Daily Archives: May 18, 2013

([London] Times) A new way to train Anglican clergy

St Mellitus College, founded in 2007, offers on-the-job experience as well as theology.

The numbers attending church on Sundays may be falling, but an innovative new college to train Anglican clergy has already attracted 500 students, making it the newest and one of the largest in the country.St Mellitus College, which started in 2007, opened the doors of a new building in November. It is the first training college for clergy to focus especially on leadership, and to combine theology with on-the-job experience in churches, youth centres, homeless shelters and Christian work in the inner cities.

“It’s the same pattern as business schools or the way doctors are trained now,” says Graham Tomlin, the college dean. “Previously those training for the ministry went to a full-time residential college. Now they can spend time in parishes as lay workers while coming here part of the week and on several residential periods a year. Or they continue in their jobs as doctors or bus drivers while training part-time for the ministry.”

As a result, St Mellitus, a joint project by the dioceses of London and Chelmsford, has seen a surge of applications from the start, with 110 full-time ordinands and around 400 lay students. A survey showed that three quarters of the ordinands would not have considered going into the church, or would have done so much later, had this work/study pattern not been available.

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

Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson Discuss Same Sex Relationships in the Christian Community

Watch the whole episode and then read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) David Gibson–Analysis: Will the Kermit Gosnell verdict change the abortion debate?

Even before rogue abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted in Philadelphia May 13 of delivering and then killing late-term infants, abortion opponents were convinced they had a case that could reshape an abortion debate that has remained static over the years.

After the verdict, they were even more confident.

“Dr. Gosnell is only the front man; and the real trial has only just begun. The defendant is the abortion license in America,” Robert P. George, a Princeton law professor and leading conservative activist, wrote after a jury convicted Gosnell of three counts of first-degree murder for snipping the spines of babies after botched abortions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(The Economist) Shinzo Abe has a vision of a prosperous and patriotic Japan

Whn Shinzo Abe resigned after just a year as prime minister, in September 2007, he was derided by voters, broken by chronic illness, and dogged by the ineptitude that has been the bane of so many recent Japanese leaders. Today, not yet five months into his second term, Mr Abe seems to be a new man. He has put Japan on a regime of “Abenomics”, a mix of reflation, government spending and a growth strategy designed to jolt the economy out of the suspended animation that has gripped it for more than two decades. He has supercharged Japan’s once-fearsome bureaucracy to make government vigorous again. And, with his own health revived, he has sketched out a programme of geopolitical rebranding and constitutional change that is meant to return Japan to what Mr Abe thinks is its rightful place as a world power.

Mr Abe is electrifying a nation that had lost faith in its political class. Since he was elected, the stockmarket has risen by 55%. Consumer spending pushed up growth in the first quarter to an annualised 3.5%. Mr Abe has an approval rating of over 70% (compared with around 30% at the end of his first term). His Liberal Democratic Party is poised to triumph in elections for the upper house of the Diet in July. With a majority in both chambers he should be able to pass legislation freely.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Currency Markets, Economy, Japan, Politics in General

(NPR) The Unsafe Sex: Should The World Invest More In Men's Health?

On average, men aren’t as healthy as women.

Men don’t live as long, and they’re more likely to engage in risky behaviors, like smoking and drinking.

But in the past decade, global health funding has focused heavily on women.

Programs and policies for men have been “notably absent,” says Sarah Hawkes from the University of London’s Institute of Global Health.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Men, Women

Robert Samuelson–Can we Get Real About the deficit problem we Face?

Can we get real? For starters, $642 billion is serious money, and despite the modest improvements of the latest CBO report, the basic trends in federal finances remain the same. From 2014 to 2023, the government will spend $6 trillion more than it collects in taxes. The budget never comes close to balancing. Expanding spending on the elderly and health care continues to strangle the rest of government. As a share of the economy (gross domestic product), military and domestic discretionary programs (examples: drug approval, environmental regulation, Head Start, federal courts) drop about 40 percent from 2010 to 2023.

Nothing of consequence has changed. A few numbers have shifted slightly. That’s all. They moved in a favorable direction. Next time, they might go the other way. What’s also constant is the unwillingness of leaders of both parties, beginning with the president, to discuss budget choices candidly. The budget passed by the Democratic Senate barely touches entitlements for the elderly, which constitute the largest chunk of federal spending. The budget passed by the Republican House avoids a large tax increase only by making draconian and unrealistic spending cuts that would never pass Congress or be signed by the president.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicaid, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(BBC) Nigeria army imposes curfew in Maiduguri

Nigeria’s military has imposed a 24-hour curfew in parts of the north-eastern city of Maiduguri as its offensive against militants continues.

A statement named 11 areas of the city where people must remain inside their homes until further notice.

Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, has been an important base for Boko Haram Islamist militants.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism, Violence

Living Church Essays on South Carolina (II): William Witt–Don’t Cheat the Prophet

…there is no reason to presume that South Carolina’s declaration of itself as an extra-provincial diocese is more than an ad hoc solution to an immediate crisis. To speculate about the permanence of this situation or about which Anglican entity South Carolina might align itself with is equally a case of playing “Cheat the Prophet.”

The issue that is little addressed in such discussions is the theological nature of episcopacy. What does it mean to be a bishop? Standard Church histories make clear that the office of bishop is about continuity, specifically continuity between the apostolic Church and the catholic Church of the second century. To be a bishop is to recognize and submit oneself to the canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments as the faithful witness of prophets and apostles to the triune God revealed in the history of Israel, the saving work of Jesus Christ, and the Church as summarized in the Rule of Faith.

Whether bishops of the Episcopal Church have acted in continuity with this apostolic Church in proceeding to approve of same-sex unions is precisely the issue that is splitting the Anglican Communion. There are, of course, issues of universality involved as well. A bishop is a bishop not just for a local diocese but for the whole Church. In the long run, an extra-provincial diocese accountable only to itself is problematic. But then again, a national church that refuses to be accountable to an international communion has brought the Anglican Communion to its current crisis, even as a bishop who does not understand his chief role to keep intact the apostolic witness has rather missed the point of being a bishop.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

Living Church Essays on South Carolina (I): Jesse Zink–Why Provinces Matter

As in Scripture, so also in ecclesiology: the pernicious hermeneutic of self-justification remains a constant temptation. This is regrettable. Ecclesiology is not a minor administrative matter that can be casually tossed aside. It is part of the core good news Christians have to proclaim. In a globalizing world that is dominated by discord and fracture, the Church makes the counter-cultural claim that in baptism we come to belong to the body of Christ. No other entity is shaped by a common willingness to die daily with Christ and be raised with him who is the author of true and abundant life. We believe we belong, and that this is good news. Anglicans work out the implications of this radical claim in the constellation of parishes, dioceses, provinces, networks, and institutions that comprise our global Communion.

The dispute in South Carolina could provide an opportunity ”” yet unrealized ”” to think seriously about the ecclesiological and theological convictions underlying Anglican churches. On that note, we might welcome the recent call in these pages for a retreat on the topic, organized by seminary deans. Prayerfully and reverently, one hopes, Anglicans may yet learn together to honor our theological convictions in our ecclesiological structures.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

(Washington Post) Seminary graduates not always ministering from the pulpit

About 41 percent of master’s of divinity graduates expect to pursue full-time church ministry, down from 52 percent in 2001 and from 90-something percent a few decades ago, according to the Association of Theological Schools, the country’s largest such group.

Americans, particularly young ones, are becoming less religiously affiliated, and many see churches as too focused on internal politics and dogma and not enough on bettering the outside world. Institutional religion doesn’t have the stature it once did, and pastor jobs are fewer and less stable.

The skepticism about religious institutions has led to a broadened concept of what it means to minister. Like Allen, seminary graduates today use the words “ministry” and “calling” to describe their plans to employ their understanding of theology in a new career or to use their degrees to bring more purpose to what they are already doing. And seminaries are busily trying to accommodate them, creating new degrees for careers in such areas as urban ministry and psychology.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the day

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us, that in thy light we may see light: the light of thy grace today, and the light of thy glory hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626)

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

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 9:1-14

Posted in Uncategorized

(CS Monitor) Drones are cheaper and more powerful. In US, that's a problem, lawmakers told

With much of Capitol Hill riveted by IRS audits, AP phone records, and Benghazi e-mails, top US scholars gathered to testify in a little-watched congressional hearing Friday about the growing threat the use of drones in US airspace may pose to civil liberties.

They warned that unmanned aircraft carrying cameras raise the specter of a “significant new avenue for surveillance of American life,” as Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, characterized it for lawmakers Friday.

“Many Americans are familiar with these aircraft ”“ commonly called drones ”“ because of their use overseas in places like Afghanistan and Yemen. But drones are coming to America,” he said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General

(FT) Global economy lacks strong source of demand growth

Christine Lagarde, the IMF managing director, captured a sense of fragmentation last month when she spoke of a “three-speed” global economy. On this week’s evidence, however, there are even more speeds than that.

Falling commodity prices and a rising dollar show the broad picture: the global outlook is weakening a little and becoming more dependent on the US. For every country putting out good news, such as Japan, there are weaker data elsewhere ”“ for example in China.

It is a global economy that lacks a strong source of demand growth.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Europe, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Scotsman) The Rev Lorna Hood on the practising gay ministers debate

”˜There is not going to be a great schism.” The Rev Lorna Hood is sitting on a sofa in the drawing room of an elegant town house in Rothesay Terrace, the official home of the Moderator of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.

With one sharp sentence she has fired a tranquiliser dart into the pink elephant in the room.

Officially, there is still a moratorium on discussing whether the Church of Scotland should ordain practising gay ministers but next Monday’s debate and vote at the General Assembly is set to be the most divisive the Church has faced since the Disruption of 1843 when a predecessor as moderator, Dr David Welsh, walked out with 450 ministers and founded the Free Church of Scotland. There has been suggestions that, once again, ministers are strapping on their hiking boots.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Guardian) Barclays has 'repeatedly let down society', says the Church of England

Barclays has “repeatedly let down society” and needs to clean up its culture in the wake of the £290m fine for rigging Libor, the Church of England said on Wednesday

The annual investment report by the Church Commissioners shows that the discussions with Barclays will be reviewed in July, a year on from the interest rate scandal that led to the departure of the chairman Marcus Agius, the chief executive Bob Diamond and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier.

In the report the commissioners, working with the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG), said they had “commenced an intensive engagement with Barclays seeking robust assurance that, having repeatedly let down society with its conduct, Barclays is making a determined and successful effort to effect a fundamental turnaround in culture”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(First Things First Thoughts) David Mills–Same Sex Marriage Conformism

…all this elite pressure wouldn’t have worked even ten years ago, and certainly not twenty or thirty years ago. How could what then seemed a settled conviction about sexuality (or prejudice, if you wish) disappear so fast?

[ Brendan ] O’Neill has an answer, which seems to me correct. The non-elites proved susceptible to such pressures for a reason, he notes. “The fragility of society’s attachment to traditional marriage itself, to the virtue of commitment, has also been key to the formulation of the gay-marriage consensus. Indeed, it is the rubble upon which the gay-marriage edifice is built.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, History, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality