Daily Archives: June 13, 2013

(Christianity Today) Mark Galli–God's Omniscience and his Terrifying Grace

The very thing that makes us feel trapped””God’s omniscience””is the very thing that reveals the depth of God’s grace. If we can muster the courage to allow God’s omniscience to judge us, we will see that before and after the righteous judgment, there has been the omniscience of grace. Let me give an example of an early experience of this.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Soteriology, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

(CC Blogs) Daniel Schultz–How should Christians think about PRISM?

I’d suggest three ways to look at this issue through the lens of faith:

Government has a legitimate purpose and authority, but dividing citizens from one another should never be part of it. We should demand safeguards to prevent PRISM and similar programs from being used for repressive purposes. At a minimum, this ought to include full disclosure of the government’s purpose and methods here. (Lest you think this is a hypothetical concern, remember that the FBI has surveilled groups such as the American Friends Service Committee as recently as 2006.)

Surveillance comes about as part of the government’s promise to keep us safe and secure. But only God can provide ultimate security””not invulnerability to threat but God’s transformative support and presence amid our vulnerability. We follow the one who went to his death rather than depend on armed revolution to accomplish his goals. We should be relentless in questioning the government’s claims about what we need to be protected from and how.

Our connections to others make us human.

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

(NCR) John Allen–The Vatican's 'gay lobby,' round two

It should be stressed that the reports in the air today are based on leaked notes from the meeting with Francis, and the Vatican has refused to confirm or deny their content, so we don’t actually know what the pope said. Nonetheless, because the “gay lobby” business is back in the headlines, I’ll repeat here what I said in February.

Bottom line: It’s no secret there are gays in the Vatican, and it’s reasonable to think officials would be concerned that insiders with a secret to keep might be vulnerable to various kinds of pressure. The issue, in other words, isn’t so much their sexuality, but rather the potential for manipulation anytime someone serving the pope is leading a double life. That said, there’s also no evidence this was the “real” reason Benedict quit just as there’s no reason to believe now that Francis is on the cusp of launching an anti-gay witch hunt.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Italy, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Archbishop Justin Welby calls for the banking industry "to be good"

Speaking at St Paul’s Cathedral this evening, Archbishop Justin said there will never be “perfect” banks, because “in the end no human being is of themselves perfectly good.”

But the Archbishop said we can have “potentially good banks”, which are motivated by virtue and not just financial bonuses and penalties.

Such a banking system would be “realistic” about human fallibility, but “optimistic” about human potential, he said.-

Read it all and note the audio link to the full address.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Aswat Masriya) Egyptian author sentenced to five years for insulting religion

Egyptian author Karam Saber said that a misdemeanor court in Beni Suef sentenced him to five years on Wednesday on charges of insulting religion in a collection of short stories he wrote two years ago titled “Where is God?”

The politically active author told Aswat Masriya in a phone call on Wednesday that he plans to appeal the verdict through a legal challenge he will present to the court tomorrow.

Charges of “insulting religion” against authors, artists, television hosts and Coptic Christians have increased in recent months.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Anglican Journal) Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis to meet later this week

The Most Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will pay a brief, informal visit to Pope Francis I in Rome on June 14. According to a Lambeth Palace statement, it will be a “personal and fraternal” visit.

It will be the first meeting between the two prelates since their inaugurations in March. The two church leaders share a commitment to global justice, ethical regulation of financial markets and conflict resolution.

“This visit is an opportunity for the Archbishop and Pope Francis to review the present state of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion,” said a statement issued by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

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

([London] Times) Churches to quit the Kirk over ordination of ministers in same sex relationships

The Church of Scotland was last night bracing itself for the departure of up to a dozen well-heeled congregations over the issue of the ordination of gay ministers.
Three new congregations have indicated that they will quit the Kirk in the first signs of division to emerge since the vote to allow gay ministers.
New Restalrig Parish Church, St Catherine’s Argyle Parish Church and Holyrood Abbey Church in Edinburgh are in the process of negotiating a depart

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

Mark Pinsky–NBC’s ”˜Save Me’ may need rescuing

For some reason, audiences have no problem when God, faith and religion are regular elements of animated comedies such as “The Simpsons,” ”˜’Family Guy” and “South Park.” Psychologically, a cartoon Jesus on the small screen is okay in ways that a live-action Jesus is not.

But with live action sitcoms, success is more difficult to predict. And when the family at the center of show is not Christian the premise can be an especially tough sell. The Canadian Broadcasting Company’s critically lauded “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” lasted from 2007-2012, but with steadily declining ratings.

A critical factor for “Save Me,” which concludes its limited run Thursday (June 13), was how viewers would receive Heche as a Cincinnati housewife and former weekend television weathercaster who converses with God.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

The Ballad of God-Makers for G.K. Chesterton's soon to be Feast Day

A bird flew out at the break of day
From the nest where it had curled,
And ere the eve the bird had set
Fear on the kings of the world.

The first tree it lit upon
Was green with leaves unshed;
The second tree it lit upon
Was red with apples red;

The third tree it lit upon
Was barren and was brown,
Save for a dead man nailed thereon
On a hill above a town.
That night the kings of the earth were gay
And filled the cup and can;
Last night the kings of the earth were chill
For dread of a naked man.

”˜If he speak two more words,’ they said,
”˜The slave is more than the free;
If he speak three more words,’ they said,
”˜The stars are under the sea.’

Said the King of the East to the King of the West,
I wot his frown was set,
”˜Lo, let us slay him and make him as dung,
It is well that the world forget.’

Said the King of the West to the King of the East,
I wot his smile was dread,
”˜Nay, let us slay him and make him a god,
It is well that our god be dead.’

They set the young man on a hill,
They nailed him to a rod;
And there in darkness and in blood
They made themselves a god.

And the mightiest word was left unsaid,
And the world had never a mark,
And the strongest man of the sons of men
Went dumb into the dark.

Then hymns and harps of praise they brought,
Incense and gold and myrrh,
And they thronged above the seraphim,
The poor dead carpenter.

”˜Thou art the prince of all,’ they sang,
”˜Ocean and earth and air.’
Then the bird flew on to the cruel cross,
And hid in the dead man’s hair.

”˜Thou art the son of the world.’ they cried, `
”˜Speak if our prayers be heard.’
And the brown bird stirred in the dead man’s hair
And it seemed that the dead man stirred.

Then a shriek went up like the world’s last cry
From all nations under heaven,
And a master fell before a slave
And begged to be forgiven.

They cowered, for dread in his wakened eyes
The ancient wrath to see;
And a bird flew out of the dead Christ’s hair,
And lit on a lemon tree.

–G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Church History, Poetry & Literature, Theology

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of G. K. Chesterton

O God of earth and altar, who didst give G. K. Chesterton a ready tongue and pen, and inspired him to use them in thy service: Mercifully grant that we may be inspired to witness cheerfully to the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast made the heaven and the earth and all that is good and lovely therein, and hast shown us through Jesus our Lord that the secret of joy is a heart free from selfish desires: Help us to find delight in simple things, and ever to rejoice in the riches of thy bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven””whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise””whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows”” and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

–2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop of London–Baby boomers are now “absorbing” more than their fair share

Baby boomers are a “fortunate generation” who have enjoyed dramatic improvements in living standards but are now “absorbing” more than their fair share of taxpayers’ money, one of the Church of England’s most senior clerics has suggested.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, who is 65, said there were “severe questions” about the share of government spending that goes on his own generation.
He said the world was in the midst of a transformation that had left many believing that our best days could be “behind us”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Middle Age, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Taxes, Theology

Bishop Miller of TEC Diocese of Milwaukee writes on the Blessing of Same-Gender Relationshi

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reasonable Faith) A Muslim Considers Christianity

Hello Dr. Craig,

I would first like to acknowledge your intellectual and humble manner in defending Christianity. I am Muslim though and I have a few questions for you about Islam that you might answer. I would tremendously appreciate it if you could answer back, I am on the brink of considering Christianity but I want answers:

1) is it true Mohammed took the Gospel of Jesus from the Bible and twisted/perverted it for his own benefits?

2) does Islam have an experiential reality (like modern day miracles, visions from Muhammad) if so what is the best explanation for that?

3) if I became a Christian and asked God sincerely to reveal Jesus to me in a supernatural form, will it happen?

Read it all and see what you make of his answers.

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

(AP) Egyptian Christian teacher convicted of blasphemy

An Egyptian court has convicted a Coptic Christian teacher of blasphemy but didn’t hand down a prison sentence and only imposed a fine on her.

The court on Tuesday ruled that elementary schoolteacher Dimyana Abdel-Nour had insulted Islam. It ordered that she pay a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($14,000). Abdel-Nour was not in the courtroom for the verdict.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture