Daily Archives: January 18, 2014

(VOA) Analyst: New Nigeria Military Chief Signals 'New Strategy' Against Boko Haram

When President Goodluck Jonathan announced new leaders for the defense department, the army, the navy and the air force on Thursday, he did not give a reason. But political consultant Fabian Ihekweme said it appears the president is trying a different approach to the security crisis.

“You may recall a few days ago that a new anti-terrorist outfit has been created out of the Nigerian military. So it is the same new strategy being developed by the president to tackle the Boko Haram menace,” said Hekweme.

Human Rights Watch said 40 people were killed and 50 were injured Tuesday when a car bomb exploded outside a post office in Maiduguri, the original home of the Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Military / Armed Forces, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Wash. Post) Bao Bao, the National Zoo’s giant panda cub, makes her public debut

Lisa Washam, who drove 500 miles from Lima, Ohio, to see the panda’s debut, had tears in her eyes as looked at the photos she took in her two minutes at the window watching Bao Bao.

“She’s so beautiful,” she said. “I feel she’s looking at me….”

[Lisa] is pursuing a doctorate in education, and she said watching the panda cam has helped relieve some of the stress. In the past year, she said, she has visited all four U.S. zoos with giant pandas as well as one in Canada.

“It’s a better way to relax than drinking,” Washam said. “It’s very peaceful.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ) Peggy Noonan on the destructive force of selfishness in our political life

There isn’t a staffer on the Hill who won’t tell you 90% of members are driven by their own needs, wants and interests, not America’s. The former defense secretary, Bob Gates, has written a whole book about it, and the passages in which he speaks most plainly read like a cry from the heart. The chaplain of the Senate, Barry Black, made news a few months ago because he’d taken to praying that the character of our representatives be improved. “Save us from the madness,” he prayed one morning last October. “We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness.” The single most memorable thing I ever heard from a Wall Streeter was from one of its great men, who blandly explained to me one day why certain wealthy individuals were taking an action that was both greedy and personally inconvenient to them. “Everyone wants more,” he said, not in a castigating way but as one explains certain essentials to a child.

People in public life have become more grasping, and less embarrassed by it. But the odd thing, the destabilizing thing as you think about it, is that we’re in a crisis. We’ve been in it since at least 2008 and the crash, and the wars. We are in unprecedented trouble. Citizens know this. It’s why they buy guns. They see unfixable America around them, they think it’s all going to fall apart. In Washington (and New York) they huff and puff their disapproval: Those Americans with their guns, they’re causing a lot of trouble. But Americans think they’re in trouble because their leaders are too selfish to face challenges that will do us in.

What’s most striking is that in a crisis, you don’t expect business as usual. You expect something better from leaders, you expect them to try to meet the moment.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Psychology, Senate, Theology

(CT) An Oscar Nod for a Christian Movie Song by Joni Eareckson Tada

A Hollywood nod to a Christian film has come as a shock to the entertainment world, as the song “Alone Yet Not Alone” (from the movie by the same name) was nominated for an Oscar.

The song beat out Coldplay, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Ray to join the other four nominees for best original song: Frozen’s “Let it Go”; U2’s “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” from Despicable Me 2; and Karen O’s “The Moon Song” from Her.

What’s more surprising, however, may be the person who performed the song in the end credits: Joni Eareckson Tada, quadriplegic Christian author and speaker, and one of CT’s “50 Women You Should Know.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Movies & Television, Music, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

St. Paul’s, Summerville, South Carolina, Embarks on a new Food Distribution Ministry

“St. Paul’s has always had a social-ministry conscience,” says Rector, Mike Lumpkin. “We house Meals on Wheels, we host the free medical clinic, the office of Help of Summerville is on our campus, but we’ve not always been as
welcoming as we are now. We’ve intentionally created pathways through our campus so folks who wouldn’t normally come here would feel welcomed.”

In the last year St. Paul’s has become home to the office of the Salvation Army and it opened its doors to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). With over 120 people coming to weekly meetings, St. Paul’s has the largest AA chapter in the area.
In April they added food distribution to theirefforts and since that time they have provided 21,600 lbs of food for 764 families….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Theology

Bishop of Ely Stephen Conway on Mental Illness–Time to Change

I have signed the Time to Change pledge to end the stigma attached to mental illness. I encourage you to join this campaign in the UK, or similar campaigns where you live. Like many of you, I have been close to a number of people who have struggled with poor mental health. I became my late father’s carer in the last years of his life. It was only then that I recognised how we had colluded as a family in not knowing about his mental state for years. He was relatively well supported; but this did not prevent his early death as a result of the physical consequences of his struggle with life.

Research reveals that nine out of ten people in Britain who live with some form of mental illness are stigmatised. As if the illness were not enough to cope with, they are penalised in the workplace and over welfare benefits. They are shunned and laughed at. Worse still, moral blame is still applied to those living with persistent mental illness. We are frightened of it because it is so close to us and any one of us call fall prone to it in some form. It is also scary that, while there can be periods of recovery in any illness, the condition itself may well be chronic and incurable.

Understandably, we all dread that prospect for ourselves or for our loved ones; but it does not follow that we should blame sufferers for reminding us of their need. The media do not help. Of course, it is a tragedy if a psychotic person becomes dangerous and does serious harm to another person. The way that this is often reported suggests that people with mental health needs are likely to be dangerous. The sad truth is that most of those who suffer psychosis, or clinical depression or severe bi-polar illness are only likely to be a danger to themselves as they feel they can no longer endure the isolation and pain.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BBC) Egypt referendum: '98% back new constitution'

Egypt’s referendum on a new constitution has been backed by 98.1% of people who voted, officials say.

Turnout was 38.6% of the more than 50-million eligible voters, the election committee said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East, Politics in General

(Charisma) R.T. Kendall's 'Holy Fire' Ignites Fresh Passion

Holy Fire ignites fresh passion in evangelicals for the Spirit and fresh desire in charismatics for the Scriptures.

Whether you consider yourself a conservative evangelical or a charismatic/Pentecostal of some kind, R.T. Kendall’s opus, Holy Fire, will empower you to go to the next level in your journey as a well-balanced believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

By the way, balance in the kingdom is not living in some lukewarm place between boredom and passion. It is not a little bit of Bible-based theology mingled with a little bit of Holy Spirit. Balance is desiring “all of the Word” and “all of the Spirit,” as the Word of God and the Spirit of God work together, not independently of each other. Kendall reminds us of this powerful truth on every page, concluding with Smith Wigglesworth’s prophetic statement: “When the Word and Spirit come together, there will be the biggest movement of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed the world, has ever seen.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

A Prayer for the Confession of St. Peter

Almighty Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, whose blessed Son took upon him our manhood and increased in wisdom and stature: Grant that all Christian children may learn that fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom, and as they grow in stature may also grow in love to thee; through the same Christ our Lord.

–Harold Riley

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

–Hebrews 4:12-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) Is the Messiah Complex on the rise in Africa?

In recent months, Central and Southern Africa have seen an increase in the number of people publicly claiming to be Jesus Christ. Just within the past few weeks, there have been at least four people from Central Africa and Southern Africa claiming to be the Messiah.

However, this phenomenon is not unique to Africa alone. Last year a man in Australia, Allan John Miller claimed he was Jesus Christ and that his partner, Mary Luck was in fact, Mary Magdalene. Australia’s Cult Awareness and Information Centre and the Anglican and Catholic churches were concerned that the couple were “attracting vulnerable people searching for meaning in life.”

History itself is witness to countless other Jesus Christ claimants most of whom have been dismissed as mentally unstable or disillusioned and in worse circumstances mobbed and beaten. Still many of them have and continue to attract a good number of followers.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa

Friday Mental Health Break–Kevin Hart Does His Best NFL Quarterback Impression

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Sports

(World) Keith Miller–Are greater things yet to come for evangelicals in the suburbs?

During the past decade or so, one of the most interesting demographic trends in American evangelicalism has been the relocation of its leadership from suburbia to center cities. Just 10 years ago, you would have chosen James Dobson’s Colorado Springs, Rick Warren’s Orange County, and the Wheaton-Willow Creek axis in Chicagoland as the epicenters of evangelical activity””suburbs or exurbs all.

Now, the shepherds are heading to big cities: Mark Driscoll’s Seattle, Louie Giglio’s Atlanta, and, of course, New York””home to Tim Keller, Eric Metaxas, Gabe Lyons, Carl Lentz, Greg Thornbury, Jon Tyson, and others. Some key leaders still minister outside of the metropolis, but the trend is unmistakable.

If your city didn’t make that list of hot spots, just wait. San Francisco may be the next evangelical darling: The pastor of the largest Acts 29 church in Phoenix recently left the desert to plant a work in the Bay Area, and Francis Chan left his post at a suburban megachurch for ministry in San Francisco. Down the coast in Los Angeles, two mammoth evangelical brands””Saddleback and Hillsong””are coming to Tinseltown this year.

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

(AP) US Methodist Clergyman Charged Over Same Sex Wedding

The United Methodist Church has formally charged another clergyman for presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son.

The Rev. Thomas Ogletree will be tried March 10 for violating church law against officiating at gay unions, his spokeswoman, Dorothee Benz, announced Friday. It’s the second high-profile United Methodist trial in recent months over same-sex relationships. In December, pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. The church considers homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Ogletree is a theologian, a former Yale Divinity School dean and a retired elder in the church’s New York district, or Annual Conference. Some clergy had filed a complaint after his son’s 2012 wedding announcement appeared in The New York Times.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology