Daily Archives: July 30, 2013

(Reuters) Special Report: How the Muslim Brotherhood lost Egypt

The stunning fall from power of President Mohamed Mursi, and the Muslim Brotherhood which backed him, has upended politics in the volatile Middle East for a second time after the Arab Spring uprisings toppled veteran autocrats.

Some of the principal causes were highlighted a month before the army intervened to remove Mursi, when two of Egypt’s most senior power brokers met for a private dinner at the home of liberal politician Ayman Nour on the island of Zamalek, a lush bourgeois oasis in the midst of Cairo’s seething megalopolis. It was seen by some as a last attempt to avert a showdown.

The two power brokers were Amr Moussa, 76, a long-time foreign minister under Mubarak and now a secular nationalist politician, and Khairat El-Shater, 63, the Brotherhood’s deputy leader and most influential strategist and financier. Moussa suggested that to avoid confrontation, Mursi should heed opposition demands, including a change of government.

Read it all.

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

(AP) France Struggles to Separate Islam and the State

Riots broke out over a full-face Islamic veil. A woman may have lost her unborn baby in another confrontation over her face covering. Tensions flared over a supermarket chain’s ad for the end-of-day feast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

France’s enforcement of its prized secularism is inscribed in law, most recently in a ban on wearing full-face veils in public. Meant to ensure that all faiths live in harmony, the policy instead may be fueling a rising tide of Islamophobia and driving a wedge between some Muslims and the rest of the population.

Yet ardent defenders of secularism, the product of France’s separation of church and state, say the country hasn’t gone far enough. They want more teeth to further the cause that Voltaire helped inspire and Victor Hugo championed, this time with a law targeting headscarves in the work place.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Dept.–A Church Karaoke Gone Wrong

Oh my–watch it (suffer through it?) all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(Her.meneutics) Sarah Bessey–Are Older Women Being Sidelined in the Church?

…one theme emerged that I hadn’t expected: women in the middle of their lives who felt invisible and ignored by the church, the same way they feel invisible or ignored in our culture.

These are women of my mother’s generation, maybe 10 or even 20 years on either side. I heard their hurt, sorrow, and stoicism about life within the church. In a sea of artful hipsters and energetic young people with self-promotion apparently engrained into their DNA, they feel invisible and overlooked.

One woman told me about how she had led worship at her church for years. But when a new young pastor was hired, he wanted a cooler band to get more young people in the door. First thing to go? Older women. “No one wanted to see middle-aged women on stage,” she wrote candidly, and so she was replaced with young women in their late teens and early twenties.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Parish Ministry, Women

(Deseret News) A pedestal too high: Is marriage too good for people?

Ciara Vesey is an enthusiastic and newly minted lawyer in Iowa who has no plans on getting married anytime soon, thank you very much.

“It just comes down to time,” she says. “I don’t have the time to get to know someone for a year. Then get engaged. It’s a 3-year process. I have to build my career.”
Vesey, 26, comes from a large family. Her parents have been married for more than 30 years. Ditto her grandparents. Her dad is even a pastor, and preaches the importance of marriage from the pulpit. Her three older brothers (ages 37, 36 and 35) all went to college and got married right after graduation.

But she and her four younger siblings are different. While they also went to college, none of them are married. “Obviously some kind of shift is going on here,” Vesey said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Mike Kruger's Food for Thought–10 Basic Facts About the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Know

Read it all. I have issue with one of them but it is a good list against which to think–KSH.

Posted in Apologetics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The TEC Bishop of North Dakota Writes a letter on Same Sex Marriage Confusion

While all people are welcome in our fellowship and some of our dioceses provide for the blessing of same-sex unions, Christian marriage is reserved for a man and woman in the Episcopal Church.

Thank you for correcting this error.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A WSJ Front Page article (on the Ipad Edition) on the Pope and The Church's Sexual Standards

Pope Francis “is showing a deep respect for the human condition as it is, instead of approaching things in a doctrinal way,” said Alberto Melloni, a church historian.

“This isn’t a change in the church’s teaching,” said Rev. James Bretzke, a theology professor at Boston College. “What’s important is the change in style and emphasis.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York echoed the pope on Monday, saying a priest’s homosexuality “wouldn’t matter to me as long as one is leading a virtuous and chaste life.” But, he added, “My worry is that we’re buying into the vocabulary that one’s person is one’s sexual identity and I don’t buy that and neither does the church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Woman arrested in paint vandalism at Washington National cathedral

Washington police arrested a 58-year-old woman after two chapels in the Washington National Cathedral were defaced with green paint Monday afternoon.

The arrest follows similar vandalism Friday to the Lincoln Memorial and a statue near the Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall. Police are testing paint samples to determine whether the three incidents are connected.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, TEC Parishes, Urban/City Life and Issues

(dotCommonweal Blog) David Cloutier–Five (More) Lessons from Francis

“I’ll tell you something about the Charismatic Movement … at the end of the ’70s and in the ’80s, I wasn’t a big fan. I used to say they confused the holy liturgy with a school of samba. I was converted when I got to know them better and saw the good they do. In this moment of the life of the church, the movements are necessary.” Two insights packed into the same quote. First, notice the pope’s willingness to change his mind by becoming acquainted with practices that at first he sees as questionable. This is not a blithe acceptance of everything, but rather a humility that refuses to stop at initial impressions. Second, it suggests a liturgical flexibility that does not dismiss the importance of “reverence” and holiness and tradition, but rather refuses to make them ultimate. There are limits to liturgical flexibility (or else we would cease to be Catholic), but they have significant elasticity, and one should look at the fruits.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Most merciful Lord, who hast taught us that the pure in heart shall see God: Cleanse our hearts from all impurity; give us such hatred of all that is evil, and such love of all that is beautiful and good, that we may be delivered from temptation, and become a strength to others who are tempted; for the glory of thy name.

–Student Prayer; A Book of Prayers for Students; A Devotional Diary

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked.

–Acts 14:8-10

Posted in Uncategorized

(RNS) Did Pope Francis change church teaching on homosexuality?

When asked by reporters about rumors of a “gay lobby” of clergy in the Vatican who were exposing the Holy See to blackmail schemes and scandal, Francis at first joked that while there’s a lot of talk about such a lobby, “I have yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word ”˜gay.’ ”

Then, in a more serious vein, he added:

“I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. ”¦ If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?”

Francis also cited church teaching to argue that gays should never be marginalized: “The problem is not that one has this tendency (to homosexuality); no, we must be brothers. This is the first matter.”

Read it all.

Update: John Allen’s story mentioned in the second blog comment may be found here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

In Bakersfield, Episcopalians celebrate return to St. Paul's with message of inclusiveness

Standing at the entrance to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on 17th Street, the Rt. Rev. Chet Talton raised up the blunt end of a 6-foot-tall staff and pounded it against the door.

Again he pounded with his crosier, and again, each time the knock resounding through the 160-strong gathering. From inside, the church warden greeted him, and after a brief exchange, Talton entered.

So began a new era at St. Paul’s, itself the subject of a prolonged battle that, though settled at this congregation, continues to ripple through courtrooms across the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, Theology

And Why the Reference to Polyamory today?

Well, for one thing, did you know there is a show on television on this subject going into its second season? (I refuse to provide the link [but I bet you knew it was on cable]).

For another thing, guess what one of the current issue of the Washingtonian’s feature articles this month is?

“Married, but not Exclusive.
For some couples, one relationship is not enough. By Brooke Lea Foster….”

And it includes content such as the following:

Polyamorists don’t think monogamy is wrong; they simply believe it’s not for everyone. But hearing “poly” couples speak of monogamy is like listening to an ex-con reflect on his years in prison….

Aldous Huxley, call your office…KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Polyamory, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Sexuality, Urban/City Life and Issues, Women

A Look back to 2009–Newsweek””Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution

Terisa, 41, is at the center of this particular polyamorous cluster. A filmmaker and actress, she is well-spoken, slender and attractive, with dark, shoulder-length hair, porcelain skin””and a powerful need for attention. Twelve years ago, she started dating Scott, a writer and classical-album merchant. A couple years later, Scott introduced her to Larry, a software developer at Microsoft, and the two quickly fell in love, with Scott’s assent. The three have been living together for a decade now, but continue to date others casually on the side. Recently, Terisa decided to add Matt, a London transplant to Seattle, to the mix. Matt’s wife, Vera, was OK with that; soon, she was dating Terisa’s husband, Larry. If Scott starts feeling neglected, he can call the woman he’s been dating casually on the side. Everyone in this group is heterosexual, and they insist they never sleep with more than one person at a time…..

Read it all and all the comments.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Polyamory, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

Rod Dreher–Anglican Nominalism As ”˜Anglican Comprehensiveness’

When I read the transgender Episcopal priest praising “Anglican comprehensiveness” because (in part) it allows for transgender priests, I think that whatever this is, it’s not Christian, except in name. I think Frederica was exactly right when she wrote those words back in the 1990s: “not a common faith, but common words about the faith ”” mere flimsy words.” Trust me when I say that I don’t mean this combatively, but I genuinely don’t understand how a church with such radically (= at the roots) contradictory ideas about God, sexuality, and the human person can hold together. I’m not trying to insult Anglicans, so please, readers, don’t take this either as an insult or as an invitation to do that. It’s just that reading a transgender priest praise “Anglican comprehensiveness” as license to “embody ambiguity” ”” well, it puts the theological chasm in sharp perspective.

I have dear friends who are faithful Anglican Christians, and who are surely better Christians than I am. I am not questioning the integrity of the faith of individual Anglicans. What I’m trying to express is my utter bafflement at how this works at the corporate level. It’s particularly on my mind this afternoon because for Orthodox Christians worshiping in the Slavic tradition, today was the Sunday of the Fathers Of The First Six Ecumenical Councils. We heard a great sermon this morning about why the concept of orthodoxy (right belief) is so important, and how very much depends on it. It’s not so much that I reject a church that can welcome transgender clergy (though I do), but that I do not understand how that can remotely be squared with Scripture and tradition ”” with, in a word, fundamental Christian orthodoxy. And more to the point of this post, I don’t understand how Anglicans who do profess fundamental creedal Christian orthodoxy remain in communion with the Episcopal Church. I mean, I know they do, because my friends are good and faithful people, and they do. Still, reading that interview just now was jarring, really jarring, and brought all this to mind. There really is no sexual innovation that the Episcopal Church will not embrace. The only orthodoxy, it appears to this outsider, is banning Christian orthodoxy on sexual matters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture