Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

Association of American Colleges and Universities Ponders Religion on College Campuses

Professors at Elon University in North Carolina, which is no longer affiliated with its founder, the United Church of Christ, agree that understanding religion is clearly an important component to global citizenry, said Peter Felten, an assistant provost at Elon and director of its Center for Advancement of Teaching and Learning. “But,” he continued, “almost all of our faculty will say, ‘It’s just not an important issue in my course.’ ”

While students may not be especially religious in the sense of attending services or identifying with a particular faith, their spirituality in college — the search for meaning and purpose in life, and asking existential questions — is on the rise, recent research has found. Yet the majority of these students also said their professors never encouraged discussions of religious or spiritual matters.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(U.K. Chief Rabbi) Jonathan Sacks–A quiet leadership of influence seeks no power but changes lives

I think of the heroes of my lifetime, leaders from Martin Luther King to Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, who gave the hopeless hope; people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who taught us that the best thing you can do with money is give it away in a noble cause; and the unsung heroes of our hospitals, schools and local communities who daily remind us that happiness lies in what we give to the world not what we take from it. Some of these had power, others didn’t, but what made them great was influence, the way they inspired others and spoke to the better angels of their nature.

Not all of us have power. But we all have influence, whether we seek it or not. We make the people around us better or worse than they might otherwise have been. Worse if we infect them with our materialism or cynicism, better if we inspire them with what Wordsworth called “the best portion” of a good life, our “little, nameless, unremembered acts / of kindness and of love.” That quiet leadership of influence seeks no power but it changes lives. In tough times like now we need it more than ever.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Judaism, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(Vatican Radio) Sister Patricia Murray–Solidarity and hope for South Sudan

Born in Ireland, Sister Patricia Murray is a Loreto Sister and the Executive Director of an organisation called Solidarity with South Sudan.
As news reports tell of continuing violence and dispute in Africa’s newest nation, Sister Patricia is adamant that its story of hope and peace-building find its rightful place in the news, and in the history of the country, which she says, has enormous potential to develop.
Sister Patricia told Linda Bordoni that “Solidarity with South Sudan” is a consortium of more than 170 religious congregations, and carries forward a number of projects to train teachers, nurses and pastoral personnel in different locations throughout South Sudan.
She explains that “Solidarity” is an act of communion between religious institutes of men and women, which are members of the Unions of Superiors General and the Church in South Sudan under the direction of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
And as is illustrated on the organisation’s website, after decades of civil war, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in January 2005, the bishops of South Sudan invited the USG/UISG to consider the needs of their people. Following a consultative process it became clear that projects related to education, health and pastoral care are needed if the goals of the CPA are to be achieved.

Read the rest and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Education, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sudan, Violence

(CS Monitor) Africa asks itself: Where is the aid money?

Five months ago, in a grand auditorium and beneath a cinema-sized screen scrolling images of starving children, Africa’s leaders gathered to promise an end to a growing food crisis.

Aid appeals were being revised upwards weekly, highlighting just how severe the situation had gotten: By the time of that meeting, the first ever famine fund-raising conference by Africa for Africa, the amount needed to keep 12 million people from dying for a lack of food was nearing $1.5 billion.

What aid agencies call “traditional donors” ”“ among them the US, Europe, Japan, Australia, The World Bank ”“ were, belatedly, pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the United Nations’ appeal account. By the close of the meeting, at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Ethiopia in August, more than $350 million had been pledged from the governments of a third of the continent’s countries and the African Development Bank. Until then Africa’s own contribution to keep its starving citizens alive had been paltry….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General

(LA Times) Facebook files for Initial Public Offering

Ending months of breathless speculation, the 8-year-old social networking company has submitted registration documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that set preliminary goal of $5 billion.

Facebook had discussed raising as much as $10 billion. Final pricing will not be set for months, and the size of the IPO probably will increase with investor demand.

The filing sets the stage for an IPO in May.

The important stats right off the bat: 845 million users; 483 million daily users; annual revenue of $3.7 billion; $1.8 billion in operating income and $1 billion net income.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector

Panetta Sets End to Afghan Combat Role for U.S. in 2013

In a major milestone toward ending a decade of war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on Wednesday that American forces would step back from a combat role there as early as mid-2013, more than a year before all American troops are scheduled to come home.

Mr. Panetta cast the decision as an orderly step in a withdrawal process long planned by the United States and its allies, but his comments were the first time that the United States had put a date on stepping back from its central role in the war. The defense secretary’s words reflected the Obama administration’s eagerness to bring to a close the second of two grinding ground wars it inherited from the Bush administration.

Promising the end of the American combat mission in Afghanistan next year would also give Mr. Obama a certain applause line in his re-election stump speech this year.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

Another Superbowl Ad–The 2012 Acura NSX with Jerry Seinfeld

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Sports

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from this past Sunday on the Authority of Jesus

Listen to it all should you wish to.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) One Soldier's Progress Against Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the guests in the congressional gallery at last week’s State of the Union address was Roxana Delgado, an advocate for soldiers returning home with traumatic brain injuries. Her husband, an army sergeant who NPR profiled in June, 2010, had been dramatically affected by the concussion he received from a roadside blast in Iraq.

The story, reported and produced with ProPublica, detailed Victor Medina’s inability to read, speak and think. Prior to his injury, he was in charge of 45 to 60 other soldiers in Iraq.

But as a result of the reports by NPR and ProPublica, a member of congress investigated treatment of soldiers at Fort Bliss and last spring, Medina became one of the first patients at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICOE), the military’s $65 million, state-of-the-art treatment center for brain-injured soldiers….

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Science & Technology

([London] Times) Church pays homage to Queen with Jubilee prayers

The Church of England has published three new prayers written to mark the Queen’s Jubilee this summer. Two of them are part of a new celebration liturgy and are intended specially to be said by children.
The main prayer, commended for use thoughout the land by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, was written at the Queen’s direction by the Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral.
It will be used in the Jubilee Thanksgiving Service at the Cathedral on Tuesday June 5.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast of the Presentation

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Look upon our lives, O Lord our God, and make them thine in the power of thy Holy Spirit; that we may walk in thy way, faithfully believing thy Word, and faithfully doing thy commandments; faithfully serving thee, and faithfully serving our neighbour; to the furtherance of thy glorious kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Diocese of York, U.K.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

–John 6:60-70

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Nigerians mourn Christmas Day Church Bomb Victims

Thousands of mourners in Nigeria have attended the burial service for people killed at a church on Christmas Day.

The BBC’s Chris Ewokor at St Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla near the capital, Abuja, said the service sheets listed the names of 43 victims.

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram said it carried out a series of attacks on 25 December 2011.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Death / Burial / Funerals, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

([London] Times) Some C of E Clergy Revolt over Same-Sex Civil Partnership Ceremonies Ban

Nearly a hundred clergy in the London diocese, one of the most traditionalist in the country, have signed a letter demanding the same rights for priests to hold civil partnership ceremonies in their churches as they have to celebrate the marriages of divorced couples.

The Government ended the prohibition on civil partnerships in religious buildings at the end of last year, but the Church has told its clergy that they cannot register their churches for the ceremonies unless the Church’s governing body first approves the change.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Steven Heyward on the Episcopal Church's Revealing new Poster

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture

Orlando's First Presbyterian votes to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA)

The 1,759 to 185 vote exceeded the two-thirds majority needed to seek dismissal from the PC (USA). The 3,600-member First Presbyterian is the largest Presbyterian church in Florida and fourth largest in the nation.

“Change is never easy,” said Senior Pastor David Swanson, “but I believe our congregation has prayerfully discerned God’s leading for us, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for First Presbyterian Church as she embarks on this new phase of ministry and service for his sake.”

First Presbyterian has been losing membership in recent years and blamed some of that on PC (USA) doctrines that permitted the ordination of gay deacons, elders and clergy. Some also blamed the decline on doctrines that quest questioned the Bible as the literal word of God and Jesus Christ as the only salvation.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

(BP) T.D. Jakes says he has embraced doctrine of the Trinity

Bishop T.D. Jakes says he has moved away from a “Oneness” view of the Godhead to embrace an orthodox definition of the Trinity — and that some in the Oneness Pentecostal movement now consider him a heretic.

Jakes — long a controversial figure among evangelicals because of his past unwillingness to affirm the Trinity — stated his belief Wednesday (Jan. 27) at the second-annual Elephant Room (theelephantroom.com), an event that brings together Christian figures from different backgrounds for what organizers call “conversations you never thought you’d hear.” This year’s Elephant Room was held at Harvest Bible Chapel in Illinois and was simulcast to other locations nationwide.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology