Daily Archives: March 7, 2014

(NYT Ltr from Europe) Alan Cowell–The Long Memories Shared by Britain and South Africa

Despite ”” or perhaps because of ”” their long, shared and often tortured history, there is a curious fondness between some Britons and some South Africans. Two events this week, far-flung and disparate, illustrated some of the ambiguities, too.

Indeed, it almost seemed as if South Africa’s Jekyll-and-Hyde soul was weaving itself anew into the relationship, offering the conflicting visages that make any definition of Africa’s 20-year-old “rainbow nation” so elusive, particularly in a land that has, in turn, been its invader, its overlord and its champion.

Here, in the soaring, august confines of Westminster Abbey, 2,000 congregants, including Prince Harry and Prime Minster David Cameron, assembled Tuesday for a memorial service to Nelson Mandela, who died in December. It fused liturgical solemnity and Anglican pomp with the light and sound of a Soweto gospel choir, feting the inclusive Mandela legacy in rousing renditions of both nations’ anthems, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” and “God Save the Queen.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

Gallup Business Journal–Why Your Company Must Be Mission-Driven

At the heart of any company is its mission. A business’ mission defines what it stands for — its purpose and the reason for its existence. Mission declares the difference a company seeks to make in the world. A strong mission is lofty, ambitious, and sometimes audacious.

Many executives don’t realize that mission is an underused asset in improving organizational performance and profitability, and they neglect their ultimate responsibility of aligning their brand and culture with their highest purpose. Failure to meet a company’s mission-related needs is failure of leadership.

To instill a passion for the company’s purpose, the best leaders in the world hold managers accountable for addressing employees’ basic engagement needs. Then they focus on aligning mission, culture, and brand to empower high performance among individuals and teams. By providing this strategic direction, mission-driven leaders maximize employee engagement as a key driver of organizational performance — and as a strong predictor of business success.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology

An RNS Article on Africa, Same Sex Unions, and Tensions with the West

Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda was a strong supporter of the final bill there. He was among the religious leaders who recommended changes in 2010 to make it less harsh by removing the death penalty, reducing the sentencing guidelines and deleting a clause on reporting homosexual behavior.

On Wednesday (March 5), Ntagali denied reports that the province was considering breaking away from the Anglican Communion. According to the primate, the fabric of the Anglican Communion was torn in 2003 when the Episcopal Church in the United States consecrated Gene Robinson as bishop in New Hampshire.

“Not only was this against the Bible, but it went against the agreed position of the Anglican Communion,” Ntagali said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Canada, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ABC Aus.) The Cost of Christian Citizenship: Lent in Ukraine

What with the impending centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, it’s understandable that commentators should reach back to the European crisis of 1914 for possible parallels to the European crisis of 2014.

But watching the “debate” in the upper house of the Russian parliament on 1 March, as the solons “considered” President Vladimir Putin’s “request” for “authorization” to deploy Russian armed forces in Ukraine, the thought occurred that the proper analogy to all this is not Sarajevo 1914, but Berlin 1935, when the German Reichstag approved the notoriously anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws. The same dynamics were in play: blatant racism and xenophobia, a crude and violent nationalism impervious to moral scrutiny, the multiplication of lies by ranting lawmakers. Amid the polymorphous moral confusions of postmodernity, Nazism is perhaps the one available icon of unambiguous and unadulterated evil; that iconography should not be marred by inappropriate analogizing for the sake of rhetorical effect. But the utter abandonment of reason, decency, and honesty in Moscow 2014 did seem eerily familiar.

That those Russian parliamentarians, and the Putinesque “managed democracy” they embody, will not face serious internal opposition from Russian leaders who might be expected to challenge xenophobic nationalism in the name of higher truths was made painfully clear a day later. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the leader of Russian Orthodoxy, shares a KGB background with President Putin and leads a Church that, as a senior Catholic official once put it to me, “only knows how to be chaplain to the czar – whoever he is.” For years now, Kirill and his “foreign minister,” the youthful Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, have been engaged in a massive campaign of seduction aimed at the Vatican, American Evangelicals and other vibrant and influential Christian forces in the West – a campaign putatively in aid of forging a united front against decadent secularism and materialism.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Theology, Ukraine, Violence

(Journal-Sentinel) Milwaukee Episcopal priests rock the house with a religious message

They call themselves the Rectors of Rock. The Fathers of Funk. The Collar Studs.

It’s all cheeky fun, but believe it or not, these four Episcopal priests live up to the billing.

Fathers Drew Bunting, Andrew Jones, David Simmons and Don Fleischman are the fab four of Monstrance, a rock, blues and country band more interested in fun than fame, whose members lend their considerable talents to worthy causes throughout the Milwaukee diocese.

“We’re not in this to make money. We know we’re never going on tour,” said Bunting, priest-in-charge at St. James Episcopal Church in Milwaukee, who sings lead vocals and plays bass in the band. “We just want to have a good time. We know we have these gifts, and we want to use them in service of the greater good.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Music, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NYT) For Runner With M.S., No Pain While Racing, No Feeling at the Finish

In many ways, [Kayla] Montgomery’s life resembles that of an ordinary high school track athlete. Before every race, she puts on the same lucky green sports bra and size 5 ½ racing flats that carry her 5-foot-1 frame. She is deeply involved with her Methodist church, along with her younger sister and her parents, a nursing student and a pesticide salesman. She carries a 4.70 grade-point average and logs 50 miles a week.

Though examples of elite athletes with M.S. are scarce, some have speculated that Montgomery’s racing-induced numbness lends a competitive edge, especially given the improvement in her times since the diagnosis.

“The disease has no potential to make her physically more competitive,” said her neurologist, Lucie Lauve, who also said she did not know precisely why Montgomery collapsed after races. “If M.S. has made her a better athlete, I believe it is a mental edge.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Health & Medicine, Methodist, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sports, Teens / Youth

(WSJ) A Disgraced composer who was hailed as Japan's Beethoven apologizes for lying about his career

A disgraced composer once hailed as Japan’s Beethoven apologized Friday for lying about his career but stood by his claim that he was partly deaf.

In his first public appearance since the scandal broke in early February, Mamoru Samuragochi said at a packed news conference in Tokyo that “I am truly sorry for the trouble I caused with my lies.”

The 50-year-old had been known for penning highly acclaimed symphonies, and the story of a composer who remained dedicated to his art even after losing his hearing had captivated media.

But his elaborate facade came tumbling down after another man came forward in early February to say that he had actually composed most of Mr. Samuragochi’s works. The ghostwriter, Takashi Niigaki, also claimed that in their meetings over an 18-year period, Mr. Samuragochi appeared to have no problems with his hearing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Japan, Music, Theology

(Church Times) TV birth will focus on faith

Before giving birth to her first child, Sheona Beaumont avoided watching One Born Every Minute, deeming it to be “too raw, too real”.

By the time she was pregnant with her second child, she was ready not only to watch the programme, which documents births in close detail, but to participate in it. Furthermore, she is planning to use the reaction to the episode to create a piece of artwork.

Mrs Beaumont, an artist, who is married to the Revd Adam Beaumont, Assistant Curate of Holy Trinity, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, has been commissioned to contribute to the Birth Online: Birth Offline art project, which will explore perspectives on public birth. It will form part of the Birth Rites Collection, on permanent public display at the University of Salford and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Perpetua and Her Companions

O God the King of saints, who didst strengthen thy servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who by thy Son dost marvellously work out the salvation of mankind: Grant, we beseech thee, that, following the example of our blessed Lord, and observing such a fast as thou dost choose, we may both be subjected to thee with all our hearts, and united to each other in holy charity; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:4-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Brunswick, Maine, TEC church puts drive-through spin on Lenten ritual

A Brunswick Episcopal priest is exploring a new way to reach busy people at the start of the Lenten season.

On Ash Wednesday, the Rev. Lisa O’Rear-Lassen conducted an “Ashes to go” drive-through in front of St. Patrick Episcopal Church on Center Road.

The drive-through was open to anyone of any religion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lent, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes, Theology

(CC) Paul Putz–Son of God and marketing Jesus movies to ministers

Film critics have spoken: Son of God is a dud.

Just don’t tell that to the film’s producers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. They found evidence of divine favor in the film’s release, citing the “truly miraculous” support they received as Catholic and evangelical leaders from Charlotte to Los Angeles threw their influence behind the movie. Clearly, their efforts were successful””a film that was a re-packaged version of scenes that aired during last year’s Bible miniseries brought in $26.5 million in ticket sales for its first weekend.

Burnett and Downey attribute the wave of support to a grassroots movement and the “quiet commitment of people of faith to spread the word about the life-changing love of Jesus to their friends and neighbors.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Evangelicals, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Globe and Mail) Margaret Wente–Why is the middle class so anxious?

Canadians are in a funk. Things are better than ever, but people are feeling worse. “The trend lines are disturbing,” EKOS pollster Frank Graves wrote recently, reporting that public pessimism is deepening. “”¦ Only around 10 per cent of Canadians and Americans think the next generation will enjoy a better quality of life.”

Well, maybe they will or maybe they won’t. Meantime, this generation is doing pretty well. Despite recessions, globalization and the inexorable rise of the robots, most of us never had it so good. In 2011, the median real income for Canadian two-parent families with two earners was $100,000 ”“ $13,000 higher than in 2000. The annual average unemployment rate is down to 7 per cent. Despite the soaring cost of housing, nearly 70 per cent of us have an ownership stake in our own homes.

So what’s our problem?…

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

Bishop Munawar Rumalshal of Peshawar Writes after the Tragic Bombing There

The REALITY at All Saints’ Church, Peshawar, on Sunday, 22 September 2013

This cataclysmic act committed by two suicide bombers shook the very foundations of our people and changed the very course of not only their lives but of the whole Christian community in Pakistan. It happened after the morning worship of Holy Communion while they were sharing an agape fellowship in the small compound of this historic church. The church was built in 1883 as the first church building of its kind, being designed like a mosque and especially for the use of the native Christians of the local area. Even at that time its foundations were filled with the blood of nine local Christian martyrs. It is located in the heart of the ancient historic city of Peshawar and in the neighbourhood of the famous Qissa Khawani (story tellers) bazaar, which was the hub of the travellers of ancient times when entering from Khyber Pass onto the Silk Route.

My relationship with this ”˜gharana’ (family) goes back almost quarter of a century. I have shared their joys and sorrows during these years. I have been their friend and father-figure. Many of them I had Baptized, Confirmed and Married. It has been one of the two largest parishes in the Diocese of Peshawar and a bastion of indigenous Christianity in this famous border area of Pakistan/Afghanistan. Most of the families can claim their lineage in this area for well over a century. One of the most celebrated aspects of their Christian witness has always been their Easter procession, very often numbering up to five thousand young and old, women and children, singing and praying through the winding and narrow streets of the neighbourhood. Almost all of them speak and communicate in the local Pakhtun language and are also well versed in Pakhtun culture. So they have never felt themselves to be either outsiders or unfamiliar with the local customs and traditions. For this reason they were always open and at ease with their Muslim neighbours.

This horrendous tragedy claimed nearly 300 victims of all ages, with 117 passing away and 162 receiving very serious and other injuries…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Gallup) U.S. Job Creation Improved in February

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index increased slightly in February to +21 from +19 in December and January. The index now exceeds the +20 average for 2013 and is the highest February reading since the beginning of the 2007-2009 recession.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--