Daily Archives: October 15, 2012

(RNS) Are ministers and musicians allies or rivals?

Eileen Guenther, the national president of the American Guild of Organists, reveals behind-the-scenes church struggles in her new book, “Rivals or a Team?: Clergy-Musician Relationships in the Twenty-First Century.”

Guenther, an associate professor of church music at Washington’s Wesley Theological Seminary and the former organist at Foundry United Methodist Church, talked with Religion News Service about her findings and advice. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: You titled your book “Rivals or a Team?” From your research, which is a better description of most clergy-musician relationships?

Read it all.

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

The Oxford English Dictionary seeks Help with Word Origins–check out the appeals

Among the words they are looking at–FAQ, Disco, and Bellini….

Read it all and visit over here as well.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, History, Poetry & Literature

(BBC) Eight ways China is changing your world

[China’s]…economy has gone from being rather smaller than Italy’s to the world’s second largest, and is now home to one million US$ millionaires. By the time the new generation of leaders hands over power to the next in 2022, China could be challenging the US for top spot.

This transformation has changed the way the world does business. Cheap Chinese labour has helped dampen prices in the West for everything from moccasins to mops to mobile phones. It is now the biggest investor in Africa, promising to shift the continent’s focus away from Europe and the US for the first time in two centuries. And China is now the biggest foreign holder of US government debt – a threatening stick, or a foolhardy bet?

The key question now is whether the new leaders can keep the economy growing at the same rate as in the past, and help the rest of the world recover. Most Western analysts expect it to slow from 10% a year to a still impressive 6-7%, but argue that deep reforms are needed if China is to become a rich rather than middle-income country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Politics in General

(Between Two Worlds) Justin Taylor–An Evening with C.S. Lewis

This one-man show by David Payne gives a good feel for C.S. Lewis as a man and as a thinker.

The setting is 1963 (the last year of Lewis’s life), with Lewis addressing in his home a group of writers from America. It’s an hour and a half in length:

Watch it all and check out the other links as well.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Apologetics, Church History, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Post-Gazette) People who sit for most of the day aren't doing their hearts any favors

If you spend nearly all your working day sitting at a desk, as 50 to 70 percent of Americans do, you may be shortening your life.

“Sitting is the kiss of death,” said Ron DeAngelo, director of sports performance training at UPMC’s Center for Sports Medicine. “We weren’t designed to sit. In prehistoric days, we never sat.”

People who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to get a heart attack than people who sit for less than three hours a day, according to a study published in July by researchers at Louisiana State University. Active people live about two years longer.

Read it all and there is another article on this from the BBC here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Personal Witness to Christ–Do we have a message to deliver to those in need?

“The Christian is not a seeker; the Christian is one who has found. “Come, see a man”¦” (John 4:29); “We have found the Messiah”¦” (John 1:41); “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth”¦” (John 1:45). Christians are men and women who have found; they have found something to give; they are not merely seeking”¦By definition Christians have something; they have something to say”¦ So the great question we must all ask ourselves is this: do we have something to give to people who are in need? I like to think of it like this. Imagine that tonight when you are in your home, somebody knocks at your door or rings the bell. You go to the door, and there you find a messenger. What is the message? Well, it is a request, an appeal, from a man whom you have known for years; perhaps you have known him since you were children together. Unfortunately, poor fellow, he has gone wrong in life, he has lived a godless life, and yet you somehow liked him. Whenever you met him, you were glad to see him, you always spoke to him, and you often tried to urge him to come with you to listen to the gospel. But he would not come; he laughed it off, as such people often do.
Now here is the message ”“ this afternoon that poor fellow had a sudden heart attack, and he is desperately ill; in fact, he is dying. The doctor can do no more for him. He has told the family, and this man realizes the truth ”“ he can see it in their faces. And suddenly he has come to himself. He sees that his life is finished, and he is going to the unknown and to darkness. He has nothing ”“ nothing to lean on in his past life, nothing to lean on in the present. Nobody can help him. He is absolutely alone, as we all shall be sooner or later, as our soul passes from time to eternity and into the presence of God. He does not know what to do or where to turn; he is in agony of soul. But suddenly he has thought of you because he thinks of you as a Christian and as a member of a church, because you have invited him to go with you to church. So he has sent for you ”“ that is the message. Of course, you have no choice; you must go. And when you arrive in the room, there is your friend lying on his back in bed.

This is the test as to whether or not we are Christians. Do you have something you can give him that will make all the difference in the world to him? What is the point of telling this man that you are also a seeker and a searcher after the truth ”“ he will be dead before midnight? What is the point of saying to him, “I hope that my sins are going to be forgiven sometime, I’m doing my best, I’m living a good life”? Does that help him? That puts him into hell while he is still alive. Or how does it help him if you turn to him and say, “Well, at last you see it. How many times have I told you that the life you were living was wrong? If only you had live as I live!” What is the value of that? That is sheer cruelty. That, again, is putting him in hell while he is still alive. It is of no value at all.

No, no; that is not the Christian way. Christians are not seeking truth or seeking forgiveness. They are not trying to make themselves Christians by living good lives; they are not merely church members. What are they? Well, in the end it just comes to this: they are men and women who, like the woman of Samaria, have met Christ, the Son of God. They are able to tell this poor fellow that it is not too late, that it is not hopeless, that no one is justified by their works or by their lives, that we are all sinners, and there is no ultimate difference between us at all, but that this is the message: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever [even he] believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Christians can tell this man not about their own experience but about Jesus Christ. There is no time to give experiences; there is no time to go through your drill and mechanically quote this or that. All they can say is, “Jesus Christ ”“ look to him!” They just tell the dying man about him, who he is, what he has done. And that is the only way this man can be helped, the only way he can find peace and rest for his soul.”

–Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), Living Water: Studies in John 4, quoted by yours truly in yesterday’s sermon

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology

Cathedral Dean David Ison–A Statement regarding the protest inside St Paul's

During the service a group of four women chained themselves to the pulpit and shouted out a list of grievances against St Paul’s as well as reading part of the bible. The Dean of St Paul’s, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, who was about to preach, allowed them to speak, following which the rest of the service continued without interruption.

Afterwards the Dean said: “After working constructively together with Occupy Faith on this act of worship, we regret the abuse of the Cathedral’s hospitality and its daily worship. We also disagree with the way in which some protesters are continuing to pursue the agenda of conflict with St Paul’s, rather than consulting with us about how together we might better achieve the reforms which many people including Occupy are looking for.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Text from Occupy Faith Read During the St. Paul's Cathedral Worship Service

We do not wish to distress you Only to appeal to you.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We stand here as Occupiers, as women, Queers, disabled, grandmas, young, old, as women of all faiths and none in solidarity with all other groups who are marginalised by economic injustice.

Even when times are good women, along with our children, are usually those who suffer the most. In times of economic crisis our inequality is amplified but we refuse to be victims.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Occupy London protesters free themselves from St Paul's Cathedral pulpit

Four women who chained themselves to the pulpit of St Paul’s cathedral cut through the bolts after six hours on the advice of police, avoiding arrest…

he women wrapped chains around their waists after a prayer that Church officials had invited them to give. One, Josie Reid, chained herself to her wheelchair.

The action came on the anniversary of the Occupy protest last year when protesters took over the square outside.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CNS) Fifty years later, a bishop remembers Vatican II

Fifty years later to the day, the U.S.-born bishop was back, one of 15 council fathers — out of the 70 still alive — who made it to an outdoor Mass in St. Peter’s Square marking the golden anniversary of that momentous event.

Bishop McNaughton, 85, attended all four sessions of Vatican II from 1962 to 1965, missing only two days because of illness.

He said the council’s “greatest highlight” was the approval of “Lumen Gentium,” the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, “a magnificent document” that dedicates an entire chapter to the subject of the “people of God.”

That term has sometimes been interpreted as a reference to the laity, the bishop said, but a reading of the constitution should make it clear that it refers to everyone in the church, including the pope and the bishops.

Read it all.

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

(The New Oxonoian) On Not Quite Believing in God

It is a fact that few people become atheists either in foxholes or philosophy class. But having seen the minor outcry against criticism of the New Atheist position by their adherents, I have come to the conclusion that Ruse and Berlinerblau are right: the new atheism is a danger to American intellectual life, to the serious study of important questions, and to the atheist tradition itself.

I have reasons for saying this. Mostly, they have nothing to do with the canonical status of a few books and speakers who draw, like Jesus, multitudes of hungry listeners. At this level, emotion comes into play, celebrity and authority come into play. Perhaps even faith comes into play. The bright scarlet A of proud atheism as a symbol of nonbelief and denial becomes an icon in its own right: The not-the-cross and not-the-crescent. And again, as we reach beyond not believing into symbolism and the authority of speakers who can deliver you from the dark superstitions of religion, without having to die on a cross, we have come a long way from simply not believing. That is what Professors Ruse and Berlinerblau have been saying….
But the real disaster of the new atheism is one I am experiencing as a college teacher. Almost three decades back I faced opposition from students who denied that history had anything to teach them about their strong emotional commitment to a belief system or faith. Today I am often confronted with students who feel just the same way”“except they are atheists, or rather many of them have adopted the name and the logo.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture

Bishop Gerald Kicanas–Inside the synod: Evangelization by example, and lunch with the pope

Archbishop John Oneikan of Abuja in Nigeria, whose brother lives in the Diocese of Tucson, offered today’s reflection to begin our full day of interventions. He reflected on an experience of his early episcopacy when he went to visit death-row prisoners living in wretched situations, He saw many wearing a rosary around their necks, which bewildered him since half of Nigerians are Muslim. He asked them what led them to Jesus.

They said that when they saw Christians living alongside of them in awful conditions, less than human circumstances and heard the joy of their singing and how they were able to retain hope amid despairing situations, they said they wanted to become Christians to share in that joy. This is a powerful example of evangelization. He inspired all of us, reminding us of the power of witness to change hearts.

Nigeria, like too many places around the world today, has experienced much violence in places like the city of Jos, where religious tensions and conflicts have surfaced. During our discussions bishops have expressed some of the struggles, persecution, tensions and turmoil happening in their communities. Listening to one another from all over the world gathered in the synod makes all of us more deeply aware of some of these challenges being experienced in many parts of the world. We can share in those sufferings and pain. We can stand in solidarity with those being persecuted, living amid violence. We can join hands, standing up against injustice and advocating for peace.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ministry of the Ordained, Nigeria, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Poverty, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Teresa of Avila

O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst move Teresa of Avila to manifest to thy Church the way of perfection: Grant us, we beseech thee, to be nourished by her excellent teaching, and enkindle within us a lively and unquenchable longing for true holiness; through Jesus Christ, the joy of loving hearts, who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Write deeply upon our minds, O Lord our God, the lessons of thy holy Word, that only the pure in heart can see thee. Leave us not in the bondage of any sinful inclination. May we neither deceive ourselves with the thought that we have no sin, nor idly acquiesce in aught of which our conscience accuses us. Strengthen us by thy Holy Spirit to fight the good fight of faith, and grant that no day may pass without its victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–C. J. Vaughan

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

–Psalm 1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CNS) Vatican II's call for renewal did not break with tradition, pope says

“Christianity must never be seen as something from the past, nor lived with one’s gaze always looking back, because Jesus is yesterday, today and for all eternity,” Pope Benedict said.

“This ‘renewal’ does not mean a break with tradition, rather it expresses a lasting vitality,” he said.

Renewal doesn’t mean watering down the faith, lowering it to fit modern fads or trends, or fashioning it to fit public opinion or one’s own desires, “rather it’s the contrary,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(Christanity Today) Ajith Fernando: A Leader Forged On the Anvil of Suffering

He schooled himself to change””a long, slow transformation. Once, leading a [Youth for Christ] YFC camp in a remote Sri Lankan village, he decided that years of study had finally made him ready to lead music in the Sinhala language. Afterwards, he stumbled into an informal gathering of young YFC volunteers. As he entered, he overheard them laughing at his Sinhala singing and mimicking him.

He lived simply. YFC salaries were based on family size and experience, not on position. Fernando made no more than others, and he made sure his home and lifestyle were in no way intimidating to the most simple village people who might visit.

Not only did he change, his teaching changed. Considering the prevailing liberalism, he began to teach about the supremacy of Christ, a difficult and controversial message in a country where most religions are pluralistic. He was convinced that without belief in hell and the unique power of Jesus to save, Christians lost the urgency of witness. “I still preach about [those topics] in the West,” he says, although the rise of Pentecostalism means that they are no longer pressing issues for the Asian church.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Evangelicals, Globalization, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Sri Lanka, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

(AP) Islam making inroads in Haiti since devastating 2010 earthquake

School teacher Darlene Derosier lost her home in the 2010 earthquake that devastated her country. Her husband died a month later after suffering what she said was emotional trauma from the quake. She and her two daughters now live in tents outside Haiti’s capital, surrounded by thousands of others made homeless and desperate by the disaster.

What has helped pull her through all the grief, she said, has been her faith, but not of the Catholic, Protestant or even Voodoo variety that have predominated in this island country. Instead, she has converted to a new religion here, Islam, and built a small neighborhood mosque out of cinderblocks and plywood, where about 60 Muslims pray daily.

Islam has won a growing number of followers in this impoverished country, especially after the catastrophe two years ago that killed about 300,000 people and left millions more homeless.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti, Islam, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Living Church) Crown Nominations Commission Deadlock Raises Questions

Delay in appointing a successor to the Most Rev. Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury is prompting questions about the viability of the role. Williams joined the debate last weekend, saying it was inevitable that changes would be made to lighten the archbishop’s workload.

He told the Compass Rose Society meeting in Canterbury there was clearly too much on his plate. He said there were always efforts to relieve him of a committee or two “so I get a five-minute break between meetings” but sooner or later significant changes need to be put in place.

The archbishop’s workload, effectively four jobs, will be an issue weighing on the chosen person….

Read it all.

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