Daily Archives: August 3, 2012

Jay Richards and James Robison on the Chick-fil-A Controversy

The agitators chose a most improbable villain. Dan Cathy is the son of the 91-year-old founder of the company, S. Truett Cathy. Truett is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who is also a committed Christian. His fast-food chain is famous not only for tasty chicken sandwiches but also for being closed on Sundays. The Cathys don’t think of their company as a “Christian company,” but they have sought to run their business on “biblical principles.” This gives them a special interest in families.

“We are very much supportive of the family””the biblical definition of the family unit,” Mr. Cathy explained recently in an interview with the Baptist Press. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

In virtually every culture, marriage is an institution involving a public commitment between a man and a woman. The complementary nature of men and women points to the unique purpose of marriage: to bear and raise children. One can recognize this fact and so conclude that “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron””without being “anti-gay.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Media, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Zenit) Sexual Content in the Movies

The media really does influence adolescents’ behavior and early exposure to sexual content in the movies leads them to commence sexual activity at an earlier age and to take more risks.

This was the conclusion of a study just published in the journal Psychological Science, titled “Greater Exposure to Sexual Content in Popular Movies Predicts Earlier Sexual Debut and Increased Sexual Risk Taking.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology

Alana Newman–Same-Sex Marriage and the Test-Tube Tidal Wave

Motherlessness and commodification of human life and the womb are concerning. According to the 2010 My Daddy’s Name Is Donor report (released by Blankenhorn’s colleagues at the Institute for American Values), the first large comparative study of young adults conceived via commercial conception, “Donor offspring are significantly more likely than those raised by their biological parents to struggle with serious, negative outcomes such as delinquency, substance abuse, and depression, even when controlling for socio-economic and other factors.”

Being raised by one’s biological parents is not only ideal according to social science research, but according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is a human right. My biggest fear is that the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples will strip children of the right to be raised by their natural parents, because law and culture will demand that we celebrate all the means by which same-sex couples become parents.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

(BBC) Coptic-Muslim clashes erupt in Egypt

At least 16 people have been wounded after Muslims attacked a church and Christian homes in a village near the Egyptian capital, Cairo, officials say.

The unrest in Dahshur, about 40km (25 miles) south of Cairo, started after a Muslim man died of wounds sustained in an earlier clash on Friday.

Violence frequently flares between Egypt’s Muslim majority and its Coptic Christian minority.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(LA Times) Egypt unnerved by rising religious fervor

An engineering student is killed for walking with his fiancee by men reportedly linked to a group called the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Women are harassed for not wearing veils, owners of liquor stores say they’re being threatened, and fundamentalists are calling for sex segregation on buses and in workplaces.

Egypt’s recent election of an Islamist president has rekindled a long-suppressed display of public piousness that has aroused both “moral vigilantism” and personal acts of faith, such as demands that police officers and flight attendants be allowed to grow beards. Scattered incidents of violence and intimidation do not appear to have been organized, but they represent a disturbing trend in Egypt’s transition to democracy.

Emerging from decades of secular rule, the country is unsteadily calibrating how deeply Islam should infuse public and private life….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Church Times) Dual threat to Christians from sectarian conflict in Syria

The growing intensity of the conflict in Syria, and the increasing signs of the rebels’ success, are leaving the country’s Christian minority in a doubly dangerous position. Like all civilians, they are caught in the crossfire; and they are also at risk from the way in which the rebels are being boosted by Islamic extremist fighters.

It is impossible to say how many Christians are among the 17,000 people who have been killed, or the 120,000 who have been forced to flee their homes, but there are indications that many thousands are being affected by the conflict.

The Barnabas Fund, which supports Christians where they are in a minority and suffer discrimination, says that “tens of thousands of Christians have been driven from their cities by threats and violence. Almost the entire Christian populations of Homs and Qusayr have fled to surrounding villages or further afield. . . They are in urgent need of food and other essentials.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

(Washington Post) European financial crisis has ripple effect on U.S. businesses

Madrid–The newest Apple store in Spain, like its counterparts in other parts of the world, is designed to draw you in. Stone floors, glass doors, and rows of blond wood tables stocked with scores of gleaming iPhones, iPads and MacBooks as far as the eye can see.

On a recent weekday afternoon, the cavernous showroom was missing only one thing: customers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Globe and Mail) A world of water, as seen by Canada's first space tourist

In 2009, Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberté paid $35-million for a round-trip ticket to the International Space Station, where he trained his lens on several of the Earth’s endangered water systems….There are nine pictures in all. Check them out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

The Observance of Ramadan Poses Challenges to Muslim Athletes

With nearly three million Muslims living in Britain, the observance of Ramadan here is not generally a notable occurrence. Shops are open, businessmen go to work at the regular times and, to outsiders, life seems ordinary enough, save for the absence of eating or drinking from dawn until sunset.

But the Olympics have made this far from an ordinary summer in England, so the arrival of Islam’s holiest month has led to a variety of issues for the estimated 3,000 Muslim athletes and officials at the Games. Questions still linger about how athletes should deal with training, competing and fasting (or whether it is proper for Muslim athletes to fast at all).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sports

Gavin Dunbar with some Thoughts for a Friday Morning on Marriage and Contemporary Culture

In the contemporary culture of sexual partnerships, both homosexual and heterosexual, it is considered intolerable that the Word of God should deny consenting adults the gratification of their emotional and erotic drives, which are identified as “civil rights”. To non-Christians, of course, the teaching of the Bible and the Christian tradition is irrelevant; but to many Christians the idea that the Word of God and the contemporary culture are in contradiction is simply too painful to contemplate. It must be explained away, or denied outright. The theological difficulties, however, remain and are not abstract unless the Word of God and the will of God are mere abstractions. To treat any of them as though they were is to be cut off from the doctrinal core of one’s religion.

That is not to say that there are not real difficulties in the current understanding and practice of Christian marriage, even among “conservatives”. The advance of a “liberal” moral agenda in matters sexual has been made on the basis of a persistent and unaddressed weakness in the understanding and practice of Christian marriage. A legalistic crackdown will get us nowhere. There will be no real progress on this front, and nothing to be expected but continuing impasse both in the churches and in society in general, until there is a theological and practical recovery of the institution.

–The Rev. Gavin Dunbar is rector Saint John’s, Savannah, and this appeared in a recent parish newsletter.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We beseech thee, O God, the God of truth, that what we know not of the things we ought to know, thou wilt teach us; that what we know, thou wilt keep us therein; that in what we are mistaken, thou wilt correct us; that at whatsoever truths we stumble, thou wilt stablish us; and that from all that is false, and all knowledge that would be hurtful, thou wilt evermore defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–After the thought of Saint Fulgentius (462-527)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

–Acts 2:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) San Bernardino, California, Files Chapter 9 Bankruptcy

San Bernardino, California, filed for municipal bankruptcy after disclosing a $46 million shortfall in the city’s budget, the third California city to seek court protection from creditors since June 28.

California cities from the Mexican border to San Francisco Bay are confronting rising pension costs as they contend with growing unemployment and declining property- and sales-tax revenue. The costs stem from decisions made when stock markets were soaring and retirement funds were running surpluses.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

States Up the Ante in Bid to Lure Other States’ Bettors

Cash-hungry states have long tried to poach business from one another. Now many are stepping up their efforts to lure gamblers from their neighbors to their growing ranks of slot machines, leaving states like Delaware, which embraced gambling early, struggling to keep up in what has become a feverish one-armed-bandit arms race.

Gambling revenue accounts for more than 7 percent of Delaware’s general fund budget, making it the state’s fourth biggest revenue stream, ahead of its corporate income tax and gross receipts tax. But when new casinos in Maryland and Pennsylvania began to attract the gamblers who once fed quarters into Delaware’s machines, the state acted. First it legalized a form of sports betting. Then it allowed table games including blackjack, craps and roulette. But its gambling revenues have continued to fall.

So at the end of June, Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, signed a law that could make Delaware the first state to offer Internet gambling ”” giving its residents the chance to bet on video lottery games and online versions of games like poker, blackjack and roulette without leaving their homes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, State Government, Theology

What one South Carolina Parish Wrote Bishop Mark Lawrence During General Convention 2012

Monday, July 09, 2012

Dear Bishop Lawrence:

Just prior to our vestry meeting this evening we learned that the House of Bishops approved the Same Sex Blessing Resolution A049 (as Amended in Committee). We, the vestry of Christ-St. Paul’s agree with the Standing Committee of our Diocese that the House of Bishop’s approval, and the expected approval tomorrow of the House of Deputies, is “contrary to the unequivocal mandate of Holy Scripture, the historic Christian faith, Anglican doctrine, and the pronouncements of the four instruments of Anglican unity.”
We believe the actions of this General Convention require the Diocese of South Carolina to respond to the overwhelmingly approved resolution at our 2009 Special Convention authorizing “ the Bishop and Standing Committee to begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference which have expressed the mind of the Communion, the Book of Common Prayer and our Constitution and Canons, until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions “ We therefore urge you and our Deputies to this convention to publicly separate us as a Diocese from these actions.

For our parish this decision brings significant pastoral problems. Already, long standing members have begun withdrawing from the parish. There is a growing despair and loss of confidence because our Diocesan leadership has not followed through with the called for withdrawal. The continued “persistent movement of the General Convention away from orthodox Christianity “ is a significant hindrance to our mission and ministry. It is imperative that we “not walk” with them down this road.

As our Bishop, we want you to know that you have our love, our prayers, and support. We are blessed to be a part of the Diocese, and to be under your leadership. It is our heartfelt desire to remain so. However, not separating ourselves more completely from TEC as a Diocese leaves very few options open for us. We strongly encourage action to clearly separate us from this drift away from our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Word.

Our prayers tonight have been offered for you, our deputation and our Diocese.

Faithfully Yours in Christ,

The Vestry
Christ-St. Paul’s Parish
Yonges Island, SC

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture