Daily Archives: September 28, 2013

(NPR) On T.S. Eliot's 125th Birthday, His 'Waste Land' Hasn't Lost Its Glamour

What do you get a Nobel Prize-winning poet for his birthday?

The poet, in this case, is T.S. Eliot, and this year he would have turned the intimidating age of 125. It’s a tough question, but New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon has got an answer: a new re-issue of the first edition of Eliot’s groundbreaking poem, The Waste Land.

It’s a jumbled, odd and beautifully dissonant poem ”” well-loved, but sometimes hard to like. The opening lines might be the most famous phrase in modern literature: “April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Poetry & Literature

U.S. College Students Evenly Divided Between Religious, Secular and Spiritual, says a New ARIS Study

College-age Americans participating in a new survey of religious identification were evenly divided between three distinct worldviews, Religious, Secular, and Spiritual, according to a groundbreaking report in the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) series from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in conjunction with the Center for Inquiry (CFI). The study finds that these three groups have distinctly different positions on political, scientific, and moral questions.

Among the students surveyed, 31.8% identified their worldview as Religious, 32.4% as Spiritual, and 28.2% as Secular. Within each group there was a remarkable level of cohesion on answers to questions covering a wide array of issues, including political alignment, acceptance of evolution and climate change, belief in supernatural phenomena such as miracles or ghosts, and trust in alternative practices such as homeopathy and astrology.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(Her.meneutics) Kate Shellnutt–When digital dependence takes over what we once knew by heart?

Given a trajectory that seems straight out of sci-fi, I’m worried about the future””specifically what technological advancements mean for our embodied, thinking, knowing, feeling human minds.

These days, we still say things like “I don’t know how” and “I can’t remember it,” but our ignorance rarely lasts long. Seconds later, it gets pulled up on Google or YouTube. The information we don’t know is so close””quite literally at our fingertips””that we forget we don’t know it. The dozens of phone numbers saved in my address book. The recipes saved on my Pinterest board. Google Maps to the nearest whatever. That Bible verse I’m trying to think of.

We instinctually ask our laptops and smartphones to tell us and teach us, things we once relied on other people to do.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

Timothy George–Carolyn Maull McKinstry and the Birmingham Bombings

It was gray and overcast on Sunday morning, September 15, 1963. Some rain had fallen in the night, but no one knew that the heavens would weep again before the day was done. It was “Youth Sunday” at the church, and Pastor John Cross had announced that he would preach a sermon titled “A Love that Forgives” based on the Gospel text in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Carolyn Maull, 14, the Sunday School secretary, hurried to fulfill her responsibilities. She greeted visitors, counted Sunday School offerings, and reported the day’s attendance. In the brief interval between Sunday School and the morning worship service, Carolyn stopped by the girls’ restroom and spoke to her friends, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, and Carole Robertson, all 14, and Denise McNair, who was 11. She left the restroom, walked up the stairs to the church office, and answered the ringing phone. A man’s voice said simply: “Three minutes.” He hung up.

Carolyn felt confused. She walked into the sanctuary, where the clock hanging on the wall indicated that the time was 10:22 a.m. Then she heard the blast. Boom! For a second, she thought it was thunder or a lightning strike. Then she realized””it must be a bomb. She vividly remembers two things from that horror-filled moment: the sound of feet scurrying past her to get to the exits, and looking up at the stained glass window””the same one that had brought her such comfort when she looked into the face of Jesus at her baptism. The window was still intact . . . all except the face. Jesus’ beautiful face was gone.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence, Women

(NY Times Beliefs) In a Culture Shift, An Evangelical College Lifts Its Alcohol Ban

Last Saturday, Michael McDuffee had his first beer since 1994. It was a cold beer, refreshing. It was a long time coming.

“I had been a man convinced that three drinks can quench our thirst: milk, lemonade and a cold beer,” said Mr. McDuffee, who practiced his drinking as a Marine. “And for 20 years I was drinking milk and lemonade.”

Mr. McDuffee is not an alcoholic newly fallen from the wagon, but rather an evangelical Christian professor at Moody Bible Institute, which includes a seminary, an undergraduate college, and radio and publishing arms, with its main campus in Chicago. When he joined the faculty, in 1994, he agreed to abide by its requirement that faculty members, staff and students not drink alcohol, smoke, or have extramarital sex….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Education, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(Washington Post Op-ed) Colbert King: Christians in the Crosshairs

Hiding the Christian name on his ID with his thumb, Joshua Hakim approached the gunmen and showed them the plastic card. “They told me to go. Then an Indian man came forward, and they said, ”˜What is the name of Muhammad’s mother?’ When he couldn’t answer they just shot him.”

That’s the way it went inside the Westgate Premier Shopping Mall in Nairobi last Saturday. If you said when asked that you were Muslim, you were let go. If you answered no, you stayed. And maybe died.

More than 60 patrons in that upscale mall in Kenya’s capital breathed their last that day, shot dead by Islamist militants from Somalia who call themselves al-Shabab. The massacre was not al-Shabab’s first attack on non-Muslims….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A.S. Haley on the recent TEC House of Bishops Meeting–Fiddling While Rome Burns

The Presiding Bishop’s job — and future reputation — is, in effect, on the line. She and her personal Chancellor have been so identified with the litigation agenda of ECUSA (because they run that agenda without interference from anyone else in the entire Church) that they are taking a hit, so to speak, on account of the reversals which that agenda has recently suffered in Texas (Fort Worth), Illinois (Quincy), South Carolina, and yes – let it be said — in San Joaquin (even though there is as yet no final judgment there, ECUSA faces a decidedly uphill battle to convince the California court that its canons allow it to take the property of the withdrawing diocese).

In a (rather desperate, and, some would say) clumsy attempt to protect her prerogatives on the litigation front, the Presiding Bishop (and, as always, her personal Chancellor, whose law firm earns millions each year from the Presiding Bishop’s continuing patronage) asked the “Ecclesiology Committee” to deliver a counter to the “Bishops’ Statement on Polity” promulgated by the Anglican Communion Institute and the Communion Partner Bishops within ECUSA….
That Committee (with membership as noted above) obediently came forth with just such a “Statement”, and presented it to the assembled bishops in Nashville. Wonder of wonders, however — what seemed likely as a rubber stamp of 815’s current litigation claims devolved into a rejection of the Committee’s paper. That rejection was based chiefly on the bishops’ reluctance to submit themselves or their dioceses, by a simple resolution, to any claim of metropolitan authority — but it was also based on their own personal knowledge of the Church’s historical polity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Bp. of Chicago–Episcopal Church Files Stay in the Quincy Case

In the two weeks since Judge Ortbal ruled against the Diocese of Chicago and The Episcopal Church, we have been working hard to understand the ruling, assess its implications, and determine our next steps. Last Friday, September 20, we filed a motion for a stay of judgment in the Quincy trial court stating our intention to appeal the judge’s ruling. We continue to maintain, despite that ruling, that the assets in dispute rightfully belong to the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, now reunited with the Diocese of Chicago. This will ultimately be decided by the appellate court.

These legal proceedings will continue to unfold and I will keep you updated as they do….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Eternal God, who by the life of thy dear Son hast shown us that there is no minute of our own but we may be doing thy will: Help us to use our time aright, that however we are engaged, in work or leisure or play, we may stand before thee with a pure conscience, acting, speaking and thinking as in thy presence; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Pastor’s Prayerbook

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Uncategorized

(Christian Century) John Buchanan on World Communion Sunday–Shared meal

World Communion Sunday is one of the best ideas Presbyterians ever had. The idea originated in the 1930s, a time of economic turmoil and fear and the rise of militaristic fascism abroad. Hugh Thomson Kerr, a beloved pastor in the Presbyterian Church, persuaded the denomination to designate one Sunday when American Christians would join brothers and sisters around the world at the Lord’s Table.

The idea caught on. Other denominations followed suit and the Federal Council of Churches (now the National Council of Churches) endorsed World Communion Sunday in 1940. But though the day is still noted in some denominational calendars and program materials, it doesn’t seem to be considered as important as it once was.

Of course, every Sunday is in a sense World Communion Sunday insofar as many churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. But we do not welcome one another at the Lord’s Table….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Eucharist, Globalization, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(MywestTexas) From police officer to TEC priest: Former officer returns to church

The Rev. David Huxley didn’t plan on ever coming back to church ”” let alone entering the priesthood.

“I’d grown up Episcopalian, but when I got to be 17 or 18, church kind of lost its appeal,” said Huxley, who moved to Midland last week to take a position as the new rector at St. Nicholas’ Episcopal Church. “I went churchless for many years.”

Huxley became a police officer for the city of Madison, Wis. He worked there for 20 years before finding himself back in the Episcopal church, attending services upon a friend’s suggestion. Still, he never thought of becoming a priest until he kneeled to pray one Sunday and realized how much he missed church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

(Chicago Tribune) Climate change report: Global warming blamed on humans

Leading climate scientists said today they were more certain than ever before that mankind was the main culprit for global warming and warned the impact of greenhouse gas emissions would linger for centuries.

A report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), played down the fact temperatures have risen more slowly in the past 15 years, saying there were substantial natural variations that masked a long-term warming trend.

It said the Earth was set for further warming and more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels as greenhouse gases built up in the atmosphere. The oceans would become more acidic in a threat to some marine life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(ACNS) Communiqué of the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee

The Co-ordinating Committee studied the mandate given by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Anglican Communion. The focus of this work is to monitor and encourage existing Anglican-Lutheran relations, as well as to advance co-operation between the two Churches in areas where there are not yet any formal agreements. To enable the Committee to function as an encourager as well as a catalyst, the Committee has begun a process of mapping agreements, initiatives and projects in different regions. This mapping project is an ongoing task for the Committee and we urge Churches, in both communions, to provide information to further this task.

The Committee has also initiated a process promoting Anglican-Lutheran collaboration in the observance of the 2017 Reformation anniversary. As part of this the Committee intends to provide study material based around the official LWF theme Liberated by God’s Grace. This material would be designed to be used in joint Anglican-Lutheran study groups where both denominations are present as well as by separated groups. It is hoped that this material will relate to different ages and contexts. The purpose is to highlight that reformation is ongoing and that 16th century Reformation thoughts are relevant for Christians today. The Committee is locating this and all its work within the theological theme of communion in the mission of God.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches, Theology