Daily Archives: August 17, 2013
If, as followers claim, Christianity is a story of victory, today’s service at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd offers a pretty resounding amen.
Tucked into the far northwestern corner of Highland County, the tiny church is celebrating its 20th anniversary, marking two decades of determined stewardship and refusal to acknowledge the grim facts of life for mainstream religion today.
At the height of the controversy over same-sex blessings, which led to the departure of some clergy and laypeople ”“ including the former bishop ”“ the quiet and soft-spoken Pitman surprised many when he asked clergy in his diocese to declare their loyalty to the Anglican Church of Canada as they renewed their ordination vows and renewed their licences.
“Today, my friends, is a fresh start,” he had said in his sermon at a mandatory gathering held Jan. 21, 2008 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s, Nfld. “It’s not a power grab as has been suggested by some. Whether someone is of a conservative bent or a liberal bent or some other bent, whatever these labels mean, I will support you”¦ But let’s not make any mistake about it. There are boundaries.”
In rejecting the bill Aug. 13, Brown, a Democrat, expressed concerns about the potential risks to women who undergo invasive techniques for their eggs to be harvested.
“Not everything in life is for sale nor should it be,” Brown said in his veto message.
“In medical procedures of this kind, genuinely informed consent is difficult because the long-term risks are not adequately known,” he wrote. “Putting thousands of dollars on the table only compounds the problem.”
The Church of England has set itself on a collision course with opponents of hydraulic fracturing ”“ fracking ”“ by signalling support for exploration of Britain’s shale gas reserves.
Philip Fletcher, who chairs the Church’s group on mission and public affairs, compared condemnation of fracking to the mistaken belief that the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was not safe.
“The evidence for that was totally unsound, yet the damage caused by denying children the benefits of immunisation was huge,” he told the Financial Times.
The Chair of the Church of England’s group on Mission and Public Affairs Philip Fletcher has today (16th August 2013) issued the following statement placing recent media reports in context:
“The Church of England has no official policy either for or against hydraulic fracturing (known as ‘fracking’). However there is a danger of viewing fracking through a single issue lens and ignoring the wider considerations.
“There are a number of balancing considerations which need to be taken into account when coming to a view. Fuel poverty is an increasingly urgent issue for many in society – the impact on energy bills is felt most by the least well off. Blanket opposition to further exploration for new sources of fuel fails to take into account those who suffer most when resources are scarce.
Some areas were hit by the deluge harder than others, but few were spared. This time last year the Greenville area had seen about 21 inches of rain. This year more than 47 inches have fallen so far at the airport, where it’s measured.
At the other end of the state, not far from Myrtle Beach, Darel Watts said it’s been a struggle at Sugarfoot Organic Farms in Conway.
“Planting was late, and then when we would have a window, it just rained after that and drowned seedlings,” he said. “And once we got things growing it was hard to cultivate, and then we got disease.”
“My mom has been on this property since she was 16, and she’s 71, and she said it’s the wettest she’s ever seen,” Watts said. “When there’s a drought, I can irrigate, but I can’t wring it dry.”
Read it all from the local paper (emphasis mine).
[MOHAMMED] TUNKARA: Two, three years ago, I was lost. I was lost in my own life. I mean I had family problems at home. So when I first started to like join buildOn and actually be a part of it, it was a life-changing event for me. It was the, like it was the biggest turning point in my whole life. Now I want, I want to change the world now.
[BOB] FAW: That audacious goal of “changing the world” is the mantra of buildOn’s founder, 47 year old Jim Ziolkowski, who stepped out of the fast lane in corporate finance to achieve something more than making money.
JIM ZIOLKOWSKI (Founder, buildOn): I believe strongly in the social justice aspect of my Catholic tradition. But I wasn’t living it, and I wanted to reconcile my faith with the way I was living, so I started up buildOn. Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. And the way we approach it is by organizing afterschool programs in very challenged communities, urban environments and urban high schools across the United States.
As if sensing trouble, just two days before Wednesday’s violence, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II called on all Egyptians to prevent bloodshed.
“With all compassion I urge everyone to conserve Egyptian blood and ask of every Egyptian to commit to self-restraint and avoid recklessness and assault on any person or property,” Tawadros wrote on his official Twitter account Monday.
Youssef Sidhom, editor-in-chief of the Christian weekly Watani, said the recent attacks are painful and vicious but it be worse if they are allowed to divide the two faiths.
For reasons unknown, the government finally has admitted that Area 51 ”” the Shangri-La of alien hunters and a sturdy trope of Âscience-fiction movies ”” is a real place in the Mojave Desert about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.
It presumably does not house hideous squidlike ETs, but at least you can see the place on a map. Area 51 is confirmed in declassified CIA documents posted online Thursday by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. A dogged researcher pried from the CIA a report on the history of the U-2 spy plane, which was tested and operated at Area 51.
The military, which runs the base, always denied that Area 51 was called by its famous moniker, preferring a designation connected to the Groom Lake salt flat, a landing strip for the U-2 and other stealth aircraft.
Almighty and most merciful Father, whose dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ died that we might live: Grant to us thy children grace to follow in his most holy steps. Fill us with the spirit of reverence and godly fear; make us swift to obey thy holy will; and so turn our weakness into strength by the presence of thy Holy Spirit, that we may fight faithfully against selfishness, impurity, and pride, and ever be true to thy calling in Jesus Christ our Lord.
And when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Beth’phage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it. If any one says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.'” And they went away, and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street; and they untied it. And those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said; and they let them go.
Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?
I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.
The Internet is abuzz with conversation about the “T” in “LGBT” this week, after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law legislation supporting “equal access” for students who believe themselves to be the opposite gender from their biological sex. As a conservative evangelical Christian, I believe the so-called transgender question will require a church with a strong theological grounding, and a winsome pastoral footing.
Ultimately, the transgender question is about more than just sex. It’s about what it means to be human.
Celebrity Christian author Philip Yancey was talking earlier today about the way that we shouldn’t want to be celebrities because the celebrities he knows (other than himself) have become who they are because of a desperate need for affirmation from other people on account of a void that they feel on the inside. I’m not sure that completely describes me; I’ve begged God over and over to crucify that part of me. And what I keep seeming to discern is that I have a legitimate tenacious hunger to speak a truth that I’ve been given to share with a wide audience. It seems that I have a genuine prophetic vocation. So I feel like I’m supposed to try to network with the big dogs, the orange wristband people who are actually legit, as part of how I pursue my vocation. And it ain’t working so well.
It’s hard to untangle my personal junk enough to ask the right analytical questions about what’s going on here. But what would a national progressive Christian gathering look like that was intentionally anti-celebrity? What if we got our books signed by the yellow wristband strangers sitting next us whom we actually got to know instead of the celebrity authors for whom we try to come up with some intelligent comment in that ten-second window when they ask who they should write it out to? What if the “conversations” that we’re supposedly having at these gatherings weren’t panel discussions between orange wristband people but actual conversations in which yellow wristband people interacted in small groups? What if marginalized people themselves really were in the vanguard at these types of gatherings instead of just the “experts” who study them? I almost want to take back everything I wrote in my last post defending the emergentsia for its whiteness.
Last week, when a Tennessee judge forcibly changed an infant’s name from Messiah to Martin, it was hard to decide which was more noteworthy, the parents’ grandiosity in naming their child for the one they consider their Savior or the judge’s religious zealotry in prohibiting the name.
“The word ”˜Messiah’ is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” said Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew.
The American Civil Liberties Union has offered to appeal the ruling for the child’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, of Newport, Tenn., who did not return a phone call. The ruling came in a hearing after Ms. Martin and the baby’s father could not agree on a last name for the boy, but the judge took issue with his first name.