Daily Archives: September 27, 2013

(WSJ) Naghmeh Abedini: Jailed for Practicing Christianity in Iran

To Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran:

Before your arrival in New York this week to address the United Nations General Assembly, Iran announced that it had released 80 political prisoners. No doubt the gesture was welcomed by the prisoners and their families, but the release only makes a dent in the hundreds of prisoners being held in Iran for their beliefs””political beliefs or religious beliefs.

I know, because my husband, Saeed Abedini, is an American citizen held in an Iranian prison for the crime of practicing his Christian faith in the country of his birth. I was fortunate enough to encounter your delegation in New York during your visit this week, and while I did not get an opportunity to speak with you directly, I was encouraged that one of your associates accepted a letter that Saeed had written to you.

But I worry the letter wasn’t given to you. So I write you here with Saeed’s plea for justice and freedom….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Iran, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Abortion Survivor Melissa Ohden on the Wash. Post Fact Checker and the Facts He got so Wrong

As some of you may remember, that ad brought to light President Obama’s voting record on infants born alive and the reality of my life as a survivor. As some of you may also remember, that fact check was more like a bias un-check, and although the writer questioned the credibility of my use of the word “discarded” in the ad when describing what it was like for me to survive an abortion and be left to die and was blatantly out to attack that ad and me, scores of people and political commentators from across the nation responded to the Post’s article pointing out the bias of the article and the negative treatment of such a painful experience that my family and I have lived through.

What a difference a year makes.

If Josh Hicks, the fact check writer from the Washington Post, was doing that article now, not only would I have all of the damning evidence about the abortion that I survived that was provided to him last year, including copies of my medical records that reflect the abortion that I survived and the statements by my adoptive parents about what they were told about everything that occurred, but I now also have additional information from a medical professional about the circumstances that surrounded my survival and information from my biological family, whom I’ve been blessed to have enter into my life this year, that further solidifies all that happened thirty-six years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Media, Science & Technology, Theology

Stephen Hawking: 'in the future brains could be separated from the body'

Professor Stephen Hawking has predicted that it could be possible to preserve a mind as powerful as his on a computer – but not with technology existing today….

Prof Hawking was speaking after the premiere of a new biopic about his life, which he narrates himself, at the Cambridge Film Festival.

Asked about whether a person’s consciousness can live on after they die, he said: “I think the brain is like a programme in the mind, which is like a computer, so it’s theoretically possible to copy the brain onto a computer and so provide a form of life after death.

“However, this is way beyond out present capabilities. I think the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Eschatology, Health & Medicine, History, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Secularism, Theology

A Rambling Vicar is the star of a beer festival behind the church in which he serves

A Stoke-on-Trent vicar has become the star of a real ale festival with a special brew named after him.

The Revd Chris Rushton, a Church of England minister at Holy Trinity, Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent is hosting a beer festival in the Minton Halls behind the church, starting …[Thursday]at 7.30 pm. and running until Saturday.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Commissioners should back housing schemes, says Archbishop Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Church Commissioners should invest some of their funds in housing associations and other social enterprises that work to tackle financial inequality.

He made his comments during a question-and-answer session at the National Housing Federation’s annual conference in Birmingham last Friday, where he had delivered a speech calling for a greater partnership between housing associations and the Church of England.

Tess Pendle, the head of My Home Finance, a non-profit organisation that provides low-cost credit and banking facilities to financially excluded people, as an alternative to payday lenders, asked whether “such a partnership might involve financial investment from the Church”.Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Telegraph) American family rescued by Muslim hero of attack on Nairobi's Westgate mall

[The heroic man was]…Abdul Haji, the son of a former security minister in the Kenyan government, who had rushed to the mall after getting a text message from his brother who was trapped inside.

“We saw a lot of dead people. Very young people, children, old ladies, you cannot imagine,” Mr Haji told the Kenyan television station NTV.

“From what they were doing, you could tell that these were not normal people. The fact that he was making a joke out of this whole thing made me much more angry and determined to engage them, and to shame them.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Kenya, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Terrorism, Violence

(AP) Leaders of Minnesota Somali community say young men still being enticed to join terror group

Leaders of the nation’s largest Somali community say some of their young men are still being enticed to join the terror group that has claimed responsibility for the deadly mall attack in Kenya, despite a concentrated effort to shut off what authorities call a “deadly pipeline” of men and money.

Six years have passed since Somali-American fighters began leaving Minnesota to become part of al-Shabab. Now the Somali community is dismayed over reports that a few of its own might have been involved in the violence at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

“One thing I know is the fear is growing,” said Abdirizak Bihi, whose nephew was among at least six men from Minnesota who have died in Somalia. More are presumed dead.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Kenya, Men, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Somalia, Terrorism, Violence, Young Adults

(Living Church) Ephraim Radner reviews Christian de Chergé: A Theology of Hope

Christian de Chergé was a Trappist monk who, with six of his monastic brothers, was killed in Algeria in 1996. The exact circumstances of their deaths remain disputed. They were abducted by a band of radical Islamists, in the midst of a horrendously violent period of civil-religious strife. Only their severed heads were subsequently recovered. To what degree did the Algerian army play a role in their deaths, and with what assistance from French security advisers, wittingly or unwittingly?

Rather, de Chergé gave his life as a reconciling gift thrown into the midst of the hostility and violence associated with antagonistic diversities. His was a witness made quintessentially within our late modern culture of fragmented “globalized” hopelessness….

Christian Salenson’s Christian de Chergé: A Theology of Hope (a translation of the 2009 French original) follows in step with the temper of the times, and takes up the [interest in the] Christian-Muslim… [angle of his thought]. Although this approach has its limitations, the volume, in all of its austere precision and accessibility, is of the highest quality, and deserves to be read as a necessary introduction to de Chergé’s thought. SRead it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Algeria, Books, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Europe, France, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CSM) Faith makes a TV comeback

From snake handlers to trivia buffs, entertainment with religious overtones has gilded the fall TV lineup with the renewals of such ratings-busting shows as “The American Bible Challenge” (GSN), now in its third season, and the return of “Breaking Amish: L.A.,” including a bonus reunion event (TLC). Add ongoing reality shows such as “Preacher’s Daughters” (Lifetime) and the list just keeps growing.

“We are certainly in the midst of a rush of interest in faith-based shows,” says Martha Williamson, executive producer of the CBS hit “Touched by an Angel,” which ran from 1994 to 2003.

The appetite for faith-based shows should hardly be surprising. Some 78 percent of Americans say they are Christian, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center’s Project on Religion and Public Life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

(ACNS) Canon Kenneth Kearon on writing two sad letters this week

I wrote two very sad letters this week ”“ one to the Primates and Provincial Secretaries of the Anglican Communion suggesting that they request prayers in churches in their dioceses for those who died in the attack on a church in Peshawar in Pakistan last Sunday; today I wrote a letter to Archbishop Wabukala after the tragic deaths at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi.

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Give unto us, O Lord our God, the spirit of courage. Let no shadow oppress our spirit, lest our gloom should darken the light by which others have to live. Remove from our inmost souls all fear and distrust, and fill us daily more completely with thy love and power; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

–Matthew 6:7-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AP) Deal Reached on UN Resolution on Syria Weapons

The five permanent members of the often-divided U.N. Security Council reached agreement Thursday on a resolution to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, British and U.S. diplomats said, and the council was meeting to discuss it Thursday night.

The agreement by the permanent members, whose differences have paralyzed council action on Syria, represents a major breakthrough in addressing the 2 1/2-year conflict, which has killed more than 100,000 people.

Britain’s U.N. ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, tweeted that Britain, France, the U.S., Russia and China had agreed on a “binding and enforceable draft ”¦ resolution.”

Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/09/26/deal-reached-on-un-resolution-on-syria-weapons/#ixzz2g2ht7FGG

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Syria, Theology, Violence

(Anglican Taonga) Bishop David Rice returning to US

Archbishop Philip Richardson, who is the senior bishop of the seven New Zealand dioceses, says the three Primates here have accepted Bishop David’s resignation with regret.

“For the last five and half years, Bishop David has thrown himself, body and soul, into serving the Diocese of Waiapu.

“His people here will miss him. Equally, they will understand, as we do, the responsibilities we all have to care for our extended whanau. He and Tracy will return to the US with our blessing and prayers.”

Bishop David is to become the Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, in eastern California, and will take up that role in February next year.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

(Wash. Post) Largest Syrian rebel groups form Islamic alliance, in possible blow to U.S. influence

American hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s fractious rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed opposition coalition and announced the formation of a new alliance dedicated to creating an Islamic state.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group, which will further complicate fledgling U.S. efforts to provide lethal aid to “moderate” rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence