Daily Archives: September 19, 2012

(ENI) Australian Christians put global poverty deadline on nation's agenda

Hundreds of Christians from across Australia converged on the nation’s capital this week for an event called ‘Voices for Justice’ that urged politicians to play their part in halving global poverty by 2015.

Voices for Justice is organized annually by Micah Challenge Australia. The Australian campaign is part of a global network inspired by the prophet Micah’s call to “do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

Voices for Justice brings together participants of all ages from major denominations across Australia for worship, training and one-on-one meetings with politicians.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Other Churches, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(Lifesite News) Steven Mosher insists Forced Abortions Won’t Stop Until One-Child Policy Gone

(Read this for background first if you are not aware of the story).

Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, has weighed in on speculation that forced abortions in China may be halted in some areas. He says there is very little chance of that happening.

“Reports that the Chinese Party-State has ended its practice of forcibly aborting women pregnant in violation of the one-child policy are premature,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Christian Century) Grant Wacker reviews Ross Douthat's Bad Religion

The book’s argument is clear and simple. In the boom of economic and cultural confidence that followed World War II, the main or central or orthodox (he uses those terms interchangeably) stream of Christianity exercised commanding influence in the broader reaches of American life. Douthat supports this claim with an array of statistical data about church building and attendance, but the argument mainly rides on the rails of four case studies: the midcentury careers of the Reformed intellectual Reinhold Niebuhr, the evangelical preacher Billy Graham, the Catholic television personality Fulton J. Sheen and the Baptist social reformer Martin Luther King Jr. Though these men represented different traditions and outlooks, individually and together they exerted both extraordinary and extraordinarily constructive influence on the culture.

Enter the 1960s and things began to fall apart. Multiple influences flowed together, including the growth of political partisanship within the churches, the destabilizing (albeit liberating) effects of contraception, the relativizing impact of the new global consciousness, and the unprecedented surge of financial prosperity, which left traditional vocations less attractive and the three-day weekend more attractive. Seeking to accommodate rather than challenge those trends, uncounted Christians followed Harvey Cox and friends into the Secular City.

Those moves did not work. The mainstream churches lost members, and seminaries lost students. Yet American society, like most societies, shunned a void. And so it was that a river of heretical faiths flowed in to fill that gap

Read it all (requires subscription).

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

GCSE [Genrl Certif. of Secdry Ed.] changes must not affect disadvantaged pupils, says Oxford Bishop

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, about how the marking of GCSE English this summer has caused “great distress to some of our most vulnerable pupils”. He has also asked for reassurances that proposed changes to GCSEs generally will enable students from poorer backgrounds to continue to flourish.

In a letter which covered a range of subjects Bishop John, chair of the Church of England’s Board of Education, said: “I also need to reflect the great distress to some of our most vulnerable pupils caused by the debacle over GCSE English grades this year. This is a considerable affront to natural justice and efforts to raise the aspirations of pupils from less favoured backgrounds are not made any easier. I would very much like to hear how the changes you propose to GCSE examinations will enable students from the same demographic to achieve and move on to the next stage of their education.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

The Bishop of Manchester announces his retirement

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, has announced that he is to retire after more than a decade serving Greater Manchester and Rossendale, and 27 years as a Church of England Bishop.

The Bishop’s final formal thanksgiving service will take place at Manchester Cathedral on 25 November 2012, though he will remain Bishop of Manchester until 17 January 2013.

The Bishop, who will be 71 on his next birthday, will retire to Grange-Over-Sands with his wife Celia.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Richard Ross–We Need a Goal of Biblical Literacy for Teenage Believers

Youth ministry researcher Chap Clark says, “I’m convinced that the single most important area where we’ve lost ground with kids is in our commitment and ability to ground them in God’s Word.”

As a result, Barry Shafer says, “The church today, including both the adult and teenage generations, is in an era of rampant biblical illiteracy.” Duffy Robbins takes this one step further when he says: “Our young people have become incapable of theological thinking because they don’t have any theology to think about. ”¦ And, as Paul warns us, this ”¦ leaves us as ”˜infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching’ (Ephesians 4:14).”

At the conclusion of the National Study of Youth and Religion, lead researcher Christian Smith reported: “Even though most teens are very positive about religion and say it’s a good thing, the vast majority are incredibly inarticulate about religion. ”¦ It doesn’t seem to us that many teens are being very well-educated in their faith traditions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, Children, Inter-Faith Relations, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Youth Ministry

What a Stunt–a High School boy asks a girl on a date using a black helicopter over School Grounds

A black helicopter hovering overhead can lead those below to become worried, scared or suspicious. But when a large aircraft positioned itself over a Prince William County high school’s football field last Wednesday afternoon, students who had just been released for the day excitedly watched as a stuffed bulldog with a red-bandanna parachute emerged.

The big-eyed pup drifted to the turf, delivering a message from a junior boy to a senior girl: “Fall Fest?”

As students look to one-up their classmates for the most outrageous way to ask a girl on a date ”” in this case Patriot High School’s version of a homecoming dance ”” this boy’s approach might have set a new standard. The helicopter flew in low over the school’s grounds, stunning students and setting off a flurry of Twitter messages and photographs before its covert mission was complete….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Teens / Youth

Notable and Quotable

God has revived the Church in the past: historical scholarship shows movements of church growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and in the Church in contemporary China. Britain is not predestined to become more and more secular. History does not consist of inexorable processes.

