Daily Archives: November 30, 2012

Joshua Swamidass: Senator Marco Rubio and the Age-of-Earth Question

As a Christian and career scientist, I see the episode as an opportunity for both Republicans and evangelicals to establish a more coherent policy on evolution, creation and science, for two reasons.

First, the age of the Earth and the rejection of evolution aren’t core Christian beliefs. Neither appears in the Nicene or Apostle’s Creed. Nor did Jesus teach them. Historical Christianity has not focused on how God created the universe, but on how God saves humanity through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Currently, a debate is unfolding in theological seminaries and conferences about the correct interpretation of the Bible’s Genesis account of creation. Echoing thinkers like St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, Mark Noll and Pope John Paul II, many of the conservative theologians in the debate believe that a serious reading of Genesis can be compatible with the scientific account of our origins.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, History, Media, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) U.S. judge dismisses suit against Santa Monica nativity ban

As expected, U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a church coalition seeking to challenge Santa Monica’s ban on nativity and other seasonal displays in public spaces.

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee had filed the suit in October after the Santa Monica City Council voted to prohibit private, unattended displays in city parks. Earlier this month, the court denied the committee’s request to allow the exhibition of nativity scenes in Palisades Park this year as the lawsuit progressed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Katrina Onstad–The real cost of our 'fast fashion' consumption culture

This week we learned of yet another fire in a garment factory in Bangladesh, this one killing more than 100 people. Before the nine-storey building blazed, workers at Tazreen Fashions Ltd. in Dhaka were making clothes for Wal-Mart and Walt Disney, among other retailers. The International Labor Rights Forum estimates that since 2005, more than 700 garment workers have died in Bangladesh as a result of safety violations in buildings. Survivors of the Tazreen fire told The Guardian that managers stopped workers from leaving the building after a fire alarm and locked the doors. Then came a panicked crush; bodies were charred beyond recognition. All this for a job that earned most workers less than $40 a month.

So this is the dark side of “more.” And we are consuming more, for less money, than we used to. In 1969, Canadians spent 10.5 per cent of household income on clothing and accessories; in 2010, that figure dropped to 6.5 per cent. An insatiable appetite for makeover shows and a mainstreaming of the fashionista ideal have coincided with a total transformation of clothing production. According to a recent article in The New York Times Magazine, it now takes “fast fashion” leader Zara two to three weeks to move an item from an idea in a studio to a hanger in a store….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Psychology, Theology

An Excerpt From Pope's Latest Book–'The question about Jesus' origin as a question about…mission'

John the evangelist, who repeatedly raises the question of Jesus’ provenance, does not present a genealogy at the begin­ning of his Gospel, but in the Prologue he grandly and em­phatically proposes an answer to that question. At the same time he expands his answer to the question into a definition of Christian life: on the basis of Jesus’ provenance he sheds light upon the identity of his followers.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt [pitched his tent] among us” ( Jn 1:1-14). The man Jesus is the dwelling-place of the Word, the eternal di­vine Word, in this world. Jesus’ “flesh,” his human existence, is the “dwelling” or “tent” of the Word: the reference to the sacred tent of Israel in the wilderness is unmistakable. Jesus is, so to speak, the tent of meeting-he is the reality for which the tent and the later Temple could only serve as signs. Jesus’ origin, his provenance, is the true “beginning”-the primordial source from which all things come, the “light” that makes the world into the cosmos. He comes from God. He is God. This “beginning” that has come to us opens up-as a beginning-a new manner of human existence. “For to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” ( Jn 1:12f.).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Christology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Church looks outside Christchurch for financial help with Transitional Cathedral

A piece of Christchurch’s cardboard cathedral is on display outside four major Anglican churches around the country as part of a new fundraising drive.
With the scheduled opening of the transitional cathedral just four months away, the church is exhibiting four giant cardboard tubes as it looks outside Christchurch for financial help.
“They’re huge and it gives us a real idea of what’s going on, lots of excitement and people coming in and going,” says Auckland Anglican Dean Reverend Jo Kelly-Moore.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry

(CNBC) What Empty Nest? Weak Economy Means Living at Home

The recession and weak recovery appears to be keeping many adult children from getting a home of their own, and that could have implications for the housing industry’s recovery.

A Census Bureau report released Wednesday found that between 2007 and 2011 there was a steady increase in the percentage of adults living in someone else’s house ”“ and that increase has mostly been driven by adult children moving in with mom and dad.

In 2011, Census Bureau researchers found that 17.9 percent of people 18 and older, or 41.2 million people, lived in a house in which they weren’t the head of the household or that person’s spouse or significant other. That’s up from 16 percent in 2007, before the nation went into recession.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

(WSJ) The Great Recession A Big Factor as the Birthrate Falls

A steep decline in births among immigrant women hard hit by the recent recession is the driving force behind the record low U.S. birthrate, according to the Pew Research Center.

The annual number of births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 dropped 8% in the U.S. from 2007 to 2010 to 64 births per 1,000, according to a report released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew center. The U.S. birthrate peaked during the baby boom, at 122.7 in 1957.

Immigrant women, both legal and illegal, still have a higher birthrate than the U.S. population as a whole. Yet the rate for foreign-born women dropped 14% between 2007 and 2010, to 87.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, compared with a 6% decline for U.S.-born women, to 58.9 births. The birthrate plunged 19% for immigrants of Hispanic origin during that period; among Mexicans, the largest group among Hispanics, the rate plunged 23%.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Church Times) C of E to set about resolving deadlock on women bishops

Prebendary [Rod] Thomas said on Monday that Reform would like the talks to be chaired by the Archbishop-designate, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby. “We feel very much that Justin Welby has been put by God in this place with a unique set of gifts to help us resolve this problem; he has our complete trust in seeking to move forward.”

Campaigners for women bishops who are angry at the outcome of last week’s vote have, however, indicated that they will press for a single-clause Measure, without provision for traditionalists enshrined in it.

The Rt Revd John Gladwin, a former Bishop of Chelmsford and the honorary vice-president of WATCH, said that opponents of the Measure had “blown up the bridge to any compromise solution”. The “only . . . route” that could now be taken, he said, “is the route which removes all discriminatory provisions from the life and ministry of the Church”.

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

(Reuters) In Istanbul, a mosque fit for a Sultan

Tayyip Erdogan has described his third term as Turkish prime minister as that of a “master”, borrowing from the celebrated Ottoman architect Sinan and the last stage of his storied career after apprenticeship and graduation.

It’s a lofty allusion.
Sinan’s 16th-century creations came to define the Ottoman Empire at its apogee, the Suleymaniye Mosque, built for Sultan Suleiman, part of Istanbul’s unmistakable skyline.

Now, entering a second decade at the helm of a country revelling in its regional might, Erdogan wants to leave his own mark on the cityscape with what will be Turkey’s biggest mosque, a “giant mosque,” he says, “that will be visible from all across Istanbul.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Turkey

Totally Inspiring Friday Video–Kick of Hope from ESPN's Tom Rinaldi

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Sports, Teens / Youth

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Andrew

Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Be thou unto us at this time, O Lord, a tower of strength, a place of refuge, and a defence in our day of trouble. Keep us calm and brave, because our trust is in thee. Let thy comfort support us, thy mercy pardon us, and thy wisdom guide us; and give us, if it please thee, deliverance from all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name”; and again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; and further Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

–Romans 15:7-13

Posted in Uncategorized

Anglican Ink: Loyalist meeting learns Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is behind them

‘The presiding bishop’s attorney told the 15 Nov 2012 meeting of TEC loyalists the national church had been preparing for the fight with Bishop Lawrence and the majority faction in the diocese for some time.’
Questions over the presiding bishop’s actions have arisen in light of statements made by Mr. Tom Tisdale, a lawyer for Bishop Jefferts Schori given at a 15 Nov 2012 “clergy day” held at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Charleston. An open letter to the bishops of the Episcopal Church detailing her alleged violations of the canons prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute has also prompted questions.

The presiding bishop’s office has not responded to queries concerning the ACI’s open letter, nor is it known if Bishop Jefferts Schori has complied with Canon Iv.4(f), which requires her to self-report to “the Intake Officer all matters which may constitute an Offense as defined” in the canons.

Mr. Tisdale told Anglican Ink he too was unable to comment. My “inability to answer your questions is that I have consistently held to a long standing practice and policy of not engaging in press interviews on matters in which I am representing a client. The only exception to this practice would be when I am specifically requested to do so by the client.”

In his address to the approximately 40 clergy and lay members of the diocese present, Mr. Tisdale stated that in light of the suspension of Bishop Lawrence on 15 Oct 2012 by the presiding bishop and the vote by the standing committee to withdraw from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, there was no functioning ecclesiastical authority in South Carolina.

He stated he was legal counsel for the presiding bishop in South Carolina and a “few months ago” had been asked to organize a transition group by the national church in preparation for such an event.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Women, Sex and the Hookup Culture (III)–Matthew Lee Anderson responds to Emily Esfahani Smith

…I kind of understand the eagerness to stake out this sort of “middle of the road” position on sexual ethics. It’s the sort of “respectable” social conservatism that allows for everything sophisticated readers of The Atlantic might want”“seriousness and purpose without the backwardness of chastity.

Or at least the appearance of seriousness, anyway. It also presupposes the sort of “make your own meaning” approach to sex that stands beneath the sexual malaise in our culture. Consider this as a good rule of thumb: if you have to resort to describing your sex as “meaningful,” then maybe that’s because functionally its not. Meaning isn’t made: it’s discovered, lived out, revealed to us over the course of our lives. No writer sets out to write a “meaningful novel,” or no very good writer does anyway. Because the meaning of things aren’t determined by fiat. They inhere in things and we respond to them.

Of course, to say that drives one into the possibility that maybe sex has a meaning in our lives that we don’t get to decide. What that meaning is, of course, might be in question. The traditional Christian answer, I think, has been to tie sex to marriage, and marriage to babies. We’re clearly losing the stomach for that one, though, both inside and outside the church. Still, the advantage of the traditional Christian sexual ethic is that it offers us sex without qualifications: sex in itself, the meaning given not made, in all its distinctive glory and freedom.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

Women, Sex and the Hookup Culture (II)–Emily Esfahani Smith to Hanna Rosin–Make sex meaningful

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

Women, Sex and the Hookup Culture (I)–Hanna Rosin argues the milieu empowers women

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women