Daily Archives: April 16, 2013

(Express) Meet the real-life Vicar of Dibley: Britain's youngest priest takes up her post

As Britain’s youngest vicar you could say Jude Davis walked into the priesthood on something of a wing and a prayer.

But the real-life Vicar of Dibley is hoping her leap of faith helps bring the message of the church to a new generation of believers.

Preaching from her Doncaster Minster parish in Yorkshire, reverend Davis is finally realising a dream she has harboured since she was 17.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

A copy of the Letter the New TEC Bishop in South Carolina sent to Diocese of S.C. clergy

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, Theology

Stephen McCaskell –The Death Of New Calvinism

In those few paragraphs, John Calvin succinctly sums up election and holiness for the Christian. While there are several themes that come out of this quote and this passage, the one theme that I think springs from this text is holiness. Holiness is the consequence and evidence of our election. We are not holy to be accepted by God, but because Jesus is holy we are holy. God says, “you shall be holy, for I am holy”.

The idea of holiness is almost a peculiar doctrine for the new Reformed movement. I know many young and old in this tradition who feel no obligation to actively and passionately with their entire being, to pursue a life of holiness. They wouldn’t explicitly say this, but their lives wouldn’t reflect otherwise.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Christology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)

Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts requests prayer after the Boston Marathon explosions

A prayer service with Holy Eucharist is being planned for Tuesday, April 16 at 12:15 p.m. at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston, with Bishop Gayle E. Harris presiding (assuming downtown conditions and transit have regularized). All are welcome.

Downtown church personnel reached so far report chaos in the Back Bay area and limited mobility.

Trinity Church in Copley Square was closed today for the Marathon; Marathon runners on Trinity Church’s charity team are reported safe….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Pope Francis calls on Bostonians to "not be overcome by evil"

Pope Francis has sent his “sympathy and closeness in prayer” to the people of Boston in a telegram sent on his behalf.
The telegram reads “In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

How the American government really Spends the Tax Dollars it Currently Receives

There is a great graphic here and some comment there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Medicare, Middle Age, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Social Security, Taxes, Teens / Youth, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology, Young Adults

(Five Books) Susan Jacoby on Atheism

It is more reasonable to me, as it is to any atheist, to believe in things that are in accord with what we know are natural laws, than to believe in things that contradict them….[but] unless you’re raised atheist, people become atheists just as I did, by thinking about the same things Augustine thought about. Certainly one of the first things I thought about as a maturing child was “Why is there polio? Why are there diseases?” If there is a good God why are there these things? The answer of the religious person is “God has a plan we don’t understand.” That wasn’t enough for me. There are people who don’t know anything about science. One of the reasons I recommend Richard Dawkins’s book, The God Delusion, is that basically he explains the relationship between science and atheism. But I don’t think people are really persuaded into atheism by books or by debates or anything like that. I think people become atheists because they think about the world around them. They start to search out books because they ask questions. In general, people don’t become atheists at a late age, in their 50s. All of the atheists I know became atheists fairly early on. They became atheists in their adolescence or in their 20s because these are the ages at which you’re maturing, your brain is maturing, and you’re beginning to ask questions. If religion doesn’t do it for you, if, in fact, religion, as it does for me, contradicts any rational idea of how to live, then you become an atheist, or whatever you want to call it ”“ an agnostic, a freethinker.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Atheism, Books, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Secularism, Theology

(Washington Post) In Boston attack, a reminder of the difficulty in foiling terrorist plots

From the FBI to local police departments, law enforcement agencies have dramatically shifted their emphasis to counterterrorism over the past decade, gathering intelligence on both domestic and foreign extremist groups. The George W. Bush and Obama administrations have created an enormous global apparatus designed to track and target terrorists.

But officials have always warned that the United States cannot prevent every attempted strike on U.S. soil. In some recent plots, authorities have benefited as much from luck as investigative skill.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(WSJ) FBI Uses 'Tripwires' to Nab Bomb Makers

The powerful blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line Monday underscore why the Federal Bureau of Investigation has spent years refining its “tripwire” system for catching would-be bomb makers before they can build a deadly device.

For years, federal agents have asked businesses that sell materials useful in making bombs to alert authorities to any suspicious orders. The types of tripwires in place have shifted over the years. In the 1990s, law enforcement worried mostly about fertilizer-based bombs after such devices were used in the Oklahoma City attacks of April 1995. In the past decade, chemical-based bombs have come into focus as authorities adapt to the changing threat.

“The tripwires have certainly been successful in the past,” said Don Borelli, a former counterterrorism official at the FBI who now works for Soufan Group.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism, The U.S. Government, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Boston Globe) Two Brothers watching Boston Marathon each lose a leg

“I’d never imagined in my wildest dreams this would ­ever happen,” Norden said, sitting on a bench outside the Beth Israel Deaconess emergency room Monday night.

As she looked at her feet, with socks mismatched ­because she had dressed so quickly to leave the house, tears fell to the sidewalk.

“I feel sick,” she said. “I think I could pass out.”

She had yet to see either son, because doctors had not authorized visitors. Both are graduates of Stoneham High School and had been laid off recently from their jobs as roofers. The oldest, age 33, still lives in Stoneham, the younger in Wakefield. Both are avid fishermen.

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If you can stomach it, there are photos that are (warning–contains some graphic images including one which requires you to click on it to see {I didn’t do so]) collected there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Marriage & Family, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Blessed Lord, who didst promise thy disciples that through thy Easter victory their sorrow should be turned to joy, and their joy no man should take from them: Grant us, we pray thee, so to know thee in the power of thy resurrection, that we may be partakers of that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory; for thy holy name’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

–1 John 4:16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times Op-Ed) Ross Douthat Nails it on the Media, Balance and Bias

“Leading the conversation” is how you end up with the major Sunday shows somehow neglecting to invite a single anti-amnesty politician on a weekend dominated by the immigration debate. It’s how you end up with officially nonideological anchors and journalists lecturing social conservatives for being out of step with modern values. And it’s how you end up with a press corps that went all-in for the supposed “war on women” having to be shamed and harassed ”” by two writers in particular, Kirsten Powers in USA Today and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway of GetReligion ”” into paying attention to the grisly case of a Philadelphia doctor whose methods of late-term abortion included snipping the spines of neonates after they were delivered.

As the last example suggests, the problem here isn’t that American journalists are too quick to go on crusades. Rather, it’s that the press’s ideological blinders limit the kinds of crusades mainstream outlets are willing to entertain, and the formal commitment to neutrality encourages self-deception about what counts as crusading.

The core weakness of the mainstream media, in this sense, is less liberalism than parochialism….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Media, Politics in General, Psychology

(CT) Al Hsu–When Suicide Strikes in the Body of Christ

Each suicide leaves behind on average six to ten survivors ”“ husbands, wives, parents, children, siblings, other close friends or family members. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people, including many of our church members, will grieve the loss of a loved one to suicide.

I am one of those people. Some years ago, my father had a stroke that left him partially debilitated. Though he began rehabilitation, one of the side effects of the stroke was clinical depression. He lost all hope and eventually sank into despair. He couldn’t see any reason to go on. Three months after the stroke, at age 58, he killed himself.

Though all deaths are tragic, suicide affects us differently than when someone dies in car accident or from a terminal illness. Counselors call death by suicide a “complicated grief” or “complicated bereavement,” like death by murder or terrorist attack. Not only do family members grieve the loss of the loved one, they must also face the trauma of the suicide.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

(CSM) Tax reform: Why a kinder, simpler tax code eludes Congress, so far

To tax reform advocates, the federal tax code is a shambling behemoth, its immense girth weighing down corporations and Jane and Joe Taxpayer alike. The code is more than 4 million words long and has been tweaked 4,680 times since 2001, or more than once a day, according to the Internal Revenue Service’s National Taxpayer Advocate, whose job is to champion the poor schlubs who have to contend with the US tax system. Compliance takes more than 6 billion person-hours a year and costs $168 billion, the advocate’s office reports.

Tax expenditures ”“ the sober name for myriad loopholes, carve-outs, and incentives in the code ”“ shield almost as much in revenue, at just over $1 trillion, as the $1.4 trillion collected each year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology

(UMNS) Praying for those affected by Boston explosions

We are truly saddened by the news that just came regarding the explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Along with you I grieve for those that lost their lives and their families, and for those injured in this tragic event. In moments like this, we do not know what to say or how to say it, but will you join me in the prayer of the psalmist, “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” (Ps.46:1).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Douglas Groothuis reviews William Edgar's new book "Schaeffer on the Christian Life"

Schaeffer’s view of the Christian life was comprehensive, and this was an inspiration to so many of us. But this approach isn’t simple to summarize, for Schaeffer resisted formulas and mechanistic approaches to ministry. Schaeffer often spoke of the lordship of Christ over all of life (as in the beginning of Art and the Bible) and how the Christian system or worldview uniquely makes sense of the cosmos, history, culture, and humanity. Another point of my autobiography (if I may) makes this point. As a young Christian in 1976, I happened upon The God Who Is There in the University of Oregon bookstore. I devoured it, though I didn’t understand all of it. Nevertheless, that small book, given its breadth and depth of theology, apologetics, cultural analysis, and sense of ministry, summoned me to a courageous and intellectually active Christian life. As a believer, I need not fear the wide world of culture and ideas.

As I later read the entire Schaeffer corpus, his overall vision became part of my Christian life, however poorly practiced. Schaeffer integrated his thinking; one couldn’t separate, for example, True Spirituality from Escape from Reason. It was of a whole. Edgar has now done the church a marvelous service by summarizing Schaeffer’s thought under the category of “the Christian life.” This is exactly the right rubric.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(National Post) Attendance at religious services lowers risk of depression, study finds

A major new study that tracked more than 12,000 Canadians over a period of 14 years has found that regular attendance of religious service offers significant protection against depression.

In an article published in the April issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Saskatchewan write that incidence of clinical depression was 22% lower among those who attended religious services at least once a month compared with people who never attended.

“Significantly fewer monthly attenders reported having episodes or a diagnosis of depression,” the authors write. “This ”¦ suggests a protective effect of religious attendance.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(Lancaster Telegraph) Church leaders agree to Yorkshire parishes joining Blackburn

Church leaders have voted to receive nine ”˜Yorkshire’ parishes into Blackburn Diocese.

Plans have been drawn up for a new ”˜super-diocese’ for West Yorkshire, which left the future of 13 parishes in the Craven Archdeaconry, located in Lancashire, up in the air.

The parishes of Barnoldswick, Bracewell, Earby and Kelbrook are set to remain on the White Rose side of the boundary and will form part of a new Ripon episcopal area.

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