Daily Archives: February 11, 2014

Lent and Beyond: Prayer for St George's Baghdad

Mary Ailes has drawn our attention to the plight of Canon Andrew White in Iraq”“”more than horrendous.”

2 Samuel 22:3
The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

Our Father in heaven,
St. George’s church in Baghdad is part of Your household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone. Jesus Christ is a choice stone, a precious cornerstone, and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed.
We entrust St. George’s to You. You are their shield and the horn of their salvation. You are their high tower, their refuge, and their savior. Save them from violence, we pray. Preserve this church. Amen.

Read and please pray if you will

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East

Tony Norman: Police Dog Rocco's tribute was a wonderment to Many People

The amount of coverage of Rocco’s untimely death — including that in the Post-Gazette — was mentioned almost everywhere I went last week. No one called the coverage unseemly exactly, but it was often called excessive. Even PG political cartoonist Rob Rogers, who can reliably be counted on to offer a contrarian view on almost everything, penned a genuinely sentimental cartoon in honor of Rocco.

One of my colleagues, a fellow dog lover, said that the Rocco story struck a chord because whatever one’s view of police and their tactics in any given neighborhood, it is difficult to find people who don’t like dogs. YouTube probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for our tendency to anthropomorphize our pets’ behavior. A cat playing a piano is one of the most viewed videos in history.

Heartwarming videos of dogs going bonkers greeting their masters returning from stints in Iraq and Afghanistan garner millions of hits, “likes” and tweets on social media. It is impossible to witness such deep cross-species friendship in these videos without shedding a tear if you’re a dog lover.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Urban/City Life and Issues

(W. Post Op-Ed) Kathleen Parker–President Obama should practice the religious freedom he preaches

President Obama gave a lovely speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast – and one is reluctant to criticize….

[but]…many in the audience were reaching for their own jaws when Obama got to the liberty section of his speech, according to several people who attended the breakfast. Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, summed up the general reaction of many with whom he spoke: “Stunned.”

“Several people said afterward how encouraged they would have been by President Obama’s remarks if only his acts reflected what he said,” Cromartie told me.

One table was applauding only out of politeness, according to Jerry Pattengale, who was sitting with Steve Green – president of the Hobby Lobby stores that have challenged Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. Pattengale described the experience as “surrealistic.”

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, The U.S. Government, Theology

Greg Snyder–Thinking about Rocks after Visiting the Holy Land

As many of you know, I have just recently returned from a two-week trip to the Holy Land with Beth, my daughter Sarah, Ron and Claudia Boyce, and Meemee Williams, as well as about 25 other folks from other churches. It was, truly, a transformational pilgrimage and a greatprivilege to walk in the footsteps of our Lord. Thank you for your prayers.

One of the most interesting aspects of the trip was the realization of the central place that rocks have played in the life of our Lord…yes, I said ROCKS: The rock on the Mount of Transfiguration, the rock at Bethpage where Jesus mounted the donkey, the rock on which he blessed then multiplied the loaves and fishes in Galilee, the ro ck on which he leaned while praying three times in Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, and the very rock of the crucifixion, Golgotha, just to name a few. Having been a geologist for man y years, this was a welcome, albeit surprising, revelation. Jesus Himself said (above) on Palm Sunday, that if we were not to praise Him, then therocks would have to shout to glorify Him….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Frustrated by Karzai, U.S. Shifts Afghanistan Exit Plans

The U.S. military has revised plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan to allow the White House to wait until President Hamid Karzai leaves office before completing a security pact and settling on a post-2014 U.S. troop presence, officials said.

The option for waiting reflects a growing belief in Washington that there is little chance of repairing relations with Mr. Karzai and getting him to sign the bilateral security agreement before elections scheduled for the spring.

“If he’s not going to be part of the solution, we have to have a way to get past him,” said a senior U.S. official. “It’s a pragmatic recognition that clearly Karzai may not sign the BSA and that he doesn’t represent the voice of the Afghan people.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Theology, War in Afghanistan

Local Paper Editorial–Bashar al-Assad's relentless brutality

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has seen thousands of different rulers in its 7,000-year history, including Alexander the Great, Saladin and Tammerlane. It also has seen dozens of sieges.

But no ruler and no siege have been more brutal than the present ones.

As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tries to drive rebels and their followers out of Aleppo, his army, with complete control of the nation’s air space, has attacked the city’s civilian areas with aircraft, missiles, artillery, mortars and, in a new twist, “barrel bombs” dropped from helicopters flying at 7,000 feet.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, History, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

(CHE) Kevin Carey on Davidson College and Teaching the Liberal Arts well

In the autumn of 2012, a year after becoming president of Davidson College, Carol Quillen gave a lecture about the intimacy of relationships with the dead. A scholar of Italian humanism by training, she read Machiavelli’s account of his nighttime journeys into the “ancient courts of ancient men,” where, among the authors of antiquity, he was “not ashamed to speak with them and to ask them the reason for their actions; and they in their kindness answer me; and for four hours of time I do not feel boredom, I forget every trouble, I do not dread poverty, I am not frightened by death; entirely I give myself over to them.”

The lecture was part of Davidson’s undergraduate humanities curriculum, a program with its own long history that now struggles to compete for students’ attention. Quillen’s job is to make the classic American liberal-arts college prosperous and relevant in a time of accelerated expectation and high expense….

In her exploration of humanism, she told me, she discovered the “experience of revelation through reading the words of people from a distant, alien age.” Quillen remains devoted to the close reading of canonical texts. “Life is short,” she said, “and those guys were smart.” Quillen has a talent for combining academic eloquence with candor and self-doubt.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Education, History, Philosophy, Poetry & Literature, Theology, Young Adults

(ABC Aus.) Stanley Hauerwas–The End of Charity: How Christians are (not) to 'Remember the Poor'

[Bruce] Longenecker’s careful analysis of the ambiguities surrounding Paul’s commitment to the care of the poor is not meant to challenge the general presumption that Paul and the early church in general did not assume that Christians had an obligation to care for the poor. Indeed, he argues that, though economic assistance to the poor was not exhaustive of the good news of Jesus, neither was it peripheral to that good news. “Care for the poor was thought by Paul to be a necessary hallmark of the corporate life of Jesus followers who lived in conformity with the good news of the early Jesus movement.”

I call attention to Longenecker’s account of the commitment to the poor by the early followers of Jesus to remind us of the commonplace presumption by Christians that we are a people of charity. We are supposed to care for those less well off. Almsgiving is constitutive of what it means to be a Christian. Yet how Christians have cared for those who have less has recently come under severe criticism. I want to explore that critique and hopefully provide a constructive response.

One of the reasons I am intent to address questions surrounding what it means to remember the poor – or, in other terms, why charity is at the heart of Christian living – is I do not think I have adequately dealt with the challenge that Christians must be a community of the poor that cares for the poor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Christology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

St Martin’s Church in London becomes first in the UK to accept Bitcoins for its collection

A London church has become the first in the country to accept internet currency Bitcoins in its collection plate.

The Rev Chris Brice of St Martin’s Anglican Parish Church in Gospel Oak said the innovation showed that “we are people in touch with what’s going on around us”.

Some supporters of Bitcoins claim the currency wrestles power from corporations and banking giants, and its value has soared in the past 12 months, peaking at more than £615.

Mr Brice said: “The current [financial] system is not all that reliable, given recent events. You’ve got to live in an environment where people are free to experiment with these things. If this doesn’t work we’ll try something else.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Stewardship, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Post-Gazette) Peter Smith's Popular Belief Blog

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Religion Writer Peter Smith covers the diverse spiritual scene of Southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond.

I was messing around with this site again last night and realized I have not mentioned it as of yet. Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) Jonathan Mahler–When ”˜Long-Form’ Is Bad Form

[Around mid-January]… the sports and pop culture website Grantland published a story called “Dr. V’s Magical Putter” ”” a piece of “long-form,” as we now call multi-thousand-word, narrative-driven reported articles ”” about a woman named Essay Anne Vanderbilt, who claimed to have invented a golf putter of unsurpassed excellence.

Over the course of 7,000-plus words, the writer, Caleb Hannan, devoted a lot of space to the contentious relationship he had developed with his subject. Ms. Vanderbilt, who was transgender but in the closet ”” and also probably a con artist ”” didn’t like Mr. Hannan’s digging into the details of her personal and professional life. In the final few paragraphs of the story, Mr. Hannan revealed some shocking news: Ms. Vanderbilt had killed herself.

The piece was initially met with praise from across the Internet. (“Great read,” raved a typical Tweet. “Fascinating, bizarre,” read another.) Then the criticism started. Mr. Hannan was accused of everything from being grossly insensitive to Ms. Vanderbilt’s privacy to having played a role in her suicide. The controversy soon grew so intense that the editor of the site, Bill Simmons, felt compelled to address it in an apologetic, if defensive, 2,700-word post of his own. Mr. Simmons stressed that the decision to publish the piece had not been taken lightly and that somewhere between 13 and 15 people had read it before it was posted and had all been “blown away.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Media, Psychology, Sports, Theology

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Fanny Crosby

O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in thee: We give thee thanks for thy servant Fanny Crosby, who, though blind from infancy, beheld thy glory with great clarity of vision and spent her life giving voice to thy people’s heartfelt praise; and we pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing of thy love, praising our Savior all the day long; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God in perfect harmony, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, we pray thee, sow the seed of thy Word in our hearts, and send down upon us thy heavenly grace; that we may bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, and at the great day of harvest may be gathered by thy holy angels into thy garner; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–From the Canterbury Convocation (1862)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

–Hebrews 13:20-21

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Cranmer: General Synod meets to discuss … feminism, gayness and fashion [not evangelism]

The General Synod of the Church of England meets in London today (and tomorrow, and on Wednesday). As far as the media are concerned, there are only two items on the agenda – women bishops and all things gay.

Because that’s all the Church ever talks intensely about – gender and sexuality; specifically feminism and gayness. These raise the strongest emotions, for and against. Is it acceptable for two men to marry, or two women to be blessed? Can they say, “God made us this way?” Is same-sex relationship a bar to ordination? “Why does the Church bless hamsters, buildings and trees, but not a sincere, monogamous homosexual union?” These are matters of value, justice and equality.

And it’s true that the main item of business is the Revision Stage for the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops. In an unusual move, this will be taken on the floor of the Synod without there having been a prior Revision Committee. There will also be three other debates as part of the women bishops process: on the Declaration and Disputes Resolution Procedure agreed by the House of Bishops in December; to initiate the process to rescind the 1993 Act of Synod; and to suspend part of the Standing Orders in order to accelerate the process for referring the legislation to the dioceses.
it’s really all about women bishops, gay marriage, paedophiles and fashion.

Welcome to the Vogue Synod.

His Grace really must look into being co-opted

Read it all

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

Ancient Briton: Honoured and lauded, for what?

Archbishop Justin has welcomed news that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, is to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Oxford. He said “This award, richly deserved, reaffirms Bishop Katharine’s remarkable gifts of intellect and compassion, which she has dedicated to the service of Christ.”

Read about her “dedicated service to Christ” here in the case of the former Church of the Good Shepherd which was sold to become the Islamic Awareness Center rather than let orthodox Anglicans buy their own church building.

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

Dean of Norwich: Jane Barbara Hedges

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Jane Barbara Hedges, BA, Sub-Dean, Canon Steward and Archdeacon of Westminster, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Norwich, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Graham Charles Morell Smith, BA, on 31 October 2013

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

(Chicago Tribune) John Kass: A flickering flame of faith in Sochi's oldest Orthodox church

,,,after the Russian Revolution, when the Communists decreed that religion was the opium of the people, priests all over the nation were tortured and killed or sent to the Gulag. Many churches were destroyed or, like this one, turned into warehouses. Christians were banned from the Communist Party.

A generation was frightened away from worship and subsequent generations were coerced. Children were born and grew old and were buried without ever hearing the ancient divine liturgy of St. John the Chrysostom sung in the churches of their grandfathers.

Many churches of Russia fell into ruin, but with the fall of communism, they are making a comeback, one of these being St. Michael the Archangel, perfectly restored in recent years. The Russian Orthodox comeback is difficult, with cultural clashes and terrible incidents such as the shooting Sunday that killed a nun and a worshipper in far eastern Russia.

But faith has survived in Russia.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Russia

Gallup–Underemployment 18.6% in January, up from 17.2% in December

Underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, was 18.6% in January, up from 17.2% in December, and up from 17.5% in January 2013. Gallup’s U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed (8.6%) with the percentage of those who are working part time but looking for full-time work (10.0%). An increase in unemployment mainly explains the increase in underemployment vs. December, partly attributable to more out-of-work Americans now reporting they are looking for work.

Read it all and please note that U-6 happily fell from 13.1% to 12.7% in the BLS report on Friday

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

Lela Gilbert–Why Canon Andrew White is a 21st Century hero

News in the Middle East is rarely uplifting. On a daily basis, a roiling brew of fanaticism, insurgency and hatred boils over into country after country, yielding death and destruction.

In a region beset with such turmoil, it is highly unusual to come across someone who rises above the fray and ”“ without a trace of cynicism ”“ offers a message of hope. Thankfully, just such a voice was heard in Jerusalem this past weekend.

Reverend Canon Andrew White is an Anglican priest from Great Britain who is affectionately known as the “Vicar of Baghdad.” A large silver cross graces his chest; he walks with a cane and speaks with a faint impediment because of his personal battle with multiple sclerosis.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Iraq, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East