Daily Archives: November 4, 2012

Adding a Ritual to a Wedding: Showing Support for Same Sex Marriage

Adrienne Baker walked down the aisle on her wedding day in August wearing high heels, a strapless ruffled dress and a slender white wristband. Her groom, Austin Vitt, augmented his dark suit with the same accessory. So did many of their 140 guests.

Moments later, when the ceremony began, the divinity student who was officiating offered the first reading. It was a selection that the soon-to-be Mr. and Ms. Vitt considered the secular equivalent of Scripture, excerpts from a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.

“Without the right to choose to marry,” the officiant, Julie Maxwell, intoned, “one is excluded from the full range of human experience.” In other words, as the court concluded in the 2003 decision, same-sex marriage is a legal and civil right. As for the delicate wrist ribbons, they were Ms. Vitt’s adaptation of the white-knot logo for the marriage-equality movement.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(NPR) Meet An Elephant That Speaks Korean

“There is no way this is just some sort of accidental thing, that the elephant was making normal elephant sounds and somehow got rewarded for doing it and then people started saying, ‘Oh, he’s a talking elephant,’ ” says [Tecumseh] Fitch. “That’s what I think makes it really convincing that this is speech mimicry.”

What’s more, the researchers asked native Korean speakers to listen to the sounds made by Koshik and transcribe what they heard. While most listeners agreed on the vowel sounds, there was some disagreement on what consonants he was saying. “His consonants are kind of blurry in the same way that mine might be if I’d had a half a bottle of Jack Daniel’s or something,” says Fitch.

What most struck the researchers is that Koshik was apparently so driven to imitate sounds that he invented the method of putting his trunk in his mouth and moving it around. They believe that he may have done this to bond with his trainers, as he was deprived of elephant companionship during a critical period of his childhood and spent years with humans as his only social contact.

Read or listen to it all and do not miss the video.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Science & Technology

David Novak–Idolatry and injustice: A Jewish appreciation of Reinhold Niebuhr

It seems to me that Niebuhr’s appeal to many nonreligious people was because he treated idolatry as the root of the injustice they felt was so wrong and had to be opposed. Niebuhr did not require them to make a theological commitment in order to be more coherently opposed to injustice. He did not require them to first affirm “the God of Justice” (Isaiah 30:18) in order to then appreciate how injustice is not only an assault on humans, but it is an assault on truth itself.

What Niebuhr did try to persuade them was that their opposition to injustice would be more coherent if they understood that the injustice they opposed is not just the result of human error at the epistemological level, but that it is the result of human deceit at the ontological level – substituting a false god for the true God, even if they could now only affirm the possibility that there is such a God. And to affirm what is clearly a desirable possibility is the essence of hope. Hence Niebuhr gave their moral instinct a deeper and more hopeful intentionality.

So when Stanley Hauerwas criticizes Niebuhr for promulgating “an ethic for everyone,” I think Niebuhr would have taken that criticism as a compliment, for an ethic for everyone is precisely what ethics must be in order to have a voice in an idolatrous world. Clearly, Niebuhr would have liked for his nonreligious hearers to move into a position of faith in the God of the Bible, but he did not present that move as some sort of logical necessity. He knew full well that no one can be argued into faith, yet they can be argued into opposition against idolatrous injustice.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Theology

BBC Video of a blindfolded boy Choosing the Next Coptic Pope

I really enjoyed this–see what you think. Too funny to hear the trouble the BBC had in covering the story(! Not going to spoil it for you you have to watch to see what I mean–KSH).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Coptic Church, Egypt, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Other Churches, Spirituality/Prayer

(BBC) Bishop Tawadros chosen to be New Pope of Egypt's Coptic Christians

Bishop Tawadros has been chosen as the new pope of Egypt’s Coptic Christians, becoming leader of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East.

His name was selected from a glass bowl by a blindfolded boy at a ceremony in Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral. Three candidates had been shortlisted.

The 60-year-old succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who died in March aged 88.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Suzanne Lawson (Ang. Ch. of Canada) on ACC–15: Regional meetings, Bible reading, and Island dancing

One of the interesting things that has been put in place by the organizers/designers of this meeting has been the addition of Regional Meetings”¦as a region (in our case, North America), we have gathered now three times to discuss topics from our somewhat common position geographically. So, we’ve been meeting with our colleagues from The Episcopal Church. The discussions have been fruitful and energetic. We have dug deeply into the topics of the agenda, yesterday, into the environmental concerns. We are keeping notes of our work, and have taken the interesting step of seeing whether we can meet as a group mid-way between the ACC meetings, to keep ourselves on track with what we say we might do to respond to these topics. I’m taking on organizing the meetings”¦many timetables to juggle, including the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the Chair of its House of Deputies. But I think it will give us more of a sense of being active members of this Council, rather than simply people who go to meetings. And when the meetings are every 3 1/2 to 4 years, it’s hard to keep a sense of continuity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Episcopal Church (TEC)

(Anglican Ink) Global Anglican Future Conference planned for 2013 in Athens

At their meeting Dar es Salaam last month, the FCA primates council discussed the feasability of holding a second meeting five years after the inagural gathering in Jerusalem. African leaders proposed holding Gafcon II in Jerualem, but Arab Anglicans asked that another location be selected due to the political instability in the region.

One person present at the discussion said the criterium used by the primates in selecting the site that it be related to a place in the Bible, that Anglicans from the developing world be able to obtain visas to attend the meeting, and that the costs not be prohibitive.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Global South Churches & Primates, Greece

Archbishop Sentamu Speaks About The Importance of Restorative Justice

We need to recognise the personal cost of crime. We need to recognise the damage, hurt and pain crime causes to victims and their families. And we need to recognise the cost to the wider society. But the harsh reality is that 75% of young offenders re-offend within 12 months – 3 out of 4 – this has to stop!…”

“Reflex prison Outreach workers and volunteer mentors provide positive role models and ”˜father figures’. Their accredited education programmes provide creative opportunities for reflection and achievement, and their life skills help build ”˜character’, encouraging young people to take responsibility for their actions as part of the community. With God’s help, Reflex can place a worker in every Young Offenders Institution in the nation. We can turn the tide.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

Archbishop Rowan Williams welcomes the appointment of the new Bishop of Fulham

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(BBC) Nigerian 'youths executed' in Boko Haram stronghold

Dozens of young men have been shot dead in Nigeria by the military in Maiduguri, residents in the north-eastern city have told the BBC.

An imam told the BBC about 11 youths from his street alone were killed, including four of his own sons.

The alleged extrajudicial executions happened as Amnesty International accused the security forces of abuses in its crackdown on Islamist militants.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We give thee thanks, O God our Father, for the good work which thou hast begun in us, in that thou hast called us to the knowledge of thy grace and faith in thee; and we pray thee so to continue thy work in us that our lives may be strengthened for thy service in the fellowship of the gospel, and our love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment, to thy praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

–1 Corinthians 13:3-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Fantastic Pictures–Animal Rescue In The Aftermath Of Hurricane Sandy

You know I am a mush for these kinds of things but please go and look for yourself.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

Hoboken–A New Jersey city, Frozen in Hurricane Sandy's Aftermath

On the third day after Hurricane Sandy soaked Hoboken in several feet of water, leaving the city one of the most crippled in the region, those with the least found themselves suspended in the storm’s cold, dark aftermath. Late this week, Hoboken started to hum with generators and a taco truck.

The projects where [Grace] Rodriguez and her daughter, Jayleen Avalos, lived were still at the bottom of the world. The 25 or so buildings operated by the Hoboken Housing Authority were clustered together on 17 acres at the city’s southern edge. They were hemmed in by gentrification on one side ”” $600,000 lofts with same-day shirt service dry cleaners ”” and a steel fence in the back. Two feet of floodwater created a moat around the buildings. The National Guard brought water and MREs. The Red Cross brought bologna-and-cheese sandwiches.

But the one commodity residents were starved for was information, and the absence of it deepened their sense of isolation. The city government used social media to update citizens. Grace Rodriguez would have appreciated a bullhorn.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Children, City Government, Economy, Marriage & Family, Media, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Personal Finance, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

(Anglican Taonga) Waipounamu's feast of welcome for Archbishop Rowan Williams

“In the wake of disaster and trauma, a city has to decide what is it that binds it together ”“ above all, what are the promises that we make to one another,” the Archbishop said.

“Because a truly healthy and just city is a place where people make promises to one another. They promise to be there for one another’s safety and welfare.”

Archbishop Rowan then went to the heart of God’s promise in Ezekiel: “I will resettle your towns, the ruins will be rebuilt.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Australia / NZ, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(Reuters) Romney, Obama try to eke out a win in campaign's last days

After months spent rallying their most reliable supporters, Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama reached out on Saturday to the small sliver of voters who remain undecided in the final days before Tuesday’s presidential election.

With the race in a dead heat nationally, both candidates hopscotched across the country in a bid to secure any possible advantage ahead of Election Day. That meant another round of campaigning in the handful of states that remain competitive and a last-minute effort to pull votes from the other side.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2012

Phil Ashey–Another Update from ACC [Anglican Consultative Council]-15

I am in Auckland, NZ, at the 15th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC15). The agenda moved into high gear today with presentations on “The Bible in the Life of the Church” (BILC), the Network for Interfaith Concerns (NIFCON) Report “Promised Land?”, an Anglican Communion resource for addressing Israeli-Palestinian relations, and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) report on The Instruments of Unity.

I believe that the discussion on BILC revealed an important major conclusion that tips the hand of the ACC’s leadership: that the process of how Anglicans interpret scripture is as important as the substance of scripture. Two conclusions will follow from this premise: (1) Context reigns supreme in how people interpret, and in the diversity of interpretations that flow from diversity of contexts NO interpretation is better than another (a point made by the preselected TEC leader of one of the small groups), and (2) There are no “limits” on faithful interpretation (point made by the preselected Church of England rep from another reflection group).

In this discussion, initial enthusiasm for the affirmation of Bible study gave way to sharp differences over the language in the proposed resolution, and then to frustration that there was not enough time to consider the resolution.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Consultative Council, Israel, Middle East, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Church of England rift over women bishops 'may last years'

The Synod vote had been due to take place in July, but was postponed after a last-minute row over wording.

A compromise was later agreed, granting traditionalists ”” who believe that female leadership in the Church goes against the Bible’s teaching ”” the right to have an alternative male bishop chosen “in a manner which respects” their theological convictions.

However, a small but well-organised coalition of traditionalist Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals has joined forces, claiming that the compromise is “not fit for purpose” because it still does not provide enough assurances for them. They believe they could have secured enough votes in at least one part of the Synod to deny the measure the full two thirds approval it requires to be passed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women