Daily Archives: December 5, 2013

(RNS) Jana Riess–10 Christians to Follow on Twitter

I love Twitter. You might have already guessed that, since I just finished tweeting the entire Bible, but I just felt the need to say it out loud.

A big part of why I love Twitter is the real-time exposure it gives me to interesting people, including writers whose work I have enjoyed. Here are ten Christian writers who have offered me something marvelous or cool or significant or funny in Birdland, in alphabetical order by last name.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Media, Religion & Culture

Bishop of Winchester Orders Dean of Jersey to break the Law

…in any case in which you take the view that you are required by local law to disobey me, or defy my requests, you may not elect to follow the local law rather than fulfil your duty of obedience to me.

Whatever the local law may seek to impose on you, you may not agree to follow it where my lawful requirements require you to do otherwise.

Read it all the latest in this bizarre saga.

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

(First Thoughts) Carl Trueman–Is journalism no longer considered a legitimate Christian calling?

A free press is basic to the health of democratic culture in the civil sphere because it offers one line of public accountability for those in public office. Those who perform immediate public acts should expect to be subject to immediate public scrutiny. And what is true for the culture at large is also true for its various subcultures. A free Christian press is also important for the Christian subculture: it keeps leaders and organizations accountable.

Of course, as with the mainstream media, there is the ideal and there is the reality….

Where the situation becomes sinister is when one group attempts to police the activities of another, or where one Christian organization or leader uses their personal power or share of the market to prevent others, with whom they are not formally connected, from speaking freely and asking the hard questions. At that point, things take a very sinister turn indeed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Religion & Culture, Theology

Andrew Atherstone of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, on Wholehearted Discipleship and James 2:1-13

Listen to it all (just under 24 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Washington Post) How the Internet is killing languages

Less than five percent of current world languages are in use online, according to a recent study by prominent linguist András Kornai — and the Internet may be helping the other 95 percent to their graves.

Those startling conclusions come from a paper published in the journal PLOSOne in October titled, appropriately, “Digital Language Death.” The study sought to answer a question that’s both inherently fascinating and little-discussed: How many languages exist online? (And, on the flip side, how many don’t?)

For reference, at least 7,776 languages are in use in the greater offline world. To measure how many of those are also in use on the Internet, Kornai designed a program to crawl top-level Web domains and catalog the number of words in each language. He also analyzed Wikipedia pages, a key marker of a language’s digital vibrancy, as well as language options for things like operating systems and spell-checkers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, History, Poetry & Literature, Science & Technology, Theology

Heart Warming Generosity that Transforms–A first grade teacher Lifts a Connecticut Town

A long-retired first grade teacher who died a couple of years ago in Simsbury, Connecticut, lived very simply and wasn’t aware of how many riches she had ”“ not until her lawyer discovered she was actually quite wealthy. NBC’s Harry Smith reports that she gave it away to the institutions that mattered to her the most in the community.

There are two videos and they are both well worth your time: The first may be foundhereand the second there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Education, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Rural/Town Life, Stewardship

US Dept of State–Deteriorating Situation in the Central African Republic

The United States is appalled by today’s reports of the murder of innocent women and children outside of Bangui. This horrifying account is the latest in a string of reports that illustrate the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) that could lead to an escalation in violence and further atrocities.

We are working with our partners in the international community, including through our efforts on the United Nations Security Council, to find the swiftest and most effective vehicle for stabilizing the situation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Central African Republic, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Violence

Christian Century Recommended Books for the Upcoming Season

Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son, by Richard Lischer. Lischer, a theologian at Duke Divinity School, acknowledges that “a father has no business writing a book about his son’s death.” But as the review in the Century noted, this honest but disciplined narrative “looks beyond one man’s death to the death we all will face” and manages to be “personal without self-absorption, profoundly emotional without sentimentality.” It is a moving testimony to a father’s love and to Adam Lischer’s life, and especially to Adam’s way of meeting death at the age of 33, supported by the prayers and rituals of the church””which is a memorable witness for every reader.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Advent, Books, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Religion & Culture

(Oxford Mail) Women bishops are now a reality and not a pipe dream

The Church of England witnessed a change of heart last month when the General Synod debated legislation to allow women to be consecrated as Bishops. With the closest indication yet that there could be a change in the law in 2014, Debbie Waite spoke to some of the county’s female clergy about life in a man’s world….

Read it all.

Update: The Oxford Mail also has an editorial on this matter there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Women

(Telegraph) Church policy stops Archbishop of Canterbury joining 'Good Samaritan army'

The Archbishop of Canterbury has turned down an invitation to become part of an “army of Good Samaritans” checking on elderly people at Christmas because of Church of England policy.

Organisers of the NHS “Winter friends” campaign, under which people sign a pledge to help isolated elderly people in practical ways, have recruited a series of well-known figures including Joanna Lumley, the actress, and Stephen Fry, the broadcaster, to support them.

But their hopes of signing the Most Rev Justin Welby up as a key supporter were dashed because of a policy which prevents the Archbishop joining campaigns.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Economist) Despite the administration's claims, Obamacare still isn't working properly

Healthcare.gov seems to be working better for consumers, relatively, but it is not clear that it works for insurers (in which case it doesn’t work for consumers either, as they are trying to buy insurance). Insurers have long said that they are receiving botched enrolment forms, or 834s, if they receive them at all. On December 2nd health officials said they had fixed a problem that accounted for 80% of the glitches with 834s. But they would not confirm what share of 834s were being bungled, so it is hard to know the fix’s importance.

If the site is working better for consumers, as it seems to be, shoppers may rush to sign up for insurance before Mr Obama’s deadline of December 23rd. They will expect coverage to kick in just a few days later, on January 1st. That gives insurers little time to process 834s, even if they are sent without problems, let alone deal with garbled forms. Mr Obama’s goals for health reform have always been laudable. But the gruelling, technical job of enrolment will be the big story for some time yet.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The U.S. Government, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Clement of Alexandria

O Lord, who didst call thy servant Clement of Alexandria from the errors of ancient philosophy that he might learn and teach the saving Gospel of Christ: Turn thy Church from the conceits of worldly wisdom and, by the Spirit of truth, guide it into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God, who never failest both to hear and to answer the prayer that is sincere: Let not our hearts be upon the world when our hands are lifted up to pray, nor our prayers end upon our lips, but go forth with power to work thy will in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

–Psalm 18:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Miracle of Science: 65 Diseases Treated With Adult Stem Cells

As a young medical student three decades ago, Mark Magnuson learned the basic facts of human development. Among those supposed facts was this one: Adult cells can’t change what they are. A heart cell is always a heart cell, a skin cell is always a skin cell.

That’s not the case with embryos, whose cells eventually create the entire human body. As embryonic cells divide, they develop distinct identities, becoming heart cells and brain cells and blood cells and every other kind of cell.

It’s a process called differentiation. And once it happens, there is no going back. “When I was a medical student, I was taught that a differentiated cell was a differentiated cell,” said Magnuson, a professor of medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology in Nashville. “That was the end of the line.”

Then along came the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS cell), and everything changed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

Fulcrum Response to the Pilling Report

In particular, in the light of the Dissenting Statement, we express the following concerns about aspects of the Report:

Although the church’s teaching is upheld, its theological and biblical basis is not clearly articulated and there appears to be a willingness to separate teaching and practice in a way which threatens incoherence and charges of hypocrisy.

The emphasis on the qualities of a relationship without clear reference to the gift of marriage fails to do justice to Scripture and tradition in relation to both sexual same-sex relationships and heterosexual cohabitation (para 148).

The recommendation “to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service” and to leave the form of this to the discretion of the parish priest risks undermining the unity of the church’s teaching and practice and our ecclesiology.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Statement from Archbishop Duncan on the Pilling Report

Unfortunately, the Pilling Report also contains elements that are potentially destructive to the Church’s life and witness.

”¢While an “open ended process of facilitated conversation” is advised, the ”˜end’ of affirming same-sex unions is already recommended, and this bias affects the trajectory of both the report and the conversation.

”¢Underpinning this call for ”˜facilitated conversation’ is the controversial claim that the argument for the Church’s traditional teaching about marriage and sexual intimacy is “inconclusive.”

Inviting the church to discover a new consensus about sexual relationships beyond those of a lifelong union of one man and one woman in Holy Matrimony is not helpful.

Concerning these matters, I am in complete agreement with the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Birkenhead, and a member of the Working Group, in his dissent from the Report. The Church must not waiver from its received teaching. Scripture and the catholic consensus must be treated as givens, the attitude of the signatories not withstanding. Those who would re-construct the received moral order in the 21st century to respond to a culture bent on self-actualization, rather than dying to self, will do no better than those who””quite unsuccessfully but with much damage””in the 20th century sought to re-define the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ.

Our prayers are with the House of Bishops of the Church of England as the Pilling Report is received, considered and acted upon. Our prayers are with the entire Church of England as she seeks to be a faithful Church in a secular and post-Christian age.

Read it all

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