Daily Archives: December 13, 2013

(WSJ) Stephen Prothero: A Cage-Fighting Christ for Our Time

Mr. [Mark] Driscoll certainly has a renegade reputation in much of the evangelical world, but his macho vision of Christ has deep roots in America. Jesus as a brave warrior””not a meek preacher””has been a consistent theme in some Christian circles since the late 1800s.

At the end of the Victorian period, Jesus was widely depicted as a sweet, almost feminine, savior, and church leaders began to ask why so many men were absenting themselves from the pews. They found their answer in “the soft, curled, hermaphroditical” Jesus taken to task in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.”

As Teddy Roosevelt decried the “over-civilized man,” and Frederic Remington’s popular woodcuts in Harper’s Weekly idealized the soldier in battle and the football player on the gridiron, many Americans craved a manly redeemer. Preachers delivered, in the hope that a rough-hewn Jesus would draw men back to the pews.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christology, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

Graham Usher to be next Bishop of Dudley

Graham has been Rector and Lecturer of Hexham since 2004. In that time, the congregation has grown and links have been developed to support an area of regeneration and a domestic violence charity, to open a foodbank for West Northumberland, and provide 2000 children visiting the Abbey each year with tailor made activity days linked to the National Curriculum.

The Abbey has recently reunited its former monastic buildings taken from it by Henry VIII, and having raised £3.2m is currently developing a new visitor centre, refectory, education rooms and meeting spaces.

Before moving to Hexham, Graham was vicar of a parish in Middlesbrough which is in one of England’s 2% most deprived communities, where he chaired the neighbourhood management group and developed an innovative arts based project to divert young people from crime.

Alongside his parish work, Graham currently chairs the Northeast Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee of the Forestry Commission, and is a Secretary of State appointee on the Northumberland National Park Authority. He has served as Area Dean while at Hexham.

Read it all.

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

([London] Times) Vicar apologises for telling school children Father Christmas does not exist

[The Rev. Simon] Tatton-Brown, who is due to retire shortly, has admitted that he was wrong to tell children that Father Christmas was not real. He also apologised for telling them how legend has it that St Nicholas, the historical figure on whom Santa Claus is based, resurrected three young boys who had been pickled in a barrel by a wicked butcher who was planning to sell them as ham.

He said that he inadvertently left behind the notes for his speech and had to extemporise.

Kerry Butler, whose daughter Kacey, 9, goes to the school, said that parents were “very upset” about Mr Tatton-Brown’s remarks.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Christmas, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Telegraph) Baroness Warsi’s 'concern' over effect of same-sex marriage laws on religious groups

Baroness Warsi, the faith minister, has signalled that she is not satisfied that laws introducing same-sex marriage contain enough protections for religious groups.

The former Conservative Party chairman said she could not support the Government bill during votes in the Lords because of “reservations” about how clauses designed to prevent faith groups being sued for refusing to perform gay weddings would work in practice.

She raised the prospect of smaller churches, mosques and temples which are linked to local community centres, finding themselves in a legal grey area when same-sex marriage becomes possible from March next year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Belgian Senate Allowing Doctors to Euthanize Disabled Children under Certain Conditions

The Belgian Senate voted today 50-17 to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further.

The vote today in the full Senate comes after a Senate committee voted 13-4 to allow minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. There is still a chance to stop the bill in the House of Representatives, though pro-life campaigners fear it will become law.

“Currently the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there is significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”

Read it all from Lifesite Newsand compare it (including the headline) to the New York Times story there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Redfern argues in the recent H. of Lords Debate on Assisted Dying Legislation

Asked by The Earl of Glasgow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to legislate to provide terminally ill patients with the legal right to decide when, where and how they should die, if necessary with the assistance of others….

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, two quotations. John Donne:

“No man is an island”.

and the Book of Job:

“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”.

Life is a gift. None of us decided to be born; we came from a relationship between two people, from a culture, from a context, from a spiritual hinterland, and any life is part of that flow. As it flows on, it seeks for more and more. Modern economics, and the market, encourage us to see ourselves as autonomous individuals. The noble Earl just talked about making an individual choice. None of us is an individual in that sense: we are part of a web of relationships, and that web holds us in suffering as well as in the imminence of death. T. S. Eliot said, “In our endings are our beginnings”….

Read it all (the question begins at “2 p.m.” on the lefthand margin in boldface.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Archbishop Welby talks to energy firms

Executives from energy companies met the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday, two months after he called on such firms to be “conscious of their social obligations”, given the “severe” impact of energy price rises.

A statement from Lambeth Palace said that the senior representatives met to talk about “their perspectives on social responsibility around the energy-supply sector”. This was “one of a number of private meetings hosted by Archbishop Justin in order to draw on the experience of people from different areas of national life”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Theology

Friday Morning Mental Health Break–Baby Otter Feeding at the Fukuoka City Zoological Garden

Watch it all–sooooo adorable!

Posted in Uncategorized

(CNS) Pope Francis: Human trafficking is crime against humanity, must be stopped

— The trafficking of human beings is a crime against humanity and must be stopped, Pope Francis told diplomats.

“It’s a disgrace” that people are treated “as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned,” he said.

The pope’s comments came Dec. 12 in a speech to 17 new ambassadors to the Vatican who were presenting their letters of credential to the pope. Among the 17 were ambassadors representing the state of Palestine, Kuwait, Sierra Leone and Iceland.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Men, Other Churches, Police/Fire, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

Time to Register if you Have not yet for Mere Anglicanism 2014 next month in Charleston S.C.

I know, you forgot. But you need to come.


The Topic–Science, Faith and Apologetics: An Answer for the Hope That Is Within Us.

The Speakers–John Lennox, Alvin Plantinga, and Peter Kreeft to name just three.

The Location–Charleston is just fantastic, especially at this time of the year.

You can find the full schedule here and the speakers bios there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Apologetics, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Saint Lucy

Loving God, who for the salvation of all didst give Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness: Illumine us, with thy daughter Lucy, with the light of Christ, that by the merits of his passion we may be led to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Almighty God, that as thy blessed Son Jesus Christ at his first advent came to seek and to save that which was lost, so at his second and glorious appearing he may find in us the fruits of the redemption which he wrought; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God world without end.

–The Scottish Prayer Book

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Anglican Provinces, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Scottish Episcopal Church, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!

–Psalm 31:15-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

***Must not Miss***Bruce Hindmarsh on the purpose of life

Watch it all–thoughtfully and carefully.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Seminary / Theological Education, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

The Christianity Today Book Awards for the Previous Year

First, beyond naming winners in our ten regular categories, we’ve christened from among those winners our first-ever CT Book of the Year: God’s Forever Family, Larry Eskridge’s history of the Jesus People movement. Now, this is no exact science. And really, we wouldn’t have gone wrong laying the extra laurel atop any of the competitors, or a dozen other books besides. You may have your own favorite to recommend. But we can’t see any harm in generating buzz””or provoking debate””around a book our judges praised for its originality, meticulous research, and colorful character sketches.

Second, speaking of those judges, we’ve lifted the veil of anonymity from their comments on the winning books. Our judges””best-selling authors, experts in their fields, and simply thoughtful people””have strained their eyes and brains reading and evaluating a thousand or more pages. They deserve to have their labors recognized. And you deserve to have your curiosity satiated.

And third, we’ve introduced a new awards category targeted at readers of Her.meneutics, CT’s popular women’s blog.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology