Daily Archives: March 6, 2014

(OSV) Ukrainian churches in middle of upheaval

As the political situation in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula heats up and Ukrainians are still reeling from three months of determined occupation protests in Kiev that culminated in dozens of deaths and injuries, churches and religious officials have taken an active role.

“Our own Church stayed with the people as the struggle widened from a political one over integration with Europe into a larger one for basic human rights and dignity,” said Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, from Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church, which combines the Eastern Rite with loyalty to Rome. “It supported the people’s just aspirations throughout, while our priests led prayers and administered sacraments. It’s important we now look at things in a Christian way ”” seeking justice without revenge.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Theology, Ukraine, Violence

TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's Lent Message for 2014

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lent, Presiding Bishop

(Ang. Alliance) Church of England stands #WithSyria in a global campaign

#WithSyria is a global coalition urging world leaders to end the violence and suffering of millions of Syrians. The Church of England has joined the campaign and opens the call to provinces across the Communion.

March 15th marks the third anniversary of the crisis. #WithSyria wants to make sure this year is the last. They said:

“After three years of violence, we must show our leaders that we will not give up on the people of Syria, that they must act to bring an end to the bloodshed and to get aid to all those who need it.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

Clarification from Uganda on its relations with the Church of England

Thank you for your news story on Monday entitled “Church ready to split from England on Homosexuals.”

I would like to make a very important clarification, and hope you will publish this clarification as widely as you did the first story, because the story paints a very misleading picture of the Church of Uganda’s actual relationship with the Church of England.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Church of Uganda, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Brian Pellot–What Google’s ”˜Don’t be evil’ motto means for religious freedom

Google’s playful primary colors, quirky Doodles and whimsical office spaces are outward expressions of the company’s “Don’t be evil” motto. But the real work Googlers do trying to uphold that mantra goes far beyond flash.

I recently spoke with Ross LaJeunesse, Google’s global head of free expression and international relations, about what the company is doing to address hate speech, free speech and religious freedom online. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Brian Pellot: Why does Google have an entire team devoted to freedom of expression?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

(CT) Philip Jenkins–The 160-Year Christian History Behind What's Happening in Ukraine

Tsarist power is long gone, and the Soviet regime that succeeded it had no time for mystical visions. Yet, as that Soviet idea perished in its turn, Russians have turned once more to the religious roots of national ideology. Post-Soviet regimes have worked intimately with the Orthodox Church, which has been happy to support strong government and to consecrate national occasions. In return, the state has helped the church rebuild Orthodox cathedrals and monasteries aplenty. For 20 years now, both state and church have even labored to reconstruct the once potent Russian presence in the holy places themselves, now of course under Israeli political control.

Why are we surprised to see this new holy Russia extend its protecting arm over the Christian-backed Ba’athist regime in Syria? Russian regimes have been staking a claim to guard that region’s Christians for 250 years.

It would be pleasant to think that the U.S. and Europe are taking these religious factors into full account as they calculate their response to the present crisis in Crimea and Ukraine. Pleasant, but unlikely.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, History, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine

Nashotah House–[On the Death] Of Our Brother, Deacon Terry L. Star

Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and prayers today for our community. Our prayers are with the family of Deacon Terry Star. Deacon Terry left this earth for the glories of heaven on March 4. His death was unexpected, caused by a heart attack that likely happened suddenly and peacefully in the night or early morning hours of March 4.

Read it all and enjoy the pictures.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Bishop Mark Lawrence–Mice in the Palace ”” Sin in the Heart

The thing we need to remem­ber as we try to get at this prob­lem of sin is that it is very hard to get at it at all. There is so much that pro­tects it from our inner eyes. The axiom of the Reform­ers is apro­pos here: “What the heart desires, the will chooses, and the mind jus­ti­fies.” When we try to get at the motives of the heart, the mind and will are for­ever get­ting in the way jus­ti­fy­ing our­selves. These are like lay­ers of gar­ments swirling around the heart of our sin. But in Christ we can pray that through the work of the Holy Spirit, who con­victs our hearts of sin; the liturgy’s use of Psalm 51 and the Litany of Penitence’s bru­tal nam­ing of sins; and with the Scripture’s con­stant entreat­ing us to turn to God’s mercy and for­give­ness; these will rend or tear through the lay­ers and lay­ers of these gar­ments even­tu­ally leav­ing the sin­ful heart revealed that we might by grace turn and look to Jesus Christ””to his cross and death. St. Paul’s let­ter assigned for today reminds us of this. “For our sake he [God] made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the right­eous­ness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21) He reminds us that the heart of our need is noth­ing less than the Cross; God’s for­giv­ing love, his rec­on­cil­ing work and grace. Noth­ing else will do. For once the sin in the heart is revealed and his for­give­ness received, the trans­form­ing work of God’s Spirit begins to tune our lives. And from here, through Divine-human coop­er­a­tion, even the dis­ci­plines of the Spir­i­tual life (as enu­mer­ated in the Ash Wednes­day liturgy, see BCP, p. 264) may be of ser­vice. But we must get the order cor­rect. Begin with the Lenten dis­ci­plines and we will go awry every time””going from infes­ta­tion of mice to cats to dogs to lions to ele­phants and back to mice again. Begin and remain in a grace-filled repen­tance that yields a torn and con­trite heart and God’s grace shall abound. Then we may seek God’s guid­ance about self-denials and devo­tion­als and what­ever else we find to mark our mor­tal nature in grace. Yet we dare not side step the word of apos­tolic procla­ma­tion””“We implore you on behalf of Christ, be rec­on­ciled to God.” (2 Corinthi­ans 5:20)

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Parish Ministry, Theology

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of William Mayo, Charles Menninger and Their Sons

Divine Physician, your Name is blessed for the work and witness of the Mayos and the Menningers, and the revolutionary developments that they brought to the practice of medicine. As Jesus went about healing the sick as a sign of the reign of God come near, bless and guide all those inspired to the work of healing by thy Holy Spirit, that they may follow his example for the sake of thy kingdom and the health of thy people; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, spirit of peace and of grace, whose salvation is never far from penitent hearts: We confess the sins that have estranged us from thee, dimmed our vision of heavenly things, and brought upon us many troubles and sorrows. O merciful Father, grant unto us who humble ourselves before thee the remission of all our sins, and the assurance of thy pardon and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.

–Psalm 37:3-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Ash Wednesday Evensong from Gloucester Cathedral

Introit: Hear my prayer (Purcell)
Responses: Radcliffe
Psalm 51: Miserere mei, Deus (Allegri)
First Lesson: Isaiah 1 vv10-18
Canticles: Short Service (Causton)
Second Lesson: Luke 15 vv11-32
Anthem: Cast me not away from thy presence (S.S. Wesley)
Hymn: Praise to the holiest in the height (Somervell)
Organ Voluntary: Fantasia in four parts (Gibbons)
Listen to it all if you wish

Prayers for the Church of England

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Vat. Radio) Pope Francis celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass

“Rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:13).

With these insightful words of the prophet Joel, the liturgy introduces us into Lent today, indicating the conversion of the heart characteristic of this time of grace. The prophetic call is a challenge for all of us, without exception, and reminds us that conversion is not a matter reducible to outward forms or vague intentions, but engages and transforms one’s entire existence from the center of the person, from the conscience. We are invited to embark on a journey in which, in defiance of the routine, we strive to open our eyes and ears, but especially the heart, to go beyond our “little garden.”

To open oneself to God and to others: we live in an increasingly artificial world, in a culture of “doing”, [a culture] of the “useful”, in which we exclude God from our horizon without even realizing it. Lent calls us to “give ourselves a ”˜shake-up’”, to remember that we are creatures, that we are not God.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

(ABC) Heartwarming Story–Eight-Year-Old's 'Heart of Gold' Helps Pay Off Student's Lunch Debt

An 8-year-old’s “heart of gold” has touched people all over the world with a campaign he recently launched to help pay for lunches of students from low-income families.

Donations have increased tenfold since Cayden Taipalus ”“- a third-grader at Challenger Elementary School — launched a campaign two weeks ago called “Pay It Forward: No Kid Goes Hungry.” His mom, Amber Peters, said nearly $7,000 worth of donations have purchased hot lunches for more than 300 students with plans to reach another 5,000 this week.

“I am so very proud of my son,” Peters told ABC News today. “He is only 8 years old and to grasp the concept around this is just amazing in my eyes. He has a heart of gold.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Time) The SAT Gets a Makeover

The prominent SAT college entrance exam will return to its previous 1,600-point scoring system and the essay portion will be optional starting in 2016, the group that creates the test said Wednesday, the biggest makeover in almost a decade for an exam familiar to any high school student with an eye on college.

The group that makes the test, the College Board, also announced a unprecedented test-preparation partnership with the online Kahn Academy that could cut deep into the lucrative business of the existing test-prep industry. Under the new test format, which last underwent an overhaul in 2005, no points will be deducted for wrong answers, encouraging students to take a chance if they’re unsure of the answer. Students will be able to choose whether or not they complete the essay portion of the test, and for those who don’t, the top score will go from 2,400 back to the older 1,600. And vocabulary words will be more practical words like “synthesis,” instead of the archaic SAT vocabulary words that have long pained cramming high school students, but rarely occur in normal conversation. Students will also be able to take the test on a computer.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Teens / Youth, Young Adults