Daily Archives: November 17, 2013

(UMNS) United Methodist Council of Bishops Takes Action Following Same-Gender Ceremony

Following the action of a retired bishop to conduct a same-gender ceremony in violation of church law, the United Methodist Council of Bishops took a series of actions to address the issue during their annual meeting this week in Lake Junaluska, N.C.

The Council requested that Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council, and Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference file a complaint regarding Bishop Melvin Talbert’s action, for “undermining the ministry of a colleague and conducting a ceremony to celebrate the marriage of a same gender couple.”

“When there are violations of the Book of Discipline, a response is required,” the bishops said in a statement.

Read it all.

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

A 5 year old Leukemia survivor goes Wham! and Batkid saves the day

With the help of thousands of volunteers, San Francisco transformed itself into Gotham City to grant a special wish to a 5-year-old boy. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

Watch it all–makes the heart glad.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Health & Medicine, Urban/City Life and Issues

The Astounding Variety of God's Creation–the Peacock Spider Dances for you

The Absolutely Stunning Dance of the Peacock Spider! from DAFTEK on Vimeo.

Watch it all (Hat tip: Selimah Harmon)

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Australia / NZ

(Sunday Telegraph) Gaby Wood–Doris Lessing: a woman ahead of her time

Already, in the hours since the death of Doris Lessing was announced, many people will have watched a widely circulated video, filmed on her doorstep in 2007. In it, she has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the news of which is relayed to her by reporters who greet her as she alights from a London taxi. “Oh Christ,” she says in apparent irritation, and puts down her shopping bags. Watching, you think she must have heard it wrong. But no. Pausing to check whether she or her companion have left anything behind in the cab, she turns to the assembled camera crews and sighs. “I’m sure you’d like some uplifting remarks of some kind,” she says.

Bids for popularity were not Doris Lessing’s thing. Of course, in many ways that made her more appealing. You might call her misunderstood, or reappropriated, or simply taken to heart ”” in any case she was popular in ways she never meant to be. Take her best known work, The Golden Notebook, which Margaret Drabble described as “a novel of shocking power and blistering honesty”. I

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Women

(AP) Roman Catholic Bishops elect Louisville archbishop new president

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops last week elected Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Kentucky to be their new president as they grapple with changing priorities under Pope Francis.

Kurtz, who leads the Archdiocese of Louisville, won just over half the votes in a field of 10 candidates during a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(CT) Why Apologetics Is Different””and Working””In the Hood

In 2007, members of Evangel Ministries in northwest Detroit went out into the surrounding neighborhoods to share the gospel in a summer-long program called Dare to Share. They came back with reports of new connections and conversions””and new questions. Many of their neighbors had voiced powerful objections to the faith.

Senior pastor Christopher Brooks realized that the apologetics he had studied at Biola University, and later at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, needed to be placed in a new context. “We realized that we needed to respond to not just the historic topics of theology and philosophy, but also to the pressing, present question: ‘Does the Lord see what’s happening in the hood?'”

Brooks’s forthcoming book, Urban Apologetics (Kregel Publications), tells the story of how Evangel enthusiastically embraced that challenge. The newly appointed campus dean of Moody Theological Seminary”“Michigan recently spoke with CT executive editor Andy Crouch.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Eternal God, our heavenly Father, who hast given to us thy children an abiding citizenship in heaven, and, in the days of our pilgrimage, a citizenship also upon earth: Give us thine aid, as we journey to that heavenly city, so faithfully to perform the duties which befall us on our way, that at the last we may be found worthy to enter into thy rest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

–Luke 16:9-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anyone Catch the End of the Auburn-Georgia Football Game?

Are you kidding me? Wow.

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

(Financial Times) Lorien Kite–The evolving role of the Oxford English Dictionary

Behind the updating and revising of the OED is another, much bigger story: the inexorable growth of English itself. At a conservative estimate, 1bn people now speak it as a second or foreign language, while the 375m for whom it is a mother tongue continue to mould their own varieties in ways that the dictionary’s original compilers could never have imagined. As such, the OED finds itself in the curious position of being a national institution called upon, almost by default, to assume the role of a global one.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, History, Poetry & Literature, Science & Technology

(Religion and Politics) Jack Jenkins–Why Faith Groups Are Rallying Behind Immigration Reform

As Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block marched toward the U.S. Capitol Building on a cloudy afternoon this October, he said he felt “a little nervousness.” Walking arm-in-arm with dozens of other faith leaders and surrounded by thousands of chanting protestors””some holding signs that read “People of faith for immigrant justice!”””Kimelman-Block suddenly realized he might be arrested for the first time in his life.

“I’d never done this before,” Kimelman-Block said. “People were cheering and chanting, and it felt like folks were making a big sacrifice for the larger cause. It felt very powerful.”

His inaugural act of civil disobedience was part of the “Camino Americano: March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect,” a massive day of action that gathered thousands in Washington, D.C. to pressure Congress into passing sweeping immigration reform that would create a viable pathway to citizenship for America’s more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Christopher Howse–Sacred Mysteries: Granada ”“ a tale of two mosques

Granada was of course, in 1492, the last Moorish city to surrender to the “Catholic Kings”. The return of Islam today has loud historical resonances. The Grand Mosque of Granada, as it calls itself, is now celebrating the 10th anniversary of its controversial opening.

It is the brainchild of Abdalqadir as-Sufi, born in Scotland in 1930 and christened Ian Dallas. He became a Muslim in 1967 and spent years seeking permission from the city council of Granada to build a mosque here.

What I had not realised, until I read a fascinating chapter in In the Light of Medieval Spain (Palgrave, £61), is that, down the hill, a mosque had long been functioning in Granada that is more open to the mainstream of Islam than the cliquish Albaicín mosque. Near the Plaza Nueva, next to the Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel, stands the al-Taqua mosque. It has been there since the 1980s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spain

(San Antonio Express-News) A Campus Atheist group is changing its message

More and more atheist groups are replacing antagonism with civility, motivated by human reason to do charitable work rather than spite against all things religious, said Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University and author of “Good without God.”

“We’re really not that interested in tearing people down anymore. We’re trying to tear down bad beliefs, but not the people who believe them,” he said. “What’s going to emerge from this is a more powerful and influential secular humanist community. There really are millions and millions of us. It was easier to dismiss us when they pigeon-holed us as anti-religious. We’re not. We’re millions of good people, working to build a better society for everyone.”

Declining membership and the graduations of Atheist Agenda leaders last semester precipitated the change, Schmidt said. Former leaders did not return repeated requests for comment. But former members, now active with the Secular Student Alliance, said the old guard encountered resistance last semester to its over-the-top methods.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(First Things) Peter Leithart–Risk

To unpack the contemporary conception and experience of risk, [Deborah] Lupton relies heavily on the work of Mary Douglas, not only her Risk and Blame: Essays in Cultural Theory and Risk and Culture: An Essay on the Selection of Technological and Environmental Dangers (with Aaron Wildavsky), but Douglas’s earlier classic Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo….

One of Lupton’s most interesting chapters (8) is an excursion into the pleasures of risk. “Edgework” like sky-diving and rock-climbing and fight-clubbing bolsters a sense of masculinity for desk-chained men, and represents an effort to escape the control and predictability of modernity. Sexual transgression and shock have the same effect, producing not anxiety and fear but the carnivalesque exhilaration of breaking through settled boundaries. – See more at: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2013/11/14/risk/#sthash.qElp4YSO.dpuf

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology