Daily Archives: July 28, 2013

(NC Register) Jimmy Akin–14 things you need to know about the new book Zealot

There’s a new best-seller out there which claims to give us “the real story” on Jesus.

It’s called Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and it is one in a long line of books challenging the portrait of Jesus given in the gospels.

The author is giving interviews in the major media, promoting his book, and people are asking questions about it and how to respond.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(NC Reporter) John Allen–Pope Francis wants church to master 'grammar of simplicity'

On papal trips, what one usually gets are pieces of a pope’s vision, meaning speeches targeted for special groups or occasions that beckon one emphasis or another. Every now and then, however, a pope has a chance to lay out his views in a programmatic fashion, and today brought one of those rare moments in a speech Francis delivered to Brazil’s bishops.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said today’s speech was the longest of Francis’ papacy so far and, if not its most important, certainly “very significant.”

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

David Short's Sermon on Titus 3:1-7 from Last Sunday

Listen to it all using the options avilable.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Economist) South Sudan Politics becomes more toxic as the president sacks friends and foes

In a statement read out on South Sudanese television on July 23rd, President Salva Kiir, a former guerrilla commander with a penchant for cowboy hats, dissolved his cabinet, fired his vice-president and deposed the chairman of the ruling party. This comes only a fortnight after the country’s second birthday, which was overshadowed by an open letter from Western backers bemoaning corruption and human-rights abuses and warning that the country is veering off course. Meanwhile, a row with Sudan has halted oil production, which funds most of Mr Kiir’s budget. The north accuses him of supporting rebels inside its territory, a charge he denies.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Politics in General, Sudan

(Jenny McCarthy) Archbishop Justin Welby is on the money over Wonga

…for many people in Britain the brutal question of money is becoming impossible to ignore, particularly if you have run clean out of it. Yet only someone who is truly confident around cash flows and interest rates would dare to pledge, as the Archbishop did last week, that the Church of England will back a chain of non-profit credit unions that would one day “compete” payday lenders such as Wonga out of business.

No good intention goes unpunished: just a day after that splendidly hopeful promise came the revelation that the Church of England’s pension fund itself had invested in Accel Partners, one of Wonga’s key financial backers. This was, I think, supposed to be the point at which the Archbishop was caught pitching a large stone from the door of a glass cathedral, but it somehow didn’t turn out that way. On Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday morning he openly admitted that the revelation was “very embarrassing”, and indicated that he would re-examine the Church’s decisions about its investments.

At the same time, he explained how morally complicated such choices could sometimes be: should an investment in a hotel chain, for example, be wholly disallowed simply because, like most hotels, they offered pay-per-view pornography? By the end of the interview, there was the sense that the unruffled Archbishop had treated his audience like adults.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Theology

Laurette Glasgow, special advisor for government relations for the Ang. Ch. of Canada, profiled

In the Rev. Laurette Glasgow’s world things may always be changing, but the basic realities tend to stay the same. As special advisor for government relations for the Anglican Church of Canada since March 2012, Glasgow has seen her position evolve as both she and the church learned what it was to have an ”˜ambassador’ to the federal government.

“Sometimes it grows organically,” says Glasgow, “and that’s what we always thought… that two years down the road we’d look back and say ”˜it’s a bit different than what we thought it was.’ But the fundamental elements are the same, the fundamental elements of relationship building, of building bridges, or interpreting the church to power, and interpreting power to the church.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Luke Bretherton–We are all Wonga now: Joining Justin Welby's war on usury

…before we laugh at the foolishness of the Church, we should reflect on how we are all implicated in this hypocrisy. Many of our pensions schemes and banks are invested in this billion industry built on the backs of the poor.

Welby’s courageous leadership on the issue of usurious lending practices is in stark contrast to the supine political leaders of all parties who have consistently failed to address the problem of legalized loan sharks. And Lord Maurice Glasman is exactly right to point out the challenge Welby’s action poses to the Labour Party and the left more generally. Through the leadership of Compass, Stella Creasy MP, London Citizens and the indefatigable Damon Gibbons – who since 1999 has worked on this issue through the Debt on your Doorstep campaign – some are starting to wake up to the nightmare that the kind of exploitative financial practices Wonga represents.

The silence of many on the left should be a source of deep shame, as usury is a profound challenge to all those committed to strengthening democracy and challenging oppression. Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

A Forthcoming book to Keep one's eye out for, Billy Graham and the Shaping of Modern America

Who is the publisher? Harvard Universty Press.

The author? Why that you will have to guess at before you go and look.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Vancouver Sun) Once talk of science fiction, robots will soon be found in every home, says expert

Frederic Boisdron and his wife run their home with the help of 12 robots.

The robots do everything from cutting the grass to washing the windows. They even keep the cat’s litter box clean.

What they won’t be doing is looking after the couple’s first child when the baby is born in October. But by the time the Boisdrons are grandparents, their children could be enlisting robots to help look after them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

[Bishop Rennis Ponniah] Samuel: The Server at the Tabernacle who loved God

Listen to this encouraging sermon from St Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore if you wish here.

More Sunday Worship available here

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Look upon our lives, O Lord our God, and make them thine in Lithe power of thy Holy Spirit; that we may walk in thy way, faithfully believing thy Word, and faithfully doing thy commandments; faithfully serving thee, and faithfully serving our neighbour; to the furtherance of thy glorious kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Diocese of York

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

–Romans 12:9-21

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Boston Globe) William Pritchard reviews "The Letters of T.S. Eliot: Volume 4"

Eliot joined the Anglican church in 1927, and these letters from the next two years express relatively little speculation about personal, spiritual matters. There is instead much correspondence dealing with the relation, if any, of religion to Humanism, as sponsored by the Americans Paul Elmer More and Eliot’s old teacher Irving Babbitt. But this matter, which even in its day was of less than earth-shaking concern to most intellectuals, seems extremely dated now. By contrast there is an exceptional moment in a letter to More when Eliot wonders about people whose religious instinct is absent: “They may be very good, or very happy; they simply seem to miss nothing, to be unconscious of any void ”” the void that I find in the middle of all human happiness and all human relations, and which there is only one thing to fill.” And he declares himself one to “whom this sense of void tends to drive towards asceticism or sensuality, and only Christianity helps to reconcile me to life, which is otherwise disgusting.” The force of that final adjective is unsettling, and makes us aware that Eliot was playing for keeps. One is reminded, in a lighter way, of his contemporary Evelyn Waugh who, after he became a Roman Catholic noted that religion made him a less horrible person than he had been without it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Poetry & Literature

(Reuters) Anglican leader admits gaffe on "payday" lenders, renews attack

The head of the Church of England said on Friday he was embarrassed to find out that his organisation had invested indirectly in a short-term loan company which he had vowed only days earlier to drive out of business.

The discovery of the relatively small investment was a major setback for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, after he launched a scathing attack on “payday” lenders who charge high interest rates on short-term loans that are typically repaid when borrowers receive their wages.

But the former oil executive and a member of Britain’s Banking Standards Commission said he would push ahead with his campaign to compete with, and eventually render obsolete, a business he labels “morally wrong”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

Michael Nazir-Ali–Iran's Hassan Rouhani could be our best hope for peace

Which direction will Mr Rouhani take? The West is anxious to see how Mr Rouhani is to renew and augment his previous persona as chief negotiator for Iran on its nuclear ambitions. It will also want him to encourage negotiations between the Assad regime (which Iran supports) and the Syrian opposition. There will, similarly, be an expectation that Iran will use its influence to calm restive Shia populations in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia.

It should be recognised, once and for all, that the West’s interest in Iranian foreign policy cannot be separated from Iran’s internal security and human rights situation. There will be little progress in Iran’s relations with the international community without progress in its human rights policies and the gradual emergence of a more inclusive and plural society.

For some years, a general ferment has been building in Iranian society. The different elements that make this up are mutually antagonistic and finding a resolution among them will be one of the major challenges of this presidency.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Foreign Relations, History, Iran, Middle East, Religion & Culture

A Religious Legacy, With Its Leftward Tilt, Is Reconsidered

ome scholars with roots in more traditional churches caution against overstating the importance of liberal religion. The recent work on the subject is “a nice rebalancing of the historiographical ledgers,” said Mark Noll, a historian of religion at Notre Dame and a prominent evangelical intellectual. But for a tradition to have any continuing influence, he added, it needs committed bodies in the pews.

That point is seconded by Ms. Coffman, who worked as an editor at Christianity Today before entering academia. She currently teaches at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian institution where pastors in training, she said, are less likely to be savoring their broad cultural victories than debating which elements of evangelical worship they should adopt to attract a viable congregation.

“I teach at a mainline seminary, and we do not feel very triumphal,” Ms. Coffman said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, United Church of Christ