Daily Archives: September 18, 2013

(RNS) Zanzibar acid attack tied to growing religious tensions

An acid attack on a Roman Catholic priest in Zanzibar is heightening fears of increased religious tensions on the Tanzanian islands, where Christian clergy, churches and some Muslim leaders are being targeted.

On Sept. 13, the Rev. Anselm Mwang’amba, 61, suffered burns on his face, chest and arms when acid was thrown at him as he left an Internet cafe. The attack came barely a month after acid was thrown on two British teenage tourists, Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee.

“We are urging Christians not to retaliate,” said the Rev. Cosmas Shayo, diocesan chancellor. “We are depending on the police for security. They say action has been taken, but we are not satisfied since the attacks are continuing.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Tanzania, Theology, Violence

A portrait Article on the New Vicar at St. Ann’s in Block Island, Rhode Island, Eileen Lindeman

“I was really attracted to this place. I felt like I was being called to come to Block Island,” said [Eileen] Lindeman, who moved here from near San Francisco in late August and now works part-time as vicar, also known as the priest, of St. Ann’s.

Lindeman’s duties involve leading the Sunday worship services, which begin at 9 a.m. each week and last about an hour. At the service, she leads the prayers, “consecrates the elements” (preparing for the holy communion, Lindeman explained) and she also delivers a sermon. She helps lead a monthly Taizé prayer service, which happens the fourth Wednesday of each month. She also performs weddings, funerals and baptisms ”” the first Saturday of her job she said she performed renewals of marriage vows for two couples.

Aside from these roles, Lindeman said she really wants to be there for her congregation, and for the community as a whole, regardless of a person’s religious denomination. She said that often people call or visit with specific situations or concerns ”” sometimes they just want to talk, she said ”” and she wants to have enough flexible time to be there to accommodate each person. According to Lindeman and Parish Administrator Erica Tonner, for a little over a year, St. Ann’s has had an interim priest who has not lived on the island year-round.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Rural/Town Life, TEC Parishes, Theology

(Barna) 5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church

A controversial topic was reignited this summer when blogger and author Rachel Held Evans wrote a piece about why Millennials leave church. Her editorial struck a nerve, sparking response pieces all across the web and generating more than 100,000 social media reactions in the first week alone.

Yet whatever one’s personal view of the reasons behind Millennials staying or going, one thing is clear: the relationship between Millennials and the Church is shifting. Barna Group’s researchers have been examining Millennials’ faith development since the generation was in its teen years””that is, for about a decade. During that time, the firm has conducted 27,140 interviews with members of the Millennial generation in more than 200 studies.

And while Barna Group’s research has previously highlighted what’s not working to keep Millennials at church, the research also illuminates what is working””and what churches can do to engage these young adults.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

(RNS) As denominations such as The Episcopal Church decline, numbers of unpaid ministers rise

The 50 members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Hitchcock, Texas, are looking forward to December, when Mark Marmon will be ordained their priest.

One reason for the excitement? They won’t have to pay him.

A 57-year-old fly fishing guide, Marmon, whose wife is a lawyer, says he doesn’t want or need a church salary. He belongs to a growing breed of mainline Protestant clergy who serve congregations in exchange for little or no compensation.

“We’re the frontline,” Marmon said. “If it weren’t for us, these churches would just roll up and die.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

Pope Francis' Recent Message on the Church's Concept of Family

This 47thSocial Week is placed in this perspective, with the preparatory document that preceded it. It intends to offer a testimony and to propose a reflection, a discernment, free of prejudices, as open as possible, attentive to the human and social sciences. As Church we offer first of all a conception of the family which is that of the Book of Genesis, of the unity in difference between man and woman, and of fecundity. In this reality, moreover, we recognize a good for all, the first natural society, as accepted also in the Constitution of the Italian Republic. In fine, we wish to reaffirm that the family, understood thus, remains the first and principal subject builder of the society and of an economy to the measure of man, and as such merits to be actively supported. The consequences ”“ positive and negative –, of the choices of a cultural character, first of all, and political regarding the family touch the different realms of the life of a society and a country: from the demographic problem ”“ which is serious for the whole European continent and, in particular, for Italy, to the other questions regarding work and the economy in general, to the upbringing of children, to those that concern the anthropological view itself which is at the base of our civilization (cf. Benedict XVI, encyclical Caritas in veritate, 44).

These reflections do not just interest believers but all persons of good will, all those who have at heart the common good of the country, precisely as happens with the problems of environmental ecology, which can help very much to understand those of “human ecology” (cf. Id, Address to the Bundestag, Berlin, September 22, 2011). The family is the privileged school of generosity, of sharing, of responsibility; school that educates to overcome a certain individualistic mentality that has gained ground in our societies. To support and promote the family, valuing its fundamental and central role, is to work needed for a just and solidaristic development.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Current Featured Research on the Episcopal Church's Statistics

Check out the material in the top links under each category and see what, if anything else, you observe.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Data, TEC Parishes

(Gallup) Americans Struggle to Afford Food; Americans' overall access to basic needs is close to low

More Americans are struggling to afford food — nearly as many as did during the recent recession. The 20.0% who reported in August that they have, at times, lacked enough money to buy the food that they or their families needed during the past year, is up from 17.7% in June, and is the highest percentage recorded since October 2011. The percentage who struggle to afford food now is close to the peak of 20.4% measured in November 2008, as the global economic crisis unfolded.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

An Investors Business Daily Profile Article on C.S. Lewis

Lewis’ “Mere Christianity,” published in 1952, explained what he felt was the core of his faith. At the time, critics on the left thought it superstitious and simplistic, while evangelicals were upset at the lack of fire and brimstone.

The book’s popularity with the public, however, has endured, and the popular monthly magazine Christianity Today ranked it the best book of the 20th century.

All the while, Lewis was at odds with his colleagues. Many resented his promotion of religion, looked down on his popular fiction, were jealous of his large classes and thought literature courses should focus on more modern books. So in 1955 he bolted, accepting a professorship of medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford’s great rival, the University of Cambridge.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Books, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Local Paper Front Page) Charleston, South Carolina Violent Crime Falls 26%

A push to forge community partnerships and attack lawlessness at its roots helped Charleston buck a national trend and post substantial declines in violent crime and property offenses last year, according to FBI statistics released Monday.

Charleston saw a 26 percent drop in violent crime in 2012, despite having one more killing than in the previous year. Driving the decline were noticeably fewer rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults than in 2011, the FBI numbers show.

The total number of property crimes such as burglaries and car thefts in the city also dropped, by 10 percent, during the same time period.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Edward Bouverie Pusey

Grant unto us, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know thy presence and obey thy will; that, following the example of thy servant Edward Bouverie Pusey, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what thou givest us to do, and endure what thou givest us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, whose love is our life, open our hearts, we beseech thee, to receive thy gifts; take away from us coldness and calculation, the blindness of pride and the luxury of hurt feelings; pour out upon us thy quickening Spirit, that our dry places may be green again, and our whole being rejoice in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Pastor’s Prayerbook

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen!

–Psalm 72: 18,19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Washington Post Wonkblog) The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989

The Census Bureau is out with the annual report on incomes and poverty. And while you might think that after years of stagnant incomes and elevated poverty rates, we would be inured to the depressing facts contained therein, it still somehow has the power to shock.

For my money, the most depressing fact about the economy is not the fact that household incomes were basically flat in 2012 (the real median household income was down to $51,017 from $51,100 in 2011, a statistically insignificant change). It wasn’t even the fact that 15 percent of the U.S. population was living in poverty, according to the official, flawed definition of the term.

Nah, the most depressing result comes when you look at the longer view of household incomes in the United States.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(ACI) Ephraim Radner–Same-Sex Marriage Is Still Wrong; And It’s Getting Wronger Every Day

The unexpectedly rapid civil acceptance of same-sex marriage in the West may lead one to imagine that the issue is somehow already settled. Whatever doubts one may have had, they have been swept away by the overwhelming flood of changed public opinion. Fait accompli. Traditional Christians must simply step aside now.

Such a judgment would be a mistake. Indeed, far from the matter being settled, at least form a Christian perspective it has hardly been engaged, despite claims to the contrary by proponents of same-sex marriage. What we have had instead is a bait-and-switch set of tactics, first seeking civil and religious recognition and affirmation somehow of same-sex attractions, then pressing for ordinations, then blessings of unions. What comes next? The question of a “slippery slope” is hardly a fallacy here, for in this case we have a historical track-record of legal advocacy and movement that stands as quite rational “evidence” for the slope’s existence.
All the while, most discussions claimed that “marriage” was never nor could be ever the issue at stake. But here we are: changes to “marriage canons” and Prayer Books are now in the works. At this stage the advocates of change are merciful enough to suggest “conscience clauses” for those who disagree.

“Disagree” how, exactly? What happened? Was a carefully developed argument offered, studied, engaged consultatively across lines of commitment and ecclesial fellowship, and then adopted by a kind of consensual accord? Of course not! Failure to persuade on the part of same-sex advocates has simply been reinterpreted as “legitimate decision in the face of minority dissent”.

What is key to remember is that no sustained argument or persuasive action has taken place on the matter of same-sex marriage.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Senator Magnus Abe says Archbishop Kattey's Kidnapping is a Wake-Up Call On Insecurity

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe, has charged Nigerians to see the travails of the Dean, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, in the hands of kidnappers as a wake-up call, insisting that the country can no longer afford to play with the issue of security.

Abe, who stated this during a visit to Kattey shortly after he was released by his abductors, however said joblessness and financial challenges should not be placed as excuses for indulging in kidnapping and armed robbery. Kattey, who is also the Archbishop, Province of the Niger Delta and Bishop of the Diocese of the Niger Delta North, was released by his abductors on Saturday night after spending nine days in captivity.

“I just want to use this opportunity to thank Christian faithful across the country; every Christian in this country showed concern; so I thank all of us for what God has done and to say that this actually is a wake-up call for us as a country. We can no longer afford to play with the issue of security,” Abe, who representing Rivers South East in the National Assembly, said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence