Daily Archives: June 13, 2014

Mexico triumph Over Cameroon 1-0

For the World Cup I said my one hope was that the referees would not unduly impact the outcome so far two games two fiascoes.

Blast it.

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

(WSJ) Christine Rosen–Is Google Replacing God?

…the Internet’s impact on religion might not be entirely positive. A recent report in MIT Technology Review suggests a correlation between increased Internet use and the decline of religious affiliation. After analyzing data from the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, Olin College of Engineering professor Allen Downey found that the percentage of people in the U.S. population who claimed no religious affiliation increased to 18% in 2010 from 8% in 1990. That’s a jump of 25 million people.

After examining education, socioeconomic status and religious upbringing, each of which contributed to the decline of affiliation, Mr. Downey was left with a great deal of the change unexplained. His hypothesis? The dramatic rise in Internet use. In the 1980s, almost no one used the Internet, but by 2010, according to the Social Survey, more than half of the population spent at least two hours online a week, and one quarter spent more than seven hours a week. Mr. Downey believes that as much as 25% of the decline in affiliation can be explained by this new habit.

Readers of the study should keep two things in mind: It measures “affiliation,” that is, identification with a particular religious tradition, not belief in God. A strong majority of U.S. adults profess belief in God (although that number has also declined), but a smaller number are affiliating with institutions that promote those beliefs. Mr. Downey’s study also measures correlation, not causation; he is not arguing that Internet use caused the decline, only that it occurred alongside it and might help explain it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Psychology, Religion & Culture, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology, Travel

Obituary for John Claudius Blandenburg (1944-2014)

From here:

John Claudius Blandenburg MEGGETT, SC – John Claudius Blandenburg, 69, of Meggett, South Carolina, husband of Marsha Muckenfuss Blandenburg, entered into eternal rest Wednesday, June 11, 2014. His Funeral Service will be held Saturday, June 14, 2014 in Christ-St. Paul’s Church, 4981 Chapel Road Meggett, SC at 1:00 p.m. Interment to follow in Christ-St. Paul’s Parish Churchyard. A reception will be held at the Church immediately following the service. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR INC., WEST ASHLEY CHAPEL 3360 Glenn McConnell Parkway. John was born October 19, 1944 in Augusta, Georgia, son of the late Claudius Elmer Blandenburg and June Boozer Blandenburg. He was a Systems Analyst with Medical University Health Authority. John frequently visited people in hospitals, delivered flowers to shut-ins and was also a faithful donator to the Red Cross. He also lovingly ministered to his Parish and was very devoted to his graduating class of 1962 of North Augusta High School. He is survived by his wife, Marsha Blandenburg of Meggett, SC; daughter, Dorothy Blandenburg Kitchens (Scott Barry) of Charleston, SC; three grandchildren, Amelia Kitchens, Gabriel Kitchens, Lucas Kitchens; two sisters, Patricia Kinard and Carol Ann Bostick, both of Columbia, SC. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Christ-St. Paul’s Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 426, Hollywood, SC 29449. A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting our website at www.jhenrystuhr.com. Visit our guestbook at www.legacy.com/obituaries/ charleston – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/charleston/obituary.aspx?n=john-claudius-blandenburg&pid=171320936&fhid=23129#sthash.i49FKm4x.dpuf

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

(Telegraph) House of Lords debate Parishes–Do Bats Matter more than Worshippers?

Bats are being treated as though they are more important than worshippers, a Conservative peer has said, as he urged a fightback against churches being turned into “historic bat barns”.

Lord Cormack, a committed Christian, told the House of Lords that bats are a causing a “menace” to historic places of worship.

The former MP for South Staffordshire and Vice President of the National Churches Trust said the mammals were “a particular menace to many old churches” pointing to cases where “remarkable 15th-century brasses” were being corroded by bat droppings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Stewardship

(BBC) Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis reaches deadliest phase

Since the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls two months ago and subsequent international promises of assistance to Nigeria, attacks by Islamist Boko Haram militants have been relentless.

This year has been without doubt the most violent stage of the conflict so far, with at least 3,300 people killed in Boko Haram-related violence since January.

And where the insurgents are operating they are killing, looting and torching entire villages often with little or no resistance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

Church of England Releases World Cup Prayers including Prayers for England Team

The Church of England has released Prayers for the World Cup, including prayers for the England Team ahead of England’s first match against Italy.

The Prayers have been written by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt. Revd. Nick Baines, who originally penned them during the last football World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and has posted them on his blog.

In addition to prayers for those participating in the World Cup and those travelling to “join in the party” there is also a prayer for those for who “are simply not interested” by the competition.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports

(Church Times) Summit hears of church help for sexual-violence survivors

The summit was opened by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and the Hollywood star Angelina Jolie. It ran from Tuesday to Friday, and brought together hundreds of politicians, activists, and survivors to discuss how to tackle the scourge and stigma of sexual violence.

Speaking at the opening to the summit, Ms Jolie, a special envoy to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said that she wanted to dedicate the summit to one rape victim she had met in Bosnia. “She felt that having had no justice for her particular crime . . . and having seen the actual man who raped her on the streets free, she really felt abandoned by the world. This day is for her.”

Mr Hague announced a further £6 million in government funding for programmes to combat sexual violence, and said that he hoped other nations would pledge more money.

“We began campaigning two years ago, because we believe the time has come to end the use of rape in war, once and for all,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(NYT Upshot) What is World Cup’s Most Pessimistic Country?

The most downcast soccer fans in the world ”” relative to the quality of their national team ”” are the citizens of England.

Only 4 percent of English respondents named the home country when asked which team would win the World Cup, in a recent Upshot/YouGov study of 19 countries. Of the 19 countries, only respondents in Costa Rica, which doesn’t crack the top 25 in various world rankings, were so pessimistic.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

(Guardian) Slender Man: the shadowy online figure blamed for a gruesome crime in Wisconsin

The Slender Man is unnaturally tall. A dark-suited nemesis, a sinister stealer of children, he is sometimes described as having black tendrils that extend from his back, but always as having a white, eerie blankness instead of a face. He is said to have the ability to control mind and memory.

And he is not real.

But according to police, on Saturday two 12-year-old girls lured another girl to a forest in Wakuesha, Wisconsin and stabbed her 19 times. One of the girls allegedly told police they stabbed their friend to “prove [themselves] worthy to the Slender….“Slender Man was different,” said [Drew] Slater. “As you focused on him, you began to realize how … wrong he looked. He managed to actually look like a predator and a man, all at the same time. It was spooky.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Uncategorized

(For G K Chesterton's Feast Day) Philip Jenkins–Remembering G.K. Chesterton's Nightmare

Thirty years ago, a British newspaper took an unscientific survey of current and former intelligence agents, asking them which fictional work best captured the realities of their profession. Would it be John Le Carré, Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum? To the amazement of most readers, the book that won easily was G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, published in 1908.

This was so surprising because of the book’s early date, but also its powerful mystical and Christian content: Chesterton subtitled it “a nightmare.” But perhaps the choice was not so startling. Looking at the problems Western intelligence agencies confront fighting terrorism today, Chesterton’s fantasy looks more relevant than ever, and more like a practical how-to guide.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, History, Religion & Culture

G.K. Chesterton on the Incarnation for his Feast Day

For those who think the idea of the Crusade is one that spoils the idea of the Cross, we can only say that for them the idea of the Cross is spoiled; the idea of the cross is spoiled quite literally in the cradle. It is not here to the purpose to argue with them on the abstract ethics of fighting; the purpose in this place is merely to sum up the combination of ideas that make up the Christian and Catholic idea, and to note that all of them are already crystallised in the first Christmas story. They are three distinct and commonly contrasted things which are nevertheless one thing; but this is the only thing which can make them one.

The first is the human instinct for a heaven that shall be as literal and almost as local as a home. It is the idea pursued by all poets and pagans making myths; that a particular place must be the shrine of the god or the abode of the blest; that fairyland is a land; or that the return of the ghost must be the resurrection of the body. I do not here reason about the refusal of rationalism to satisfy this need. I only say that if the rationalists refuse to satisfy it, the pagans will not be satisfied. This is present in the story of Bethlehem and Jerusalem as it is present in the story of Delos and Delphi; and as it is not present in the whole universe of Lucretius or the whole universe of Herbert Spencer.

The second element is a philosophy larger than other philosophies; larger than that of Lucretius and infinitely larger than that of Herbert Spencer. It looks at the world through a hundred windows where the ancient stoic or the modern agnostic only looks through one. It sees life with thousands of eyes belonging to thousands of different sorts of people, where the other is only the individual standpoint of a stoic or an agnostic. It has something for all moods of man, it finds work for all kinds of men, it understands secrets of psychology, it is aware of depths of evil, it is able to distinguish between ideal and unreal marvels and miraculous exceptions, it trains itself in tact about hard cases, all with a multiplicity and subtlety and imagination about the varieties of life which is far beyond the bald or breezy platitudes of most ancient or modern moral philosophy. In a word, there is more in it; it finds more in existence to think about; it gets more out of life. Masses of this material about our many-sided life have been added since the time of St. Thomas Aquinas. But St. Thomas Aquinas alone would have found himself limited in the world of Confucius or of Comte.
And the third point is this; that while it is local enough for poetry and larger than any other philosophy, it is also a challenge and a fight. While it is deliberately broadened to embrace every aspect of truth, it is still stiffly embattled against every mode of error. It gets every kind of man to fight for it, it gets every kind of weapon to fight with, it widens its knowledge of the things that are fought for and against with every art of curiosity or sympathy; but it never forgets that it is fighting. It proclaims peace on earth and never forgets why there was war in heaven.

This is the trinity of truths symbolised here by the three types in the old Christmas story; the shepherds and the kings and that other king who warred upon the children. It is simply not true to say that other religions and philosophies are in this respect its rivals. It is not true to say that any one of them combines these characters; it is not true to say that any one of them pretends to combine them. Buddhism may profess to be equally mystical; it does not even profess to be equally military. Islam may profess to be equally military; it does not even profess to be equally metaphysical and subtle. Confucianism may profess to satisfy the need of the philosophers for order and reason; it does not even profess to satisfy the need of the mystics for miracle and sacrament and the consecration of concrete things.

There are many evidences of this presence of a spirit at once universal and unique. One will serve here which is the symbol of the subject of this chapter; that no other story, no pagan legend or philosophical anecdote or historical event, does in fact affect any of us with that peculiar and even poignant impression produced on us by the word Bethlehem. No other birth of a god or childhood of a sage seems to us to be Christmas or anything like Christmas. It is either too cold or too frivolous, or too formal and classical, or too simple and savage, or too occult and complicated. Not one of us, whatever his opinions, would ever go to such a scene with the sense that he was going home. He might admire it because it was poetical, or because it was philosophical, or any number of other things in separation; but not because it was itself. The truth is that there is a quite peculiar and individual character about the hold of this story on human nature; it is not in its psychological substance at all like a mere legend or the life of a great man. It does not exactly in the ordinary sense turn our minds to greatness; to those extensions and exaggerations of humanity which are turned into gods and heroes, even by the healthiest sort of hero-worship. It does not exactly work outwards, adventurously, to the wonders to be found at the ends of the earth. It is rather something that surprises us from behind, from the hidden and personal part of our being; like that which can some times take us off our guard in the pathos of small objects or the blind pieties of the poor. It is rather as if a man had found an inner room in the very heart of his own house, which he had never suspected; and seen a light from within. It is as if he found something at the back of his own heart that betrayed him into good. It is not made of what the world would call strong materials; or rather it is made of materials whose strength is in that winged levity with which they brush us and pass. It is all that is in us but a brief tenderness that is there made eternal; all that means no more than a momentary softening that is in some strange fashion become a strengthening and a repose; it is the broken speech and the lost word that are made positive and suspended unbroken; as the strange kings fade into a far country and the mountains resound no more with the feet of the shepherds; and only the night and the cavern lie in fold upon fold over something more human than humanity.

–”“The Everlasting Man (Radford, Virginia: Wilder Publications, 2008 paperback ed. of the 1925 original), pp. 114-116

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Theology

The Ballad of God-Makers for G.K. Chesterton's Feast Day

A bird flew out at the break of day
From the nest where it had curled,
And ere the eve the bird had set
Fear on the kings of the world.

The first tree it lit upon
Was green with leaves unshed;
The second tree it lit upon
Was red with apples red;

The third tree it lit upon
Was barren and was brown,
Save for a dead man nailed thereon
On a hill above a town.
That night the kings of the earth were gay
And filled the cup and can;
Last night the kings of the earth were chill
For dread of a naked man.

”˜If he speak two more words,’ they said,
”˜The slave is more than the free;
If he speak three more words,’ they said,
”˜The stars are under the sea.’

Said the King of the East to the King of the West,
I wot his frown was set,
”˜Lo, let us slay him and make him as dung,
It is well that the world forget.’

Said the King of the West to the King of the East,
I wot his smile was dread,
”˜Nay, let us slay him and make him a god,
It is well that our god be dead.’

They set the young man on a hill,
They nailed him to a rod;
And there in darkness and in blood
They made themselves a god.

And the mightiest word was left unsaid,
And the world had never a mark,
And the strongest man of the sons of men
Went dumb into the dark.

Then hymns and harps of praise they brought,
Incense and gold and myrrh,
And they thronged above the seraphim,
The poor dead carpenter.

”˜Thou art the prince of all,’ they sang,
”˜Ocean and earth and air.’
Then the bird flew on to the cruel cross,
And hid in the dead man’s hair.

”˜Thou art the son of the world.’ they cried, `
”˜Speak if our prayers be heard.’
And the brown bird stirred in the dead man’s hair
And it seemed that the dead man stirred.

Then a shriek went up like the world’s last cry
From all nations under heaven,
And a master fell before a slave
And begged to be forgiven.

They cowered, for dread in his wakened eyes
The ancient wrath to see;
And a bird flew out of the dead Christ’s hair,
And lit on a lemon tree.

–G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Church History, Poetry & Literature, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of G. K. Chesterton

O God of earth and altar, who didst give G. K. Chesterton a ready tongue and pen, and inspired him to use them in thy service: Mercifully grant that we may be inspired to witness cheerfully to the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–St. Nerses of Clajes

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:6-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(World Vision) Dreams of soccer and a better life

Márcio is eager to be part of a football team, the sport that his paternal grandmother keeps him from practicing. “My grandmother does not let me play, and then I’m indoors. I do not like being alone at home,” he says, dejected.

Now, thanks to World Vision, he will spend his afternoons doing different activities that will help his social and physical development. “I’m not alone anymore in the house,” Márcio says, celebrating. He strongly believes that he will learn many things in the new community and adds, “I believe in that with faith in God.”

Though he goes to school, Márcio can’t read or write, but he doesn’t hide his desire to learn and has revealed that his teacher only teaches those students who learn fast. Those with learning difficulties, like him, are left behind.

His cousin, Manuela, 26, believes that Márcio’s learning difficulties may be the result of problems during his mother’s pregnancy. “She used a lot of drugs, I believe that it had serious effects on his learning [abilities],” she says. But Manuela emphasizes that he will be a great man, because he has a big desire to be someone in life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Brazil, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, South America, Theology

World Cup First Game and Already the Referee entereth into the Result


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

Canon Rosie Harper (Chaplain to the Bp of Buckingham)–Why I am pro assisted dying

A leading woman priest in the Church of England has spoken out in favour changing the law to allow assisted dying.

Canon Rosie Harper, vicar of Great Missenden and chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham, said she supports Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill which receives its second reading in the House of Lords on July 18.

Her position directly contradicts that of the Church of England, which has argued consistently for no change in the law.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

A new gift will fund Professor of Anglican Episcopal Studies at Duke Divinity School

Duke University trustee Jack Bovender and his wife, Barbara, have given $1.5 million to endow a professorship at the Duke Divinity School, President Richard H. Brodhead announced…[in May].

The gift will fund the Jack and Barbara Bovender Professor of Anglican Episcopal Studies and Ministry, to be held by the director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies (AEHS). The endowed professorship will provide financial stability and a foundation for future growth of AEHS, which was founded in 2006 to provide Anglican spiritual formation for Episcopal and other Anglican students at Duke Divinity School. Currently, 30 students are enrolled in the Anglican Certificate Program.

“Jack and Barbara Bovender have been devoted and thoughtful leaders for Duke,” Brodhead said. “We are grateful for this generous gift to sustain the work of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke Divinity School, whose work of preparing students for service and ministry is a compelling example of Duke’s commitment to knowledge in service to society.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship, Theology

(NYT) In Britain, School Report Cites Division Over Islam

A report released on Monday concluded that pressure from fundamentalist Islamic school board governors had created a culture of “fear and intimidation” among senior staff members in a number of British schools said to have been the targets of a campaign to impose Islamist views on parts of the educational system.

The report, compiled by Britain’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, or Ofsted, stopped short of concluding that such a campaign amounted to a conspiracy, as alleged by an anonymous letter that first raised the alarm. But the results of the inquiry gave weight to concerns in Britain that schools have become the latest battleground in the effort to head off radicalization of young Muslims, an issue that has grown increasingly prominent as more young Britons and Europeans have chosen to fight with Islamic groups in Syria.

Muslim groups disputed the findings and suggested that the report fed stereotypes about Islam. In any event, the report seemed to stoke the fierce debate over the place of Muslims in British society and the extent to which the government should take pre-emptive action to curb extremism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Education, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture