Daily Archives: March 29, 2014

(BBC) Ukraine crisis: Kerry and Lavrov in new push for solution

US Secretary of State John Kerry has diverted his homebound flight at the last minute, for hastily arranged talks on the Ukraine crisis with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The decision came after President Vladimir Putin spoke to President Barack Obama by phone late on Friday.

Mr Obama has called on Russia to pull its troops back from Ukraine’s border.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

An Interesting resource for parishes–The Jesus Way DVD from TSM

The six segments focus on the first six chapters of the book:

Enjoy Jesus’ Resurrection

Accept His Forgiveness

Welcome His Spirit

Feed on His Scriptures

Participate in His Meal

Bear Witness to His Reign

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Parish Ministry

Bishop Mark Lawrence's Adult Sunday School Class from Last Sunday

Listen to it all from Saint Helena’s, Beaufort (and note there is a download option).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

John Piper on Why Christians Need to Say No to Marijuana

Even those who advocate most strongly for the legalization of marijuana concede the impaired functioning that research has shown. One such site acknowledges,

The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of the intoxication. There is no convincing evidence that heavy long-term marijuana use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.

Other studies suggest that the effect on diminished brain function is more lasting, especially for teenagers.

Thus, unlike caffeine, marijuana is not generally thought of as an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee. Rather, for most users, it is a recreational escape, which produces diminished accuracy of observation, memory, and reasoning. And it may have lasting negative effects on the mind’s ability to do what God created it to do.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

Eric Metaxas–Connecting with Millennials: Faith to believe in and live out

Demographers tell us that Millennials are young adults aged 18 to 33. They’re often the ones you see sipping a latte at Starbucks, checking their Twitter feeds, or texting their friends.

According to a Pew Research report entitled “Millennials in Adulthood,” they are incredibly well connected to friends, family, and colleagues via all the latest digital platforms. But as University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox says, when it comes to “the core human institutions that have sustained the American experiment ”” work, marriage, and civil society,” the Millennials’ ties “are worryingly weak.”

Let’s take them in order. Concerning work, less than half of young people aged 18 to 29 are employed full time, and the numbers continue to fall. Wilcox says, “Work affords most Americans an important sense of dignity and meaning””the psychological boost provided by what American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks calls a sense of ”˜earned success.’ ”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Theology, Young Adults

(BP) Frank Page–Called to Pray for Ukraine

After speaking [with Vyacheslav Nesteruk, president of the Baptist Union of Ukraine] on a number of points of mutual interest, we discussed specific prayer requests. Brother Nesteruk specifically asked Southern Baptists to pray for the following:

— That there would be no war in Ukraine, but peace.

— That there would be a sense of peace in the hearts of Ukrainian people, rather than a sense of unrest or anxiety.

— For the economic situation, as sanctions imposed by Russia have already begun making life difficult in Ukraine.

— Most of all, that people would be open to the Gospel and actively seek the Gospel during these troubled times.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Europe, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer, Ukraine, Violence

(Commonweal) Paul Horwitz–Same-Sex Marriage & Religious Freedom

More important, perhaps, is this reason to listen to the arguments we are having, even if they often outstrip the legislative reality: the contending voices in this debate, including the many thoughtful church-state scholars who have spoken out on each side, are not really arguing about the effects of these laws. Arguably, they are not even debating their possible effects. The real debate is over the logic of their opponents’ positions.

Here, both sides have a point. Whether you call these laws “Gay Jim Crow” or not, the logic of legislative accommodations for individuals, let alone businesses, that object on religious grounds to the application of antidiscrimination laws does indeed pose a serious threat to our civil-rights laws, which are the foundation of a just, egalitarian modern society. It’s tough to have a regime of civil rights when every such law carries the footnote “unless you really mind.” It’s tougher still when those accommodations are triggered by an assertion of “sincere” religious objections, which courts are rightly reluctant to second-guess.

On the other side, the logic of a regime of robust egalitarianism, vigorously backed by law, leaves little room for conscientious religious objection. It tells individuals who want to engage in public and commercial life but have serious religious objections to the new settlement, “Of course there is room for you. Speak, if you must. But don’t act.” (Sometimes, as the Elane Photography case suggests, that distinction is hard to make.) And it tells them that as long as the law’s commands forbid some conduct without actively discriminating against religion, those commands are absolute. The title of law-and-religion scholar Steven D. Smith’s new book, The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom, may be premature. Nonetheless, he is right to worry that “traditional religion and contemporary secular egalitarianism are at some deep level fundamentally incompatible.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

John Keble's Assize Sermon for His Feast Day–"National Apostasy" (1833)

Waiving this question, therefore, I proceed to others, which appear to me, I own, at the present moment especially, of the very gravest practical import.

What are the symptoms, by which one may judge most fairly, whether or no a nation, as such, is becoming alienated from God and Christ?

And what are the particular duties of sincere Christians, whose lot is cast by Divine Providence in a time of such dire calamity?

The conduct of the Jews, in asking for a king, may furnish an ample illustration of the first point : the behaviour of Samuel, then and afterwards, supplies as perfect a pattern of the second, as can well be expected from human nature.

I. The case is at least possible, of a nation, having for centuries acknowledged, as an essential part of its theory of government, that, as a Christian nation, she is also a part of Christ’s Church, and bound, in all her legislation and policy, by the fundamental rules of that Church””the case is, I say, conceivable, of a government and people, so constituted, deliberately throwing off the restraint, which in many respects such a principle would impose on them, nay, disavowing the principle itself ; and that, on the plea, that other states, as flourishing or more so in regard of wealth and dominion, do well enough without it. Is not this desiring, like the Jews, to have an earthly king over them, when the Lord their God is their King? Is it not saying in other words, ‘We will be as the heathen, the families of the countries,’ the aliens to the Church of our Redeemer?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A John Keble Hymn for his Feast Day–New every morning is the love

New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

If on our daily course our mind
be set to hallow all we find,
new treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
as more of heaven in each we see;
some softening gleam of love and prayer
shall dawn on every cross and care.

The trivial round, the common task,
will furnish all we ought to ask:
room to deny ourselves; a road
to bring us daily nearer God.

Only, O Lord, in thy dear love,
fit us for perfect rest above;
and help us, this and every day,
to live more nearly as we pray.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Keble

Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know thy presence and obey thy will; that, following the example of thy servant John Keble, we may accomplish with integrity and courage that which thou givest us to do, and endure that which thou givest us to bear; through 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 hast made the earth so fair, and written thy glory in the heavens: Help us inwardly to respond to all that is outwardly true and beautiful, so that as we pass through things temporal we may never lose the vision of the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

South Carolina jobless rate plummets to 5.7% in February

South Carolina’s unemployment rate plummeted to 5.7 percent in February from 6.4 percent in January, the largest one-month decrease since the state starting tracking jobless numbers in 1976, the Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday.

It was the ninth consecutive month the figure has declined.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Great Piece on MSU Bsktball player A. Payne and his friendship with an 8 yr old girl fighting cancer

In the middle of March Madness, Michigan State’s Adreian Payne has more than just basketball on his mind. Hear the wonder story of his unlikely friendship with an 8 year old girl named Lacey Holsworth who has been fighting cancer.

Watch it all.

Update: There is a lot more here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Jeremiah A. Denton Jr., Vietnam POW and U.S. senator, dies

Jeremiah A. Denton Jr., a retired Navy rear admiral and former U.S. senator who survived nearly eight years of captivity in North Vietnamese prisons, and whose public acts of defiance and patriotism came to embody the sacrifices of American POWs in Vietnam, died March 28 at a hospice in Virginia Beach. He was 89.

The cause was complications from a heart ailment, said his son Jim Denton. Adm. Denton was a native of Alabama, where in 1980 he became the state’s first Republican to win election to the Senate since Reconstruction.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Senate