Daily Archives: May 23, 2014

(WSJ) Cardinal Timothy Dolan–The Pope's Case for Virtuous Capitalism

…the answer to problems with the free market is not to reject economic liberty in favor of government control. The church has consistently rejected coercive systems of socialism and collectivism, because they violate inherent human rights to economic freedom and private property. When properly regulated, a free market can certainly foster greater productivity and prosperity. But, as the pope continually emphasizes, the essential element is genuine human virtue.

The church has long taught that the value of any economic system rests on the personal virtue of the individuals who take part in it, and on the morality of their day-to-day decisions. Business can be a noble vocation, so long as those engaged in it also serve the common good, acting with a sense of generosity in addition to self-interest.

In speaking to the U.N. leaders, Pope Francis recalled the story of Zacchaeus, in which Jesus inspires the repentant tax collector to make a radical decision to put his economic wealth at the service of others. This reminds us that a spirit of sharing and solidarity with others, in the words of Francis, “should be at the beginning and end of all political and economic activity.” Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(BBC) Brazil: Where God is on the pitch

When the hosts of the 2014 World Cup take on Croatia in the opening match of the tournament on June 12th, God will also be on the pitch. And whoever opens the score sheet for Brazil, it’s likely that Jesus will get the credit.

Everyone knows that football is a religion in Brazil, but religion itself finds its expression in the game, and the players’ behaviours on and off the pitch reveal much about the country’s changing religious landscape.

You will still see players making Catholic gestures such as the sign of the cross, but recent years have seen more evangelical expressions of Christianity. After their victory in the 2002 World Cup final, the whole team knelt in a huge prayer circle, with some players stripping off their shirts to show t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “I belong to Jesus.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Religion & Culture, South America, Sports

Place for quiet reflection opened by Portsmouth's Bishop

THE Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth unveiled a new £60,000 outdoor learning area for children in Rowlands Castle.

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster formally opened the worship circle at St John’s Primary School.

The area is just one part of an outdoor facility at the school, which will ultimately include an outdoor amphitheatre, art traversing wall and learning hut.

The worship circle ”“ which has been named the Garden of Peace by the children ”“ is a quiet reflective area.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Spirituality/Prayer, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Economist) Narendra Modi’s amazing victory gives India its best chance ever of prosperity

The most important change in the world over the past 30 years has been the rise of China. The increase in its average annual GDP per head from around $300 to $6,750 over the period has not just brought previously unimagined prosperity to hundreds of millions of people, but has also remade the world economy and geopolitics.

India’s GDP per head was the same as China’s three decades ago. It is now less than a quarter of the size. Despite a couple of bouts of reform and spurts of growth, India’s economy has never achieved the momentum that has dragged much of East Asia out of poverty. The human cost, in terms of frustrated, underemployed, ill-educated, unhealthy, hungry people, has been immense.

Now, for the first time ever, India has a strong government whose priority is growth. Narendra Modi, who leads the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has won a tremendous victory on the strength of promising to make India’s economy work. Although we did not endorse him, because we believe that he has not atoned sufficiently for the massacre of Muslims that took place in Gujarat while he was chief minister, we wish him every success: an Indian growth miracle would be a great thing not just for Indians, but also for the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Hinduism, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Dio of FW) Date set for summary judgment hearing in Fort Worth

In a hearing Thursday, May 22, before the 141st District Court, the Hon. John Chupp set the course for the conclusion of the suit filed against the Diocese and diocesan Corporation over five years ago.

Attorneys for the Diocese successfully argued against consolidation of the case, which would have re-attached portions that were not part of the 2011 Summary Judgment that was appealed to the state Supreme Court. Judge Chupp signed an order denying the proposed consolidation and clearing the way for a new Summary Judgment hearing. Additionally, local TEC parties sought to delay the date of that hearing until mid-2015, but the judge set a date before the end of 2014, much closer to the timeline proposed by the Diocese. The hearing date is Wednesday, Dec. 17; filing deadlines will be set in advance of the hearing.

We give thanks for the positive results of this hearing and continue to pray for God’s guidance and provision.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology

Lord George Carey's 2014 Good Friday Sermon

Did Jesus die for us and if he did, did he die in our stead? This is called substitutionary atonement and has been one of the main ways of understanding the death of Jesus. It is echoed in many of our hymns: ”˜There is a green hill far away’’”¦ He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven, saved by his precious blood’.

But many scholars have considered this immoral. God is not a God of wrath who needs appeasement. How could he demand the death of his only begotten son? The doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement has therefore been regarded with suspicion and rejected by many. But it strong biblical support in Paul’s writings: ”˜I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me’.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God’

He himself bore our sins on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness’. 1 Peter.

The only way to avoid the suggestion that Jesus on the cross appeased an angry God is to realize that the work of atonement was not Christ’s alone but that ”˜God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself’. If we see God suffering for us in Christ, the harshness of penal substitution is avoided.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, Holy Week, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

(Church Army) Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes new Stepping into Evangelism resource

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd Justin Welby, has welcomed Church Army’s new resource, Stepping into evangelism, a practical booklet to equip individuals and churches to share their faith through words and action.

Stepping into evangelism is filled with hands-on advice, tips and workbook exercises to help people engage in evangelism day-to-day. With evangelism being one of the Archbishop’s top three priorities, it is hoped the resource will be a blessing to the wider church.

The Archbishop said: “When Pharaoh kept the people of God slaves he instructed them to make bricks but didn’t give them the straw they needed to make them. Our God is entirely the opposite ”“ God charges us with a task then gives us what we need. This resource is a gift from God, via Church Army, to enable each of us to live out the most freeing, exciting and life-giving of mandates that God offers: to be witnesses to Jesus Christ. This is just the kind of thing we need.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Sixty years on: Billy Graham’s London Crusade

Over the years, there have been many attempts to assess the impact of Dr Graham’s ministry – particularly that first crusade of 1954 – on the British Church and people. There is no doubt about its immediate effect.

A former Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Michael Baughen, was a theology student in 1954, and fondly remembers Underground trains crowded with hymn-singing passengers. He spoke for many when he recalled: “It was like divine adrenalin for a jaded Church.”

As far as the nation was concerned, if the national press is to be any guide, initial hostility – “Yankee spellbinder”, and “hot-gospeller” were two of the milder epithets, while one columnist suggested that the Home Secretary should refuse him entry – gave way to grudging, and in some cases warm-hearted, approval. For example, a Sunday Graphic columnist, whose initial reaction was “This Billy Graham line just won’t do,” 11 weeks later expressed thanks to Graham, saying: “You’ve done us a power of good.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Media

The Amazing Rock-Cut Churches of Lalibela

Recently I came upon…[a] photo of worshippers gathered for Mass in Ethiopia…“WHAT?” I thought. “Where is this?!”

And so began my research into the fantastic rock-cut underground churches in Lalibela.

In the twelfth century, King Lalibela, a member of the Zagwe dynasty which had seized the throne of Ethiopia around 1000 A.D., sought support from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. To garner support, he commissioned a series of twelve extraordinary churches in the small town of Roha (now renamed Lalibela). He hoped to create a New Jerusalem, a pilgrimage site for Christians who could not make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lift up our souls, O Lord, to the pure, serene light of thy presence; that there we may breathe freely, there repose in thy love, there may be at rest from ourselves, and from thence return, arrayed in thy peace, to do and bear what shall please thee; for thy holy name’s sake.

–E. B. Pusey

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ”˜Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

“Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.

“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

–Matthew 7:1-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(MNN) Four-day bloodbath in Nigeria

Boko Haram, the insurgent terrorist group bearing down on Nigeria, has attacked again. This time, officials say, the militant Islamist group hit three villages Wednesday, not far from where they took hundreds of schoolgirl’s hostage.

It’s not even 24 hours after a twin bombing in Jos, which killed 118 Tuesday. On Sunday, a suicide bombing rattled nerves in Sabon Gari, Kano State.

The tactics point to a new terror technique by the insurgent group: the use of random attacks and explosives in a deadly sequence. It means they’re no longer a small insurgency. The United Nations has linked them to another menace.

Jerry Dykstra, a spokesman for Open Doors USA, echoes those concerns. “They’re being empowered by other terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. [sic] It’s disturbing, and we as Christians need to pay attention because [Nigeria is] the most…[populous] Christian country in all of Africa.”

Read it all.

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

(WSJ) Despite Data Thefts, the Password Endures

Fernando Corbató didn’t intend to unleash havoc when he helped create the first computer password at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1960s.

“It’s become kind of a nightmare,” says the 87-year-old retired researcher. “I don’t think anybody can possibly remember all the passwords.”

Passwords are a bane to computer and smartphone users and a security threat to companies. On Wednesday, eBay Inc. EBAY -0.73% urged its 145 million users to change their passwords because of a data breach. But if the past is a guide, few people will heed the warning.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Science & Technology, Theology

(NYT Op-ed) Madeline Halpert and Eva Rosenfeld: Depressed, but Not Ashamed

Our school has a very tolerant atmosphere, and it even has a depression awareness group, so this response seemed uncharacteristic. We were surprised that the administration and the adults who advocated for mental health awareness were the ones standing in the way of it. By telling us that students could not talk openly about their struggles, they reinforced the very stigma we were trying to eliminate.

The feeling of being alone is closely linked to depression. This can be exacerbated if there is no one to reach out to. Though there are professionals to talk to, we feel it doesn’t compare to sharing your experiences with a peer who has faced similar struggles. And, most important to us, no one afflicted with a mental illness should have to believe that it’s something he should feel obliged to hide in the first place. If someone has an illness such as diabetes, she is not discouraged from speaking about it. Depression does not indicate mental weakness. It is a disorder, often a flaw of biology, not one of character.

By interviewing these teenagers for our newspaper, we tried ”” and failed ”” to start small in the fight against stigma. Unfortunately, we’ve learned this won’t be easy. It seems that those who are charged with advocating for our well-being aren’t ready yet to let us have an open and honest dialogue about depression.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Teens / Youth, Theology