Daily Archives: September 10, 2014

Dr Ian Paul: Law suits and same-sex marriage

..what is odd in this case is that employment has been refused by a potential employer (note that the Church is not an ”˜employer’ of clergy in ministry posts, since they are ”˜office holders’ and not ”˜employees’) on grounds which are quite separate from the process of appointment or employment. If Jeremy wants to pursue a case in an employment tribunal, then he would surely have to pursue it against the NHS Trust, and not against the bishops.
..whilst one bishop might not wish to instigate difficult and costly proceedings to remove a licence, these are perfectly good grounds, procedurally and theologically, to refuse to grant a licence. It is really difficult to see how a Tribunal can overturn this, given equality exemption, even if it thinks it does have jurisdiction, and even if it thinks the actual position of the Church is wrong. If the Tribunal were to overturn it, this would signal the end of exemption for the Church of England, and by implication for all religious groups. Is that really plausible?
What, then, is the point of making the claim? The answer perhaps comes in the Press Release from Changing Attitude from the day before which specifically mentions Jeremy’s situation. The statement concludes:

You need to respond to the anger and frustration being felt by LGBTI laity and clergy. The temperature is rising and people are calling for urgent action. We are not prepared to wait for the conclusion of the mutual conversations for the changes which have already occurred to be approved by the House of Bishops.

The key phrase here is ”˜we are not prepared to wait’; nothing is more important than changing the Church’s teaching on this question””not the reputation of the Church, not relationship with bishops, not any consideration of those who hold a different view, not the Pilling process of facilitated conversations. There are no grounds for conversation or negotiation.

Jeremy must have known in April that the new post was coming up. He was also well aware of the challenge to the bishops of his living in one diocese (whose bishop was likely unwilling to take disciplinary action) and working in another (whose bishop was more likely to). In the timing of his marriage, it is quite hard to see Jeremy as the hapless victim rather than as a well-planned campaigner.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(Onion) the Pros and Cons Of a Long-Distance Relationship


Efficiently combines the frustration of being in a relationship with the loneliness of being single
Girlfriend in other state provides convenient way to ignore your fear of meeting new people
More pillows for yourself
Technology allows couples to communicate as if Skype session is a prison visit with thick sheet of glass between them….

LOL. Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Jeremy Pemberton takes Church of England to employment tribunal over Same Sex Marriage

Gay priest Jeremy Pemberton is taking the Church of England to an employment tribunal after his licence to practice was revoked for marrying his partner.

The canon was told by the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham he could not work as a priest in Nottinghamshire after he became the first gay priest to wed back in April.

The 58-year-old’s decision to marry long-term partner Laurence Cunnington led to the withdrawal of a job offer as head of chaplaincy and bereavement services at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust ”“ which runs King’s Mill and Newark hospitals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast To Introduce Daily Choral Service

For the first time in the history of Belfast, Choral Evensong or Sung Compline will be sung in the city every night with the exception of Saturday.

St Anne’s Cathedral’s weekly Choral Services recommenced after the summer break on 8 September with Sung Compline at 5.30pm on Monday and Choral Evensong at the same time on Wednesday.

On 18 September, Thursday Choral Evensong will be introduced, continuing every Thursday thereafter. On Culture Night, Friday 19 September, the 5.30pm service will also be sung, continuing on Fridays throughout the school term. And after Christmas St Anne’s will also offer a Sung Compline on a Tuesday.

The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, said: ”˜This is the first time ever, as far as I am aware, that any church in Belfast has had a Choral Evening Service every day with the exception of Saturday, which I don’t think we will be able to manage. All of the Cathedral choirs will be taking part with different sections singing on different nights. The clergy will have more singing to do too!’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ireland, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(RNS) Atheists want you to sit down for the Pledge of Allegiance

Sit down and shut up.

That’s the message of a campaign launched Monday (Sept. 8) by the American Humanist Association, asking Americans to refrain from standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance until Congress removes the phrase “under God.”

The 29,000-member humanist activist group, which also advocates on First Amendment issues, holds that the phrase “under God” is an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, History, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

TEC Bishop Dan Martins Shares why he is not going to the next HOB Meeting

It would abet a polemical narrative about the character of the Episcopal Church. “The Episcopal Church,” is, in fact, an alias, a shorthand for the more unwieldy Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The dioceses that originally confederated to form PECUSA were all in areas that were part of the USA. Only a few decades ago, what is now styled the Executive Council was known as the National Council. Despite regular admonitions from certain quarters not to do so, at a local level, Episcopalians still routinely refer to the “national church” in casual parlance. In many of our liturgical forms, we pray regularly for “the President of the United States.” Anglicans in other lands are wont to speak of “the American church” when they actually mean TEC. Of course, because Americans once tended to congregate in expatriate enclaves while living in Europe for business or personal reasons, chapels were established in various countries there. Many of those congregations perdure, and are no longer merely serving expatriates, but include many natives of the countries where they are located. Because of our DFMS efforts, we planted churches in Latin America, Haiti, and the Caribbean. The result is that the Episcopal Church is present in some 26 countries (one of which is Taiwan).

This is not the fruit of some grand missionary strategy; it just happened that way. But lately there has been an effort to make political hay out of happenstance. From at least 2006 (I can’t remember whether it goes back further), the dais in the House of Deputies at General Convention has been decorated with the flags of all 26 countries where TEC has a presence. In conversation at official levels, the use of the expression “national church” is vociferously discouraged. In the same time frame, the conflict level among (and within) the 39 member provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion has risen markedly. TEC has found itself increasingly at odds with provinces representing an overwhelming majority of the world’s Anglicans.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(Foreign Policy) Laurie Garrett on Ebola–We Could Have Stopped This

World, you still just don’t get it. The Ebola epidemic that is raging across West Africa, killing more than half its victims, will not be conquered with principles of global solidarity and earnest appeals. It will not be stopped with dribbling funds, dozens of volunteer health workers, and barriers across national borders. And the current laboratory-confirmed tolls (3,944 cases, with 2,097 deaths) will soon rise exponentially.

To understand the scale of response the world must mount in order to stop Ebola’s march across Africa (and perhaps other continents), the world community needs to immediately consider the humanitarian efforts following the 2004 tsunami and its devastation of Aceh, Indonesia. The U.S. and Singaporean militaries launched their largest rescue missions in history: The United States alone put 12,600 military personnel to a rescue and recovery mission, including the deployment of nearly the entire Pacific fleet, 48 helicopters, and every Navy hospital ship in the region. The World Bank estimated that some $5 billion in direct aid was poured into the countries hard hit by the tsunami, and millions more were raised from private donors all over the world. And when the dust settled and reconstruction commenced, the affected countries still cried out for more.

In contrast, the soaring Ebola epidemic garnered only a negligible international response from its recognition in March until early July.Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Health & Medicine

(W. Po) Roger Goodell under fire for handling of Ray Rice domestic violence incident

[Now]…this week, his name now as much a part of NFL culture as its most famous players and teams, the 55-year-old commissioner began taking on heavy fire for his judgment and ability to perform his self-described job description. Scrutiny, particularly recently, is nothing new, but it has never been harsher than this week, following the publishing of a video Monday that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, and then dragging her unconscious body out of an Atlantic City casino elevator. It was footage, Goodell told the “CBS Evening News” on Tuesday, he had not seen during the NFL’s earlier investigation into the matter.

Goodell’s words eased little of the pressure on the commissioner, and in fact, those in and around the NFL community have begun scrutinizing Goodell’s priorities and, in some cases, calling for his job.

Depending on viewpoint, the NFL was either unable despite its vast resources to procure the same video from the Revel Hotel and Casino that TMZ somehow acquired and published. Or, as TMZ reported Tuesday morning, the league simply never asked for it in an effort to ferry out a lighter punishment for Rice.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sports, Theology, Violence, Women

(Catholic Herald) Pro-life group banned from Dundee University’s freshers’ fair

Douglas Schreiber, vice-president of DUSA, told the Dundee Courier: “We have students on campus who have had abortions in the past and there was clearly some distress felt by a number of the students that attended the fair surrounding this issue.

“The students largely do not want anything to do with a group that promotes the removal of rights over bodily autonomy for over half the student population that attend this university.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, Education, England / UK, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Young Adults

Rick Warren Remembers Truett Cathy as a 'Godly Man and Humble Servant of Christ'

Rick Warren, founder and pastor of Saddleback Church in California, described Cathy “was a giant of a man in so many ways: a godly man, a wise husband and father, a business genius, a creative innovator, a humble… servant of Jesus Christ with rock-ribbed integrity, a generous philanthropist, and one who loved greatly, cared deeply for the poor, especially disadvantaged kids, and used his life and work to benefit others.” – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/52468/20140908/rick-warren-remembers-truett-cathy-godly-man-business-genius-humble-servant-jesus-christ.htm#sthash.bNjEq40B.dpuf

“Truett was a man truly who lived his faith, welcoming the homeless into his own home, improving the lives of thousands of disadvantaged kids, and giving them help and hope. Even after becoming a billionaire CEO, Truett continued to teach his weekly Sunday School class for 50 years. One of the five books he wrote summed up his attitude toward helping young boys in trouble: “It’s Better To Build Boys Than Mend Men.” Warren wrote on his Facebook page.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(NYT) A Megachurch With a Beat Lures a Young Flock

A toned and sunburned 32-year-old Australian with the letters F-A-I-T-H tattooed onto his biceps strode onto the stage of a former burlesque theater here and shouted across a sea of upstretched hands and uplifted smartphones: “Let’s win this city together!”

The crowd did not need much urging. Young, diverse and devoted to Jesus, the listeners had come to the Belasco Theater from around the city, and from across the country, eager to help an Australian Pentecostal megachurch that is spreading worldwide establish its first outpost on America’s West Coast.

The church, Hillsong, has become a phenomenon, capitalizing on, and in some cases shaping, trends not only in evangelicalism but also in Christian youth culture. Its success would be rare enough at a time when religion is struggling in a secularizing Europe and North America. But Hillsong is even more remarkable because its target is young Christians in big cities, where faith seems out of fashion but where its services are packing them in.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Augustine

Almighty God, in whom we live and move and have our being, who hast made us for thyself, so that our hearts are restless till they rest in thee: Grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose, that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing thy will, no weakness from doing it; but that in thy light we may see light clearly, and in thy service find our perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now a certain man was ill, Laz”²arus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Laz”²arus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Laz”²arus. So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, “Our friend Laz”²arus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Laz”²arus is dead; and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

–John 11:1-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Robert Rotberg–Is Boko Haram Emboldened by ISIS Victories?

To defeat a disciplined and fanatical insurgency inspired by ideological fervour anywhere, disciplined leadership is fundamental. Without such leadership the security forces are reluctant to engage. When rampant corruption is added to the mix, it is no wonder that West Africa’s putatively most powerful military force has been unable and unwilling to reduce Boko Haram to the pitiful state in which it existed four years ago. Now that the security forces have the benefit of outside help and sophisticated surveillance techniques, it should be easy. But if armies are not fully at one with their political leaders, and if armies believe themselves to be abused, there is no fight.

Victory over Boko Haram is only possible if Mr. Jonathan makes such a victory a national cause and if he and his close followers find a way to strengthen the legitimacy of the state and of key state institutions such as the military. This would involve Mr. Jonathan demonstrating a real belief in the integrity of the nation, casting aside party and ethnic considerations, and showing that he really is the leader of all Nigerians, not just southerners, Christians or the denizens of Abuja.

Until and unless Mr. Jonathan rises to as yet untouched heights of leadership, Maiduguri may well be overrun, and a jejune and greedy movement constitute Nigeria’s first breakaway state. The 19th-century Kanemi-Bornu emirate will then have been recreated in the guise of a fanatical caliphate with no real indigenous roots.

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

(Gallup) U.S. Weekly Economic Confidence Index in Doldrums at -17

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index remained at -17 in the first week of September, the same score as in the last week of August. For the sixth week in a row, index readings have not strayed from a narrow range of -15 to -17.

After the index took a tumble in late July, dropping briefly to -21 — the lowest weekly reading it has seen in 2014 so far — it recovered quickly, climbing to -15 in the week ending Aug. 3, and has held near that level since. For the year to date, the weekly index has averaged -16.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Psychology

(Crux) Photos from inside the Vatican Secret Archives

These are just remarkable–take the time to look at them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Europe, History, Italy, Other Churches, Photos/Photography, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Weekly Standard) Sam Schulman–Rotherham’s Collaborators

Thanks to the Jay report, however, we can say that the Hodges rejoinder is not entirely true. The Rotherham problem”‹”””‹which we’ll call Childhood Sexual Exploitation, or CSE, because everyone uses that jargon”‹”””‹was the subject of repeated scrutiny throughout the period when 1,400 girls fell victim to it, not only by the local government itself but also by social services, private charities and their consultants, the National Health Service (NHS), and the police. The girls were abandoned only partly because so many made a cowardly choice to let a crime go unreported when they could not think of a “non-racist” way to describe it. They were also abandoned because of the way that these agencies tried to do good. The process of “caring for children” was already bad; the distortions and systematic mendacity encouraged by the ideology of multiculturalism and racial and gender theorizing made it worse.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence, Women

Philip Clayton–Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928-2014)

Wolfhart Pannenberg has often been called the greatest theologian of the second half of the 20th century. With his death Friday, the world has lost a brilliant interpreter of Christianity, and I have lost the mentor who molded me as a scholar, theologian, and person.

In the 1950s, when Pannenberg was a doctoral student in Heidelberg, Karl Barth dominated the theological stage. In order to counteract Barth’s overemphasis on salvation history (Heilsgeschichte), Pannenberg redefined revelation as “universal history” (Universalgeschichte). A few years later he published a major Christology (Jesus””God and Man) that established him as the world’s leading defender of “theology from below.”

Over the next 30 years, Pannenberg extended this program to philosophy, the religion/science debate, the dialogue across the world religions, and to every corner of theology. He had the most encyclopedic mind I have ever encountered. You need only to read around a bit in his multi-volume Basic Questions in Theology to be stunned by the range and depth of his scholarship. John Cobb once quipped, “I saw that Pannenberg was able to encompass the entire range of knowledge within his own mind. Realizing that I could never match this achievement, I decided it would take a lifetime of working with my doctoral students to cover as many topics.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Europe, Parish Ministry, Theology