Daily Archives: March 13, 2014

New Dean appointed for Cathedral in Ripon: John Dobson

The next Dean of Ripon has been announced as the Rev Canon John Dobson, who currently serves in the Diocese of Durham,

The appointment follows the death of the previous Dean, the Very Revd Keith Jukes, in May last year.

Canon Dobson said: “I’m delighted to be coming to Ripon ”“ it’s both a huge privilege and a challenging responsibility ”“ and it’s at a particularly exciting time as the new diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales is born.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Notable and Quotable–Too Many people "know so little about the past"

The National Assessment of Educational Progress tests student knowledge in various subjects every few years. In 2010, only 20 percent of fourth-graders, 17 percent of eighth graders and 12 percent of high school seniors were considered grade-level proficient in American history.

Andrea Neal (for more read the whole thing).

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

TEC Presiding Bishop to Visit Nashotah House

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will visit Nashotah House Theological Seminary on May 1, 2014. The invitation was made by the Dean/President the Right Reverend Edward Salmon, Jr at the request of several Episcopal seminarians studying at the House in order that she might become better acquainted with the life, character, and programs of the seminary and its community. Given the untimely and tragic death of one of those students, the Reverend Deacon Terry Star, a second year student from the Diocese of North Dakota who suffered a fatal heart attack on March 4, she has been invited to offer the encomium homily honoring Deacon Star following Evensong.

Deacon Star had served with Bishop Jefferts Schori on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. Her visit and homily will give the community unique insights into his promising life of ministry cut short by this tragedy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Derwin Gray's testimony–Pro Football Was My God Until a half-naked man showed up at my locker

It was impossible not to notice a linebacker who would take a shower, dry off, wrap a towel around his waist, pick up his Bible, and ask those of us in the locker room, “Do you know Jesus?” I would think, Do you know you are half-naked?

I asked the veterans on the team about him. They said, “Don’t pay attention to him. That’s the Naked Preacher….”

As the Naked Preacher preached, God’s love crushed me. I had achieved the American dream, only to realize it could not empower me to love my wife or forgive my father. My fame and money could not erase my sin, shame, guilt, fear, and insecurity.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Sports, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Evening Standard) How Twitter Helped find a stolen cross from a Bethnal Green church

At 12.30pm last Friday, computer programmer Rowan Laurence, 32, saw a strange sight on Brick Lane ”” “as is quite normal down there,” he says. The sight in question was a well-dressed man in dark skinny jeans and brown brogues carrying a large wooden crucifix on his back, striding under the railway flyunder in the direction of Aldgate East. As is also quite normal down there, Laurence snapped what he saw and uploaded it to Instagram, captioning the picture “Jesus Lives”.

Two hours later, the good people of St Matthew’s, the lovely 18th-century church 10 minutes’ walk away in Bethnal Green, were in a panic. Their beautiful and historic altar cross, installed in the church after it was bombed on the first day of the Blitz in 1940, was gone. There was no trace of further damage in the church, nor anything else stolen, so the Rev Kevin Scully emailed his parishioners for help. By 4.15pm a local blogger informed of the theft had seen Laurence’s image from Brick Lane and a parishioner sent it to the vicar….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Theology

([London] Times) Tim Montgomerie–Assisted dying will turn into a lethal weapon

In the Netherlands people with early dementia are already being visited by mobile euthanasia units. In Belgium the law allows euthanasia only when, technically, “the patient is in a medically futile condition of constant unbearable suffering”. Wesley J. Smith, of the US-based Centre for Bioethics and Culture, has listed examples of ways in which the law has been interpreted much more expansively.
It has, for example, permitted the euthanasia of a transsexual left distraught by the results of a botched sex change operation and elderly couples who prefer joint and early death to living alone. Belgian doctors encourage each other to look out for suicidal patients whose organs can be harvested. In one PowerPoint presentation it was noted that patients with neuro-muscular diseases were good potential donors because, unlike cancer sufferers, they have “high-quality organs”.
And don’t think that Britain will be any different. We can’t regulate the banks or the police properly and assisted dying laws would soon become lethal tools in the hands of activist judges, greedy relatives and financially stretched health services. Look at our abortion laws. Introduced to end the horror of back-street terminations, they’re now used to end late-term pregnancies because of a cleft lip or a club foot.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) College Grads Taking Low-Wage Jobs Displace Less Educated

Jeanina Jenkins, a 20-year-old high-school graduate from St. Louis, is stuck in a $7.82-an-hour part-time job at McDonald’s Corp. that she calls a “last resort” because nobody would offer her anything better.

Stephen O’Malley, 26, a West Virginia University graduate, wants to put his history degree to use teaching high school. What he’s found instead is a bartender’s job in his home town of Manasquan, New Jersey.

Jenkins and O’Malley are at opposite ends of a dynamic that is pushing those with college degrees down into competition with high-school graduates for low-wage jobs that don’t require college. As this competition has intensified during and after the recession, it’s meant relatively higher unemployment, declining labor market participation and lower wages for those with less education.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

(Telegraph) Czech priest and former dissident Tomáš Halík wins £1.1m Templeton prize

An underground priest who defied the Communist regime in the former Czechoslovakia has won world’s biggest annual prize for his work promoting religious understanding.

Monsignor Professor Tomáš Halík, a philosopher and theologian, has been named as winner of the £1.1 million Templeton Prize for 2014.

He follows in the footsteps of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, both recent recipients of the award which recognises efforts to affirm “life’s spiritual dimension”.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Czech Republic, Europe, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(C of E) Angela Berners-Wilson talks about being part of the first ordination of women priests

On March the 12th 1994 the first women were ordained as priests in the Church of England at a service in Bristol Cathedral. The group was made up of 32 women, among them the Reverend Prebendary Angela Berners-Wilson. She talks about her memories of the day and how life has been since her ordination.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Women

Andrew Solomon: The Reckoning–The Father of the Sandy Hook Killer Searches for Answers

Legal definitions of insanity still focus on psychosis, the delusions of which are held to diminish responsibility. Medical conceptions include many additional bizarre behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. The legal definition has historically encompassed both questions of agency (he didn’t know what he was doing) and morality (he didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong). The psychiatric profession doesn’t consider mass killers to be necessarily insane, which distresses Peter. For him, the crime defines the illness””as he said, soon after we met, you’d have to be crazy to do such a thing. He found the idea of Adam’s not being insane much more devastating than the thought of his being insane. Peter has searched the psychiatric literature on mass killers, trying to understand what happened to his son. He came across the work of Park Dietz, a psychiatrist who, in 1986, coined the term “pseudocommando.” Dietz says that for pseudocommandos a preoccupation with weapons and war regalia makes up for a sense of impotence and failure. He wrote that we insist that mass killers are insane only to reassure ourselves that normal people are incapable of such evil.

Crimes of passion are relational, whereas plotted crimes such as Adam’s are unsocial. But the dichotomy isn’t clear-cut; most crimes lie along a spectrum. So Sandy Hook was a culmination””neither sudden nor entirely calculated, at least until the very end. James Knoll, a forensic psychiatrist at suny, has written that Adam’s act conveyed a message: “I carry profound hurt””I’ll go ballistic and transfer it onto you.” That’s as much motive as we’re likely to find.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theodicy, Theology, Violence

(FT) China’s Li Keqiang says defaults ”˜unavoidable’

China is likely to see a series of bond and financial product defaults as the government accelerates financial deregulation and allows more private ownership in the state-dominated sector, Li Keqiang, Chinese premier, said on Thursday.

Future defaults of financial products in China are “unavoidable” but the government will take steps to ensure they do not pose a threat to the wider financial system, Mr Li told journalists at his annual media conference.

China saw its first domestic bond default in recent history a week ago when Chaori Solar, a small Shanghai-based solar panel producer, failed to pay interest on Rmb1bn ($162m) worth of bonds it sold two years ago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Project Syndicate) Shashi Tharoor–India’s Democratic Pageant

Yet there are larger issues behind the electoral spectacle that must not be overlooked. India’s elections have, over the years, deepened and broadened the composition of the political establishment. Sociologists have analyzed the class composition of India’s legislatures and traced the change from a post-independence Parliament dominated by highly educated professionals to one populated by today’s motley crew of MPs, who are more truly representative of India’s rural heartland.

But the fact that, particularly in India’s northern states, voters elect people referred to openly in the press as “mafia dons,” “dacoit leaders,” and “anti-social elements” is a troubling reflection on the way the electoral process has served Indian democracy. In the last four parliaments, at least a hundred members have had criminal cases pending against them. The resulting alienation of the educated middle class means that fewer and fewer of them go to the polls on Election Day.

The poor, however, do. Whereas psephological studies in the United States have demonstrated that the poor do not vote in significant numbers (presidential-election turnout in Harlem averaged 23% before Barack Obama’s two candidacies), the opposite is true in India.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, India, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Theodore Holly

Most gracious God, by the calling of thy servant James Theodore Holly thou gavest us our first bishop of African-American heritage. In his quest for life and freedom, he led thy people from bondage into a new land and established the Church in Haiti. Grant that, inspired by his testimony, we may overcome our prejudice and honor those whom thou callest from every family, language, people, and nation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Church History, Haiti, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Save us, O God, from the false piety that parades itself in the eyes of men and is not genuine in thy sight; and so sanctify us by thy Spirit that both in heart and life we may serve thee acceptably, to the honour of thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he said to the paralytic– “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

–Mark 2:6-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Focused on growth, Anglicans buy church In Illinois

The historic stone church on Cuyler Avenue, kitty-corner from Beye School, has seen decades of slow decline as its Methodist congregation aged and shrank. Eventually the congregation merged with another local Methodist church and for the past few years the 113-year-old stone church sat waiting for new life.

Now, with locals leading the way, a traditionally focused but very growth oriented unit of the Anglican Church in North America purchased the church building at 171 N. Cuyler in early January for $844,000 and services have returned on Sundays.

What was the Cornerstone United Methodist Church, and for decades had been Faith Methodist, is now Cornerstone Anglican Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

What Happened to Catholic Ireland: An Irish-American Historian’s View

Another parallel in both the Irish and American Churches was an enthusiastic misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council. Freewheeling liturgical experimentation, and blunt challenges to episcopal authority, were not as open here. But there was among the ordinary clergy and religious, not to mention the laity, a mixture of passivity and thoughtless acceptance of change, as well as an increasing assumption that almost anything was permissible.

One area where this was evident was the individualization of the hitherto communal life of religious orders, which has contributed, in no small way, to the diminution in their numbers. Another was in church architecture where structures more and more assumed the character of gymnasia, meeting halls, or modernized replicas of Newgrange.

This spirit was most disastrous in the dilution of religious instruction. There was a passive assumption that children were receiving proper catechetical instruction in the schools under Catholic management. So long as the First Communion and Confirmation exercises were conducted, everyone seemed content, with little thought as to the content or depth of religious instruction, or encouragement of religious devotion.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(Peter Berger) How to Live in a (Supposedly) Secular Age

A somewhat unusual document landed on my desk a few days ago, in page proofs, sent by Eerdmans, the major Evangelical publisher. It is a book about to be published, written by James K.A. Smith, a decidedly Protestant philosopher on the faculty of Calvin College””How (Not) to be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor. Taylor is the much celebrated Catholic philosopher, retired from McGill University, author of the massive book A Secular Age (2007). Smith is of a younger generation; I have read one of his books before””Thinking in Tongues (2010)””a feisty book billed as a Pentecostal contribution to Christian philosophy, in which Smith criticizes Christian philosophers for cutting the ground from under their own feet by accepting the naturalistic premises of secular philosophy””and then trying to find space for the supernatural that their faith must affirm. Smith (whose Pentecostal allegiance is apparently relatively new) instead suggests that Christian philosophy should from the first “think in tongues”””that is, base itself on the assumption that the world is indeed suffused with Spirit, is precisely what Christianity says that it is. I’m not interested in arguing whether that is a good philosophical method, but it is probably good pedagogy: “I won’t try to dissuade you from your view that we are in France; let me rather show you that we are in America”. (Whatever “tongues” Smith thinks in now, he is still listed as a professor of Reformed theology. So I was reminded of Karl Barth in his feistiest days. Barth once observed that he was completely uninterested in dialogue with Hindus or any people from other religions. He was asked, how then did he know that they were wrong. He replied: “I know it a priori”. This is not my style of thinking, but I must admit to a certain admiration for its Calvinist chutzpah! In the book mentioned here, Smith continues in the same vein, except that he now undergirds his argument with Taylor’s phenomenology of our supposedly secular age.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Secularism, Sociology, Theology