Daily Archives: February 24, 2012

John Turner: Mormons and Baptism by Proxy

What do George Washington, Albert Einstein and Stanley Ann Durham (Barack Obama’s mother) have in common? Mormons have baptized each of them by proxy, performing a temple rite they believe gives human beings a posthumous opportunity to obtain salvation.

Researchers recently discovered that Mormons had similarly baptized the parents of famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, whose mother died in a Nazi extermination camp in 1942. And one Mormon recently proposed for proxy baptism the still-living Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.

This esoteric practice doesn’t always provoke complaints””President Obama refused to comment on his mother’s case, for instance””but it has strained Mormon-Jewish relations over the past two decades.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Eschatology, Judaism, Mormons, Other Faiths, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Cost of $10 Billion Stimulus Easier to Tally Than New Jobs

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida Gives Back $175,000 to Congregations

This spring, The Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida will share $175,000 with its member congregations, a result of nearly 100 percent parish giving to the Diocese in 2011.

“We have attained a new culminating point in this ongoing labor towards maintaining a healthy, well-functioning diocese,” said Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith in a Feb. 2, 2012 letter to vestries. “In 2011 alone, our congregations prioritized their participation by contributing apportionment on a monthly basis, with all but 2 percent paid by year’s end.”

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

Alicia Elder–Why You Shouldn't Give Up Twitter For Lent

If you’re thinking about giving up Twitter for Lent, here’s one reason not to….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent

TEC's SCLM statement concerning inconsistencies in Holy Week liturgies

The 2006 General Convention resolved that “the Revised Common Lectionary shall be the Lectionary of this Church, amending the Lectionary on pp. 889-921 of the Book of Common Prayer,” but did not deal with the resultant inconsistencies of pages within the Book of Common Prayer itself.

In anticipation of Holy Week 2012, the second year that the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is required for use in The Episcopal Church, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music recommends that congregations use the RCL lections during Holy Week 2012. In our report to the 77th General Convention, the SCLM will formally propose a resolution to remove the inconsistencies between the RCL and BCP.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Martin Marty Reflects on Atheism, Religion and Alain de Botton

“Any attempt to speak without speaking any particular language is not more hopeless than the attempt to have a religion that shall be no religion in particular. . . . Thus every living and healthy religion has a marked idiosyncrasy. Its power consists in its special and surprising message and in the bias which that revelation gives to life.” Its vistas and mysteries propound “another world to live in,” and “another world to live in. . . is what we mean by having a religion.”

De Botton’s work is a laudable critique of what goes wrong in the old religions, which he seems to envy and about which he is nostalgic. “The religions” could take lessons from some of what he proposes. But it does not transcend the merely secular world, and does not appear to offer “another world to live in.” We’ll watch.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Books, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Judgment by employment tribunal upholds clergy office-holder status

The chairman of the House of Clergy in the diocese of Worcester, Canon Stuart Currie, has welcomed a judgment by the Birmingham employment tribunal that clergy are office- holders rather than employees.

The Employment Judge, Alan McCarry, made the ruling after a claim brought by the former Rector of Teme Valley South, near Tenbury Wells, the Revd Mark Sharpe (News, 2 December). Mr Sharpe (above) claims that the Bishop and the diocese of Worcester failed to protect him from a catalogue of abuse and bullying at the hands of parishioners in his “toxic parish”.

The diocese rejected his claims, and, at a five-day preliminary hearing at the Birming­ham employment tribunal in November, argued that Mr Sharpe had no right to bring a claim to an employment tribunal, because, as a Church of England parish priest with freehold incumbent status, he was an office- holder, not an employee or worker.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Friday Morning Mental Health Break–The Best of Dogs Saying Grace Before Meals

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Posted in * General Interest, Animals

Leading Birmingham Philosopher of Religion John Hick dies at the age of 90

Politicians and academics have paid tribute to a world-renowned Birmingham philosopher who “would not flinch from controversy” and who was once accused of heresy.

Professor John Hick, seen by many as the most influential philosopher of religion of recent times, has died just weeks after celebrating his 90th birthday.

The former University of Birmingham academic and church minister is remembered for helping to stop South African apartheid-era cricketers playing in Birmingham.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Inter-Faith Relations, Parish Ministry, Philosophy, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

(AP) Slaying of Christian in northern Nigeria increases religious tensions

Police discovered the body of a 79-year-old Christian woman killed in northeast Nigeria, with a note in Arabic left on her chest reading: “We will get you soon,” a witness said Thursday.

The slaying raises religious tensions in Nigeria as a radical Islamist sect increasingly targets Christians in its bloody attacks. While police said they knew of no immediate suspects in the killing, witnesses blamed the attack on the sect known as Boko Haram, which has been blamed for killing at least 305 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthais

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, long-suffering and of great goodness, we confess to thee with our whole heart our neglect and forgetfulness of thy commandments, our wrong doing, speaking and thinking, the harm we have done to others, and the good we have left undone. O God, forgive thy people who have sinned against thee, and raise us to newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:4-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Time Magazine) 10 Questions for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The book seems to suggest that you think African-American kids have lost touch with the struggles of their forebears. Do you?

Absolutely. They came into a world where, after these battles had been fought, they have a lot more opportunities and the ability to see themselves as being able to go anywhere and do anything. We have to maintain continuity by giving them the history of what the struggle was all about….

Is the U.S. in a postracial era in professional sports?

I don’t think we’ll ever be postracial, because of the fear and anxiety of dealing with the other ”” people who aren’t like you. But the ability of racism to distort and corrode our society has become a lot less.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Islam, Men, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sports

(AP) Ohio Methodist Church Offers Drive-Thru for Ash Wednesday

An Ohio church is offering a drive-thru Ash Wednesday blessing for parishioners pressed for time or reluctant to come inside the church for the Lenten observance.

The Rev. Patricia Anderson Cook of Mt. Healthy United Methodist Church in suburban Cincinnati offered the ashes Wednesday evening for people of all faiths beginning around 5 p.m. in the church parking lot. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, which concludes after 40 days with the celebration of Easter, and the faithful traditionally have a smudged cross drawn on their forehead.

Bridget Spitler, the church’s secretary and building manager, said the church had received a lot of positive feedback for offering the drive-thru ashes.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture