads to the procreation of a child, and, through its stability and mutual commitment, provides the optimal conditions to nurture and educate that child. Same-sex unions cannot achieve this biologically. Two women cannot conceive a child, nor can two men. Therefore, they simply cannot, naturally speaking, be “married,” for their relationship lacks the essential component of fertility. Sexual difference is an essential component of marriage.

Some will claim that homosexual partners raise children just as heterosexual ones do. But again, let’s step aside from the rhetoric and look at facts. Two lesbians who bring a child into the world through artificial insemination still require the male gamete necessary for fertilization to take place. Whether aware of him or not, the child of that lesbian couple actually does have a father.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sexuality, State Government

Kendall Harmon at Cathedral Church of the Advent (II): Developments in TEC (includes Bp of Alabama)

Part one is here and part two is there. You are encouraged to take the time to listen to (suffer through?) it all.

Please note–these are both audio files. The time begins with a short Q and A to introduce me to those present before the questions shift to the subject at hand. Note, too that Bishop Kee Sloan of Alabama was invited by the Dean, Frank Limehouse, to come, which he (graciously) chose to do. During the time, Dean Limehouse invited Bishop Sloan to speak, and he chose to do so. This covers a wide range of recent events/developments and will be of broad interest to many blog readers–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Commentary, Adult Education, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Christology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sermons & Teachings, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Data, Theology

Kendall Harmon at Cathedral Church of the Advent (I): Sermon on Matthew 14:22-31

Check it out if you wish to listen to it.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Robinson Calvalcanti his wife Miriam have died–Please pray

It is with deep sadness that the Anglican Church ”“ Diocese of Recife communicates the tragic death of the Right Reverend Bishop Edward Robinson de Barros Cavalcanti and of his wife Miriam Cavalcanti, which occurred this Sunday 26/02/2012 at around 10pm in the city of Olinda, Brazil.
The diocesan family give thanks to God for the dedicated ministry of its father in God, our pastor, teacher and friend, a true prophet and present day martyr, who fought for the cause of the Gospel of Christ, for the Church and for the Anglican Communion, and who always depended on his wife, a faithful co-servant who supported him throughout his years in ministry.
They exit unto Eternity, leaving a legacy of service, love and doctrinal faithfulness, to which the Diocese will continue to adhere.
We will presently inform the date of their burial.

Bishop Evilásio Tenório ”“ Bispo Suffragan Elect
Bishop Flávio Adair ”“ Bishop Suffragan Elect
Rev. Márcio Simões ”“ President of the Diocesan Council

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

An Interview with Richard Holloway, writer, broadcaster and former Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh

The implication is clear: to Holloway, the certainties of organised religion have little meaning other than, perhaps, as metaphor or poetry. If anyone derives spiritual consolation from them, that’s fine. He doesn’t ”“ and no longer having to defend things he doesn’t believe in is one of the great joys of his later life ”“ but he doesn’t want to cut himself off from Christianity altogether. Indeed, he still goes to church on average a couple of times a month ”“ usually to Old St Paul’s in Edinburgh, where he was rector from 1968-1980, in what he says, looking back, was the happiest time of his life. Occasionally, he even preaches there. “I’m like a member of the family who doesn’t support everything the family stands for but still wants to be associated with it. At my stage in life, it’s quite difficult to give up emotional allegiances.”

It was only several years after he had become Bishop of Edinburgh in 1986 that the tensions between being expected to uphold the orthodoxies of faith and his growing disbelief in the certainties of the system became too great. The last straw came over the refusal of the Lambeth Conference of 1998 to countenance the ordination of [non-celibate] gay ministers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Scottish Episcopal Church

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Spanish revolt brews as national economic rearmament begins in Europe

…[Italian Prime Minister Mario] Monti’s joint letter with twelve EU states last week calling for an end to self-defeating contraction marks a key moment in this crisis. If Francois Hollande is elected French president in May, the shift in Europe’s balance of power will be complete. Germany will lose its stifling grip on EU policy machinery. The EMU bloc will start to tilt towards reflation at long last.

Whether it can come soon enough to avert a social explosion across Europe’s arc of depression remains to be seen. Nor can such stimulus overcome the fundamental flaws of EMU since Germany is at an entirely place in the deform structure, with unemployment at 20-year lows of 5.5pc.

What is needed to save the South must endanger the North. Germany would overheat, pushing its inflation to 4pc or 5pc until Bild Zeitung erupts in Teutonic fury. It is impossible to reconcile the conflicting imperatives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NPR) Athena's Library, The Quirky Pillar Of Providence, Rhode Island

With a bit of reverence, librarians carefully wind an antique library clock near the circulation desk in a temple of learning called the Providence Athenaeum.

This is one of the oldest libraries in the United States, a 19th-century library with the soul of a 21st-century rave party. In fact, the Rhode Island institution has been called a national model for civic engagement….

Read (or better listen to) it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Art, Books, History, Urban/City Life and Issues

”˜The Artist’ wins best picture; Streep takes home third career Oscar

Meryl Streep knew what you were thinking Sunday when they called her name at the 84th annual Academy Awards:

“ ”˜Awwww, come on, her again?!?’ ” she joked, accepting a historic third career Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady….”

“The Artist” swept the competition, winning five awards, including best picture, best directing for Michel Hazanavicius, and best actor for Jean Dujardin. It may be the quirkiest feature in years to find favor with the showbiz establishment here ”” black-and-white, French, and did we mention it’s a silent movie? But the charming tribute to Hollywood’s early days had scooped up so many other awards this year it was considered a lock for the Oscar.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

A Prayer for the Feast Day of George Herbert

Our God and King, who didst call thy servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in thy temple: Give unto us the grace, we beseech thee, joyfully to perform the tasks thou givest us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for thy sake; 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, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Poetry & Literature, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We confess to thee, O heavenly Father, as thy children, our hardness, indifference, and impenitence; our grievous failures in pure and holy living; our trust in self, and misuse of thy gifts; our timorousness as thy witnesses before the world; and the sin and bitterness that every man knoweth in his own heart. Give us, O Father, contrition and meekness of soul; grace to amend our sinful life; and the holy comfort of thy Spirit to overcome and heal all our evils; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sos’thenes, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

–1 Corinthians 1:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Nigeria unrest: Suicide bomb targets church in Jos

A suicide car bomber has killed at least three people at a church in the troubled central Nigerian city of Jos, sparking reprisals by Christian youths.

Witnesses said the suicide bomber drove his car into the prominent Church of Christ during morning prayers.

The radical Islamist sect Boko Haram later said that it carried out the attack.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

Letters in Response to the Observer Editorial on Faith and Reason

Read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

The Observer Editorial–Let's avoid a clash of faith and reason

The reaction to the [recent] ruling [on local Council prayer] has been equally overblown and peevish. The Muslim minister Baroness Warsi said that “a militant secularisation”¦ that”¦ demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes” is taking hold in Britain. George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, has claimed that “there are deep forces in western society, hollowing out the values of Christianity and driving them back to the margins”.

Well, not really. One could argue that steadily declining congregations and a crisis in vocations are already performing that task perfectly adequately. But how then to explain the fury of atheist scientist Richard Dawkins? The UK branch of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science recently commissioned a poll from Ipsos Mori, which examined in detail the beliefs of the 72% of respondents who said in the 2001 census they were Christian. Dawkins thought that number too high. His pollsters discovered that when directly questioned the number of Christians dropped to 54%. Of that diminished percentage, many never read the Bible, went to church regularly or knew the name of the first book of the New Testament (Matthew).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Andrew McCarthy on Afghanistan–Have we Officially lost our Minds?

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention.

Of course, these facts may not become widely known, because no one is supposed to mention the main significance of what has happened here. First, as usual, Muslims ”” not al-Qaeda terrorists, but ordinary, mainstream Muslims ”” are rioting and murdering over the burning (indeed, the inadvertent burning) of a book…

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Islam, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Violence, War in Afghanistan

Laura Story tells the Story of her Remarkable Song "Blessings"

The album that I did three to four years ago happened right after my husband went through surgery for a brain tumor. So a lot of the ideas that I was writing about then were just very fresh, about how do we worship in the midst of trials. So fast forwarding a few years later, a lot of things have changed. A lot of things have gotten better with his health, and a lot of things have not. We pray for God to bless us, but what does it look like when I spend four or so years praying for healing for my husband that never comes? I feel like we’ve kind of gotten to a place of having to make a choice. Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances that we don’t understand, or are we going to choose to judge our circumstances based on what we know to be true about God? Not that I choose the right thing every day, but I’m learning that every morning when I wake up to choose to trust God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Music, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Sunday Afternoon Music–Laura Story's "Blessings"

I don’t think much of a lot of contemporary Christian music, but this song is a glaring exception. I thought of it in part because it was done during the offertory at worship this morning where I serve (Christ Saint Paul’s, Yonges Island, S.C.) Take the time to listen to it all and to take in some of the circumstances that led to the writing of the song–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Music, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress

Thomas Friedman on America, Oil, the Economy and the Environment

….Bloomberg News reported last week that “the U.S. is the closest it has been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency. … Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years. The U.S. is producing so much natural gas that, where the government warned four years ago of a critical need to boost imports, it now may approve an export terminal.” As a result, “the U.S. has reversed a two-decade-long decline in energy independence, increasing the proportion of demand met from domestic sources over the last six years to an estimated 81 percent through the first 10 months of 2011.” This transformation could make the U.S. the world’s top energy producer by 2020, raise more tax revenue, free us from worrying about the Middle East, and, if we’re smart, build a bridge to a much cleaner energy future.

All of this is good news, but it will come true at scale only if these oil and gas resources can be extracted in an environmentally sustainable manner. This can be done right, but we need a deal between environmentalists and the oil and gas industry to lock it in ”” now.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Religion, Spirituality, and the Movies

Read and watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

Blast Injures U.S. Soldiers as Riots Rage in Afghanistan

A grenade thrown by Afghan protesters wounded at least six American service members in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said, as new details emerged in the investigation of the shooting death of two American officers within the Interior Ministry building the day before.

Rioting continued across the country on Sunday as anger over the burning of Korans by the American military continued unabated, putting the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States on shaky new ground. At least one Afghan was killed in clashes with the Afghan police.

A few details of the killing within the Interior Ministry were emerging, although many reports offered conflicting views of what had happened. According to three Afghan security officials familiar with the case, the main suspect was Abdul Saboor, who was said to have worked in the ministry for more than a year as a driver. The two American officers who were killed were shot in the head and the pistol used to kill them was equipped with a silencer, the officials said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan