Daily Archives: July 29, 2014

Great Resources to Share Dept.–John Wain's Wonderful 5 part Series on Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins

Check it out on Youtube.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Local Paper) South Carolina Medicaid backlog leaves thousands in insurance limbo

Thousands of South Carolina residents who filed for Medicaid between October and mid-July are still waiting to find out if they qualify for the government’s low-income health insurance program.

While most Medicaid applications are typically approved or denied within six days, the state agency responsible for processing the paperwork hasn’t been able to keep pace with an influx from HealthCare.gov.

More than 43,000 South Carolina Medicaid applications were submitted through the new federal health insurance marketplace between Oct. 1 and July 13, but the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services has only managed to make its way through 25 percent of them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Health & Medicine, Medicaid, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

(Reformation 21) Simon Gathercole reviews Tom Wright's book "Paul and the Faithfulness of God"

Let me begin by stating the fact that most obviously strikes the recipient of a copy of Paul and the Faithfulness of God (henceforth, PFG): it is 1658 pages long. At one point, probably about a third of the way or half-way through, I had a feeling which – unprompted – interpreted itself in words similar to those of John Newton’s Amazing Grace: ‘When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun | We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, as when we first begun’. I felt at this stage at the book that, having read hundreds and hundreds of pages, I still had as many to go as I did when I first begun. One of the chapters is over 250 pages. But I did make it all the way through to what I assume was the George Herbert allusion at the end.

No-one could read this book and not learn an enormous amount. In addition to Wright’s well-known interest in the ‘big picture’ there is also close reading of a great number of passages in Paul, some of which are revisited again and again. There is the characteristic confidence of tone, and – in contrast to how Pauline scholars feel sometimes – there are very few places in the epistles which are opaque to Wright. There is some excellent cut-and-thrust dueling with other scholars as well, especially in the closing chapters where there are extended lively debates with John Barclay (on empire), Troels Engberg-Pedersen (on Paul and Stoicism) and Francis Watson (on Jewish exegesis).

Wright’s work is the product of an individual voice within Pauline scholarship. My use of ‘individual’ here is not a Sir-Humphrey-like way of saying ‘eccentric’, but rather that PFG cannot be said to belong to a particular ‘school’ of Pauline interpretation. There is some affinity to other Pauline scholarship, perhaps especially the work of the dedicand, Richard Hays. But one cannot summarise this book as a New Perspective, anti-Empire, narrative treatment of Paul, because, for example, Wright’s disagreements with other new-perspectivists and other Paul-and-empire advocates are very marked indeed. In some ways, Wright’s approach is anti-traditional – some of his favourite targets are Lutheran readings of Paul, pietistic understandings of the life after death (e.g. p.188), and understanding Paul ‘in terms of an abstract theological system’ (p.1176). On the other hand he is rare in current New Testament scholarship for seeing Paul as, in some sense, the author (I think) of all thirteen Pauline epistles New Testament, though the position on 1 Timothy and Titus is a little unclear (p.61).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Ottawa Citizen) Mohammed Adam–The world has forgotten the Nigerian girls

How easily the world forgets. It has been only three months, but it feels like a lifetime since more than 200 Nigerian girls were snatched from their school in the dead of night by the brutal Boko Haram. Vigils and marches around the world marked the girls’ 100 days in captivity, and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan managed to emerge from his cocoon to finally meet the parents of the abducted girls. I guess we should thank God for his small mercies. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his role as a UN global ambassador, tried to keep up hope for the girls’ return on the bleak anniversary, but his words had a hollow ring.

“The world has not forgotten these girls. Not in a 100 days. Not for one day,” Brown wrote.

Yes it has. The universal outrage that greeted the abduction, and the massive effort to mobilize the global community to confront the terrorists and rescue the girls, has dissipated. Western governments talked tough, promised big, but in the end, did precious little to help save the girls. A world-wide Bring Back Our Girls campaign led by politicians, religious leaders and celebrities swept across continents and energized people. There was hope, but it was only fleeting. Once the sad faces that tugged at our heartstrings disappeared from our TV screens, the outrage faded, and governments moved on to the next crisis in the headlines, promises forgotten. People returned to their busy lives, and the Bring Back Our Girls campaign fizzled. More than 200 girls are brazenly abducted, and what the world does is to shed a little tear, then shrug its shoulders and move on. It is hard to imagine the horror that confronts these girls every waking moment. The terror, the helplessness and the feeling of abandonment must be excruciating.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

(JE) Jeff Walton–Seeking Cash, Virginia Episcopalians Make Way for Evangelical Tenants

Like the 1968 film “The Odd Couple,” a group of liberal Episcopalians, recently divorced from Anglican former parishioners, is looking to share space with some Korean Southern Baptists.

Currently this Episcopal congregation, a small remnant of a once robust congregation that joined the Anglican Church in North America and lost its building to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, is subsidized by the Diocese to the tune of over $6,000 per church attender.

This past autumn I blogged about how two church properties formerly the home of Anglican churches and awarded to the Diocese of Virginia in court rulings were now, somewhat ironically, being rented or sold to evangelical congregations. The rebuilding of continuing Episcopal congregations is slow work, in some cases requiring substantial financial support from the diocese in order to maintain and operate facilities. The Diocese is once again leasing space to an evangelical group, this time at Epiphany Episcopal Church in Herndon.

In an announcement to church members this past Sunday, Epiphany Episcopal Church made public that an agreement has been reached with New Hope Washington Central Baptist Korean Congregation, which will move into the property off of Fairfax County Parkway in late July.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

A Repost in Special Reference to the NYT Edit. on Marijuana–Nora Volkow on Legalizing Marijuana

For those who argue that marijuana is no more dangerous than tobacco and alcohol, [Nora] Volkow has two main answers: We don’t entirely know , and, simultaneously, that is precisely the point .

“Look at the evidence,” Volkow said in an interview on the National Institutes of Health campus, pointing to the harms already inflicted by tobacco and alcohol. “It’s not subtle ”” it’s huge. Legal drugs are the main problem that we have in our country as it relates to morbidity and mortality. By far. Many more people die of tobacco than all of the drugs together. Many more people die of alcohol than all of the illicit drugs together.

“And it’s not because they are more dangerous or addictive. Not at all ”” they are less dangerous. It’s because they are legal. .”‰.”‰. The legalization process generates a much greater exposure of people and hence of negative consequences that will emerge. And that’s why I always say, ”˜Can we as a country afford to have a third legal drug? Can we?’ We know the costs already on health care, we know the costs on accidents, on lost productivity. I let the numbers speak for themselves.”

Read it all, and note the sad lack of comments at the time.

Posted in Uncategorized

NY Times Letters on the Editorial–Legalize Marijuana? Responses Vary

Here is one:

Your opinion, in “Repeal Prohibition, Again,” that marijuana should be legalized is based in part on an assumption that during Prohibition “people kept drinking.” Prohibition reduced the public’s alcohol intake considerably. The rate of alcohol-associated illness dropped in similar fashion. Prohibition was perhaps a political failure, but an impressive success from a public health standpoint.

Both alcohol and marijuana can lead to the chronic disease of addiction, directly affect the brain and negatively affect function. As more than 10 percent of our population has addictive disease, your statement that marijuana is “far less dangerous than alcohol” doesn’t reflect decades of research demonstrating risks associated with both of these drugs.

Why would we possibly wish to add to the alcohol- and tobacco-driven personal and public health catastrophe with yet another substance to which some people will become addicted?

Some people use marijuana currently. Legalize it, and more people will use more marijuana, leading to more addiction, lower productivity and higher societal costs….

Read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Office of the President, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Senate, The U.S. Government, Theology

The NYTimes Editorial Calling for Federal repeal the ban on marijuana leaving the decision to States

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

Read it all from this past weekend.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Senate, State Government, The U.S. Government, Theology

(CC) Rowan Williams: In the place of Jesus–Insights from Origen on prayer

That, in a nutshell, is prayer””letting Jesus pray in you and beginning that lengthy and often very tough process by which our selfish thoughts and ideals and hopes are gradually aligned with his eternal action, just as, in his own earthly life, his human fears and hopes and desires and emotions are put into the context of his love for the Father, woven into his eternal relation with the Father””even in that moment of supreme pain and mental agony that he endures the night before his death.

So it should not surprise us that Jesus begins his instructions on prayer by telling us to affirm that we stand where he stands: “Our Father.” Everything that follows is bathed in the light of that relationship. The Lord’s Prayer begins with a vision of a world that is transparent to God: “May your kingdom come, your will be done; may what you [God] want shine through in this world and shape the kind of world it is going to be.” And only when we have begun with that affirmation, that imagining of a world in which God’s light is coming through, do we start asking for what we need. And what do we need? We need sustenance, mercy, protection, daily bread, forgiveness; we need to be steered away from the tests that we are not strong enough to bear.

Origen is one of the early Christian writers who speak and write about prayer starting from this point. Origen (who died probably in 254) grew up in Alexandria and taught in various places around the eastern Mediterranean, especially in Alexandria and in Caesarea in Palestine. For a lot of his career he was a layman, but he was eventually ordained in Palestine (rather to the alarm of some people who thought he was very unsound); he was imprisoned in the great persecutions of the 250s and seems to have died as a result of the torture and injuries he endured in prison. He was not just an academic, then, but a witness who carried the cross in his own life and death.

Origen’s little book on prayer is the first really systematic treatment of the subject by a Christian.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

Ross Douthat Responds to Walter Kasper and others on Marriage and the Sacraments

I know that for many readers, teasing out these implications makes Kasper’s proposal seem that much more reasonable and admirable, because in their view the Catholic Church desperately needs a way to evolve toward the norms of “sexual modernity” (on same-sex marriage, especially, but other fronts as well). And if this is the entering wedge for that kind of change, well, then so much the better.

That’s a perfectly understandable perspective (about which I say more, in a slightly different form, soon). All I’m saying here is that it needs to be forthrightly acknowledged, rather than hidden away as a kind of footnote to what is officially presented a small pastoral change. That right or wrong, good or evil, merciful or destructive, the Kasper proposal is not a minor tweak to Catholic discipline: It’s a depth charge, a change pregnant with further changes, an alteration that could have far more sweeping consequences than innovations (married priests; female cardinals) that might seem more radical on their face.

For reasons of theology, sociology, and simple logic, admitting the remarried to communion has the potential to transform not only Catholic teaching and Catholic life, but the church’s very self-understanding. These are the real stakes in this controversy; these are the terms, here and in Rome, on which it needs to be debated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Mary and Martha [and Lazarus] of Bethany

Generous God, whose Son Jesus Christ enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany: Open our hearts to love thee, our ears to hear thee, and our hands to welcome and serve thee in others, through Jesus Christ our risen Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

All through this day, O Lord, let me touch as many lives as possible for Thee; and every life I touch, do Thou, by Thy Holy Spirit, quicken, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I breathe, the letters I write, or the life I live; in the name of Jesus Christ.

–The Pastor’s Prayerbook

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Wonderful Report on the Ricochet Surfing Dog who helps those in Great Need

Ricochet is a surfing superstar who helps teach the disabled to hang ten, too.

Watch it all from NBC.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Health & Medicine, Psychology

A Statement from Bishop Mouneer Anis on Iraqi Christians

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa and the President Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, stated that the suffering, persecution and displacement of Iraqi Christians, especially in the Mosul area, is a disgrace to the international community which is not doing enough to rescue the people of Iraq from the terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Iraq, Middle East, Other Churches, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Bishop Angaelos' Statement on Mosul

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom regarding the situation in Mosul, Iraq
25 July 2014

As the widespread violence and aggression facing Christians and minority groups in Mosul, Iraq, intensifies, it is increasingly evident that the fundamental right and freedom to practice one’s Faith and belief is, and continues to be, grossly violated.

We are currently witnessing an unacceptable widespread implementation of extremist religious ideology that threatens the lives of all Iraqi’s who do not fit within its ever-narrowing perspective. While this situation stands to eradicate centuries of co-existence and culture in the region it also threatens to significantly and negatively impact these communities for generations to come. If left unchallenged, it is not Iraq alone that is at risk, but the potential is intensified for the replication of this ideology as a viable and legitimate model for others across the Middle East.

As the situation escalates, little is being said in the worldwide community, and I am therefore appreciative of the recent comment by The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, and its Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, expressing its concern over the current situation in Mosul. Comments such as this have the potential to positively influence these and similar situations by challenging what is being taught, and presenting an alternative religious understanding.

We continue to pray and advocate for all whose God-given right to freedom is denied, hoping that acceptance and respect for all is realised in these affected communities, and that grace, healing and strength will be given to those who continue to suffer great atrocities and the loss of precious human life.

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East