Daily Archives: June 18, 2013

Peter Moore–My Muslim Encounter in London

While listening to a fiery preacher of the gospel I observed three young men in their thirties just to my right giggling at and mocking the preacher’s insistence that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Here was my opportunity.

They were Muslims, and soon we were talking about how Jesus could be both the Son of God and at the same time one with the Father. I asked them if they had read the Injeel, the Arabic word for the Gospels, since Mohammed said that Jesus was a prophet and that God had given us the Gospels. “Ah, but the Injeel has been corrupted,” they said. “But why if God is all powerful would he have allowed his word to be corrupted?” I asked them. No answer.

Our conversation ranged on a wide variety of subjects including Jihad (they insisted that those who interpreted Jidad violently were not “real” Muslims), suicide bombers (again they were not real Muslims), and whether those who followed Jesus caused wars or believed in turning the other cheek. When I turned my cheek and asked one of them to hit me, they all smiled (as did I), but they knew I meant it.
– See more at: http://www.stmichaelschurch.net/my-muslim-encounter-in-london/#sthash.EQYEeald.dpuf

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

(RNS) Study says gays find most U.S. faiths unfriendly

Gay Americans are much less religious than the general U.S. population, and about three in 10 of them say they have felt unwelcome in a house of worship, a new study shows.

The Pew Research Center’s study, released Thursday (June 13), details how gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans view many of the country’s prominent faiths: in a word, unfriendly.

The vast majority said Islam (84 percent); the Mormon church (83 percent); the Roman Catholic Church (79 percent); and evangelical churches (73 percent) were unfriendly. Jews and nonevangelical Protestants drew a more mixed reaction, with more than 40 percent considering them either unfriendly or neutral about gays and lesbians.

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

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(All Africa) Men's fellowship of Anglican Cathedral in Kubwa Donates 3.5 million Naira to 3 widowers

Three male widowers were last Sunday empowered by the men’s fellowship of the Cathedral Church of St. Batholomew, Kubwa, with the sum of N3.5million to assist them in taking care of their families.

The President of the fellowship, Innocent Ekeopara, who spoke to our reporter, said the gesture is in line with the organisation’s mandate to empathise with members, who are faced with financial challenges.

He said the assumption that some men who lost their wives would not find it difficult in taking up the family responsibilities might be wrong especially when the woman was the bread winner before her demise.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of Nigeria, Marriage & Family, Men, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Women

(Sightings) Martin Marty–Demographic Changes Impact Religious Institutions

Today census data reveals fewer lasting marriages, fewer marriages, more interfaith (and often religiously “diluting”) families, women adding work outside of the home to their work in the home, the mobility and the rootlessness that goes with this–all of these factors at odds with the traditional, habitual, reflexive identification of a people with a religious membership or involvement.

The heirs of the dwindling white majority can complain or explain, or they can accept the changes and help re-conceive religious commitment. The trends suggest opportunities for Hispanic Catholicism, Black Protestantism, and Asian faith with whatever affiliation. As for non-Hispanic whites, the trends are a wake-up call, occasions to discern opportunities, and to pursue the paths of God, as they see these, in an ever-changing America. The response begins with showing awareness, but that’s not all. We’ll continue to document changes.

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

(Wash. Post) University programs that train U.S. teachers get mediocre marks in first-ever ratings

The vast majority of the 1,430 education programs that prepare the nation’s K-12 teachers are mediocre, according to a first-ever ranking that immediately touched off a firestorm.

Released Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based advocacy group, the rankings are part of a $5 million project funded by major U.S. foundations. Education secretaries in 21 states have endorsed the report, but some universities and education experts quickly assailed the review as incomplete and inaccurate.

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

(Globe and Mail) Omer El Akkad–Why privacy is the price of digital-age communication

The myth of perfectly secure communication is dying.

Since the revelations of widespread intelligence-agency eavesdropping on the digital communications of millions of people in the United States and around the world, governments and technology companies have been under immense pressure to explain exactly how pervasive the monitoring has become. Users of e-mail and social networks provided by the likes of Google Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have found themselves asking whether there are any means of keeping their data totally secure.

The short answer, it seems, is that there isn’t. And new revelations suggest that even the BlackBerry, touted by Research In Motion Ltd. as the most secure form of wireless communication in the market, could not clock the prying eyes of government.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

Fire destroys Anglican Church in the Diocese of Edmonton

A fire destroyed St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Morinville early Sunday, the second church fire in the town in nine months.

Morinville RCMP officers and about 20 volunteer fire fighters from Morinville and Legal responded to the blaze at 107th Street and 100th Avenue at 2:30 a.m. No one was injured. The cause is under investigation.

When Tracy Roulston, chief of the Legal fire department, and his five member crew arrived, he said the fire was “as big as they get.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry

(C of E) Tools for the 'S' curve of priestly ministry

Priests working through the ”˜S curve’ of change in their ministry should seek inspiration from 20th Century poet and priest RS Thomas and the film Of Gods and Men, suggests the book Moving on in Ministry. Being launched this week at the Seventh Annual Faith in Research conference at Church House, London, the book comprises essays focusing on transition and change by respected authors in their fields*.

Realising that development can slow down then speed up in an ”˜S’ shape , and can actually take place without moving to a new role, the book encourages priests to make reflective and practical responses to moving on in ministry. It begins with an essay by Tim Harle on the ”˜S Curve’, to help priests identify where they are in the process of accommodating the change they are experiencing; and also to help them “live comfortably out of control”.

Mark Pryce uses the poetry metaphors for priesthood of RS Thomas to analyse change, looking particularly at the “self-in-relation to God” and the “mystery of God disclosed or hidden in others”; Thomas’s poem The Moor, for example, is quoted from: “There were no prayers said. But stillness of the heart’s passions ”“ that was praise enough.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Books, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(WSJ) Pieter Cohen and Nicolaus Rasmussen–A Nation of Kids on Speed

Walk into any American high school and nearly one in five boys in the hallways will have a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 11% of all American children ages 4 to 17””over six million””have ADHD, a 16% increase since 2007. When you consider that in Britain roughly 3% of children have been similarly diagnosed, the figure is even more startling. Now comes worse news: In the U.S., being told that you have ADHD””and thus receiving some variety of amphetamine to treat it””has become more likely.

Last month, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders””the bible of mental health””and this latest version, known as DSM-5, outlines a new diagnostic paradigm for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Symptoms of ADHD remain the same in the new edition: “overlooks details,” “has difficulty remaining focused during lengthy reading,” “often fidgets with or taps hands” and so on. The difference is that in the previous version of the manual, the first symptoms of ADHD needed to be evident by age 7 for a diagnosis to be made. In DSM-5, if the symptoms turn up anytime before age 12, the ADHD diagnosis can be made.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Teens / Youth

(NY Times Op-ed) Tom Freidman–Egypt’s Perilous Drift

Egypt needs a revolution.

Wait, isn’t that what happened two years ago? Not really. It is now clear that what happened two years ago was more musical chairs than revolution. First the army, using the energy of the youth-led protesters in Tahrir Square, ousted Mubarak, and then the Muslim Brotherhood ousted the army, and now the opposition is trying to oust the Brotherhood. Each, though, is operating on the old majoritarian politics ”” winners take all, losers get nothing….

“The other day,” [Ahmed el-]Droubi said, “I was standing on a main intersection in downtown Cairo, where two one-way roads meet. As I stood there, I saw cars going both ways down both one-way streets ”” cars were coming and going in four different directions ”” and other cars were double-parked. I was standing next to a shop owner watching this. ”˜This is a complete mess,’ he said. ”˜No one has any civic responsibility. They each only care about themselves getting to where they are going.’ ”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Foreign Relations, History, Middle East, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bernard Mizeki

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Blessed Lord, who for our sakes wast content to bear sorrow and want and death: Grant to us such a measure of thy Spirit that we may follow thee in all self-denial and tenderness of soul. Help us by thy great love to succour the afflicted, to relieve the needy, to share the burdens of the heavy laden, and ever to see thee in all that are poor and destitute; for thy great mercy’s sake.

–B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Hannah also prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in thy salvation.

“There is none holy like the Lord,
there is none besides thee;
there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones;
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might shall a man prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.”

–1 Samuel 2:1-10

Posted in Uncategorized

(BBC) Iran's President-elect Rouhani vows transparency on nuclear issue

In his first news conference since Friday’s election, Mr Rouhani described as “unfair” sanctions imposed on his country. He also said Tehran would not suspend uranium enrichment activities.

The West suspects Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its programme is entirely peaceful.

The UK said it hoped Mr Rouhani would act on his pledge to resolve the issue.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(CT) Alexandra Kuykendall–Is Fatherhood Fading Out? A Christian response to the boom in absent dads

…we live in a country where too many of us have broken relationships with Dad. In America, 1 in 3 kids live apart from their biological fathers. A recent Washington Post article addressed the dad dilemma with the eye-catching title: The new F-Word ”“ Father. In it, Kathleen Parker addresses a question being asked as we discuss the latest stats on America’s female breadwinners: In the evolving 21st-century economy, “what are men good for?”

Parker concludes:

Women have become more self-sufficient (a good thing) and, given that they still do the lion’s share of housework and child rearing, why, really, should they invite a man to the clutter? Because, simply, children need a father”¦ . Deep in the marrow of every human child burbles a question far more profound than those currently occupying coffee klatches: Who is my daddy? And sadly these days, where is he?

….[and] that’s unfortunately where the church often ends the conversation. We lament the shift in the family structure, express outrage at the latest statistics….[yet we cannot stop there].

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family, Men

(NC Reporter) Maureen Fiedler–Poverty, chastity, obedience: traditional vows for the 21st century

Suppose someone wants to live a life committed to the Gospel but does not want to live the three traditional vows — poverty, chastity and obedience — as they have usually been interpreted. Or maybe only one or two of those vows make sense to that person. Maybe someone wants to pronounce a new vow that speaks to the heart of his or her identity and call. Or maybe she or he wants to develop a new form of committed life without vows. All of these possibilities are already happening — and evolving.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Brad Wilcox–Daddy’s Home: Fatherhood transforms men. But only if they live with their kids.

The importance of physical proximity, when it comes to fatherhood, may help explain why the sociological story about fatherhood is remarkably similar to the biological story. Fatherhood is socially transformative for men””but only, once again, if they are living proximate to their children. By contrast, men who don’t live with their children, either because they never married the mother in the first place, or got divorced, often don’t look much different than childless men. Three findings illustrate the point:

1) Steering clear of the blues. Fathers who live with their children are significantly less likely to be depressed, and more likely to report they are satisfied with their lives, compared to childless men. But men who live apart from their children have levels of life satisfaction and depression that largely parallel those of their childless peers. In other words, men who don’t live with their children don’t benefit psychologically from fatherhood….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Men, Sociology