Daily Archives: June 6, 2013

(RNS) Anti-alcohol bill leaves many Turks dispirited

Turkey is about to enact the strictest alcohol laws in the republic’s 89-year history in a move that some Turks complain is part of a creeping Islamist agenda.

The bill supported by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would prohibit the sale of alcohol from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and forbid the depiction of alcohol consumption on television, billboards, newspapers, storefronts and at festivals.

Liquor sales within 100 yards of a school or mosque would be banned.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Turkey

P. Turner–Why The Dynamics Of Life Within TEC So Closely Resemble Those Of The U.S. Congress

The gist of the article is this. Public discourse in this country is now dominated by what the author calls “Motivated Thinking.” Dan Kahan, a professor of law and psychology at Yale University, says that motivated thinking occurs “when a person is conforming their assessments of information to some interest or goal that is independent of accuracy.” An interest or goal, he says may be “remaining a well-regarded member of a political party (we might add or a church), or winning the next election, or even just winning an argument.” In these instances and many others, reasoning may well be carried on in a way that is independent of the facts of the matter in question.

The author of the article (Ezra Klein) gives a number of examples of the sort of thinking social scientists have in mind when they speak of Motivated Thinking. My favorite comes from professor Geoffrey Cohen of Stanford University. He showed a group of students two articles””one a generic news story and one that described a proposed welfare policy. The generic story was a decoy. Prof Cohen’s real interest was in reactions to the one describing welfare policy. He wanted to know if party affiliation influenced voters when they assess new policies. To find out he produced multiple versions of the welfare article. Some students read about programs that were generous and others programs that were anything but. Nevertheless, in some versions of these articles that described a generous policy he indicated support by Republican Party leaders; and in some of the ones containing meager programs he described them as having Democratic support. He found that if a liberal student’s party endorsed the meager program so did the liberal student, and if the conservative party leaders supported the more liberal proposal, so did the conservative students. In each case the goal serving to motivate and shape thinking was based not on an assessment of the policy proposals themselves but upon party loyalty and identification. On both the left and the right Prof. Cohen found that Motivated Thinking rather than assessment of the facts determined the outcome.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis

(Phil. Inquirer) As veterans' numbers dwindle, memories of D-Day remain vivid

It was D-Day, and Abe Milkis found himself up to his neck in the war right away. When the boat ramp was dropped off Utah Beach, the 101st Airborne troopers piled out with all their combat gear.

The boat crews didn’t want to get too close, so the soldiers disembarked far from shore. “We had some little guys, we had to carry them. I only went in up to my neck,” said Milkis, who was 5 feet, 111/2 inches tall.

Speaking in a strong, assured voice at his home in Wynnewood last week, Milkis reached across 69 years of history to bring alive the baptism of fire for a 20-year-old soldier from West Philadelphia. “Everybody was very nervous,” he said coolly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, History

(Lifesite News) Peter Singer: Women Should Sacrifice Having Kids to Protect Environment

Bioethicist Peter Singer compared women and children to cows overgrazing a field and said ”” at the global Women Deliver Conference last week, hailed as the most important meeting to focus on women and girls’ human rights in a decade ”” that women’s reproductive rights may one day have to be sacrificed for the environment.

The controversial Princeton University professor, known for championing infanticide and bestiality, was a featured panelist on Thursday at the three-day Women Deliver conference attended by Melinda Gates and more than 4,000 abortion and contraception activists in Kuala Lumpur.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Theology, Women

Your Prayers requested for Today's Hearing in the South Carolina Diocesan Dispute

We are grateful to the Very Rev. John Barr who has written the following note and prayer. We commend them both to you.

Today, June 6, attorneys representing the Diocese of South Carolina will go before a federal judge to request our case be moved back to its original venue in the South Carolina state court system. Our sense is that this hearing might well be a critical crossroads. We believe that the original venue of state court””where the Diocese and its parishes have sought a simple declaratory judgment as to whether we have title to our own property and whether we are the Diocese of South Carolina””is the true venue where the question should be settled.
Ultimately, of course, God owns the property. The gospel never changes; his promises are indestructible; and our high calling as Christ’s disciples is bright and undiminished. We see through a glass darkly, and God’s perfect will for us is sovereign, but we are asking you to pray for the return of this litigation to state court. No doubt, God will work his purposes out whatever the legal venue. The apostle Paul reminds us, “I have learned to be content in all circumstances”¦”

Gracious Lord, we pray that your will would be done on June 6. May we want what you desire. Speak your words alone through Alan Runyan and the other attorneys who represent us. May the courtroom be filled with the pleasant aroma of Christ, and at the end of the day, protect this Diocese and its parishes that we might bring the redemptive power of the biblical gospel to the South Carolina low country and beyond. Let not our fear of outcomes tarnish our joy or deter us from the mission you have given us. Teach us to bless and never curse those on the other side of this conflict. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And make us victorious over-comers wherever this road leads. For we ask it all in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Telegraph) Church of England gives up fight against Same Sex marriage

The Bishop of Leicester, who leads the bishops in the House of Lords, said they would now concentrate their efforts on “improving” rather than halting an historic redefinition of marriage.

It represents a dramatic change of tack in the year since the Church insisted that gay marriage posed one of the biggest threats of disestablishment of the Church of England since the reign of Henry VIII.

And it comes despite a warning from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, that the redefinition of marriage would undermine the “cornerstone” of society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(C of E) Statement from the Convenor of the Lords Spiritual on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Both Houses of Parliament have now expressed a clear view by large majorities on the principle that there should be legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales. It is now the duty and responsibility of the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords to recognise the implications of this decision and to join with other Members in the task of considering how this legislation can be put into better shape.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(ACNS) Zimbabwe Anglicans return to shrine for Bernard Mizeki celebrations

Thousands of pilgrims from Zimbabwe and beyond are expected to gather in Harare next week to commemorate the life of Bernard Mizeki, a lay African catechist and missionary martyred in 1896.

The celebrations, between 14 ”“ 16 June, will be the first ones held at the martyr’s shrine in more than five years. Previously Anglican pilgrims had been barred from the site by excommunicated former bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

Bishop of Harare the Rt Revd Chad Gandiya told ACNS, “After having been in exile for five years and failing to host these celebrations at the shrine, this years’ celebrations are indeed special and the theme God is faithful could not be more timely.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Zimbabwe

Michael Nazir-Ali–'The Arab Spring' and its Aftermath: Implications for Muslim-Christian Relations

Watch it all, from a speech hosted by Christian Solidarity International (CSI).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Pope Francis

The newly-installed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will visit Pope Francis on 14 June, the Vatican has confirmed.

It will mark the first meeting between Pope Francis and the new head of the Church of England and spiritual head of the global Anglican Church.

The brief courtesy visit is expected to be “informal” but “important” according to a representative of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, whose president Cardinal Kurt Koch will meet and pray with Welby. The Archbishop of Canterbury is also expected to visit the tomb of Blessed John Paul II.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

Kenya's Vice President speaks to African churches on the challenge of poverty

Vice President Kiwanuka Ssekandi has told African churches to work with governments to ensure socio-economic transformation of Africa by placing emphasis on integration and unity of African people.

He made it clear that for the continent’s states to handle poverty, churches need to join governments in that fight.

“Government, through various interventions, is empowering every household to produce not only for subsistence, but have surplus for sale,” said the VP.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology

Funding for oldest Anglican church in New Zealand approved

The Auckland Council has approved funding of $3 million to help renovate New Zealand’s oldest and biggest Anglican church.

At a council meeting, the Holy Trinity Cathedral asked for help with the project which has a total cost of $12 million. It includes finishing a chapel, joining the neighbouring St Mary’s Church to the cathedral, and repairing two pipe organs.

Despite some strong opposition during a two-hour debate on Thursday, councillors decided to support it in a 10 to 6 vote.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces

Initiative Against Pornography to begin national push at SBC; named 'Join One Million Men

“We’re beginning a new sermon series that is scaring me to death,” pastor Jay Dennis said on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2008, from the pulpit of First Baptist Church at the Mall.

The series was titled “Sex and the Saint.” For six Sundays, Dennis addressed what God says in His Word about sex. His goal: to combat a “stronghold” in the congregation that destroys Christian families and harms teenagers, singles and even children — the stronghold of sexual sin.

Dennis candidly conceded to the congregation that he would be criticized and misunderstood, that he would receive angry letters and emails, and that he fully expected to find himself in a spiritual battle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Other Churches, Pornography

(AP) Federal court hearing set in South Carolina Episcopal schism

Attorneys representing separate Episcopal churches in eastern South Carolina are facing off in federal court.

The matter before U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck on Thursday is whether issues resulting from the split should be heard in state or federal court. One of the issues is title to an estimated half billion dollars in church property.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and a life to proclaim thee; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.

— Saint Benedict (480-c.543)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

–Luke 18:6-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Choral Evensong from Canterbury Cathedral

Listen here if you wish – recorded in 1988 marking the anniversary of the Queen’s Accession.

Introit: O Lord, make thy servant, Elizabeth (Byrd)
Responses: Anthony Piccolo
Psalms 20, 101, 121 (Felton, Cooper, Walford Davies)
First Lesson: Joshua 1 vv1-9
Canticles: Brian Chapple
Second Lesson: Revelation 21v22 – 22v4
Anthem: Zadok the Priest (Handel)
Hymn: The National Anthem
Organ voluntary: Orb and Sceptre (Walton)

Posted in Uncategorized

(CNN Belief Blog) Melody Moezzi–A plea from an exhausted Muslim woman

I wasn’t surprised by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s recent statement about a “problem within Islam.”

It’s not as though I’ve never heard anything like it before. I hear it all the time.

Still, his words ”“ in response to a recent attack in London that left a British soldier dead ”“ made me wonder: How might the public have reacted in a different context, had Blair replaced the word “Islam” with “Christianity” or “Judaism”?

I’m guessing not well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Ed Stetzer–7 Biblical Tests for Christians and Music

Christians disagree about music style as much as any other issue in the body of Christ. More than likely, you’ve experienced this firsthand. As I’ve already written, conflicts over music have been common through out church history. Christians have listened to and enjoyed all of kinds of music. But should they?.

In seeking to determine what is the right music for a church, it’s important that we use biblical principles in our evaluation. That’s not always easy””the Bible doesn’t contain music notes. God never gives us His musical preferences.

While it may be difficult, I do believe it’s possible to evaluate musical preferences using God’s word. The following seven tests each relate to biblical principles that we can apply to our music to determine its suitability…

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Christian Post) PCUSA Churches Leaving Denomination Dramatically Increased in 2012

The number of churches that were dismissed from Presbyterian Church (USA) last year has increased by fivefold compared to 2011, says a recently released report.

According to statistics released [last] Thursday by the Office of the General Assembly for PC(USA), 110 congregations were granted dismissal in 2012 in order to join other denominations; in 2011, the reported number was only 21. In 2010, at the 219th General Assembly of PC (USA), a majority of presbyteries, or regional bodies, voted to approve Amendment 10a, which lets presbyteries allow for the ordination of openly homosexual clergy. Because of this amendment, many conservative congregations in PC (USA) decided to pursue dismissal from the mainline denomination, usually for more conservative Presbyterian…[bodies].

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Christian Century) Jen Bradbury–Sticky faith: What keeps kids connected to church?

When I first started in youth ministry, I did everything I could think of to attract and engage high school youth. I held monthly social events and service projects. My Sunday school classes and weekly youth group meetings included crazy games, youth-only worship with contemporary Christian music, and discussions of relevant topics.

I chose topics based on what I thought youth cared about, so we talked a lot about friendships, sex and alcohol. While I tied these topics to scripture, I rarely focused on Jesus. I assumed that the youth, who had grown up in the church, already knew the Jesus story well and were likely to be bored by it. Rather than help students cultivate a lifelong relationship with Christ, I focused on getting them to live a Christian lifestyle. I had zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior.

Only a handful of the youth I worked with in that year are attending church today. My extensive efforts at reaching them seem to have made little difference.

Research suggests that my approach to ministry was not unusual””nor was the outcome. According to research by the Fuller Youth Institute, 40 to 50 percent of kids who are part of a youth group in high school fail to stick with their faith in college. To find out why, researchers at FYI conducted a six-year, comprehensive and longitudinal study from 2004 to 2010 called the College Transition Project. The study’s findings are found in Sticky Faith: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers, a 2011 book by Kara E. Powell, Brad M. Griffin and Cheryl A. Crawford.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Teens / Youth, Theology, Youth Ministry

(Island Packet) South Carolina Episcopal diocese alleges retirement savings held hostage

Church Pension Group issued a statement Tuesday saying it is trying to ensure that clergy and employees in parishes that have left The Episcopal Church have access to their funds, in accordance with federal laws.

“In doing so, we are following protocols required by the Internal Revenue Code to avoid any adverse consequences for the participants in the plans,” the statement said. “We expect to complete this process shortly. In the meantime, all funds remain invested in the options selected by these employees, and all accounts are fully viewable on (a) website.”

[Canon Jim] Lewis said he has consulted lawyers for the diocese and is unaware of any legal issues precluding employees from rolling over their plans. He believes that preventing employees from doing so could be illegal.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Pensions, Personal Finance, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology