Daily Archives: August 18, 2013

(CSM Editorial) Decline in marriage ”“ it’s the economy

Love and marriage. They’re hitched together, traditionally. But more and more today they’re being forced to lead separate lives.

A good marriage can yield all kinds of emotional benefits, including happiness, companionship, and even better health, according to some studies. Marriage also can serve as a strong economic foundation, with each partner supporting the other’s efforts to provide for the family.

But a new study suggests another, more detrimental link between money and marriage: Joblessness or other economic insecurity leads to fewer marriages. That not only deprives those individuals of the benefits of marriage, in a broader context it deprives society of the benefits of marriage as well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Peter Welby–The representation of Egypt in the Western media is completely wrong

…we do ourselves a disservice by overstating the plight of Egyptian Christians. Many live comfortably, and while there are many who are poverty stricken, the same is true of all Egyptians. Christmas is a national holiday, and church bells ring on Sundays. But amongst Christians the atmosphere is one of deep concern, bordering on paranoia. One friend told me of how it is much harder for Christians to get Western visas, because the visa staff are all locally employed Muslims, and religion is stamped on one’s passport. I don’t know the truth of that, but am reminded of the saying that just because I’m paranoid, it doesn’t mean I’m not persecuted. And societal divisions are growing, despite protestations to the contrary. These divisions are fuelled by ignorance of the other ”“ one Muslim friend thought Christians worship three gods ”“ and conspiracies about Western ”˜fifth columns’, and they lead to incidents such as the attacks on churches in Suez and Upper Egypt over the past few days.

The Christians were as varied in their voting in the presidential election as everybody else was. Some I knew even voted for Morsi in the second round: better the Muslim Brotherhood than the old regime. Most didn’t vote either way. And a few voted for Shafiq, the Mubarakite, with reasoning ranging from ‘better the devil you know’ to ‘we were served well by Mubarak’. But in largely supporting the overthrow of Morsi, they were in line with the will of the majority of Egypt: Pope Tawadros stood side by side with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar while the people, once again, rejoiced in the streets.

It’s hard to state just how the army, the saviours of the revolution, were despised by June 2012….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Media, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Violence

Kendall Harmon–On Russell Moore and the Word "prophetic" (or "prophet")

Some blog readers may remember that several years back I made a strong plea for the avoidance of the word “prophet” or words derived therefrom. Below I have posted a weekend interview with Russell Moore which includes the following from Dr. Moore: “we are no longer the moral majority. We are a prophetic minority.”

In 2010 my main focus was on mainline churches in general and the Episcopal Church in particular, but the same critique applies here. Please, please can we get away from any self declaration that we ourselves or anything we say is “prophetic.”

Say it again after me–one of the clearest ways to identify a false prophet in the Christian tradition and the Bible and someone who says they are a prophet–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Living Church) William Daniel–A brief theology of Zombies

Our world is fascinated with zombies. From revisionist writings in adult literature like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to children’s books such as Zombiekins, from television dramas of The Walking Dead to major motion pictures like the recent World War Z, as well as quasi-zombies ”” Boggans ”” in children’s films like Epic, not to mention the plethora of zombie video games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, our society is captivated by the undead.

What drives this zombie-filled imagination? What is its philosophical and theological import? Perhaps it is just good science fiction. Maybe it is the fear of chemical warfare, concerns of which flood our commercial media and public broadcasts. But why has this new genre of literature and film so mightily fixed our gaze upon the printed page and illuminated screens? Are we all worried about rampant cannibalism; being devoured by insatiable creatures, stoppable only by a “deadly” blow to the head? Or have we simply run out of other good reasons to give Brat Pitt a heroic leading role?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Maspero Youth Union on the Latest statistics on attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt

From here:

38 Churches completely destroyed, burned and looted
23 Churches attacked and partially damaged
In Addition to the following:
– 58 houses owned by Copts in different burned and looted
– 85 shops owned by Copts
– 16 pharmacies
– 3 hotels (Horus, Susana & Akhnaton)
– 75 cars, buses owned by churches
-6 people killed based on their religious Christian Identity
-7 Coptic people kidnapped in upper Egypt governorates

The link will provide you with many more sobering numbers–please pray for Egypt–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Violence

(RNS) Why Christians need the church: An interview with Lillian Daniel

Young people are disillusioned, disenchanted, and in some cases, downright disgusted with organized religion….[yet] in the middle of this storyline, which is quite frankly growing staler by the headline, comes Rev. Lillian Daniel and her hit book When Spiritual But Not Religious is Not Enough. It’s incredibly well-written, and though she is a liberal Protestant minister, I think her message resonates with where many conservative evangelicals are.

Daniel shares how she has seen the good and bad sides of the local church”“a BB gun-toting grandma, a rock-and-roller sexton, a worship service attended by animals and a group of theologians at Sing-Sing prison. Despite their flaws, she argues that local Christian communities play an important role in the life of faith, even though her spiritual journey extends well beyond the pews. Here we discuss why so many people want to follow Jesus without attending church and why she thinks this approach isn’t enough.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Ecclesiology, Economy, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

Egyptian military chief vows to rebuild Coptic Churches

“The Egyptian defense minister ordered the engineering department of the armed forces to swiftly repair all the affected churches, in recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers,” read a statement that aired on Egyptian television.

Bishop Mousa thanked Sisi for his efforts to repair the damaged churches.

“We thank Col. Gen. Sisi for commissioning the brave Egyptian armed forces to rebuild the places of worship damaged during the recent events,” Bishop Mousa said on Twitter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

WSJ weekend interview–Russell Moore on the new Posture Christians must learn, to be Careful critics

[Russell Moore]… is definitely pushing a new tone for this generation of evangelicals. “This is the end of ‘slouching toward Gomorrah,’ ” he says. Not only is the doomsaying not winning Christians any popularity contests, but he doesn’t think it’s religiously appropriate either. “We were never promised that the culture would embrace us.”

He also questions the political approach of what was once called “the religious right.” Though his boyish looks bring to mind the former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, Mr. Moore is decidedly not a fan of the “values voter checklists” the group employs. “There is no Christian position on the line-item veto,” Mr. Moore says. “There is no Christian position on the balanced-budget amendment.”

Which is not to say that Mr. Moore wants evangelicals to “turn inward” and reject the larger U.S. culture. Rather, he wants to refocus the movement on serving as a religious example battling in the public square on “three core issues”””life, marriage and religious liberty.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, who hast revealed thyself in him who veiled his Godhead that he might unveil thy glory, and hast made him the eternal sacrifice and only priest of men: Grant that by the power of thy Holy Spirit the veil on our hearts may be taken away, and we may look on him who loved us and gave himself for us, and so be changed into the same image from glory to glory, until at last we shall see him with unveiled face, for evermore.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Thus Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith.

–Galatians 3:6-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(USA Today) From pet therapy to yoga, schools address kids' stress

As school counselor Jennifer VonLintel gears up for the start of the school year at B.F. Kitchen Elementary School, there are new students to enroll, files to update and schedules to plan ”” including the schedule for Copper, her registered therapy dog and a popular presence in the hallways of the Loveland, Colo., school.

Three days a week, the 3-year-old golden retriever’s assignments can include mingling with kids during recess, being assigned to students who struggle with reading or math anxiety, and providing general companionship and support in the classroom, during counseling office visits, and during after-school programs. Any time a friendly, furry face can provide an extra measure of comfort and assurance, says VonLintel.

When there’s a death in a family or a child receives bad news, “with the parents’ permission, we’ll introduce Copper to the situation,” she says. “Kids find comfort in petting him, and sometimes the parents do, too. ”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Stress, Theology

(Living Church) Peter Doll–With Mary on Ecumenism’s Trail

The great central fact of The Blessed Virgin Mary is the evangelical rediscovery of the Fathers, the joyful excitement of returning ad fontes, building on the foundation of that great evangelical Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Writing first of all for an evangelical audience, they defend their chief focus on the patristic testimony on Mary: ”˜The Fathers are the heritage of the undivided Church. They teach all Christians, in both method and content, how to wrestle with the primary data of the Church’s teaching, Holy Scripture.” Kendall and Perry cogently reveal how the biblical writings about Mary form a coherent basis for the doctrinal emphases about her that emerge subsequently and rightly insist that the Fathers brought Western Mariology to its mature form. Whatever medieval and modern developments take place, the fundamental shape of Marian theology remains unaltered.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Theology, Theology: Scripture