Daily Archives: July 27, 2014

A statement from the TEC Diocese of Chicago about the recent Illinois Appellate Court Decision

“We are disappointed by the decision of the Court and believe that the decision is erroneous,” said Richard Hoskins, chancellor emeritus of the Diocese of Chicago. “We believe that the opinion misunderstands the polity of the Episcopal Church and misapplies the First Amendment. The attorneys representing us in the lawsuit are studying the opinion and will advise the Diocese whether to petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy

(B. Standard) 'Hindu Nation' comments trigger uproar in Inida

Controversial comments made by two ministers of the BJP-led Goa government, one wishing for a Hindu nation under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and another claiming India is already one, created an uproar both in the state assembly and across social media Friday.

Minutes after the opposition Congress and an independent legislator staged a walked out demanding a clarification from Co-operation Minister Deepak Dhavalikar for his Thursday’s comments that India would become a Hindu nation if everyone supported Modi, Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza dropped another bombshell, saying India was always a Hindu country and that he was Christian Hindu.

“India is a Hindu country. It is Hindustan. All Indians in Hindustan are Hindus, including I, am a Christian Hindu,” D’Souza, one of the seniormost minority members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa, told reporters in the assembly complex.

The ‘Hindu nation’ comments have found backers amongst Hindu right wing groups, but have also been the target of criticism from other politicians as well as civil society commentators on the social media.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, India, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Stuff) Separation saddens New Zealand Anglican church congregations

The congregation of a Hamilton church divided by a denominational debate on the proposed blessings of same sex relationships spent yesterday’s services in separate buildings praying for one another.

Around 100 members of West Hamilton Anglican Parish left the Rifle Range Road church last week under the Rev Michael Hewat and his wife Kimberley Hewat’s leadership. The departure came following months of discussion of a controversial motion passed in May by the General Synod of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia.

The motion aimed to establish a working group to recommended a process and structure which included a “yet-to-be-developed liturgy for blessing right ordered same-gender relationships”.

The Hewats, supported by 95 per cent of the congregation who attended a special meeting this month, opposed the motion on the grounds that it was contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Globe and Mail) Stephen Harper–Our duty is to stand firm in the face of Russian aggression

Although we may refer to militants in eastern Ukraine as “pro-Russian separatists,” we are not confused by who, and what, they really are: an extension of the Russian state. They derive their material, political and logistical support from the Putin regime, and their criminal aggression and recklessness reflect the values of their Russian benefactors. Some have suggested that these agents of the Putin regime may have shot the plane down by accident. We do not, and may never, know. But accident or no accident, the blood is on the hands of the men who took such a risk and of the government that encouraged them to do so. Even if they did not intend to kill hundreds of innocent civilians, there is no denying their intent to continue waging a war on behalf of a regime that remains in violation of international law for its illegal occupation of Crimea.

Russia’s aggressive militarism and expansionism are a threat to more than just Ukraine; they are a threat to Europe, to the rule of law and to the values that bind Western nations. Canada will not stand idly by in the face of this threat.

That is why we have taken a strong stand, imposing a broad range of sanctions against those entities and individuals responsible for the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Since the start of the crisis in Ukraine, Canada has imposed sanctions on nearly 150 individuals and entities. Earlier this week we broadened our approach, announcing economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy.

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

Music for Sunday: JS Bach Fugue in G minor

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Latino Converts to Islam

We visit the Islamic Center of Greater Miami to look at the rising number of Latino Muslims in the US””as many as 250,000, according to estimates. Some of the converts say that in Islam they have found theological simplicity and “no intermediaries with God.” The Islamic Circle of North America reports that more than half of the US Latino converts are women. “I just felt that the minute I put my head down to the ground,” says Nadia Echevrria, “I felt like I was really talking to God.”

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

[Lent & Beyond] Prayer for South Carolina Sunday July 27th

1 Chronicles 28:9-10 (NIV)
And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.

Our Father in heaven,
We lift up the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina”“the parishes, the litigation teams, and the bishops. May they seek You and dedicate themselves to become households of faith, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord, a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Amen.
Ephesians 2:19-22

Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here. We are grateful to Lent and Beyond for these prayers which during this time will be weekly we understand.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Food for Thought from George Gallup for Sunday

“The world knows a lot about Jesus, but do they know him?” Gallup [once] asked…[a] commencement crowd. “It is for the churches to seize this moment, to take the vague spirituality of the day and turn it into a faith that is solid and transformative.”

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(W. Post) Gaza campaign on pace to become deadliest Israeli conflict in recent years

Palestinian and Israeli casualties are mounting at a pace that could surpass any other Israeli conflict in nearly a decade, amid signs of a deepening military and political stalemate driven by diplomatic gridlock, Palestinian militant resilience and the absence of a clear Israeli exit strategy.

The rising death toll in the Gaza Strip conflict propelled U.S. and European diplomats huddled in Paris to call for an extension of a 12-hour humanitarian truce Saturday that had afforded both sides a brief respite from the nearly three-week-old conflict.

Late Saturday, Israel approved a 24-hour extension of the truce but said it would retaliate if Hamas prevented its forces from continuing to destroy tunnel networks through which the militants have attempted to infiltrate Israel. Hamas fighters, though, resumed firing rockets and mortar rounds into Israel.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Christ, who dost call thy disciples not only to follow thee but to become fishers of men: Give to us and to thy whole Church grace to obey thy word and to engage in a bold and adventurous evangelism; and grant that, attempting great things for thee, we may also expect great things from thee; to whom be glory for ever and ever.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

–Joshua 24:14,15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(W. Post) Buzzfeed fires Benny Johnson for plagiarism

Buzzfeed, the cheeky Web site that has soared in popularity with a mix of throwaway lists and hard-news reporting, has owned up to an ethical breach as old as journalism itself.

In an apology published late Friday night, editor Ben Smith acknowledged that one of the site’s most prolific writers, Benny Johnson, had plagiarized the work of others 40 times in some 500 articles and posts. Johnson has been fired, Smith said.

Johnson’s plagiarism began coming to light on Wednesday after Twitter users and a blog called “Our Bad Media” began reporting instances in which he took other’s work without crediting his sources.

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

(Parade) Happily Ever After: The New Science Behind Wedded Bliss

The belief that your partner will be there for you when things go wrong lays a strong foundation for marital happiness. What creates this belief? Surprisingly, it’s not only how your spouse behaves during a crisis, but also how he or she responds when something great happens, according to Shelly Gable, Ph.D., a psychology professor at UC Santa Barbara

Got a promotion? Your spouse could respond actively or passively, constructively or destructively. The best would be active/constructive: “I know you’ve worked so hard for this! Let’s celebrate.” The worst would be active/destructive: “Wow, do you really think you can handle this extra responsibility?” Somewhere in between are a “[yawn] That’s nice, dear,” or worse, “Did you pick up my dry cleaning?”

Celebrating each other’s ­triumphs is a no-brainer for Atherton and Bert Drenth, a 58-year-old health care company owner and a 60-year-old service rep for hospital lab equipment in Guelph, ­Ontario. The couple agree that they have been “each other’s best cheerleaders,” throughout their marriage. When Bert gave Atherton the news, for example, that he’d landed a great new job, she told him, “All your hard work, integrity, reliability, and attention to detail really paid off. I am so proud of you.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(CSM) Edward Girardet–Allowing Afghanistan's future to be hijacked

The West’s involvement in Afghanistan over the past 12 years has been dominated by one failed opportunity after another. Rather than focusing so massively on the military effort rather than well-informed and better-targeted recovery, for example, the international community could have made a significant difference by supporting a proposal made back in 2002, notably the introduction of electronic ID cards. But the idea was consistently ignored as “impractical.” And yet, in a society where mobile phones are now ubiquitous, it could have served as a relatively reliable voter ID, perhaps preventing stuffed ballots. It could also have helped monitor health, educational, and other crucial data, such as vaccination programs.

For Afghans, the elections are broadly perceived as their last chance before the bulk of foreign troops leave and global development commitment drops even further. Nevertheless, even though Afghans have traditionally proved adept at compromise, the voting abuses may have gone too far. People went to the polls to have their say. To have their vote turned into a shared coalition government primarily because of corruption and abuse of the voting process may only be sending the message that there is no point in democracy.

Yet this does not mean the West should abandon Afghanistan. The last time the West lost interest was after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. This led to a ruthless civil war during the early 1990s followed by the rise of the Taliban supported by Al Qaeda, Pakistan, and even the United States. By the time Washington understood what was happening, it was too late.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Theology, War in Afghanistan

(CC) Carol Zaleski–Art and prayer

While airborne I also listened to an episode of In Our Time, the BBC Radio 4 talk show hosted by veteran broadcaster Melvyn Bragg. Bragg is a polymath; his interest in subjects as varied as photosynthesis, Druids, and the Sino-Japanese War, his affability on air, and his ability to elicit scintillating conversation from scientists and scholars make him one of our best curators of general culture. In the episode I listened to, Bragg was discussing with historian of philosophy Anthony Kenny the bitter controversy over John Wyclif’s interpretation of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. “Could we just spend one more moment on this?” Bragg asked””“because I think it’s absolutely fascinating and key, and quite hard to grasp nowadays.” But if it is quite hard to grasp nowadays, that is because it was always hard to grasp. We are neither so stupid nor so technologically advanced as to be unable to share in the religious concerns of our ancestors””pace Rudolf Bultmann, who once said (in a paroxysm of what C. S. Lewis would call chronological snobbery) that “we cannot use electric lights and radios” and at the same time believe in the miracles of the New Testament.

We owe thanks to the Monuments Men and curators of our culture for rescuing and preserving treasures that would otherwise have vanished from view. But what of the civilization that produced these great works? Are we heading for a future in which our sacred objects will survive essentially as museum pieces? We need not only to preserve the past but also to reanimate it, to let it inform our prayer and thought, and thus to reanimate ourselves by recovering what is good and beautiful in our tradition.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Art, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer