Daily Archives: October 10, 2012

(RNS) Meet John Q. Nones: A profile of the fast-growing religiously unaffiliated

Who is John Q. Nones? Here’s a snapshot drawn from the Pew Forum’s new poll:

1. He’s a he. Though fewer than half of Americans are male, 56 percent of nones are. The gender divide among nones who are atheists or agnostics is even more pronounced: 64 percent of this group is male.

2. He’s young. The older the American, the more likely he or she is to be affiliated with a religion. One-third of Americans under 30 say they have no religious affiliation, compared to 9 percent of those 65 and older. This is mostly due to “generational replacement” as a younger generation assumes the place of an older one that is decidedly more religious.

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

(Plain-Dealer) Regina Brett–the Roman Catholic Church needs a true renewal

The invitation…[came in] an open letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation to liberal and nominal Catholics, or as some would call us, cafeteria Catholics, secular Catholics or people pretending to be Catholic. I’ve been called all of the above.

The handout urged me to quit because my staying is “aiding and abetting” a church that wants to ban birth control and abortion. It asked me to choose between reproductive freedom or the Dark Ages, between “women and their rights or bishops and their wrongs.”

It asked me to stop deluding myself that I can change the church from within. It asked me to vote with my feet and leave “an institution that discriminates against half of humanity.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

West African Anglican Archbishop Tells The Judiciary To Uphold Truth And Justice

The Most Reverend Dr Justice O. Akrofi, Primate and Archbishop of the Church of the Province of West Africa, Anglican Church, has asked the judiciary to uphold justice and truth at all times, especially in their adjudication in the election year.

“The learned society needs justice. Truth is also ever so sacred that it cannot be negotiated-not the same as playing fast and loose with it. The role of justice for instance is very relevant in ensuring peace at this year’s election”, Rev Akrofi said in a sermon to open the 55th Legal Year of the Judicial Service.

The legal year is marked annually in October with a church service after members of the bench and bar return from their two months vacation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ghana, Law & Legal Issues, Theology

(RNS) Trevor Grundy–Is British monarch ”˜Defender of the Faith’ or ”˜Faiths’?

As Britain awaits the appointment of the next archbishop of Canterbury to lead both the Church of England and the far-flung Anglican Communion, there’s renewed attention on the woman who officially gets the final say: Queen Elizabeth II, the “Defender of the Faith.”

The current archbishop, Rowan Williams, ends his 10-year tenure in December. A Church of England committee is sifting through candidates — two of whom will be submitted to Prime Minister David Cameron, whose top choice will be submitted to the queen for final approval.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(CS Monitor) California's dueling tax hikes: 'Nightmare' ahead?

A potentially serious complication has arisen in California’s latest effort to avoid billions in spending cuts, which threaten the state’s education and welfare systems.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 intends to forestall “draconian” budget cuts by temporarily raising taxes, including sales taxes and income taxes on the wealthy. The initiative could largely determine his legacy, as well as the state’s fiscal health for at least a decade. Moreover, if successful, Prop. 30 could begin to shift the national conversation on taxes after decades of extreme antitax sentiment across the country.

Polls show that a thin majority of state voters support Prop. 30. But that support could be undercut by another proposition that aims to raise taxes for public education. Molly Munger, the millionaire behind the rival initiative, has even suggested she might start airing comparison ads arguing why voters should vote for her proposition, not Governor Brown’s Prop. 30.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Full Study on Religion in America by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public ”“ and a third of adults under 30 ”“ are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.

In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).

Read it all and follow all the links.

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

Former Waco, Texas, rector consecrated as bishop suffragan in Episcopal Church

[Jeff] Fisher was elected to that position at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston on June 2.

He will be based in Tyler and will serve congregations in the Diocese of Texas, which covers the eastern and central portion of Texas, which includes an area that spreads from Waco to Austin to Galveston and east to Louisiana.

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

(Sightings) Brian Britt–Religious and Secular Identity in Berlin

Several recent incidents in Berlin have escalated tensions between Muslims, Jews, and the city’s secular majority. Over a month ago, a rabbi wearing a kippa, or yarmulke, was beaten by four “Arab-looking” youths after being asked if he and his daughter were Jewish. Public outcry led to a large demonstration in support of Berlin’s Jews, including a flash mob of Jews and non-Jews wearing kippot. Tensions escalated days later when a second incident, in which Jewish school girls were harassed by a group of youths that included a girl wearing a head scarf, led to an exchange of harsh words between Jewish and Muslim leaders, though in neither case were the attackers caught or identified definitively. After being advised to urge greater religious tolerance, Muslim leaders denied responsibility for the attacks and pointed out their own experiences of intolerance in the city.

Then on Yom Kippur, two more anti-Semitic incidents took place””the first when a young white man threatened a local Jewish leader and told him to go back where he came from, and the second when a mother and her daughter were forced out of a taxi after telling the “German” driver they were going to synagogue. Diedre Berger of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee has now intervened, asking the German government to develop an action plan to combat anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, a contrasting alliance between Jews and Muslims has formed in the aftermath of a regional court ruling against circumcision.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Germany, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

(Barbados Advocate) Senior Consultant Psychiatrist with the Ministry of Health–Depression Can Kill

In acknowledging this year’s theme “Depression: A Global Crisis”, [Dr. Ermine Belle]… pointed out that there is no other theme which could be more appreciate, given the global recession in recent years.

“Through the recession we hear the news from other countries where people have lost their homes, jobs and in some cases people have decided they cannot go on living. These are true problems of a sad situation impacting.”

Dr Belle told the congregation that there is a need for society to acknowledge and appreciate what depression is all about, as depression is a killer.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

A little more on the new Archbishop of West Africa, Bishop Tilewa Johnson

His functions, include but are not limited to:

i) Issuing of Pastoral Letters in his own person as well as with members of the Episcopal Synod

ii) Speaking God’s word to the Church and to the world as a representative of the CPWA in its corporate capacity

iii) Exercising the spiritual and temporal leadership of the CPWA

iv) Visiting officially the dioceses within the CPWA whether at the invitation of the local Bishop, or of his own initiative

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces

(CFO.com) Andrew Sawers–From Corporate Finance to the Archbishop of Canterbury?

As biblical orthodoxy puts it, you cannot serve both God and mammon. Twenty-five years ago, having chosen to serve God and study theology, Justin Welby gave up an 11-year finance career that had seen him rise to the ranks of group treasurer with a major U.K. company, Enterprise Oil. Ordained as a priest in 1992, he was appointed Bishop of Durham just last year.

He is now the current front-runner to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury: the most senior cleric in the Church of England….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Religion & Culture

(Ekklesia) Savi Hensman–Anglicans, archbishops and presidential confusions

Williams did however say in his interview that, because of growing demands, “I suspect it will be necessary, in the next 10 to 15 years, to think about how that load is spread; to think whether in addition to the Archbishop of Canterbury there needs to be some more presidential figure who can travel more readily”, who “has the support of the primates of the Anglican Communion” and “would have an executive role to implement what they decide”.

There are echoes of the controversial Covenant he had pushed for which would have bolstered the power of the primates over provinces other than their own, threatening “relational consequences” for those which failed to obey. This was rejected by the majority of dioceses in the Church of England and elsewhere, but it would appear that another drive for ‘unity’ is planned.

However, most of the overseas archbishops who have pushed hardest for disciplinary structures would be highly resistant to any interference in their own provinces, a recipe for further splits if any ‘president’ did not entirely do their bidding. Having an international leader could also be disastrous for the Church of England, already facing a sizeable drop in involvement in recent decades.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

An SMH article on Archbishop Peter Jensen's Final Presidential Address

In his last presidential speech before retirement, Dr Jensen said society’s shift towards ”deadly individualism” had been driven by material wealth and technological mastery.
The cost of individualism, and the shift to self-love, had consequences for the quality of our community, family life and how we treat death. That was evident in the choice of ”our swan song of this generation”, Frank Sinatra’s classic I Did It My Way, Dr Jensen said in his speech, titled ”Last Words”.
”It seems that we do not need each other as once we did. Nor do we need God. To think that a person is so proud of the phrase ‘I did it my way’ that they would use it as a summary of their life’s achievement reveals an astounding moral ineptitude, a sort of vulgar egotism.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who art the author of all spiritual gifts: Bestow upon thy Church in this our day the grace of knowledge, to apprehend the fullness of divine truth, and of utterance to declare that truth to others; that the testimony of Christ may be confirmed among us, and in everything we may be enriched in him, even thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

—-Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil upon their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields, and seize them; and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. Therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, against this family I am devising evil, from which you cannot remove your necks; and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time. In that day they shall take up a taunt song against you, and wail with bitter lamentation, and say, “We are utterly ruined; he changes the portion of my people; how he removes it from me! Among our captors he divides our fields.” Therefore you will have none to cast the line by lot in the assembly of the LORD. “Do not preach” –thus they preach–“one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.” Should this be said, O house of Jacob? Is the Spirit of the LORD impatient? Are these his doings? Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly? But you rise against my people as an enemy; you strip the robe from the peaceful, from those who pass by trustingly with no thought of war. The women of my people you drive out from their pleasant houses; from their young children you take away my glory for ever. Arise and go, for this is no place to rest; because of uncleanness that destroys with a grievous destruction. If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,” he would be the preacher for this people! I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob, I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. He who opens the breach will go up before them; they will break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king will pass on before them, the LORD at their head.

–Micah 2:1-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Pennsylvania's Episcopal bishop says he’ll retire at year’s end

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

New Sabbath studies published by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network

”˜At the beginning of the 21st century, does Christianity have a view about an ideal human society?’ Responding to this question, Bishop George Browning, past convenor of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, reflects that such a society must ”˜address rapidly growing inequity and … confront an economic system which operates as if resources are infinite and that humanity can somehow exist as if it is not part of an unfolding ecological crisis.’

In a new series of reflections, Bishop Browning explores the roots and meaning of Sabbath and how a fresh understanding and practice of this biblical concept can reconnect economics to ethics, and shape human society in a manner that is consistent with the creation upon which it depends.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology