Daily Archives: September 6, 2012

(USA Today) Lee Woodruff's First Novel touches 'Those We Love Most'

Lee Woodruff has long wanted to write what she calls a “real-life” novel, the kind she loves that lets “you read about someone else’s ordeals and not feel quite so alone.” Books, she says, like Anna Quindlen’s Every Last One, or Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety, personal favorites.

But she’s not sure she would have written the particular debut novel she did, Those We Love Most (Voice, $26.99), to be released Tuesday, if her husband, ABC News’ Bob Woodruff, hadn’t been severely injured and nearly died while reporting in Iraq in 2006.

“It helped me better understand grief and going through hard times and getting to a better place,” she says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Charleston David Wilson–Christianity-Lite, Suffering & Confronting Christmas

Many people think that being a Christian ”“ especially during our more festal seasons such as Christmastide ”“ is the silver-lining, that is, the lucky charm to an abundant life in an otherwise lifetime of pain and suffering.

Christianity-lite®, as I’m keen to call this mind-set, is marketed ”“ particularly in the world of mega-church evangelicalism ”“ as the ”˜feel good about yourself’ religion of the moment that, like a rabbit’s foot tucked in the proper pocket, is the ticket to paradise on earth, or, at the very least, is an amulet bestowed upon all who earnestly seek wealth, happiness and really white teeth.

Being a christianette, which is really what this movement produces, means adoring those indispensable talismans hidden deep in the treasure chest of our prideful self, the ego and the Western god of individual choice. Hubris is the withered fruit this movement produces.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(BBC) Sweden tops Tim Berners-Lee's web index

Sweden has topped a new global index evaluating the state of the web in 61 countries, with the US coming second and the UK third.

Compiled by Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation, it ranked both the social and political impact of the web.

It found that only one in three people are using the web globally and fewer than one in six in Africa.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, Europe, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Sweden

(Christian Century) Carol Merritt–Cultivating a culture of love

Recently, I was reading another article that said that the church should be like Apple computers and pastors ought to be like Steve Jobs. We would, the argument goes, be in much better shape if we all acted like the iconic business man. There have been a lot of posts, articles and sermons to this effect since Jobs died a year ago.

I understand. I love technolgy. We church leaders crave his creativity, vision, and””of course””extraordinary success. We like to learn from other disciplines and Jobs had an amazing way of bringing out the best work in certain people.

Plus, we have a tendency to honor those who have gone before us. We overlook their wrongs and see the deeper purpose of their lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(AP) Scientists create encyclopedic look at our DNA

A colossal international effort has yielded the first comprehensive look at how our DNA works, an encyclopedia of information that will rewrite the textbooks and offer new insights into the biology of disease.

For one thing, it may help explain why some people are more prone to common ailments such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

The findings, reported Wednesday by more than 500 scientists, reveal extraordinarily complex networks that tell our genes what to do and when, with millions of on-off switches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

(First Things) Colleen Vermeulen–New Evangelization and the Wesley Brothers

What do Charles and John Wesley have to teach Catholics in the United States about the New Evangelization? With the release of Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization (USCCB, 2012) and the Catholic Church’s upcoming synod on the “New Evangelization,” these two ministers seem as relevant as ever to how we think about evangelization in the modern world.

Charles and John Wesley were ordained in eighteenth century England, a time when the sacrament of Holy Communion was often regarded with indifference or neglect. Church historian John Bowmer remarks that the sacraments and Christian life were widely disparaged in this “new age of reason,” and most people in the Church of England aimed for the minimums of religious practice””receiving the Eucharist three times a year and treating it as an historic custom, rather than encounter with the living God. Unsurprisingly, most in the Church of England were not looking outward to form disciples or share the Gospel. In fact, many clergy and laity in the Church of England believed that England’s growing urban masses were beyond influence and simply had “no taste” for Christian liturgy and sacraments. Christianity was on its way to becoming a fruitless cultural niche.

This creeping indifference characterizes many U.S. Catholics today….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Soteriology, Theology

(ECEN) Churches Call for a Green Economy

Radical changes to tackle climate change were discussed by over 90 participants from Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches from 22 countries at the 9th Assembly of the European Churches Environment Network (ECEN) this week.

Held at Elspeet in the Netherlands, the theme of ”˜Eco-Justice, Growth and Hope’ concentrated on the tensions between the desire for conventional economic growth and the increasing ecological threats to Planet Earth.

Delegates spoke of difficulties and struggles in all their countries; a combination of the effects of climate change, environmental destruction with loss of biodiversity and resources such as water, and the ongoing global economic crisis is challenging people and communities across our whole society. And churches are encouraged to be stronger advocates for creative change in the face of these growing concerns.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Diocese of Melbourne) Civilised society demands that violence against women and children cease

The Anglican Church in Melbourne said today it welcomed the announcement by the Victorian government that it will increase its funding to tackle family violence by $16 million.

Bishop Philip Huggins, Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee, said: “This is a timely and compassionate response to the evidence of a growing need for services to tackle the problem. This week’s release of new statistics demonstrates that the crime rate is rising. Police are reported to attribute this largely to a rise in family violence-related crime which climbed by 39.9%!

“Tragically, more than 100,000 women in Australia experience violence by a partner or ex-partner. At least 60% of these cases are witnessed by children. We must do all we can to prevent such suffering.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Children, Religion & Culture, Violence, Women

(NY Times View From Europe) Christians Claim Workplace Discrimination in Landmark Case

One of Europe’s highest courts is considering a landmark decision on the employment rights of Christians, including two British women who were disciplined for wearing crucifix necklaces at work.

They were among four Christians who this week took their cases to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg claiming workplace discrimination that a former Archbishop of Canterbury says has turned them into victims of a new secular orthodoxy.

The four, all Britons who claim national laws failed to protect them, argue that their employers contravened European human rights legislation that bans religious discrimination and allows “freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(GNA) Ghana will come out of the elections stronger and a better says Bishop Allotey

The Anglican Bishop of Cape Coast, the Right Reverend Daniel Sylvanus Adotei Allotey has predicted that the nation would come out of the December general elections, stronger and a better nation than before….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ghana, Politics in General

In the Diocese of Grafton, Anglicans in one parish fear for church future

The call has gone out to help save a local church dating back almost 150 years.

The All Saints Church in Lawrence is one of five Anglican churches in the Maclean parish.

All Saints warden Terry Bird said the Grafton diocese had ordered a review of Maclean Parish and wanted one, possibly two, local churches to close.

“As in many other country dioceses, the Grafton diocese has requested the Maclean Parish review the number of centres and reduce the number by at least one,” Mr Bird said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry

(NPR) An Individualist Approach To The Hebrew Bible

Hebrew scripture is a “message in a bottle,” says Yoram Hazony, and in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, he tries to decipher that message. Hazony’s new book makes the case for a different reading of the ancient texts ”” and argues that the Hebrew Bible is a work of philosophy in narrative form.

Hazony says the five books of Moses ”” which Christians speak of as the Old Testament ”” should not be thought of as discrete narrative but, rather, considered together with the books of Judges, Samuel and Kings. All of those books form a history of Israel, from the creation story to the dissolution and dismemberment of a decadent monarchy. It is a cautionary tale, an epic that advocates wariness of great imperial powers and individualism in the face of authority.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Judaism, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, our heavenly Father, who so loved the world that thou didst give thine only Son to die upon the cross: Pour thy love into our hearts, we humbly beseech thee; that we loving thee above all things, may give up ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, to thy service; for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

–John R. W. Stott (1921-2011)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyre’ne, Man’a-en a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleu’cia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Sal’amis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But El’ymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) withstood them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

–Acts 13:1-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram) Texas Supreme Court agrees to hear Fort Worth Episcopal dispute

The dispute stems from the decision in 2008 by Iker and a majority of the 56 congregations in the Fort Worth diocese to leave the national church because of disagreements that included the ordination of a [non-celibate] gay bishop.

Iker’s group, which continues to call itself the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, allowed the parishes that voted to remain in the Episcopal Church to keep their assets. It took the rest of them, saying they were diocesan property under state law.

The group that remained with the national church, led by provisional Bishop Wallis Ohl, and the national church sued in district court contending that all the assets belonged to the national church. In addition to St. Andrew’s, properties include Camp Crucis in Granbury and churches throughout a 24-county region.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

(Washington Post) In America, Football Reigns now

The National Football League has faced unwanted scrutiny over the past seven months, ranging from lawsuits from former players over head injuries to a scandal exposing one team’s secret reward program for hard hits on opponents. But as the league opens its regular season Wednesday night, a new Washington Post poll suggests that football remains by far the country’s most popular sport and that the game’s inherent violence is as much of an appeal as it is a liability.

Even as many media critics have suggested the threat of injuries may impair the game’s long-term health, 44 percent of fans in the new poll say their interest in pro football is on the rise, while 32 percent report a drop-off. More than one in three of Americans polled said football is their favorite to watch ”” nearly three times as popular as baseball, which finished second in the poll.

Read it all.

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