Daily Archives: February 15, 2012

(CNN Belief Blog) Stephen Prothero–Linsanity vs. Tebowmania, key similarities and differences

Lin is also a born-again Christian whose fans love him as much for cultural and religious intangibles as for his ability in his sport.

In a 2010 interview with Timothy Dalrymple of Patheos.com, Lin said he was raised in the church and became a Christian in high school. In college, he played “for the glory of God.” After his career-high 38 point performance against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, he said, “I just give all the praise to God.”

But Lin, who told Sports Illustrated in 2010 that he wants to be a pastor post-NBA, also has another intangible going for him””his Chinese-American heritage. Yes, the “Linsanity” is driven by his performance on the court, but it’s also driven by his Taiwanese descent, and the fact that he is one of a handful of Asian Americans to make it to the NBA.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Religion & Culture, Sports

[(London) Times] ”˜Ambushed’ Richard Dawkins seeks help from on high in Christianity debate

Richard Dawkins was crossing proverbial swords with Giles Fraser, the Canon of St Paul’s, on the findings of a poll by his foundation which found that many people who describe themselves as Christian have low levels of belief and little or no practice.

Dr Dawkins claimed that self-identified Christians were “not really Christian at all” because an “astonishing number” couldn’t identify the first book in the New Testament (Matthew) during questioning for the poll.

Dr Fraser then challenged the country’s top Darwinist to name the full title of The Origin Of Species…[which Dr. Dawkins was unable to do]….Dr Dawkins later accused Dr Fraser of an “ambush”.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Atheism, Books, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BBC) Mormons baptise deceased parents of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the news.

“We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon temples,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a spokesman at the centre.

The Mormon religion allows baptism after death, and believes the departed soul can then accept or reject the baptismal rites.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Mormons, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(Washington Post) Chinese blocked visit by U.S. religious freedom envoy, advocates say

Chinese officials denied a visa to a top State Department envoy and refused to meet with her to discuss issues of religious freedom days before this week’s high-profile visit to Washington by China’s vice president, according to rights advocates and others.

Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, was scheduled to travel to China on Feb. 8, according to several rights advocates who were invited to brief her ahead of the visit. But as the date drew near, Chinese leaders refused to grant her meetings with government officials.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Mirror) Andrew Penman in response to Baroness Warsi–Keep religion private

Religion plays no part at all in the lives of the vast majority of the population – apart from when it forces its way in. I’m thinking of when some “believers” think it perfectly all right to murder random London commuters, or when you try to get your child into the local state school but find that one religion or another has monopolised the admission’s policy.

Faith, says Baroness Warsi, needs “a seat at the table in public life”. That, I think, can be translated as “faith should be allowed to influence public life”.

Why? Why should we allow minority beliefs to influence public policy?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Baroness Warsi's speech on 'militant secularism' in full

It all hinges on a basic misconception:

That somehow to create equality and space for minority faiths and cultures we need to erase our majority religious heritage.

But it is my belief that the societies we are, the cultures we’ve created, the values we hold and the things we fight for…

…stem from something we’ve argued over, dissented from, discussed and built up:

Centuries of Christianity.

It’s what the Holy Father called the “unrenounceable Christian roots of [our] culture and civilisation”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Jeremy Lin Does it Again

Wowowow–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Men, Sports

In New Zealand, Christ Church Cathedral slowly 'rocking to pieces'

The Christ Church Cathedral is slowly “rocking herself to pieces”, according to its project manager.

Last night, the cathedral’s project manager, RCP’s Marcus Read, told TV3’s Campbell Live every aftershock was bringing the end of the building closer.

“She’s actually done pretty well as a building. The engineer says she continues to rock back and forth with every event and she’s slowly rocking herself to pieces,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry

In North Carolina Same Sex Marriage debate goes to church

Faith leaders urged Cleveland County residents to vote against a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in North Carolina last week.

A panel discussion at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Shelby on Feb. 8 sparked spirited debate on Amendment No. 1, which would, if passed, define marriage between a man and woman as “the only domestic legal union that will be valid or recognized in this state.”

Those in favor say the amendment safeguards the sanctity of marriage, promoting the traditional family unit: a mother and a father. Cleveland County’s state lawmakers, including Reps. Tim Moore, Kelly Hastings and Mike Hager, all voted to place the amendment on the ballot.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government, TEC Parishes, Theology

(Economist) Religion and the Communist Party

There was a time when Devon Chang had difficulty reconciling his two chosen faiths: Christianity, which he embraced in 2005 at the age of 19, and the Communist Party of China, which had embraced him a year earlier. Did his submission to an almighty God not mean he must renounce the godless club of Marx and Mao?

Not necessarily. A fellow convert’s university lecturer suggested that if all Communist Party members found Jesus, then Christianity could rule China. “So it’s a good thing for me to become a Christian,” Mr Chang reasoned.

The party does not quite see it that way.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(ABC Aus.) Religion and Ethics Report: The battle for the soul of Egyptian Islam

Andrew West: Are there any parties in the parliament that we in the west would recognise as being vaguely liberal, or social democratic?

Jess Hill: Yes, the Al-Wafd party, which is one of the oldest parties in Egypt, that was probably the third most popular party. And then there’s a conglomerate of smaller liberal parties. Really, the people calling the shots are the Brotherhood. And then in second priority is the Salafi party Al-Nour.

Andrew West: What implications do these results hold for the impending presidential elections in June?

Jess Hill: It certainly feels like every person you speak to has a different opinion. But essentially most people agree that a presidential candidate will need the backing of the Brotherhood in order to succeed. So, I think, you know, there’s a few favourites, there’s one candidate who is a former Muslim Brotherhood member, who has got a lot of respect from both people within the Brotherhood and from the secularists. That’s looking like a possibility, but you wouldn’t see somebody of the ilk of al-Barad’i, for example, who’s dropped out of the candidacy, winning the elections. They are definitely going to have to be able to step in line at least somewhat with the Brotherhood.

Andrew West: If the Islamists, broadly speaking, control almost three-quarters of the parliament, how monolithic or diverse is that Muslim block?

Jess Hill: It’s very diverse.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) On the Web, a growing market for Encounters with People who are not your Spouse

“The day after Valentine’s Day is one of our biggest days of the year,” says [Noel] Biderman, founder and CEO of Ashley Madison, a 10-year-old site that unapologetically caters to “discreet” encounters for the married or otherwise attached. “People are disappointed by their spouses’ lack of effort, and they feel especially undervalued when there is a societal expectation of romance. Certain days of the year act as litmus tests for many people in relationships.”

Websites designed to facilitate cheating appear to be thriving; some earn tens of millions of dollars a year, and competition is growing. In addition to Toronto-based Ashley Madison, there’s a growing crop of copycats that equate affairs with romance, passion and adventure.

Whether these sites promote cheating or just facilitate it is up for debate….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Theology, Women

(ENS) Quincy, Chicago dioceses meet to discuss possible future together

Representatives from the Episcopal Dioceses of Quincy and Chicago recently met at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Peoria to “explore the possibility” of reunification of the two dioceses, Provisional Bishop of Quincy John Buchanan said in a press release.

Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago, who attended Quincy’s special reorganizing synod of April 2009 in a show of support, said “We want to see what God has in mind. We are here with ears wide open.”

Attendees at the Feb. 8 meeting included both bishops, certain diocesan staff members and other lay and clergy leaders.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas Bray

O God of compassion, who didst open the eyes of thy servant Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World, and didst lead him to found societies to meet those needs: Make the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Missions, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, heavenly Father, who by thy Son hast made all things in heaven and earth, and yet desirest to draw to thyself our uncompelled love and devotion: Grant us grace to understand the manifestation of thy Son Christ the Lord and Saviour of mankind, and to engage all our affections in thy service, and labour to spread the gospel among those who know him not; that when he shall come again in great glory he may find a people gladly awaiting his kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Euchologium Anglicanum

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

–John 10:9-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(New York Review of Books) Diane Ravitch–Schools We Can Envy

In Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?, Pasi Sahlberg explains how his nation’s schools became successful. A government official, researcher, and former mathematics and science teacher, Sahlberg attributes the improvement of Finnish schools to bold decisions made in the 1960s and 1970s. Finland’s story is important, he writes, because “it gives hope to those who are losing their faith in public education.”

Detractors say that Finland performs well academically because it is ethnically homogeneous, but Sahlberg responds that “the same holds true for Japan, Shanghai or Korea,” which are admired by corporate reformers for their emphasis on testing. To detractors who say that Finland, with its population of 5.5 million people, is too small to serve as a model, Sahlberg responds that “about 30 states of the United States have a population close to or less than Finland.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Budget, Children, City Government, Economy, Education, Europe, Finland, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

3 Episcopal parishes in Albany seek to use DEPO

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Parishes

(AllAfrica) Ntazinda Ordained Bishop of Kibungo Diocese in Rwanda

[Emmanuel] Ntazinda said he intends to embark on developmental projects, by sensitising Christians to form cooperatives.

“I have a very wide agenda…primarily to preach the word of God. But I will also sensitise church followers to embrace the culture of working in cooperatives. I will also promote education by working closely with all stakeholders,” he pronounced.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda