Daily Archives: July 6, 2013

Beating Malaria:Tennessee Methodist churches bite off $1 million project and exceed their goal

Middle-aged and senior women at a Knoxville church did a Harlem Shake dance, while a Kodak church’s staff plans to jump out of an airplane.

These activities may seem a little out of the ordinary, but they are being done by area United Methodist church members to allow one very normal activity letting more people in Africa enjoy everyday life without the fear of malaria.

Since the worldwide United Methodist Church decided to try to raise $75 million in the fight against malaria due in part to the urging of Microsoft president and philanthropist Bill Gates, the local Holston Conference agreed in 2012 to try to raise $1 million.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Macedonia Sentences Orthodox Archbishop To 3 Years Jail

A Macedonian court sentenced the archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Macedonia to three years in prison on what his denomination and activists called Wednesday, July 3, “false charges” of money laundering, while fourteen co-defendants received suspended jail terms.

Additionally Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, also known as Zoran Vraniskovski, must handover SOC properties, including church buildings, to the state for allegedly laundering some 250,000 euro ($325,000), his church said. Bishop Marko of Bregalnica, whose civilian name is Goran Kimev, Bishop David Ninov of Stobi as well as fourteen “priest-monks, abbesses, nuns and other faithful people of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric” each received two years suspended sentences for financial wrongdoing, the SOC added.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture

(Bloomberg) Lincoln Mastered Wisdom of Unsent Letter After Gettysburg

Abraham Lincoln, remembered 150 years after a “decisive” battle of the U.S. Civil War, could have excelled in modern-day Washington politics, one of the pre-eminent scholars on the American president says.

“He would be tech savvy, he would lose the beard, he would have some cosmetic surgery, he would make an asset of his height,” historian Harold Holzer said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “He was so smart about working with the press, getting the press to work in his behalf, giving out exclusives, and he would have mastered any medium.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

Marion Bartoli wins the Wimbledon Ladies Final

She played super, congratulations to her. You can read more there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Sports, Women

Thinking about Egypt (II)–Ussama Makdisi: Playing Politics With Religion

The external reasons for the sectarian catastrophe that threatens the Middle East are equally obvious. French colonialism in Syria after World War I explicitly reinforced sectarian divisions and encouraged an Alawite entrance into the military that eventually saw Hafez al-Assad rise to power. It also provoked an anti-Western nationalist reaction, of which the Baath Party was one example.

Similarly, Shiite Hezbollah, now involved openly on the side of the Assad regime, emerged as a direct response to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, an invasion condoned by the United States. And U.S. support for the shah’s dictatorship helped precipitate the Iranian revolution and the anti-Western discourse that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini espoused.

The United States has also consistently supported the Wahhabi Saudis over secular nationalists in the Middle East. Finally and most obviously, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 played a pivotal role in destabilizing the region, inadvertently bolstering Tehran’s influence, and provoking Saudi and Qatari fear of Iran.

Read it all.

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

Thinking about Egypt (I)–Ed Husain: Egypt Risks the Fire of Radicalism

President Mubarak used to say that if he were removed from power, then the Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood would succeed him. He was right. Today, the Brotherhood is warning us that if their man falls from power, then the Salafists would be the replacement. This is not a theory I would want to test.

Egypt’s political class needs to grow up, and offer us more than the just the largest-ever crowds at the latest protests for and against Morsi.

Meanwhile, the United States has been right not to call for Morsi to resign. At stake is nothing less than bringing Islamism into the modern world ”” and ridding it of its anti-Americanism. When I met with Brotherhood leaders earlier this year, they repeatedly asked for greater U.S. strategic assistance to help govern Egypt and saw America as an ally. It is important that the United States seize this historic chance to tame the tiger of Islamist anti-Americanism.

Read it all.

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

(AP) 29 boarding school students burned alive, shot dead by Islamist militants in Nigeria

Islamic militants attacked a boarding school in northeast Nigeria before dawn Saturday, killing 29 students and one teacher.

Some of the pupils were burned alive in the latest school attack blamed on a radical terror group, survivors said.

Parents screamed in anguish as they tried to identify the charred and gunshot victims.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Internet Monk) The Gettysburg Address, 150 Years Later

One hundred and fifty years ago, more than 30,000 soldiers had died or were wounded after three days of battle at Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863. Four and a half months later, in one of the greatest speeches of American history, President Abraham Lincoln took part in a ceremony to dedicate the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at the battle’s site. With a remarkably concise address, he reiterated the principles of human equality in the Declaration of Independence, memorialized those who had given their lives at Gettysburg, and resolved that their deaths would not be in vain….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Kendall Harmon's 2012 Sermon on Ananias in Acts 9

Listen to it all if you so desire; it was brought to mind by this morning’s Bible readings.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Jan Hus

Faithful God, who didst give Jan Hus the courage to confess thy truth and recall thy Church to the image of Christ: Enable us, inspired by his example, to bear witness against corruption and never cease to pray for our enemies, that we may prove faithful followers of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth 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 in thy fatherly love hast called us that we should inherit a blessing: Give to us also, we pray thee, the blessing of wholesome speech and loving deed; that following always that which is good, we may do and suffer all that thou willest; in the name and strength of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

— L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Anani’as. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Anani’as.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Anani’as come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Anani’as answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Anani’as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.

–Acts 9:10-19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Djokovic, Murray set up 1 vs. 2 men's Wimbledon final on Sunday

Slugging back and forth over a semifinal-record 4 hours, 43 minutes of backbreaking tennis Friday, top-seeded Djokovic emerged with a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (6), 6-3 victory to move one win away from his seventh major title.

”One of the most epic matches I’ve played in my life,” Djokovic said.

On Sunday, Djokovic will play second-seeded Andy Murray, who defeated No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to make his second straight Wimbledon final and move one win away from becoming the first British man in 77 years to capture his country’s home tournament.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

Listen to their voices of pain: Archbishop Justin Welby on his Middle East visit

Archbishop Justin said today the Church of England must “take great care” to listen to voices of suffering in the Middle East, including shrinking Christian populations, in his first published comments since returning from the region last weekend.

But he said we must contribute “as servants, not coming with some grand idea of solution.” He urged the Church to take inspiration from the dioceses in Cairo and Jerusalem which “punch far above their weight, and do it by love expressed in action.”

Injustices across the region, and the fears felt by many communities, must be confronted, but “in keeping with these wonderful dioceses, confronted with love, humility, and service,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Middle East, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Anger over move to allow Church of England to run state schools

The Church of England could be given the power to run thousands of secular state schools in UK under a deal with the Department of Education.

The Church will be forced to preserve the character of non-faith schools and community schools joining a Church of England academy chain would not have to change its admissions policy, religious education lessons or employment terms for teachers, according to a report in the The Times.

But the move would give Bishops the power to appoint governors at the schools.

The plan has caused disquiet among secular groups, who said the decision would irreversibly increase religious influence over state schools

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Bishop of Plymouth elected as Bishop in South Australia

The Bishop of Plymouth, Rt Revd John Ford, has been elected to serve as Diocesan Bishop of The Murray, South Australia.

The diocese has been without a bishop for three years and in a statement it said there was “great joy” in being able to announce Bishop John’s appointment as the fourth bishop of The Murray.

Bishop John has served as Bishop of Plymouth since 2005. He is married to Bridget and has three grown up children.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Christian Century) Matt Hedstrom–When the mainline told us what to read

The Religious Book Club and the religion book lists of the American Library Association exemplify the broad cultural influence of liberal Protestantism in its mid-century heyday. Naturally, they tended to steer Americans away from evangelical or fundamentalist authors and toward the output of liberal professors and preachers.

But we live in a far different moment. No religious body or tradition has the social standing or cultural legitimacy to offer the nation a list of the “best” books in religion. Certainly the demise of liberal Protestant cultural stewardship represents a victory for religious freedom. Yet in the world of reading at least, it comes with a price. Book prizes””such as the Grawemeyer Award””and publications like the Century or Books and Culture still offer reading guidance to some. But more than ever, we are on our own. Is it any wonder that “spiritual but not religious,” the religious face of individualism and capitalism, is the order of the day?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Religion & Culture, Theology