Daily Archives: August 8, 2014

Statement from Archbishop Justin Welby on Iraq

The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering.

“What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom’s doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history.

“The international community must document human rights abuses being committed in northern Iraq so that future prosecutions can take place. It is important and necessary for the international community to challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Iraq, Middle East

(WSJ) Joseph Loconte–Of Hobbits, Narnia and Postwar Belief

What Tolkien and Lewis saw on the battlefield made it easy for them to imagine worlds ravaged by evil. Nevertheless, fortified by their Christian faith””Tolkien a Catholic, Lewis an Anglican””they believed that God and goodness were the deepest truths about the human story. In Middle-earth and Narnia, the ruin or redemption of every person depends on what side he or she has chosen in the conflict.

Is this so unlike our own world? Think of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram; the civilians caught in the genocidal storm of the Syrian regime; the courageous Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban for wanting Pakistani girls to go to school.

The heroic figure is the one who resists evil, who is willing to lay down his life for his friends. Perhaps the character of Faramir in “The Lord of the Rings” expresses it best: “I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” That may be the vision of humanity that our present world needs most.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Christology, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

(Pew Res.) AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs

The vast majority of respondents to the 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing anticipate that robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025, with huge implications for a range of industries such as health care, transport and logistics, customer service, and home maintenance. But even as they are largely consistent in their predictions for the evolution of technology itself, they are deeply divided on how advances in AI and robotics will impact the economic and employment picture over the next decade.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

Church of Ireland primate Richard Clarke Speaks out on euthanasia

The Most Revd Clarke said: “One of the most perplexing aspects of the intervention of a former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, into the debate in England on the side of assisted dying was that a fundamental Christian tenet ”“ that our life on earth is not our property to do with as we choose ”“ appeared to have eluded him entirely.

“Much therefore depends on how we understand the significance of earthly life.

“If life is simply a personal commodity…then life is disposable, entirely at the will of the individual ”˜possessor’. This is clearly not the Christian perspective and, even for the non-believer, it is not an automatic understanding of the significance of life.”

Read it all.

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

(Unz Review) Razib Kahn–The Truth About ISIS is more Painful than Many of Us are Willing to Admit

The soldiers of the Islamic State fight under the banner of demons, but their enemies are no angels.

But not all distinctions can be erased. When enumerating the horrors meted out by the Assad regime, or noting the ubiquity of rape in the Congo, I can not help but think that these are the products of human venality. The thugs who murder children for Assad, or the soldiers who rape women in the Congo, may have their ad hoc justifications for what they do. But they do what they do not in a spirit of purpose, but on the orders of their paymasters or in a fit of amorality coming to the fore. Atrocity, even on a grand scale, can still be the marshaling of individual human weakness. The power of the Islamic State derives in part from the fact that inverts the moral order of the world. Some of its soldiers are clear psychopaths, as the most violent and brutal of international jihadis have been drawn to the Islamic State (as opposed to Al Qaeda, which is more pragmatic!). But a substantial number believe in its utopian vision of an Islamic society constructed upon narrow lines. A positive vision of a few evil goals, rather than a grand quantity of small evil pleasures. The Islamic State ushers in an evil new order, it does not unleash unbridled chaos. Though its self-conception that it is resurrecting the first decades of Islam is self-delusion in my opinion, it is still a vision which can entice some in the Islamic international.

I do not think that the Islamic State is here to stay. I believe it will be gone within the next five years, torn apart by its own contradictions and its rebellion against normal human conventions, traditions, and instincts. But that does not mean it is not going to cause misery for many on its way down. The irony is that the iconoclastic Islamic State may as well be worshiping the idols conjured in the most fervid of Christian evangelical apocolyptic literature, because they shall tear the land end to end and leave it in a thousand pieces, a material sacrifice to their god. They live under the illusion that they are building utopia, but they are coming to destroy an imperfect world and leave hell in its wake.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, History, Iraq, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A Legal Update from Fort Worth in the Ongoing Legal Battle with The Episcopal Church There

Via Email from the Diocese of Fort Worth:

We have had the following message today from a member of our legal team:

“The U.S. Supreme Court has requested a response from the Diocese to TEC’s petition for writ of certiorari, filed on June 19. This is an unfortunate development due to the time and money it will take to respond. It does however give us a chance to set the record straight about the case, and I am still convinced that the odds are very small that the Court will want to review the case after reading our response.

“The response is due August 27th. After that TEC parties will have 14 days to reply.”

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

The Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, calls for perspective in Ebola Outbreak

From the calls I got through the night, it’s a revelation that people fear Ebola more than God….! Nobody calls me frantically for Godly things….
Ebola brings death surely, but surely God gives life by grace through faith In Jesus!

(From his Facebook page)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Gambia, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Psychology, Sierra Leone, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(We are Us[Formerly USPG]) Churches in West Africa call for prayer as Ebola virus spreads

Church leaders in West Africa have asked for our prayers as the Ebola virus continues to spread, with 932 reported deaths as we go to press.

Please make use of the prayer we have written….[Here is one]:

God of our anguish, we cry to you
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful Father,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.

Read it all.

Posted in * Admin, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Featured (Sticky), Gambia, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) NHS withdraws job offer to Anglican chaplain in same-sex Marriage

An NHS Trust has withdrawn its offer of an appointment to an Anglican chaplain, after his bishop refused to grant him a licence on the grounds that he had defied the House of Bishops’ pastoral guidance by marrying his same-sex partner.

The priest, Canon Jeremy Pemberton, is Deputy Senior Chaplain and Deputy Bereavement and Voluntary Services Manager in the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. He married Laurence Cunnington in April, and the Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, then withdrew his permission to officiate.

On 10 June, Canon Pemberton was offered a new job as Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services in the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This was conditional on the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham’s issuing him with a licence….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

([L. Times]) Nursery children to learn “fundamental British values” to thwart religs extremism

Nursery children are to be taught about “fundamental British values” to protect them from religious extremism. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, is said to be planning the shift as her first important policy announcement since securing the job in the coalition reshuffle last month.

Under the plan, to be announced today, local authorities will be forced to strip nurseries of their funding if they promote extremist views. She will demand that children are taught “fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way”.

Nurseries found to be teaching creationism as scientific fact will also be barred from receiving funding from the taxpayer. It will bring nurseries into line with state-funded schools.

Read it all (subscription required).

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

Friday morning mental health break: "The Boy and the Ocean" – A reading by author, Max Lucado

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Children, Evangelicals, Other Churches

(NYT) Cease-Fire in Gaza Expires With Rockets Fired Into Israel

A 72-hour truce in the Gaza fighting expired at 8 a.m. Friday as Palestinian militants fired a barrage of rockets into southern Israel, signaling Hamas’s refusal to extend the lull and its desire to apply pressure for its demands to be met at talks in Cairo for a more durable cease-fire agreement.

In response, the Israeli military said it had targeted “terror sites” across the Gaza Strip, and there were reports of airstrikes and artillery fire.

Israel had said it was willing to extend the truce unconditionally and had vowed to respond to any fire from Gaza. Israel has withdrawn its ground troops from the Gaza Strip, but the air force has been on standby, and forces have remained on alert along the border.

Read it all.

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 Letter from the Bishop of Tewkesbury to the Diocese of Gloucester

Various news outlets are carrying a story that this is an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into allegations of indecent assault on a child aged under 18 years and indecent assault on a second female aged over 18 years. The police have confirmed that no arrest has been made. You will all realise that this is therefore a traumatic time for Bishop Michael, his family and for those who have made the allegations. Please hold them in your prayers.

I am sorry that we have not been able to say more until now. I know many people have found this frustrating but I hope you will understand our reasons for this and will appreciate that we have been liaising very closely with Lambeth Palace.

Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury signed an Instrument of Delegation that allows me to act as diocesan bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Dominic

Almighty God, whose servant Dominic grew in knowledge of thy truth and formed an order of preachers to proclaim the good news of Christ: Give to all thy people a hunger for your Word and an urgent longing to share the Gospel, that the whole world may come to know thee as thou art revealed in thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth 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 God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the Cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy; Grant us so to die daily from sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same thy Son Christ our Lord.

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