Daily Archives: March 20, 2012

(Vatican Radio) Report documents discrimination against Christians in Europe

More and more cases of intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe are being recorded. At the same time, increasing media interest has given voice to the anonymous suffering of people’s cases which are gaining international significance. This emerges from the 2011 report on cases of intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe released…[this week] on the website of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe….Martin Kugler is a member of the Observatory, and described their work: “Our NGO”¦ started to cover these issues because there is a growing awareness in some international organisations like the United Nations or the OSCE who are concerned about human rights, and especially religious freedom. And the new and growing phenomenon in the western world in some countries in Europe is a kind of marginalisation of Christians.”

Read and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Violence

Conflicting Moralities–Gary Rosen reviews Jonathan Haidt's new book "The Righteous Mind"

…don’t mistake “The Righteous Mind” for yet another guide to how liberals can revive their rhetoric and electoral appeal. Mr. Haidt is not a partisan with an agenda. He is a social scientist who appreciates America’s tribalism, our “groupishness.” He worries, though, that our divisions are hardening into mutual incomprehension and dysfunction. His practical aim is modest: not to bridge the divide between left and right, atheist and believer, cosmopolite and patriot, but to make Americans, in all their diversity, more intelligible to one another.

Mr. Haidt describes at length the fascinating research that he and his colleagues have carried out through a website called YourMorals.org. The site asks visitors to state their political and religious preferences and then poses a range of questions meant to elicit a moral response….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(Wash. Post) Robert Samuelson–We Need a Long-term understanding of the U.S. economic crisis

Conventional wisdom has advanced competing theories: Wall Street types took too many risks, encouraged by lax government regulation; or pro-homeownership policies eroded mortgage-lending standards and created the housing bubble.

Actually, both theories are correct ”” and neither is….
[The real foundation was laid with Paul Volcker’s]… decisive defeat of double-digit inflation in the early 1980s.

All the good news (low inflation, high employment, rising stock and real estate prices) drove economic growth. Between 1982 and 2007, there were only two mild recessions. When prosperity was jeopardized ”” by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the tech crash in 2000, the 9/11 attacks ”” the Federal Reserve seemed to defuse the threats. The economy seemed less risky. Economists announced the Great Moderation of business cycles.

Booms become busts because justifiable confidence becomes foolish optimism. So it was. Believing the world less risky, people took more risks. Investment banks and households increased their debt. Lending standards eroded, because borrowers’ repayment prospects were thought to have improved. Regulators relaxed oversight, because markets seemed more stable and self-correcting. On the fringes, ethical standards frayed; criminality increased. The rest, as they say, is history.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(Zenit) Political Science Professors Consider the Broader Implications of the HHS Mandate

Due to the requirements that the HHS Mandate imposes on Catholic institutions, the Obama administration has been widely criticized over the question of religious freedom. “The real issue in political life,” explained [Professor William] Luckey, “is not contraception: it’s the First Amendment. That’s the real issue because the Constitution says that there’s not going to be a national religion. [”¦] But it also says, ‘Congress shall make no law restricting the freedom of religion.'”

The federal government’s attempt to involve itself in the religious beliefs of people, explains Professor [Bernard] Way, associate professor of political science, goes against the Constitution in a very fundamental way. “On the surface,” Way said, “the biggest issue has to do with First Amendment concerns, and freedom of religion. No religious institution should be forced by the government to do anything against their conscience or their beliefs. [”¦] People, and other associations in society, should be left free, especially on matters of conscience, which the founders always understood was a matter of religion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

(ENI) Norway's state church headed toward dis-establishment

Major steps toward the dis-establishment of Norway’s state church, the (Lutheran) Church of Norway, were passed by the government on March 16 in its weekly session with King Harald V.
Expected to be adopted by the Parliament (Storting) in May or June this year, the proposals will make changes in the country’s constitution as well as in other church legislation, the Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs announced.

“I hope we have now prepared a good basis for the Church of Norway to be an open and inclusive national church, also in a multicultural and multi-religious setting,” Minister Rigmor Aasrud (Labour Party), said in a news release.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church/State Matters, Europe, History, Law & Legal Issues, Lutheran, Norway, Other Churches, Politics in General

(Christianity Today) Why Pope Shenouda's Death Matters to Egyptian Protestants

Pope Shenouda, the controversial yet beloved head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, died Saturday after 40 years of leading and reforming the ancient Christian communion. His death complicates the uncertain position of Orthodox believers””who represent 90 percent of Egyptian Christians””now that Islamists have surged to leadership following Egypt’s revolution last January.

Coptic Protestants respected and appreciated the pope.

“Shenouda was a pope of the Bible,” said Ramez Atallah, head of the Bible Society of Egypt. “We are the fifth-largest Bible society in the world because [he] created a hunger for the Scriptures among Copts.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ecumenical Relations, Egypt, Middle East, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Bishop Mouneer Anis–on the Death of Pope Shenouda III, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church

Together with all Egyptian, the Episcopal / Anglican Church of Egypt mourns the loss of Pope Shenouda III, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Pope Shenouda passed away …this past Saturday, 17 March, at the age of 89 and 41 years after his enthronement as the 117th Patriarch of Alexandria. Pope Shenouda was a great example of an Archbishop who is committed to teaching his people regularly. Every Wednesday for the last 41 years, he met with his people (between 5000 and 6000 each week) to answer their questions and teach from the Bible. He wrote many books, which were translated into several languages.
Pope Shenouda had a great missionary vision. He consecrated two missionary bishops in Africa, and he planted churches and monasteries in all of the continents of the world. He gave special care to all of the Copts in the Diaspora. Pope Shenouda had a warm heart for ministry to the poor. He had a special meeting with them every Thursday, where he supported them through funds, counselling and prayer.

During the time of Pope Shenouda, the Coptic Orthodox church has grown tremendously. He gave special attention to theological education, opening several new seminaries. During his time he consecrated over a hundred bishops. He also cared for the youth of his church and consecrated two bishops mainly for ministry to youth.

He was well known for defending the rights of Christians, and because of this he was put under house arrest by President Anwar Sadat. He was released after the death of Sadat. In spite of this he continued to love Egypt and often said, ”˜Egypt is not the country in which we live but the country lives in our hearts.’

As Egypt presently goes through many political changes, it is not easy for Egyptian Christians to lose Pope Shenouda, the father of the church in Egypt, at this time of uncertainty about the future of the country. I was not surprised to see hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Cairo yesterday, immediately after the announcement of the passing away of the beloved Pope, who was such an important symbol for the nation.

Our relationship to the Coptic Orthodox Church is the strongest among the different denominations in Egypt. Several times Pope Shenouda mentioned to me that he appreciated the fact that he started his career as a teacher of English in our Anglican School in Cairo.

Pope Shenouda was a continuous encouragement and inspiration to me personally and to our church. He always sent representatives to our events and celebrations. At our nomination, he received an honorary doctoral degree at a great celebration from Nashotah Seminary in Wisconsin, USA. Pope Shenouda will be greatly missed, but he will always be remembered as a great leader, teacher, partner and Pope.

In our churches we are praying for the Coptic Orthodox Church and we have thanked God for Pope Shenouda, his life and his ministry in the assurance that he now celebrates eternal life with his Lord Jesus Christ. During his life he often told audiences ”˜rabbina mawguud’, God is present in our midst. He now experiences this to the fullest possible extent!

The funeral for Pope Shenouda will on Tuesday 20th of March, and he will be buried in his monastery of St. Bishoy.

–(The Most Rev.) Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt
with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican
Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Coptic Church, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

([London] Times) Poisoned chalice: Rowan Williams leaves a divided Church to his successor

Dr Williams could have stayed in the post until he was 70. Instead, with the Church of England on the brink of rejecting the document with just a handful of the 44 dioceses still to vote, it will be up to his successor to deal with a communion that is as divided over homosexuality and women bishops as when he was appointed a decade ago.
With the Covenant effectively doomed, the next Archbishop is likely to lead the Anglican Communion towards a federal model similar to that adopted by the Lutheran churches.

On the international front, he will have to deal with a communion of provinces heading for a formal schism over the ordination of gay bishops and same-sex blessings. But this will be nothing compared to the nightmare issues about to confront the Church of England at home over sexuality.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Atlanta Episcopal diocese adds nominee to bishop slate

The Rev. Martha N. Macgill, 54, rector of Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, has been nominated by petition and added to a slate of five priests already chosen to stand for election as the Diocese of Atlanta’s next bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Transcript of Kendall Harmon's Presentation on TEC/Anglicanism at the Cathedral in Birmingham, Ala.

Not everyone had the capacity of the willingness to suffer through the audio, and now through the kindness of some very hard working individuals you can read a transcript if you are interested.

You may find part one there and part two is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sermons & Teachings, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CDN) Nuns Traumatized after School Attack in Egypt

Two nuns in Upper Egypt faced “unimaginable fear”–with one later hospitalized over the emotional trauma–when 1,500 Muslim villagers brandishing swords and knives trapped them inside a guesthouse last week and threatened to burn them out.

The next day, the assailants frightened children at the school; attendance has since dropped by more than a third.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Violence

Tom Wright–Rowan Williams: An Appreciation

Rowan’s style has been private and unstrategic. Once, questioned about strategy, he responded crossly ”˜I believe in the Holy Spirit!’, seemingly oblivious to the possibility that the Spirit might work through long-term planning. Maybe that’s what we needed then. Certainly nobody doubts that he leads by example in his life of prayer and self-discipline. But we now need consultation, collaboration, and, yes, strategy. Despite routine pessimism, the Church of England isn’t finished. In a sense, it’s just getting going. We need someone with vision and energy to pick up from where Rowan’s charismatic style has led us and to develop and deepen things from there.

A new Archbishop must be allowed to lead. Yes, there are deep divisions. Part of the next Archbishop’s task will be to discern and clarify the difference between the things that really do divide and the things that people believe will do so but which need not. But, at the same time, there are problems of structure and organization that slow things down and soak up energy, problems that can and should be fixed so that the church and its leaders can be released for their mission, and to tackle properly the problems we face.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

(Washington Post) U.S. accelerating cyberweapon research

The Pentagon is accelerating efforts to develop a new generation of cyberweapons capable of disrupting enemy military networks even when those networks are not connected to the Internet, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The possibility of a confrontation with Iran or Syria has highlighted for American military planners the value of cyberweapons that can be used against an enemy whose most important targets, such as air defense systems, do not rely on Internet-based networks. But adapting such cyberweapons can take months or even years of arduous technical work….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas Ken

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Thomas Ken grace and courage to bear witness to the truth before rulers and kings: Give us also thy strength that, following his example, we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast made the earth so fair, and written thy glory in the heavens: Help us inwardly to respond to all that is outwardly true and beautiful, so that as we pass through things temporal we may never lose the vision of the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

–1 Corinthians 11:26-32

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

23 year old Soccer player Fabrice Muamba 'critically ill' after collapsing in match

Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba was critically ill in a hospital’s heart attack unit Saturday night after collapsing during a match at Tottenham.

Muamba fell face-down to the field near the halfway line without any players near him. Medics rushed onto the field with a defibrillator and treated the 23-year-old, pumping his chest for around six minutes of treatment before he was rushed to a hospital….

Read it all.

Update: Fabrice Muamba ‘showing small signs of improvement’ as his heart beats unaided–read it as well.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Men, Republic of Congo, Sports

William Lane Craig discusses faith and reason with University of Central Florida students

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, Education, Philosophy, Theology, Young Adults

(Gospel Coalition) Collin Hansen–The Stay-Home Generation

We don’t yet know where the stay-home generation will make their church homes. When the economy improves they may hit the road. But I wonder if something has changed for good during the Great Recession. Diminished economic opportunities might have taught a generation of young adults that they cannot depend on money to make them happy. Even in a better economy your job probably won’t last long; the company may not be able to afford you, or you may soon be looking for something else to improve your meager earnings. Organizational loyalty, up and down the corporate ladder, has collapsed.

It would be easy to follow the lead of Todd and Victoria Buchholz and blame Facebook and laziness for younger Americans’ unwillingness to drop everything and move to North Dakota. But I would hope other factors, chiefly love of neighbor and family, are at work. The grass is not always greener in the Peace Garden State. Your sins will follow you even to the Canadian border. It’s challenging but rewarding to stay home and learn to love the family, church, and neighbors who have known you since youth.

Americans may take the restless pursuit of prosperity at any cost for granted, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable in God’s eyes. the national narrative that celebrates the free-ranging individual fosters sinful discontent….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology, Young Adults

Grading the nation: How accountable is your state government?

State officials make lofty promises when it comes to ethics in government. They tout the transparency of legislative processes, accessibility of records, and the openness of public meetings. But these efforts often fall short of providing any real transparency or legitimate hope of rooting out corruption.

That’s the depressing bottom line that emerges from the State Integrity Investigation, a first-of-its-kind, data-driven assessment of transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms in all 50 states. Not a single state ”” not one ”” earned an A grade from the months-long probe. Only five states earned a B grade: New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, California and Nebraska. Nineteen states got C’s and 18 received D’s. Eight states earned failing grades of 59 or below from the project, which is a collaboration of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Politics in General, State Government

(BBC) Toulouse Jewish shootings and French army attacks linked

French police are linking the shootings of four people at a Jewish school in Toulouse to the killings of three soldiers of North African descent in two separate incidents last week.

The same gun and the same stolen scooter were used in all three attacks, sources close to the investigation say.

A teacher and three children were shot dead at the Ozar Hatorah school, and a teenage boy was seriously injured.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Education, Europe, France, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Violence