Daily Archives: August 6, 2012

(RNS) Rabbis aim to inject more morality into business

Run by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, which is affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement of Orthodox Jewry, “Money Matters” is offered at more than 350 locations in 22 countries this year, and is proving to be one of the most popular courses JLI has ever offered, said Rabbi Efraim Mintz, JLI’s executive director.

“When students first come to the course, they may respect the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) and the Talmud (a 2,000 year-old compendium of Jewish oral law and biblical commentary), but few see it as something relevant to the here and now,” Mintz said.

“But soon, they are mesmerized and surprised by its applicability to the business issues of the day.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Judaism, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market, Theology

In New Hampshire, Rob Hirschfeld consecrated as Bishop-Coadjutor

To some, Rob Hirschfeld may have seemed like a low-profile choice to succeed Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, as head of the Diocese of New Hampshire.

But in her sermon yesterday during Hirschfeld’s consecration, the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas assured the congregation that while “he’s white, he’s a man and he’s straight,” the new bishop is anything but “safe.”

“Rob is a person of prayer,” Bullitt-Jonas said. “And anyone who returns day after day to the holy mountain of prayer and lets God’s creative light pour into him or her day after day, that sort of person is going to be less and less satisfied with the status quo, less and less willing to settle for doing things the same old way because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(Moultrie, Georgia, Observer) St. John's leaves Episcopal Church over theological rift

In a statement to his congregation on Sunday, July 29, Fr. McQueen stated that he can no longer remain in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia due to serious theological differences with the diocese and national Episcopal Church. He invited all who were “willing to make a stand for the historic Christian faith” to join him in stepping out in faith to form a new church, St. Mark’s Anglican Church.

“It had reached a point for me personally where I believed that my adherence to the traditional, historic, catholic faith in a number of matters had been so compromised that I could not stay in the Episcopal Church. Though it is painful to leave the denomination in which I was baptized, confirmed, married, and ordained, I have no reservations about leaving. I firmly believe that God has been preparing me for this very day for a long time,” said Fr. McQueen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

(RNS) Survey: most Americans keep faith private online

Meet the social media “nones.” A new survey finds that Americans, while mostly religious, generally do not use social media to supplement worship and mostly keep their faith private online.

The Public Religion Research Institute survey found about one in 20 Americans followed a religious leader on Twitter or Facebook. A similar number belonged to a religious or spiritual Facebook group.

The results seem to defy the familiar story of prominent religious leaders using social media to build a following ”” and a brand.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture

(Journal-Sentinel) Medical advances bring new options in the quest to conceive

The dream is simple: To have a baby.

In generations past, couples faced with infertility had two choices: adopt a child or accept life without one.

Advances in medicine and science have provided more options: Fertility drugs. Artificial insemination. In vitro fertilization. Sperm donors. Egg donors. Surrogate mothers.

Approximately 2.7 million American couples put their faith in one or more of these options every year.

Still, not everyone who begins the quest ends with a baby. Only about 65% of women who seek fertility treatment ultimately give birth.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

Ruins a Memento of Iraqi Christians’ Glorious Past

A hundred meters (yards) or so from taxiing airliners, Iraqi archaeologist Ali al-Fatli is showing a visitor around the delicately carved remains of a church that may date back some 1,700 years to early Christianity.

The church, a monastery and other surrounding ruins have emerged from the sand over the past five years with the expansion of the airport serving the city of Najaf, and have excited scholars who think this may be Hira, a legendary Arab Christian center.

“This is the oldest sign of Christianity in Iraq,” said al-Fatli, pointing to the ancient tablets with designs of grapes that litter the sand next to intricately carved monastery walls.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Iraq, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Kendall Harmon–In an age of Angst and Anxiety, Be Mindful that The Lord will Provide

We live in an age of angst and anxiety. Nearly everywhere I look, almost everyone I speak to, seems vexed, fearful, frustrated, worried, or some basic variation on this theme. What about a job, what about the economy, why won’t the slow motion train wreck of the Eurozone ever end, what about the health even of our own American democracy which increasingly seems polarized and stuck, what about the future, what about Anglicanism, what about our parish”¦and I am guessing you could add your own items to elongate this list even further.

Yet the God revealed to us in Holy Scripture is Jehovah-Jireh, The LORD will provide (Genesis 22), and Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount reminds us that our Heavenly Father does quite well, thank you, for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, and of how much more value are we than they (Matthew 6)?

Our Lord wants us not to focus on ourselves and what could be coming or should be different but on Him and what is given as grace and gift.

We didn’t make ourselves, we didn’t make our friends and family, we didn’t make this day, we didn’t make our parishes where we worship. All of life itself, and all that eternal life in Jesus Christ means, is grace and gift. The Prayer Book has the opening individual devotions of the day begin “open our lips O Lord and our mouth shall show forth thy praise,” because simply to arise from sleep and be alive, and to have our Lord and Redeemer to praise, is a marvelous wonder to behold.

My early mentor when I first graduated seminary and began parish ministry, Charlie Walton, tells a wonderful story of a children’s sermon where he brought little ducklings as a surprise to show the children. They were all seated around him and he had a box brought in, and one could begin hearing noise and then””ta da””the box top was removed and there were expressions of joy and wonder at the ducklings. Father Walton went on to ask what the animals were and then he asked carefully if the children felt any of the ducklings they saw seemed afraid, anxious or concerned. Oh no, said each child who was asked. They aren’t; indeed they wouldn’t be. Why, asked Father Walton. Because their parents would take care of them all the children asserted. It was what parents did.

The punchline came when he asked the children if God cared more for them than the ducklings’ parents cared for their baby ducks. Indeed God did, said the children. Then Father Walton looked up at the parents of the very same children in the congregation and saw faces of formerly anxious people convicted by the truth of the lesson.

It is a teaching that never gets old, particularly in times like these. The Lord has, does and will provide. May he give us a greater awareness of the degree to which that is true for us in the days and weeks ahead.

–The Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon is Canon Theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina and convenor of this blog

Posted in * By Kendall, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

The Autumn 2012 Edition of the Anglican Digest

Read it all and consider becoming a regular recipient. Better still suggest it as a possible resource to your family and friends.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Pastoral Theology, Theology

”˜Touchdown confirmed’: NASA Rover Curiosity lands on Mars, beams back photo of own shadow

In a show of technological wizardry, the robotic explorer Curiosity blazed through the pink skies of Mars, steering itself to a gentle landing inside a giant crater for the most ambitious dig yet into the red planet’s past.

Cheers and applause echoed through the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory late Sunday after the most high-tech interplanetary rover ever built signaled it had survived a harrowing plunge through the thin Mars atmosphere.

“Touchdown confirmed,” said engineer Allen Chen. “We’re safe on Mars.”

Read it all. This video is very helpful in terms of what was going on into the landing–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

From Roughnecks to Bosses, A Ministry Seeks to Save Souls in the Oilfields

With a box of Bibles as cargo, John Bird steered his Chevy Suburban off a two-lane road in the oil patch of East Texas and pulled up to the isolated derrick of Energy Drilling Company Rig 9. He was delivering the holy books to a man named Robert Bailey, the site superintendent, known in industry jargon as a tool pusher.

The two men had never met, and Rig 9 was a modest destination, a cluster of turbines and trailers around a steel tower, all of it surrounded on three sides by a cattle ranch. On a brilliant autumn Saturday, the kind normally reserved for the Texan religion of football, Mr. Bird had driven there, 140 miles from his home outside Houston, on behalf of the Oilfield Christian Fellowship.

He had helped found the lay ministry 20 years earlier with the aim of evangelizing among the itinerants and tough guys and hard livers who populate the rigs. That effort took the textual form of a Bible interspersed with testimonies from oil workers, sized to fit in the back pocket of overalls and titled “God’s Word for the Oil Patch: Fuel for the Soul.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast of the Transfiguration

O God, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thy well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God Almighty, who dost by thy Holy Spirit endow thy servants with manifold gifts of knowledge and skill: Grant us grace to use them always for thine honour, and for the service of all people; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

–John 1:1-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Message from Canterbury (1944)

Message from Canterbury (1944) from British Council Film on Vimeo.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Identity, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Music, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

Huge Mars Rover Set for Nerve-Wracking Landing on Red Planet

After 8 1/2 months crossing the millions of miles between planets, the biggest and most complex rover ever sent to another world is now on its final approach for a hair-raising touchdown on Mars.

NASA’s 1-ton Curiosity rover is set to land inside the Red Planet’s Gale Crater at 10:31 p.m. PDT tonight (Aug. 5; 1:31 a.m. EDT and 0531 GMT on Aug. 6). As with any planetary landing, success is not a given, and tensions may be especially high tonight given Curiosity’s elaborate, unprecedented landing sequence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Arthur Herman reviews the latest volume of the Penguin History of the U.S.

Oddly, “American Empire: “The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home”””contrary to the proud spirit with which so many Americans view their country’s postwar success””is a tale of almost unrelieved gloom. For Joshua Freeman, the “rise of global power” is the story of brutal imperial hubris, from the Cold War to the invasion of Iraq and the post 9/11 war on terror. The tale of the “democratic revolution at home” is a happier one in some respects””involving the civil-rights movement, feminism, environmentalism and the counterculture revolution in the 1960s””but the promise of such movements and upheavals, according to Mr. Freeman, has been steadily undercut by corporate power.

The author’s views of the Cold War hark back to the hoary “moral equivalence” argument popular in the days after Vietnam, which saw the U.S., not the Soviet Union, as the primary instigator of the Cold War. Mr. Freeman says that it was America’s anticommunist “ideological crusade” that turned the Soviet Union into a hostile rival, creating “international tension and conflict and an increasing militarism of American society.”

Read it all.

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

(NPR) Britain's Bradley Wiggins Starts A Row By Arguing For Bike Helmets

When asked if he favored mandatory helmet laws for cyclists, Wiggins responded that he did, adding, “because ultimately, if you get knocked off and you ain’t got a helmet on, then how can you kind of argue?” He went on to say, “when there’s laws passed for cyclists, then you’re protected and you can say, ‘well, I’ve done everything to be safe.’ ”

Wiggins was denounced for his remarks.

Cyclists and non-cyclists; conservatives and liberals ”” they all united in arguing that wearing a cycling helmet should be a matter of choice, or else the popularity of cycling might decline. Darren Johnson a London Assembly member from the Green Party, said the issue of mandatory helmet laws missed the point. “We need to focus on the solutions to the problem of left-turning lorries,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

In Parts of China, Muslim Fasting Discouraged

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(ENS) The Presiding Bishop’s message to the church on General Convention 2012

The General Convention which took place in Indianapolis in July offered new and creative responses to the call of the gospel in our day. We saw gracious and pastoral responses to polarizing issues, as well as a new honesty about the need for change.

General Convention addressed a number of significant issues that will impact the life and witness of this Church for years into the future ”“ and they include many more things beyond what you’ve heard about in the news. The way we worked together also represented a new reality, working to adapt more creatively to our diverse nature as a Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Presiding Bishop