Daily Archives: September 25, 2013

(RNS) After years of decline, U.S. Roman Catholics see rise in number of future priests

After decades of glum trends ”” fewer priests, fewer parishes ”” the Catholic Church in the United States has a new statistic to cheer: More men are now enrolled in graduate level seminaries, the main pipeline to the priesthood, than in nearly two decades.

This year’s tally of 3,694 graduate theology students represents a 16 percent increase since 1995 and a 10 percent jump since 2005, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).

Seminary directors cite more encouragement from bishops and parishes, the draw of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and the social-justice-minded Pope Francis, and a growing sense that the church is past the corrosive impact of the sexual abuse crisis that exploded in 2002.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Globe and Mail) Elizabeth Renzetti–Heavens, we atheists have become a smug, dreary lot

Perhaps what we’re seeing is a schism in the atheist church between the crushers and the appeasers. Prof. Dawkins loathes my own brand of happy-clappy, can’t-we-all-just-get-along atheism, which sees room in the world for the believer and the non-believer alike. “These vicarious second-order believers,” he writes in The God Delusion, “”¦ their zeal pumped up by ingratiating broad-mindedness.” If you want to infuriate him, just say, “I’m an atheist, but ”¦”

The thing is, if the crushers want to draw people to a life based on reason and not faith, you’d think they would learn from religion’s mistakes ”“ contempt and recrimination are not great seduction techniques. Much better to take a lesson from the Sunday Assembly, the atheist congregation in London, which wants people to “live better, help often and wonder more.” As long as they show up on time, that is: “Latecomers go straight to hell!” Now those are people I wouldn’t mind having over for dinner.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Canada, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(NC Reporter) John Allen–Pope sounds alarm on anti-Christian persecution

Three days after an attack on an Anglican church in Peshawar, Pakistan, left at least 85 people dead, Pope Francis today urged Christians to an examination of conscience about their response to such acts of anti-Christian persecution.

“So many Christians in the world are suffering,” the pope said during his general audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square. “Am I indifferent to that, or does it affect me like it’s a member of the family?”

“Does it touch my heart, or doesn’t it really affect me, [to know that] so many brothers and sisters in the family are giving their lives for Jesus Christ?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence

(NY Times) Pakistan Christians Issue Call for Protection After Church Bombing

With its Muslim-style minarets topped by a large black cross, the All Saints Church in Peshawar has for more than a century offered a daring architectural expression of Muslim-Christian harmony and cohabitation….

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, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(DelmarvaNow) History lives among the dead at Delaware cemeteries

Time flies whether you are having fun or not.

A row of clock-shaped tombstones in Milford Community Cemetery brings the point home, a different hour represented on each one. Southern Delaware cemeteries have an equal mix of history and mystery. Small and large, they are worth visiting.

The peaceful churchyard at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lewes is the final resting place of some of Delaware’s earliest residents, among them Maulls, Virdens, Cullens and Paynters. Thanks to the Lewes Historical Society, the rich history of Delaware cemeteries is well documented and takes little effort to experience and enjoy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

Anglican Leaders in Toronto–to the Faithful of the Anglian Communion and all our Friends in Christ

Our final talk inspired us to a revival of the missionary spirit of the Toronto Congress.

In this spirit, we lay before you the following:

Communion is a missionary movement: as Stephen Bayne said at the time, our common goal is to plant the Gospel “in every place of the world”.
Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence (MRI) remains a compelling calling for today.
We need renewal of the structures of the Communion so as to reflect the tremendous growth of the Church in last 50 years in Global South. As the Congress noted regarding the fact of mission: “the form of the Church must reflect this”.
We must reclaim and strengthen Anglicanism’s conciliar character in these structures and in our decision-making, as MRI assumed.
We are open to a fresh articulation of an Anglican Covenant and commend the role it can have in the renewal of our Communion, and we believe that we ourselves can have a constructive role to play in leading in this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Ecclesiology, Global South Churches & Primates, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

(CT) Jake Meador–Why We Need Small Towns

America’s first great theologian, Jonathan Edwards, spent much of his life serving in a single small parish. Presbyterian theologian B. B. Warfield spent nearly his entire adult life in Princeton, New Jersey, where he taught at the university and cared for his sick wife. The late Dallas Willard taught and ministered in the same philosophy department for nearly five decades. Just recently, my pastor interviewed a dozen fellow pastors who have served in Lincoln, Nebraska, for over a decade. All of them are committed to staying at their churches indefinitely.

But, like so many Westerners, we don’t always practice the virtues of the little way in our communities. Evangelicals are a people of megachurches, national conferences, city-centric thinking (which often comes with derision for small-town life), and ever-expanding religious empires, be they church-planting networks or the Twitter feeds of celebrity pastors. Consider just one example: the rise of video preaching and podcasting, and the cultlike following they have generated around certain leaders.

The point is not to demonize cities or the prominent ministries that grow out of them. God does work through these and other large endeavors.

But what happens when our ambitions and fondness for big run amok?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life

Wednesday Mental Health Break–Tim Blais (Amazing) take on String Theory set to Bohemian Rhapsody

Watch and listen to it all and then you may Read all about it there (via Robert Krulwich) in which among other things is said: “With no apologies to Queen, this is Tim’s “A Capella Science” take on String Theory set to Bohemian Rhapsody. He calls it “Bohemian Gravity.” He’s 23. He wrote this. He sang this. He designed this. He’s amazing.”


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Music, Science & Technology

(ACNS) Secretary General to Anglican Communion: "Please pray for Pakistan"

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has asked for Communion-wide prayer following the suicide attack on a church in Pakistan that left than 78 dead and more than 100 injured.

In a letter to the Anglican Communion’s Primates–its most senior bishops–Canon Kenneth Kearon wrote, “Messages of condolences have been coming in from around the Communion, and I write to ask you to consider requesting your parishes and dioceses to remember in prayer those who died or were bereaved and those who were injured or live in fear because of the tragedy.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Inter-Faith Relations, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Sergius

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that inspired by the devotion of thy servant Sergius of Moscow, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Blessed Lord, who putteth down the mighty from their seat and exaltest those of low degree: Save us, we beseech thee, from pride and vainglory, from self-seeking and false ambition. Give us a humble and contrite spirit, that we may think less of ourselves, more of others, and most of all of thee, who art our mighty God and Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit we ascribe all praise and glory, now and for evermore.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

“You have heard that it was said, ”˜An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ”˜You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–Matthew 5:38-48

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Nairobi attack: Kenya's President Kenyatta says siege over

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared the end of a bloody four-day siege by Islamist militants at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre.

Five attackers were shot dead by troops and 11 suspects were in custody, he said in a TV address to the nation.

Kenya has “shamed and defeated our attackers” but the “losses are immense”, he said, confirming that 61 civilians and six soldiers had died.

Three days of national mourning have been declared, starting on Wednesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Kenya, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Violence

(Anglican Ink) Archbishop Welby sets the agenda for the Anglican future

(Please note: you can see basic information about this conference there)–KSH.

Toronto: The Archbishop of Canterbury has laid out his vision for a reformed and renewed Anglican Communion during an address delivered last week at Wycliffe College of the University of Toronto.

The Anglican way forward was through a church whose mission and message had a concrete impact on the real world of modern men and women. But this church was not merely a vehicle for good works, but one that took a wholly Christ-centered approach to theology and was grounded entirely in the New Testament.

In an unscripted address via Skype to the “Back to the Anglican Future: The Toronto Congress 1963 and the Future of Global Communion” Conference held on 18 September 2013 Archbishop Welby acknowledged the impact of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ideal of the Church as “Christ existing as community” as his guide.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Newly Released Essay Collection Explores Future of the Episcopal Church

This book, “What We Shall Become: The Future and Structure of the Episcopal Church,” is published as the governing bodies of the Episcopal Church USA are anticipating formal recommendations that will outline the future character and structure of the Church.

Edited by The Reverend Winnie Varghese, rector of the historic St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, the collection of essays examines the issues that restructuring raises for the church, including:

the historical, sociological and ecclesiological forces that have shaped the Church, how seminaries are reimagining their work for the 21st century;
how the changing landscape of communications and interconnectedness is challenging dioceses to support mission work differently;
and what it means to truly empower laity in our ever-evolving world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Bishop Mark Lawrence's Blog–Midge-buzzings, Musterings, and Musings: An Introduction

The nov­el­ist, essay­ist, and poet, Wen­dell Berry said he once knew a bar­ber who refused to give a dis­count to bald­ing men because his artistry was not in cut­ting off hair but rather in know­ing when to stop. Like­wise, I pray there is some artistry or at least crafti­ness in know­ing when to begin. After much coax­ing from sev­eral mem­bers of our dioce­san staff I have finally com­mit­ted to sit­ting down before this com­puter to write a blog. In doing so I’ve been told I need to give the blog a name. So here it is: I chris­ten thee, Midge-buzzings, Mus­ter­ings, and Mus­ings””a name which clearly mer­its a brief expla­na­tion, not merely for the obscu­ri­ties embed­ded therein, but because of what such a name sug­gests about the content.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

The Economist Obituary for Robert Capon (1925-2013)

He had no truck with American abstinence. “God invented cream. Furthermore, having made us in his image, he means us to share his delight in its excellence,” he wrote. He liked a drink or two as well: a married couple’s half-bottle amid meatloaf and brawling children was one of the “cheerful minor lubrications” of the “sandy gears of life”. But modern-day Americans, he wrote glumly, “drink the way we exercise: too little and too hard….”

…[He also] had no time for strict scorekeeping, in the kitchen or anywhere else. Grace, not willpower, dealt with sin: Jesus came to save the world, not to judge it. Showy piety, legalism and quietism were all abominations, almost as much as the cheap oil and harsh flavours of phoney ethnic food.

His own scorecard had some blots. Divorce from the mother of his six children cost him his parish on Long Island and his post as dean of an …[Episcopal] seminary. His 27 books (mostly on theology) and cookery columns only partly filled the gap. But there were worse things than being poor, he wrote, such as losing sight of the greatness of small things. At a posh church in East Hampton, he started his sermon by burning a $20 bill, with the words: “I have just defied your God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology