Daily Archives: February 28, 2012

Splinter churches realign mainline Protestantism

The question now is whether these breakaway groups signal a seismic shift in American Protestantism, or just a few fissures in the theological terrain.

In some ways, the rifts are nothing new. American Protestants have been splintering since Roger Williams left Plymouth Colony in the 1630s, said Nancy Ammerman, a sociologist of religion at Boston University.

Yet the schisms counter a 20th-century trend in which ethnic and regional Protestant groups merged to form big-tent denominations such as the ELCA and PC(USA).

“What we may be experiencing at this point is the limit of that movement to draw a lot of diversity under one umbrella,” said Ammerman, author of “Pillars of Faith: American Congregations and Their Partners.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Wowow! The recent Cristiano Ronaldo BackHeel goal

Watch it all–my oh my; KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Spain, Sports

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2012: Love Unknown

Ruth Burrows has always been a very challenging writer on the life of prayer. When I first encountered her work in the early seventies, I was deeply struck by what she had to say about two things.

The first was about living with the disconnect between what you ”˜know’ is true and couldn’t live without and what you are actually feeling at any given moment. As with the great Carmelite teachers of prayer, St Teresa and St John of the Cross, this isn’t about ignoring, fearing or despising your feelings: it’s about not letting them dictate your deepest commitments. They are real, and they are powerful, they need to be recognized and accepted. But they are only part of the picture of how you make sense of yourself before God. Sister Ruth’s own autobiographical book, Before the Living God, recently republished, spells this out with painful clarity.

The second main theme is what puts this first one into proper perspective….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

More on Robinson Cavalcanti and his wife (II)–Two Nice Comments from a [London] Times article

Bishop John Ellison, the former Bishop of Paraguay who is now an assistant bishop in the Winchester diocese, told The Times: “I have known Bishop Cavalcanti for over 30 years, from when he was involved in student ministry in the South American scene. He was held in high regard as a Christian leader across South America. He was regarded as a key person by political leaders across the continent.”

Bishop Henry Scriven, the South American mission director for the Church Mission Society, said: “It is with great shock and sadness that we heard the news this morning of the death last night of Bishop and Mrs Cavalcanti. Bishop Robinson was a fearless defender of the faith and had a heart for the poor and the disadvantaged. His wife Miriam was a great support at all times and they were known for their hospitality. The Diocese experienced significant growth in Bishop Robinson’s episcopate.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Brazil, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, South America

More on Robinson Cavalcanti and his wife (I)–Anglican Ink article

A truly horrible story–read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Brazil, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, South America

(The Global Mail) Jess Hill on Syria–In Baba Amr, Snipers Shoot at Everything that Moves

Twenty-eight thousand men, women and children are trapped in Baba Amr. Last week, before American journalist Marie Colvin was killed alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik, Colvin reported that the Syrian army had dug a trench around the neighbourhood, making it almost impossible for residents to escape. On Monday, activists reported that 64 people were killed at a checkpoint in Homs. They were trying to flee Baba Amr.

Medical supplies aren’t just running low in the besieged suburb – they’re practically nonexistent. “People come to you with a huge injury, and you can’t do anything more than wrap their injury with a bandage,” he says. “After you go to the field hospital, and take what you can from the two or three doctors, you can’t do anything else. You have to go back home, or to the shelters we have, waiting for some miracle to happen.”

Read it all (be forewarned–a lot of disturbing content).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

(USA Today) Workers fear more cuts in retirement benefits

The economic recovery has not made Americans feel more secure about their financial future. In fact, many workers fear more cuts in retirement benefits and higher out-of-pocket health care costs, according to a survey by Towers Watson, a retirement consulting firm.

As a result of their worries, more than half, 55%, of workers say they are willing to give up some of their future pay increases in order to have more guaranteed income in retirement, the survey found. And 50% say they would also trade a portion of their pay to ensure health care benefits.

“This may reflect their firsthand experience with financial market volatility, continuing worries about the economy and fears of future cutbacks to benefits,” said Kevin Wagner, Towers Watson senior retirement consultant.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pensions, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Barna Group–Survey on how How Pastors Plan to Improve their Churches

The nationwide research project was conducted by asking pastors in what ways they are likely to improve their churches in the next year. Respondents were presented with 12 possible activities and asked to rate the priority of each activity. Many, though not all, of these 12 activities related to getting assistance, expertise or resources from organizations outside the church.

Looking at the big picture of the research findings, pastors revealed that assessment was a significant strategic priority of today’s faith leaders. Of the dozen priorities examined in the study, pastors are most interested in getting clarity about their organization’s vision and mission. In all, 59% said they were “definitely” going to “assess your church’s vision and mission” in the next year. Out of the 12 improvement priorities assessed in the study, this easily ranked as highest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Eviction of St Paul’s activists begins

Police and bailiffs moved in to evict protesters from the Occupy London site at St Paul’s Cathedral in the early hours of this morning.

The City of London Corporation said in a statement that it had begun to enforce High Court orders for the removal of the protest camp, which began on October 15 last year.

The corporation had called on protesters at the camp to remove their tents voluntarily, but the BBC estimated between 50 and 60 remained there today.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Christopher Lamb–Richard Dawkins' debate with Rowan Williams showed some telling misconceptions

During the debate, it seemed that at the heart of Dawkins’ difficulty with faith is his impoverished view of God and is failure to grasp more than the most simplistic understanding.
Towards the end he asked the archbishop: “Why don’t you see the extraordinary beauty of the idea that we can explain the world, life, how it started, from nothing? … Why clutter it up with something so messy as a god?”

Dr Williams replied that he doesn’t see clutter: “I’m not thinking of God as being shoehorned in.”

Dawkins then said: “That is exactly how I see God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Archbishop of Canterbury, Atheism, Education, England / UK, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

The Archbishop of York's Statement on the Proposed Controversial and Harsh Bill in Uganda

“The Anglican Church in Uganda submitted its views on David Bahati’s Private Member’s Bill formally when it was first tabled, and made clear that they were not in favour of introducing a death penalty for homosexuality. I completely support that position.

“It is important that across the world we stand in solidarity with people, flesh of our flesh, who are being in many cases victimized or demonized because of their sexual orientation….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Church of Uganda, Law & Legal Issues, Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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