Daily Archives: January 12, 2014

Alabama Congregation Leaves Methodist Church, but not for the reasons you may think

An award-winning pastor and the congregation he leads at the Flora-Bama lounge have left the United Methodist denomination, he confirmed Wednesday.

The Rev. Jeremy Mount, who received the Harry Denman Evangelism Award in June at the United Methodists’ annual meeting in Mobile, turned in his credentials in mid-December, he said. He is the third well-known pastor to leave the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 2013.

“We’ve always loved the local churches we’ve been a part of,” said Mount, who was discipleship pastor at Perdido Bay UMC and led Worship on the Water as a ministry of the church. “We have had a harder time dealing with the larger structure of the denomination.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Typhoon Faith

Months after super typhoon Hayaan destroyed large parts of the Philippines, many survivors say prayer got them through the storm and the difficult times afterwards. “The comment that I have heard is that God can send the cyclone here because the Filipino people are so strong that we can overcome even a storm this strong,” says Catholic Relief Services emergency coordinator Elizabeth Tromans.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Philippines, Religion & Culture

Bishop Mouneer Anis: Christ and the Peace we need today

When Jesus came, he said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). On his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). He also instructed his disciples that their message to the people should be a message of peace. This was clear in his saying, “When you enter a house, first say, “Peace to this house.” (Luke 10:5).

However, some may ask, “where is this peace?”…….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

(NY Times On Religion) Back After Losing His Church, and Still Supporting Same Sex Marriage

Three below zero on a Minnesota morning, and the Rev. Oliver White stomps the snow off his boots as he enters the stucco edifice of Clark Memorial United Church of Christ to lead worship. He peels off an overcoat to reveal the kente-cloth vestments his wife made for him, which match the kufi hat he wears.

On this Sunday midway between Christmas and New Year’s Day, he sees a congregation thinned by both vacation and weather. Perhaps 50 people fill the pews, yet in their modest number resides a startling range: a lesbian couple with their son; a 98-year-old man who still shovels his own sidewalk; the black and white relatives of a biracial baby about to be baptized.

“Good morning, and let’s have the church say, ”˜Amen,’ “ Mr. White, 71, begins, standing in the aisle rather than at the pulpit. Hearing the desultory response, he chides: “That was only half the church. Again?” The voices now rise, and he adds his own emphatic “Amen!”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture, United Church of Christ

(W. Post) U.S. veterans despondent over al-Qaeda’s resurgence in Iraq

The Iraq war may have never been declared lost. But the stunning surge in violence over the past year ”” and the return of al-Qaeda in the western province of Anbar this month ”” is forcing Americans who invested personally in the war’s success to grapple with haunting questions.

“Could someone smart convince me that the black flag of al-Qaeda flying over Fallujah isn’t analogous to the fall of Saigon?” former Army captain Matt Gallagher asked on Twitter. “Because. Well.”

Gallagher, 30, who left the Army to pursue a writing career in New York, has kept close tabs on Iraq since the end of his deployment as a platoon commander in the outskirts of Baghdad in 2009. He has a Google alert for Saba al-Bor, a small village northwest of Baghdad where his infantry platoon spent 15 months living in terror of armor-penetrating roadside bombs and in awe of the complexities of tribal politics.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Politics in General, Terrorism

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto thee, as our reasonable service: Hear us, we beseech thee, as we now come to thee in the name of Jesus Christ; and give us grace that we may dedicate ourselves wholly to thy service, and henceforth live only to thy glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

–Ephesians 1:3-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Lifesite) U.S. fertility rate hit historic low in 2012: CDC

The U.S. fertility rate hit an all-time low in 2012, according to the latest statistics released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

According to the CDC, in 2012 3,952,841 births were registered in the U.S., which was 749 fewer than in 2011. This translated into a total fertility rate of 63.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15”“44, down from 63.2 births in 2011.

While a fertility rate of about 2.1 babies per women over their lifetime is required to maintain a steady population in developed countries, in the United States it currently sits at 1.88, down from 1.89 in 2011.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Globalization, Marriage & Family

Former CIA analyst becomes minister and MUSC Hollings Cancer Center chaplain

There was a moment, sitting in the Oval Office with then-President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney when she asked herself: Am I really here?

It was 2007, and Nancy Pellegrini had spent many late nights preparing for the intelligence briefing, one of her duties as a senior Iraq military analyst for the CIA.

The president was gracious; Pellegrini conquered her nerves. And she did it all again during other briefings for the president and policymakers, highlights of her career as a CIA military analyst.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Defense, National Security, Military, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Women

(NBC) 'The Salute Seen Around The World' Revisited

Army Ranger Joshua Hargis lay braced, tangled and constrained by tubing in his hospital bed. Yet bound by duty, he managed to raise his hand in full salute as his commander awarded him the Purple Heart.

“At that point, I knew what I was supposed to do,” Hargis said as recounted the moment to NBC News. “So I hold my arm up. It felt stuck a little bit, so I started tuggin’ on it and I pulled it all the way up and, you know, presented my salute as best as I could.”

The moment made grown men at his hospital bedside weep and it instantly became viral after Hargis’ wife, Taylor, shared the photo on her Facebook page.

Read it all (video highly recommended).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces

(Barna) Christian Views on Alcohol

…while Scripture is clear that murder, marital unfaithfulness and stealing, for example, are all unquestionably out of bounds in the life of a believer, alcohol consumption is not so clear-cut. As a result, Christians today have wide and divergent views on drinking and its acceptability in the life of a Christian.

Here, we talk with Brett McCracken, author of Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism and Liberty, about a biblical view of alcohol, how different generations approach drinking and why all of this matters for the expansion of the Gospel in the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A London Times Question that Says Much about Today's Sorry Climate among Young Adults

This really is the question in today’s paper: Q: My friend has recently split up with his long-term girlfriend (he is in his early thirties, as am I), and is really enjoying his new, revived, single sex life. It’s made me question my relationship ”” whether I’m happy or not. I’ve been in a relationship for eight years and we have lived together for five years now. Should I play the field before settling down for life? I don’t want to realise later that I’ve missed out. Read it all (subscriber only) to see the answer

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sexuality, Young Adults