Daily Archives: June 7, 2013

Notable and Quotable (II)

I am not looking for the Free Church to expand at the cost of another denomination. But I do hope that when that denomination forfeits the right to be known as a church of Christ, you will know that there is a brotherly love, concern and welcome for you in this denomination.”

–The Rev Iain D. Campbell, convenor of the Free Church of Scotland’s Ecumenical Relations Committee, in an article in the London Times [in reference to the Church of Scotland] (subscription required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

George Pitcher–For the new Power Christians, God is the new CEO

During the testosterone-fuelled boom years, Christian faith was about surviving in the City, but since 2008 and the revelation that it was all built on sand, Christians have been saying unequivocally that the gospel is non-negotiable, that working in commerce isn’t about surviving as a Christian but about transforming the way we do business, that Christianity is disruptive of systemic greed and corruption: that, in short, their work serves their faith and not the other way round. They are converting markets, not just people. These are the new Power Christians.

Welby is their spiritual, as well as titular, leader. Born in 1956 into a privileged, if eccentric family, he has managed a tension between descent from a powerful Conservative dynasty (on his mother’s side, he is a scion of the Butler family, which gave us Rab Butler, the deputy prime minister to Harold Macmillan) and skeletons in the family cupboard (it was seen fit to conceal his paternal Jewish-immigrant lineage from him until he became an adult).

This background may have contributed to Welby the Outsider, part of the establishment but also a thorn in its side. It is no surprise that the relentlessly bourgeois HTB couldn’t contain him. Note that he considerably widened not only his social but his theological circle after he left the Knightsbridge church. Via Africa and the Middle East, he arrived as dean of Liverpool Cathedral, where he operated what he and Dr Williams have dubbed a “mixed economy” of traditions. Now add that eclecticism ”“ one might even call it a catholic taste in denominations ”“ to the can-do attitude of the City whizz-kid and you have someone who can tap effortlessly in to the energy of any kind of Christian witness….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Telegraph) Archbishop Justin Welby: The 'muscular Christian’ setting a fine example to his flock

[Justin] Welby, the people’s primate, takes the bus to meetings, tweets about shoe shopping and admits he is tempted to nod off during particularly dull after-lunch synod debates. Only last month, he gave an interview in which he let slip that one of the greatest frustrations of moving to London is that takeaway delivery men get confused when he orders. They have never had to drop off a chicken tikka masala at Lambeth Palace before.

His love of pounding the streets has been welcomed by several followers, not least Graham Daniels, a former Cambridge United left back and now general director of Christians in Sport. “It proves he is fit for purpose, not just theological but physically, too. There are 150,000 sports clubs in the country with 10 million members, so it is great to see that he can relate to all those people.”

It should not be such a surprise that the Archbishop exercises. He is, to use the marvellous Victorian idiom, a “muscular Christian”, which has never been a wholly metaphorical turn of phrase.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WSJ) Valerie Weaver-Zercher: Why Amish Romance Novels Are Hot

Dubbed “bonnet rippers” by journalists who have suggested that the books are a kind of “Fifty Shades of Grey” for church ladies, Amish romance novels are written and read mostly, but not exclusively, by evangelical Christian women. “Getting Dirty in Dutch Country” is how a headline in Bloomberg Businessweek described the genre.

But evangelical erotica this is not. The stories feature suitors whose suspenders stay put. “The longer he stood so close to her, the stronger the need to kiss her lips became,” writes Ms. Woodsmall of her hero’s thoughts in “When the Heart Cries.” “But he was afraid she might not appreciate that move.”

Readers of Amish fiction are looking not for racy stories, but for romances in which the trinity of modesty, chastity and fidelity reign. While the books often feature a female protagonist that falls in love with a man outside of her community, the relationship always remains sweetly romantic.

Read it all.

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

(CP) Samuel Rodriguez–Religious Liberty and Complacent Christianity

…we live in a time where the very freedom to express our respective faith narratives stands threatened. In essence, we’ve never been down this road before. From the HHS mandate requiring religious organizations to sacrifice conviction on the altar of political expediency to businesses such as Hobby Lobby required to abandon conscience or suffer the consequences of continued litigation; freedom of religion in America can best be characterized in the year 2013 as nothing other than an “endangered species.”

For that matter, we must embrace one simple truth: as people of faith, we cannot be silent while our sacred liberty lies threatened. We cannot be silent while Billy and Franklin Graham suffer the wrath of Uncle Sam via the conduit of an IRS audit for the simple act of articulating biblical truth. We cannot be silent while our Catholic brothers and sisters pay the penalty of non- compliance with a health care mandate obligating the rendering of services that run counter to the very ethos centered around the sacredness of life ”“ in and out of the womb.

Silence is not an option.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(First Things) Gerald McDermott–No, the God of the Qur’an is Not the God of the Bible

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Since the devastating attacks of 9/11””when the world saw afresh that religion has geo-political consequences, and that Islam is the most volatile religion on the world’s stage””more and more Christians have been asking this question.

Yale theologian Miroslav Volf answers the question in a recent book (Allah: A Christian Response) with a nuanced but insistent Yes: Christians and Muslims do indeed worship the same God. In a review of Volf’s book, Baylor historian Thomas Kidd faults Volf for sidestepping the question of salvation””and therefore the question of true worship””and for not being critical enough in his evaluation of the identity of the God or gods of these two religions.

Kidd is quite right; indeed, there are deeper problems with Volf’s thesis. His argument for the identity of the Muslim and Christian Gods collapses under its own weight. Volf’s own logic underscores what the Qur’an itself suggests””that the God of the Qur’an is radically different from the God Christians worship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

Notable and Quotable (I)

“Clutter is the disease of American writing….We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.”

–William Zinsser in a profile article in the N.Y. Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Education

([London] Times) Vicar in unholy row over expletive about Archbishop Welby

The Church of England has admonished one of its priests for calling the Archbishop of Canterbury a “w****r” on Facebook in a row over gay marriage. The Rev Marcus Ramshaw, who like Justin Welby trained for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall, Durham, also described him as a “massive mistake”.

After the Archbishop spoke against gay marriage in the House of Lords, Mr Ramshaw called for a petition to be set up urging him to resign….

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Church Times) Bishops divided as Same Sex Marriage Bill passes in Lords

Fourteen diocesan bishops were present at the vote on a wrecking amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Tuesday night, the largest number to attend a vote in recent times.

Of the 14, nine voted for Lord Dear’s wrecking amendment to deny the Bill a second reading. Five abstained. The nine were: the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishops of Bristol, Birmingham, Chester, Coventry, Exeter, Hereford, London, and Winchester. The Bishops of Derby, Guildford, Leicester, Norwich, and St Edmundsbury & Ipswich abstained.

The amendment was rejected in the House of Lords by 390 votes to 148. Several Christian Peers spoke in favour of the Bill. Lord Black of Brentwood, a Christian in a civil partnership, said: “I support it because I am a Christian and I believe we are all equal in the eyes of God, and should be so under man’s laws.”

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God and Heavenly Father, who by thy divine providence has appointed for each of us our work in life, and hast commanded us that we should not be slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving thee; help us always to remember that our work is thy appointment, and to do it heartily as unto thee. Preserve us from slothfulness, and make us to live with loins girded and lamps burning, that whensoever our Lord may come, we may be found striving earnestly to finish the work that thou hast given us to do; through the same Jesus Christ our Saviour.

–E. M. Goulburn

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God. “And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father; and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians treated us harshly, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. Then we cried to the LORD the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

–Deuteronomy 26:4-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Washington Post) U.S. secretly mining data from Internet firms

The NSA and FBI are tapping into the servers of nine U.S. Internet firms, extracting audio, video, photos, e-mails and documents that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Church Times) Political-theology book wins Ramsey Prize

The Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing 2013 has been awarded to Dr Luke Bretherton for his book Christianity and Contemporary Politics, published by Wiley-Blackwell, it was announced…[last] week….

The prize was presented by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams of Oystermouth at the Telegraph Hay Festival…. Dr Bretherton, who is now the Associate Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University Divinity School in the United States, was formerly Reader in Theology and Politics at King’s College, London. His book was described by Lord Williams as “a finely argued theological take on the situation we face, based on practical examples and resources”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AP) Federal court considers S.C. Episcopal division

Attorneys for the diocese asked Houck on Thursday to move the case back into state court.

“Under federal law, there is no basis for federal jurisdiction,” attorney Alan Runyon said. He said property issues and the use of the diocesan name can be resolved under state law and don’t raise any constitutional issues.

He argued that under the South Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act, a nonprofit’s membership in a large group is voluntary and it can end the association if it wants. “That doesn’t change because they are religious organizations,” he said.

But Matthew McGill, representing the diocese of parishes remaining with the national church, said the case concerns the First Amendment protections of freedom of religion.

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