Daily Archives: May 5, 2014

(Open Doors Blog) The Top 3 Things You Can Do to Help The 200+ Girls Kidnapped In Nigeria

As these girls are held hostage, it is vital that we act on their behalf. Here are the top 3 things you can do to help these young women:

1. Pray

The number one thing that persecuted Christians ask for is our prayers. And though to some it might seem like a passive reaction, we believers know that prayer has changed the course of history. God has changed the hearts of leaders, fellow-countrymen and even persecutors because of the faithful prayers of Christians around the world. Here are some specific ways in which you can pray for them.

2. Spread The Word & Educate

Some prominent leaders, artist and other influencers are shedding light on this important story by using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Violence, Women

(USA Today) Supreme Court upholds prayer at government meetings

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the centuries-old tradition of offering prayers at the start of government meetings, even if those prayers are overwhelmingly Christian.

The 5-4 decision in favor of the any-prayer-goes policy in the town of Greece, N.Y., avoided two alternatives that the justices clearly found abhorrent: having government leaders parse prayers for sectarian content, or outlawing them altogether.

It was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, with the court’s conservatives agreeing and its liberals, led by Justice Elena Kagan, dissenting.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

Anthony Delaney blogs Live interview with Rick+Kay Warren at the HTB leaders Conference

KW: Unexpected learning? How much depressed believers have to teach us. many feel ashamed because the message they get is ”˜pray more, confess sin’. Some of them are the most courageous people just to put one foot in front of another. Some people LIVE in the valley, they never walk out of it like the rest of us. We can learn form them what to do when the darkness doesn’t lift. When it doesn’t ever feel good, walking with God anyway.

RW: 1/3 of the psalms are laments. ”˜Life sucks, but where else can I go?’ I observed my life and observed the 6 stages of grief.
1) Shock ”“ purely human emotion. Keep waiting for Matthew to walk through the door.
2) Sorrow ”“ it’s a godly emotion, you can
3) Struggle ”“ why?? see it in Job, in Abraham, Jacob ”“ wrestling is a contact sport and that’s fine. But you’re NOT going to get an explanation. It’s like an ant trying to understand the internet. Explanations never comfort. You need the comfort of the Holy Spirit
4) Surrender ”“ I’d rather walk with God and not have all the answers. ”˜thy will be done’

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Bloomberg) Polio Declared Emergency as Conflicts Fuel Virus Spread

The spread of polio to countries previously considered free of the crippling disease represents a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said.

Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries, the Geneva-based WHO said in an e-mailed statement today. Those nations should declare national public health emergencies and ensure that residents have been vaccinated before they travel internationally, WHO Director General Margaret Chan said, citing recommendations from an emergency committee.

Polio, driven to the brink of eradication in 2012, has resurged as conflicts from Sudan to Pakistan disrupt vaccination campaigns. The number of cases reached a record low of 223 globally in 2012 and jumped to 417 last year, according to the WHO.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Health & Medicine

An AP article on the Gene Robinson "Divorce" Announcement

A spokeswoman for Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori referred requests for comment to the Diocese of New Hampshire. A spokeswoman for current New Hampshire Bishop Rob Hirschfeld cited an email he sent to local clergy and wardens urging prayer for Robinson and Andrew.

Robert Lundy, a spokesman for the American Anglican Council, a fellowship for theological conservatives, said the argument against gay marriage is based on the Bible and will not be helped or hurt by the dissolution of any one marriage.

“The teaching of the Bible and the Anglican Communion is very clear that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life,” Lundy said in a phone interview.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology

Did Everyone Happen to Catch what was Actually in the funeral Service for Mark Shand?

Singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, who had flown in from the US especially for the funeral, played an acoustic version of his 1970 hit Wild World.

Family friend Otis Irwin addressed the guests before the second hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.

Renowned photographer Don McCullin, a close friend of Mr Shand’s, read a tribute while Ben Elliot read an extract from Mr Shand’s book Travels on My Elephant.

A choir sang Somewhere from Westside Story before Ayesha Shand made her own tribute.

The final hymn was The Lord of the Dance and the guests exited the church to The Elephant Song from Disney film The Jungle Book.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A NYTimes article on the Fresh Doubts Raised on the ”˜Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Media, Religion & Culture

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland elects its first woman bishop

Cook, who currently holds a position in the Diocese of Easton, which covers the Eastern Shore, said she was “profoundly moved” by the election.

“With gratitude for all who have helped shape me in ministry over the years, I look forward to crossing the Bay and exploring with you the proclamation of the life-giving Good News in a way that reaches across the generations,” she said in a statement.

Read it all from the Baltimore Sun.

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

In Canada, Council of General Synod hears concerns about commission

In a progress report to the Council of General Synod (CoGS) on the early work of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, chair Canon Robert Falby, noted that there had been “some controversy” over the membership of the committee after it was announced in early 2014.

Critics have said that the commission does not have a balance of members who are both for and against the resolution passed at General Synod 2013, which asked CoGS to prepare and present a motion to change the church’s Canon 21 on marriage “to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples” prior to the next General Synod in 2016.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Elizabeth Stoker–Hollywood’s cheap Christianity: Noah, Ben-Hur and a persecution fixation

Christian cinema is having a bit of a moment, with the release of “Noah,” Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and Timur Bekmambetov’s soon-to-follow “Ben-Hur.” The genre is nothing new, of course. Consider Cecil B. DeMille’s early 20th century Christian epic trilogy, consisting of “The Ten Commandments,” “The King of Kings” and “The Sign of the Cross”: Epic in its proportions and daring in its subject matter, it spoke dramatically to a generation of Americans beset by the travails of unprecedented war and economic depression.

For as much as Christian cinema repeats enduring Christian images and ideas ”“ the same characters and stories are bound to reappear ”“ it also tends to report on its target audience. This was true, for example, of 1973’s “Godspell,” a film rendition of the Broadway musical that reimagines Jesus and his disciples as the few outcast hippies in a New York City full of urban apathy. And now, in the era of big budget blockbusters, our theaters are preparing to host a deluge of Christian-themed epic cinema, with “Noah” being the latest iteration.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

(ABC News) Aging Baby Boomers Becoming the Roommate Generation

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Five S.C. Bishops Write an open letter to South Carolina

The bishops ”” two Episcopal, one Roman Catholic, one Lutheran and one United Methodist ”” hope their collective gravitas, backed by the support of their 450,000 parishioners, will persuade citizens and state legislators to reform and fund a system they believe is failing too many children.

“Crumbling buildings, inadequate funding, and low expectations mark too many districts at a time when a 21st century economy demands more of our people. How can the next generation rise to the challenge of this day and age when they are not given the superior education they deserve?” the bishops wrote in the letter.

“Even in the most successful of school districts, too many students underachieve, or worse, fall through the cracks and do not achieve success. All too easily they can become caught in the grip of poverty.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Poverty, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Look, we beseech thee, O Lord, upon the people of this land who are called after thy holy name, that they may ever walk worthy of their Christian profession. Grant unto us all that, laying aside our divisions, we may be united in heart and mind to bear the burdens which are laid upon us, and be enabled by patient continuance in well-doing to glorify thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Irish Prayer Book

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

–psalm 25:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Mermaid shows made big splash at South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston

April was one of the most successful months in the South Carolina Aquarium’s 14-year history, thanks to a rare visit from a band of dancing mermaids.

The aquarium, which is a nonprofit organization, saw record attendance during the month it played host to the World Famous Mermaids of Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, a team of female entertainers who wear elaborate fish-tailed costumes and perform synchronized underwater dances.

Read it all from the local paper and you have to love the picture.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Animals, Economy, Urban/City Life and Issues

Boko Haram: Christian Association of Nigeria releases names of abducted Chibok girls

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has released a list of names of the girls Boko Haram terrorists abducted at the Government Girls College, Chibok, in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, northeastern Nigeria, on April 15.

The full list of names may be viewed at the end of the article.

According to CAN, among the girls abducted were 165 Christian girls and 15 Muslim girls.

The Punch reports that figures it obtained from Evangelist Mathew Owojaiye, President of Old Time Revival Hour, and former chairman of Northern States Christian and Elders Forum (NOSCEF), also estimated the number of the abducted girls at about 180.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

Saint Paul's Summerville, S.C., rector Mike Lumpkin Announces His Retirement

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography

(Foreign Policy) Steven Cook–Egypt's War on Honest Language

The mass death sentences against 683 Egyptians reveal how Cairo officials are redefining concepts like terrorism and freedom in a cynical bid to solidify their grip on power.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General

(Regent World) Rodger Woods–Designed to Work, Designed to Worship

I studied architecture after a degree in math and physics because it appeared to be one of the few available professions for generalists. Finding the prospect of specialization in alternative pursuits claustrophobic, I went for it.

As a student, I became aware of the responsibility of making decisions about the built environment on behalf of others. What right do developers and designers have to create potentially manipulative spaces? Even projects with benevolent intent such as public housing in Europe and America has ended up as destructive to their users. To a conscientious designer, the assumptions implied in making decisions that will be formative to users are almost immobilizing in their intensity. It appeared to me that the nature of being human was fundamental to this discussion and that one could only proceed in this profession with a robust and convincing understanding of what it means to be human.

At this time, I came in contact with Francis Schaeffer and Hans Rookmaaker who convinced me to build environments that remind users they are created in the image of God. This thought has immediate implications in terms of materials and scale. The idea that humans are made for relationship implies that I have a right, and maybe even a duty, to use this criterion both in the design and operation of my practice. Consequently, much of my business life and design work has had the intention of fostering relationships and community.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Architecture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology