Daily Archives: March 12, 2012

(Telegraph) Dr John Sentamu: Don't force through same sex marriage

David Cameron should choose “masterly inactivity” over plans to introduce gay marriage, the Archbishop of York urged.

Dr John Sentamu said that he believed in civil partnerships but that they were not the same as marriage and people were failing to address that.

“There is a difference between civil partnerships and marriage,” he said. “That difference does not mean one is better than another.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(New Yorker) Jon Lee Anderson–Massacre in Kandahar

All the signs are that the United States military and its NATO allies have not only outlived their welcome in Afghanistan but also passed the point at which their presence is anything other than toxic. While the exact details of the incident are still unclear, it’s known that early Sunday morning, an American solider in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district apparently murdered up to sixteen Afghan civilians in cold blood. Nine of the victims were reportedly children. This is merely the latest in a string of episodes in which American soldiers””in spite of the positive intentions of an overwhelming majority of the troops there””have shown scorn, disrespect, and, increasingly and tragically, hatred for the people of the country hosting them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Bahrain, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Violence, War in Afghanistan

(ACNS) Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative Core Group Meets in Kenya

The Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative Core Group was invited and welcomed to St Julian’s retreat centre, Limuru, by the Most Rev Dr Eliud Wakubala, Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya. He presided at the first Eucharist and issued a challenge that in mission Jesus should be at the centre. Each morning’s session began with a biblical reflection and discussion on how Jesus went about his evangelism, and what should be learnt from his approach.

The core group began their meeting by visiting St Jerome’s and the Church Army Africa Urban Mission Centre in Kibera, Nairobi. Kiberais the biggest informal urban settlement in Africa. St Jerome’s, which has planted five new congregations in recent years, is the fastest growing parish in All Saints Cathedral Diocese. This visit introduced the group to an exciting context from which to inform and enrich their discussion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Northern Florida's St Margaret's Episcopal Church–its Recent Statistics

Click here to see a pictorial representation of some of the statistics for the parish mentioned in the previous posting.

Posted in Uncategorized

Historic Episcopal Diocese of Florida Parish in Hibernia Suddenly Closes

It’s a dramatic sight at one of the United States’ historic landmarks. St Margaret’s Episcopal Church is closed on a Sunday, not a person in sight.

The church dates back to the 1800s and this was one of the oldest wooden church still in operation in America. Not anymore, as the Episcopal Diocese of Florida decided to shut it down.

Last Sunday was the final day for services at the church in Hibernia.

Read it all.

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

(NY Times Op-Ed) Todd and Victoria Buchholz–The Go-Nowhere Generation

The likelihood of 20-somethings moving to another state has dropped well over 40 percent since the 1980s, according to calculations based on Census Bureau data. The stuck-at-home mentality hits college-educated Americans as well as those without high school degrees. According to the Pew Research Center, the proportion of young adults living at home nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008, before the Great Recession hit. Even bicycle sales are lower now than they were in 2000. Today’s generation is literally going nowhere. This is the Occupy movement we should really be worried about….

In the most startling behavioral change among young people since James Dean and Marlon Brando started mumbling, an increasing number of teenagers are not even bothering to get their driver’s licenses. Back in the early 1980s, 80 percent of 18-year-olds proudly strutted out of the D.M.V. with newly minted licenses, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. By 2008 ”” even before the Great Recession ”” that number had dropped to 65 percent….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Economy, History, Marriage & Family, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

(USA Today) More younger workers finding jobs

The job outlook is brightening for younger workers, who were hit hard in the recession and play a vital role in the economy.

Jobs for 25-to-34-year-olds increased by 116,000 to 30.5 million in February. Their unemployment rate fell from 9% in January to 8.7%, the lowest since January 2009, according to the Labor Department.

Just as important, the portion of Americans in that age bracket who were employed ”” known as the employment-to-population ratio ”” rose to 74.7% from 74.5% and is up from a 29-year low of 73.2% in July. In a normal economy, about 80% of 25-to-34-year-olds have jobs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

(WSJ) Al Lewis–Debt, the American Way

America is back. You can tell because Americans are maxing out their credit cards again.

Household debt grew at an annualized rate of 0.25% in the last quarter of 2011, according to the Federal Reserve’s flow-of-funds report released last week. That’s not a big jump, but until now there hadn’t been any uptick at all in household debt since the 2008 crash.

“Consumers have been more willing to use credit cards for shopping, signaling renewed confidence in their financial and job prospects,” explained Paul Edelstein, director of financial economics at IHS Global Insight, in a recentAssociated Press report.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, History, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Theology

A Colorado Springs Gazette Article about the First Presbyterian Church Vote

A vote Sunday by the largest Presbyterian church in Colorado Springs to split from the denomination’s main governing body in the United States may just be the beginning of a growing divide.

Eight churches in the region have expressed an interest in splitting from Presbyterian Church (USA), said Ronald Anderson, executive presbyter for the region that is based in Pueblo and spans much of southern Colorado. Those eight churches account for almost a fourth of the total churches in the Presbytery of Pueblo and make up more than half of the region’s total members.

On Sunday afternoon, 88 percent of First Presbyterian Church members voted in an informal poll to split with the mainline Presbyterian church and join a newly created, and more conservative, group called the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians. The vote was the culmination of several months of work by church leaders who sought to distance themselves from the main governing body after it voted in May that congregations could appoint openly gay ministers.

Read it all and you may also find a Greeley Gazette article there.

Posted in Uncategorized

First Presbyterian Church Colorado Springs, in its First Vote, Chooses Overwhelmingly to Leave PCUSA

The Senior Pastor, Jim Singleton, writes about the congregational meeting as follows:

I want to offer a big thank you to all who attended the Congregational Gathering on Sunday afternoon. It was the longest congregational gathering most have ever attended, but in Presbyterian polity it was likely the most important such gathering most have attended here. To put attendance in perspective, there were more here and voting than were in attendance when I was called as senior pastor seven years ago. Over 1500 were in attendance and over 1300 voted. The result of the vote was that a little over 88% voted “yes” to leave the PCUSA and join ECO. A little over 4% voted “no” and a little over 6% indicated that at this point they were unsure of their decision. Lots of issues surfaced at the meeting ”“ issues we hope to address shortly. At this time, we do not have a firm date for the second meeting as it depends in part on permission and scheduling with the Presbytery. But we will know soon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

A Gregory the Great Thought to Ponder in Lent

…often the wicked so devote themselves to the practice of sin that they succeed in doing more wickedness than they would have been able to learn from the bad example of reprobate sinners. For this reason the torment of greater punishment is inflicted on them, in that they, by their own initiative, sought out greater ways of sinning, for which they are to be punished. Consequently it is well said: “According to the multitude of his devices, so shall he suffer [a citation from Job 20:18]. For he would not find out new ways of sinning unless he sought them out, and he would not seek out such things unless he were anxious to do them deliberately. Therefore, in his punishment, this excess in devising wickedness is taken into account, and he receives proportionate punishment and retribution. And even though the suffering of the damned is infinite, nevertheless they receive greater punishments who, by their own desires, sought out many new ways of sinning.

–Gregory the Great (540-604), Book of Morals 15.18.22

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Eschatology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Gregory the Great

Almighty and merciful God, who didst raise up Gregory of Rome to be a servant of the servants of God, and didst inspire him to send missionaries to preach the Gospel to the English people: Preserve in thy Church the catholic and apostolic faith they taught, that thy people, being fruitful in every good work, may receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who through thy Son has taught us that a house divided against itself must fall: Save us, we beseech thee, from the danger of a divided allegiance; unite our hearts to fear thy name; and grant that in all our course of life our eye may be single and our purpose one; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.

–1 Corinthians 7:25-31

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Sunday [London] Times) Christians ”˜have no right to wear crucifix at work’

Christians do not have a right openly to wear a crucifix at work, the government is to tell the European Court of Human Rights.

Ministers are set to argue at the Strasbourg court that employers should be able to dismiss workers who insist on wearing a cross….

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said the government’s position was another sign that Christianity was becoming sidelined.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Archbishop of Canterbury in fresh push to stop Anglicans from converting

The Archbishop of Canterbury signalled a fresh push to dissuade traditionalist Anglicans from defecting to the Roman Catholic Church as he joined the Pope in stressing moves to bring the two churches together.

Rowan Williams used a joint prayer service in Rome to call for a renewed drive to “restore full sacramental communion” between the Anglican and Catholic churches.

Dr Williams and Pope Benedict XVI prayed and lit candles together at the Chapel of St Gregory the Great, in a service highlighting 1,400 years of links between the church in England and Rome.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

US officials scramble to contain damage from Afghanistan shooting spree

U.S. officials were scrambling Sunday to contain the damage caused when an American soldier in Afghanistan wandered off base and allegedly gunned down more than a dozen villagers.

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta both called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express their condolences and vowed to hold those responsible accountable. Afghan officials reported that 16 people were killed including nine children and three women.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

(AP) US soldier kills 16 Afghans, deepening crisis

An American soldier opened fire on villagers near his base in southern Afghanistan Sunday and killed 16 civilians, according to President Hamid Karzai, who called it an “assassination” and furiously demanded an explanation from Washington. Nine children and three women were among the dead.

The killing spree deepened a crisis between U.S. forces and their Afghan hosts over Americans burning Muslim holy books on a base in Afghanistan last month. The Quran burnings sparked weeks of violent protests and attacks that left some 30 dead. Six U.S. service members have been killed by their Afghan colleagues since the burnings came to light, and the violence had just started to calm down.

“This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven,” Karzai said in a statement. He said he has repeatedly demanded the U.S. stop killing Afghan civilians.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

(Reuters Faithworld) Pope’s Jesus book raps religious violence, explains exoneration of Jews

Pope Benedict has condemned violence committed in God’s name and personally exonerated Jews of responsibility for Jesus’ death in his latest book, released on Thursday. The book, the second in a planned three-part series on the life of Jesus, is a detailed, highly theological and academic recounting of the last week in Jesus’ life.

Publishers have printed 1.2 million copies of the book in seven languages. A blaze of international publicity included teleconferences with the media in several countries.

In one section, Benedict writes that there can be no justification for violence carried out in God’s name, an assertion as applicable to Islamist militancy today as to violence that the Catholic Church itself committed in the past as it spread the faith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Primates, Books, Christology, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Violence

Atheist Alain de Botton challenges Christopher Hitchens' assertion that ”˜religion poisons' all

Alain de Botton, the British pop philosopher whose new book Religion for Atheists has made him the friendly face of modern godlessness….said if you walked into a modern university and asked to study the humanities in order to find meaning in life, “the people in charge would immediately dial the number of the insane asylum, and you would be taken away.”

He said the message of the secular world is that life is simple, and the only people who need help are stupid people who read self-help books.

He set his own views against the “virulent strain” of atheism that sees religion as “not just false but wrong, ridiculous, malign and corrupt,” epitomized by Christopher Hitchens’ claim that “religion poisons everything.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Art, Atheism, Canada, England / UK, History, Music, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(BBC) Nigeria attack targets Roman Catholic church in Jos

Up to 11 people were killed after a Catholic church was targeted by suspected suicide car bombers in the restive central Nigerian city of Jos, officials say.

The car was apparently stopped before it could enter the church compound.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Violence