Daily Archives: September 5, 2013

(RNS) Unsafe abortions on the rise across Africa

Amid increasing calls for legalization of abortion in Africa, botched cases among young women are on the rise, according to recent reports.

Governments are responding by distributing contraceptives, but the Roman Catholic Church, some Muslim groups and anti-abortion groups are waging their own campaigns against contraception, warning it will further escalate the problem.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Women

(NY Times) Bar Mitzvahs Get New Look to Build Faith

The American bar mitzvah, facing derision for Las Vegas style excess, is about to get a full makeover, but for an entirely different reason.

Families have been treating this rite of passage not as an entry to Jewish life, but as a graduation ceremony: turn 13, read from the Torah, have a party and it’s over. Many leave synagogue until they have children of their own, and many never return at all ”” a cycle that Jewish leaders say has been undermining organized Judaism for generations.

As Jews celebrate the new year Wednesday night, leaders in the largest branch of Judaism, the Reform movement, are starting an initiative to stop the attrition by reinventing the entire bar and bat mitzvah process.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth

(Washington Post) As Syria deteriorates, neighbors fear bioweapons threat

Syria’s bioweapons program, which U.S. officials believe has been largely dormant since the 1980s, is likely to possess the key ingredients for a weapon….This latent capability has begun to worry some of Syria’s neighbors, especially after allegations that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad used internationally banned chemical weapons against civilians in an Aug. 21 attack.

Top intelligence officials in two Middle East countries said they have examined the potential for bioweapons use by Syria, perhaps as retaliation for Western military strikes on Damascus. Although dwarfed by the country’s larger and better-known chemical weapons program, Syria’s bioweapons capability could offer the Assad regime a way to retaliate because the weapons are designed to spread easily and leave few clues about their origins, the officials said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, France, Health & Medicine, Middle East, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, Syria

(FT) Federal Trade Commission targets ”˜internet of things’ amid privacy fears

The US Federal Trade Commission has sanctioned a home video monitoring company for privacy violations, indicating the US regulator plans to closely evaluate the security promises of the growing number of internet-connected consumer devices now flooding the market.

This is the FTC’s first action taken against a product from the so-called “internet of things”, which includes a range of new, popular gadgets, from Samsung’s wearable “smartwatch” to Google Glass to baby monitors linked to mobile devices.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology

([London] Times) More of the Roman Catholic faithful are seeking out confession

Although none suspected that the faithful had desisted from sin, for years priests have reported a decline in the number of Catholics seeking out the sacrament of confession.

The trend now appears to have been reversed, with a surge in confessions, particularly among the young.

The rise is being credited to the visit to Britain of Benedict XVI in 2010 and the election this year of Pope Francis.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Young Adults

(Christianity Today This is our City) Nathan Clarke–Yes, I'm the Mechanic (A Short Film)

Soon after becoming a Christian, Staten Island native George Zaloom’s international real-estate business fell apart. The only thing he had left was his automotive business, Zaloom’s Auto Repair. After an innocent question posed by the father of a friend, Zaloom embraced the mundane work of oil changes and tire rotations with one phrase: “Yes, I’m the mechanic.”

In this short film from City film director Nathan Clarke, Zaloom describes the joy of work””a joy that matches that found at home and at church: “If you can’t find joy eight hours a day, there’s something wrong.”

Watch it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Newspaper is now available

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Media

“I felt a bit like Daniel in the Lion’s den”: Pastor Matt Prater challenges Kevin Rudd on Q&A

Below is Eternity’s interview with Matt Prater, Pastor at New Hope Baptist Church and Vision radio presenter in Queensland. Matt challenged Kevin Rudd about same sex marriage on ABC’s Q&A [this past]…Monday September 2. John Sandeman interviewed Matt for Eternity….

Matt, what was your main concern in going on Q&A?

I felt a bit like Daniel in the lion’s den. It was a pretty hostile crowd. But I was able to share my view and I just think it is good to have a healthy robust discussion about this topic….

As for my question””I have just noticed so many Christian people disillusioned with Kevin because he has changed his view on what the Bible says about marriage and his quoting the Bible out of context. I said to him “Really, we have to get back to Jesus.”

Christianity is all about Jesus. And what did Jesus say about marriage? If this is what Jesus says about marriage, its good enough for me.

Read it all (and check out the links as well).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Unscripted #80 with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger

Story Index:

Communion Bishops go to Canterbury 00:00
Texas & South Carolina Victories 07:23
Teaching Americans how to speak English 18:11
It is Just a War 31:50
Trimming the dead branches 39:38
Closing and Bloooopers 44:21

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary

(Civitas) The Meaning of Matrimony: Debating Same-Sex Marriage, edited by Anastasia de Waal

In July 2013 parliament passed historic legislation to open up marriage to same-sex couples. It followed a bitter row both inside and outside the Palace of Westminster which laid bare some of the deepest divisions in our modern society.

The Meaning of Matrimony: Debating Same-Sex Marriage captures that argument in a series of passionately-written essays exploring the subject from all sides. With contributions ranging from Lord Carey to Peter Tatchell, the book seeks to provide a definitive guide to a debate which has encompassed much more than simply allowing same-sex couples to wed.

Now available to buy as a book, it explores whether marriage should embody ‘tradition’ or social change, the function of marriage in society and whether breaking the measure is liberal or illiberal. Along the way, questions are also asked about the nature of the debate itself, whether there has been adequate discussion, and where the balance should lie between legislation and social attitudes?

Read it all and please note the multiple ways at the bottom you can get the book.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Books, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Lord George Carey's article in Civitas' Marriage Debate book–"Love is not Enough"

….not all relationships are the same. Those who are currently proposing to extend the understanding of marriage to include same sex partnership are doing so in the name of equality. Even if they acknowledge that they are doing something quite unprecedented, they believe they have the moral right to do so and the assent of the people.

In my view this is mistaken. This change assumes that marriage is simply a civil rite of passage which the State in its wisdom can change if it so wishes. Of course, if we take this point of view, it is entirely rational to do so on the basis that, if homosexual relationships are the same as marital partnerships, then nothing fundamental is being changed at all.

Marriage, however, cannot be defined as simply as the government supposes.

What then is marriage? I have already used the word ”˜unprecedented’ of the Government’s desire to extend marriage to Civil Partnerships. And it is because marriage has ALWAYS been understood as a heterosexual relationship binding a man and a woman is an exclusive and life-long commitment….

To find the rest go here and follow down until you see “Civitas Article” on which you may click to access it.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(ACNS) Archbishop Tutu defends Malawi's Bishop Tengatenga

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is one of fourteen signatories to an article in Living Church magazine entitled Defending Bishop Tengatenga.

The article highlighted what the fourteen said was a “gross injustice” to Bishop of Southern Malawi James Tengatenga whose job offer was withdrawn by New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College following complaints made by some students and staff….

“The President’s decision brought applause from some in the Dartmouth community,” it said. “Others were appalled, as are we. The action represents a gross injustice to an individual who would have made an ideal person to provide moral and ethical leadership at the College.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of Central Africa, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Malawi, Religion & Culture, Theology

Rhode Island Man sues, alleging Church Bells Helped Destroy His Marriage

A Narragansett man has gone to federal court to silence church bells sounded by a neighboring Catholic church.

The Providence Journal reports that John Devaney says in his lawsuit that the bells of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish disrupt his life and contributed to the end of his marriage.

He is asking the court to order the church to reduce the number of bell claps and gongs so he can peacefully enjoy his property.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Eternal Light, shine into our hearts;
Eternal Goodness, deliver us from evil;
Eternal Power, be our support;
Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance;
Eternal Pity, have mercy upon us;

that with all our heart and mind and soul and strength we may seek thy face and be brought by thine infinite mercy to thy holy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Alcuin

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women: the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammonite, E”²domite, Sido”²nian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ash”²toreth the goddess of the Sido”²nians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the Lord commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

–1 Kings 11:1-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) Gender abortions: criminal charges not in 'public interest'–Crown Prosecution Service

Doctors who agreed to arrange illegal abortions based on the sex of an unborn baby have been told they will not face criminal charges, despite prosecutors admitting that there is enough evidence to take them to court, it emerged on Wednesday night.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was accused of failing to uphold the law after it ruled that it would not be in the “public interest” to prosecute the two doctors exposed in an undercover Daily Telegraph investigation.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, on Wednesday night raised the case with the Attorney General. The two doctors were filmed agreeing to arrange terminations for women who requested them purely because they said they did not want to have a baby girl.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AP) Vatican Ramps up Opposition to Syria Strikes

he Vatican is ramping up its opposition to threatened military strikes against Syria as it draws attention to Pope Francis’ plans to host a day of fasting and prayer for peace this weekend.

The Vatican has invited all ambassadors accredited to the Holy See to attend a briefing Thursday on the pope’s agenda for the four-hour vigil Saturday night in St. Peter’s Square, and bishops’ conferences from around the world have announced plans to host local versions of the vigil as well.

Even the Vatican’s often dysfunctional bureaucracy seems to be on message with the initiative, Francis’ first major foray into international diplomacy since being elected in March.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Syria, Theology, Violence

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes to authorize Pres. Obama to use limited force in Syria

The Senate resolution would limit hostilities to 60 or 90 days, narrow the conflict to Syria’s borders and prohibit U.S. troops on Syrian soil. McCain’s amendments didn’t change that scope, but made clear that the end goal should be “a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria.”

The vote was 10-7. Five Republicans and two Democrats voted against it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Budget, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Syria, The U.S. Government, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Stanley Hauerwas–Just how realistic is just war theory? The case for Christian realism

Realism is used to dismiss pacifism and to underwrite some version of just war. But it is not at all clear that the conditions for the possibility of just war are compatible with realism. At least, it is not clear that just war considerations can be constitutive of the decision-making processes of governments that must assume that might makes right. Attempts to justify wars begun and fought on realist grounds in the name of just war only serve to hide the reality of war.

Yet war remains a reality. War not only remains a reality, war remains for Americans our most determinative moral reality. How do you get people who are taught they are free to follow their own interests to sacrifice themselves and their children in war? Democracies by their very nature seem to require that wars be fought in the name of ideals that make war self-justifying. Realists in the State Department and Pentagon may have no illusions about why American self-interest requires a war be fought, but Americans cannot fight a war as cynics. It may be that those who actually have to fight a war will – precisely because they have faced the reality of war – have no illusions about the reality of war. But those who would have them fight justify war using categories that require there be a “next war.”

Pacifists are realists. Indeed, we have no reason to deny that the “realism” associated with Augustine, Luther and Niebuhr has much to teach us about how the world works. But that is why we do not trust those who would have us make sacrifices in the name of preserving a world at war. We believe a sacrifice has been made that has brought an end to the sacrifice of war.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Middle East, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Syria, Theology