Daily Archives: March 14, 2012

Andrew Goddard–Should we Redefine Marriage?

The key claim and insight in the C4M petition is that what is being proposed is the redefinition of marriage. Supporters of the change express it in terms of extending rights or equality or permitting same-sex marriage. However, what it is, at heart, is a question of how, in and through law, we as a community should recognise, categorise and name the different patterns of human relationships in our society. It is not creating “same-sex marriage” but redefining marriage to include both same-sex and opposite-sex couples within it without distinction. There will, in other words, be no legal category or term for what we now ”“ and have for centuries ”“ called “marriage”: “the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”.

The question that needs to be thought through is, therefore, whether we as a society believe such a redefinition of our terminology is one that offers us a better description of reality and serves the good of society. The initial evidence suggests that what is being done is at best highly paradoxical and perhaps even incoherent. The government are proposing that what we still consistently compare and contrast with terms that are mutually exclusive ”“ same-sex (homo-) and opposite-sex (hetero-) patterns of relationship – should no longer be distinguished in the law of our land as “civil partnerships” and “marriage”. Rather, both should be classed as an undifferentiated whole and given the same generic name ”“ marriage. Not a new name but the name which has always been used for the more common heterosexual relationship pattern. It is rarely helpful to eliminate existing categories by subsuming two (or more) quite specific, different and previously distinguished phenomena under the same term, particularly when that term was one previously used for one of those more specific categories. Recognition of differences as well as similarities is vital ”“ we would not wish all motor vehicles to be identified as “cars” or all colours to be classed as “blue”.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Roman Catholic International Theological Commission–Theology Today

(Please note that the ITC is an advisory body to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith–KSH).

The full title is “Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria,” and it examines developments in Roman Catholic theology since Vatican Council II and offers criteria for recognizing orthodox theology for Rome.

Read it all (24 page pdf).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

ICC landmark ruling finds Congo militia leader guilty

Judges have convicted a Congolese warlord of snatching children from the street and turning them into killers.

The ruling is the International Criminal Court’s first judgment 10 years after it was established in The Hague as the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.

Thomas Lubanga did not react as presiding Judge Adrian Fulford read out the verdicts Wednesday. He now faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Republic of Congo, Teens / Youth, The Netherlands

(USA Today) New iPad prompts app tweaks by developers

Software developers are salivating over prospects for the new iPad, which sold out online within two days of its unveiling and won’t ship now for up to three weeks.

Apple had originally set the ship date for March 16. The new iPad goes on sale in stores on a first-come, first-served basis on Friday.

Still the folks behind the $5 billion plus business of games and apps that sell in Apple’s App Store are working overtime to either overhaul their apps or create ones that take advantage of the new iPad’s improved graphics and performance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

David Brooks–The Fertility Implosion

As Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah of the American Enterprise Institute point out, over the past three decades, the Arab world has undergone a little noticed demographic implosion. Arab adults are having many fewer kids.

The speed of the change is breathtaking. A woman in Oman today has 5.6 fewer babies than a woman in Oman 30 years ago. Morocco, Syria and Saudi Arabia have seen fertility-rate declines of nearly 60 percent, and in Iran it’s more than 70 percent. These are among the fastest declines in recorded history.

The Iranian regime is aware of how the rapidly aging population and the lack of young people entering the work force could lead to long-term decline. But there’s not much they have been able to do about it. Maybe Iranians are pessimistic about the future. Maybe Iranian parents just want smaller families….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

(RNS) Anglican Breakaway Group AMIA confronts new power struggle

(Please note two things. First, I realize this article is dated but it was only yesterday working on something that I realized it had not yet been posted and it remains relevant. Second, make sure to note that it should not be confused with the earlier article on the AMIA by this same writer which was posted on the blog there.. Blog readers should make sure to digest both pieces–KSH.)

Bishop Terrell Glen, a former AMIA leader who remains part of the Church of Rwanda, said [Chuck] Murphy and other American bishops did the wrong thing by bolting. They had taken a vow of obedience to their bishop, he said, and broke it by quitting.

“I don’t believe the archbishop was requiring anything of anyone that we could not submit to,” he said.

For years, leaders of the Anglican Mission and other breakaway Episcopal groups have tried to get the Anglican Communion to recognize them as a legitimate alternative to the Episcopal Church. This latest split shows how difficult that will be, said Jim Naughton, editor of Episcopalcafe.com and a former spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.

“We don’t know how much staying power they have,” said Naughton.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Continuum, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

Georgia's Bishop Benhase–Q and A Concerning the Issue of the Blessing of Same Sex Couples

At the General Convention in 2009, the General Convention tasked the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music with developing theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same sex couples. These liturgical resources will be presented to the 2012 General Convention and voted on for trial use by the Church. If approved for trial use, what would that mean for the Diocese of Georgia?

Bishop Benhase cannot support the current version of the proposed trial rite because he does not believe it is sufficiently distinguished from the rite of marriage found in the Book of Common Prayer. There may be, however, a provision in whatever resolution is approved that would allow alternative rites from the one proposed to also be authorized. If that happens, then there is a good possibility that a rite of blessing may be available that meets the Bishop’s criteria.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Arthur Vogel RIP

Read this obituary and then check this article out also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

(BP) Poll–Most Americans back religious exemption to HHS mandate

A majority of Americans say religiously affiliated organizations — such as hospitals and universities — should be exempt from the Obama administration’s abortion/contraceptive mandate, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.

The survey found that by a 57-36 percent margin, U.S. adults believe religious organizations should be allowed to “opt out” of covering birth control for their female employees. The poll did not use the word “abortion,” although Christian leaders say the mandate would require them to cover contraceptives that can cause chemical abortions.

The poll also found that 51 percent of adults believe that any employer — and not just the ones with religious ties — should be able to opt out if they find such coverage objectionable based on religious or moral beliefs. Forty percent disagree.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

The Pope's Homily at the Visit From Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams

The second reading was taken from the Letter to the Colossians. We heard those words ”“ always so moving for their spiritual and pastoral inspiration ”“ that the Apostle addressed to the members of that community in order to form them according to the Gospel, saying to them: “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col 3:17). “Be perfect”, the Master said to his disciples; and now the Apostle exhorts his listeners to live according to the high measure of Christian life that is holiness. He can do this because the brothers he is addressing are “chosen by God, holy and beloved”. Here too, at the root of everything, is the grace of God, the gift of the call, the mystery of the encounter with the living Jesus. But this grace demands a response from those who have been baptized: it requires the commitment to be reclothed in Christ’s sentiments: tenderness, goodness, humility, meekness, magnanimity, mutual forgiveness, and above all, as a synthesis and a crown, agape, the love that God has given us through Jesus, the love that the Holy Spirit has poured into our hearts. And if we are to be reclothed in Christ, his word must dwell among us and in us, with all its richness and in abundance. In an atmosphere of constant thanksgiving, the Christian community feeds on the word and causes to rise towards God, as a song of praise, the word that he himself has given us. And every action, every gesture, every service, is accomplished within this profound relationship with God, in the interior movement of Trinitarian love that descends towards us and rises back towards God, a movement that finds its highest expression in the eucharistic sacrifice.

This word also sheds light upon the happy circumstances that bring us together today, in the name of Saint Gregory the Great. Through the faithfulness and benevolence of the Lord, the Congregation of Camaldolese monks of the Order of Saint Benedict has completed a thousand years of history, feeding daily on the word of God and the Eucharist, as their founder Saint Romuald taught them, according to the triplex bonum of solitude, community life and evangelization.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

If you are Looking for the Thread on Bishop Lawrence's Convention Address/ACNA/Diocese of SC etc.

You are encouraged to continue reading it and commenting on it over here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology

David Zahl's Mockingbird–Communicating God’s message through pop culture

Illuminating God’s message of grace in popular culture, including in television shows like “Downton Abbey” and others like “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood,” is the cornerstone of Mockingbird, which strives to connect Christianity with everyday life.

Through mbird.com, contributors, including Zahl, analyze film, music, television, literature, social science and humor, dissecting the contents through a Christian understanding.

“We are not trying to cover popular culture,” said Zahl. “But we are trying to reach people through both conscious and unconscious parallels in good art.”

Read it all and do go check out the website.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, Art, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Movies & Television, Music, Pastoral Theology, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Theology

Afghan support for U.S. pullout grows after killing rampage, attack on delegation

A growing number of Afghans say they have come to see a quick U.S. pullout as the best of bad options, a shift in line with Americans’ growing disapproval of the decade-long war.

The sentiment follows a rampage Sunday allegedly by a U.S. soldier and an attack Tuesday in which an Afghan government delegation visiting the same village came under fire from suspected Taliban fighters.

“When the Americans first came, it was people like me who welcomed them,” said Abdul Jabar, 28, a truck driver from Kandahar. “Now they are killing our women and children.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(BBC) US, EU and Japan challenge China on rare earths at WTO

The US, Japan and the European Union have filed a case against China at the World Trade Organization, challenging its restrictions on rare earth exports.

US President Barack Obama accused China of breaking agreed trade rules as he announced the case at the White House.

Beijing has set quotas for exports of rare earths, which are critical to the manufacture of high-tech products from hybrid cars to flat-screen TVs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Japan, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(Nightline) More Young Woman Try to Beat Wrinkles With Preventive Botox, Thermage Treatments

In a society that has become obsessed with youth, there is a growing trend of young women, many still in their 20s, taking dramatic and expensive measures to stop the signs of aging before they happen with non-surgical treatments.

Preventive Botox injections and costly thermage, a hot radio frequency treatment that tightens and lifts skin that is all the rage among celebrities, are the latest cosmetic procedures used to stop crows feet in their tracks.

Starting early is one of the top tips Dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist on New York City’s tony Fifth Avenue, offers in her new book, “Skin Rules.” She often tells her young patients, if they ask, that the science is clear: Early engagement can stop the clock.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Women, Young Adults

Alexis Soloski–Despite its roots, religion gets barely a look-in on stage these days. Why?

By all rights, theatre ought to say its prayers. According to most origin stories, theatre emerged out of religious ritual, not once, but twice: initially courtesy of the ancient Greeks, and then again in medieval Europe, where many scholars trace the rebirth of theatre to the Quem quaeritis, a short section of dialogue in the Easter liturgy. But in New York, a city of 6,000 churches, 1,000 synagogues, and more than 100 mosques ”“ to say nothing of the other faiths ”“ drama often puts religion on stage only to criticise it.

Admittedly, Godspell continues a Broadway run, just as Jesus Christ Superstar prepares to preach its rock gospel on the Great White Way, joining the faith-cased good vibes of Sister Act. But in smaller houses this season, believers rarely get a round of applause….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Be thou unto us at this time, O Lord, a tower of strength, a place of refuge, and a defence in our day of trouble. Keep us calm and brave, because our trust is in thee. Let thy comfort support us, thy mercy pardon us, and thy wisdom guide us; and give us, if it please thee, deliverance from all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Uphold me according to thy promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!

–Psalm 119:16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Quick Intrade Check into Tonight's Primaries

Mitt Romney to win the 2012 Mississippi Primary 69.5

Mitt Romney to win the 2012 Alabama Primary 39.8 (Santorum 40.0)

Mitt Romney to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012 88.1

Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012 60.3

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General

South Carolina Diocesan Convention Photos

Check it out if so inclined.

Posted in * South Carolina

A Letter from prison from Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani

Everyone willing to follow the Lord is supposed to have listened in some way to this seemingly imperious command: “Come!” a command which implies an act of faith, referred to sometimes as the “leap of faith.” As it is clear from the Scriptures, what we are able to see is not faith, as the biblical faith is defined as : “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We have to decide “in spite of”’, in order to experience the power of God. But we need to remember that everything must be done according the Word of God. Peter did not experience the possibility to walk on water because he decided to leave the boat but because of the Word, the Command of the Lord.

The Word of God tell us to “expect to suffer hardship” and dishonor for the sake of His Name. Our Christian confession is not acceptable if we ignore this statement, if we do not manifest the patience of the Lord in our sufferings. Anybody ignoring it will be ashamed in that day.

Let us remember that sometimes the leap of faith leads us towards some impasses. Just as the Word led the sons of Israel leaving Egypt toward the impasse of the Red sea. These impasses are midway between promises of God and their fulfillments and they challenge our faith. Believers are to accept these challenges as a part of their spiritual course. The Son was challenged at Calvary in the hardest way, as it is written in the Scriptures….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Inter-Faith Relations, Iran, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Missions, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

(ACNS) Group for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion (TEAC) meets in Sri Lanka

The church’s faithful witness in Sri Lanka amid a rich inter-religious environment and the challenges of post-war reconciliation has fostered new insights for the work of TEAC (theological education in the Anglican Communion). Meeting in Kandy from 1-7 March 2012, the 3rd and final meeting of the Working Party on Theological Education in the Anglican Communion (TEAC 2) evaluated the work achieved to date and developed recommendations for future work at the Communion level.

One of the valuable things learned through TEAC 2 has been the importance of engagement with the local context (having met in Canterbury, UK, Harare, Zimbabwe as well as Sri Lanka) for meaningful theological education reflection. After the much-valued solidarity expressed in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2011, the 2012 meeting at the invitation of the Church of Ceylon offered a special opportunity to learn from the church’s reflections in the Sri Lankan context.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Ceylon, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Vatican Radio) Benedictine Mission: an English perspective

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams visited the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino on Monday, the final stage of his 3 day visit to Italy and the Vatican. Over the weekend, the Anglican leader had an audience with Pope Benedict and attended Papal Vespers at the Church of San Gregorio al Celio marking the millennium of the Camaldoli community there.
In his words to the monks of Montecassino, the archbishop continued his reflections on monastic life as a pivotal part of the Church’s mission ”“ from the history of the Church in Britain to the re-evangelisation of Europe today. Philippa Hitchen reports”¦.

Read and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

Toilet paper crisis in Trenton, New Jersey

It is crisis time in Trenton, where the city is literally running out of toilet paper.

“It’s about one of the last boxes of toilet paper we have for the city buildings,” said maintenance supervisor Paul Heater, pointing to a large box.

Supplies have dwindled down to almost nothing because City Council has failed to approve the mayor’s $42,000 order for paper products.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--