Daily Archives: December 20, 2012

(NPR) In A French Village, Protection From The Apocalypse

Friday is the last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar, sparking talk about the possible end of the world. About two years ago, a rumor began circulating on the Internet that the French village of Bugarach, population 200, would be the only place to survive this apocalypse.

But despite many news stories of people flocking to the village, less than two weeks before “doomsday,” there was no one on the streets. Houses were shuttered against the cold.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Eschatology, Europe, France, Theology

(Time Magazine) The DNA Dilemma: A Test That Could Change Your Life

Know your enemy, we tell ourselves; knowledge is power. Laurie Hunter wanted to know what disease was attacking her daughter Amanda, who by the age of 2 months was not developing normally. Her muscle tone was low. She wasn’t lifting her head. She was slow to talk, and she didn’t walk until she was 2.

“As a mother, you know that everything that happens to your child is not your fault, yet you still feel responsible,” says Hunter, 42, a high school English teacher who lives in Jackson, N.J. “We turned to genetic testing because I wanted answers.” The first tests, done at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) when Amanda was 4, came back normal. So did another round when she was 9. Doctors could not figure out what was making Amanda weak–even as she got weaker and slower and stopped being able even to blow her nose. “It’s like her muscles are getting tighter and not moving in the way they should,” Hunter said. But the doctors held out hope. Genetic testing grows more sophisticated every day, they said, allowing researchers to explore a child’s health down to every last typo on a chromosome.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

Zimbabwe: Kunonga Surrenders Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa Properties

Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga of the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe says he has surrendered all property belonging to the Church of the Province of Central Africa and that he would abide by the Supreme Court ruling.

Speaking at a Press conference in Harare yesterday through his provincial diocese secretary, Reverend Admire Chisango, Dr Kunonga said he would forge ahead with his spiritual work despite the setback.

Dr Kunonga who was breaking his silence since the Supreme Court ruling said he would respect the court ruling that conferred ownership rights to his rival CPCA, ending a five-year legal battle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Zimbabwe

(Ang. Journal) U.K. visit leaves [Canadian Archbishop Fred] Hiltz optimistic about church leadership

The leader of the Anglican Church of Canada has emerged from his Dec. 6 meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury-elect, Justin Welby, feeling “very optimistic about his leadership….”

During his meeting with Welby, Hiltz said he mentioned ongoing concern about efforts by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to be recognized by the Church of England. Composed of Anglicans who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church in the U.S., ACNA describes itself as “an emerging Province in the global Anglican Communion.”

Hiltz said he requested that if bodies of the Church of England are to meet with representatives of ACNA, “in fairness, they should also meet with us to get a better picture.” Welby was “very appreciative” of the place of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Communion and the contributions it has been able to make, added Hiltz.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

From Denmark–Every sixth foetus in late term abosrtion showed signs of life

For the first time ever in Denmark, a survey has shown how many foetuses show signs of life following a late term termination, according to Kristeligt Dagblad.

Previously, conventional wisdom has suggested that 10 per cent of foetuses gasped or showed other signs of life following a late term abortion between the 12th and 22nd week of pregnancy.

But statistics from Denmark’s second largest maternity clinic at the Aarhus University Hospital Skejby show that out of 70 late terminations between August 2011 and November 2012, 11 ”“ or 16 per cent – showed signs of life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, Denmark, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, Theology

(From 1999) Kendall Harmon on the Columbine High School shooting and the Judgment of God

While the tragedy…[at Columbine High School] continues to grip the nation, real answers for the reason behind it have so far proved elusive.

You have heard the voices. Youth culture is the problem, Hollywood is to blame. Where were the parents? What about the school officials who could have, should have, known sooner? Maybe gun availability is the culprit.

Others point the finger at the devastating impact of peer pressure, and on and on it goes.

But amidst this din of stories, analysis and commentary, there is one thing which is not being said. Its silence has become deafening, yet it begs to be heard because it points the way to a more painful, yet more hopeful answer.

Can you think of what is not being said? What is nearly always blurted out in other situations but has not been articulated in this one?

Judge not. You remember this one, don’t you? Jesus said it, right? What is fine for you is fine for you, but I have a different take on it. You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to, you say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to.

But suddenly the cat is out of the bag, because the one thing everyone is doing is judging.
. To say Hollywood is showing too much violence implies there is a standard of decency which Hollywood has violated. If people are upset that the parents did not know, that implies an idea of an effective parent (involved) and a bad parent (uninvolved).

Strange word, that, BAD. Opposite of GOOD (not effective, as misused above – did you notice?)

We do not hear these words, good and bad, very much anymore, do we? What happened to the so-called “post-modern” world? I thought we were to speak of values and preferences. I thought we were not supposed to judge.

Our reaction to Littleton says volumes more than even the tragedy of Littleton itself, because it exposes our hypocrisy about judgment. We claim to live in a world of taste and lifestyle, but the moment anything of real import occurs the game shifts to be played on another field. On this field, words like God and goodness, the satanic and evil, beg to be used, because they are the only way in which to begin to wrestle with the magnitude of it all. “Anger management” classes just are not enough.

But then the guns went off, and not only our judgments poured forth, but God’s did as well. If Littleton means anything, it means God’s judgment upon an America which is losing its moral and spiritual vocabulary and imagination.

When Jesus said “judge not” in Matthew 7:1, he did not mean what he is often alleged to have meant, that we are not to judge. He calls for his followers to judge “with right judgment” (John 7:24) which is how we, like him, are able to distinguish between true and false prophets (Matt. 7:15-20).

What is at issue is what is being judged and how. The human heart and a person’s ultimate spiritual condition is something God alone can judge, but we can judge people’s behavior and words – “you will know them by their fruits” – and render partial verdicts when appropriate.

The full verse, the second half of which is frequently left off, is, “judge not, that you be not judged,” by which Jesus means we are to judge with the awareness that the standard we use on others is one which we will also be judged by.

So we are called by the judgments about Littleton [the community in Colorado where Columbine High School is located] to hear the judgment we are bringing on ourselves, and the far more important judgment God is making and will render upon us. We are indeed one nation under God.

As applicable today as when I first wrote it–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Theodicy, Theology, Violence

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–Why not blame God for the Connecticut School shootings?

Blame it on the guns. No, blame the judges who banned God talk in schools, along with most lessons about right and wrong. No, our lousy national mental health care system caused this hellish bloodbath.No, the problem is the decay of American families, with workaholic parents chained to their desks while their children grow up in suburban cocoons with too much time on their hands.

No, it’s Hollywood’s fault. How can children tell the difference between fantasy and reality when they’ve been baptized in violent movies, television and single-shooter videogames? Why not blame God?

These were the questions in 1999 when two teen gunmen at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killed 13 people and themselves in the massacre that set the standard for soul-searching media frenzies in postmodern America.All the questions asked about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are now being asked about Adam Lanza after he gunned down 20 first-graders and six employees at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., before taking his life….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Advent, Children, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology, Violence

(TEC Conn. Bishop) Ian Douglas–Religious Questions From Sandy Hook: How Do We Make Sense Of This?

Pulling into the filling station on my way to Newtown in the early afternoon last Friday, the woman at the gas pump next to me asked: “How do we make sense of all of this?” She was a young mother, with tears in her eyes, on her way to our local elementary school to collect her children. She noticed my clerical collar and felt free to engage me about the horror and tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

My response to the young mother’s question was that there was no way we could make sense of what had happened. No explanation or rationale could assuage our shock, pain and grief. As a religious leader, I knew that my job was not to try and make sense of what had happened. Rather my job was to be there, simply be there, with those who had lost loved ones in the terrible rampage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theodicy, Theology, Violence

(ENS) TEC Presiding Bishop to visit American Navy personnel in Italy, to preach in Jerusalem

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

(NY Times) Children Can Usually Recover From Emotional Trauma

For young people exposed to gun trauma ”” like the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. ”” the road to recovery can be long and torturous, marked by anxiety, nightmares, school trouble and even substance abuse. Witnessing lethal violence ruptures a child’s sense of security, psychiatrists say, leaving behind an array of emotional and social challenges that are not easily resolved.

But the good news is that most of these children will probably heal.

“Most kids, even of this age, are resilient,” said Dr. Glenn Saxe, chairman of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. “The data shows that the majority of people after a trauma, including a school assault, will end up doing O.K.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Health & Medicine, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Stress, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department–A Husband and Wife Texting Tale

A Woman texts her husband on a frosty winter’s morning. “Windows frozen!”

Her husband texts back, “Pour lukewarm water over it.”

Five minutes later comes her reply. “Computer completely messed up now”

–Reader’s Digest, January 2013 edition, page 13

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology

Reminder of a quote from the Bishop of Missouri's 2012 Diocesan Convention Address

There was a time, early in my episcopate, when it looked like the choice was either inclusion or communion. It looked binary, with no gradations between these two poles, and it looked as if it might be that way for a long time. The season after General Convention in 2003 was fractious, to say the least. Now, however, it looks like both inclusion and communion are available to us, at least provisionally. There are still issues of maintaining unity, both in our common life in this Diocese and in the lives of many of our congregations. I know this. And we must keep an eye on the horizon of the Anglican Communion.

But things are also changing, and changing much more quickly than I could have imagined. In the eighteen months following General Convention in 2003, for example, issues of human sexuality took over my life. Letters, phone calls, meetings, and email. Oh my the email. After Mary Glasspool’s election and consent to become bishop suffragan in Los Angeles in 2010, only seven years later, I got exactly one email. One. No one even took the trouble to ask me if I gave consent, or not. Something had shifted.

Read it all if you did not last time.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after thee, and in an affectionate walking with thee, every day of our lives; that when thou comest, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God for ever and ever.

–Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sad’ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

–Matthew 3:1-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church of Uganda) Stanley Ntagali Enthroned as 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

Via email–KSH.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali was enthroned as the 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda on Sunday, 16th December, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe.

More than 3,000 people attended the colourful ceremony, including His Excellency the President, political leaders, business leaders, and all the Bishops of the Church of Uganda.

Ten Archbishops (Primates) from other Provinces in the Anglican Communion were also present ”“ Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan, Kenya, Indian Ocean, Nigeria, Jerusalem and the Middle East, England, Scotland, and North America ”“ along with other Bishops from Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Australia, United States of America, and England.

The President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, attended the function and addressed the gathering, urging the Church to increase their ministry to young people and to guide the youth in moral, upright, and productive living.
The Most Rev. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York and a Ugandan by birth, represented the Archbishop of Canterbury and read a letter of greeting and congratulations from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The preacher for the service was the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America. Preaching from Philippians 2:5-8 and John 21:18, Archbishop Duncan addressed two vocations for the Church of Uganda and the new Archbishop.

Archbishop Duncan cited Paul’s invitation to “have the mind of Christ,” and noted “God has especially called you [Church of Uganda] to the humility ”“ the servanthood ”“ of the East African Revival. You know, better than most Christians that you are sinners saved by grace.”

Referencing John 21:18, Archbishop Duncan spoke directly to the new Primate and his wife about their calling in this new stage of ministry. “Becoming Archbishop means going where you do not plan to go. You are to have the mind of Christ in a very new way. The Lord Jesus is speaking to you as He spoke to Peter. You Stanley, and Mama, are to die and to live. Many days you will be carried where you do not want to go. You will be Christ’s servant more than ever now, as you seek to serve Him by being the servant of the servants of God.”

The enthronement service combined the singing of traditional Anglican hymns with spontaneous outbreaks of Tukutendereza, the traditional hymn of the East African Revival.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, retiring Archbishop, handed over the Provincial Staff to Archbishop Ntagali, thus symbolizing the transfer of spiritual authority from one Archbishop to another. The congregation broke out into spontaneous and extended applause, showing their love and affection for both Archbishops.

Archbishop Ntagali was then seated in the Primatial Chair at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, and greeted by every Bishop of the Church of Uganda and all visiting Archbishops and Bishops.

In his Charge, the new Archbishop pledged to finish the construction of Church House and ensure that it generates income for the Church’s wider ministry. He identified support for Uganda Christian University, Theological Education, youth and children’s ministry, GAFCON, and HIV/AIDS ministry as priorities.

The Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali was elected the 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda during a meeting of the House of Bishops on 22nd June. Bishop Ntagali was consecrated in December 2004 as the first Bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese.

The retiring Archbishop, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, announced his early retirement in January 2012. Enthroned as Archbishop in January 2004, he served nine out of a possible ten years.

Archbishop Orombi’s tenure as Archbishop was marked by extensive travels and preaching around the country, a commitment to youth ministry, and the construction of Church House, a commercial building on Kampala Road.

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

One South Carolina Rector writes his Parish about Recent Events and Questions about them

The decision by the Diocese of South Carolina to leave the The Episcopal Church (TEC) and St. Paul’s Summerville’s leadership’s decision to remain with the Diocese has and will impact all of us but some more than others. Many of the St. Paul’s family are at peace with the decision to leave TEC, but others are hurt, disappointed or angry. For the latter, questions have arisen about their relationship to their St. Paul’s family. Will I be welcomed at St. Paul’s as an Episcopalian who does not want to remain with the Diocese of South Carolina? Can I still worship at St. Paul’s? Can I serve on teams and committees of St. Paul’s? Can I remain part of my St. Paul’s family and be a member of TEC, not the Diocese of South Carolina?
The answer to these four questions is yes, yes, yes and yes … absolutely! St. Paul’s Summerville is a member church of the Diocese. Thus, we no longer belong to TEC, but an individual may transfer their membership to an Episcopal Church while worshipping and exercising a ministry from St. Paul’s as long as the rector of an Episcopal Church agrees to accept the Letter of Transfer. Or, one may leave one’s membership here at St. Paul’s, the letter of the law; but acknowledge to others, in the spirit of the law, you are an Episcopalian.

Since 1707, first on the banks of the Stono River, then at Ravenel and finally settling permanently here in Summerville in 1823, St. Paul’s has been home for generations of families while welcoming guests and strangers and inviting them to also make this their spiritual home. Institutionally, we were first, Church of England; then, The Episcopal Church; and now we are an extra-provincial Diocese* of the world-wide Anglican Communion. Through the 300 years of our existence these have been our institutional markers; secondary, though, to our foremost identity. And what is our foremost identity? We are first and foremost simply members of the One Body of Christ, and our spiritual home is this local community called St. Paul’s Summerville.

Therefore, if St. Paul’s is your home, then may it continue to be your home! I am blessed and delighted that you will worship with us and minister alongside of us, all in the name of Jesus, regardless of one’s institutional identification. And, if the Lord has called you out of St. Paul’s to a new spiritual home at this juncture, then may the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

In Christ’s love,

–(The Rev.) Mike Lumpkin is rector, St. Paul’s Summerville, S.C.

There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope
when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6

* Extra-provincial means an autonomous diocese without an affiliation to an Anglican province. This will be a temporary status for the Diocese of South Carolina.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry