Daily Archives: July 17, 2013

(McClatchy) American Muslim chaplain finds new role in ministering to Afghan troops

In many ways, the war in Afghanistan is one of ideas, of narrative, of whose story is credible, says U.S. Army Major Dawud Agbere.

If that’s true, Agbere could be the most dangerous U.S. soldier that the Taliban face.

And he doesn’t even carry a gun.

Agbere, 45, is the only active-duty Muslim U.S. Army chaplain in Afghanistan and one of just four in the Army.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(NPR) Christ In Context: Reza Aslan's new book 'Zealot' Explores The Life Of Jesus

Writer and scholar Reza Aslan was 15 years old when he found Jesus. His secular Muslim family had fled to the U.S. from Iran, and Aslan’s conversion was, in a sense, an adolescent’s attempt to fit into American life and culture. “My parents were certainly surprised,” Aslan tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

As Aslan got older, he began his studies in the history of Christianity, and he started to lose faith. He came to the realization that Jesus of Nazareth was quite different from the Messiah he’d been introduced to at church. “I became very angry,” he says. “I became resentful. I turned away from Christianity. I began to really reject the concept of Christ.”

But Aslan continued his Christian scholarship, and he found that he was increasingly interested in Jesus as a historical figure. The result is his new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth ”” a historical look at Jesus in the context of his time and Jewish religion, and against the backdrop of the Roman Empire.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Christology, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Telegraph) Independent review finds some abuse in care for the Dying in the NHS

Hospitals will today be told to review the treatment of every patient who has been on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway after an independent review found examples of abuse across the NHS.
The Department of Health will tell hospitals to refer doctors to the General Medical Council if they find the procedures have been abused.

The pathway is used to “manage” the death of terminally ill NHS patients. However, the Neuberger inquiry, which will be published today, has heard allegations that patients have been unnecessarily sedated and denied food and water.

The inquiry is expected to say that there were “numerous examples of poor implementation and worrying standards in care” and that in some cases patients have been put on the pathway without their families being informed.

Read it all and there is a CNS story here also.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Living Church) C of E Priest Callan Slipper–Choose Church Unity

The ecumenical movement of the past 100 years has been wildly successful in eliminating old tensions and rivalries, but such pervasive success been can foster complacency, even in a time when a skeptical world needs to see more signs of God-given unity in action.

That combination of joy and concern is a central motivator for the Rev. Callan Slipper, a Church of England priest and author of Five Steps to Living Christian Unity, due in September from New City Press.

“We are currently the victims of our past success,” Slipper tells TLC. “The new vision I would advocate is one where we see one another as truly belonging to one another.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Theology

Cory Monteith's Preliminary Cause of Death Report by the BC Coroner's Office

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the cause of death for Cory Monteith.

Post-mortem testing, which included an autopsy and toxicological analysis, found that Mr. Monteith, aged 31, died of a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol…..

It should be noted that at this point there is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith’s death was anything other than a most-tragic accident. When the investigation is concluded, a Coroners Report will be issued.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Young Adults

(Der Spiegel) Egypt in Turmoil: Salafists Gain Strength amid Political Chaos

It was less than two weeks ago that General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, announced the removal of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, in the wake of the largest mass protests the country had ever seen. On July 3, an alliance of liberals, leftists, Nasserists, revolutionary youth, Coptic Christians and Salafists appeared together on television for a harmonious group picture.

But the rare pact was fragile. When soldiers opened fire on protesting Morsi supporters last Monday and at least 51 people died, the Salafists of the Al-Nour Party, or Party of the Light, demonstratively revoked their cooperation with the transitional government — albeit only temporarily.

In fact, the Salafists need to maintain cooperation with the military and the transitional government in order to remain influential. Under Morsi’s presidency, they had the same problems as the secular opposition. They were marginalized, and important positions went to members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Now Bassam Sarka, the deputy party leader, has renewed his support for the state, saying that Al-Nour will “demonstrate responsibility” and “cooperate with the military to prevent worse things from happening.” The reward came quickly, when the military leaders decided to keep a controversial article in the constitution, whereby the principles of Sharia law are the “primary source of legislation” — despite the fact that the liberals had just rejected the very same article.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(FT) Unorthodox injections sustain China’s healthcare system

New protesters arrive every couple of minutes at the unmarked gates of the Ministry of Health in Beijing, coming in the faint hope that the national authorities will be able to help where their local hospitals and clinics have failed.

One young mother carries a tattered notebook full of medical records, baby ultrasounds and official letters. She says she is trying to get treatment for her son, now aged eight, who has organ damage after drinking toxic infant formula as a baby. Another young woman unfurls graphic pictures of her injuries after a violent beating by police, and says she is here to protest against a local hospital that refused to treat her.

Extreme underfunding and overcrowding mark the Chinese medical system. Its dysfunctions also spawn rampant abuses and corruption that can make it a treacherous place for drug companies. As pressures rise on the Chinese government to act over poor healthcare quality and rising healthcare costs, officials have embarked on round after round of crackdowns and investigations into hospitals, doctors and drug companies.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

James Martin, SJ–A Picture of the room where Pope Francis will be staying for World Youth Day

Take a look.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

Jonathan Merritt– TheTop 10 religious books I’ve read in the last 10 years

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

The words of Oscar Wilde are no less true today than when he spoke them. The books we choose to read shape who we are and how we see the world. Because of this, I consume books voraciously. Mostly religious non-fiction, but also some fiction as well. I was recently thinking about which religious books I’ve read during the last decade shaped and impacted me most, and I decided to share them with you….

Think of your own list and then read it all and see how they compare and contrast–KSH.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William White

O Lord, who in a time of turmoil and confusion didst raise up thy servant William White, and didst endow him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might lead thy Church into ways of stability and peace: Hear our prayer, we beseech thee, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that through their ministry thy people may be blessed and thy will be done; 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

O Lord, heavenly Father, in whom is the fullness of light and wisdom: Enlighten our minds by thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive thy Word with reverence and humility, without which no man can understand thy truth; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–John Calvin (1509-1564)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and made an oration to them. And the people shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died.

–Acts 12:21-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) The UN says Syria refugee crisis is the worst the world has faced since Rwanda

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Middle East, Syria

(ABC Aus.) Michael Jensen–The church and the world: The politics of Sydney Anglicanism

The inference to be drawn from [Bill ] Lawton’s argument is that an emphasis on discontinuous and futurist eschatology has had an impact on the way in which Anglicans from Sydney have responded to the rising tide of secularism since the 1960s. What I would like to show is that, while Sydney’s Anglicans have not always responded well to the challenges of the new secularism, they were not in fact given to the kind of world-abandonment supposedly characteristic of them in the late nineteenth century.

The period of secularization following the 1960s does indeed have some strong echoes of the late nineteenth century. In between these two eras was the high-water mark of church influence in Australian life, and in Sydney especially. In the midst of the Great Depression, Sydney Anglicans like the extraordinary R.B.S. Hammond (1870-1946) at St Barnabas’ Broadway distinguished themselves in remarkable service of the poor. The 1950s in particular was a time in which Australian society seemed more congenial to the influence of the church than it had been previously.

This was demonstrated by the dramatic impact of the Billy Graham crusade of 1959 – an event which had all the appearance of the dawn of a new glorious age of Christian social influence through the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the thousands of people who went forward in Sydney and Melbourne. More than 130,000 people made a commitment to Christ, a figure which represents nearly 2% of the Australian population at the time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Same Sex marriage to be legal in England as law clears last hurdle

Gay marriage is to become legal in England and Wales after the lower house of the British parliament approved the final changes on Tuesday to a law that had Prime Minister David Cameron’s backing but split his ruling Conservative party.

The law had the support of both Labor and the Liberal Democrats, Britain’s two other main political parties, but damaged Cameron’s standing within his own party with many of his own lawmakers criticizing him for being too liberal.

His own MPs had previously twice voted against it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

South Edmonton church vandalized with ”˜No Homeless’ graffiti

A Terwillegar church at the centre of a debate over plans for a supportive housing complex in the neighbourhood has been vandalized.

The words “No Homeless” were spray painted in three spots on the exterior walls of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, at 1428 156 Street in Terwillegar Towne.

[The] Rev. Nick Trussell said he was informed of the vandalism Wednesday evening when he got a call from the instructor of a Highlands dance group that uses the church for its practices.

Read it all.

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

Rachel Stone–Why Criticism Belongs in the Christian Blogosphere

We live in a culture that, as Shauna Niequist recently pointed out, constantly invites us to evaluate, rate, and judge our experiences. And yet, paradoxically””and perhaps especially in Christian circles””we seem to be growing more sensitive over expressing criticism.

There are cards in every hotel room and on every restaurant table; e-mails from eBay and Etsy; opportunities for us to comment on every cat video and act of Congress. In the same cultural moment in which millions enjoy tuning into reality TV for Simon Cowell-like slap-downs, “critic” has become a bad word, connoting a figure like Anton Ego, the misanthropic food critic from Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille who takes perverse pleasure in eviscerating chefs’ best culinary efforts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Psychology