Daily Archives: January 2, 2014

(RNS) 2013’s most interesting books on Religion

Jesus, Paul, food, charity and prayer were just some of the subjects examined in this year’s crop of books under the broad heading of religion. Some of the titles rank at the top of the year’s best books, regardless of topic. Others barely registered in the mainstream press but are lavishly praised in their own fields. Here’s Religion News Service’s list of the year’s most interesting religion books, numbered but not ranked.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Religion & Culture

More Joyful Music for Christmas–In Dulci Jubilo from the King's College, Cambridge Choir

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Christmas 2013–Arlan Sunnarborg's Wonderful Fanfare Intro to Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Lift up your hearts indeed!.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship

South Carolina's Connor Shaw has fitting ending to career in Capital One Bowl

Shaw’s 9-yard touchdown catch from receiver Bruce Ellington was one of five scores in his final game. He contributed to every touchdown in No. 8 South Carolina’s 34-24 win over No. 19 Wisconsin before a crowd of 56,629 at Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

It was the Gamecocks’ (11-2) third straight bowl victory over a Big Ten opponent, and their third straight 11-win season. For the Badgers (9-4), it was their fourth straight bowl loss.

It was also the storybook ending to Shaw’s career – passing, receiving and rushing for a touchdown on his way to being named the Capital One Bowl MVP. Shaw completed 22-of-25 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He iced the game with a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Men, Sports, Young Adults

(AP) Legal pot sales begin amid uncertainty in Colorado

A gleaming white Apple store of weed is how Andy Williams sees his new Denver marijuana dispensary.

Two floors of pot-growing rooms will have windows showing the shopping public how the mind-altering plant is grown. Shoppers will be able to peruse drying marijuana buds and see pot trimmers at work separating the valuable flowers from the less-prized stems and leaves.

“It’s going to be all white and beautiful,” the 45-year-old ex-industrial engineer explains, excitedly gesturing around what just a few weeks ago was an empty warehouse space that will eventually house 40,000 square feet of cannabis strains.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

(ICC) Twelve Christians brutally murdered by Boko Haram militants in Northern Nigeria

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that twelve Christians were brutally murdered by suspected Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria over the weekend. According to reports, these Christians were killed in two attacks on separate Christian villages in Nigeria’s Muslim majority state of Borno.

The first attack took place on Saturday, December 28, in the Christian village of Tashan-Alede where eight people attending a wedding celebration were killed when militants connected with Boko Haram opened fire on the Christians gathered. According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, “One attack took place at a pre-wedding bachelor party. Suspected fighters from Boko Haram opened fire on the group, killing eight people.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Telegraph) Justin Welby: Church of England must be realistic about dwindling congregation

The Most Rev Justin Welby said the church would not find new worshippers “accidentally” and so had to set a clear target of filling more pews if it was to tackle the decline in church-going in Britain.

In comments that hinted at the language of corporate expansion, the former oil executive challenged his priests to turn the tide and draw new worshippers to the Anglican faith.

“The reality is that where you have a good vicar, you will find growing churches,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

(Breaking Point) A New Years Day Reflection on Amazing Grace by Chuck Colson

At the end of December 1772, an Anglican priest in the poor parish of Olney worked by candlelight on his New Year’s Day sermon. He would preach on the text of 1 Chronicles 17, verses 16 and 17.

That passage was Davimod’s response to God after Nathan informed him that his descendants would be enthroned forever as kings of Israel. David, the once-poor shepherd boy, the man who had repented of adultery and murder, responded to the news by saying, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me thus far?”

That pastor was John Newton, and those words struck a deep chord in his heart.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology

What would you tell your 14-year-old self?

Answers from Justin Welby, Joan Bakewell, Giles Coren, Jonathan Sumption, James Rhodes and many more…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Media, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth

Must not Miss–NPR's This American Life on Unconditional Love

You see, the researcher that they’re filming, a guy named Harry Harlow [in 1960], was trying to prove– and I know this is going to sound crazy. He was trying to prove that love is an important thing that happens between parents and children.

And the reason why he felt the need to prove this point was at the time– and again, I know this is going to sound kind of out there. The psychological establishment, pediatricians, even the federal government were all saying exactly the opposite of that to parents.

Deborah Blum: It’s actually one of those things that you say, how could they have thought that? But psychology just didn’t believe in love. And if you go back and you pull any of the psychology textbooks, really almost pre-1950, you don’t even find it in the index because it was not a word that was used.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Violence

(ABC Aus.) John Milbank–Innocence that Grows: Christianity and the Fantastic Imagination

Theologians today exercise almost zero public influence. And yet, through the medium of children’s literature and fantasy literature generally, a public theological debate of a kind continues to be conducted.

From George MacDonald in the Victorian era through G.K. Chesterton to the Inklings, an attempt has been made to re-present Christianity in the mode of what MacDonald already called “the fantastic imagination.” If one judges by book sales figures, the avid readership of this literature must extend well beyond the numbers of those who go to church, although the latter group also have been perhaps much more profoundly shaped by this literary mode of reflection than by the work of conceptual theologians.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Children, Theology

From Don Whitney–10 Things on Thinking Ahead in the New Year

What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah

Emmanuel, God with us, who didst make thy home in every culture and community on earth: We offer thanks for the raising up of thy servant Samuel Azariah as the first indigenous bishop in India. Grant that we may be strengthened by his witness to thy love without concern for class or caste, and by his labors for the unity of the Church in India, that people of many languages and cultures might with one voice give thee glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, India, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who didst ordain thine only-begotten Son to be the Saviour of mankind, and didst command that his name should be called Jesus: Mercifully grant that as we do love and honour his holy name upon earth, so we may evermore enjoy the vision of him in heaven; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Ahab told Jez”²ebel all that Eli”²jah had done, and how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jez”²ebel sent a messenger to Eli”²jah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you.” And he arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

–1 Kings 19:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) Church of England has yet to shed its Wonga investment

Archbishop Welby, speaking on the Today programme on Radio 4, said that a review of the investment had been completed. He said: “They are working out how they can dispose of those shares without disposing of millions and millions of pounds of investment at a loss because they have a responsibility to pensioners.”

The Archbishop also admitted that there has been a “change in attitude” towards the Christian faith in Britain and that Church membership was in decline.

He said that he was nevertheless “extremely hopeful” for the future of the Church of England because of new initiatives such as the “Fresh Expressions” scheme, where congregations meet in unorthodox venues such as pubs, clubs and skateparks.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

C.H. Spurgeon from 1884–The New Year's Guest

“I was a stranger, and you took Me in.” Matthew 25:35.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12.

I lately received a New Year’s card which suggested to me the topic on which I am about to speak to you. The designer of the card has, with holy insight, seen the relation of the two texts to each other and rendered both of them eminently suggestive by placing them together. There is freshness in the thought that, by receiving Jesus as a stranger, our believing hospitality works in us a Divine capacity and we thereby receive power to become the sons of God.
The connection suggested between the two Inspired words is really existent and by no means strained or fanciful, as you will see by reading the context of the passage in John”””He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” So He was a stranger in the world which He Himself had made! “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” So He was a stranger among the people whom He had set apart for His own by many deeds of mercy! “But as many as received Him”””that is to say, gave entertainment to this blessed Stranger”””to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

I thought that this might prove to be a suitable and salutary passage to discourse upon at the beginning of a New Year, for this is a season of hospitality and some among our friends will think it well to commence a New Year by saying to the Lord Jesus, “Come in, You blessed of the Lord; why do You stand outside?”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Manchester United Lose a Big one at Home to Spurs

Why? Spurs defense a lot better than Man U’s; season summary- too weak at the back under Moyes.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Sports