Monthly Archives: January 2013

Stephen Stacey–Sadly, in Redefining Marriage, the UK Mandates Social Decline Into Law

Though same-sex activists would like the debate about the redefining of marriage to be about equal rights for adults, it is not. There are three different parties to the discussion, not just two.

The core of the discussion about redefining marriage is primarily about whether society needs a social space where the child’s natural right and desire to be raised by its two, biological parents is upheld.

Any sensible debate has to admit that children have rights too. They are naturally born wanting to be loved by the two opposite-sex people who gave them life. Also, children, on average, have the best start in life when raised by their two, biological parents. No amount of social engineering can change this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Seychelles: Province Appeals for Communion Help After Seychelles Storms

Members of the Anglican Communion have been asked to provide prayer and financial support for the Diocese of Seychelles which has been badly hit by flooding due to recent extreme weather.

The Primate and Bishop of Mauritius, Archbishop Ian Ernest, has written to supporters to raise awareness of the crisis–which appears to have been largely ignored by global media–and to ask for assistance.

“Following the natural calamity which has hit the Seychelles in the past days, I am sad to inform you that the country and the diocese have suffered heavy losses from the floods,” he wrote. “Church buildings and other important structures have been destroyed. However we give thanks to the Lord as there has been no loss of life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(ACLJ) Free Saeed Abedini: Time for a Unified National and International Response

Our government is coalescing around Pastor Saeed, but it is still moving too slow and engaging at too low a level. Two weeks ago 49 Members of Congress (37 from the House and 12 Senators) sent letters to the State Department urging “strong and sustained” advocacy on Saeed’s behalf. On Friday we reported that the State Department and White House made near-identical comments within moments of each other that clearly and unequivocally called for Pastor Saeed’s release.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church/State Matters, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Iran, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Russia concern at Israeli 'air strike' on Syria

Russia has expressed concern at an alleged Israeli attack on Syria, saying such a strike would be an unacceptable violation of the UN Charter.

Syria’s army said Israeli jets had targeted a military research centre north-west of Damascus on Wednesday.

It denied reports that lorries carrying weapons bound for Lebanon were hit.

Russia has steadfastly refused to denounce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the 22-month conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General, Russia, Syria

(CEN) Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams prepare for round 2

Rowan Williams and Richard Dawkins are to go head to head again in debate. Last year the two debated religion and science in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre, now they are to debate the place of reli- gion in the modern world at the Cambridge Union.

About 1,000 students are expect- ed to attend a debate in which Tariq Ramadan, Andrew Copson of the British Humanist Association, and Douglas Murray, founder of the Centre for Social Cohesion, will also take part.

The debate will be filmed and be available on the Union website soon after it has taken place.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Apologetics, Archbishop of Canterbury, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Television Recommendation–Call The Midwife

Elizabeth and I finally got to this and it was simply lovely in every sense. Touching, moving, well acted and produced–it has all the hallmarks of a true story, based as it is on the diaries of one who worked as a midwife as it is–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine, History, Movies & Television, Women

Israeli Secularists Appear to Find Their Voice

Speaking to a group of ultra-Orthodox men shortly before he officially entered politics, Yair Lapid, a proudly secular talk-show host, declared that in a century-long competition to define Israel’s character, “we lost and you won.”

“Not only in terms of numbers,” Mr. Lapid said in late 2011 at a college for religious students, but also in politics “and as a consumer force and in the streets and in the culture and in the educational system ”” you won in all these places.”

Now, Mr. Lapid’s stunning success in last week’s election, in which his new Yesh Atid became Israel’s second largest party, is being viewed by many voters, activists and analysts here as a victory for the secular mainstream in the intensifying identity battle gripping the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) The U.S. Recovery Shows a Soft Spot as 4th Quarter 2012 GDP comes in Negative

The U.S. economy shrank for the first time in more than three years in the fourth quarter, underscoring the halting nature of the recovery. But the strength of consumer spending and business investment suggested that the economy will grow, albeit slowly, this year.

Gross domestic product””the broadest measure of goods and services churned out by the economy””fell at a 0.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the government’s initial estimate out Wednesday.

The details weren’t as discouraging as the headline. The drop, a surprise, was driven by a sharp fall in government spending and by businesses putting fewer goods on warehouse shelves, as well as by a decline in exports. The mainstays of the domestic private economy””housing, consumer spending and business investment in equipment and software””were stronger.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, The U.S. Government

Justin and Caroline Welby at the Trent Vineyard, an interview hosted by John Mumford

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

([London] Times) Justin Welby: my application for Canterbury was a joke

The new Archbishop of Canterbury has revealed that he regarded his application for the job as a “joke”. He described how he was ordered by the Church of England to apply after just seven months as Bishop of Durham even though he thought it ridiculous.

Speaking in an interview at Trent Vineyard, an evangelical church near Nottingham, Justin Welby said that he had been “told”, as one of the top five diocesan bishops, to apply. But he did not take the prospect seriously.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

(Zenit) Daniel Vázquez–Is the Pope Too Exposed on Twitter?

The arrival of the Pope on Twitter has generated all types of reactions. The fact that the Pope has become a user of the second largest social network on the Internet has become the subject of much discussion. Everyone has an opinion about what this development means. Some interpret it as a desire to become more “modern,” to bring the Vatican “up to date,” and in doing so, improve the Pope’s image and, by extension, that of the Church. This is an easy interpretation, albeit rather superficial, and one that is quite far from grasping the depth and scope of this initiative.

Several of the messages that the Holy Father has delivered for the most recent World Communications Days have provided the keys for more substantial interpretation. In these one can see how the Church has admirably understood that fact that the Internet is not only an instrument for communication, but rather, it is above all an area, a place where people meet and develop relationships.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer for the [Provisional] Feast Day of Samuel Shoemaker

Holy God, we offer thanks for the vision of Samuel Shoemaker, priest and co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous; and we pray that we may follow his example to help others find salvation through knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Preserve us, O Lord, from the spirit of revenge. Give us, we beseech thee, the generous heart; that, if our enemy hunger, we may feed him, if he thirst, may give him drink; that we be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good; as servants of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Thus Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith.

–Galatians 3:6-9

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Do Not Try this at Home Dept.–Garrett McNamara 'surfs record 100ft wave' in Portugal

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Portugal, Sports

David Cameron in Algeria: PM urges terrorism fight with 'everything at our disposal'

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the international community should use “everything at its disposal” to fight terrorism, on a visit to Algeria.

The recent hostage crisis, in which some 37 foreigners died, was “a reminder that what happens in other countries affects us at home”, he said.

He also defended Western intervention in the conflict in neighbouring Mali.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Algeria, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Terrorism, Violence

(ACNS) "Urgent action will prevent more flood suffering" – Mozambique bishop

A bishop in flood-hit Mozambique has warned of greater suffering if the flooding disaster that has displaced around 70,000 people is not properly addressed.

Bishop of Lebombo Diocese in southern Mozambique, the Rt Revd Dinis Salomão Sengulane said in a recent statement sent to supporters, “The situation is dramatic and it calls for our response if we are to avoid more damages to the lives of people”.

The bishop’s plea comes after devastating floods hit Mozambique following severe rains in southern Africa during the past two weeks.

The United Nations reports that at least 36 people have died and nearly 70,000 have been displaced because of flooding in the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Mozambique, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

Leaders of R. Catholic and Episcopal churches in central Pennsylvania differ on same sex marriage

The heads of the Catholic and Episcopal churches in south central Pennsylvania on Wednesday struck contrasting reactions to findings of a poll that shows voters would be in favor of approving gay marriage legislation.

The Rev. Joseph McFadden, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, decried the narrow favoring for gay marriage, while the Rev. Nathan Baxter, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania welcomed it as good news.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that Pennsylvanians narrowly favor gay marriage — 47 percent of voters indicating they would approve gay marriage, and 43 percent opposing it. The poll found greater disparities along religious lines.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, State Government, TEC Bishops, Theology

TEC Bishop Dan Edwards of Nevada–on Prayer and learning the Importance of Relationships

Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone is about the decline of community in our culture. Bill Bishop’s The Big Sort is about the division of communities into little clusters of like-minded people, what Robert Bellah calls “special interest enclaves.” No wonder we listen to Garrison Keillor’s stories of Lake Woebegone with a kind of longing. We miss human community and it isn’t just nostalgia. Human community is an incarnate expression of the unity and diversity of God, of Reality itself, represented theologically by the Trinity. To fracture into a society of scattered individuals is to lose touch with our authentic human nature, the nature of God, and the imago dei.

So for me prayer these days is about connection. It’s about caring for the well being of my “poor earthbound companions and fellow mortals.” It’s nothing to write home about. But my longing for human bonds of affection is laced with hope.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops, Theology

(ACNS) WCC assembly, an opportunity for praying, listening and sharing

“The World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly will be an opportunity for praying, listening and sharing together. The event will provide participants a chance to listen for the voice of God, leading them to justice and peace in the world.”

These were the words of Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the WCC general secretary, who spoke with the press in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 29 January.

Along with Prof. Dr Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, vice-moderator of the WCC Central Committee and moderator of the assembly planning committee, Rev. Dr Henriette Hutabarat Lebang, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, and WCC staff members, Tveit is in Seoul finalizing plans for the WCC assembly.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Globalization, Theology

(RNS) Pope Benedict XVI says lack of ”˜faith’ could be used in marriage annulments

According to Miguel Angel Ortiz, a professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Benedict wasn’t so much addressing the specific issue of remarried divorcees but addressing the relation between the spouses’ personal faith and the validity of marriage, including its commitment to fidelity.

In a 2005 question-and-answer session with priests, the pope said he once believed that lack of faith was enough to declare a marriage invalid. But, after tasking theologians to look into the issue, he had “understood that the problem was very difficult” and required further study.

At the time, Benedict said it was “particularly sad” to see people marry in the church out of tradition instead of a faith commitment only to subsequently find faith and remarry.

For Ortiz, the pope’s reflection could “speed up the process of declaring a marriage invalid” without changing the substance of the process itself.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Elesha Coffman reviews the new Video Series People of Faith: Christianity in America

One scholar says it’s impossible to understand American history without an understanding of the nation’s Christian history. Another suggests that it can lead to church renewal. A third says it helps us interpret Scripture, shape our mission, and appreciate God’s grace. People of Faith serves most of these needs well.

The series””produced by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College (Illinois), with support from the Lilly Endowment””shows Christians engaged in public life during the European settlement, the founding of the nation, the Civil War, the 19th-century social reform movements, and the civil rights movement. Christian activity is portrayed as predominantly positive, though not entirely so. For example, the series points out that Christians made arguments both for and against slavery, and that Prohibition began as a public health crusade against a devastating social problem but quickly turned punitive and counterproductive. Subjects that Christians got mostly wrong, notably the treatment of Native Americans, are touched on lightly, if at all.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, America/U.S.A., Church History, Education, Evangelicals, History, Media, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Sarah Coakley–Women bishops and the collapse of Anglican theology

In our supposedly “secular” culture, the Church of England seems to have succumbed to the idea that theological ideas do not matter very much, and this may bespeak a deeper malaise even than the current crisis itself. Young people are turning back to the Church, longing for spiritual and intellectual bread; by and large stones await them, even despite a most promising new generation of young priest-scholars (women and men) who are beginning to rise through the ecclesial ranks. Perhaps in a generation things will be different.

But for the moment the Church has in effect signed its own theological death warrant. At the end of this summer, amid a new storm of fury about a confused conservative amendment to the Measure (astonishingly backed by both Archbishops to placate the defectors), I was invited to address the House of Bishops on “the theology of women bishops.” I made the following three points, and stand by them:

we cannot compromise on the historic theology of the bishop as locus of unity;
we must return afresh to our distinctively Anglican notions of reason and tradition to solve this crisis, not lapse into rational incoherence; and
we must resist in the Church the supervenience of bureaucratic thinking (with all its busy political pragmatism) over theological and spiritual seriousness.

I offer here just a brief further expansion on each of these points.

Read it all.

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

In Southern Ontario, St. Alban’s Anglican Church is on the brink of closure

The small but mighty congregation at Nobleton’s St. Alban’s Anglican Church is on the brink of losing their church due to steadily declining numbers.

Rev. Sheilagh Ashworth, of the Anglican Parish of Lloydtown (St. Alban’s, Christ Church, Kettleby and St. Mary Magdalene, Schomberg) said the church has been “on the edge for a long time,” and the future of the church has been “dodgy” for more than a decade.

While in a difficult situation, they have until the end of May to turn things around.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North &Central America on the Right to Life 40 years Later

The Holy Orthodox Christian Faith is unabashedly pro-life. The Lord Jesus Christ was recognized and worshipped in His mother’s womb while yet unborn by the Holy Forerunner who was also still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44); St. Basil the Great (4th Century), one of the universal teachers of the faith, dared to call murderers those who terminate the life of the fetus. The Church has consistently held that children developing in the womb should be afforded every protection given to those outside the womb. There is no moral, religious or scientific rationale which can justify making a distinction between the humanity of the newly-conceived and that of the newly-born.

Abortion on demand not only ends the life of a child, but also injures the mother of that child, often resulting in spiritual, psychological and physical harm. Christians should bring the comfort of the Gospel to women who have had abortions, that our loving God may heal them. The Orthodox Church calls on her children, and indeed all of society, to provide help to pregnant mothers who need assistance brining their children safely into the world and providing these children loving homes.

On the occasion of this sorrowful anniversary, and as we mourn the violence we all too often visit upon one another, as exemplified by the recent mass killings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, we pray for an end to the violence of abortion. Surely the many ways in which we as a people diminish the reverence and respect for human life underlie much of this violence. The disrespect for human life in the womb is no small part of this. Let us offer to Almighty God our repentance for the evil of abortion on demand and extend our hearts and hands to embrace life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Violence

Popular daycare faces eviction after Tennessee Episcopal Diocese's legal fight

A longtime Nashville daycare operation is being evicted, leaving dozens of families in the lurch, after it found itself caught in the middle of a brutal legal battle over the role of sexuality in the Episcopal Church.

The fight over sexuality and the Bible seemed like a legal disagreement between the Diocese of Tennessee and St. Andrew’s Parish, but the innocent victim in all this is the daycare that sits on church property in Green Hills.

Cooperative Child Care has had a successful model – no scandals, no issues and 30 years of quality service – but now it has been given six months to get out.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Tennessee

A Month After Episcopal Church Closure in Avon, Connecticut, a Community Conversation is Scheduled

After the closure of Christ Episcopal Church in Avon, the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut is beginning the process of deciding what to do with the property.

And that all starts with a community conversation Wednesday night.

“The purpose of tomorrow night’s meeting is not to decide what to do with the church at all,” Audrey Scanlan, the state diocese’s canon for mission collaboration, said Tuesday morning. “The purpose of tomorrow night’s meeting is to have a conversation about Avon.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(Reuters) Syria "breaking up before everyone's eyes:" envoy tells U.N.

U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi warned the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be able to cling to power for now but the country is “breaking up before everyone’s eyes,” diplomats told Reuters.

Brahimi appealed to the 15-nation council to overcome its deadlock and take action to help put an end to the Syrian civil war. However, it was not clear whether his latest report, which diplomats said was his bleakest since his appointment last year, would persuade Russia to agree to support concrete U.N. steps to try to halt the bloodshed.

Read it all and please join me in praying for the situation in Syria.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Middle East, Syria

Collin Hansen–The Mirage and Marriage

How closely does your Facebook profile resemble your actual life? If we only knew you from a Twitter feed, would you think we really understood your hopes and dreams, your joys and fears? Facebook may ask what you’re feeling, but the rest of us don’t really care. We can’t even keep up with the drama in our families, among our closest friends. How can we handle the momentary peaks and valleys of hundreds, even thousands of friends? So we outline an online persona in black and white and only color in the parts we feel safe to expose. You only know I’m sick if I can find a witty way to tell you. You only find out I’m in despair if I can link the encouraging Bible verse God tossed me as a life raft.

You can fool anyone online for a while. Are you really surprised Te’o fell for the ruse? It’s a small jump from crafting your online profile to inventing an entirely fake persona. Imagine the myth you could perpetuate when you’re not even bound by the confines of all three dimensions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

Metro Talks to David Attenborough

But you don’t believe the dear Lord created it anyway, do you? Hasn’t that got you into trouble with the people who don’t believe in evolution? Not in this country. You get letters but it’s a very easy thing to answer. Someone says: ”˜I believe a God of infinite mercy created every single species and the Lord looks after us and all the animals.’ Well, what about that little African boy, five years old, sitting on the banks of a river, and he’s got a worm in his eye that’s going to turn him blind in three years? Did this God that you talk about actually design this worm and say: ”˜I’ll put it in this boy’s eye?’ To suggest that God specifically created a worm to torture small African children is blasphemy as far as I can see. The Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t believe that.

He’s supposed to believe it, though, isn’t he? Absolutely not! If you said to the Archbishop of Canterbury: ”˜Are you really telling me that God got some mud, blew in it and made a man and when that man said: “I haven’t got a friend”, he took out one of his ribs, rubbed it in his hands and went “boom, boom”?’ [Rowan] Williams [the last Archbishop of Canterbury] is a highly civilised, educated man. He wouldn’t for a microsecond be so silly as to believe that. But it does put him in an intolerable position.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Animals, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Religion & Culture