Daily Archives: May 11, 2012

John Murray: The Religious Battle of Vanderbilt

Ironically, the very freedom Vanderbilt administrators have to make their unfortunate decision derives from a 19th-century Supreme Court case that led to the proliferation of Christian colleges such as Vanderbilt, founded under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1873.

Dartmouth College vs. Woodward originated in 1815, when the Dartmouth Board of Trustees fired the college president, who then appealed to the state legislature for intervention. Having granted Dartmouth’s charter in 1769, the New Hampshire legislature revoked it, instead forming the University of Dartmouth and filling its board with state supporters.

Very few students attended the new university, and the original one remained intact with 130 students. It was a diminished institution without state support, but with persecution came blessing””including a “wonderful interest [in Christ],” according to the record of the Dartmouth Theological Society, and the conversion of 60 students.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

Martin Marty–Which Religions Tend to Hold Cultural Dominance?

The class will please come to order. Our text today is “The Law of Cultural Dominance,” formulated by David Kaplan in Cultural Evolution, published fifty-two years ago, and noticed too little since. I find online that I quoted it in a scholarly article in 1977 and noted a couple of other citations through the decades. We happy few who profited from it have an insight which helps explain much in religious change. Here it is: “That cultural system which more effectively exploits the energy resources of a given environment will tend to spread in that environment at the expense of less effective systems.”

In the United States, Pentecostals, conservative evangelicals, African American, Latino/Latina Americans, Latter-Day Saints, Korean Protestants, and other prospering religious groups know this Law without having read Kaplan. For one illustration: the energy resources associated with mass media””radio, TV, movies, and now the internet are available to all, but mainly the kind of groups I mentioned have “exploited” them efficiently….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Occupy plans new action and pilgrimage to Canterbury

A statement posted on the Occupy London website on Tuesday said that there would be a “teach-in” at 1 p.m. on Saturday at St Paul’s, “organised by Tent City University, the educational arm of Occupy London. It is aiming at promoting informed political action and exploring viable economic alternatives before we pay a visit to City institutions that caused and continue to profit by the [financial] crisis.”

It said that the global day of action would involve “citizens using peaceful, creative ways to deliver their own messages to the financial and corporate élite of the City”. The protesters would “continue to exercise our right to peacefully assemble in public spaces”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

USA Today Editorial–Obama's Same Sex Marriage evolution mirrors the nation's

Symbolically, Obama’s comment to ABC News that “same-sex couples should be able to get married” is an important, even historic, marker of how far public opinion has shifted. No previous president has endorsed gay marriage.

Politically, his declaration injects another hot-button social issue into the presidential race, to uncertain effect. Republican candidate Mitt Romney promptly reiterated his view that marriage “is a relationship between a man and a woman,” setting up a sharp contrast for the fall campaign.

But practically, Obama’s “evolution” changes little. Marriage remains a state matter. Same-sex marriage is unlikely to become the law of the land any time soon. And polls aside, the idea has yet to catch on where it matters most: with voters.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Sexuality, Theology

Shay Gaillard–“Respectfully No, Mr. President”

The President went on to justify his new definition of marriage with these words: “The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule ”” you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated”¦” Mr. President, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary was for the sins of the world. Jesus did not die to take away the moral law or the God-given teaching on marriage. He died to redeem us from our inability to keep that law. The Golden Rule is also misapplied in this instance. To redefine marriage in a way that is contrary to God’s word is to do immeasurable harm to one’s neighbor, not good.

On this day after the announcement, we are told that pollsters have now determined that 50% of the country aligns with President Obama’s position on redefining marriage. Whether or not we believe these numbers, it is important to remember that some decisions are not about the majority or what we feel is best. Some decisions are made in eternity and determined by a loving and just God. Some decisions are above our pay grade. And so I say respectfully No, Mr. President.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Office of the President, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Sexuality, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Obama and Same Sex Marriage: In U.S. religion, the Golden Rule rules

In fact, one of the most striking aspects of Obama’s revelation on Wednesday (May 9) that he and his wife, Michelle, support marriage rights for gays and lesbians, is that he invoked their Christian faith to support his views. In past years, Obama ”“ as many believers still do ”“ had cited his religious beliefs to oppose gay marriage.

Obama told ABC News that he and the first lady “are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Good News) United Methodist Rob Renfroe–Should We Agree To Disagree?

While appealing to some, this “compromise” is ultimately unhelpful. When a matter is pragmatic and little more, compromise can be the right option to take. Part of growing up is realizing that you can’t and don’t need to get your way all the time.

But when the issue is one of principle and when it involves the clear teaching of Scripture, we cannot take the easy way out and claim that we do not know what we believe without injuring our personal integrity and our corporate witness. And to be honest, everyone knows that removing the clear statement we currently have in the Discipline would not resolve the issue. It is only a first step by those whose ultimate intention is to change the church’s position. And that’s hardly a true compromise.

When the “agree-to-disagree compromise” was defeated in Fort Worth and the historic position of the church was reaffirmed, the charge against those who supported the church’s stance was, “You’re dishonest. We are of divided mind. Why won’t you even allow us to state that we differ?”

It’s a good question. And there’s a very good answer. We United Methodists are divided on practically every issue. But in none of our other statements on matters theological, moral, or cultural do we state that we have agreed to disagree.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AP) Episcopal leaders forgive Maryland church shooter

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is offering forgiveness and a funeral service for a homeless man who killed himself after fatally shooting a priest and church secretary last week.

Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton and an academic expert on forgiveness likened the diocese’s attitude to that of an Amish community in Lancaster County, Pa., that forgave the man who fatally shot five school girls there in 2006.

“That is a painful, hard process,” Sutton told The Associated Press after last Thursday’s shooting. “But we learned something a few years ago, made manifest by the Amish community, when a gunman came into that school: Eventually, that community went to the family of that murderer and extended forgiveness.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology, Violence

Two Sudans Brace for a War Both Thought Was Over

South Sudan’s years of conflict were meant to be over when it won its independence from Sudan last July after generations of fighting with the people of the north. But the jubilation quickly faded, and now, not even a year later, after weeks of pointed barbs and border skirmishes, this vast and vastly underdeveloped country is once again mobilizing for war ”” and asking some of the poorest people on earth to pay for it, with whatever they have at hand….

Sudan and South Sudan have yet to resolve a number of prickly and vital issues, not least of which is how to demarcate a border of more than 1,000 miles and share billions of dollars of oil revenue. Border clashes escalated in late March, killing hundreds, and strategic oil fields have switched hands.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --North Sudan, --South Sudan, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Politics in General, Sudan, Violence

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

Abuse victims and their families have been expelled from religious schools and synagogues, shunned by fellow ultra-Orthodox Jews and targeted for harassment intended to destroy their businesses. Some victims’ families have been offered money, ostensibly to help pay for therapy for the victims, but also to stop pursuing charges, victims and victims’ advocates said.

“Try living for one day with all the pain I am living with,” Mr. Jungreis, spent and distraught, said recently outside his new apartment on Williamsburg’s outskirts. “Did anybody in the Hasidic community in these two years, in Borough Park, in Flatbush, ever come up and look my son in the eye and tell him a good word? Did anybody take the courage to show him mercy in the street?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Kevin DeYoung offers 10 reflections based on 10 years of marriage

9. Make her laugh. A marriage without humor is like oatmeal without brown sugar: it might still be good for you, but it’s basically congealed mush. If you’ve stopped laughing, you may have started hardening.

10. Repent and forgive. Say “I’m sorry.” Be specific and don’t make excuses. Try to see things her way. If you were only half wrong, own up to your half of the wrong. And when she owns up to her h

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Data Signals Economic Trouble in China

As China’s leaders have been preoccupied with a political struggle leading up to a once-in-a-decade leadership change this autumn, there are increasing signs that the Chinese economy may be running into trouble.

China announced Thursday that growth in imports had unexpectedly come to a screeching halt in April ”” rising just 0.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, compared with expectations for an 11 percent increase. Businesses across the country appeared to lose much of their appetite for products as varied as iron ore and computer chips.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Enable us, O heavenly Father, to walk with thee this day and every day in sure and simple trust; ever remembering that our little things are all big to thy love, and our big things are all small to thy power; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever! Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or show forth all his praise?

–Psalm 106:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

In a surprise announcement, JPMorgan announces large trading loss

[CEO Jamie] Dimon said the losses were caused by “errors,” “sloppiness” and “bad judgment.”

“This was a unique thing we did,” Dimon said. “Obviously it had a lot of problems. It was a bad strategy. It became more complex, it was poorly managed.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

John Piper on Parish Ministry–Take Heed to Yourself and to Your Teaching

Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. [1 Timothy 4:16]

I would sum up the impact of this verse as “the extraordinary seriousness of the pastoral ministry.” I hope that one effect of this message will be to make you earnest and diligent in your prayers for all the vocational ministers of the church. And I hope that another effect will be to make David Livingston and Brad Nelson and the rest of the pastoral staff passionate and persevering and utterly devoted in the fulfillment of their ministry.
Three Commands and Two Promises

This verse contains three commands and two promises for the young pastor. The first command is that he take heed to himself. The second command is that he take heed to his teaching. The third command is that he hold on to those two duties; in other words, that he keep on taking heed to himself and keep on taking heed to his teaching, and never think that the days for personal vigilance are over or that the days for doctrinal growth are past….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

([London] Times) Online prayer takes off

Online prayer is taking off as people turn to the web to call for the intercession of God, according to a new study.

However, petitioning via the internet seems to bring out quite different types of prayer.

Traditional prayer requests, using methods such as by placing prayer cards on church prayer boards, were for animals, global issues and other people, especially those suffering an illness.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Spirituality/Prayer

Church of England Welcomes Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill

The Church of England’s ethical investment advisory group and rural affairs team have welcomed the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill included in the Queen’s Speech, saying ‘supermarkets operating ethically and appropriately with their farmer and other suppliers will have nothing to fear from this welcome piece of legislation’.

The Church along with many other organizations has been pressing successive Governments since 2007 to put protection for farmers and other suppliers on a legislative footing.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology