Daily Archives: October 29, 2013

(NPR) Who Has The Right To Know Where Your Phone Has Been?

Law enforcement agencies across the country already subpoena phone location data regularly. The district attorney for Suffolk County, Mass., regularly asks phone companies for cellphone location information.

The subpoenas are “part of almost every major case, including homicide, in some cases, sexual assault, drug trafficking cases,” says Jake Wark, a spokesman for the office.

While the National Security Agency has conceded that it does collect records of U.S. phone traffic, it says it does not currently track the location of cellphones. But the agency also says that it would be legal to collect that information.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology

(CC) Steve Thorngate–Struggling with the Revised Common Lectionary

Whenever I plan a Maundy Thursday service, I get annoyed with the lectionary. Why isn’t the second reading 1 John 4? I get that Paul’s account of the words of institution for the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians is assigned to cover for the lack of an account in John’s Gospel. Still, the day is named for the New Commandment. Jesus, gearing up for the most terrifying experience he and his disciples will ever know, commands them to love one another. It’d be nice if 1 John’s gloss””that such love casts out fear””also made the cut.

This fairly arbitrary objection may be mine alone. But lots of us worship planners have pet frustrations with the Revised Common Lectionary (1992). My Facebook newsfeed””a place much like the wider world, if half the population went to seminary””attests to these regularly.

Why pair these readings? Why skip those verses? How will we survive an entire month on Jesus the long-winded bread of life? Does Christ’s appearance to Thomas really need to come up every Low Sunday (leaving young associate ministers””preaching while the senior pastor takes the week off””with thick files of sermons on doubt or woundedness or bodily resurrection)?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) The City must take religion seriously, says the Archbishop of Canterbury

Religious faith is a “powerful and increasingly influential global reality” which must be taken seriously, especially in the City of London, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said God and mammon ”“ material wealth or greed ”“ are not mixable, but this did not mean there was no place for faith in the City.

“That’s on the authority of Jesus Christ who said you can’t serve God and mammon. God and the City, by contrast I think, are eminently mixable.”

He was speaking at a Mansion House dinner hosted by Roger Gifford, a senior banker and Lord…

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(United Methodist Reporter) Bishop Talbert's Officiating at a Same Sex Wedding Raises Many Questions

Was ..[this] event the first step in the unraveling of the United Methodist Church, or was it (as some attendees at the wedding suggested) no big deal?

Within the broader culture this probably isn’t a big deal in the face of more and more states legalizing gay marriage. The writing is pretty much on the wall that the legal distinctions between homosexuality and heterosexuality are eroding, and that a secular society can embrace the belief that all people are invited to the table and can share in the benefits of covenanted, mutual monogamy.

But the issues involved for our church are more troubling for Bishop Talbert’s actions raise more questions than simply whether gay folks can marry. The issues are many: the radical differences in culture between the various regions of the country (let alone the world); the nature of the vows clergy make and the covenant between them and the church; the lack of trust between members of the Council of Bishops, which permeates the larger church; our belief in a system of governance based on corporate discernment and how we respond when a minority believes that that actions of the majority are unjust. In off-the-record conversations with a few bishops I’ve heard concern and predictions that the divisions are too great, and that the covenant that they hold with one another is broken. For some the notion of a retired bishop challenging the practice of ministry of an active bishop in her episcopal area and defying her authority raises issues about the place and status of retired bishops and the need for term episcopacy like that of the Central Conferences.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Methodist court sidesteps changes to standards on same sex unions

The United Methodist Church’s highest court issued three rulings this weekend that do not change church policy toward gays and lesbians but allow bishops to accept resolutions expressing dissent from church teachings.

The Judicial Council affirmed a resolution approved by New York Bishop Martin McLee that celebrates congregations and individuals that “provide for the pastoral needs of same-sex couples within the United Methodist Church.”

It said that the resolution is “aspirational,” and does not call for action that contradicts the Book of Discipline, the United Methodist book of doctrine and laws, which defines homosexual conduct as “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(UMNS) [Methodist] Bishop Talbert performs Alabama wedding for two men

At 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, the doors shut out the disagreements about church law as United Methodists Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince vowed to love each other for the rest of their lives in a wedding ceremony performed by retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert.

Before the wedding. television cameras from several news stations rolled outside Covenant Community United Church of Christ. The two men and Bishop Talbert faced questions about why, and what it would mean for them to disregard their denomination’s stance that the practice of homosexuality is not compatible with Christian teaching and that ordained clergy are forbidden to perform a same-sex marriage….

For Talbert, the answer to why and what lies ahead is more complicated.

“On May 4, 2012 (during the 2012 United Methodist General Conference), I declared that the church’s official position is wrong and evil ”¦it no longer calls for our obedience.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Justin Welby visits Hong Kong

Archbishop Justin Welby hailed the church’s ”˜pioneering’ work with refugees and migrants, which he said offered ”˜leadership to the whole Anglican Communion’.

He was spending two days in Hong Kong at the start of a 10-day visit to Anglican Primates in the region, which will also include Japan and Korea.

The Archbishop is visiting every Primate in the Anglican Communion during his first 18 months in office, so that he can get to know each of them in their local context, personally and professionally, in order to foster friendship and mutual understanding.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia

(ACNS) Zimbabwe introduces "greenhouse theology"

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has introduced a new course on “greenhouse theology” to empower priests with knowledge about creation, the environment and its preservation.

Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya announced this yesterday at a press conference held at St Mary and All Saints Cathedral in Harare which was attended by many high-level government officials including the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Saviour Kasukuwere.

“The course on greenhouse theology is taught to all those training for the ordained ministry in the Anglican Church and it is our hope that the priests will take this to the parishes they will be assigned to in their dioceses,” said Bp Gandiya.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Zimbabwe

Mike Shedlock–The Dysfunction of the US Healthcare System Explained in Six Succinct Points

1–A constant battle is underway between insurance companies that do not want to pay any claims, even legitimate ones, and doctors and hospitals incentivised to rip off patients, insurers, and taxpayers with unnecessary surgeries and Medicare fraud.

2–Insurance companies demand massive amounts of paperwork out of rational fear of fraud and unnecessary treatments. Doctors perform for-profit (as opposed to for-patient) procedures that guarantee more explanations and more paperwork.

3–Doctors and hospitals have direct personal contact with patients, but insurance companies don’t. In cases where doctors put patients at huge risk with needless procedures and surgeries, it’s easy for hospitals and doctors to point their finger at insurance companies. On the other hand, many sincere, honest doctors have difficulty getting patients the care they should have because insurers believe they are getting ripped off by unnecessary procedures, even when they aren’t….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Medicare, The U.S. Government, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Hannington and the Martyrs of Uganda

Precious in thy sight, O Lord, is the death of thy saints, whose faithful witness, by thy providence, hath its great reward: We give thee thanks for thy martyrs James Hannington and his companions, who purchased with their blood a road unto Uganda for the proclamation of the Gospel; and we pray that with them we also may obtain the crown of righteousness which is laid up for all who love the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Uganda, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Lord, that as thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ prayed for his enemies on the cross, so we may have grace to forgive those that wrongfully or scornfully use us; that we ourselves may be able to receive thy forgiveness; though the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Church of South India

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

–Matthew 13:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

NYTimes profile Piece–South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney Savors a Rare Moment of Joy

Jadeveon Clowney hobbled down the hill leading from the visitors’ locker room here, headphones around his neck, a pizza box in his left hand, a smile on his face. At the bottom of the hill was his family. And beyond them, a few dozen South Carolina fans were waiting behind metal fences, calling his name.

The Gamecocks had just beaten then-No. 5 Missouri in double overtime Saturday, and Clowney had not necessarily dominated the game as a defensive end, but his star was still as bright as could be.

“I don’t have nothing to prove,” Clowney said as he approached his family and fans. “They keep doubting ”” we’re going to keep winning. Let them keep doubting us. That’s all I can say. It’s a team sport.

“For all what people think about me ”” I just want to win with my team.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Men, Sports, Young Adults

'God is a God of justice': Archbishop Justin Welby preaches in Reykjavik

A few months ago, in late July, an interview was published in England, in which I’d been interviewed and had among many other things talked about what are called credit unions in England. These are small, local, community financial organisations. Over the last 40 of 50 years they have more or less disappeared. And if, in England, you are in a poorer part of the country, and in much of the rest of the United Kingdom, and you need some money quickly, you can get it very easily. There are many organisations. The interest varies between 2500 percent a year and 5500 percent a year. So it costs you. You borrow 200 pounds for five days. You roll it over cause you can’t pay it back. You roll it over again. Before you know it you owe two, three, four thousand.

I made what seemed to me the fairly obvious comment that I considered this to be usury and usury had been a sin since Moses. Well, it was a quiet day in the press. And they had nothing important to report, so we found that they reported it rather large scale. It was a casual comment. I wish I could say that I had a grand strategy, but I didn’t. It was an accident. But it was an accident in which God was involved. Because it has created such momentum that there is a great new movement to change the way we do community finance. And it is such a powerful movement that we’re even working with the Scots about it. And there is a miracle. It takes a lot to make the Scots willing to work with the English. Understandably, we’ve spent about 800 years ill treating them. But, what was interesting to me, was a comment by the head of our mission and public affairs department, who said he’s had to rewrite part of a book he’s writing on social action of the church, to say that it is not only about grand statements and about prayer, but in today’s society we are called to action. That in the postmodern society people look for a story of change, of engagement, of commitment, that brings testimony and witness to words and prayers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology