Daily Archives: May 1, 2013

Paul Johnson reviews 'C.S. Lewis: A Life', by Alister McGrath

It was left to Cambridge to right the [Oxford] injustice, and in the early Fifties to bestow a newly created chair. In the meantime, Lewis, like his colleague Tolkien, had created a series of imaginative stories. The Chronicles of Narnia were works of keen imagination, appealing alike to many children and perceptive adults. They echoed the incarnation of Christ, his death and resurrection, and have enjoyed a mass-revival in the United States in recent years, where they have been responsible for creating a new kind of Christianity: what might be called educated evangelicalism. This is a remarkable and valuable phenomenon, and gives Lewis a high rank among writers on religion, alongside Wesley and Newman.

He deserves his lasting appeal, and for three reasons. First he was immensely well- read, delving into every corner of English literature with intelligence and sympathy, and squeezing from it moral qualities which had been hitherto unsuspected in many works. Second, he had an enviable clarity, so that his meaning, even when making rarefied distinctions, always leaps from the page. Thirdly, he had excellent judgment in both literature and theology, and combined them both in fascinating books which never condescend and are always a pleasure to read. Alister McGrath gives us much food for thought in this dutiful, sound and worthy book.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Books, Church History, Church of England (CoE), History, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Theology

From the Morning Bible Readings

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

–Hebrews 9:11-14

Posted in Uncategorized

(NPR) For A Black Doctor, Building Trust By Slowing Down

While [Dr. Gregory] McGriff says he is forced to do things most other doctors wouldn’t necessarily do, he also notes that the disparity ”” while seeming unfair ”” has served up a bit of sweet irony: It has helped make him a better doctor. At a time when cost-cutting and understaffing place pressure on physicians to move swiftly through their rounds, McGriff adopted a bedside manner to earn a patient’s trust that has now become his signature at Rutherford Regional hospital.

“I make a point to do something that many of my partners don’t do ”” most physicians don’t do anymore. I sit,” McGriff says. “I sit in the room, and I ask the patient to tell me their story. I’m really interested in these stories, by the way, and every client I meet has a very interesting story.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, History, Race/Race Relations, Rural/Town Life

An RNS Story on the Pew Muslim Survey–U.S. Muslims more moderate than Muslims worldwide

Muslims in America are much less inclined to support suicide bombing than other Muslims abroad, and are more likely to believe that people of other faiths can attain eternal life in heaven, according to a new report released Tuesday (April 30) by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

“The World’s Muslims” report looks at Muslim views across seven categories: Islamic law; religion and politics; morality; women; relations among Muslims; interfaith relations; and religion, science, and pop culture. There is also a special section on U.S. Muslims.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A New Pew Research Center survey–The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society

The percentage of Muslims who say they want sharia to be “the official law of the land” varies widely around the world, from fewer than one-in-ten in Azerbaijan (8%) to near unanimity in Afghanistan (99%). But solid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favor the establishment of sharia, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.

At the same time, the survey finds that even in many countries where there is strong backing for sharia, most Muslims favor religious freedom for people of other faiths. In Pakistan, for example, three-quarters of Muslims say that non-Muslims are very free to practice their religion, and fully 96% of those who share this assessment say it is “a good thing.” Yet 84% of Pakistani Muslims favor enshrining sharia as official law. These seemingly divergent views are possible partly because most supporters of sharia in Pakistan ”“ as in many other countries ”“ think Islamic law should apply only to Muslims. Moreover, Muslims around the globe have differing understandings of what sharia means in practice.

Read it all and all the links to the full report are by chapter on the right hand side.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Vatican Radio) Anglican-Catholic Commission meets in Brazil

Anglican-Catholic dialogue is back on the agenda this week as a team of ecumenical experts from both sides meet in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro from April 30th to May 6th.
This 3rd meeting of the current Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission will continue its work on the relationship between local and universal Church, as well as the way in which both communities respond to the most pressing ethical issues of our time.

To find out more about the meeting, Philippa Hitchen talked to Mgr Mark Langham from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity who serves as Catholic co-secretary of ARCIC III”¦..
She also spoke, during the recent enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, to an Anglican member of ARCIC III, Bishop Christopher Hill who chairs the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity. He told her that Pope Francis’ emphasis on his role as the Bishop of Rome is extremely encouraging for the whole ecumenical endeavor”¦

Listen to it all (about 8 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Brazil, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, South America

Hamilton-based Anglican bishop suing Oakville blogger

The Bishop of Niagara is suing a blogger over online material he claims was fashioned to hold the spiritual leader of 25,000 Anglicans up to ridicule and contempt.

The defamation lawsuit claims that Michael Bird, Hamilton-based bishop for the 90 parishes in the diocese, which includes Hamilton, has been pilloried on the blog as a weak, ineffectual leader, portrayed as a thief, described as having a sexual fetish and labelled an atheist.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Canada, Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Germany will think twice before saving France next time

In the thirty or so years that I have been following EU affairs ”“ or is it nearer 35 years now since I studied in French literature in Paris, and German philosophy in Mainz ”“ I have never seen ties between Europe’s two great land states reduced so low.

The French Socialist Party crossed a line by lashing out at Chancellor Angela Merkel in person. It is one thing to protest “German austerity”, it is quite another to rebuke the “selfish intransigence of Mrs Merkel, who thinks of nothing but the deposits of German savers, the trade balance recorded by Berlin and her electoral future”.

There is no justification for such an ad hominem attack. German policy is indeed destructive, but that is structural. It is built into the mechanisms of EMU and the anthropological make-up of the enterprise.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, City Government, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, History, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Baseball and Religion [on the new book by John Sexton]

[BOB] FAW: Now the former law school dean and distinguished legal scholar has written a most unusual book: “Baseball as a Road to God.” That’s right, baseball.

[John] SEXTON: The similarities between baseball and religion abound. The ballpark as cathedral; saints and sinners; the curses and blessings. But then what I’m arguing is beyond that surface level, there’s a fundamental similarity between baseball and religion which goes to the capacity of baseball to cause human beings, in a context they don’t think of as religious, to break the plane of ordinary existence into the plane of extraordinary existence.

FAW: John Sexton says that what happens here is more than just a game””that it reveals a dimension beyond the eyes and mind letting us, in his words, “see through to another, sacred space”””what John Sexton calls “the ineffable.”

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Sports, Theology

Bishop Alan Wilson–It’s time for the Church of England to drop the culture wars

Almost three thousand years ago the Prophet Amos asked ”˜can two walk together except they be agreed?’ How can the Church of England, pragmatic and volunteer-led but with complex legal and cultural structures, stay meshed with its culturally incompatible overseas churches? What is its future?

Theo Hobson argues in this week’s Spectator that the C of E needs to find a third way in order to survive, affirming gay partnerships whilst simultaneously rejecting equal marriage.

Can this be done? If the deadlock Hobson describes arose from a frail incoherent compromise, Some Issues in Human Sexuality, how can more hand-wringing duplicity solve it?

The world has moved radically on since 1991….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Theo Hobson–The Church of England needs a compromise on same-sex marriage. Here it is.

It is a wearyingly obvious observation, but the Church of England remains crippled by the gay crisis. It is locked in disastrous self-opposition, alienated from its largely liberal nature. Maybe the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has a secret plan that will break the deadlock: there is no sign of it yet. The advent of gay marriage has made the situation look even more hopeless. It entrenches the church in its official conservatism, and it further radicalises the liberals. A few weeks ago the church issued a report clarifying its opposition to gay marriage, in which it ruled out the blessing of gay partnerships. This was not a hopeful move: it ought to be keeping these issues separate.

The ending of the turbulent Williams era is an opportunity to take stock, rethink, take a step back. What we see is that, for more than 20 years, the church has tried and failed to reform its line on homosexuality; and this failure has been amazingly costly. The church used to be good at gradual reform. Why did it fail so dismally this time?

I blame the liberals….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Philip and Saint James

Almighty God, who didst give to thine apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 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

A Prayer to Begin the day

Heavenly Father and gracious God, we thank you for this day, for your presence with us, and for your love for us, a love so deep that even the hairs on our head are numbered in your sight; grant that through the Holy Spirit we may walk today as children of the light who rejoice in that love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–Kendall Harmon

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

–Romans 13:8-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(SMH) Alan Stokes–Time to admit the love as Neil Diamond hits a home run in Boston

[Neil] Diamond flew his private jet to Boston. He showed up unannounced to Fenway about 30 minutes before start time, called the control room and asked if he could sing.

When the eighth inning came, Neil walked out in a Red Sox cap and the 35,000-strong crowd cheered. ”What an honour it is for me to be here today!” Diamond told them. ”I bring love from the whole country.”

Then they sang along, out of sync to the backing track but that hardly mattered. Neither did the fact the Red Sox beat the Royals something to something else.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Australia / NZ, Music, Sports, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Real Madrid come up just short versus Borussia Dortmund

Congratulations to Borussia Dortmund for making the Champions League Final.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Spain, Sports

(WSJ) Donald Kagan, Yale's great classicist–"you can't find faculty…who have different opinions"

Donald Kagan is engaging in one last argument. For his “farewell lecture” here at Yale on Thursday afternoon, the 80-year-old scholar of ancient Greece””whose four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War inspired comparisons to Edward Gibbon’s Roman history””uncorked a biting critique of American higher education.

Universities, he proposed, are failing students and hurting American democracy. Curricula are “individualized, unfocused and scattered.” On campus, he said, “I find a kind of cultural void, an ignorance of the past, a sense of rootlessness and aimlessness.” Rare are “faculty with atypical views,” he charged. “Still rarer is an informed understanding of the traditions and institutions of our Western civilization and of our country and an appreciation of their special qualities and values.” He counseled schools to adopt “a common core of studies” in the history, literature and philosophy “of our culture.” By “our” he means Western….

Mr. Kagan offers another explanation. “You can’t have a fight,” he says one recent day at his office, “because you don’t have two sides. The other side won.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Philosophy, Politics in General, Young Adults

(Telegraph) Google 'as trusted as the Church' by Britons

The British public hold Google and religious institutions in equally low regard, with less than one in five saying they believe the search giant and faith leaders have their best interests at heart.

By contrast, almost 40 per cent said they thought the NHS put their needs first, the highest scoring institution on the list, followed by the police, who have the confidence of more than a quarter of Britons.

And in a secular world of Sunday shopping, Tesco and Sainsburys were ranked as more trustworthy than religious groups, with 19 per cent saying they trusted supermarkets, compared with just 17 per cent for Google and religious institutions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Religion & Culture