Daily Archives: June 15, 2013

Douglas Murray–Jonathan Sacks is right: the new atheists have only opened a discussion

I know there are some non-believers in particular who find this debate uncomfortable or frustrating. But my impression is that there are a far larger number who find it rewarding, having felt for some time that the discussion needs to go beyond the ”˜Is it true?’ rut. As the Chief Rabbi shows, the place the ”˜new atheists’ have taken the discussion to is not the end of a discussion but really just the beginning.

Read it all, also from The Spectator.

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

(Spectator) Jonathan Sacks–Atheism has failed. Only religion can defeat the new babarians

Some people get religion; others don’t. Why not leave it at that?

Fair enough, perhaps. But not, I submit, for readers of The Spectator, because religion has social, cultural and political consequences, and you cannot expect the foundations of western civilisation to crumble and leave the rest of the building intact. That is what the greatest of all atheists, Nietzsche, understood with terrifying clarity and what his -latter-day successors fail to grasp at all.

Time and again in his later writings he tells us that losing Christian faith will mean abandoning Christian morality. No more ”˜Love your neighbour as yourself’; instead the will to power. No more ”˜Thou shalt not’; instead people would live by the law of nature, the strong dominating or eliminating the weak. ”˜An act of injury, violence, exploitation or destruction cannot be “unjust” as such, because life functions essentially in an injurious, violent, exploitative and destructive manner.’ Nietzsche was not an anti-Semite, but there are passages in his writing that come close to justifying a Holocaust.

This had nothing to do with him personally and everything to do with the logic of Europe losing its Christian ethic….

Read it all.

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

(Bap. Stan.) Vicki Brown–Denominations””dying or transforming into something new?

“Denominationalism is not dead but, increasingly, it’s only one of several options for organizing the church in America,” explained Baptist historian Bill Leonard, the James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Baptist Studies and professor of church history at Wake Forest School of Divinity.

Increasing pluralism in the United States and the decreasing influence of Protestantism are forcing denominational leaders to ask hard questions about identity, viability and relevance.

Pluralism, “which Baptists helped put into place,” is becoming more normative, Leonard said. The rise of the “nones”””people with no connection to organized religion”” also plays into the challenges denominations face.

Gone are the days when communities formulated policy and activities around the church. “We are living through the death rattle of the Protestant privilege,” Leonard said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Disciples of Christ, Evangelicals, History, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ

A.S. Haley–Another California Judge Denies Summary Relief to TEC

Judge Reed explains the importance of Section 20.01(g) of the Canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin, and for this once, turns the tables on ECUSA by saying that it never objected to that Canon:

As to the issue of the parish’s right to disaffiliate from the church, it is undisputed that Canon XX, section 20.01(g) of the Diocese of San Joaquin has been an adopted canon of the diocese for many years, and that the plain language of section 20.01(g) allows for disaffiliation of the parish upon the written approval of the bishop of the diocese.

Plaintiffs argue that section 20.01(g) is invalid because Episcopal Church rules do not allow for a parish to disaffiliate. They base their contention upon church rules that indicate parish canons may not conflict with church rules and that parish property is to be held in trust for the church. However, the evidence before the court does not show that the Episcopal Church has objected to section 20.01(g) in the past, or taken any action to remove it from the diocese’s canons. Moreover, other church rules appear to give broad authority to bishops, such as Episcopal Church Canon II.6 which authorizes a parish to encumber parish property with consent of the bishop.

After years of hearing courts say that dioceses and parishes never objected to the Dennis Canon before the current disputes arose, this opinion comes as a breath of fresh air, by turning the same point against ECUSA.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

[C of E Vicar] David Keen–We Must Face into An epidemic of family breakdown on Father's Day Weekend

92% of lone parent families are headed by the mother. Even at birth, 20% of children live with only 1 parent, by the time they are teenagers this is nearly 50%. For up to 3 million children tomorrow will be Absent Fathers Day, and here are some of the the consequences:
Children who experience family breakdown are more likely to

–experience behavioural problems;
–perform less well in school;
–need more medical treatment;
–leave school and home earlier;
–become sexually active, pregnant or a parent at an early age;
and report more depressive symptoms and higher levels of smoking, drinking and other drug use during adolescence and adulthood.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Spartanburg, South Carolina Baptist minister lobbies for immigration reform

A Southern Baptist from Spartanburg with no political experience walked the halls of Capitol Hill on Wednesday with his wife, lobbying Congress to support immigration reform as a moral issue.

Jim Goodroe, director of missions for the Spartanburg County Baptist Network, has ministered to the immigrant community of Spartanburg for the last 12 years. His wife, Nancy, teaches young children who don’t speak English as a first language.

The Goodroes are well-versed on visas and green cards and the struggles involved in migrating to a foreign country. But the political arena is a new world to them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Senate, Theology

NPR Marketplace with Harvard's Michael Sandel–When Nearly Everything is Commodified, what is lost?

We wanted to know the costs of all this buying and lusting for more, so we flew to Boston to talk with Harvard professor Michael Sandel. He wrote “What Money Can’t Buy, The Moral Limits of Markets.” It tells the story of how we’ve gone from having a market economy, to being a market society where everything is for sale.

Sandel points out all sorts of ways money has changed the game [of baseball]. One of them, the way corporate sponsorship has worked its way into the very language of the game.

“The insurance company New York Life,” he says, “has a deal with several teams that requires announcers to say the following line whenever there’s a close call at the plate: ‘Safe at home. Safe and secure, New York Life.’”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Apologetics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Psychology, Stewardship, Theology

(ACNS) Archbishop Justin Welby meets Pope Francis in Rome

The Archbishop and the Pope affirmed the bonds of “friendship” and “love” between Roman Catholics and Anglicans when they met for the first time in Rome this morning

In their first meeting, Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis both spoke this morning of the bonds of “friendship” and “love” between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The two leaders agreed that the fruits of this dialogue and relationship have the potential to empower Christians around the world to demonstrate the love of Christ.

Read it all.

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

(Vatican Radio 2) Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury pledge to work together towards reconciliation

Pope Francis met on Friday with the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, stressing the need to work and worship together in the search for reconciliation and unity between the Catholic and Anglican communities. Philippa Hitchen was on hand in the library of the Apostolic Palace to hear what the Pope and the Archbishop had to say….

Read and listen to it all.

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

(Vatican Radio 1) Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury: twins in prayer and spirituality

At the end of his first visit to the Vatican, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he and Pope Francis shared ideas on economic justice, on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, but also on their deeply personal experiences of God’s calling in their daily lives.

Following their morning audience and joint prayer service, the leader of the Anglican Communion described the Pope as a man of “extraordinary humanity, on fire with the Spirit of Christ”. While admitting there are obstacles on the road to reconciliation between Anglicans and Catholics, he said he sensed a new vigour and common commitment “to prove the radicality” of the Christian Gospel.

Speaking to Philippa Hitchen in the garden of the Venerable English College at the end of the brief visit, the archbishop said he and the Pope also joked about the way they had inaugurated their ministries within two days of each other earlier this year”¦”¦

Read and listen to it all.

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

(LA Times) IMF warns U.S. not to scale back its Fiscal Stimulus Program too soon

Amid speculation that the Federal Reserve soon might start scaling back its stimulus efforts, the International Monetary Fund cautioned that a pullback before next year could hurt economies worldwide.

Highlighting its concern Friday, the IMF lowered its forecast for U.S. economic growth next year to 2.7% from an earlier projection of 3%.

The IMF also criticized U.S. fiscal policy, calling for the repeal of the automatic federal spending cuts, known as the sequester, and urging lawmakers to act promptly to raise the nation’s debt limit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Evelyn Underhill

O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all creatures: Grant that thy Church, taught by thy servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by thy power, and guided by thy Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to thee all glory and thanksgiving, and attain with thy saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast promised us by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Eternal God, whose majesty is revealed in mercy: Grant that as we draw near to thee thy truth may set us free from the bondage of our own thoughts and desires, and that as we abide in thee our prayers may be an instrument of thy righteous will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Leslie Hunter

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

At the set time which I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars….

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up; but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

–Psalm 75: 2-3; 6-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(News and Observer) John Murawski–Christians and Jews in North Carolina confront ancient feuds

Last fall, a group of strangers in Raleigh undertook a seemingly puny attempt at repairing a family dysfunction that shook the Middle East some 2,000 years ago.

Two dozen Christians and Jews filed into the all-purpose room at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, not exactly sure what awaited them. For the next six months, we earnestly discussed history, theology, readings, biblical passages and our personal reflections and experiences.

If I had to summarize the point of the half-year-long interfaith project while standing on one leg, I’d put it this way: Treat other religions as you’d like your religion to be treated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths