Daily Archives: October 3, 2013

(RNS) Meet the ”˜Nominals’ who are drifting from Judaism and Christianity

They’re rarely at worship services and indifferent to doctrine. And they’re surprisingly fuzzy on Jesus.

These are the Jewish Americans sketched in a new Pew Research Center survey, 62 percent of whom said Jewishness is largely about culture or ancestry and just 15 percent who said it’s about religious belief.

But it’s not just Jews. It’s a phenomenon among U.S. Christians, too.

Meet the “Nominals” ”” people who claim a religious identity but may live it in name only.

Read it all.

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

ACNA Leader Bob Duncan–How it All Fits Together

“The Anglican Church in North America says that the Church’s mission is chiefly done through its mission agencies, and those agencies are chiefly local congregations. That’s how the transforming love of Jesus Christ reaches the local community. That’s how the transforming love of Jesus Christ reaches the nations.

What holds the Anglican Church in North America together? What’s the coherence? That’s the question I’m often asked, and the question I am going to answer.”

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

(LA Times) Charlotte Allen–Misreading Pope Francis

Pope Francis’ highly publicized recent interview with an Italian Jesuit magazine has ushered in a new era for the Roman Catholic Church – an era of record levels of misinterpretation of the pontiff’s words, both by the liberal media and by conservative Catholics who have been grousing about Francis ever since he washed the feet of a Muslim girl during Holy Week….

In fact, Francis, as he made clear in his interview, isn’t likely to deviate from any aspect of traditional Catholic teaching. He reiterated that God doesn’t “condemn and reject” anyone, including gays, but loves them, is cognizant of the pain they feel and yearns for them to repent of their sins and confess them. The very day after the interview was published, Francis, in an audience with Catholic gynecologists, vociferously denounced abortion as a symptom of today’s “throwaway culture.”

But that is in some ways beside the point. The Catholic Church really is changing, although not exactly in the fashion liberals would like. The church is changing because the world itself is changing. The hegemony of the West, technologically advanced but in demographic, economic, cultural and religious decline, may well be over.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Media, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Local Paper) Lowcountry South Carolina starting to reel from federal shutdown

Biologist Louis Burnett had to move his lab students to a conference room across the parking lot at Fort Johnson. His federal lab, animals and cell cultures are under lock and key.

Burnett’s dilemma is a case example of the ripple effect of the ongoing federal shutdown. As the shutdown enters its third day, the clock keeps ticking insistently for any number of people who don’t work for the federal government but find themselves on the outs because of the political standoff.

Burnett is a research professor at the College of Charleston. But like others in a cadre of college and state researchers, he collaborates on studies, shares office space and makes use of the equipment at the Hollings Marine Lab and the Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Education, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Science & Technology, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

TEC's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music seeks data on local use of Same sex Blessing Material

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) Allan Massie–Prayers and hymns learnt in childhood are a lifelong spiritual resource

What comes into your head when you hear the word “pilgrim” ”“ not, admittedly, a frequent occurrence these days? For some it may be the Pilgrim Fathers and the Mayflower, but for many it must be: “Hobgoblin nor foul fiend/Shall him dispirit”, or some other lines from John Bunyan’s great hymn ”“ “Who would true valour see/Let him come hither”¦”, which actually has an alternative first line, “He who would valiant be”¦” Anyone brought up in one of our Protestant churches will have sung that hymn, To Be a Pilgrim. As a child I always used to belt out the hobgoblin and foul fiend line, albeit tunelessly. Even today it’s a favourite, and sometimes appropriate, funeral hymn.

Now, a group in the Church of England is so concerned about the seeping away of our inherited Christian culture that, alarmed by the discovery that even the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments are unfamiliar to many, it is offering parishes what it calls “the Pilgrim Course” to teach “the basic tenets of Christianity”. “Give us each day our daily bread”, as you might say.

This seems an excellent idea, whether you are a believer and practising Christian or not.

Read it all.

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

(ACNS) Youth camps the secret to the future of Japan's Anglican Church

Having young Anglicans arrange and run their own camps could be the answer to an ageing Church population, according to a Japanese bishop.

Bishop of Kobe The Rt Revd Andrew Yatuka Nakamura, told ACNS that his diocese is seeing more young people going on to ordained ministry, which goes against the general trend in Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Communion in Japan).

“We’re likely facing the same problem as other provinces of the Anglican Communion; an age problem,” he said, “and a lack of young people and children in the church. The congregation is generally 60 to 70 years of age.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth

(Telegraph) The Little Noticed ministry of church recorders

‘When I say I’m a church recorder, people often look blank,” says Adrian Parker. “Others,” he adds with a chuckle, “seem to think I’m some sort of senior judge.”

