Daily Archives: September 18, 2012

Recently Shown in Nashville, a New Documentary deals with Hell, God's wrath and mercy

[Robert] McKee doesn’t believe in God. But if he did, he’d have to believe in hell.

He said that anyone who believes in God and says there is no hell or that hell isn’t forever is a “wussy.”

“If choice doesn’t have any meaning, life doesn’t have any meaning,” he said in the film. “By eliminating hell, these people are sucking the meaning out of life.”

[Filmmaker Kevin] Miller, who attends an Anglican church in Canada, also believes that people have to face the consequences for their actions. But that doesn’t mean that they have to be punished forever.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Eschatology, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Theology

(John Allen) In Lebanon, pope mixes bitter and sweet

The pope also demanded that everyone must have the right to freely choose their own religion, and to practice it publicly, “without endangering one’s life.”

He said the time has come “to move beyond tolerance to religious freedom.”

Further, the pope seemed to link the deprival of religious liberty to Christian flight from the Middle East, warning that the long-standing decline in the region’s Christian footprint means “human, cultural, and religious impoverishment.”

“A Middle East without Christians, or with only a few Christians, would no longer be the Middle East,” the pope said, calling on political leaders to avoid the advent of a “monochromatic Middle East” without religious diversity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Lebanon, Middle East, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Bob Smietana–More Churches Finding Ways to Have a Diverse membership

The number of multicultural churches — those in which at least one in five people is from a different ethnic group — is still relatively tiny. Even within diverse denominations such as the Assemblies of God, where about a third of the churches have minority congregations, or the Southern Baptists, where 20% of churches have minority congregations, only a small percentage meet that one-in-five criteria.

Mark DeYmaz, pastor of Mosaic Church, a diverse non-denominational church based in Little Rock, says he believes the number is going to grow. DeYmaz said his congregation of 600 is about 40% white, 33% African-American, 15% Hispanic, with the rest from a variety of backgrounds.

When Mosaic opened in 2001, DeYmaz said he knew of few diverse churches. Now he knows of several hundred.

“When we get to heaven, the kingdom of God isn’t going to be segregated,” he said. “So why should the local church be segregated?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(CSM) Staunchly Catholic Poland takes a new look at easing abortion laws

When pregnant women in Poland decide to have an abortion, they take a common but highly secretive step. “I found some phone numbers in the newspaper; I called around,” explains a young blonde woman named Jola. The doctors are listed anonymously in the classifieds section offering to “induce menstruation” or provide “full service.” Everybody understands.

“You cannot use the words ‘abortion’ or ‘termination’; rather, ‘I am pregnant ”“ can you help me?’ Something like that,” she says, speaking of her illegal abortion in the 2009 Polish documentary, “Underground Women’s State.” None of the seven women interviewed give their full name and all are well disguised.

Although the topic has long been taboo in Poland, leaders on both sides of the abortion debate now acknowledge the existence of this hidden, private practice. And this month, the Polish parliament is expected to vote on whether to liberalize its abortion policy, one of the strictest in Europe.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Health & Medicine, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Poland, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Archbishop of Westminster: Bankers should aspire to be like Olympic heroes

While the front pages of our newspapers have been dominated the Olympics and Paralympics, the business pages continue to reflect the human and economic costs of a business ethos that culminated in the financial crisis and subsequent loss of trust in banking and business.

Four years or more after the crisis broke, we are still talking of the lessons to be learnt ”“ but not much nearer identifying what exactly they are, let alone applying them.

I was encouraged by several prominent business leaders to explore whether the Church was able to provide a forum for further reflection on this situation, so we could together move on.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Andrew Brown–Assisted dying: who's to decide when a life is not worth living?

Those who stand to benefit from someone’s death are very likely, sincerely, to see the life they want to end as hardly worth living. This is a nasty fact about human nature, but any kind of humanism that isn’t grounded in human nature is no more than ludicrous and sinister self-deception. Our propensity to self-serving self-deception is one reason why Christians must insist that God loves every one of his creatures; no one except God does or could.

No wonder that the most recent piece of anti-euthanasia propaganda that I was sent highlighted a figure of 300,000 incidents of elder abuse every year. Supporters of assisted dying see this point. But it just makes them believe more firmly that the right kind of legislation, with the clearest possible safeguards, will stop unwanted grannies being liquidated for their asset value.

I can’t share that confidence. Really demented and unpleasant old people can appear rather less human than foetuses do and the changing interpretations of the Abortion Act show how little legal safeguards are worth when the sentiment behind them evaporates.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Theology

(ENS) Clerics sometimes break the law in the pursuit of justice

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Rapid City Journal) Protecting "a gift from God," Episcopal priest works for prairie preservation

From a craggy limestone ledge above the place called Pe’ Sla, Linda Kramer admired the land she loves.

“This is it,” the 65-year-old Episcopal priest said with a sweep of the hand. “This is Pe’ Sla, the holy place.”

Her gesture took a visitor’s eyes down the slope of Flag Mountain, out over a ponderosa pine forest speckled with beetle-killed trees and on to the tawny prairie beyond. There, the undulations of grass and thicket and occasional pine spread out across the high prairie north of Deerfield Reservoir for roughly 4,000 acres.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(SMH) Gerard Henderson–Multiculturalism still has a long road to travel to reach all

Perhaps it is understandable angry Muslims in the Middle East or Africa would demonstrate outside American diplomatic missions against the apparent circulation of a YouTube video mocking the Prophet Muhammad by a person based in the US. There is no such excuse for Australian Muslims.

Citizens and residents of Australia know we live in a democratic society in which the government does not, and mostly cannot, engage in acts of political and religious censorship. That’s why Americans have not been able to get the cheap film deleted from the web. And that’s why footage of beheadings of non-believers by Islamist extremists remain on the web.

Some Muslim leaders in Australia have condemned Saturday’s violent demonstration in which several members of the NSW Police were injured. Others have not. Whatever the response of Muslims, the incident provides yet more evidence that multiculturalism – after a promising start – has failed. If some Australian Muslims do not understand how democracy works, it’s time for a rethink.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Violence

One of my favorite Epitaphs in South Carolina

In hopes of a joyful Resurrection, here rests the body of
Col. William Rhett
Late of this parish, Principall Officer of His Majesties Customs in this province. He was a person that on all occasions promoted the publick good of this colony, and severall times generously and successfully centured his life in defense of the same. He was a kind husband, a tender father, a faithful friend, a charitable neighbor, a religious constant worshipper of God.
He was born in London 4th Sept 1666,
Arrived and settled this country 19th Novembr 1694,
And dyed suddenly but not unprepared 12 Janry 1722,
In the fifty-seventh year of his age.

–Found in the Saint Phillips Churchyard, Charelston, S,.C.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from Sunday–An Introduction to the Book of Acts

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telgrph) Meet the hardline 'tele-Islamist' who brought anti-Islam film to Muslim world's attention

It had actually been online since July, but nobody had paid attention to its crude libels against the Prophet Mohammed until Mr Abdullah’s show broadcast clips from it last weekend, calling for the film-makers to be executed.

Within hours the hardline Salafi Islamists who watch his programme, and who have been growing in strength since last year’s revolution, were demonstrating in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and outside the US embassy, which they stormed on Tuesday, burning the US flag.

Thus came the spark to a week of violent protests against the film, leading to the killing of the US ambassador to Libya on Tuesday evening and assaults on Western embassies across the Middle East, leaving at least nine dead and hundreds injured.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Islam, Middle East, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Edward Bouverie Pusey

Grant unto us, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know thy presence and obey thy will; that, following the example of thy servant Edward Bouverie Pusey, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what thou givest us to do, and endure what thou givest us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who dost feed the birds and clothe the flowers, and who carest for us as a father for his children: We beseech thee of thy tender goodness to save us from distrust and vain self-concern; that with unwavering faith we may cast our every care on thee, and live in daily obedience to thy will; through thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings! For thou, O God, hast heard my vows, thou hast given me the heritage of those who fear thy name. Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! May he be enthroned for ever before God; bid steadfast love and faithfulness watch over him! So will I ever sing praises to thy name, as I pay my vows day after day.

–Psalm 61

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

BBC Sunday Programme–Edward Stourton talsk to Bishop James Jones, chair of the Hillsborough Panel

It is important that you take the time to listen to this–it starts 36 minutes and 20 seconds in (click on the arrow above the “45 mins” to the left of the picture in the box).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Sports, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WBUR) Antietam: A Savage Day In American History

On this morning 150 years ago, Union and Confederate troops clashed at the crossroads town of Sharpsburg, Md. The Battle of Antietam remains the bloodiest single day in American history.

The battle left 23,000 men killed or wounded in the fields, woods and dirt roads, and it changed the course of the Civil War.

It is called simply the Cornfield, and it was here, in the first light of dawn that Union troops ”” more than 1,000 ”” crept toward the Confederate lines. The stalks were at head level and shielded their movements….

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Parish Ministry