Daily Archives: December 12, 2013

Do denominations want to hold on more to the past than they want to reach for the future?

Yet strangely enough, my idols are not strange to me.

They call to me. Personally. They appeal to me from my past. They make their persuasive case for why I need them so badly and how much they can do for me. They try to convince me that we can all get along here in one place together, that I can share space with both them and my Christian devotion at the same time, and that God will understand.

So my idols are much more personal than a piece of stone or a block of wood. Anything from my past or present that shapes my identity or fills my thoughts with something other than God, especially on a regular, ongoing, irresistible basis, is an idol. Idolatry does not count the cost of worshipping anything but God. And although few of us could ever imagine worshipping a picture of ourselves, the reality is–we are either worshipping God or some form of ourselves. When we are driven by physical and emotional appetites rather than being led by the Spirit of God, we are worshipping the idol of ourselves. Paul spoke as a prophet on fire to the Colossian Christians: “Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).

Read it all from Ed Stetzer.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Homelessness, hunger still an issue in Charleston, South Carolina, new report states

(Please note the headline above is from the Internet edition of the story, the print edition uses “Hundreds hungry, homeless in city” as its headline–KSH)>

“One hundred and fifty-six people slept here last night,” said Amy Zeigler, vice president for development at the Crisis Ministries shelter on Meeting Street. “And the reality is that 156 people will be sleeping here tonight….”

In terms of providing meals to the hungry in Charleston, access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food still remains a factor. And the Lowcountry Food Bank reported that difficulties in food delivery could arise even further as the climate of federal cutbacks continues to be fought in Washington.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP and formerly known as the federal food stamp program, is part of the philosophical battleground.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AP) Colorado Judge orders cake-maker to serve Same Sex Couples Despite Beliefs

Nicolle Martin, an attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop, said the judge’s order puts Phillips in an impossible position of going against his Christian faith.

“He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck,” she said. “If Jack can’t make wedding cakes, he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice. It is antithetical to everything America stands for.”

The Civil Rights Commission is expected to certify the judge’s order next week. Phillips can appeal the judge’s order, and Martin said they’re considering their next steps.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Food for Thought from the Diocese of London–what does being C of E mean?

From here:

Members of the Church of England (Anglicans) trace their Christian roots back to the early Church. The basis of the faith of the Church of England is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (the Bible) and the teachings of the early Church Fathers. The Church of England is part of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide family of churches with more than 70 million adherents in 38 Provinces spreading across 161 countries. Although these churches are autonomous, they are also uniquely unified through their history, their theology, their worship and their relationship to the ancient See of Canterbury, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Same-sex weddings in England and Wales to begin in March

A report commissioned by the Church of England published last month recommended that members of the clergy should be allowed to offer blessings to same-sex couples.

The Church said the report was for discussion and was “not a new policy statement”. The report did not propose offering “formal” ceremonies.
Religious division

The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Muslim Council of Great Britain and the Network of Sikh Organisations have opposed plans to allow…[same-sex] marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(WSJ RTE Blog) Workers’ Pay, Benefits Up 38 Cents (1.2%) per Hour From Last Year

Workers’ pay is hardly growing, with average hourly compensation only rising 38 cents, or 1.2%, over the last year.

Including both wages and benefits, employers paid an hourly average of $31.16 to each worker in September, compared with $30.78 a year ago, according to a Labor Department report released Wednesday. Wages and salaries made up nearly 70% of total compensation.

The agency’s quarterly report measures the average costs of wages, salaries and benefits for employees in the nonfarm private sector and state and local government workers. It doesn’t include people who work for the federal government or are self-employed. Benefit costs include paid leave, such as vacation or personal time, and the legally required benefits of Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Bloomberg) Despite budget deal, Washington still expected to Hamper Recovery in 2014

Americans see little prospect that President Barack Obama and Congress can get much done beyond keeping the government open for the next few months.

A Bloomberg National Poll finds 78 percent of respondents say the political gridlock in Washington will hurt the nation’s economy in 2014.

Large majorities say they want the government to ensure the new health-care law functions well, that policy makers agree to revise the tax code, and that an accord is reached to provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Yet most doubt those things can be accomplished in the current political environment…

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(NY Times Magazine) Google’s Road Map to Global Domination

A Frenchman who has lived half his 49 years in the United States, [Luc] Vincent was never in the Marines. But he is a leader in a new great game: the Internet land grab, which can be reduced to three key battles over three key conceptual territories. What came first, conquered by Google’s superior search algorithms. Who was next, and Facebook was the victor. But where, arguably the biggest prize of all, has yet to be completely won.

Where-type questions ”” the kind that result in a little map popping up on the search-results page ”” account for some 20 percent of all Google queries done from the desktop. But ultimately more important by far is location-awareness, the sort of geographical information that our phones and other mobile devices already require in order to function. In the future, such location-awareness will be built into more than just phones. All of our stuff will know where it is ”” and that awareness will imbue the real world with some of the power of the virtual. Your house keys will tell you that they’re still on your desk at work. Your tools will remind you that they were lent to a friend. And your car will be able to drive itself on an errand to retrieve both your keys and your tools.

While no one can say exactly how we will get from the current moment to that Jetsonian future, one thing for sure can be said about location-awareness: maps are required. Tomorrow’s map, integrally connected to everything that moves (the keys, the tools, the car), will be so fundamental to their operation that the map will, in effect, be their operating system.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

Bono Remembers Nelson Mandela

Longtime U2 musician and veteran activist Bono, who spent a lot of time with Nelson Mandela, speaks about his friend.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Music, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, South Africa

Today in History: December 12th

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

1745 Dec 12, John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was born.

1915 Dec 12, Frank Sinatra, actor and singer, was born in Hoboken New Jersey.

1964 Dec 12, Kenya formally became a republic.

What stood out to you–KSH?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Make us, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, watchful and heedful in awaiting the coming of thy Son Christ our Lord; that when he shall come and knock, he shall find us not sleeping in sin, but awake and rejoicing in his praises; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.’

–Revelation 2:8-11

Posted in Uncategorized

The Taskforce for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) issues a letter to TEC

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Time Person of the Year–Pope Francis, The People’s Pope

what makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), “the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.” In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church””the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world””above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.

And behind his self-effacing facade, he is a very canny operator. He makes masterly use of 21st century tools to perform his 1st century office. He is photographed washing the feet of female convicts, posing for selfies with young visitors to the Vatican, embracing a man with a deformed face. He is quoted saying of women who consider abortion because of poverty or rape, “Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?” Of gay people: “If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.” To divorced and remarried Catholics who are, by rule, forbidden from taking Communion, he says that this crucial rite “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

Through these conscious and skillful evocations of moments in the ministry of Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels, this new Pope may have found a way out of the 20th century culture wars, which have left the church moribund in much of Western Europe and on the defensive from Dublin to Los Angeles. But the paradox of the papacy is that each new man’s success is burdened by the astonishing successes of Popes past. The weight of history, of doctrines and dogmas woven intricately century by century, genius by genius, is both the source and the limitation of papal power. It radiates from every statue, crypt and hand-painted vellum text in Rome””and in churches, libraries, hospitals, universities and museums around the globe. A Pope sets his own course only if he can conform it to paths already chosen.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Phil Ashey–The Church of England's Bishops and the Pilling Report

the bishops may also want to consider the significant omissions of fact in the PR’s revision of Anglican history since 1998:

that the issue dominated the 1998 Conference because of the threatened actions of the North American churches;
that Resolution I.10 was approved by a vast majority of bishops and continues to be held as normative by virtually all the churches of the Global South;
that the primary ground of the resolution was fidelity to Scripture, and several additional resolutions affirmed this point;
that the North American churches followed through on their threat with the consecration of Gene Robinson despite repeated warnings from various Instruments; and the more “collegial” atmosphere at Lambeth 2008 was purchased at the expense of 280 bishops being absent from Lambeth 2008.
It is astonishing that the PR in fact lacks any reference to The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Church of England’s bishops may wish to consider these omissions of fact, and, by contrast, the recitation of the actual history of the failure of the Instruments of Communion to discipline the North American churches that repeatedly breached Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) in the last 15 years – a recitation which can be found in the October 26 Nairobi Communique and in other communications from Global South Anglican leaders.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture