Daily Archives: May 8, 2012

AMIA Bishop Todd Hunter joins ACNA by being received, will be asst. Bishop

On 4 May 2012 the California-based bishop held a conference call with Archbishop Duncan, Bishop Chuck Murphy of the AMiA, and Bishop Terrell Glenn of PEAR-USA/ACNA to discuss his future plans.

Bishop Hunter stated that he had a “warm and collegial conversations” with the three bishops and “articulated for each of them my vision of C4SO becoming a servant to all the various Anglican entities within North America. C4SO will happily plant churches in partnership with PEARUSA, TheAm and the ACNA.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Human Trafficking: out of the darkness

From here:

They’re lured abroad by visions of prosperity, by hopes for a better future for their kids and families back home. Sometimes, they’re trying to escape war or conflict. They are the some 12 million people around the world today who are believed to have become slaves for those dreams of a better, safer life.
But their number could be even double that ”“ as many as 27 million men, women and children to live in a state of modern slavery. People like Tara from Ethiopia, promised a good job as a maid in the Middle East, who finds her passport confiscated, and 20 hour days of humiliation and hard work. Or Umma from Somalia who spends her last pennies for a boat ride to Italy only to find herself an unwilling victim of the sex trade. Or Noben, a fisherman from Bangladesh beaten by his boss when he fails to meet his quota of catch for the day.
Among the growing number of lay and religious organizations combating these forms of human trafficking, is the Catholic International Union of Superiors General (UISG) which in 2009 instituted the Talitha Kum network to train consecrated religious and lay in methods of prevention and to provide assistance for victims of trafficking.
Salesian Sr. Estrella Castalone of Talitha Kum says the network takes its name from a center for trafficked girls she helps run in her native Philippines.
Through their many hospitals, schools and social centers around the world, Catholic sisters can play an important role in combating and preventing trafficking of persons and offering material, spiritual and psychological help to victims. And in the some 68 countries where it’s located, Talitha Kum is training more and more religious for the job. It’s a job, Sr. Estrella says, “that puts us in touch with all forms of poverty: the material, the spiritual and the moral”¦”

Listen to Tracey McClure’s whole interview with Sr. Estrella.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Poverty, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Violence, Women

Save the Children report: USA is 25th best place to be a mom

Just in time for Mother’s Day, an annual ranking of the best and worst countries in which to be a mom puts the USA in 25th place, up from 31st last year.

The 13th annual State of the World’s Mothers report by the Save the Children foundation, out today, examines the well-being of mothers and their children in 165 countries, based on a range of measures, including mothers’ education, infant mortality and breastfeeding rates.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Women

H. P. Bianchi–Thirty million former Roman Catholics: What can we learn?

In the age of helicopter parents, dads spend hours with their children practicing sports, hoping their child will be the next Tiger Woods (In light of recent revelations, I hope less fathers dream about their children playing professional sports), and moms work themselves into a frenzy trying to get their toddlers into the best preschools. How often do parents pick up the religious education textbook and review it with their children?

A further systemic problem is the lack of content in Catholic education, a reaction to the style of education before the Second Vatican Council. Upon reviewing the old catechism and talking with many older Catholics, I discerned that the previous system was based on rote memorization of key church teachings. Older Catholics know basic doctrines, but they lack the knowledge as to why they should believe them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, History, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Took the Whole Family the see "The Avengers" Last Evening

Wow. It was really super. Watch it all.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Harmon Family, Movies & Television

(SMH) Patrick Porter–Where lies the real enemy in Afghanistan?

For 10 years we have tried to combat poverty, corruption and state failure by birthing a strong Afghan government. Not an easy task in a country hard to govern from the centre, and where our favoured regime is an unloved kleptocracy.

As Canberra looks to extricate Australia from this long hard slog, it declares victory of sorts, presenting its phased withdrawal as a successful handover to indigenous security forces.

But Afghanistan is not the centre of this war. This is primarily a war over – and against – Pakistan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Australia / NZ, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

Katharine Jefferts Schori–The Episcopal Church’s opportunity ”“ A Church for the 21st Century

If we are people who value that Anglican sense of ordered freedom, then we need to learn to live in the creative tension between complete order and complete freedom, both of which are ultimately deadly ”“ order because it’s not open to change, and complete freedom because it has a hard time with enduring relationship. Abundant life and creativity come in the dance between what is finished and utter chaos. That lively tension applies to all parts of our lives, including how we make decisions.

Our churchwide governance work is largely based on parliamentary democratic methods. We have evolved a system that gives great attention to the details of process and structure in how decisions are made. We have a representation system that has at least something to do with interest group politics. We have made legislative decisions over the last few decades that have done great good in opening us up to the movement of the spirit. We have also done damage in voting, by creating winners and losers about several hundred issues at every General Convention.

There are other democratic ways of decision-making that are more deliberative, that depend on conversation and consensus more than on up-down, yes-no voting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Theology

Pope Benedict XVI's Address to US Bishops this past weekend

First, as we know, the essential task of authentic education at every level is not simply that of passing on knowledge, essential as this is, but also of shaping hearts. There is a constant need to balance intellectual rigor in communicating effectively, attractively and integrally, the richness of the Church’s faith with forming the young in the love of God, the praxis of the Christian moral and sacramental life and, not least, the cultivation of personal and liturgical prayer.

It follows that the question of Catholic identity, not least at the university level, entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus. All too often, it seems, Catholic schools and colleges have failed to challenge students to reappropriate their faith as part of the exciting intellectual discoveries which mark the experience of higher education. The fact that so many new students find themselves dissociated from the family, school and community support systems that previously facilitated the transmission of the faith should continually spur Catholic institutions of learning to create new and effective networks of support. In every aspect of their education, students need to be encouraged to articulate a vision of the harmony of faith and reason capable of guiding a life-long pursuit of knowledge and virtue. As ever, an essential role in this process is played by teachers who inspire others by their evident love of Christ, their witness of sound devotion and their commitment to that sapientia Christiana which integrates faith and life, intellectual passion and reverence for the splendor of truth both human and divine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(Vatican Radio) Archbishop Sheehan of Santa Fe: recovering Catholic identity

The US bishops of Region XIII are in Rome this week for their ad limina visits. Region XIII comprises areas in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, New Mexico spoke with Vatican Radio about some of the issues of most concern to him, including the need to teach the moral precepts of the faith with clarity and charity. “Marriage and the family life are under attack in our secular socisty,” he said, adding that it is not only the high-profile controversy over preserving traditional marriage that is threatening this basic social institution. “For us in the United States,” he said, “I think that people simply living together without any commitment whatsoever,” is a serious threat. Archbishop Sheehan explained that he has recently addressed the issue in a pastoral letter. “As a result of my letter, hundreds of couples have approached their priest, in order to have their situation regularized.” Archbishop Sheehan went on to discuss in broad terms the need to reach out to those who have fallen away from the faith, or perhaps never learned it, saying that the message to them needs to be: “We love you, and we want you back.”

Listen to it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Billy Graham’s "Nearing Home” wins Christian Book of the Year from ECPA

One finalist title, Nearing Home by Billy Graham (Thomas Nelson), received the top honor by being named the 2012 Christian Book of the Year for its profound impact and high judging scores for excellence.

“Growing old has been the greatest surprise of my life,” says Billy Graham,now in his nineties and known by many as God’s Ambassador. “I would have never guessed what God had in store for me, and I know that as I am nearing home, He will not forsake me the last mile of the way.” In Nearing Home, Graham explores the challenges of aging while gleaning foundational truths from Scripture. “When granted many years of life, growing old in age is natural, but growing old with grace is a choice,” says Graham.

Read it all.

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

Sam Hodges–Our stubborn system: A reflection on the Methodist General Conference 2012

The structures and processes of the United Methodist Church are self-preserving. The size and frequency of our meetings encourage passivity; our current Book of Discipline and its structures favor institutional stagnation; and, as some discovered in Tampa, our Constitution prohibits most forms of restructuring. The systems that we have created for ministry protect the status quo against revision, and our denomination cannot effectively make disciples of Jesus Christ without the ability to adapt.

This procedural and systemic self-preservation is natural, but it does not differentiate between gratuitous and essential change. Our connection’s ability to protect itself from unnecessary change is valuable, but sometimes adaptation is necessary. In the past five years, the membership in the United States has declined by 4.5 percent; worship attendance has declined by 7.9 percent; and the number of young people being confirmed in the UMC in the United States has declined by 18.44 percent. The need for adaptation is well-established, yet General Conference yielded little change.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Ontario doctors face wage cuts, clawbacks in government proposal

The Ontario government wants to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to its doctors through fee cuts, fee clawbacks and the elimination of funding for some health-care services, medical groups said Sunday amid an escalating conflict over physician compensation in the province….

“They’re basically trying to trash the medical profession, for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense,” said Ray Foley, executive director of the Ontario Association of Radiologists. “We think it’s going to be devastating. It’s not going to cause an erosion of patient care, it’s going to create a chasm in patient care.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Julian of Norwich

Lord God, who in thy compassion didst grant to the Lady Julian many revelations of thy nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek thee above all things, for in giving us thyself thou givest us all; 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

Grant unto us, O merciful God, knowledge and true understanding of thy Word, that we may know what thy will is, and also may show forth in our lives those things that we do know: that we be not only knowers of thy Word, but also doers of the same; by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Why the United Methodist Church canceled votes on same-sex marriage and gay clergy

United Methodists concluded their General Conference last Friday (May 4) without voting on gay clergy or same-sex marriage, a surprising end to a disappointing week for gay activists.

On Thursday, the nearly 1,000 delegates gathered in Tampa, Fla., soundly rejected two motions that would have amended the United Methodist Church’s book of doctrine and rules, which calls the practice of homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.” After those votes, protesters flooded the convention floor, briefly shutting down the conference….

Read it all.

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

'Europe is a mess,' economist David Rosenberg warns

Europe is a mess ”” politically, economically, fiscally, economist David Rosenberg said Monday.

“In less than two years, we are now up to a total of seven European leaders or ruling parties that have been forced out of office, courtesy of the spreading government debt crisis ”” tack on France now to Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. Even Germany’s coalition is looking shaky,” the Gluskin Sheff economist wrote in his note Monday.

“This is quite a potent brew ”” financial insolvency, economic fragility and political instability.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Canada, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Central Florida Episcopal Bishop Greg Brewer's homily at St. Michael's, Orlando, May 6, 2012

Take a listen and see what you make of it.

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

([London] Times) David Meara–Don’t demythologise Christianity

[Richard] Holloway’s powerful account [in His book Leaving Alexandria] mirrors the progressive loss of belief which we see across Britain and Europe today, and it comes hard on the heels of Alain de Botton’s latest book Religion for Atheists, which advertises itself with the question “Even if religion isn’t true, can’t we enjoy the best bits?” It assumes that the supernatural claims of religion are false, but suggests that we hang on to the communal ritual and cultural elements. Holloway makes a similar plea when he says “I don’t any longer believe in religion but I want it around, less sure of itself and purged of everything except the miracle of pity”.

These books leave me with the question: Does this work? Can you have the gilt without the gingerbread? Isn’t there something fundamentally dishonest about those wistful atheists who have taken leave of God and who yet continue to use theological concepts and cling on to religious practices?

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Atheism, Books, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Secularism