To say all this does not mean that there are no problems in seeking a theology of church growth. Talk of church growth can be as redolent of neo-liberalism as of the Christian faith. But the way forward is not to shy away from theological analysis of church growth. It is to develop a thought-out theology.

This would recognise that growth means other things as well as numerical growth. But a theology of church growth would dare to value highly the numerical growth of congregations, and face the theological questions posed by numerical decline. There is some­thing too fatalistic, and too con­venient, about the indifference of many theologians and church leaders to discussing church growth.

–David Goodhew in the September 7, 2012, Church Times (emphasis mine)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Maravi Post) iReport: Lay Anglican calls for prayer to save Malawi

Delivering his sermon whose theme was kings and judges, Mr. E.L.C. Chirwa, a lay leader at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Lilongwe, said that it was the responsibility of Christians to pray for both religious and political leaders for them not to go astray.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Malawi, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(Reuters) As Muslims rage, Pakistan scrutinised by churches

With Muslim leaders in many countries calling for a global law barring what they call insults to Islam, the main non-Catholic world Christian grouping on Monday said just such a law in Pakistan is used to persecute other religions.

Pakistan’s “Blasphemy Law” has driven the country’s religious minorities – Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis, a dissenting Islamic group – into “a state of fear and terror”, said the World Council of Churches (WCC), organisers of a 3-day conference on the law.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ecumenical Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Median Household Income Falls for the fourth straight year in 2011

After hitting $54,489 in 2007 (inflation adjusted), median household income has dropped by nearly $4,500:

2007 – $54,489
2008 – $52,546
2009 – $52,195
2010 – $50,831
2011 – $50,054

Median household income is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as “the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having income above that amount, and half having income below that amount.”

Read it all and you can find the full census report there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(RNS) Did Jesus have a wife? New historical discovery raises old question

A newly revealed piece of papyrus offers fresh evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus was married, according to a Harvard Divinity School professor.

A fourth-century codex in Coptic quotes Jesus referring to “my wife,” Karen King, a scholar of early Christianity, said on Tuesday (Sept. 18). It is the only extant text in which Jesus is explicitly portrayed as betrothed, according to King.

King is calling the receipt-sized slip of papyrus “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” She believes it was originally written in Greek, and later translated into Coptic, an Egyptian language.

Read it all and another article is there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Christology, Church History, Egypt, History, Marriage & Family, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Theodore of Tarsus

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and didst give him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in thy Church, we pray, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O most loving and tender Father, preserve us from all faithless cares and selfish anxieties, and help us to cast our burdens upon thee, who hast given us assurance of thy care for us, and hast promised to supply the needs of all who seek first thy kingdom; for the sake of thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen!

–Psalm 72:18-19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Nichols interviewed by Vatican Radio–Seeking an new way of doing business in the UK

Over 200 people from the UK’s leading businesses met in London this morning to search for a new blueprint for doing better business in Great Britain. They were seeking to unite corporate purpose with personal values so that businesses better serve society. The conference explored the themes of the business need for change, the inevitability of a conflict between profit maximisation and developing common good, and the distinctive practical contribution of a faith based ethical framework to personal and corporate responsibility.

The conference was facilitated by the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols.

“I think one of the most vivid images that we had this morning was that a duty of business is to contribute to the adhesiveness of a society ”“ to its ”˜glue’ is the phrase that we used ”“ because if a society doesn’t have some glue, then it’s bad for business,” Archbishop Nichols said. “Because it’s difficult to understand that society. It’s difficult to get to appreciate what its needs are and what therefore what business can creatively respond to.”

Listen to it all (a little over 9 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ Op-Ed) Husain Haqqani: Manipulated Outrage and Misplaced Fury

Islamists almost by definition have a vested interest in continuously fanning the flames of Muslim victimhood. For Islamists, wrath against the West is the basis for their claim to the support of Muslim masses, taking attention away from societal political and economic failures. For example, the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference account for one-fifth of the world’s population but their combined gross domestic product is less than 7% of global output””a harsh reality for which Islamists offer no solution.

Even after recent developments that were labeled the Arab Spring, few Muslim-majority countries either fulfill””or look likely to””the criteria for freedom set by the independent group Freedom House. Mainstream discourse among Muslims blames everyone but themselves for this situation. The image of an ascendant West belittling Islam with the view to eliminate it serves as a convenient explanation for Muslim weakness.

Once the Muslim world embraces freedom of expression, it will be able to recognize the value of that freedom even for those who offend Muslim sensibilities. More important: Only in a free democratic environment will the world’s Muslims be able to debate the causes of their powerlessness, which stirs in them greater anger than any specific action on the part of Islam’s Western detractors.

Until then, the U.S. would do well to remember Osama bin Laden’s comment not long after the Sept. 11 attacks: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” America should do nothing that enables Islamists to portray the nation as the weak horse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire Announces Finalists for Bishop

Read it all (names on bottom right, click on them to get a lot more information).

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