Daily Archives: June 12, 2013

Jim Henderson Talks to NPR's Ira Glass about Christians

How does Ira feel about Christians? His response may surprise you. He shares about Christians in his life whom he “adores”. He talks about including faith as part of peoples normal lives. Watch it all here (just under 6 minutes) and there is another interesting segment on the Christian story there. Also, you can find even more material by going there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Daily Beast) Jacob Heilbrunn–1913:The World Before the Fall

Why did it all go wrong? Was it inevitable? And does the collapse of peace and economic interdependence, at a historical moment when you didn’t even need a passport to visit a neighboring European country, suggest any lessons for our own age?

In 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War, Charles Emmerson offers a close look at the year before the war broke out. With the looming 100th anniversary of World War I, a spate of books about the not-so-Great War have begun to emerge. Emmerson’s effort stands out for several reasons. First, Emmerson ranges widely, from Germany to Paris, from Bombay to Tokyo. Second, he is a sparkling writer, his narrative rarely flags, and he has amassed a startling amount of detail. His aim is to show that while there were latent tensions in 1913, it would be wrong to suppose that government officials or citizens assumed that conflict was inevitable. It was a year of possibilities, not predestination. Still, the lurch into war does provide a reminder that comity and financial interdependence between nations can quickly devolve into war, particularly countries that are boisterously seeking, as China does today, their place in the sun, as Wilhelmine Germany once did. But once the bellicosities were initiated””triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip””all bets were off. The Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig recalled, “All the bridges between our today and our yesterday and our yesteryears have been burnt.” The “golden age of security,” he lamented, “was gone.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History

Diocese of Milwaukee Episcopal church remains vacant after split

Once home to St. Edmond’s Episcopal Church, an empty building at 14625 Watertown Plank Road in Elm Grove serves as a reminder of an emotional church split that ended in a lawsuit over property disagreements.

The 125-member congregation was the first in the state to announce its split with the Episcopal Church in the United States in 2008 and joined the Convocation of Anglicans of North America, part of the more conservative Anglican Church of Nigeria.

The split was prompted by theological differences, including the Diocese of New Hampshire’s consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Milwaukee, TEC Departing Parishes

Morning Food for Thought–Walter Brueggemann on Preaching in Mainline Churches

The term liberal most comprehensively relates to Enlightenment rationality, which posits an autonomous self which can arrive at a one-dimensional certitude. With regard to scripture study it refers to historical criticism, which seeks to locate each text in context and to contain it therein.

When applied to preaching, the liberal approach may take one of two extreme forms. The progressive option features a kind of naturalism that refuses the notion of revelation and the supernaturalism of miracles, along with the tradition that attested them. One can see how historical criticism helped to explain away what was unintelligible to this rationality: “It is the Sea of Reeds, not the Red Sea.” The second liberal approach, in response to such progressivism, is a conservative attempt to reduce unmanageable mystery to a set of propositions that can provide a reassuring certitude.

Both modes of liberal preaching are alive and well as the body of Christ is divided up, like Christ’s robe, into blue and red. The problem with such approaches is that they leave one with nothing to say: nothing for progressives to express except ethical admonitions, nothing for conservatives to convey except concepts, neither telling any gospel news that could be transformative. Progressives have been epistemologically embarrassed by the gospel, and conservatives are tempted to a reductionism that knows too much.

Christian Century, June 12, 2013 edition

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Ken Connor–Vive La France: The Same Sax Marriage Debate is About the Children

For years, the LGBT movement has invoked the twin spectres of equality and human rights in their war against traditional marriage. Defenders of the “one man, one woman” model for marriage have been slandered as hateful bigots who would relegate same-sex couples to second-class status. We’ve been told that the “march towards marriage equality” is inevitable, that we’re on the “wrong side of history.” We’ve been told that the embrace of alternative relationship models is the way of the future.

As society continues to “progress” towards greater equality and enlightenment, more and more people will recognize that traditional notions of gender and sex are stifling and archaic. Increasingly, it’s being asserted that opposition to this view constitutes a danger to society that must be eliminated through force of law. Freedom of speech and religion are being threatened in the name of tolerance and equality. If the LGBT agenda is successful, defenders of traditional marriage will be hamstrung in their efforts by the threat of legal prosecution and the certainty of social ostracism.

In the face of such vitriol, traditionalists have struggled to find a coherent, compassionate, and compelling response. We’ve allowed the histrionics of hyperbole and red herring tactics to distract and disorient us. In France, there is no such confusion. Defenders of traditional marriage are very clear about why the institution must remain as it’s always been: it’s about the children.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology

A PR from the brand New TEC Diocese in South Carolina on the recent Legal Ruling

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

Ed Stetzer–Turkey: What to Know and How to Pray

If there was a Bible belt over 1,500 years ago, it was in Turkey. However, that changed with the rise of Islam and its eventual conquest of the region. Then, a few centuries later, the area would be at the heart of one of the world’s most powerful empires, the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

After the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey took a road less traveled among majority Islamic nations””it leaned toward Europe rather than the Middle East.

Turkey has more recently been seen as a moderate Muslim country, though some (including the current President) reject that terminology, and there are troubling signs for the future.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Turkey, Violence

(BBC Magazine) The gay people against gay marriage

After France’s first same-sex marriage, and a vote in the UK Parliament which puts England and Wales on course for gay weddings next summer, two US Supreme Court rulings expected soon could hasten the advance of same-sex marriage across the Atlantic. But some gay people remain opposed. Why?

“It’s demonstrably not the same as heterosexual marriage – the religious and social significance of a gay wedding ceremony simply isn’t the same.”

Jonathan Soroff lives in liberal Massachusetts with his male partner, Sam. He doesn’t fit the common stereotype of an opponent of gay marriage.

But like half of his friends, he does not believe that couples of the same gender should marry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Sexuality, Theology

Peter Ould–Understanding the C of E Bishops

There’s been a lot of nonsense written about what the statement from the Bishop of Leicester following the Second Reading in the Lords of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill actually means, chiefly down to the spin that the Telegraph put on it. However, if you read the statement carefully you can see that the Church of England has not surrendered on the Bill and in fact may very well continue to oppose it in Committee stage and at a Third Reading.

Let’s read what the Bishop actually wrote, not what others are implying he wrote.

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 “.

Read it all.

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

(Living Church) Executive Council Wrestles with Budget

The Rev. Susan Snook of Arizona said the Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission’s subcommittee on the budget wants to “engage the church in a discussion of the fact that not all dioceses meet their full asking percentage formula.”

A table on the Episcopal Church’s website listing diocesan commitments and payments indicates that just 41 of the 110 dioceses pledged 19 percent or more for 2013.

“Susan is absolutely right when she says that in one sense there are absolutely no consequences to non-payment in the sense that there are no penalties, but there are huge consequences to not paying the asking,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop of Ohio. “The consequences are that we are not able to do the work that God has proffered for us to do in the ways that we envision doing it productively in the church, so it is a really important discussion for us to have.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who sendest forth the light, createst the morning, and makest the sun to rise on the good and the evil: Enlighten the blindness of our minds with the knowledge of the truth; lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, that in thy light we may see light, and, at the last, in the light of grace the light of glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ”˜Trade with these till I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent an embassy after him, saying, ”˜We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading.
The first came before him, saying, ”˜Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.’ And he said to him, ”˜Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ”˜Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ And he said to him, ”˜And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ”˜Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ”˜I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ”˜Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has the ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ”˜Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ”˜I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.’”

–Luke 19:11-27

Posted in Uncategorized

An ENS Article: Federal judge remands lawsuit to state court

Read it all.

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

Alan Haley Analyzes Senior District Judge C. Weston Houck's reasoning in Yesterday's S.C. Ruling

In the… [crucial] section of his order, Judge Houck sets out the law that is applicable to these various claims and assertions (“Standard of Review”). Citing another 4th Circuit case which is binding upon him, Judge Houck writes: “Thus, ‘(i)f a plaintiff can establish, without the resolution of an issue of federal law, all of the essential elements of his state law claim, then the claim does not necessarily depend on a question of federal law.” To determine this question, the U.S. Supreme Court requires a federal court to which a state-law case has been removed to analyze whether or not the federal claim involved is “substantial”, or is merely an incident to the dispute:

Under the substantial federal question doctrine, “federal jurisdiction over a state law claim will lie if a federal issue is: (1) necessarily raised, (2) actually disputed, (3) substantial, and (4) capable of resolution in federal court without disrupting the federal-state balance approved by Congress.” … If the defendant fails to demonstrate all four of these elements, removal is improper under this doctrine.

Now Judge Houck turns to a detailed analysis of the defendants’ arguments to see how they fare under each of the four prongs of this test. He preliminarily disposes of the defendants’ claims concerning the Lanham (federal trademark) Act, and observes that the plaintiffs had the absolute right to base their complaint upon State trademark law only. Thus the fact that there may be federal-law claims assertable in addition to the state-law ones pled in the complaint is irrelevant to the analysis.

And in a few thoroughly researched and well-written pages, Judge Houck now demonstrates how insubstantial are the defendants’ federal-law arguments. He takes each of the four prongs one by one, and shows how the defendants’ arguments fail to satisfy any of them. ((That is why Judge Houck’s order would almost certainly be upheld if defendants were able to appeal from it (see below). Failing four out of four grounds of the test does not even make this a close case….)

Read it all and please note that there is a link provded to the full document from the Judge for those of you interested in such things–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

Monday Afternoon Encouragement–One Dad helping those with autism find technology jobs

Dan Selec, whose son was diagnosed with autism, had a big idea: to train and then hire autistic students to work with technology. In 2008 he founded his nonprofit, the nonPareil Institute, which teaches software skills to those with autism and then hires many of them. Now, these workers are increasingly finding themselves in demand for the skills they’ve learned.

Watch the whole wonderful video report.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Men, Science & Technology, Theology

An AP Article–Battle between SC Episcopalians back to State Court

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck has ruled that the legal fight over names and property between two factions of South Carolina Episcopalians is a matter for state court.

Houck, who heard arguments last week and issued an order Monday, ruled that the First Amendment is not a main point of contention and that hearing the case in federal court would disrupt the balance between state and federal courts.

Read it all.

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