Daily Archives: September 24, 2013

(Her.meneutics) Enuma Okoro–It's Inevitable: We're Human, We're Christian, and We're Lonely

In the Christian tradition, we have a certain understanding that loneliness is inevitable and part of the human condition. We’re created for complete union with God, but unable to fully consummate that union this side of God’s Kingdom. There is an Augustinian element of truth from which we cannot escape no matter how much intimacy we do cultivate. Still, that doesn’t seem like a sufficient response for our loneliness predicament. If anything, it’s an invitation for Christians to communicate more openly about the challenges of the loneliness we are all bound to experience at various seasons of our lives.

In our age of social media, when new “friends” are a click away on Facebook and Twitter users actively form real-time communities around everything from favorite TV shows to breaking political news, we can easily be led to think that loneliness is an outdated phenomenon. But it is not.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

([London] Times) Row over sainthood for G. K. Chesterton

A priest has been appointed to look into the possible canonisation of G. K. Chesterton, the writer known for the Father Brown stories. The move has reopened the debate over his alleged anti-Semitism.

The Bishop of Northampton, the Right Rev Peter Doyle, has appointed Canon John Udris to carry out a fact-finding exercise to consider the possibility of opening a “cause” for Chesterton.

The writer, who died in 1936, lived in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, which is part of the Northampton diocese. Like Cardinal Newman, he was a convert from Anglicanism. He smoked cigars and was an accomplished journalist.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Roman Catholic, Theology

A NY Times Story about the Quest to Conquer Mus. Dystrophy for the First Time in 100 Years

Terri Ellsworth is convinced that her 12-year-old son Billy, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, is being helped by an experimental drug that counteracts the genetic mutation causing his disease.

His ability to walk has not deteriorated in the two years he has been on the drug, whereas many boys with the disease would be in wheelchairs by his age. Billy opened a Gatorade bottle by himself recently, beaming from ear to ear. He even took off down an uneven dirt path without falling.

“He never would have done that, ever,” said Ms. Ellsworth, 55, a kitchen and bath designer from Coraopolis, Pa., outside Pittsburgh. “Without this drug, he would not be walking today.”

Read it all (and there is a slideshow for those interested in pictures).

Posted in Uncategorized

(Telegraph) Charles Moore reviews An Appetite for Wonder by Richard Dawkins

…[His] passionate eloquence suggests something else, something that smacks of the religious zeal that Dawkins says he so detests. In the opening paragraph of chapter one, which Dawkins reprints, he says: “Living organisms had existed on earth, without ever knowing why, for over 3,000 million years before the truth finally dawned. His name was Charles Darwin.’’ Replace the words ”Charles Darwin’’ with ”Jesus Christ’’, and you will see how strongly, in temperament, Dawkins resembles the preacher rather than the cool-headed thinker. He is Darwin’s St Paul. His anger against God seems to arise not so much from His non-existence as from His effrontery in disagreeing with Messrs Darwin and Dawkins.

Nothing reveals Dawkins’s self-absorption more tellingly than his moments of strategic modesty. This book concludes with a comparison of his own writings with those of Darwin, purportedly to prove Darwin’s superiority, but really establishing a subliminal link between the two great men. As he approaches his last page, Dawkins suddenly bursts out against Darwin’s lack of public recognition: he was ”never Sir Charles, and what an amazing indictment of our honour system that is’’.

Indeed, and it is notable that, despite strong lobbying in that direction, he is not yet Sir Richard. I feel he is trying to tell us something.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Books, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(NC Register) Pakistani Leaders and Pope Condemn Terror Attack Against Christians

It has become an all too familiar narrative: Muslim militants in some majority Islamic country going out of their way to kill and intimidate the local Christian populace.

What happened this past Sunday in Pakistan, however, has shocked even the most jaded and cynical observers.

Peshawar’s All Saints Church is an Anglican parish that has existed since 1893. Around noon, after services this past Sunday, two suicide bombers, each wearing 13 pounds of explosives, forced their way past two police guards and detonated their devices. At least 83 people have died from the blast, including 34 women and seven children, with more than 175 people injured. The attack decimated entire families.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence

(NPR Cosmos and Culture Blog) Does Science Require Faith?

Sometimes faith is used as an alternative to reason, a way to designate (and sometimes denigrate) beliefs that are aren’t based on arguments or evidence, or that aren’t assessed critically. On this view, science and faith almost certainly conflict; science is all about arguments, evidence and critical assessment.

At the other extreme, faith can simply mean something like a guiding assumption or presupposition, and on this view, science does require faith. Science as an enterprise is based on the premise that we can generalize from our experience, or as “The Mathematician” put it, that induction works.

Somewhere in between these extremes are the more interesting possibilities. In , I discussed one proposal for how to think about faith, an idea from philosopher Lara Buchak: that faith involves committing to act as if some claim is true without first requiring the examination of further evidence that could bear on the claim….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, History, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(FT) US housing: Content to rent? Americans are increasingly abandoning property ownership

The US home-ownership rate has dropped to an 18-year-low at about 65 per cent ”“ down from a peak of 70 per cent before the crash ”“ and economists say it is set to fall as low as 60 per cent. Some industry watchers are now asking if the US, after a multi-decade push towards home ownership, is shifting towards being a nation of renters.

“With the housing bubble bursting, the home-ownership rate was always going to drop. In some respects this has been healthy as the country has been reversing some of the excess. Not everybody should have been homeowners,” says Michael Gapen, senior economist at Barclays. “But there is now an open question about where it will settle.”

Read it all (if needed another link may be found there. ).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Economist Erasmus Blog) Religion and state in Russia and elsewhere

It is not every day that a publication of America’s foreign-policy establishment, which generally reflects the liberal sensibilities of think-tanks, law practices and college faculties, publishes a sort of defence of the public role of Russian Orthodoxy. Yet that, with a big qualification, is the position taken by Nadieszda Kizenko, a history professor at the State University of New York, in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. The qualification? She is referring not to the church’s top hierarchs, but to a broader community of people, including scholars and public intellectuals.

When the church is in the news, she acknowledges, “the image that comes to mind is of an army of archbishops and abbots…operating in conspiracy with the country’s authoritarian rulers in the Kremlin.” But that is far from the full story because “devout Orthodox Christian journalists, academics and political scientists” were becoming “increasingly assertive as alternative spokespeople for the faith.” Ms Kizenko (who is American-born but of Slavic descent) notes that “women now dominate the rapidly growing field of religious media, which ranges from glossy mass-market magazines to religious bookstores and publishing houses, blogs and social networks, as well as television and movie production studios.” A “burgeoning Orthodox intelligentsia” is challenging both the church hierarchy and by extension the Putin regime, in her view.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia

Home Parish Sermon Series on the Church (I)–Craige Borrett on We are the Body of Christ

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

(Salon) Katie Engelhart–Atheism Starts a Megachurch:

Organized Atheism is now a franchise.

Yesterday, The Sunday Assembly””the London-based “Atheist Church” that has, since its January launch, been stealing headlines the world over””announced a new “global missionary tour.” In October and November, affiliated Sunday Assemblies will open in 22 cities: in England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, the United States and Australia. “I think this is the moment,” Assembly founder Sanderson Jones told me in an email last week, “when the Sunday Assembly goes from being an interesting phenomenon to becoming a truly global movement.” Structured godlessness is ready for export.

The Assembly has come a long way in eight months: from scrappy East London community venture (motto: “Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More;” method: “part atheist church, part foot-stomping good time”) to the kind of organization that sends out embargoed press releases about global expansion projects. “The 3,000 percent growth rate might make this non-religious Assembly the fastest growing church in the world,” organizers boast.

Read it all.

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

BBC Magazine–Is 25 the new cut-off point for adulthood?

New guidance for psychologists will acknowledge that adolescence now effectively runs up until the age of 25 for the purposes of treating young people. So is this the new cut-off point for adulthood?

“The idea that suddenly at 18 you’re an adult just doesn’t quite ring true,” says child psychologist Laverne Antrobus, who works at London’s Tavistock Clinic.

“My experience of young people is that they still need quite a considerable amount of support and help beyond that age.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst pray for thy disciples that they might be one, even as thou art one with the Father: Draw us to thyself, that in common love and obedience to thee we may be united to one another, in the fellowship of the one Spirit, that the world may believe that thou art Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

–William Temple

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

–1 Corinthians 5:1-8

Posted in Uncategorized

(NPR) The Last Tweets From An American Jihadist In Somalia

Omar Hammami grew up in the small of town of Daphne, Ala., but ended up in southern Somalia on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list. Last week, Hammami was reportedly killed by members of al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked militant group, after a falling out with its leadership.

He was known for rapping in an al-Shabab and was the subject of an in The New York Times Magazine. He also went by the name of Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, or “the American.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Somalia, Terrorism, Violence

Tim Fountain Writes the Diocese of South Dakota About the Strange and Eerie UTO Situation

From: The Rev. Timothy Fountain, Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls

Re: United Thank Offering Board Takeover

It is not comfortable to write to you about this concern, but it is necessary.

In the last month, the General Convention’s favorable review of the United Thank Offering (UTO) has been set aside, arbitrarily, by the Presiding Bishop and others in her inner circle.

Four members of the national UTO Board, including Board President Barbi Tinder, resigned when new by-laws were presented, placing the UTO under denominational staff rather than the elected board membership.

The Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, several staff and their appointed members now make up more than half the board and effectively run the UTO. In fact, the positions of Board Chair and Board Treasurer have been eliminated. A first-time Board member from the Presiding Bishop’s former diocese is now listed as “Convener….”

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Executive Council, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, Theology

[BBC] Who are Pakistan's Christians?

…to this day the Christian community remains in the poorest sector of Pakistani society, consigned to menial jobs. Entire villages in parts of Punjab are Christian, with inhabitants working as labourers and farmhands.

There are sections of Pakistan’s Christian community that are well off and they came over from Christian Goa under the Raj, are more educated and mainly settled in Karachi. Many of their descendants still work in the corporate sector.

What all of them share is a sense of vulnerability with a number of the wealthier Christians leaving to settle in Canada and Australia as the climate of intolerance in Pakistan becomes more unbearable – and if some Muslims are thinking of leaving, Christians and other minorities will feel the pressure more acutely.

Pre-partition Pakistan was a much more diverse place and levels of tolerance have declined as Pakistani society has been increasingly Islamicised and more homogenous.

Pre-partition Christians could count themselves among minorities that made up 15% of the population. Now minorities fall short of 4% of the country. And with the introduction of Islamist militancy, their situation is that much more urgent.

Read it all

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Religious Freedom / Persecution

Archbishop Justin Welby 'appalled' by Pakistan church bombings

Writing to the Church of Pakistan last night, the Archbishop said his heart ‘goes out to all those bereaved and injured by this terrible attack….’I pray for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ’s people. With the people of Peshawar I join in calling for the Pakistan Government and all people of good will to ensure that communities may go about their daily lives in safety, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice. Please be assured of my prayers and fullest support as you provide leadership and care for your people at this difficult time.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop announces Archbishop of Canterbury’s planned visit

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced to the House of Bishops that the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will be visiting The Episcopal Church in April 2014 for personal visit with her.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has contacted me and we are planning a private discussion next April,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori told the House of Bishops currently conducting its fall meeting in Nashville, TN (Diocese of TN).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC)