Daily Archives: June 9, 2013

(StarPhoenix) In Saskatoon Some religious Groups support Pride Week

Less than half of the Anglican Church’s 30 Canadian dioceses bless same-sex marriages and not one performs same-sex marriages. The Saskatoon diocese does not bless same sex marriages.

[The Rev. Emily} Carr was married in a United church, not an Anglican Church.

“Getting married was a priority for me. It was something that I wanted to do. If it were to happen that I would lose my job – that was a possibility – I had to understand that was the decision I was making,” she said. “Fortunately for me, that didn’t happen.”

She believes the Anglican Church still has a long way to go in terms GLBT rights.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(ENS) TEC Dioceses of Chicago, Quincy unanimously agree to reunite

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

(Living Church) Wesley Hill reviews James Brownson's "Bible, Gender, Sexuality"

Brownson argues that….gender complementarity is nowhere “explicitly portrayed or discussed” in Scripture….[but] The flaw in this argument is, I suspect, not in the details but at its heart. Brownson maintains that the marital relationship established in Genesis 2:24 is not based on “gender complementarity.” One might be able to read Genesis 2:24 in its Old Testament context and arrive at that conclusion (though this might overlook the canonical movement from the necessity of procreation in the old covenant to the redefinition of family by “new birth” in the new), but the usage of the text in Ephesians 5 makes such a reading highly unlikely.

According to the christological meaning of Genesis 2:24 given in Ephesians 5:32, the difference between male and female becomes not incidental to the meaning of marriage but essential. God established marriage, Ephesians suggests, in order that it might be a sign (mysterion; sacramentum) of Christ’s love for the Church. In order for this parable to “work,” the difference between the covenant partners is required.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Atheists to unveil first monument to unbelief on public land

After years of fights over religious monuments on public land, a county courthouse in Northern Florida will soon be the home of the nation’s first monument to atheism on public property.

On June 29, the group American Atheists will unveil a 1,500-pound granite bench engraved with secular-themed quotations from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and its founder, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, among others, in front of the Bradford County Courthouse in Starke, Fla.

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

(CT) Lew Rinard–Like St. John of the Cross, we wait expectantly in the darkness

My spiritual director, a Norbertine Priest, diagnosed the problem as impasse and gave me an article by Constance Fitzgerald on the subject.

By impasse, I mean that there is no way out of, no way around, no rational escape from, what imprisons one, no possibilities in the situation. In a true impasse, every normal manner of acting is brought to a standstill, and ironically, impasse is experienced not only in the problem itself but also in any solution rationally attempted. Every logical solution remains unsatisfying, at the very least. The whole life situation suffers a depletion, has the word limits written upon it”¦.

This has been my relationship with the church for the past seven years””no way out of, no way around a sense of exile and alienation, despite much effort. Fitzgerald ties this to the teaching of the imprisoned 16th-century monk St. John of the Cross. In impasse, God is at work preparing us to know him in new ways. So, the proper response to impasse””as to the dark night””is not frantic effort, but simple, expectant waiting on God, “contenting [oneself] with merely a peaceful and loving attentiveness toward God, and in being without anxiety, without the ability and without desire to have experience of Him or to perceive Him,” as St. John of the Cross writes in The Dark Night of the Soul.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Wash. Post) D.C. gay pride parade includes contingent from Washington National Cathedral

Gary Hall’s pressed blue dress shirt and white clerical collar wasn’t the most head-turning look in a crowd that featured a lot of drag queens with towering bouffants, but his presence in Saturday’s gay pride parade through Washington was still a stunner for some.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, as he is formally known, led the first ever official contingent from Washington National Cathedral in the annual celebration of gay life in the District.

“I won’t be walking bare-chested. I’m kind of a reserved person,” Hall said with a laugh before setting out from the staging area just west of Dupont Circle. “But if my being seen in the parade is a visible sign that God loves and accepts people across the full spectrum of human sexuality, it will have achieved its purpose.”

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Missed opportunities sting South Carolina Baseball in super regional-opening loss at North Carolina

“The game was there for us to win,” said USC coach Chad Holbrook. “Sometimes you won’t have opportunities against (North Carolina). Today we had them. When you don’t execute and you don’t capitalize on the opportunities you have in this setting against a team like that, you’re not going to win. It came back to get us.”

The errors will sting the most, because USC’s bats were far from inefficient Saturday. The Tar Heels tied the game at two in the first inning when left fielder Graham Saiko dropped a routine fly ball that would have ended the inning, but instead allowed a run to score. In the third, North Carolina cut USC’s lead to 4-3 when Cody Stubbs doubled with two outs, and Moran scored from first because right fielder Connor Bright missed the cut-off man.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Men, Sports, Young Adults

(Local Paper) Walking together: A Christian student helps homeless man to try to walk again

Today, three to 25 volunteers from local churches show up to serve nearly 350 hot dogs most weekday evenings.

As more volunteers came, [Nathan] Mansell took time to talk with the people gathered, to learn their stories, to know them as more than masses at the ketchup line.

All signs warned him to stay away from [Mikell] Felder.

“Nobody wanted to talk to him because he was so mean to everybody,” Mansell recalls. “But for some reason, I felt called or led to help him.”

Mansell struck up some small talk and showed his concern.

“I’ve been an angry person. I would fight with you in a heartbeat,” Felder admits. “But he showed me love and cared about me.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Poverty, Religion & Culture

An LA Times Obituary on Will Campbell

The Rev. Will D. Campbell was a poor white boy from Mississippi who preached his first sermon from a pulpit stocked with a Bible from the Ku Klux Klan. But this son of the segregated South ”” a self-avowed “good ol’ boy with crazy ideas” ”” did not follow the conventional career path for a Southern Baptist minister in the 1950s.

He became the only white man admitted to the founding meeting of the seminal Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. That same year, when nine black students attempted to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., he was one of three white ministers who guided them past a fierce white mob. Later, when civil rights workers targeted Nashville lunch counters, he rounded up sympathetic whites to nudge the business owners toward integration.

Often his actions brought threats, such as the time when, as chaplain at the University of Mississippi, he openly played pingpong with a black person. The next thing he knew, someone had slipped excrement into his punch bowl….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(LAROB) Simon Critchley–John Gray’s Godless Mysticism: On "The Silence of Animals"

Human Beings do not just make killer apps. We are killer apes. We are nasty, aggressive, violent, rapacious hominids, what John Gray calls in his widely read 2002 book, Straw Dogs, homo rapiens. But wait, it gets worse. We are a killer species with a metaphysical longing, ceaselessly trying to find some meaning to life, which invariably drives us into the arms of religion. Today’s metaphysics is called “liberal humanism,” with a quasi-religious faith in progress, the power of reason and the perfectibility of humankind. The quintessential contemporary liberal humanists are those Obamaists, with their grotesque endless conversations about engagement in the world and their conviction that history has two sides, right and wrong, and they are naturally on the right side of it.

Gray’s most acute loathing is for the idea of progress, which has been his target in a number of books, and which is continued in the rather uneventful first 80 pages or so of The Silence of Animals. He allows that progress in the realm of science is a fact. (And also a good: as Thomas De Quincey remarked, a quarter of human misery results from toothache, so the discovery of anesthetic dentistry is a fine thing.) But faith in progress, Gray argues, is a superstition we should do without. He cites, among others, Conrad on colonialism in the Congo and Koestler on Soviet Communism (the Cold War continues to cast a long shadow over Gray’s writing) as evidence of the sheer perniciousness of a belief in progress. He contends, contra Descartes, that human irrationality is the thing most evenly shared in the world. To deny reality in order to sustain faith in a delusion is properly human. For Gray, the liberal humanist’s assurance in the reality of progress is a barely secularized version of the Christian belief in Providence.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

Max McLean, narrator of the Listener's Bible, speaks on the Genius of C.S. Lewis

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Art, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Poetry & Literature, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O God, that we who have been signed with the sign of the Cross in our baptism, may never be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, but may manfully fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil, and continue Christ’s faithful soldiers and servants unto our lives’ end.


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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. [Selah] Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! [Selah]

–Psalm 24

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NRO) Mark Steyn–The All-Seeing State: The inevitable corruption of the permanent bureaucracy

A few years ago, after one corruption scandal too many, the then Liberal government in Canada announced that, to prevent further outbreaks of malfeasance, it would be hiring 300 new federal auditors plus a bunch of ethics czars, and mandating “integrity provisions” in government contracts, including “prohibitions against paying, offering, demanding or accepting bribes.” There were already plenty of laws against bribery, but one small additional sign on the desk should do the trick: “Please do not attempt to bribe the Minister of the Crown as a refusal may offend. Also: He’s not allowed to bribe you, whatever he says.” A government that requires “integrity provisions” is by definition past the stage where they will do any good.

I thought of those Canadian Liberal “integrity provisions” passing a TV screen the other day and catching hack bureaucrats from the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Division reassuring Congress that systems had now been put in place to prevent them succumbing to the urge to put on Spock ears and moob-hugging blue polyester for the purposes of starring in a Star Trek government training video. The Small Business/Self-Employed Division had boldly gone where no IRS man had gone before ”” to a conference in Anaheim, where they were put up in $3,500-a-night hotel rooms and entertained by a man who was paid $27,500 to fly in and paint on stage a portrait of Bono. Bono is the veteran Irish rocker knighted by the Queen for his tireless campaign on behalf of debt forgiveness, which doesn’t sound the IRS’s bag at all. But don’t worry, debt forgiveness-wise Bono has Africa in mind, not New Jersey. And, as Matthew Cowart tweeted me the other day, he did have a big hit with “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which I believe is now the official anthem of the IRS Cincinnati office….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Canada, Economy, Psychology, The U.S. Government, Theology

500 years later, theological debate over God's Sovereignty and Human Will still simmers

Evangelism is a huge focus of Southern Baptist life and some non-Calvinists worry that the belief in predestination is incompatible with spreading the gospel.

“People involved will always say, ‘If you believe in Calvinism, you don’t believe in evangelism. If you believe everything is predetermined, why even bother to preach the gospel?” Kidd said. “But as it turns out, Calvinists have never acted that way in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

On Friday, a special advisory committee to SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page issued a statement meant to bring the two sides together and chart a way forward.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Baptists, Church History, Other Churches, Soteriology, Theology

Notable and Quotable

What the heart loves, the will chooses and the mind justifies

. –The Rev. Dr. Ashley Null, summarizing one aspect of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer’s theology

Posted in * General Interest, Anthropology, Notable & Quotable, Theology

(FT) Edward Luce–Urban Renewal: The future of the American city

In 2011, for the first time in more than 90 years, America’s largest cities registered higher population growth than their combined suburbs, according to William Frey, a leading demographer. The signs are this will continue. While the cities are gentrifying, many of America’s suburbs are heading downmarket. It is the invisible side of the same coin. Frey writes: “This puts the brakes on a longstanding staple of American life ”“ the pervasive suburbanisation of its population which began with widespread automobile use in the 1920s, to the present day, where more than half the US population lives in suburbs.”

Students of the “new urbanism”, such as Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, which argues that cities are the best Petri dishes for new ideas and innovation, say their revival is assisted by a generational shift in US culture as well as deeper economic trends. Florida, who now lives in Toronto, just 250 miles north of Detroit (but still a million miles in terms of its vibrancy), grew up in suburban New Jersey in a second-generation Italian-American family. Like so many other immigrants, his parents fled the claustrophobia of Newark for the freedom of the suburbs. “To them the city was a ghetto ”“ it was stifling and crowded and dangerous,” says Florida. “But to my generation, the suburbs represent a kind of poverty of living and it is the cities, rather than the suburbs, where you can breathe freely.”

In despair over City Hall’s standard revival package ”“ often little more than tax breaks for new sports stadiums and Vegas casinos ”“ the new urbanists believe the only worthwhile goal is to attract talent. Good jobs will follow. As Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, told the FT last year: “Talent attracts capital, not the other way round.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Urban/City Life and Issues