Daily Archives: April 10, 2012

”˜Reverts’ return to their childhood faith

Bruce Boling will celebrate Easter Sunday this weekend among Southern Baptists, just as he did when he prayed at a tiny Kentucky church where his family filled half the pews.

After decades away from faith, “I slowly began to see what I was missing was the relationship with God that I could find in my church,” said Boling, 45, who has settled in with a little Baptist congregation in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Lydia Scrafano’s heart will again thrill to hear Catholic hymns sounding on a great pipe organ, just as she did as a child in Detroit.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

For the Elderly, Emergency Rooms of Their Own

Dr. Mark Rosenberg, chairman of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s, said he had consulted on more than 50 geriatric emergency rooms to be opened across the country, from Princeton, N.J., to California, overcoming initial resistance from doctors and nurses who saw assignments to the units as scut work.

“They thought it was a bedpan unit, focused on nursing home patients,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “When they finally realized this was the unit that gave better health care to their parents and grandparents, they jumped onboard.”

Hospitals also have strong financial incentives to focus on the elderly. People over 65 account for 15 percent to 20 percent of emergency room visits, hospital officials say, and that number is expected to grow as the population ages.

Read it all.

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

Detained Party Official Facing Ouster From Politburo in China

Moving hastily to curb possible political fallout from a scandal involving Bo Xilai, a major Communist Party figure, China’s top leaders have decided to expel him from the Politburo, the 25-member body that runs China, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.

Already ousted from his regional party role and under house arrest, Mr. Bo will placed under formal investigation, the sources said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Politics in General

(RNS) Evangelical activism takes different shapes at Q Conference

Q, which stands for “question,” will allow 30 different culture leaders ”” from New York Times columnist David Brooks to Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter”” to present their ideas for the common good during a two-and-a-half day confab.

“We feel we have a role to play in renewing the culture and holding back the effects of sin,” said [Gabe] Lyons, founder of Q, a nonprofit organization based in New York City. “We’re not to do it in an antagonistic way. We hope to do it in a hopeful way that gives witness to the rest of the world in how things ought to be.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

The Presiding Bishop's Message for Easter 2012

One of my favorite Easter hymns is about greenness. “Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain.”

It goes on to talk about love coming again. It’s a reminder to me of how centered our Easter images are in the Northern hemisphere. We talk about greenness and new life and life springing forth from the earth when we talk about resurrection. I often wonder what Easter images come in the Southern hemisphere, and I think that church in the south has something to teach us about that.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Theology

(NC Register) A Muslim Finds the Catholic Faith ”¦ Through Geography and Theology

Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar was instrumental in helping Ilyas Khan, a British philanthropist and former Muslim, to become Catholic. But so too were many other distinctly Catholic influences, all amounting to a “pull” towards the faith rather than a “push” away from Islam.

Khan, a merchant banker by training and the owner of the Accrington Stanley soccer team, is also chairman of the prominent British charity Leonard Cheshire Disability ”” the largest organization in the world helping people with disabilities. In a revealing interview with Register Rome correspondent Edward Pentin, Khan explains in more detail what drew him to the Catholic Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Stephen Cherry's New Book mentioned in Rowan Williams' Easter Sermon

One of the most profound challenges a human being can ever face is how to forgive in the aftermath of injury, hurt or violation. Healing Agony explores the theology of forgiveness alongside a number of contemporary forgiveness stories in order to glean insights for those facing just this challenge….

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Canon Larry Wilkes Chimes in on "the most serious issue facing" the Episcopal Church

Q. The Episcopal Church is often at the forefront of hot topic issues; given that we all have opinions on these issues, which do you view as the most serious issue facing the Church and how does/will your opinion impact the diocese in its response to the issue?

People are leaving the pews, evangelization is carrying a poor connotation and theChurch seems to be conforming to society rather than conforming society. These are the
dangerous things happening in congregations and I believe the most serious issues facing the Church. We know right from wrong, but most of us make a choice to live somewhere in between in the decisions we make. Our mission of bringing Christ to the world is diminished when we are viewed by those outside our Church to be a people who frustrate the mission with our own internal arguments; our own misunderstanding of what is right and what is wrong. My hope for the future of our children is that being drawn into the family of God, the ills of the world will be dealt with in a swift manner that will put down the desires of the Evil One and give us strength to walk the way of the Via Dolorosa.
Issues focused around sexuality, social justice, and Church politics seem to be most often referred to when someone is claiming a position to extol. These are certainly issues that easily flare up and lend themselves to heated discussion. Addressing same-sex relationships, how we care for those who live in the margins of society, or bishops and dioceses moving from one association to another, and the Church’s handling of that movement, many times evoke distances in thought that seem impossible to bridge. When we begin to flare over issues that we believe to be unfair, it is the Church which is called to stand up for those who are persecuted. I believe this stems from our desire as the children of God, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

In living out our call to love our neighbor as ourselves and to respect the dignity of every human being as we vow in our baptismal covenant, we truly desire to make all things “right” with humanity. Controversies in our Church arise when we attempt to make all things right by making all things “okay.” Our Church is known for accepting people as they are, and that is a good thing. We do not do Christ’s ministry justice, however, when we leave them where they are….

Read it all. Then take a look all the finalists for Episcopal Bishop of Western Louisiana and their answers to questions as the election approaches on April 21.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes, Theology

Birthrate for U.S. teens is lowest in history

Teen births are at their lowest level in almost 70 years, federal data report today. Birthrates for ages 15-19 in all racial and ethnic groups are lower than ever reported.

“Young people are being more careful,” says Sarah Brown, CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. She attributes the declines to less sex and increased use of contraception.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Sexuality, Teens / Youth

South Carolina Dean Peet Dickinson's Easter Sermon

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Big Weekend in Sports (II)–Manchester United move strongly Toward another Premiere League Title

Manchester United surged closer to a 20th English league title on Sunday, opening an eight-point lead by beating Queens Park Rangers 2-0 while floundering neighbor Manchester City lost 1-0 at Arsenal.

Having spent most of the season in City’s shadow in the Premier League, United has eclipsed its big-spending rival to take control of the Premier League title race.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

Big Weekend in Sports (I)–Bubba Watson wins US Masters

Watson (69-71-70-68) made his charge to reach the play-off with four consecutive birdies on the back nine from holes Nos. 13-16. On the par four 14th, he hit a wonderful high approach that fed back near the cup while on the par five 15th, he hit it so long off the tee that he needed just a short iron to reach the green for a two-putt birdie.

Perhaps, his defining shot was on the 17th when he carved his drive left into the trees. His recovery from the trees off a lie that had been flattened all week by fan traffic was superb and gave him a settling par to stay in a share of the lead.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

(New Yorker) Daniel Mendelsohn–Unsinkable: Why we can’t let go of the Titanic

Toward the end of “A Night to Remember,” Walter Lord briefly nodded to “the element of fate” in the story, which teases its audience with a sense at once of inevitability and of how easily things might have turned out differently. It is, he says, like “classic Greek tragedy.”

He was right. All the energy spent on the mechanics, the romance, the construction, the passenger list, the endless debates about what the Californian might have done and just how many people perished (still never resolved) has distracted from what may, in the end, be the most obvious thing about the Titanic’s story: it uncannily replicates the structure and the themes of our most fundamental myths and oldest tragedies. Like Iphigenia, the Titanic is a beautiful “maiden” sacrificed to the agendas of greedy men eager to set sail; the forty-six-thousand-ton liner is just the latest in a long line of lovely girl victims, an archetype of vulnerable femininity that stands at the core of the Western literary tradition.

But the Titanic embodies another strain of tragedy. This is the drama of a flawed and self-destructive hero, a protagonist of great achievements and overweening presumption….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Movies & Television, Travel

(BBC) Nigerian Easter bomb kills many in Kaduna

At least 38 people have died in a car bombing in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, officials said.

Many others were injured in the attack, which took place when officials stopped the vehicle as it approached a church.

Just hours afterwards, a bomb exploded in the central city of Jos, injuring several people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, the living God, who hast given unto us a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Grant that we, being risen with him, may seek the things which are above, and be made partakers of the life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

–Psalm 103:1-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Shaken from Charleston, S.C. Episcopal Church, members celebrate Easter in synagogue

On Easter Sunday, the great hall of Grace Episcopal Church was quiet. The choir wasn’t singing, the Rector wasn’t preaching and Sunday school wasn’t ending because it hadn’t begun in the 166-year-old building in almost a year.

Last August, an earthquake centered in Virginia shook the congregation out of their home at Grace Episcopal in downtown Charleston.

Instead of pews, there’s scaffolding. Red ‘danger, do not enter’ tape covers the hall instead Easter decorations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Other Faiths, TEC Parishes

(Detroit Free Press) Oldest church in Detroit moves forward to engage the city

As the oldest Protestant church continuously operating on the same site in Detroit, Christ Church Detroit has a long history.

But the Episcopal congregation is moving forward with new programs to engage with the city. It recently started a reading camp that teaches about 40 to 50 children from poor backgrounds. And it plans to start this year a center for homeless people in the daytime.

Currently, there are overnight facilities for the homeless in Detroit, but they often don’t have a place to go in the morning.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, Urban/City Life and Issues

(The Daily) Benjamin Dueholm–Exploring Easter Vigil, the night when new converts are baptized

This morning the smoke of incense is still dissipating from thousands of churches around the country and the world where, last night, the Great Vigil of Easter was celebrated. This service ”” which begins with a bonfire and continues with readings, psalms, prayers, baptisms and the first mass of the Easter season, all ending (typically) with a big late-night meal to break the fast of Lent ”” was, in the first centuries of Christian history, the central event in the worshiping life of the Church. Today it’s an observance that appeals primarily to liturgy geeks (myself very much included), an unwieldy and time-consuming festival that dramatically complicates one’s plans for baked hams and Easter baskets.

Strange as the Easter Vigil may seem today, it hasn’t lost its original purpose: welcoming new believers into the body of the faithful. What is so powerful about the Easter Vigil, apart from the sheer sensory experience of it, is the way it intertwines the whole story of the Bible with the passing over of Jesus from death on Good Friday to resurrection on Easter. And the men and women who have been preparing for baptism (called “catechumens,” or hearers) step into these entwined stories on Saturday night, just as men and women did back when Christianity was a minor cult of the Roman world.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Sacramental Theology, Theology