Daily Archives: September 22, 2012

John Piper talks to Mitch Majeski about Pastoral Ministry–“What Work Has He Prepared for Me?

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Ross Douthat–The Jesus Conspiracy

It’s been six years since National Geographic revealed, amid much fanfare and discussion, the existence of a heretofore-unknown document that seemed to retell the New Testament narrative from the point of view of Judas Iscariot. That experience should have been a cautionary tale about the intersection of Biblical archaeology and media sensationalism: The first wave of coverage suggested that the document painted Judas as a misunderstood hero who was “only obeying his master’s wishes when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss,” but the evidence soon mounted that this sensationalistic claim relied on dubious translation decisions, and that the Judas in the fragmentary gospel might well actually be the embodiment of a Gnostic “king of demons” rather than Jesus’s most loyal friend.

It’s possible that a similar reassessment may be in store for this month’s entry in the “lost gospel” genre, a fragment of a fourth-century transcription of a late-second century Gnostic text that contains a line in which Jesus seems to refer to Mary Magdalene as his wife. Indeed, the document may ultimately prove to be an outright forgery or fraud, as some scholars are already suggesting. But from the point of view of Christian faith and the quest for the Jesus of history, it actually doesn’t matter all that much either way. Even if this scrap of text has been authentically identified and interpreted, it still tells us much more about the religious preoccupations of our own era, and particularly the very American desire to refashion Jesus of Nazareth in our own image rather than letting go of him altogether, than it does about the Jesus who actually lived and preached in Palestine in the early decades A.D.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Christology, History, Media, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CNS) When he's not behind home plate, (One Major League) Umpire makes serving others a priority

When Major League Baseball umpire Mark Wegner, a Catholic, is in Baltimore to work at an Orioles game, one way he likes to spend his spare time is by helping people in need.

“I have free time, and I try to use it productively, but nothing is more productive than, going to Mass, No. 1, but No. 2, coming to do some things like this,” said Wegner.

Dressed in an Under Armour T-shirt, baseball cap and a green apron, the umpire was working with other volunteers on a recent Friday at Our Daily Bread, a Catholic Charities of Baltimore program that serves meals to the city’s homeless. He and the others were preparing tables, mixing salads and filling plates for the lunch crowd.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sports

(First Thoughts blog) David Mills–Anglican Bishops Against Free Speech

Four Anglican bishops serving in northeastern Africa and Cyprus have written the United Nations asking that “an international declaration be negotiated that outlaws the intentional and deliberate insulting or defamation of persons (such as prophets), symbols, texts and constructs of belief deemed holy by people of faith.” They make this proposal in response to the recent movie on Muhammad and “similar offensive incidents [which] have occurred in some European countries” and ”evoked massive and violent responses worldwide.”

It is a bad idea, a very bad idea, on many levels. For one thing, such a law would violate the Western ideal of free speech we should not give up. For another, it would quickly be used to suppress not only “deliberate insulting or defamation” but reasonable criticism and disagreement. One man’s well- and kindly-argued belief that another man is in error can be to that other man insult and defamation, especially if he has no natural appreciation for the free exchange of ideas.

Read it all and make sure to read the letter the bishops wrote if you have not before today.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, History, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Most Greeks feel new austerity measures are unfair: poll

An overwhelming majority of Greeks believe new austerity measures the government has promised its international lenders in exchange for more financial aid are unfair and hurt the poorest sections of society, a poll showed on Saturday.

Near-bankrupt Greece needs the European Union and International Monetary Fund’s blessing on measures worth nearly 12 billion euros ($16 billion) to unlock its next tranche of aid, without which it faces default and a potential exit from the euro zone.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Foreign Relations, Greece, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Psychology, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(WSJ Front Page) A Marine's Death Brings Together His Dad and His Battlefield Buddy

Two years ago, Matthew Proctor dropped to his knees in the Afghan dirt and watched his best friend bleed to death.

These days, when dreams get disturbing or guilt eats at his gut, there is one person the former Marine corporal is likely to call: Thomas Rivers Sr., his dead friend’s father.

When Mr. Rivers, 60 years old and a pharmaceutical executive, feels himself sinking into black depression or misses the pleasures of raising a son, it is the 24-year-old Cpl. Proctor he confides in or invites over for a boat ride. “He lost a best friend, and in a sense I lost a best friend as well as my son,” says Mr. Rivers. “That is a bond we share.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, War in Afghanistan

(ACNS) Bishops condemn attack on church compound, request Communion prayers

Thousands of people today broke into a church compound in Pakistan, burnt down the church, and destroyed the homes of two priests and the school headteacher.

The motivation behind the attack in Mardan, near Peshawar, is not yet clear, but the school was looted with newly installed computers being stolen and the building was set alight. No-one is reported to have been injured in the attack.

The Bishop of Peshawar Rt Rev Humphrey Peters has appealed for support from the Anglican Communion condemned the attack: “The damage has been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan, Violence

A Message to the Clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina from Bishop Mark Lawrence

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We announced last month on August 20th that the Standing Committee and I were in agreement on a course of action regarding the future of the Diocese of South Carolina and the challenges many of us face because of decisions by the recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church. However, for many reasons it was then and is now, imprudent to reveal that course of action. Things are progressing””we have not stopped or dropped the ball. Please know that I understand the level of anxiety and concern of many in the diocese. Nevertheless I must ask you all for your continued patience and prayers as we seek to deal wisely and carefully with a fluid situation that requires great discernment and sensitivity on a regular basis. I will communicate to you the details at the very earliest moment such a communication is prudent.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

–(The Rt. Rev.) Mark J. Lawrence is Bishop of South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, --Gen. Con. 2012, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anthropology, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology, Theology: Scripture

From the Keeping Things in Perspective-NOT-Department

“I feel like if I leave it at home, I go a bit crazy,” said James Vohradsky, a 20-year-old student who had queued for 17 hours with his sister. “I have to drive back and get it. I can’t do my normal day without it….”

–From a Reuters article this week about the launch of the newest version of Apple’s Iphone

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

U.S. Women's Soccer Team Sends Coach Off on a High Note

As a goodbye present, the team recently gave Sundhage a guitar that was signed by all the players in ”” surprise, surprise ”” the color of gold.

“It’s the best present I ever got,” she said.

They gave her quite a few memories along the way, too.

Sundhage’s most poignant? That’s easy: When the team roared back against Brazil in the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Cup. Wambach tied it at 2-2 with a magnificent, leaping header in the 122nd minute. The United States eventually captured the match, 5-3, on penalty kicks.

Read it all and do not miss the fabulous picture.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Philander Chase

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith We give thee heartfelt thanks for the pioneering spirit of thy servant Philander Chase, and for his zeal in opening new frontiers for the ministry of thy Church. Grant us grace to minister in Christ’s name in every place, led by bold witnesses to the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, even Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, whose Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, was moved with compassion for all who had gone astray, with indignation for all who had suffered wrong: Inflame our hearts with the burning fire of thy love, that we may seek out the lost, have mercy on the fallen, and stand fast for truth and righteousness; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And he who sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.”

–John 12:44-50

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Deadly film protests in Pakistan

At least 19 people have died as violent protests erupted on the streets of Pakistan’s main cities in anger at an anti-Islam film made in the US.

Fourteen people were killed in the port city of Karachi and a further five died in the north-western city of Peshawar, hospital officials said.

Protesters clashed with police outside the diplomatic enclave in the capital, Islamabad, near the US embassy.

Makes the heart sad–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Islam, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence