Daily Archives: April 23, 2013

(Jewish Journal) David Suissa–It is time we stop walking on eggshells with Islam

If you ask me, I think it’s time we stop walking on eggshells with Islam.

It’s not healthy. This notion that any critique of Islam equates to Islamophobia is absurd and patronizing. It says to Muslims: “We criticize Judaism and Christianity because we think they can handle it, but we don’t think you can.” That’s insulting to Islam and to Muslims.

Every religion needs a good dose of criticism. That’s how they improve and become more human. That’s how they shed their outdated and immoral layers, like slavery and oppression of women. Where would Judaism be today without the centuries of relentless self-reflection and self-criticism that goes on to this day?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

Israel Says Syria Has Used Chemical Weapons

Israel’s senior military intelligence analyst said Tuesday that the Syrian government had repeatedly used chemical weapons in the last month, and criticized the international community for failing to respond, intensifying pressure on the Obama administration to intervene.

“The regime has increasingly used chemical weapons,” said Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, research commander in the intelligence directorate of the Israeli Defense Forces, echoing a recent finding by Britain and France. “The very fact that they have used chemical weapons without any appropriate reaction,” he added, “is a very worrying development, because it might signal that this is legitimate.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Syria

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–The Boston Bombings and the Lamb Upon the Throne (Revelation 7:9-17)

Listen here if you wish.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Terrorism, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Rick Warren to discuss son's death on Ed Stetzer's webcast Today

Pastor Rick Warren will join Ed Stetzer on his webshow, “The Exchange,” Tuesday afternoon to talk about his 27-year-old son’s suicide earlier this month.

Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, will host The Exchange live from the Exponential church planting conference in Orlando, Fla., where Warren had been scheduled to lead two Bible studies.

Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif., agreed to an interview with Stetzer about what pastors need to know about grief in their congregations, how his son’s death has changed him and what church leaders can do to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

'How do we fix this mess?' Archbishop Justin Welby on restoring trust and confidence after the crash

Culture change in financial services will not be achieved by “light touch” or “heavy touch” regulation, Archbishop Justin said at a Westminster discussion organised by the Bible Society.

Instead the banking sector must adopt “an aim of service to society and not mere rent-seeking, and a culture of virtue based in the realities of daily life and not a fantasy nirvana,” he said.

Describing what this change of culture might look like, the Archbishop said it would require “a ruthless honesty and a deep willingness to be made very uncomfortable indeed through listening to things one does not want to hear”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, European Central Bank, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Pope Francis's homily on the feast of St George–“..not possible to find Jesus outside the Church"

…some in Jerusalem, when they heard this, became ‘nervous and sent Barnabas on an “apostolic visitation”: perhaps, with a little sense of humor we could say that this was the theological beginning of the Doctrine of the Faith: this apostolic visit by Barnabas. He saw, and he saw that things were going well.

And so the Church was a Mother, the Mother of more children, of many children. It became more and more of a Mother. A Mother who gives us the faith, a Mother who gives us an identity. But the Christian identity is not an identity card: Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these belonged to the Church, the Mother Church. Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: “Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Francis, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

Anglicans gather to plan new partnerships with health services

Nearly 200 church leaders and medics will gather in Birmingham, England, this week to plan new initiatives in health care. Against the backdrop of rising chronic illness in the UK, churches and Christian general medical practitioners (GPs) will outline their initiatives to reverse this trend.

Conference convener, and coordinator of the Anglican Health Network, Revd Paul Holley, said, ”˜Whilst the UK’s National Health Service delivers medical services, people’s mental and physical health depends far more on their lifestyles. Poor diets, lack of exercise and relentless stress are taking their toll. More people live alone and lack the support of intimate and community relationships to promote wellbeing’.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine

Robin van Persie’s destiny is fulfilled as United stroll into history with 20th League Title

It was a goal of such ruthless brilliance that with one swish of his left foot at 8.13pm on Monday night, Robin van Persie settled the argument once and for all for Manchester United, champions for the 20th time.

The best team in the league? Undoubtedly. The outstanding player of the season? It has to be Van Persie, having scored what will surely be the goal of the season on the way to his hat-trick last night, a strike of such breathtaking geometry that any team in the world would have been hard pushed to defend against it.

The league season is an examination of a club’s credentials over the course of 38 games but sometimes that season is distilled in the space of a few seconds. Those few seconds were those that it took for Wayne Rooney’s beautifully flighted ball from inside his own half to drop out of the air and over the shoulder of Van Persie – and then for him to drive it past Brad Guzan first time with that sublime left foot.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Sports

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Saint George

Almighty God, who didst commission thy holy martyr George to bear before the rulers of this world the banner of the cross: Strengthen us in our battles against the great serpent of sin and evil, that we too may attain the crown of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God of our fathers, who didst of old deliver thy people from the prison-house of Egypt through the paschal sacrifice: Mercifully grant that we thy new Israel, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, may be set free from the bondage of evil and serve thee henceforth in the joy and power of the resurrection; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who ever liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)

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

From the Morning Bible readings

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.

–Colossians 1:15-18

Posted in Uncategorized

Break up large bank to create regional lenders, argues Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Speaking at a Parliamentary event on “finding long-term solutions to the financial crisis”, Archbishop Welby said there needs to be a “revolution in the aims” of banks to ensure they serve society rather than “self-regarding interest” or even just shareholders.

“What we’re in at the moment isn’t a recession but some kind of depression,” he said. “It needs something very, very major to get us out of it, in the same way it took something very major to get into it.”

The Archbishop, who sat on the recent Banking Standards Commission but said his ideas were not those of the Commission, also called for professional banking standards to be introduced as a way of transforming ethical standards in banking.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(NPR) Google Executivess Talk Privacy, Security In 'The New Digital Age'

Imagine a world with machines that wash, press and dress you on the way to work and vacations via hologram visits to exotic beaches. In his new book, The New Digital Age, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt does just that ”” but it’s no gee-whiz Jetsons fantasy.

Schmidt partners up with Jared Cohen, a foreign policy counterterrorist specialist poached from the State Department now working for Google Ideas. Together they forecast a raft of new innovations and corresponding threats that will arise for dictatorships, techno revolutionaries, terrorists and you.

Cohen and Schmidt chatted with NPR’s Audie Cornish about negotiating the shifting balance between privacy and security in a rapidly changing technological landscape.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

Leon Kass: The Meaning of the Gosnell Trial

These and other appalling details of the Gosnell trial elicit reactions that might be called revulsion or disgust or horror. The word that eminent bioethicist and physician Leon Kass prefers is “repugnance.” This intense human reaction reflects a sort of deep moral intuition, he says, and it is one that deserves much more serious consideration than our too-sophisticated culture allows.

“As pain is to the body so repugnance is to the soul,” Dr. Kass says as we sit down for an interview in his book-lined office at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is the Madden-Jewett Scholar. “So too with anger and compassion. Repugnance is some kind of wake-up call that there is something untoward going on and attention must be paid. These passions are not simply irrational. They contain within them the germ of insight. You cannot give proper verbal account of the horror of evil, yet a culture that couldn’t be absolutely horrified by such things is dead.”

The observation may not sound controversial, yet Dr. Kass, who was the chairman of President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005, has often found himself in a minority among bioethicists when it comes to abortion, euthanasia, embryonic research, cloning and other right-to-life questions. Dr. Kass’s emphasis on what he calls “the wisdom of repugnance,” for example, has been assailed by liberal thinkers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Theology

(Time Magazine) [One of the] 10 Ideas That Make A Difference–Preach Like Your Faith Depends on It

This is a very sobering time for ecclesiastically minded Americans. At a steadily growing rate, more and more Americans ”” especially the young ”” claim no religious affiliation. The figure has climbed from 15% to 20% of all Americans in the past five years. Pew researchers call the trend “nones on the rise.”

In reaction, Protestants and Roman Catholics are proving that the author of the Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes had it right when he wrote that there is nothing new under the sun. In a classic attempt to turn adversity to advantage, Christian leaders who once assumed a cultural dominance (in the beginning of the baby-boom era, Christian identification among Americans was at least 91%; today it’s down to 77%) are now arguing for a double-down strategy. Rather than softening the Gospel message to make it more marketable to an America skeptical of institutions ”” a frequent reform point of view ”” what draws the real energy among the faithful is a renewed commitment to what Christians call the Great Commission, the words the resurrected Jesus spoke to his apostles at the end of Matthew: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

At the center of this strategy of unapologetic apologetics stands George Weigel, the papal biographer and prominent Catholic writer who has just published Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church, a handbook for Catholics seeking to keep the church out of the catacombs. “It’s a recovery of the basic dynamic of New Testament Christianity, but that passionate impulse to live the Great Commission and convert the world cooled during centuries when the ambient public culture helped do the church’s job,” says Weigel.

Read it all from a recent issue.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, Anthropology, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Young Adults

In The Current Economy for Too Many Part-Time Work Becomes a Full-Time Wait for a Better Job

In March, 7.6 million Americans who want more hours were stuck in part-time jobs, about the same as a year earlier and three million more than there were when the recession began at the end of 2007.

These almost invisible underemployed workers do not count toward the standard jobless rate of 7.6 percent. A broader measure, which includes the involuntary part-timers as well as people who want to work but have stopped looking, stands at 13.8 percent.

“There’s nothing inherently wrong with people taking part-time jobs if they want them,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. “The problem is that people are accepting part-time pay because they have no other choice.”

Read it all.

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