Daily Archives: August 17, 2012

Amy Yee: Tibetans Sacrifice Their Lives for Their Faith

A 35-year-old Tibetan nun named Palden Choetso set herself on fire on a street corner in southwest China last November. The final moments of her life were captured by an amateur video camera. As bright orange flames engulfed her body, Choetso stood impossibly still until finally she dropped to her knees and toppled over.

Choetso is one of 49 Tibetans, ages 17 to 44, who have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest repression in Tibet by Chinese authorities. The latest was on Monday, when two young men in their early 20s””one a monk””did so in a Tibetan region of China’s Sichuan province. This spate of self-immolations among Tibetans is unprecedented.

With China not changing its policies denying true religious freedom and civil liberties to Tibetans, the self-immolations are likely to continue. This presents an uneasy quandary for Buddhists, who consider the taking of life, including suicide, taboo.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Buddhism, Other Faiths, Tibet

Episcopal Church of the Advent, Spartanburg, South Carolina–its Recent Statistics

Click here to see a pictorial representation of some of the statistics for the parish where the diocese of Upper South Carolina is holding its diocesan convention this fall. You may also be interested to examine the parish website here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Data, TEC Parishes

"The Beauty of Holiness," A Sermon Preached at an Episcopal Church Consecration–Guess the Year

“O, worship the Lord, in the beauty of holiness.” The theme of the text is CONSECRATED BEAUTY. It is the beauty which was consummated, in the full perfection of its kind, and set apart for sacred uses, that the Psalmist speaks of. This was a household and familiar theme, to Jewish ears and hearts. The tabernacle, with its gold and silver, its blue, and purple, and scarlet; the mercy-seat, of pure gold; the very candlesticks, with their almonds, and knops, and branches, and flowers, one beaten work of pure gold; all made after the pattern which was showed to Moses, in the Mount. The priest’s robes, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, ouches of gold, and chains of wreathen work in gold, and settings of onyx-stone. The sacred breast-plate, radiant with ruby, and sapphire, and amethyst, and diamond. Every thing, in all the holy service of God’s appointment, like that vision of Himself; when, “there was under His feet, as it were, a paved-work of a sapphire stone, and as it were, the body of heaven, in his clearness.” And, then, in its time, the Temple, of hewn stone, and cedar beams, and olive, and palm, enriched with carving, and overlaid with gold, and splendid with jewels; the very bowls, and basins, and spoons, and snuffers, of purest gold. The sea and land all compassed, the stores of nature ravished, art in its utmost consummation; that the house, builded for the Lord, in David’s own expressive phrase, might be “exceeding magnifical.” These leave no doubt of his conception of the use of consecrated beauty. Nor was it only for the Jews, to know, and feel, its power, and make it bear upon the instincts of the nature; which He gave to us, Who first make us like Himself. The holy Jerusalem, the Church of Christ, is revealed to the beloved John, as it comes out of heaven, from God: her light, like a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; the foundations, sapphire, and emerald, and chrysolite, and chrysoprase, and amethyst; the gates, twelve pears; the streets, pure gold, as of transparent glass. Who wonders, that, with models such as these, before them, Christians, in other years, when all the aid, that science lent to art, in the comparison with us, was, as the twilight to the noon, reared the Cathedrals, and the Chapels, and the Chantries, whose mere ruins mock at our magnificence? Why, even the heathen show the instinct of the heart, to lay its powers all out, and work them to the last perfection, in results of consecrated beauty. Look at the Parthenon. Look at the Coliseum. Look at the Pantheon. What is the Venus, “that enchants the world?” What is the Belvidere Apollo? What are the Dians, and the Hebes, and the Graces? What is the majesty of Jupiter? What the magnificence of Juno? What is the “Niobe, all tears?” What are the writhings of Laocoon? What is the utmost reach and range of ancient architecture, sculpture, poetry, in all its forms of grace, and dignity, and power, but still the working out of the instinctive and inwrought idea of consecrated beauty? See it, in Raphael, and Michael Angelo, and Rubens. Feel it, in the serene and holy beauty of the Blessed Mother; and in the infant loveliness and purity of that God-child. Hear it, in all that music has achieved, of tenderest, sweetest, most subduing, yet most elevating, to the soul; till even Milton loses all the Puritan, while he brings more than all the Poet, to the praise of consecrated beauty, in its blended forms of sacred structure, and of sacred song:

“Let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister’s pale;
And love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof:
And storied windows, richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.
There, let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voiced choir below,
In service high, and anthems clear,
As may, with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstacies,
And bring all heaven before mine eyes.”

Read it all but do guess the year before you do.

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

St Augustine's Anglican Church in Adelaide puts stop to red light activity in its area

Prostitutes have been using a Woodville Gardens church garage to solicit men.

Father Graham Head said the St Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church was aware for some time that women had been using the grounds surrounding the church for the illegal activity.

Father Head said the tenant, who is now being evicted, denied all knowledge of the activity. He did not suggest she was involved but said she was given an eviction notice in April so the house can be used by the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Notable and Quotable

“I had a lady come up to me and say, you know a lot of people are looking forward to seeing you get hit.”

–Peyton Manning, new Denver Bronco’s quarterback, as heard on ESPN Sportscenter

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Archbishop of Cape Town condemns Lonmin deaths, calls for strong, measured, intervention

Like so many South Africans, I have been watching with growing alarm the escalating violence at Lonmin’s Marikana Mine over the last week, and am now stunned and appalled by yesterday’s events which left so many more dead or injured. It is a terrible, heart-breaking, tragedy, for the individuals concerned and for our nation. Our fervent prayers are with all the bereaved, and the hurt and wounded.

Whatever the merits of the various disputes ”“ whether between employees and employers, between unions, between workers and union leaders, between miners and police ”“ whatever the legality of the strikes or the responses to them, this death toll is unacceptable. Even one death is one too many, and there must be an end to this senseless loss of life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, South Africa, Violence

(Church Times) Daniel Webster–Councils need support to halt the spread of betting shops

Nearly half a million people in the UK have a problem with gambling. This is about the same number as are addicted to Class A drugs, and the problem is growing at an alarming rate. Since the Gambling Act 2005 was fully implemented, the number of people classed as problem gamblers has risen by about 50 per cent.

There is no single factor that has prompted this rise. The Act changed so many things: it brought advertising for gambling into our living rooms, and opened the doors of casinos to non-members – quite apart from attempting to address the increasing availability of online gambling. But there is one culprit that appears to have contributed significantly to the problem: the gambling machines that have been set up in betting shops across the country; because of their profitability, they have led bookmakers to open more branches…..

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, City Government, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Gambling, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

In Nigeria, Boko Haram and PCHN Threats place security agencies on red alert nationwide

In a bid to forestall untoward incident during this weekend’s Eid-el-fitri celebrations marking the end of the Ramadan fast by Muslim faithful, the Federal Government has put all security agencies on red alert to contain any threat to the nation’s security before, during and after the festive period.

The move came on the heels of threat by employees of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to throw the nation into total darkness, following their deadlocked talks with government, as well as fresh plans by members of the Boko Haram sect to unleash mayhem in the nation.

Nigerian Tribune authoritatively learnt in Abuja, on Thursday, that officials of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) had been placed on high security watch nationwide as a result of unfavourable security report at the disposal of the Federal Government that the union might carry out its threat in spite of ongoing negotiations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Violence

The Archbishop of Canterbury's 2012 Eid message

As I look back over the last ten years, it is clear that our relationship as Christians and Muslims has grown and deepened. It has not been an easy time, and there are huge challenges that we still face together. Nevertheless, we have learned how to quarry together the resources we have of a vision of human beings honoured before God. The word honour, I believe, is one we should learn to use more freely, and even extravagantly, when we talk about our human world. We honour human beings because God in his creation and in his dealings with human beings honours them.

In practical terms this honouring has meant that Muslims and Christians have been working as never before in international development to serve the world’s poorest people, and I want to recognise the huge amount of financial giving that the Muslim community pours out during Ramadan especially. It has also meant at a local level that Muslims have shared with Christians and others during Ramadan in service to their communities through the ”˜A Year of Service’ initiative, in the ”˜Near Neighbours’ programme and in many other ways.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths

Olympics bring legacy of good will, says the Bishop of Chelmsford

The Bishop of Chelmsford the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell has praised the vital legacy of the London Games saying in his own diocese – home to the Olympic Park and Village – and beyond, the Games are having an important impact on community life.

Commenting on the last day of the Olympics and looking forward to the Paralympics Bishop Stephen said that along with regeneration he believed the games could bring a further change – a legacy of good will….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Globalization, Sports

(Independent) Owen Jones: There should be no immunity for Assange from these allegations

That Western governments preferably want WikiLeaks crushed is indisputable. Former US soldier Bradley Manning languished in solitary confinement for 11 months on suspicion of passing classified documents to WikiLeaks, leading to the UN’s special rapporteur on torture to accuse the US government of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. A US grand jury is currently examining evidence that might link Assange to Manning, though it is yet to report. Fears that Assange could end up extradited to the US ”“ and what might happen to him there ”“ are not without foundation.

But that does not mean Assange should be immune from very serious allegations in Sweden. Two women have both accused Assange of rape, and there have been repeated attempts by some of his supporters to discredit them. There have been suggestions that they are part of some kind of CIA honeytrap. The campaigning journalist John Pilger has described them as “concocted charges”. But Assange’s own lawyer, Ben Emmerson, does not dispute the sincerity of the accusers, arguing in court: “Nothing I say should be taken as denigrating the complainant, the genuineness of their feelings of regret, to trivialise their experience or to challenge whether they felt Assange’s conduct was disrespectful, discourteous, disturbing or even pushing at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with.”

But what has been particularly disturbing is the attempt by some supporters of Assange to claim that the allegations do not constitute rape….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ecuador, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, South America

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Collect from this past Sunday–KSH.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

After the two days he departed to Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast. So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Caper’na-um there was an official whose son was ill. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live”; and he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

–John 4:43-54

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

In Georgia, the rise of the Macon bell that fell

The last time Christ Episcopal Church couldn’t ring its bell, it was because the massive chime had been melted into Confederate bullets.

The church’s 1868 replacement bell served Macon’s oldest congregation for almost 150 years. Following a bell that had been donated to war, this bell was inscribed to peace.

But it has been silent since Easter Sunday, when the biggest Christian celebration of the year caused it to ring, well, right off its rocker.

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

(LA Times Op-Ed) David Barash–The Mystery of Science

I have been teaching and doing research at the university level for more than 40 years, which means that for more than four decades, I have been participating in a deception ”” benevolent and well intentioned, to be sure, but a deception nonetheless. As a scientist, I do science, and as a teacher and writer, I communicate it. That’s where the deception comes in.

When scientists speak to the public or to students, we talk about what we know, what science has discovered. Nothing wrong with this. After all, we work hard deciphering nature’s secrets and we’re proud whenever we succeed. But it gives the false impression that we know pretty much everything, whereas the reality is that there’s a whole lot more that we don’t know.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology