Daily Archives: May 8, 2013

(UMNS) [Methodist] Theologian charged for same-sex wedding

A United Methodist theologian and retired elder is facing formal charges under church law and a potential trial for officiating at the same-sex wedding of his son.

The Rev. Thomas Ogletree, a retired seminary dean noted for his work on Christian ethics, presided over the wedding of his son, Thomas Rimbey Ogletree, to Nicholas Haddad on Oct. 20. The service took place at the Yale Club in New York City.

Ogletree, 79, is a Yale Divinity School professor emeritus, veteran of the civil rights movement and lifelong member of the Methodist tradition. He told United Methodist News Service that as a professor, he rarely has been asked to perform weddings. When his son asked him to officiate, he said he felt “deeply moved.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Cranmer Blog Analysis–CofE annual statistics 2011 – good news and bad

So, Christmas Christians are on the up.

And the number of christenings increased by 4.3%, which was accompanied by a rise of just over 5% in adult baptisms with a combined total of 139,751 baptisms ”“ meaning that the Church of England conducted an average of over 2,600 baptisms each week during 2011. Thanksgivings for the birth of a child also rose – an 11.9% increase, taking numbers to 6,582….

The bad news?

Sunday attendance has declined over the decade, and this is particularly noticeable with child attendance:

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Americans Are Borrowing Again but Still Less Than Before Freeze

America’s credit crunch is easing. For the past six years, consumers and businesses have struggled to borrow money, but slowly, things are getting easier.

Large U.S. companies are taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow record amounts of capital in bond markets. Banks are opening the spigots for commercial and industrial firms, and loans grew at an 11% annualized rate in the first quarter of this year, the sixth double-digit percentage increase in seven quarters, Federal Reserve data show. According to the Fed’s survey of senior bank-lending officers released Monday, 28% of banks lowered the cost of credit lines early this year to smaller firms like Mr. Aaron’s that have annual sales of less than $50 million. Residential lending began edging up last year, and even people with bad credit can get a loan to buy a car these days.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Church of England Official Release–Church annual statistics for 2011

The Church of England today released its annual statistics for 2011 revealing a strong growing trend for Christmas attendance, an increase in child and adult baptisms and a growing stability in weekly service attendance.

Christmas 2011 drew 14.5% more worshippers to Church of England services than attended in 2010, reaching a total of 2,618,030. Whilst one of the factors for such a high annual increase include the poor weather on Christmas Day in the previous year 2010, initial returns from 2012 suggest a further increase in Christmas attendance on these high 2011 figures revealing a growing trend for church going at Christmas.

The number of christenings increased by 4.3% and was accompanied by a rise of just over 5% in adult baptisms with a combined total of 139,751 baptisms – meaning that the Church of England conducted an average of over 2,600 baptisms each week during 2011. Thanksgivings for the birth of a child also rose; an 11.9% increase taking numbers to 6,582.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School Convocation)–What does our love of Jesus mean for ministry?

But then the Lord asks, “Do you love me?” It seems an odd question for Jesus to ask. We can’t help but wonder if some redactor got it wrong. Or perhaps some failure in communication may have taken place; someone must have misheard Jesus’ conversation with Peter. It was probably the person who counted the fish. We are not even sure we can trust John to have gotten it right. The disciples have been with the resurrected Jesus, but they go on fishing? They go back to the ordinary life they had prior to following Jesus? It seems unimaginable.

Moreover, Jesus is not supposed to ask Peter — or us — to love him. His job is to love us. In spite of our failures to be faithful disciples, in spite of our confusions about what it means to be Christian, in spite of our prideful presumption that we are our own creator, in spite of our sins, Jesus is supposed to love us.

Is that not the heart of the gospel? — “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” This passage from John seems to have gotten off script; we are to be assured of Jesus’ love for us, and not the other way around….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Irish Times) Denis Nulty will become Ireland's youngest Catholic bishop

The new bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has said these are “difficult days” for priests as they see their numbers dwindle but pledged to work to encourage vocations and develop “collaborative ministry”.

Fr Denis Nulty, who turns 50 next month, will become the country’s youngest Catholic bishop when he is ordained at a ceremony in Carlow Cathedral on a date yet to be confirmed but likely to be during the summer.

A native of Slane in Co Meath and currently the parish priest in Drogheda, Fr Nulty will fill a vacancy in the diocese which has existed since December of 2009 when Bishop James Moriarty offered his resignation following publication of the Murphy report.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(BBC) Sir Alex Ferguson to retire from Manchester United

ir Alex Ferguson will step down as Manchester United manager at the end of the season after 26 years in charge.

The Scot, 71, has won 38 trophies for the club and will now become a director and ambassador.

His haul includes 13 league titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups.

“The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time,” Ferguson said.

Read it all.

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

Local Paper–On political scrapheap 4 years ago, ex-governor Mark Sanford wins 1st district seat

Former Gov. Mark Sanford completed the trail to political redemption Tuesday with a win over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch to reclaim his old seat in Congress.

Sanford defeated Colbert Busch 54 percent to 45 percent, according to full unofficial results. Turnout was heavier than expected, with about 32 percent of the district’s 455,702 registered voters casting ballots.

Sanford, who has never lost an election, returns to the 1st District seat he held for three terms from 1995-2001. It’s a remarkable comeback for a man many pundits had written off after his highly publicized affair with an Argentine mistress made him the source of national ridicule in 2009.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, House of Representatives, Politics in General

(Military Times) Lawmakers act fast with new legislation on military sexual assault

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reacted swiftly to the news that the Pentagon’s estimated number of sexual assaults jumped 35 percent, with several introducing legislation in the House and Senate to protect victims and improve response following report of an incident.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services personnel panel, plans to introduce legislation next week that would eliminate a commander’s authority to overturn rulings in cases of sexual assault.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Men, Politics in General, Senate, Sexuality, The U.S. Government, Violence, Women

(NY Times) Pentagon Study Finds Sharp Rise in Military Sexual Assaults

The problem of sexual assault in the military leapt to the forefront in Washington on Tuesday as the Pentagon released a survey estimating that 26,000 people in the armed forces were sexually assaulted last year, up from 19,000 in 2010, and an angry President Obama and Congress demanded action.

The study, based on a confidential survey sent to 108,000 active-duty service members, was released two days after the officer in charge of sexual assault prevention programs for the Air Force was arrested and charged with sexual battery for grabbing a woman’s breasts and buttocks in an Arlington, Va., parking lot.

At a White House news conference, Mr. Obama expressed exasperation with the Pentagon’s attempts to bring sexual assault under control.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Men, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

John Stonestreet–Three Questions Christians Should Ask

Watch it all (just over 1 minute long). Short, provocative and helpful I thought–KSH.

Posted in Apologetics, Christology, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Julian of Norwich

Lord God, who in thy compassion didst grant to the Lady Julian many revelations of thy nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek thee above all things, for in giving us thyself thou givest us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who hast sent the Spirit of truth unto us to guide us into all truth: We beseech thee so to rule our lives by thy power that we may be truthful in word and deed and thought. Keep us, most merciful Father, with thy gracious protection, that no fear or hope may ever make us false in act or speech. Cast out from us whatsoever loveth or maketh a lie, and bring us all into the perfect freedom of thy truth; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

–B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Eli’jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

–James 5:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Multiple Media outlets Calling the South Carolina Race for Mark Sanford

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has redeemed a political career sidelined by scandal by winning his old congressional seat.

Sanford defeated Elizabeth Colbert (KOHL’-buhrt) Busch Tuesday in the state’s 1st Congressional District. Colbert Busch is the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert (kohl-BEHR’). With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Sanford has 54 percent of the vote.

Read it all. Also, a USA Today article is there.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, House of Representatives, Politics in General

(RCP) Scott Conroy–On Election Day in South Carolina, Sanford vs. Colbert Busch a Tossup

(Yes indeed it is in my district! KSH).

Perhaps it is fitting that inclement weather could play a role in deciding the outcome of Tuesday’s special U.S. House election in South Carolina’s 1st District. After all, the race has been turbulent and unpredictable from the get-go.

Forecasts called for intermittent showers and thunderstorms around Charleston as voters head to the polls, adding a wrinkle to both sides’ turnout models, which were already steeped in guesswork.

The high-profile battle between former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch has seen everything from an embarrassing accusation of trespassing from Sanford’s ex-wife to rare, out-of-character appearances by Colbert Busch’s brother Stephen Colbert, the satirist best known for lampooning members of Congress rather than helping them raise money.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, House of Representatives, Politics in General

An LA Times article on the Recent Decision involving Saint James Anglican and TEC/ Los Angeles

The court order, which comes at what could be the end of a series of court battles over three church properties on 32nd Street, was reaffirmed Monday by Judge Kim G. Dunning.

“I give thanks for the culmination of this marathon litigation, and I pray this action will settle the fact that people can disagree but cannot take property that has been entrusted to the Episcopal Church for ministry,” Right Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the six-county diocese, said in a statement. “I give thanks to God that, after these cases spanning more than eight years, we now can proceed with the continuing ministry of the Episcopal Church in Newport Beach.”

St. James leaders said they were “obviously disappointed by this ruling.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes

(First Things On the Square) Wesley Smith–The Coercive Freedom of Choice

We are becoming a society in which “choice” and self-defined identities trump once-common values and traditional beliefs. But contrary to the rhetoric of its defenders, this shift is not a simple advance for freedom. The privileging of “choice” above all else in fact requires re-engineering the human person and society as a whole, and this will inevitably involve a great deal of coercion.

Wesley J. SmithThis shift, if it didn’t begin with Roe v. Wade, could be said to have been dramatically accelerated by it. Despite continuing opposition by over 50 percent of the American people, abortion is now universally available, in some places through the ninth month. Two states have legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill””once strictly prohibited by the Hippocratic Oath. Now, some doctors actively collaborate in lethally overdosing their patients.

Advocacy for legalizing “after birth” abortion””e.g., infanticide””as a natural extension of the abortion right is growing more prominent, and not just among acolytes of Princeton’s Peter Singer. A Florida Planned Parenthood representative, opposing a bill that would require medical treatment for an infant who survives abortion, said the choice to care for the child should be a private one made between a mother and her doctor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Secularism, Theology, Young Adults

(CNBC) Sex Superbug Could Be 'Worse Than AIDS'

An antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea””now considered a superbug””has some analysts saying that the bacteria’s effects could match those of AIDS.

“This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly,” said Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine.
Even though nearly 30 million people have died from AIDS related causes worldwide, Christianson believes the effect of the gonorrhea bacteria is more direct.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine