Daily Archives: November 27, 2013

(RNS) Supreme Court takes up contraceptive mandate, will rule on religious rights of corporations

The Supreme Court announced on Tuesday (Nov. 26) that it will decide whether for-profit businesses can be treated like religious entities in a politically and constitutionally freighted test of the Obama administration’s mandate that employers include free contraception coverage as part of their health plans.

The cases, which will probably be argued in March and decided in June, will not deal with a string of other lawsuits over the mandate that have been filed by nonprofit faith-based groups. Those complaints are still working their way through the lower courts.

Still, the cases the high court will now take up are likely to establish important precedents by setting the parameters of religious rights in two key arenas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

ACNA's Bob Duncan on the Pittsburgh same sex blessings memo

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Anglican Primate says he had limited powers to intervene in child abuse cases in Grafton

EMILY BOURKE: The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Phillip Aspinall, is the most senior religious leader to come before the Royal Commission.

PHILLIP ASPINALL: If I might use a commercial analogy: if people think that the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia is the CEO of Australia’s Anglicans, then nothing could be further from the truth. The Primate has very, very limited powers.

EMILY BOURKE: Nevertheless, under questioning Dr Aspinall provided some insights into the Anglican Church.

PHILLIP ASPINALL: The politics are very difficult and it’s very difficult to get any kind of uniform approach to any matter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

(OCR) Tough future for evangelicals, numbers reveal

Here are titles of three recent books about evangelical Christianity:

“The Great Evangelical Recession: Six Factors that Will Crash the American Church ”¦ And How to Prepare.”

“The American Church in Crisis.”

“A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?…”

None are anti-Christian screeds. All are written by evangelical pastors.

And they’re all part of an intense, active debate ”“ in books, magazines, conferences and anxious church offices ”“ about the future of evangelical Christianity….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Bishop Mouneer Anis Makes an Advent Appeal for the Churches in Gambella, Ethiopia

The growing Church in Gambella, Ethiopia, “overwhelmed by poverty, natural disasters, and tribal conflicts”, is in need of support, according to Bishop Mouneer Anis.

The Most Revd Mouneer Anis is Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, as well as Primate of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East.

Read it all and also read and enjoy the pictures there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ethiopia, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

How the Auto Industry Turns to Crowdfunding and Social Media to Draw the Young

While automakers and dealers lament that younger buyers have neither money nor brand loyalty when it comes to buying a car, a host of services are looking to the crowd to help them save for what could be the biggest purchase they will make for several years.

Geared toward first-time buyers, these services, like BoostUp, a Detroit-based company that Ms. Frandsen and Mr. Burris used, are trying to turn car-buying into a social experience.

Toyota and Google, for example, are announcing on Wednesday the Toyota Collaborator, a social car shopping tool where potential Corolla buyers can discuss decisions with friends and family in real time using Google Hangouts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Science & Technology, Theology, Travel, Young Adults

Rob Kunes' Sermon in the parish series on the Church–Called to be a House of Prayer

Listen to it all if you so desire. This is highly recommended to blog readers for three reasons–you can meet Rob Kunes, a new member of the diocese of South Carolina, but you can also hear testimony about healing and the power or prayer–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Spirituality/Prayer

(NY Times Beliefs) An Ex-Mouseketeer’s Journey Back to Christianity From Paganism

…Teo Bishop, while keeping up a career in pop music, accomplished something less predictable and altogether curiouser. Beginning about three years ago, he began a rise to prominence in the Pagan community. Then, last month, he shocked the Pagan community by re-embracing Christianity.

“I’m overwhelmed with thoughts of Jesus,” Mr. Bishop wrote on Oct. 13, on his blog, Bishop in the Grove. “Jesus and God and Christianity and the Lord’s Prayer and compassion and forgiveness and hope. … I don’t know what to do with all of this.”

For American Pagans, Mr. Bishop’s defecting to a big, bad mainstream religion is bigger news than winning a Grammy, bigger than shooting a Vanity Fair cover. If you’re a Druid, a Wiccan or any of the nature-religion followers grouped under the label Pagan, you’re not talking about Britney, JT or Xtina. You’re talking Teo Bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, take thou full possession of my heart, raise there thy throne, and command there as thou dost in heaven. Being created by thee, let me live to thee. Being created for thee, let me ever act for thy glory. Being redeemed by thee, let me render to thee what is thine, and let my spirit ever cleave to thee alone; for thy name’s sake.

–John Wesley

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.

–1 Peter 2:9-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Pope Francis issues his first Apostolic Exhortation–Evangelii Gaudium, the Joy of the Gospel

The Joy of the Gospel is the title Pope Francis has chosen for this first major document of his pontificate, putting down in print the joyous spirit of encounter with Christ that characterizes every public appearance he has made so far. The man who has constantly kept the media’s attention with his desire to embrace and share his faith with everyone he meets, now urges us to do exactly the same. To “recover the original freshness of the Gospel”, as he puts it, through a thorough renewal of the Church’s structures and vision. Including what he calls “a conversion of the papacy” to make it better able to serve the mission of evangelization in the modern world. The Church, he says, should not be afraid to re-examine “customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel” even if they may have deep historical roots.

In strikingly direct and personal language, the Pope appeals to all Christians to bring about a “revolution of tenderness” by opening their hearts each day to God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. The great danger in today’s consumer society, he says, is “the desolation and anguish” that comes from a “covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.” Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests , he warns, “there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.”

Read or listen to it all from Vatican Radio.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

A.S. Haley–Rump TEC Diocese Tries "Hail Mary" Pass in South Carolina

….in the current litigation in South Carolina, the drive by ECUSA’s team to move the ball into federal court has been blocked at every maneuver. They are stuck back on their own 10-yard line, with just a few dozen seconds left on the clock. (The case in South Carolina’s Court of Common Pleas for the County of Dorchester is due to go to trial early next summer; all discovery in the case has to be completed by February 7.)

And so what do they decide to do?

The defendant rump group (but not yet ECUSA itself) throws a “Hail Mary” pass — a motion to add, at this late date, four new defendants and eighteen new claims against those defendants, who are Bishop Mark Lawrence, James Lewis, Jeffrey Miller and Paul Fuener. The Rev. James Lewis serves as Bishop Lawrence’s Canon to the Ordinary and Executive Secretary to the Diocesan Convention; the Revs. Miller and Fuener have both served as President of the Standing Committee of Mark Lawrence’s Episcopal Diocese.

The very first claim the rump group seeks to assert demonstrates the flaw in the entire motion: it is a claim for alleged breach of “fiduciary duty.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

(Local Paper) New TEC Diocese in S.C. Claims Conspiracy, Other Charges Against Diocese of SC Leaders

The filing lists 18 causes of action including breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, trademark infringement and civil conspiracy….

However, [Diocese of S.C. Canon Jim] Lewis said the allegations “are based upon false claims, bordering on the absurd.”

Lawrence also has maintained that he didn’t want to leave but was driven away by Episcopal Church leaders’ hostile administrative actions against him and the church’s departures from orthodox teachings.

Leaders of The Episcopal Church, or TEC, didn’t seek sincere reconciliation with local clergy and parishioners who disagreed with their views. Instead, they interfered in local diocesan life, Lewis said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

Washington National Cathedral to charge visitors

Facing a $26 million earthquake repair bill and years of persistent deficits, the iconic Washington National Cathedral will start charging visitors in 2014, an abrupt change that cathedral officials had long resisted.

Adults will be charged $10, and seniors, students, children, veterans and members of the military will be charged $6, according to cathedral officials. Regular worship services and Sundays will remain free of charge; the ticket plan is scheduled for a six-month trial run starting in January.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Episcopal Church (TEC), Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Parishes