Daily Archives: March 23, 2014

Notable and Quotable–Bruce Larson on the Decision to Surrender to Christ

For many years I worked in New York City and counseled at my office any number of people who were wrestling with this yes-or-no decision. Often I would suggest they walk with me from my office down to the RCA Building on Fifth Avenue. In the entrance of that building is a gigantic statue of Atlas, a beautifully proportioned man who, with all his muscles straining, is holding the world upon his shoulders. There he is, the most powerfully built man in the world, and he can barely stand up under this burden. ‘Now that’s one way to live,’ I would point out to my companion, ‘trying to carry the world on your shoulders. But now come across the street with me.’ On the other side of Fifth Avenue is Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and there behind the high altar is a little shrine of the boy Jesus, perhaps eight or nine years old, and with no effort he is holding the world in one hand. My point was illustrated graphically. We have a choice. We can carry the world on our shoulders, or we can say, ‘I give up, Lord; here’s my life. I give you my world, the whole world.'”

–Bruce Larson Believe and Belong (Power Books, 1982) and quoted by yours truly in this morning’s sermon

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Christology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(W. Post) In McLean, Virginia, a crusade to get people to back off in the parenting arms race

“There’s such a status thing here: ”˜I went Georgetown. I want my kid to go to Georgetown or better.’ It’s such a rat race,” says Bowers, who has lived in McLean for 24 years. “Nobody is taking a step back and asking, ”˜Is going to Princeton going to make me happier in the long run? Is this even right for my child?’ Because there are real consequences to living this way.”

Bowers knows it’s a high-stakes parenting arms race in McLean and communities like it. The obsession with grades and college résumés can overwhelm everything. She wants people to back off ”” and is trying to get them to, with film screenings, workshops, lectures and meetings with clergy and mental health professionals.

Many fellow parents think that disarming sounds good, in theory. The problem is, they’re reluctant to try it with their own kid.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Marriage & Family

(PRC Facttank) New Muslim American council aims to measure a diverse community

…Pew Research has conducted a pair of our own surveys of Muslim Americans, most recently in 2011.

That study found that Muslims in the United States account for just under 1% of the population, according to 2011 data. The share of Muslims in the country is expected to grow in the coming decades. By 2020, we’ve projected that there will be more than 4 million Muslim Americans (1.2% of the population), and by 2030, more than 6 million (1.7%).

The relatively small group is diverse in several ways. For example, no single racial or ethnic identity applies to more than 30% of the Muslim American population. And as of 2011, a majority of Muslim American adults (63%) were born outside the United States ”” coming from at least 77 different countries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Church Times) Will Adam–Breaking the C of E rules on same-sex marriage

Picture the scene: the Bishop’s post is being opened, and among the invitations, job applications, and clerical outfitters’ catalogues are three troubling pieces of correspondence.

The first is from the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, informing the Bishop that an ordinand in training, who is in the process of looking for a title post in the diocese, has entered into a same-sex marriage.

The second is a letter of complaint from a group of parishioners that the Vicar of X has just used the form of service for prayer and dedication after a civil marriage from Common Worship: Pastoral Services to bless a same-sex marriage in church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Washington Post Op-ed) George Will–Confronting the real Challenge of Poverty

In March 1965, [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan, then 37 and assistant secretary of labor, wrote that “the center of the tangle of pathology” in inner cities ”” this was five months before the Watts riots ”” was the fact that 23.6 percent of black children were born to single women, compared with just 3.07 percent of white children. He was accused of racism, blaming the victims, etc.

Forty-nine years later, 41 percent of all American children are born out of wedlock; almost half of all first births are to unmarried women, as are 54”‰percent and 72 percent of all Hispanic and black births, respectively. Is there anyone not blinkered by ideology or invincibly ignorant of social science who disagrees with this:

The family is the primary transmitter of social capital ”” the values and character traits that enable people to seize opportunities. Family structure is a primary predictor of an individual’s life chances, and family disintegration is the principal cause of the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Poverty, The U.S. Government, Theology

Summerville couple adopts three teen boys from DSS custody to offer lifelong bonds

What makes a family? Love and support, for sure. People who challenge you, who tell you life’s brutal truths and then pick you up again.

And family shouldn’t end at 18, though it does for children in state custody, often removed from their biological families due to abuse and neglect. For many, foster or institutional care ends at the doorstep to adulthood.

Out into the world they step, usually alone.

That might have happened to Isaiah, Christopher and Jacob Flood if not for a Summerville couple’s calling to adopt kids who face the toughest road to finding permanent homes: foster teens with behavioral or learning challenges who have bounced from home to home, never knowing what forever means.

Read it all from the Faith and Values section of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Marriage & Family, Theology

(BBC) Vatican Library to digitise its archives with Japanese support

he Vatican Library has begun digitising its priceless collection of ancient manuscripts dating from the origins of the Church.

The first stage of the project will cover some 3,000 handwritten documents over the next four years.

The cost – more than $20m (£12m) – will be borne by Japan’s NTT Data technology company.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Europe, History, Italy, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Christ, almighty Saviour, we cry to thee for aid against our strong enemy. O thou who art the Stronger than the strong, deliver us, we pray thee, from the evil one, and take sole possession of our hearts and minds; that filled with thy Spirit we may henceforth devote our lives to thy service, and therein find our perfect freedom; for the honour of thy great name.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93:4-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Wayne Rooney's Goal Today of over 50 yards Against West Ham United

My wife and I saw this live and were amazed! Enjoy it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Hank Hanegraaff–Why I am worried about The Osteenification of American Christianity

Why Osteenification? Because Joel Osteen is the prime provocateur of a seductive brand of American Christianity that reduces God to a means to our ends. A message that beckons multitudes to the table of the Master, not for the love of the Master but for what is on the table. He is the de facto high priest of a new brand of Christianity perfectly suited for a feel-good generation. And while a host of pretenders (including Prince) follow in his train, Osteen is clearly the biggest of the bunch””according to People magazine, “twice as big as the nearest competitor.” And his claim to America’s largest church is just a small part of the story. With one billion impressions per month on Facebook and Twitter, Osteen is the hip new personification of God-talk in America.

But here’s the problem. Behind Osteenian self-affirmations””“I am anointed,” “I am prosperous,” “My God is a ”˜supersizing God’”””there lies a darker hue. Behind the smile is a robust emphasis on all that is negative. If you are healthy and wealthy, words created that reality. However, if you find yourself in dire financial straits, contract cancer, or, God forbid, die an early death, your words are the prime suspect. Says Osteen, “We’re going to get exactly what we’re saying. And this can be good or it can be bad” (Discover the Champion in You, May 3, 2004). In evidence, he cites one illustration after the other. One in particular caught my attention: the story of a “kind and friendly” worker at the church. He died at an early age, contends Osteen, “being snared by the words of his mouth” (I Declare [FaithWords, 2012], viii”“ix).

This illustration serves to underscore a predictable trend; a trend now pandemic in American Christianity. Osteen and company simply use the Scriptures to communicate whatever they want. Again and again, Scripture is tortured in the process of deluding the faithful. As even the most cursory reading of Proverbs 6 makes plain, being “snared by the words of your mouth” has nothing to do with negatively professing death into one’s own life and everything to do with a divine warning against making rash pledges.

Read it all (with thanks to Timothy Dalrymple at Patheos for this guest post).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Christology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jordan Monge–as an Atheist I faced an overwhelming body of evidence, as well as the living God

[My friend] Joseph also pushed me on the origins of the universe. I had always believed in the Big Bang. But I was blissfully unaware that the man who first proposed it, Georges Lemaître, was a Catholic priest. And I’d happily ignored the rabbit trail of a problem of what caused the Big Bang, and what caused that cause, and so on.

By Valentine’s Day, I began to believe in God. There was no intellectual shame in being a deist, after all, as I joined the respectable ranks of Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers.

I wouldn’t stay a deist for long. A Catholic friend gave me J. Budziszewski’s book Ask Me Anything, which included the Christian teaching that “love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other person.” This theme””of love as sacrifice for true good””struck me. The Cross no longer seemed a grotesque symbol of divine sadism, but a remarkable act of love. And Christianity began to look less strangely mythical and more cosmically beautiful.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Atheism, Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults