Daily Archives: February 24, 2014

Kendall Harmon's Sermon on Psalm 69 from Sunday–Jesus Christ the Broken Restorer

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says “download” underneath the link which says “listen”).

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Canadian archbishop bans eulogies at funeral Masses

Roman Catholics in Ottawa are no longer permitted to deliver eulogies during funeral Masses, the local archbishop has decreed.

The Feb. 2 decree from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast reminds the faithful that Catholics gather at funerals “not to praise the deceased, but to pray for them.”

Contrary to popular belief, eulogies “are not part of the Catholic funeral rites, particularly in the context of a funeral liturgy within Mass,” the decree stated. Many Catholics, it pointed out, do not know this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Journey to the Orion Nebula

M42: Live View Optical Zoom from Isidro Villo on Vimeo.

Posted in * General Interest, Photos/Photography

(CC) Khat: A gift from God? Kenyan Christians defend native stimulant

A close look at the right corner of Ikenda’s mouth reveals a green coloration. Were it not for the fact that he had been introduced to me as a church elder and that we were now seated in the office of the East African Pentecostal Church, I would have seen him as an ordinary Kenyan user of khat.

Putting his right hand into the inner left pocket of his leather jacket, Ikenda fetched a small bunch of khat leaves, called miraa in Kenya, and carefully placed it on the table, as if welcoming all to join him in the feast. A bottle of canned soda stood on the table, an aid in chewing the stimulant. Picking one tip at a time, he plucked off the lower leaves and chewed the soft parts, continually adding khat to his already bulging mouth.

Khat is a plant native to East Africa which is said to cause a sense of excitement and euphoria. In 1980, the World Health Organization classified it as a mildly addictive drug.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Kenya, Religion & Culture

(EA) Planting gospel-centred churches in Europe

Jiří Unger, president of the European Evangelical Alliance and general secretary of the Czech Evangelical Alliance, said: “Church-planting initiatives across Europe ”“ particularly in the last two decades ”“ have become major sources of innovation in a lifestyle of mission. It has also helped people identify new and effective ways of reaching neighbours with the gospel.

“In UK, Germany, France, Ukraine, Baltic states and in many other countries church-planting has been instrumental in bringing back denominational vitality, in recruiting new leaders and making churches more visionary.

“There is a long way to go but we can be encouraged that it’s possible. We can reinvent ourselves and get a better understanding of how to relate to the people and communities around us in a fresh and authentic way.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Boston Globe) John Allen–Cardinal picks embody principles of ”˜Pope of the Poor’

Francis presided over a consistory on Saturday, the event in which a pope creates new cardinals, surrounded by almost 200 other cardinals as well as his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. (It was the first time new cardinals have been created in the presence of two popes.) The 19 new princes of the church included churchmen from Haiti, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast, all three among the world’s most desperate societies.

In Haiti, the pope bypassed the leaders of the country’s two archdioceses, who according to the usual logic would have had better claim to the honor, in order to tap the bishop of a small diocese in the country’s southwest, a man who was himself born into a poor family.

In effect, Francis seemed to want his first consistory to embrace the “periphery” in every possible sense.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Eyes in the sky: Small drones have FAA shaping regulations

Like something out of a science-fiction flick, the four-rotor apparatus looks the part of an oversize, mechanical dragonfly.

A distinct hum similar to the insect exudes from the gadget when it hovers at eye level. The buzz fades to silence in seconds when the device darts skyward and nearly out of sight.

A small camera captures all that lies within its line of vision – in this instance, a mix of cobblestone, historic homes and church steeples that comprise Charleston’s French Quarter.

No, this contraption isn’t being maneuvered by engineers on some military testing site. It isn’t soaring beside airplanes at a local airport. It’s under the control of a 27-year-old College of Charleston student killing time on a sunny afternoon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Photos/Photography, Science & Technology, Theology

(Saint Michaels, Charleston) “They Changed Their World ”“ Thomas Cranmer” by Peter Moore

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology

Stephen Blackwood's key piece on the ACA at the practical level –ObamaCare and My Mother's Care

The repeated and prolonged phone waits were Sisyphean, the competence and customer service abysmal. When finally she found a plan that looked like it would cover her Sandostatin and other cancer treatments, she called the insurer, Humana…to confirm that it would do so. The enrollment agent said that after she met her deductible, all treatments and medications””including those for her cancer””would be covered at 100%. Because, however, the enrollment agents did not””unbelievable though this may seem””have access to the “coverage formularies” for the plans they were selling, they said the only way to find out in detail what was in the plan was to buy the plan.

[My mother].. is a woman who had an affordable health plan that covered her condition. Our lawmakers weren’t happy with that because . . . they wanted plans that were affordable and covered her condition. So they gave her a new one. It doesn’t cover her condition and it’s completely unaffordable.

Though I’m no expert on ObamaCare (at 10,000 pages, who could be?), I understand that the intention””or at least the rhetorical justification””of this legislation was to provide coverage for those who didn’t have it. But there is something deeply and incontestably perverse about a law that so distorts and undermines the free activity of individuals that they can no longer buy and sell the goods and services that keep them alive. ObamaCare made my mother’s old plan illegal, and it forced her to buy a new plan that would accelerate her disease and death. She awaits an appeal with her insurer.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology

(NYT) Montessori Schools Surge in Popularity Among New Generation of Jewish Parents

In the boys’ classroom at Lamplighters Yeshivah in the Hasidic Jewish stronghold of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Montessori number-counting boards and decimal beads share space with Hebrew-learning materials. A colorful timeline on the wall shows two strands of world history in parallel: secular on the left, Jewish on the right. A photo of the grand rabbi of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement hangs above a list of tasks that children perform individually: make a fractions poster, practice cursive, learn about the moon’s phases.

Into the classroom on a recent morning came Rivkah Schack, one of the school’s principals, holding a tool whose form, if not its content, would be familiar to any Montessori teacher: a small nomenclature booklet in which the students were to write words from the Bible by hand and illustrate them. In secular Montessori, the booklets might be used to teach botanical terms; here, they were for Hebrew.

“Not to mix our metaphors, but that’s our holy grail,” said Ami Petter-Lipstein, the director of the Jewish Montessori Society, based in Highland Park, N.J., as Ms. Schack gathered a few pupils around her on the rug for a group Hebrew lesson.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthias

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who in the beginning didst create the heavens and the earth, and didst appoint unto men their work: Grant to us that whatsoever our hand findeth to do, we may do it with our might; that when thou shalt call thy labourers to give them their reward, we may so have run that we may obtain the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

— Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever! Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or show forth all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!

–Psalm 106:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(F Th) Betsy Childs–Against Christian Hypocrisy, a response to Kirsten powers and Jonathan Merritt

A same-sex wedding is the ceremonial blessing of behavior the Bible condemns. Affirmation of homosexual practice is intrinsic to… [same-sex] nuptials. There is no need to ask the history of the couple or their reasons for marrying in order to figure out whether or not the marriage is one that God would approve. In contrast, while two heterosexuals wishing to marry may or may not be obeying God’s commands, the institution itself is one that God has affirmed.

Hypocritical Christians are those who forget that they are sinners in need of a savior. Apart from God’s grace we would be damned, and we are hypocrites if we refuse to call others from their sin to experience that same grace. To profit by helping others celebrate their sin, thereby perpetuating the illusion that homosexual behavior is not sin, would be hypocritical for any Christian, be he butcher, baker, or candlestick maker.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Ukraine: Interim leader Turchynov stresses "European choice"

Ukraine’s new interim President Oleksandr Turchynov has said the country will focus on closer integration with the EU.

Mr Turchynov was appointed following the dismissal of President Viktor Yanukovych by MPs on Saturday.

Mr Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU-Ukraine trade pact triggered the protests that toppled him.

The interim president also said he was “ready for dialogue” with Russia, which has backed Mr Yanukovych.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Russia, Theology, Ukraine

(CNS) Pope tells cardinals they are servants, not courtiers

Celebrating Mass with the newest members of the College of the Cardinals one day after their elevation, Pope Francis urged them to regard their new role not as one of worldly honor but of humble service and sacrifice.

“A cardinal enters the church of Rome, not a royal court,” the pope said in his homily Feb. 23, during morning Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. “May all of us avoid, and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism and preferences.”

“May our language be that of the Gospel: ‘yes when we mean yes; no when we mean no,'” he said. “May our attitudes be those of the beatitudes and our way be that of holiness.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Study: 2 Million U.S. Scientists Identify As Evangelical

The media often portrays scientists and Christians as incapable of peaceful coexistence. But results from a recent survey suggest the two are not as incompatible as one might think. In fact, 2 million out of nearly 12 million scientists are evangelical Christians. If you were to bring all the evangelical scientists together, they could populate the city of Houston, Texas.

Sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund and her colleagues at Rice University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) reported results from the largest study of American views on science and religion at the association’s annual conference in Chicago on Sunday, February 16. More than 10,000 people, including 574 self-identified as scientists, responded to the 75-question survey. Among the scientists, 17 percent said the term “evangelical” describes them “somewhat” or “very well,” compared to 23 percent of all respondents.

Read it all.

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

(Bloomberg) Gas Prices Around the World by Country–Which is Cheapest and Who Pays the Most

There are two ranking categories, rank by most expensive gas, and rank by pain at the pump. Take a guess before you look at all 63 entries.

You can also find a ranking list there and there is a link to a slideshow option.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Science & Technology, Taxes

Anglican Bishop To Politicians: Render Selfless Service To Nigerians

The Anglican Bishop of Ekiti-Oke Diocese, Most Rev Isaac Olatunde Olubowale, has charged Nigerian politicians to strive for enduring legacies by rendering selfless to their constituents.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Bishop of Wakefield to fast in fight against poverty

The Bishop of Wakefield will fast for a day to highlight the plight of starving people.

Bishop Stephen Platten is one of 27 Anglican bishops and 16 other clergy who have accused the government of ”˜creating hardship and hunger’ in a letter to a national newspaper.

The letter, which slams benefit cuts, is part of the national End Hunger Fast campaign which launches on March 5 ”“ the first day of Lent.

The letter says: “We must, as a society, face up to the fact that over half of people using foodbanks have been put in that situation by cut backs to and failures in the benefit system, whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Poverty, Religion & Culture

The Latest Issue of Anglican Unscripted

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology

(Chr. Post) Nashotah House Draws Ire for Inviting TEC Presiding Bishop to Preach

Over the past several years, the U.S. Episcopal Church has filed church property lawsuits against churches and dioceses that have chosen to cut ties with the denomination over theological differences. Conservative Episcopalians have left, denouncing what they believe is the denomination’s departure from scriptural authority and traditional Anglicanism….

Anglican Church of North America Archbishop Robert Duncan told Institute on Religion and Demography, “This is a tragic and unwise decision that threatens the future of Nashotah House.” Duncan also serves on the seminary’s Board of Trustees.

The seminary’s dean, Salmon, explained that the decision came after Deacon Terry Star of North Dakota, a student at Nashotah and member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, said that Schori had advised him against attending the seminary. Two other female Episcopal students said they were also discouraged from attending the seminary. “All three said she should be invited to come and see ACNA and TEC in harmony,” Salmon said, according to IRD. “No one here is fighting with anybody.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, Sacramental Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology