Daily Archives: September 3, 2014

World at One [BBC Radio 4]–Canon Andrew White: It is "impossible to engage" with Islamic State

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Violence

(RNS) After kidnapping schoolgirls, Boko Haram takes aim at churches in northeast Nigeria

Five months after Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls in Nigeria’s Borno State, the Islamic extremist group has begun occupying churches in the country’s northeastern region, church officials there said.

The militant group, which church leaders and analysts view as an African variation of the Islamic State, is also beheading men, forcing Christian women to convert to Islam and taking them as wives, officials said.

“Things are getting pretty bad,” said the Rev. John Bakeni, the secretary of the Maiduguri Roman Catholic diocese in northeastern Nigeria. “A good number of our parishes in Pulka and Madagali areas have been overrun in the last few days.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

The fate of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Sheguiandah, Canada, up for town council debate

In light of the Northeast Town council’s recent decision to look at tearing down Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in Sheguiandah and explore the possible construction of a replica church (utilizing the church’s bell, pews and stain glass windows) on the Centennial Museum of Sheguiandah grounds, The Expositor contacted the museum’s curator, Heidi Ferguson, to find out more about the little church which is getting big attention.

“St. Peter’s Church was built in 1883 by the Stringer, Keatley, Atkinson and Dunlop families, as well as other pioneers,” explained Ms. Ferguson, noting that her source of information is courtesy of the Manitoulin Genealogy Club’s book ”˜Reflections’ and information located in the museum’s files. “A long shed at the back was protection for the horses while they rested during church services. It was also used by the community through the week. Being beside the municipal hall, the shed was used for all events in the hall, from meetings, dances, card parties etc.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Vicky Beeching–Social Media, Faith and Being Alive

St Paul seems an unlikely commentator on mobile technology, but he offers some pertinent thoughts in his letter to the Corinthians. He wrote that while on Earth we perceive God as though “through a lens dimly or darkly” but one day in heaven we will see Him “in full, face to face”. For St Paul, looking through a lens was clearly inferior to taking that glass away and standing face to face in direct contact.

As we hold up our mobile devices, in some ways we create a mediated experience. With a screen between us, we choose to see through glass and forego the ability to be totally present. Yes, we may then have photos to show others, or save for later, but we missed the unrepeatable moment ourselves – and was that a price worth paying?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Today in History: September 3

You can check here and there. This is what stood out to me:

590: St. Gregory I began his reign as Pope. Gregory the Great reigned until 604 and established the popes as the de facto rulers of central Italy, and strengthened the papal primacy over the Churches of the West.

1658: Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the New Commonwealth, i.e. ruler over England’s Puritan parliament (1653-58), died at age 59.

1783: The Treaty of Paris between the United States and Great Britain officially ended the Revolutionary War.

1939: Britain and France declare war on Germany

1958: The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closes above 50 for the first time, finishing the day at 50.06.

1970 Vince Lombardi (57), Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins football coach, died in Washington, D.C.

1984: Typhoon batters Philippines

What stood out to you–KSH?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History

The Archbishop of Canterbury's statement on Christians in the Middle East

“We are seeing an extreme religious ideology that knows no limits in its persecution of those who are culturally or religiously different. Those who promote this intolerance must be challenged and the perpetrators of violence held to account without impunity. The suffering of those who bear the brunt of its terror requires us to act and bear witness to their plight, whatever ethnic group or religious minority they come from. We must provide relief and safety for those displaced and in fear of their lives, in consultation with our partners in the region. We must also bring pressure to bear on those who can provide security to those affected.

“In meeting and praying together, we give thanks for our brothers and sisters as they continue to live their Christian faith with strength and perseverance….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Violence

(The Week) Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry–Why so many Christians won't back down on Same-sex Marriage

The false premise goes something like this: Christianity, as a historical social phenomenon, basically adjusts its moral doctrines depending on the prevailing social conditions. Christianity, after all, gets its doctrines from “the Bible,” a self-contradictory grab-bag of miscellany. When some readings from the Bible fall into social disfavor, Christianity adjusts them accordingly. There are verses in the Bible that condemn homosexuality, but there are also verses that condemn wearing clothes made of two threads, and verses that allow slavery. Christians today find ways to lawyer their way out of those. Therefore, the implicit argument seems to go, if you just bully Christianity enough, it will find a way to change its view of homosexuality, and all will be well. After all, except for a few shut-ins in the Vatican, most Christians today are fine with sexual revolution innovations such as contraception and easy divorce.

Look, there’s obviously some truth in all that. Not every single bit of Christian morality has held constant over a history that spans two millennia, every continent, and almost every culture. And as Christians will be the first to admit, many strands of Christianity have been very accommodating of the idiosyncrasies of its host societies.

But this premise is also fundamentally mistaken, because the history of Christian ethics actually shows that the faith has been surprisingly consistent on the topic of sexuality. Christian opposition to homosexual acts is of a piece with a much broader vision of what it means to be a human being that Christianity will never part with.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(China Aid) Persecution Continues: Churches in Guangzhou, Wenzhou Targeted

Reports of churches and Christians being targeted for persecution continue to emerge, with two of the latest occurring in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou and the beleaguered coastal city of Wenzhou, which has been at the center of this year’s crackdown on Christianity.

In Guangzhou, which borders Hong Kong, nearly 90 police officers stopped a five-year anniversary celebration of the Revival Church in the Yiexiu district and rounded up and took to the police station the approximately 80 people in attendance.

The police banned the celebratory gathering, which they called “an illegal meeting,” and interrogated and photographed everyone who was at the scene.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Missions, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ) The Secret to the Success of Islamic State

Islamic State’s stunning success this summer as it swept across northern Iraq and Syria flows from a highly organized structure controlled by a tightknit cadre led by an Islamist zealot who learned from the mistakes of his al Qaeda predecessors.

Blending familiar terrorist acts such as car bombings with conventional military tactics, the group bolsters its strength with local tribal connections and the skills of former generals in Saddam Hussein’s army, said Western and Middle Eastern officials tracking the extremist movement.

Thrown into the mix is an effective recruitment strategy””join us or die, some young men in captured areas are told””along with wealth from the extortion of local businessmen and the appeal to religious fundamentalists of having a new Islamic “caliphate” on occupied land. To its supporters, Islamic State has effectively portrayed the quest for territory as an existential fight for Sunni Muslims world-wide.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

Blog Update–We are back and Under the Deluge so be Patient as we get back up to Speed

Many thanks–KSH.

Posted in * Admin, * By Kendall

(Wash. Post) Ukraine announces cease-fire in east; major questions remain

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday announced a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, although major questions remained about whether it would be implemented.

The surprise decision comes as Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine have made rapid strides to retake territory in the last week, after apparently receiving an infusion of support from Russia, which the Kremlin denies.

Poroshenko’s office announced the cease-fire in the eastern Donets Basin region, also known as Donbas, after a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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

A Rabbi’s ”˜Spiritual Playground’ Extends to the Surf

How could the rabbi convince the preteen boys that it was important to memorize a new alphabet and difficult prayers for their bar mitzvahs?

The rabbi offered his students a deal.

“We were studying Hebrew and he said if I taught him to surf, he would teach me Hebrew,” said Jonah Dickson, 12. “It was a little surprising. I didn’t think a rabbi would want to surf.”

But this was the freewheeling rabbi of the East End.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sports

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord our God, give us more love, more denial of self, more likeness to thee. Teach us that it is better to give than to receive, better to forget ourselves than to put ourselves forward, better to serve than to be waited on; and unto thee, the God of love, be praise and glory for ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

–Psalm 38:21-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) The Salmon Cannon: Easier Than Shooting Fish Out Of A Barrel

Ever since rivers have been dammed, destroying the migration routes of salmon, humans have worked to create ways to help the fish return to their spawning grounds. We’ve built ladders and elevators; we’ve carried them by hand and transported them in trucks. Even helicopters have been used to fly fish upstream.

But all of those methods are expensive and none of them are efficient.

Enter the salmon cannon.

The device uses a pressure differential to suck up a fish, send it through a tube at up to 22 mph and then shoot it out the other side, reaching heights of up to 30 feet. This weekend, it will be used to move hatchery fish up a tributary of the Columbia River in Washington.

Read it all and enjoy the video also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

Tish Warren–The Wrong Kind of Christian at Vanderbilt University

At first I thought this was all a misunderstanding that could be sorted out between reasonable parties. If I could explain to the administration that doctrinal statements are an important part of religious expression””an ancient, enduring practice that would be a given for respected thinkers like Thomas Aquinas””then surely they’d see that creedal communities are intellectually valid and permissible. If we could show that we weren’t homophobic culture warriors but friendly, thoughtful evangelicals committed to a diverse, flourishing campus, then the administration and religious groups could find common ground.

When I met with the assistant dean of students, she welcomed me warmly and seemed surprised that my group would be affected by the new policy. I told her I was a woman in the ordination process, that my husband was a PhD candidate in Vanderbilt’s religion department, and that we loved the university. There was an air of hope that we could work things out.

But as I met with other administrators, the tone began to change. The word discrimination began to be used””a lot””specifically in regard to creedal requirements. It was lobbed like a grenade to end all argument. Administrators compared Christian students to 1960s segregationists. I once mustered courage to ask them if they truly thought it was fair to equate racial prejudice with asking Bible study leaders to affirm the Resurrection. The vice chancellor replied, “Creedal discrimination is still discrimination.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Young Adults