Daily Archives: May 21, 2012

Monday Mental Health Break–(NBA Rookie Star) Kyrie Irving Poses As Old Man, Jumps Into Pickup Game

This is a whole lot of fun–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Sports

In Northern California, Rohnert Park Episcopal congregation disbands after 36 years

After 36 years, it was the end for Holy Family Episcopal Church in Rohnert Park, which fell victim to finances weakened beyond repair by a declining church membership.

“Heartbroken would be a good way to put it,” Pastor Gail Cafferata said of the small and now-disbanding fellowship, which expects to scatter to churches in Santa Rosa, Kenwood and Petaluma.

“It’s just been a really tough thing for everyone involved,” said Leslie Manning, 49, who joined the church four years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Michael Desanctis–Are new church designs taking us backward?

…the design of St. John situates musicians in an old-fashioned choir loft at the rear of the nave, as opposed to a site more integrated with the assembly seating. The design makes no provision for the baptism of adults by immersion.

It also breaks with the widespread practice of placing the tabernacle somewhere other than at the heart of the sanctuary, the rules for which are clearly outlined in “Built of Living Stones” (2000), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ directive on church architecture. In St. John Neumann Church, the reserved Blessed Sacrament is afforded optimum visibility behind the altar, where it is doubly tented beneath the domes of a metal tabernacle and marble ciborium.

Whether buildings like these are compromises, aberrations or the first fruits of a full-blown “movement” in American Catholic church design is still uncertain. Yet church architecture always raises the question, What is a church? Is it a temple in which God lives? A tent within which a pilgrim people assembles? Or many other things? And what does a post-Vatican II Catholic church look like if the answer is “both” or a variant of “all of the above”?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Notable and Quotable, Looking back 40 years

Life in America is changing. School is becoming freer, community is replacing isolation, marriage is becoming less of an enslavement, openness is taking over from superficiality, black is becoming beautiful. But the changes aren’t happening fast enough, nor for enough people, and there are always those who would block them and even turn back the clock if they could.

–John Robben, “On the Need for Prophets in Our Own Time,” New York Times, July 5, 1972

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

(Public Discourse) Christopher Kaczor–The Perils of Polygamy

In the course of history, approximately 85 percent of societies have practiced polygamy. Pushed by advocates of same-sex marriage and multiculturalism, some scholars, such as the signers of “Beyond Gay Marriage,” argue that it is irrational and bigoted for contemporary society to limit marriage to just two people. However, there is no bigotry in treating different things differently, and there are many important differences between polygamy and monogamy in practice as well as in principle….

Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental””to society in general, to men, to women, and to children. These problems arise because of the nature of human reproduction.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology

Belfast Newsletter story on Further Church of Ireland Developments on the Same Sex Union Struggle

The Rt Rev Michael Burrows, bishop of Cashel and Ossory, has been a target for the anger of conservative and evangelical members of the church since the same-sex union of Dean Tom Gordon almost a year ago.

Last Saturday, the church’s annual General Synod in Dublin voted by a majority of more than two-thirds to agree a motion which stated that marriage is only between a man and a woman and that any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong.

And, in an interview with the News Letter on Monday, the leading evangelical bishop, Harold Miller, urged Dean Gordon to state whether his civil partnership was celibate or sexual.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Speaking in Parkland, Kentucky Episcopal church leader calls for 'peacemakers'

More than 50 people, many from other Episcopal churches, came to St. George’s Episcopal Church in Parkland on Sunday for a prayer vigil that focused on the nearby shootings last Thursday.

Bishop Terry White, who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, helped lead the service, calling on those present to “redouble our efforts to be peacemakers.”

The church supports St. George’s Community Center, which tutors young people and helps them explore their passions to find career paths and research higher-education options.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology, Violence

([London] Times) Giles Fraser says Archbishop Sentamu’s stance on same-sex Marriage is ”˜rubbishâ

The Church of England was plunged into another row over gay marriage…[recently] when a cleric condemned a new statement by the Archbishop of York against gay marriage as “absolute rubbish”.

The Rev Giles Fraser, who has taken up a position in a deprived parish in South London after resigning from St Paul’s over the Occupy protest, tweeted: “Absolute rubbish from the Archbishop of York, I’m afraid.”

Dr John Sentamu had posted a paper on his own website explaining why he believed same-sex marriage to be wrong. He criticises those who attempt to draw a parallel between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

St Albans Cathedral in Pretoria fights bishop – gets Court order to hold service

A Pretoria parish had to obtain an urgent court order to hold its church service yesterday.

The move follows a decision on Thursday by South African Council of Churches chairman Bishop Johannes Seoka to close the St Albans Anglican Cathedral for worship.

Seoka took the drastic decision following the resignation of resident priest Father Rudolph Paulse. The priest resigned last week after he was allegedly threatened with death by parishioners.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, South Africa

Charleston, South Carolina, Heritage Keepers Abstinence program gains HHS approval

Heritage Keepers, an abstinence-based sex education curriculum offered by Heritage Community Services in Charleston, S.C., has been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after a study found it effective in delaying sexual initiation among youth.

The study involved 2,215 students in grades 7-9 and demonstrated that those receiving the Heritage Keepers curriculum were significantly less likely to become sexually active at the 12 month follow-up than those in a comparison group.

For those in the comparison group, sexual experience increased from 29.2 percent to 43.2 percent, compared to an increase from 29.1 percent to 33.7 percent among those who participated in Heritage Keepers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Sexuality, Teens / Youth

Deacon Jeremy Boccabello's Ascension Day Sermon at Holy Communion, Charleston, South Carolina

It’s not a subtle point, nor can it be truly realized without changing one’s perspective and approach completely. And that realization is the explanation for the explosion of the church throughout history. “All authority in heaven and earth is given to ME – go YE therefore into all the world.”

By contrast, The lack of that realization is precisely what has many of us presently cowering in our corner while we let the gods of this age go about doing the serious business of running the world. Paul’s prayer for the Christians in the throne city of the goddess Diana is that they will have the eyes of their hearts enlightened – so that they can see what Ezekiel saw in Babylon and what Paul knew was somewhere in the skies over Diana’s temple in Ephesus. A sapphire throne bearing an unchallengeable monarch with scar tissue on his hands and feet.

Now for the warning label: This is the potentest of potent stuff, and deploying it in the face of the would be rulers of any age can have (and has had) unexpected, unintended and even unwanted consequences.

Read or listen to it all (audio [about 16 minutes] highly recommended).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ascension, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Missions, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jay Voorhees–Response to Bishop William Willimon on General Conference 2012

Most of all we have seen a Council of Bishops who have spent their careers as the consummate systemic insiders. For all of the rhetoric of creative leadership, many (if not most of you) have spent years serving on the very committees and boards that have failed to embrace change. The current boards and agencies, which have been largely groups that rubber stamped staff initiatives and General Secretary priorities, have not been held accountable even though it is Council of Bishop members who are, by and large, the presidents of those governing boards. The bishop, more often than not, are a body who are invested in the same political process that got them elected in the first place, a network of relationships that seems unable to truly embrace change.

And we’re supposed to trust you now?

Trust, as I understand it, rarely comes through authority imposed from above, but rather through the experience of one over time. Yes, we respect the office and place ourselves under your authority . . . but trust can only be given when it’s earned, and in far too many cases the expectation of blind obedience to power has ruled the day at the expense of building trust.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches

Methodist Bishop Willimon on General Conference 2012 and ”˜church by committee’

General Conference in Tampa made history as the most expensive ($1,500 per minute!), least productive, most fatuous assemblage in the history of Methodism. Sunday evening’s “A Celebration of Ministry” fiasco was a metaphor for our nearly two weeks at church expense: four hours of belabored supplication by the General Commission on Status and Role of Women, five Ethnic National Plans, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, United Methodist Men, Girl Scouts, Africa University and a number of other agencies I can’t remember. A subtheme of that long night: even though we can’t cite specific fruit, please don’t force us to change or to expend less on ourselves.

Even after suffering this abuse, General Conference succumbed to the agencies’ pleadings. In a post-GC blog, Mike Slaughter (who with Adam Hamilton eloquently””and futilely””warned GC that we must change or face certain death) told the truth: “Our denominational systems continue to resist change by protecting archaic structures. From our seminaries to boards and agencies, institutional preservation was a strong resistant influence throughout GC. Entrenched organizational bureaucracies resist accountability ”¦”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O heavenly Father, that as we have each received any gift of thine entrusted to us, so we may minister the same one to another, as good stewards of thy manifold grace; that thy holy name may in all things be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles– assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

–Ephesians 3:1-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb RIP

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Music, Parish Ministry

(WSJ) Facebook's IPO Sputters

Facebook Inc.took eight years to stage one of the most anticipated initial public offerings ever. The anticlimax came Friday, as Wall Street bankers struggled to prevent the newly minted stock from ending its first day with a loss.

he stock had been widely predicted to soar on its first day. Instead, up until the closing moments of the trading session, Facebook’s underwriters battled to keep the stock from slipping below its offering price of $38 a share. Such a stumble would have been a significant embarrassment, particularly for a prominent new issue like Facebook, the most heavily traded IPO of all time.

In the end, the bankers succeeded. When trading on Nasdaq ended at 4 p.m., the social network’s stock was up just a hair, 0.6%, at $38.23.

The roller-coaster day””Facebook’s shares started out jumping roughly 11%, before cooling off””was also beset by trading glitches and a 30-minute delay in the opening of trading. Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology, Stock Market

Kenyan Anglican Church bans politicking at its pulpits

The Anglican Church in Kenya has banned politicians from taking political campaigns to its places of worship.

The church, through its leader Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, said the church will not receive gifts from politicians or allow the pulpit to be used to spur animosity among Kenyans.

“We must embrace humility and become wiser as the country nears the General Elections. We will not allow the church pulpits be used by politicians to attack each other,” said Archbishop Wabukala on Sunday after leading a Sunday worship session at the All Saints Cathedral Church in Nairobi.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General

(NY Times) Greek Crisis Poses Unwanted Choices for Western Leaders

The leaders of the Group of 8, emphasizing growth as well as fiscal discipline at their meeting on Saturday, made a strong plea for Greece to stay in the euro zone and the European Union.

And no wonder.

Despite efforts at official reassurance, no one really knows the consequences of a Greek exit from the euro zone, or how rapidly big countries like Spain and Italy, and their banks, will feel the effects….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(CSM) Why Pakistan still hasn't reopened NATO supply lines

On April 12 the Pakistani parliament passed a 14-point resolution in response to the Salala checkpoint attacks. The resolution condemns the attacks, and includes demands for an unconditional apology from the US, an immediate cessation of drone attacks, and a stop to all transport of arms and ammunition through Pakistan.

The foreign policy review process was an attempt by the parliament to regain control over the country’s foreign policy, which has historically been set by the country’s military. It was passed after several months debate, and under a broad coalition of parties across the political spectrum.

“We need to make sure that we follow the recommendations of the parliament in our negotiations with the US. I am hopeful that we can come to a mutually satisfying agreement,” says Mr. Chaudhury.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

(Cross Rhythms) Fernando Ortega: From CCM hitmaker to Anglican liturgy minister

Commented Fernando, “Isn’t that weird, a Mexican Anglican? When Ruby, my daughter, was born, we were attending an Anglican church here in Albuquerque, and nobody in the church knew about what I did for a living. That was part of what drew us to the church: nobody there that was into contemporary Christian music, so we could go and just be part of the church. Then slowly people found out that I was a musician; I got asked to play a couple times. They finally asked if I would consider becoming the worship leader there. It was perfect, because I was trying to get off the road, because my daughter had just been born, and I didn’t want to be gone from her, I didn’t want to miss anything. It was like God opened this door. We’ve been part of this Anglican church for a year and a half now. Anglicans who are listening take it for granted – but we’ve never, as American evangelicals, ordered our worship or our devotional experience according to the narrative of Christ’s life: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Lent, Holy Week. Every week has a theme, so I’m finding hymns, and having to write hymns, that are specific to those themes every week. That’s just not part of evangelicalism, it’s a very general sense of worship. You know how modern worship is: ‘Lord, I love you, I bless you, I thank you for your grace’. But you don’t have songs that are specific to holy days, like the Transfiguration or something like that – you don’t go find contemporary praise songs that are about that. So I’ve ended up having to write those songs, or find old, traditional songs. It’s really influenced my writing.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches

Western Australia Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches sign historic covenant

Bathursty will become the sixth diocese in Australia to formalise the relationship between its Anglican and Catholic churches when Bishops Richard Hurford and Bishop Michael McKenna sign a covenant of friendship next week.
Representatives will travel from across the state on Thursday to witness the historic event, which will consolidate the connection between the two Christian denominations.

Catholic Bishop McKenna said the covenant was a celebration of a “long-standing friendship and cooperation”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Romney’s [Mormon] Faith, Silent but Deep

When Mitt Romney embarked on his first political race in 1994, he also slipped into a humble new role in the Mormon congregation he once led. On Sunday mornings, he stood in the sunlit chapel here teaching Bible classes for adults.

Leading students through stories about Jesus and the Nephite and Lamanite tribes, who Mormons believe once populated the Americas, and tossing out peanut butter cups as rewards, Mr. Romney always returned to the same question: how could students apply the lessons of Mormon scripture in their daily lives?

Now, as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Mr. Romney speaks so sparingly about his faith ”” he and his aides frequently stipulate that he does not impose his beliefs on others ”” that its influence on him can be difficult to detect….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family, Mormons, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture