Daily Archives: November 21, 2013

New Pew Research Released on Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments

At a time of national debate over health care costs and insurance, a Pew Research Center survey on end-of-life decisions finds most Americans say there are some circumstances in which doctors and nurses should allow a patient to die. At the same time, however, a growing minority says that medical professionals should do everything possible to save a patient’s life in all circumstances.

When asked about end-of-life decisions for other people, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say there are at least some situations in which a patient should be allowed to die, while nearly a third (31%) say that medical professionals always should do everything possible to save a patient’s life. Over the last quarter-century, the balance of opinion has moved modestly away from the majority position on this issue. While still a minority, the share of the public that says doctors and nurses should do everything possible to save a patient’s life has gone up 9 percentage points since 2005 and 16 points since 1990.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Alcohol/Drinking, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Food for Thought–Watch What You Pray For

from here:

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one-hundred thousand, and one- hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six-hundred thousand dollars to the Church. He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, “This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six-hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!” The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, “What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?” “No,” said the minister. “I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Telegraph) Church of England officials on six-figure salaries

The Church of England pays its top bureaucrat over £10,000 more than the Prime Minister receives despite launching a series of attacks on high executive salaries, it has been disclosed.

Papers laid before the Church’s General Synod, which has been meeting this week, show that eight lay officials across the Church’s London headquarters and its financial arm receive more than 100,000 a year.

Questions were raised about the level of pay for top Church officials after William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission, recently warned that charities risk bringing good causes into “disrepute” by awarding further pay rises to chiefs on six-figure sums.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(USA Today) Billy Graham hospitalized with respiratory problems

The Rev. Billy Graham has been taken to a hospital in Asheville, N.C., with respiratory problems, a family spokesman said Wednesday.

“Mr. Graham is in the hospital with a respiratory congestion issue, similar to what he had a few weeks ago,” Mark DeMoss said. “As was the case then, we expect he will be able to return home in a day or two.”

Graham, who celebrated his 95th birthday earlier this month with a party in Asheville, was taken to Mission Hospital.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Other Churches

(WSJ RTE Blog) In Retailing, the Robots Are Winning

Santa is relying less on his reindeer and more on his mouse.

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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

In the Chinese province of Henan, Protestant pastor arrested for defending faithful from authorities

Police in the central province of Henan arrested the pastor Zhang Shaojie, leader of the Church of Nanle County , and more than 20 Christian staff and faithful. The authorities have not stated the reason for detention, but some sources speaking to ChinaAid argue that the pastor has “angered” the authorities for the defense of his faithful against the abuses committed by Communist officials.

Zhang is part of the Three-Self Movement, the “official” Protestant Church built by Mao Zedong in the early years of his government.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Lord George Carey's Address to the Shropshire Light Conference–Re-imagining the Church

1. Let us appreciate the church but let us reimagine it. So I want each of you now to think of your church and mentally describe it to yourself. What is it like? I am sure it is full of good and earnest people. The work goes on faithfully week after week. And I have a pretty good idea of your church because most churches are the same; similar things go on in them. It is recognizable.. as the hymn puts it: ”˜In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear, for safe in such confiding, for nothing changes here!’

So, if you and I want to start on a process of re-imagining the church perhaps we have to go back to basics and, for me, the starting point would be the Great Commission: ”˜Go and preach the gospel’. What I notice from my study of the bible is that both the Hebrew word for congregation, qahal, and the Greek word for church, ecclesia, are not static words but active words….

My second affirmation is that: Our task is to nurture fellow Christians but also to grow authentic disciples. And this affirmation is about moving from encouraging fellow believers to moving them on into discipleship. Consider in your mind now, some people who come along to church but as far as you know are rather passive Christians. They are faithful in attendance but that is the extent of their involvement in church life. We might long to see them developing as a public Christian. How might that happen?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of Canterbury, Parish Ministry

Frederick Sanger, 95, Two-Time Winner of Nobel and Pioneer in Genetics, RIP

[The only] other scientists who have received two Nobels are John Bardeen for physics (1956 and 1972), Marie Curie for physics (1903) and chemistry (1911), and Linus Pauling for chemistry (1954) and peace (1962)….

In a 2001 interview, Dr. Sanger spoke about the challenge of winning two Nobel Prizes.

“It’s much more difficult to get the first prize than to get the second one,” he said, “because if you’ve already got a prize, then you can get facilities for work, and you can get collaborators, and everything is much easier.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Today in History

You can check here and there. This is what stood out to me:

1922 Nov 21, Rebecca L. Felton of Georgia was sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.

1938 Nov 21, Nazi forces occupied western Czechoslovakia and declared its people German citizens. This annexation of Sudetenland was the first major belligerent action by Hitler. The allies chose to sit still for it in return for a promise of “peace in our time,” which Hitler later broke.

1974 Nov 21: Birmingham pub blasts kill 19

What stood out to you–KSH?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History

(American Interest Blog) Peter Berger–The Denominational Imperative

On November 11, 2013, Religion News Service reprinted an Associated Press story by Gillian Flaccus on the development of “atheist mega-churches”….

How then is one to understand the phenomenon described in the story? I think there are two ways of understanding it. First, there is the lingering notion of Sunday morning as a festive ceremony of the entire family.

[Also]…there is a more important aspect to the aforementioned phenomenon: Every community of value, religious or otherwise, becomes a denomination in America.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Atheism, History, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who hast taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in thine: Help us to attain to this liberty by continual surrender unto thee; that walking in the way which thou hast prepared for us, we may find our life in doing thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

–Matthew 18:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Andrew Brown: Synod's vote for female bishops allows resistance to flourish another day

Supporters of female bishops have made obvious gains ”“ but why do the opponents believe they’ve done well too?
…the more politically savvy among them understand that this compromise allows them to live and flourish another day.

The backlash against them after last November’s fiasco was so strong that moves were made to unseat Dr Philip Giddings, a prominent conservative evangelical who is also chairman of the synod’s house of laity.

The Guardian has seen Giddings’ reflections on the legislation, intended for fellow evangelicals only. He is quite clear that without conceding on this issue his faction would have suffered horribly in the upcoming synod election.

He writes: “The issues which will be (indeed already are being) brought before us in relating to marriage, family, human sexuality; and, even more critically, the uniqueness and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. To sustain a biblically orthodox position for the Church of England on those issues we need to maximise our representation in future synods. To achieve that, we need to deal with the women bishops now and get it off the agenda.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Reuters) Church of England paves way for women bishops in 2014

The Church of England’s governing body voted overwhelmingly in favor of female bishops on Wednesday, ending a 20-year impasse that could see women ordained as senior clergy by the end of 2014.

A vote on a package of measures to endorse women bishops was supported by 378 members of the General Synod while eight voted against and 25 abstained after months of behind-the-scenes talks to unite reformers and traditionalists.

A year ago, a blocking minority succeeded in rejecting draft legislation on women bishops, leaving the church in crisis. That vote, lost by just six votes, was criticized by parliament and one senior church official called it a “train crash”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(C of E) General Synod approves next steps for women to become bishops

The General Synod of the Church of England has today approved a package of measures as the next steps to enable women to become bishops.

In the debate in the morning session the synod welcomed the package of proposals outlined in the report of the Steering Committee for the Draft Legislation of Women in the Episcopate (GS 1924).

The Steering Committee’s package of proposals follows the mandate set by the synod in July and includes the first draft of a House of Bishops declaration and a disputes resolution procedure. This debate invited synod to welcome the proposals and the five guiding principles, already agreed by the House of Bishops, which underpin them.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women