It is a confusing moniker. When I first heard it, it conjured up an image of recorder players lining up alongside the choir in the church stalls. “I suppose there are worse titles,” concedes another of their number, Matt Smith, “but at least it intrigues people and that gets them asking more about what we do.”

Parker and Smith are both church recorders in the King’s Lynn area of north Norfolk. What they actually do is volunteer one morning a week to go along to a local historic church (of which Norfolk boasts more than its fair share) and compile for posterity a complete inventory in words and pictures of its fabric and internal furnishings.

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

St Matthew's Anglican Church in Manly Cancels Sunday Evening Services so fans can watch Soccer Match

If you can hear church bells ringing in Manly on Sunday night, the NRL premiership trophy is likely on its way back to the northern beaches.

Reverend Bruce Clarke from St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Manly has cancelled his regular Sunday night service and will transform the house of God into an Eagles nest as a live viewing site for this year’s grand final.

More than 300 people are expected to flood into the church to watch the Sea Eagles do battle against the Sydney Roosters. It will be the second time in three years the church has cancelled its Sunday night service for a Manly grand final.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Religion & Culture, Sports

Antonia Maioni–The Affordable Care Act versus the Canadian System: Five key differences

Even though its most virulent critics raise the spectre of “Canadian-style” health care, “Obamacare” does little to change the enduring differences between the two health care system. What, exactly, does “Obamacare” look like compared to Canada?…

Not cost containment: The sharpest critics of Obamacare argue it does little to address the fundamental challenge of cost control. The new law includes a review of Medicare reimbursement and the expansion of Accountable Care Organizations to reward cost-effective care. But it doesn’t grapple in a systematic fashion with the overall inefficiencies in health care delivery and financing, the administrative burden of multiple payers, providers and plans, and the cost pressures of defensive medicine. Governments in Canada know that health care is a searing financial responsibility, but they have at their disposal cost containment measures ”“ monopoly fee negotiations with providers, global budgets for hospitals ”“ that remain unfathomable in the American context.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, America/U.S.A., Canada, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, The U.S. Government, Theology

(BP) A Faith-Based Dormitory is filled at Troy University in Alabama

A state university has become the first in Alabama to offer a faith-based dorm to students who meet certain requirements, such as a 2.5 GPA and a letter of recommendation from a minister or other community leader.

The dorm, which opened in August at Troy University, has brought both praise and criticism.

“Over time, our students indicated in surveys that their interest in faith and spiritual issues is very high compared to students across the land,” said John W. Schmidt, Troy’s senior vice chancellor for advancement and external relations. In building the dorms, Schmidt said, the university was “meeting a need for student housing but also satisfying some of our student requirements.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(Jeff Walton) Episcopal Property Wars: Musical Chairs in San Joaquin

The change at St. James Church in Sonora is in some ways a microcosm of messy Anglican realignment and both the stark theological differences and litigation that usually accompany it.

The historic “red church” of St. James in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin was turned over to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in July. Known for bold color and architecture, St. James is also the oldest standing Episcopal Church building in California, constructed in 1859.

The congregation of St. James’ joined the majority of the Episcopal (Now Anglican) Diocese of San Joaquin in departing the Episcopal Church in 2007 over theological differences and the direction of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church. After temporarily coming under the oversight of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone (South America), San Joaquin Anglicans later helped establish the Anglican Church in North America in 2009.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Teach us, O gracious Lord, to begin our works with fear, to go on with obedience, and to finish them in love, and then to wait patiently in hope, and with cheerful confidence to look up to thee, whose promises are faithful and rewards infinite; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.3This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have any one deprive me of my ground for boasting.

–1 Corinthians 9:1-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

David Baker–Christ-like capitalism? God, mammon and the Church of England

‘Capitalism With A Human Face’ was the title of a well-known book written by Sir Samuel Brittan, a leading economic commentator, shortly before the year 2000.

Sadly, the financial calamities of the first decade of the 21st century have revealed that ”“ sometimes at least ”“ capitalism has a very far from human face. Indeed, more than occasionally it has seemed to have the countenance of a monster.

But now, under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, it looks as though the Church of England is attempting to give capitalism the opportunity to develop a new appearance ”“ even a Christ-like face.

The start of this month has seen the news that Justin Welby is hoping to draw up a ten-year action plan with the aim of forcing payday lenders such as Wonga out of business.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology