Daily Archives: March 20, 2014
With Ash Wednesday behind them, online friends of Hollywood screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi braced themselves for what has become a Lenten tradition ”” fasting-day manifestos from the witty former nun.
“It’s a Friday of Lent dear Catholic brethren. And you know what that means,” she wrote on Facebook. “Corporate Sacrifice Power Activate! No meat. No braised oxtail. No venison medallions. No veal short ribs. No rabbit sausage. NO MEAT. No Muscovy Duck. No Turkey jerky. No Kangaroo Loin Fillets. nO mEAt. No elk flank steaks. No Wagyu beef. No Chicken Kiev. No MeAt. No meat. No meat. NO MEAT.”
In case anyone missed the point, Nicolosi has strong convictions about the tendency these days among Sunday Mass Catholics to assume that centuries of traditions about fasting and the spiritual disciplines of Lent have been erased from the church’s teachings and canon law.
Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.
The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.
The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.
Americans change religious affiliation early and often. In total, about half of American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once during their lives. Most people who change their religion leave their childhood faith before age 24, and many of those who change religion do so more than once. These are among the key findings of a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey documents the fluidity of religious affiliation in the U.S. and describes in detail the patterns and reasons for change….
Read it all (72 page pdf).
Today I wanted to focus on the “when” and the “why” this hemorrhaging was occurring, but as I have been pondering the data, the “when” seemed to really stand out as being important. I was reminded of my preaching classes back in seminary, when our professor, Dr. Peter Ralph, would constantly remind us to find the “big idea” that needed to be communicated from the biblical text. I think the same holds true when looking at survey data. Here is the “big idea” that jumped out at me when going through the Flux survey data and reports:
Most religious life decisions, even among those who have been open to change, has been set by age 23.
Of those who were raised Protestant (Evangelical, Mainline, and Historical Black), and are now “unaffiliated with any religious group”, 85% left their childhood faith before the age of 24. Of those who were raised Catholic and were now unaffiliated, 79% left before the age of 24. The same holds true for those coming back the other way. Of those raised unaffiliated, but who are now affiliated with a religious group, 72% left the ranks of the unaffiliated before the age of 24.
I can’t emphasize enough how huge this is. I will state this again: Most religious life decisions, even among those who have been open to change, has been set by age 23.
Banning marriage blessings for gay couples could be “illegal” and we will fight for equality.
This is the message from two Camden vicars who have vowed to defy a Church of England ban on blessing gay marriages and open their churches to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, ahead of the first same-sex weddings in the UK next week.
In what could become a test case, the Rev Anne Stevens, of St Pancras New Church, in Euston, and Father Andrew Cain, of St James’s in West Hampstead and St Mary’s in Kilburn, will campaign for the law to be changed.
A proposed law to allow Connecticut physicians to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives has opened a debate about the nature of sin, what constitutes an invasion of privacy, even the definition of suicide.
The bill has struck a chord with people such as Sara Myers, 59 years old, of Kent, Conn., who said she supported the concept even before she was diagnosed three years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. She said she was unsure whether she would ever opt to end her life but would like the right to seek a doctor’s help if she decided to do so.
“The emotional comfort of knowing that if I got to the point where I didn’t want to go on””that I could do it in a loving and peaceful way and not put anybody in legal jeopardy””would just let me rest a whole lot easier,” Ms. Myers told lawmakers on Monday at a legislative hearing on the bill.
No-fault divorce changed the American culture of marriage. So did the sexual revolution. Now proponents of gay rights are redefining marriage at an even more fundamental level. What’s to be done? As a post-biblical vision of sex, gender, and marriage gains the upper hand in our society, should our religious institutions get out of marriage? Should priests, pastors, and rabbis renounce their roles as deputies of state authority in marriage? Or should we sustain the close links between religious and civil marriage?
To help us think more clearly about these issues, we asked eight writers to respond to the following question: With the legal affirmation of same-sex marriage in some states, should churches, synagogues, and mosques stop performing civil marriages?
The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England warmly welcomes the announcement of a new two-year Â£20 million fund for repairs to cathedrals, announced in the Chancellor’s Budget today.
Cathedrals are a key part of forming the cultural identity of many of England’s cities, and are powerful symbols of our shared history. But this does not mean they are just icons of the past. They are active community hubs and are at the centre of several urban regeneration plans, including Peterborough, Leicester and Blackburn, which are all creating cathedral quarters.
The Church of England’s 42 cathedrals alone welcome over 11m visitors a year with only 6,000 staff but over 15,000 dedicated volunteers; demonstrating how much cathedrals contribute to, but also depend upon, the communities around them. Church of England Cathedrals generate annually at least Â£350 million for the economy.
To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts: to the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity.
Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Thomas Ken grace and courage to bear witness to the truth before rulers and kings: Give us also thy strength that, following his example, we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.
O Almighty God, from whom every good prayer cometh, and who pourest out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and supplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind; that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affection we may worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon thee I have leaned from my birth; thou art he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of thee.
A North Carolina pastor has established a website with the purpose of seeking questions from the public that he can address in his sermons each Sunday and helps attenders interact during the services.
Known as “WikiWorship,” the online project is overseen by United Methodist Reverend Philip Chryst, who is a student at the Duke Divinity School. Individuals submit their questions to Chryst via the website or via email and he addresses them during a worship service he oversees in Wilmington known as The Anchor.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Chryst explained that the origin of WikiWorship comes from a sermon at Duke Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel.
David de Gea Double save toward the end of the first half saved the game; it was so great to see Rooney and Van Persie combining well for a change.
By Marsden’s reading, the 1960’s should be understood as both an outgrowth of 1950’s themes of autonomy and authenticity and, more widely, a reaction against the combination of unprincipled mushiness and clubby exclusivity that characterized consensus liberalism. The supposed end of ideology brought its opposite: a passionate decade of politics characterized by various and sometimes contradictory convictions. First came a rebellion on the Right that ranged from William F. Buckley to the John Birch Society and culminated in the nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Then came the SDS, New Left, anti-war movement, Black Panthers, and street demonstrations outside the Democratic convention in 1968.
This dynamic has been ongoing. Marsden interprets the rise of the religious right in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a reaction against the moral relativism implicit in consensus liberalism. In his 1970 book, Dare to Discipline, James Dobson put forward a view of principled parenting, as it were, and he did so in self-conscious opposition to the open-ended, flexible, pragmatic liberal style. Francis Schaeffer made the political dimension explicit. In A Christian Manifesto, published in 1981, he issued a rallying call for Christians to fight against relativistic secular humanism and to restore America as a Christian nation.
Little has changed. As an undergraduate I remember futile arguments about racial diversity and affirmative action. For the sake of equality we were to give preferences on the basis of race. Ok, I’d ask, how much preference? For how long? How would we know when we had a truly “diverse” student body? No answers were forthcoming, or rather lots of answers, some contradictory. Beneath, behind, and above these discussions was the conviction that, justifiable or not, diversity and affirmative action were necessities. Progressive policies had to move forward one way or another, and we could and should trust the well-meaning liberals in positions of responsibility to make good, fair judgments–even though nobody could define what “fair” meant in these circumstances. Moreover, dissent was severely punished.