Daily Archives: November 6, 2013

(RNS) Atheists use a popular Bible app to evangelize about unbelief

Like lots of college students, Lauren has a smartphone loaded with some of the most popular apps around ”” Facebook, Twitter and eBay. And like a lot of unbelievers, she asked to not use her full name because her family doesn’t know about her closet atheism.

One of the apps she uses most regularly is YouVersion, a free Bible app that puts a library’s worth of translations ”” more than 700 ”” in the palm of her hand. Close to 115 million people have downloaded YouVersion, making it among the most popular apps of all time.

But Lauren, a 22-year-old chemistry major from Colorado, is not interested in the app’s mission to deepen faith and biblical literacy. A newly minted atheist, she uses her YouVersion Bible app to try to persuade people away from the Christianity she grew up in.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Atheism, Blogging & the Internet, Evangelism and Church Growth, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

TEC's Task Force on Study of Marriage issues a report of its work

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Marriage & Family

Wed. Mental Break–Watch a 98-Year-Old Man Create Beautiful Images in Microsoft Paint

At 98, Hal Lasko is an unlikely master of computer art. Born before the invention of broadcast radio, Lasko spent his career as a commercial graphic designer, working with his hands to create typography and design. But as age caught up with Lasko the brush strokes became more difficult. “When I lost my eyesight, I thought my painting days were over,” says Lasko. Instead, around 15 years ago, Lasko’s grandchildren bought him a computer and introduced the artist to Microsoft Paint. The program allows Lasko to magnify the area large enough to draw pixel by pixel. “If it takes me two years to do that [create a painting], I can do it. I got a lot of patience,” says Lasko.

Read it all and watch the whole video.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Art, Science & Technology

The Bishop of London launches campaign to conserve 100 works of art

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has launched a campaign to conserve 100 treasures in Anglican churches, and the Church of England hopes to raise £3m for their conservation.

Church Care, the central Anglican organisation that runs the campaign, points out that caring for over 16,000 churches in England is an enormous burden. Repairs to buildings cost a total of £115m a year, “to keep them watertight and fit for the 21st century”. Too often, there are simply no funds left for conserving works of art.

Read it all.

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

(NC Register) Modified Liturgy Coming to Ordinariate Parishes in Advent

One of the most beloved prayers in the Anglican tradition is called the Prayer of Humble Access, but some cherished words were omitted from the Anglican-use Mass, the Vatican-approved liturgy that allowed former Episcopalians and Anglicans to bring elements of their liturgical tradition with them into the Catholic Church.

Come the First Sunday of Advent, however, the missing words of Humble Access will be included in the new ordinariate-use Mass, no doubt gladdening the hearts of many former Episcopalians who recently have become Catholics through the ordinariate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Llandaff Cathedral seeks to Tackle budget deficit

Llandaff Cathedral is planning a financial overhaul to protect the future of its ministry.

It is taking action to increase income and reduce expenditure in order to tackle a significant budget deficit.

Parishioners have already been asked to increase their weekly giving and cutbacks have been made to save on energy bills and staffing costs.

Now the Dean and Chapter are proposing slimming down the Cathedral Choir in order to save nearly £50,000 which would significantly cut down the anticipated deficit of £81,000. Seven men ”“ five lay clerks, one choral scholar and the assistant organist”“ are at risk of redundancy and will be invited to take part in consultation meetings over the next few weeks.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(CTV) Edmonton Anglican diocese scrapping affordable-housing project

After it sparked controversy and opposition from a number of area residents, the Anglican diocese is scrapping plans to build a subsidized housing facility in a south west Edmonton neighbourhood….

The decision came after news of the project sparked rising tensions in the neighbourhood.

“We don’t think the project can be successful in this particular place,” Anglican Bishop Jane Alexander said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(First Things On the Square) Ivan Plis–Eastern Orthodox Unity

The Chambésy process is the worst form of Orthodox church government for the 21st century, except for all the others. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has the power to bring bishops together, but he cannot force them to accept an unwelcome edict. When disputes arise, they must be resolved honestly by brother bishops and their flocks, even if the solutions are slow to come.

Last Saturday the Antiochian Orthodox Church commemorated St. Raphael of Brooklyn. Born in Beirut and educated in Syria, Turkey, and Russia, he humbly and tirelessly served the diverse Orthodox flock in America in the early 20th century as their bishop. Even if churches of Slavic rite celebrated his memory back in February, he is a reminder to all Orthodox in this land that despite our formal divisions, we remain one body in Christ.

While our Church is hampered by human weakness and pettiness, much of the world is still what Protestants would call a mission field. The Orthodox Church has great riches, if like Fr. Raphael we allow ourselves to overcome our own ethnic allegiances and allow Christ to shine forth.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

The Great Recession may have crushed America’s economic potential

The title of a new paper from three economists at the Federal Reserve is bloodless: “Aggregate Supply in the United States: Recent Developments and Implications for the Conduct of Monetary Policy”

But its conclusions are chilling.

The paper offers a depressing portrait of where the economy stands nearly six years after the onset of recession, and amounts to a damning indictment of U.S. policymakers. Their upshot: The United States’s long-term economic potential has been diminished by the fact that policymakers have not done more to put people back to work quickly. Our national economic potential is now a whopping 7 percent below where it was heading at the pre-2007 trajectory, the authors find.

Read it all from The Washington Post.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NY Times) New York Town Divided as Prayer Case Heads to Supreme Court

The most recent meeting of the Town Board here had typical local fare: a new sidewalk proposal, permitting issues and a failed attempt to get a bid on some surplus soil.

Before all of those mundane matters, however, there was one considerably more controversial item on the agenda: a moment of prayer, a practice that has been a religious aperitif to the town’s civic business for more than a decade.

But that could soon change. On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether those prayers ”” almost always delivered by Christian clergy members to the assembled audience ”” violate the First Amendment clause that prohibits the establishment of religion. The court’s ruling, expected next June, could be one of the most significant church-state decisions in 30 years, and could affect the nature of such invocations in municipal meetings nationwide.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Spirituality/Prayer

My South Carolina County (Dorchester) local option sales tax voted down

The local option sales tax proposal was defeated again Tuesday in Dorchester County, ending a bruising campaign marked by short tempers and personal attacks.

More than 65 percent of voters cast ballots against the proposal, according to unofficial election results.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Economy, Politics in General, Rural/Town Life, Taxes

Peter Townley on William Temple's Feast Day–The value of Temple’s vision in a cynical world

From here:

Working with his Rugby contemporary R. H. Tawney, the seminal Labour thinker, and William Beveridge, the architect of the welfare reforms which sought to banish the five giants of want, idleness, squalor, ignorance and disease, Temple’s book Christianity and Social Order, published in 1942, provided a challenging theological gloss to this vision: “. . . there is no hope of establishing a more Christian social order except through the labour and sacrifice of those in whom the Spirit of Christ is active, and that the first necessity for progress is more and better Christians taking full responsibility as citizens for the political, social and economic system under which they and their fellows live.”

After Temple’s death at the age of 63 after being Archbishop of Canterbury for only 30 months, Bishop Barry of Southwell asked angrily in The Spectator: “Is the Church so rich in prophets that it can afford to squander the gifts of God?” A contrasting view, expressed by Hensley Henson, was that he died just in time “for he had passed away while the streams of opinion in Church and State, of which he became the outstanding symbol and exponent, were at flood, and escaped the experience of their inevitable ebb”.

Although a much different world than that of 60 years ago, the weight of Temple’s greatness is still felt. Once described as “a man so broad, to some he seem’d to be Not one, but all Mankind in Effigy”, his wide informed vision checks our growing narrowness and self-obsession, his realism our Utopian perfectionism, his generosity of heart a worthy riposte to the mood of cynicism and anger epitomising the age and his statesmanship a powerful reminder of what it is to serve as the national church.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Temple

O God of light and love, who illumined thy Church through the witness of thy servant William Temple: Inspire us, we pray, by his teaching and example, that we may rejoice with courage, confidence and faith in the Word made flesh, and may be led to establish that city which has justice for its foundation and love for its law; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who art nigh to all them that call upon thee in truth; who art thyself the Truth, whom to know is life eternal: Instruct us with thy divine wisdom, and teach us thy law; that we may know the truth and walk in it; through him in whom the truth was made manifest, even Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.

–From the thought of Saint Augustine

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen!

–Psalm 72: 18,19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

FoxNews.com featured the headline "World Zombie Day to Bring Out the Living Dead" due to an error

Zombies are coming, according to the Fox News website.

The news outlet’s homepage accidentally displayed numerous fake but funny headlines on Tuesday morning in the US after accidentally turning live a homepage prototype. Initially, many believed Fox News’ website had been hacked.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Science & Technology

(NY Times) Medical Ethics Have Been Violated at Detention Sites, a New Report Says

A group of experts in medicine, law and ethics has issued a blistering report that accuses the United States government of directing doctors, nurses and psychologists, among others, to ignore their professional codes of ethics and participate in the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The report was published Monday by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, an ethics group based at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Open Society Foundations, a pro-democracy network founded by the billionaire George Soros.

The authors were part of a 19-member task force that based its findings on a two-year review of public information. The sources included documents released by the government, news reports, and books and articles from professional journals.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Theology

New mission campaign to bring the message of Jesus to Sydney

The Rev Baden Stace, rector of St Cuthbert’s Carlton and chair of the Jesus brings steering committee says the aim is really to support the local parishes to push particularly hard in 2014 with mission.

“We’re trying to energise the parishes,” he says. “Connect 09 was a great time for many churches across the Diocese, and they sounded energised to be part of something bigger, and to be part of something together… we’re wanting to equip them and give a mission focus such that 80,000 Christians in Anglican churches across Sydney and the Illawarra can collectively shout out to our region what Jesus brings, and get to the heart of the gospel.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Bart Gingerich — IRD Exclusive: Bishop David Hicks on GAFCON II (Part 1)

IRD: I noticed that GAFCON focused on a re-evangelization of the West. What can you tell us about that? What are some of your hopes and plans on this front?

BDH: As you know, the reason for the first GAFCON in 2008 was in response to certain actions and movements going on the western church that were deemed again to be something as an impediment to the clear proclamation of the Gospel. So it’s been recognized that there are certain issues facings the western church that, in some circles, have undermined the credibility of the Church and the Gospel being preached in those areas””that something needs to be done in terms of addressing these issues.

It’s also been recognized that the western church, as far as church attendance goes (we could say on some level fervency and evangelism and things related to that) are waning, whereas in the Global South being planted at a dramatic rated, church attendance is dramatically higher there than it is in the West. So there’s something going on there in the Global South that is to be emulated and learned from by the western church. And so, I think everyone at GAFCON has recognized there are things that the Global South can do to help us as we try to wrestle with our culture and doing evangelism and the work of the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

(Post-Gazette) Faith vs. freedom: Does religion have a place in the public square?

The news of the day is full of loud, messy intersections between religion and politics.

Roman Catholic bishops go to court to resist the birth control provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Muslims in Dearborn, Mich., lobby successfully for accommodations on student-led prayer in public schools. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives declares 2012 the “Year of the Bible.”

Mothers who still warn their children not to talk religion or politics in polite company may be wasting their breath. Yet the debates that turn on people’s religious freedom and government’s regard (or disregard) for faith are worth having in a society that must balance assorted rights.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture