Daily Archives: March 4, 2012

'Bad Girls of the Bible' study series offered at Hackettstown, N.J., Episcopal church

Jezebel and Delilah have plenty to teach contemporary Christian women, according to Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them. In her book, Higgs tells fictionalized, contemporary stories based on the lives of biblical characters including Eve, Potiphar’s wife, and the woman at the well. In verse-by-verse commentary, Higgs summarizes each life’s lessons and provides a list of questions for personal consideration or group discussion. The overall message of each chapter is the same: “Good Girls and Bad Girls both need a Savior. The goodness of your present life can’t open the doors of heaven for you. The badness of your past life can’t keep you out either, “ said -Michael Joseph Gross, for Amazon.com reviews.

St. James’ Episcopal Church is an open, inclusive and caring faith community that embraces diversity and celebrates the joy of Christ….

Read it all. Also please note that you may find the parish website there.

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

New Jersey Muslims, officials discuss NYPD surveillance

New Jersey’s attorney general told Muslim leaders Saturday that he was still looking into the extent of New York Police Department surveillance operations in the state, yet stopped short of promising a formal investigation during a meeting that both sides characterized as productive.

Leaders from different New Jersey Muslim organizations met with Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and state and federal law enforcement officials for nearly three hours in Trenton to discuss concerns over the NYPD’s activities in the state.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government

(AP) Some Stories of survival emerge from the Rubble of the recent Brutal Storms

The stories from tornado survivors across the South and Midwest were remarkable: schoolchildren took cover under desks, people hunkered down in a church basement or hid out in a bank vault. One family even piled on top of one another for protection.

One story had yet to be told. A toddler was found alive and alone in a field near her Indiana home. Her four immediate family members were among at least 38 people killed by tornadoes that scarred communities scattered across hundreds of miles of the nation’s midsection from Alabama to Indiana.

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Posted in * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Urges Catholics to Become More Active in Politics

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan told Roman Catholics on Saturday that in an era when the church was fighting the government on several fronts, they needed to make their voices heard more clearly in the political sphere.

Speaking at a diocesan convocation on public policy here, Cardinal Dolan, who is the archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, “We are called to be very active, very informed and very involved in politics.”

The cardinal’s speech came in advance of the church’s annual lobbying day in Albany, scheduled for March 13.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Statement of Cardinal Edwin O’Brien on the Maryland Senate’s Vote to Redefine Marriage

Upon returning from Rome this evening, Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, issued the following statement on the Maryland Senate’s vote to redefine marriage in Maryland.

“Though not a surprise, today’s vote to redefine marriage in the State of Maryland by some members of the State Senate, is no less troubling for it places Maryland one step closer to the dismantling of the most fundamental social institution in all of society.

“The Catholic Church, like others throughout western civilization for thousands of years, has regarded marriage for its unique gifts rooted in nature, and respected that only God alone–not the Church and not government”“bestows the true meaning upon this relationship that He created….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, State Government

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Reacts to "Civil Marriage Protection Act" Vote

On Thursday, February 23, the Maryland General Assembly voted 25-22 in favor of Senate Bill 241, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which is summarized as: “Altering a provision of law to establish that only a marriage between two individuals who are not otherwise prohibited from marrying is valid in the State; prohibiting an official of a religious institution or body authorized to solemnize marriages from being required to solemnize any marriage in violation of the constitutional right to free exercise of religion; etc.” The law is scheduled to go into effect Jan.1, 2013.

The Episcopal Church acts as an agent of the state when its clergy officiate at marriages. The Church also has its own theology and canons, or laws, regarding what Christian marriage is. Our Episcopal Church governing body, the triennial General Convention, passed Resolution C056 at its last meeting in 2009, allowing bishops to provide “generous pastoral response” to members in dioceses where the civil authority has legalized same-gender marriage. The resolution also called for the collection and development of theological and liturgical resources for blessing same-gender unions for review by the next General Convention in 2012….

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

(Zenit) In narrow Vote, U.S. Senate Blocks Attempt to Protect Religious Freedom

The U.S. Senate voted by a narrow 51-48 margin to block the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467), sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and 37 other senators.
The proposed measure would have given employers and insurers the possibility to opt out of paying for contraceptives and sterilizations

“The need to defend citizens’ rights of conscience is the most critical issue before our country right now,” said Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bishop Lori chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Church/State Matters, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Senate

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Blessed Saviour, who art full of mercy and compassion, and wilt not cast out any that come to thee: Help us, we beseech thee, who are grievously vexed with the burden of our sins; and so increase in us the power of thy Holy Spirit that we may prevail against the enemy of our souls; for thy name’s sake.

–Henry Alford

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!

–Psalm 24:7-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Cardinal Dolan Voices Dismay at Handling by White House in Letter Updating Bishops on HHS Mandate

Given church concerns about religious freedom, Cardinal Dolan wrote, “the President invited us to ”˜work out the wrinkles.’ We have accepted that invitation. Unfortunately, this seems to be stalled: the White House Press Secretary, for instance, informed the nation that the mandates are a fait accompli (and, embarrassingly for him, commented that we bishops have always opposed Health Care anyway, a charge that is scurrilous and insulting, not to mention flat out wrong.”)

Cardinal Dolan also said that “The White House already notified Congress that the dreaded mandates are now published in the Federal Registry ”˜without change.’ He added that “The Secretary of HHS is widely quoted as saying, ”˜Religious insurance companies don’t really design the plans they sell based on their own religious tenets.’ That doesn’t bode well for their getting a truly acceptable ‘accommodation.'”

Read it all and note the link to the full letter.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

(NY Times Beliefs) A Twist on Posthumous Baptisms Leaves Jews Miffed at Mormon Rite

Although the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints promised in 1995 to stop including Holocaust victims in its ritual, the church admitted last week that Anne Frank had been “baptized” in a Mormon church in the Dominican Republic. On Wednesday, The Boston Globe reported that Daniel Pearl, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who was kidnapped and killed by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002, was baptized last June in Twin Falls, Idaho; Mr. Pearl was Jewish.
Also on Wednesday, the church released a letter reiterating its policy that “without exception, church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims.”

In proxy baptism, a living Mormon immerses himself or herself in a baptismal font on behalf of a dead person. A church spokesman, Michael Otterson, said Friday that the ritual was done in the spirit of love, and that people’s souls were free not to become Mormons.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Eschatology, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Telegraph) Greek default looms as voluntary debt deal looks set to fail

European leaders are braced for the eurozone’s first ever sovereign default this week as Greece’s efforts to secure a €206bn (£172bn) “voluntary” bond swap looks increasingly unlikely.

Authorities in Athens are ready to enforce the controversial collective action clauses, or CACs, to impose the restructuring deal on all bondholders as the number of voluntary agreements look set to fall short of the required amount.
Credit rating agencies have warned they will declare Athens to be in default if the CACs are triggered which would be a dramatic culmination to a three-year rollercoaster ride for Athens, the eurozone and global markets.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, The Banking System/Sector

Towns in South and Midwest Search for Survivors After Widespread Storms

Here in this small farmland community [of Marysville, Indiana, a single water tower emblazoned with the town’s name ”” the most commanding structure in the town ”” appeared to be the only thing not battered by the storms that cut a swath through southeastern Indiana.

Of the two dozen or so houses that once stood here, only a handful remained upright. Some were reduced to debris ”” piles of wood and possessions. Others were virtually erased.

On Saturday, the drone of chainsaws and diesel trucks filled the afternoon air, replacing the whistling of the tornado and the clamor of warning sirens that preceded it just the day before.

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Posted in * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

The Economist on Putin and Russia–The country is a lot harder to control now

Fear and a lack of choice may carry the election for Mr Putin, but they cannot disguise the growing discontent across different classes, ages and regions. For those who have done less well than Ms Guseva over the past 12 years but still remember Soviet times, the 1990s are becoming less relevant. Polls show that the fastest decline in Mr Putin’s support is among poorer people over 55 years of age; they feel Mr Putin has not honoured his promises, and are tired of waiting. The conspicuous display of riches by corrupt bureaucrats heightens their sense of injustice. The number of people who no longer trust Mr Putin has risen to 40%, and people tell pollsters that the country is stagnating. “The regime is losing its legitimacy in the eyes of the population,” says Lev Gudkov of the Levada Centre, a social-research outfit. Mr Putin’s victory will only make things worse.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, History, Politics in General, Russia

Chain of Avoidable Errors Cited in Koran Burning

Some officials found the current case particularly troubling because it followed more than 10 years at war in the Muslim world, in which outrage over even the rumor of American defacement of Korans has caused previous crises in Afghanistan and Iraq. Several of the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the investigations.

An American military official familiar with the joint investigation somberly described the burning as a “tragedy,” but rejected any suggestion that it was intentional. He said that the joint commission of three senior Afghan security officials and an American military officer was convinced that the military personnel involved in making the decision to get rid of the Korans and those who carried out the order did not set out to defile the Muslim holy book.

“There was no maliciousness, there was no deliberateness, there was not an intentional disrespect of Islam,” he said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, War in Afghanistan