Daily Archives: April 22, 2014

Pew Research Reports important report on "the next America"

We start with this reality: Social Security and Medicare are practically sacrosanct. Nearly nine-in-ten Americans say they’re good for the country. That’s an amazing number. But the popularity of these programs really isn’t all that surprising. People love them because they do what they were created to do. They ease many of the frets and dreads of old age ”“ a blessing not just for seniors but for everyone who loves, supports and depends on seniors. Which is to say, everyone.

But the status quo is unsustainable. Some 10,000 Baby Boomers will be going on Social Security and Medicare every single day between now and 2030. By the time everyone in this big pig-in-the-python generation is drawing benefits, we’ll have just two workers per beneficiary ”“ down from three-to-one now, five-to-one in 1960 and more than forty-to-one in 1945, shortly after Social Security first started supporting beneficiaries.

The math of the 20th century simply won’t work in the 21st. Today’s young are paying taxes to support a level of benefits for today’s old that they have no realistic chance of receiving when they become old. And they know it ”“ just 6% of Millennials say they expect to receive full benefits from Social Security when they retire. Fully half believe they’ll get nothing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Medicaid, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology, Young Adults

Consecration set for Fond Du Lac Episcopal Diocesan bishop this Weekend

The Rev. Matthew Gunter will be consecrated and ordained as the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac on Saturday, April 26, at Appleton Alliance Church, 2693 W. Grand Chute Blvd.

The service is open to the public and will begin with a procession at 10:30 a.m. The Rite of Ordination, which includes the Presentation, Examination and Consecration, will start at 11 a.m. A reception will be held after the service.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(BBC) South Sudan conflict: Bentiu 'ethnic slaughter' condemned

Hundreds of people were killed because of their ethnicity after South Sudan rebels seized the oil hub of Bentiu last week, the UN has said.

They were targeted at a mosque, a church and a hospital, the UN Mission in South Sudan said in a statement.

It added that hate speech was broadcast on local radio stations, saying certain groups should leave the town and urging men to rape women.

The Nuer community are seen as supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology, Violence

(Indpndt) The spirit of a pure Christianity: Exploring Ethiopia's stunning subterranean churches

Ethiopia was cut off for centuries from the wider Christian world by the Islamic conquests to its north. During that time, its church flourished in isolation, untouched by and ignorant of the theological disputes dividing Europe. That means its traditions provide insight into an older, perhaps purer and certainly more mystical form of Christianity ”“ one that dates back 1,600 years and therefore, in its unaltered forms, bears witness to a liturgy practised only a relatively brief period after the time of Jesus Christ.

To better understand this, I had come to Lalibela, Ethiopia’s self-proclaimed “New Jerusalem”. Here, I thought, I could engage with the religion and its beliefs. What I had not expected was that I would also get to see one of the world’s most impressive ”“ and most affecting ”“ architectural marvels.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

The recent NY Times Article on ACNA priest Tory Baucum and TEC Bishop Shannon Johnston

The two ministers were foes before they ever met, partisans in a war they did not start, but partisans nonetheless.

For four years, they did not speak.

But in the spring of 2011, the Rev. Tory Baucum drove 100 miles south to Richmond to introduce himself to the Rev. Shannon Johnston. And now the friendship that resulted, nurtured over Guinness in the bar of Richmond’s storied Jefferson Hotel, at dinner with their wives and during many difficult conversations, is being hailed as one of the most unexpected and intriguing developments in a bitter feud that has split the Episcopal Church in the decade since the denomination elected an openly gay bishop.

Mr. Johnston is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia ”” the most populous Episcopal diocese in the United States ”” and a supporter of same-sex marriage who has blessed same-sex couples. Mr. Baucum is the rector of an unusually vibrant parish, Truro Church in Fairfax, which left the Episcopal Church over the election of… [a same-sex partnered bishop], the final straw in a long-running dispute over theological orthodoxy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, Theology

Damien Thompson–Same-Sex Marriage: the silence of the Archbishop of Canterbury

…what he’s saying, in effect, is that he’s not going to allow his House of Bishops to effect a nifty U-turn that forces oppressed Christians abroad either to change their minds overnight about an “abomination”, as they see it, or to leave the Anglican Communion when they crave its moral support.

That’s a perfectly sensible approach, in so far as it goes. But Archbishop Welby’s attempt to reconcile it with his surprisingly passionate defence of LGBT Christians is not convincing: we’re supposed to believe that “consultation” will enable the C of E to arrive at the “right” decision about blessing homosexual marriages, whatever that might be. (There’s no question, yet, of gay weddings in C of E churches, which are forbidden by the new law.)

Moreover, it means that the Archbishop of Canterbury will not say whether gay marriage is morally wrong. When Moreton asks him about the Anglican priest in Lincolnshire who’s just married his boyfriend, he replies: “It’s best if I do not comment on that”. It’s a matter for the Bishop of Lincoln.


Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Telegraph's recent interview with Archbishop Justin Welby–Part II

So what should believers do? “There have been many crises in the Church’s history. We go back 1,400 years. There are two mistakes you can make in a crisis. One is the Dad’s Army reaction: Corporal Jones saying, ‘Don’t panic! Don’t panic!’ [And obviously panicking]; or Private Frazer saying, ‘We’re all doomed’. The other is complacency: ‘It’s all going to be fine because we have had worse in the past.’ Each time there is a sense of crisis, the first thing to do is to come back to God in worship and prayer.”

He is not fearful. “The reason why we don’t panic is nothing to do with sociology or demographics, it’s to do with trust in a God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead and can therefore ”“ if we co-operate with him ”“ raise the church to new and fresh life.”

That’s why there is a sense of calm about Justin Welby. Most of the time. He is convinced that he can only do his best, and have faith. “It’s in the hands of God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Telegraph's recent interview with Archbishop Justin Welby–Part I

Many want to know what is going to happen about homosexuality. After the change in the law, will the clergy in England be allowed to bless same-sex marriages? Some priests here are already doing so, risking their jobs. The archbishop says no, they should wait for the outcome of a consultation that will be carried out across the Communion.

He insists the Church still believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and any sudden departure from doctrine in this country would be “absolutely catastrophic” for believers in places such as South Sudan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

We Realize we need to Play Catch up thanks to the end of Holy Week Break

For those interested, please do alert us to good Easter efforts in parishes that are worthy of sharing–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Holy Week

The 2014 Easter Sermon of Australian Anglican Bishop (and NT Scholar) Paul Barnett

Listen to it all from Saint Helena’s, Beaufort (it begins with the Gospel reading followed by some music, the sermon itself starts at about 3:05)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God Almighty, whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ did on the third day rise triumphant over death: Raise us, we beseech thee, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he sitteth on thy right hand in glory; and this we beg for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

–from the Scottish Prayer Book

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

–Psalm 103:1-5

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Craige Borrett's Easter 2014 Sermon from John 20–Not an ordinary event. Not an ordinary response.

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says “download” underneath the link which says “listen”).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Easter Song, 2nd Chapter of Acts

Watch and listen to it all–live from 1987 from the original writers of the song.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(ABC Aus.) Sarah Coakley–Turn, and Turn Again: Learning to See the Resurrected Jesus

…we must learn, not only how to die, but how to turn and turn again, as Mary Magdalene did twice before she saw that it was Jesus right in front of her in the garden. Have you ever wondered about the fact that the first witnesses to the resurrection, supremely here Mary, did not recognize Jesus at all in the first instance, and some – according to the gospel of Matthew – even continued to “doubt” when they were in his risen presence? This is another very strange thought: that the risen Christ, being God’s Son, is here all the time but that we have to “turn” and keep “turning” towards his gaze, until our senses and mind and soul and heart are so attuned and magnetized to his presence that we too can say Rabbouni – not to grasp and hold him, not to constrain him within our restricted human categories, but to worship and adore him.

St. Thomas Aquinas, writing in the thirteenth century, rather ruefully acknowledges that the women in the gospels understood this better and first because, as he puts it, of their “greater capacity for love,” their resoluteness in not abandoning Christ on the cross and in following him even to his place of burial. To “turn” is to keep longing for and loving him, even in despair, as these women did – to keep discerning the wind of Christ’s Spirit and leaning into it, until love and knowledge and sensuality all align and we can know as we are known in him.

Thirdly, and finally, only thus shall we learn to “see the Lord,” as Mary saw Him, through tears to be sure, but with absolute conviction and certainty. Many think that this doesn’t happen anymore, but let me tell you (as one who was once a hospital chaplain, ministering to the dying) it does

Read it all (emphasis hers).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) James Martin SJ–Celebrating Easter: Why a Watered-Down Resurrection Doesn’t Work

…particularly when we look at the disciples, the watered-down resurrection doesn’t seem credible at all. Remember that the Gospel of John (whose author had little to gain by making the disciples, future leaders of the early church, look bad) notes that the disciples were so frightened that they barricaded themselves behind locked doors after Jesus’s death. They had good reason to be. “If the authorities dealt that way with Jesus, who had so many people supporting him,” they must have thought, “what will they do to us?” Even before the crucifixion Peter shrank in fear from being identified as a follower of Jesus. Imagine how their fear would have intensified after witnessing the Romans’ brutal execution of their master.

With one exception, all of Jesus’s male followers were so terrified that they shrank from standing at the foot of the cross, unable to accompany Jesus during his final hours. Their reluctance may have stemmed from an inability to watch the agonizing death of their friend, but much was out of fear of being identified as a follower of an enemy of Rome. (The women, showed no such fear, though the situation may have posed less danger for them.)

The disciples were terrified. So does it seem credible that something as simple as sitting around and remembering Jesus would snap them out of their abject fear? Not to me. Something incontrovertible, something undeniable, something visible, something tangible, was necessary to transform them from fearful to fearless.

This is one of the most compelling “proofs” of the Resurrection.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Apologetics, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Theology

Jim Trainor on Easter–I believe the story and that is why I know that I will see my mother again

I believe the story. With my head, looking at the evidence and thinking logically as a person who was a research physicist for twenty-five years, I believe it. And after listening to the testimony of people ”“ from beggars to kings — through all the ages who had concluded that the story is true, I believe it. And at the innermost levels of my heart, where the deepest truths reside but are not easily put into words, I believe it is true.

And that is why I know that I will see my mother again someday. It’s not just wishful thinking, some little tale I’ve fooled myself with because I can’t face the cold hard facts of life. Yes, I will see Della Mae, and I am convinced that it will be a day of great victory and joy. St. Paul says that it will be like putting on a crown, and St. John says that it will be a time when every tear will be wiped away from my eyes. That’s what will happen someday to me. But what Jesus did affects me right here today also — I know that this Jesus who overcame death and the grave has promised not to leave me here twisting in the wind. He is with me every day, through his Spirit, to guide me, comfort me, embolden me, and use me for his glory and to serve his people, right here, right now.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Death / Burial / Funerals, Easter, Eschatology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

The Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop's Easter Message 2014

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

(WSJ) Sluggish Economic Recovery Proves Resilient

The recovery from the recession has been nasty, brutish and long. It also is shaping up as one of the most enduring.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, the semiofficial arbiter of business cycles, judges that the U.S. economy began expanding again in June 2009, just over 58 months ago. That means the current stretch of growth, in terms of duration, is poised to drift past the average for post-World War II recoveries.

Yet after almost five years, the recovery is proving to be one of the most lackluster in modern times. The nation’s 6.7% jobless rate is the highest on record at this stage of recent expansions. Gross domestic product has grown 1.8% a year on average since the recession, half the pace of the previous three expansions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology