Daily Archives: July 18, 2013

Andrew Carey: The ghastly Indabas return

I had hoped that the ghastly invention of so-called ”˜Indaba’ might have disappeared from the counsels of the Church with the retirement of Rowan Williams…
…the small groups operating at General Synod on Saturday at least had a purpose ”“ to decide legislation on women bishops which can carry assent through the General Synod process. But it’s difficult to see what these kinds of structured exercises in reconciliation actually achieve when the final decision-making is still enacted through an adversarial process of stand-ing orders, voting and politicking.

In fact, only 48 hours after these small groups a series of amendments intended to improve provision for traditionalist consciences were being voted down one by one. Speaker after speaker stood up to assure their opponents that they wanted them to be a full part of the Church while at the same time defeating every measure that might have given them some space for flourishing.

These sorts of small group-driven conversations, Indaba and attempts at reconciliation provide the illusion that a real conversation has taken place and people have listened to each other. In reality, they merely substitute process for truth-telling.

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

(C of E) The Bishop of Wakefield welcomes the Government's Trident Alternatives Review

Following yesterday’s launch of the Government’s Trident Alternatives Review the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, lead bishop on defence and security issues, issued the following statement:

“The Government should be congratulated for undertaking such a far reaching and thorough review of the alternatives available to Trident and for making its analysis available to the wider public for the first time. Such transparency is vital if we are to have a more informed public debate about what our nuclear weapons are for and how they should be deployed.

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

Global attitudes reflect shifting U.S.-China power balance, survey concludes

People around the globe believe that China will inevitably replace the United States as the world’s leading superpower, but that doesn’t mean they like the prospect, according to a new study on global attitudes.

The survey that the Pew Research Center conducted in 39 countries confirms much of the conventional wisdom in Washington about the shifting balance of power between the United States and China.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Economy, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(RNS) British TV channel’s call to prayer stirs controversy

With a stated aim to “provoke,” Britain’s best-known TV company, Channel 4, is justifying its live daily broadcast of the “adhan” ”” the early hour Muslim call to prayer ”” and sparking applause as well as anger.

The broadcasts, airing each morning at 3 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, will continue throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“We are focusing on the positive aspects of Islam and hoping to explain to a broader public what Ramadan is, and what it means for the 2.8 million Muslims who take part in the UK and provide a platform for different views and different voices,” said Ralph Lee, the network’s head of programming.

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

(NY Times) Kate Taylor–Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too

Ask her why she hasn’t had a relationship at Penn, and she won’t complain about the death of courtship or men who won’t commit. Instead, she’ll talk about “cost-benefit” analyses and the “low risk and low investment costs” of hooking up.

“I positioned myself in college in such a way that I can’t have a meaningful romantic relationship, because I’m always busy and the people that I am interested in are always busy, too,” she said.

“And I know everyone says, ”˜Make time, make time,’ ” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity but agreed to be identified by her middle initial, which is A. “But there are so many other things going on in my life that I find so important that I just, like, can’t make time, and I don’t want to make time.”

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Theology, Women, Young Adults

Laurie Penny–I oppose tax breaks for marriage, its an example of people’s weird lifestyle choices

The world is changing but large numbers of unaccountably powerful people still seem to believe it should be run like a fantasy version of 1950s bourgeois suburbia, all picket fences and patriarchy. The tax allowance being proposed will not benefit every married couple ”“ it is specifically designed to reward and give an incentive to those in which one partner either does no work outside the home or earns very little.

The policy is, in effect, a subsidy for stay-at-home mums. Mothers who have the gall to be unmarried, by contrast, have just had their state support cut still further in the latest Spending Review because this government is more interested in making moral statements than in keeping children out of poverty.

Read it all from the New Statesman.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast given us minds to know thee, hearts to love thee, and voices to show forth thy praise: Help us to worship thee with understanding, with reverence, and with joy; for the glory of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Uncategorized

Wisdom from George Mueller [Müller] (1805-1898)

“The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord,” reads Psalm 37:23. On the margin of his Bible at this verse George Mueller had a notation, “And the stops…”

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.

–Psalm 37:3-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

John Dickerson on why evangelical Christianity is experiencing a recession

“The evangelical recession is kind of a parallel to the financial recession,” Dickerson said. “When we look at a lot of the critical health indicators of evangelical Christianity as a historic movement, what we see is a lot of similar trends.”

While discussing reasons behind the perceived decline of influence from evangelical Christianity, Dickerson pointed attention to the rise of nonbelievers in America.

“We’re not converting unbelievers at the rate that we used to be,” he said. “We’re losing a lot of our young people. Funds are declining.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(Internet Monk) On Charles Williams

In Tolkien, the City was seen as either a a necessary evil (Minas Tirith) or as the embodiment of the diabolical (“lovely Lugbürz”). Even though the first glance of Peter Jackson’s Edoras provoked the comment from my son ”“ ”˜he’s king of that?’ ”“ there is never any doubt where Tolkien’s sympathies lay. The Companions of the Ring, even the restored King himself, spend as little narrative time in Minas Tirith as possible.

In contrast, Williams both saw and expanded upon one of the central visions of the Scriptures; we began our career in a Garden, but we are not to return to it. Whether or not the cherub with the double-edged sword will still be keeping guard or not, it will be unnecessary. The Tree of Life has been uprooted and replanted in a City, which City is our final destiny. It is not for nothing that the City gives the name to that most desirable state of man; civilization, apart from which there is only savagery and barbarism. For Williams, the Image of the City was the Image of what he calls the vicarious life. Christians are always being exhorted to “live for others”. Williams says that the City makes it known that we not only live for others, but because of others. Others have labored and you have entered upon their labors. You only have to spend a day in a major city where there is a sanitary strike to understand just how little of an abstraction this is. Cities are the places par excellence, where human energies are collected, weighed and measured, and submitted to the process of Exchange. For Exchange, to Williams, is not primarily a Christian doctrine explaining how the virtues of Christ are applied to the accounts of sinful men. Exchange is, because of Christ’s sacrifice, the very Life of the Universe.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Jorden Hylden reviews Mary Eberstadt's "How the West Really Lost God"

Is “secularization” little more than a self-congratulatory tale that modern-day atheists like to tell, or do we live in a secular age after all?

Eberstadt thinks it’s the latter, and in this she surely is correct. In his book A Secular Age, philosopher Charles Taylor makes the point well with a question: “Why is it so hard to believe in God (in many milieux) in the modern West, while in 1500 it was virtually impossible not to?” Eberstadt wisely points to the work of historian Eamon Duffy, whose book The Stripping of the Altars shows in great detail how medieval Englishmen, even if they weren’t always to be found in church on Sundays, lived in a world in which Christianity defined their everyday lives and filled their imaginative horizons. We just don’t live in that world anymore””for us, it’s entirely possible to go to school, find a mate, engage in politics, take part in cultural life, and listen to popular music, all without having to confront God in anything but a peripheral way.

So, Eberstadt has good reason to say that the West has “lost God” in some way. But she’s not careful enough in spelling out what that means””for, as she herself makes clear, the secularization of the European social imagination that historians like Duffy detail is perfectly compatible with a rise in church attendance. In fact, that’s basically what happened, until church attendance started to drop off in the 20th century. Explaining what happened requires telling a story that can account for this complexity, and that’s where Eberstadt falls short.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, History, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

Former C of E minister installed as new Roman Catholic Bishop of East Anglia

The Right Reverend Alan Hopes, 69, was welcomed at the West Door of the Catholic cathedral in Norwich before the two-hour Mass of Installation.

Bishop Alan will lead Roman Catholics in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

He succeeds the Right Reverend Michael Evans, who died of cancer in 2011.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic