Daily Archives: September 21, 2014

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Depicting Jesus

[PROF. EDWARD] BLUM: Jesus matters so much because of the incarnation, because of this belief that he’s the fleshed body of God. And so if God takes a particular body with particular hair length and particular eye color, then perhaps that says something about the value of that body.

[KIM] LAWTON: The Gospels give no indication of what Jesus may have looked like. Many Christians over the centuries have been reluctant to portray him at all.

BLUM: When we go back to the Renaissance, and we get painters like Da Vinci and Michelangelo, oftentimes their Jesus is quite feminine with really long hair. I mean, he’s typically pretty emaciated, pretty small physically. In many ways, he looks like a Renaissance painter, you know, he looks kind of like they saw themselves.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Art, Christology, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

Karenna Gore and Serene Jones–Religions for the Earth: Redefining the Climate Crisis

The Religions for the Earth initiative at Union seeks to create a place where visionary religious and spiritual leaders from around the world will convene to find common ground and offer new strategies to deal with a crisis that politicians have been unable to solve.

In meeting after meeting, from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen to Durban, politicians and technocrats have been thwarted, because at its core, climate change is not just about science, or zero-sum financial negotiations between emitters: it’s about values. It relates profoundly to the meaning of life rather than just its mechanics””to the essence of how we experience our being, share our resources, and regard one another across space and time. It has implications for the existence of the world itself, and humanity’s place within it.

It will take a values-driven conversation to change the materialistic and consumer-oriented culture that assigns worth only to financially quantifiable things. The unchecked profit-driven model of maximum production devours what we care most about: clean air, clean water, and the wellbeing of the most vulnerable families. We need a new moral equation.

Read it all from Time Magazine.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Marvin Olasky on the Anchoress–Blogging toward humility

Folks still speak of “the blogosphere,” but it no longer is one sphere (if it ever was). Many readers have feeds of their favorite blogs, and that’s true of the religious realms as well. The 1994 document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” is now 20 years old, but in blogging, evangelicals and Catholics tend to be far apart.

And so, as a public service, I hereby introduce evangelicals to the best-written Catholic blog I’ve seen: The Anchoress. It comes from the mind and heart of Elizabeth Scalia (not one of the justice’s nine children), and it’s not only counter-conventional regarding the world at large but sometimes regarding Roman Catholicism as well. One of her articles asked, “Is the world making an idol of Pope Francis?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Surrogates and Couples Face a Maze of Laws, State by State

“My sense of the big picture is that we’re moving toward laws like the one in Illinois, which accepts that the demand for surrogacy isn’t going away but recognizes the hazards and adds regulations and protections,” said Joanna L. Grossman, a family law professor at the Hofstra University law school.

The Illinois law requires medical and psychological screenings for all parties before a contract is signed and stipulates that surrogates be at least 21, have given birth at least once before and be represented by an independent lawyer, paid for by the intended parents.

The law allows only gestational surrogacy, in which an embryo is placed in the surrogate’s uterus, not the traditional kind, in which the surrogate provides the egg. In addition, it requires that the embryo created in a petri dish must have either an egg or a sperm from one of the intended parents.

“That eliminates some of the concerns about designer babies,” Professor Grossman said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Science & Technology, State Government, Theology

St. Michael's Church bells and clock have survived 250 years of war, fires, earthquake and storms

A tour guide hollers over the clip-clop of his carriage horse passing St. Michael’s Church that the iconic white building at the Four Corners of Law is the city’s oldest surviving church structure in a place rich with historic structures.

Tourists peer over the carriage rails, then up and up the steeple soaring 186 feet high, perhaps to see the oldest tower clock in North America or in hopes of hearing bells imported from England in 1764.

From Charleston’s poorest days to its wartime sagas to these prosperous tourist-ladened years, St. Michael’s bells have announced the city’s routine life events, not to mention hurricanes, earthquakes, fires and two war-time bombardments.

Read it all from the Faith and Values section of the local paper.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Vancouver Sun) Douglas Todd–The uses and abuses of Charles Darwin

I’m at the Cambridge University college that Charles Darwin attended before heading off on a ship to change the world’s views about the origin of the species, particularly the evolution of humans.

Darwin’s theories have been used and abused for many things in the past century or two ”” to promote racism and defeat racism, promote competition and encourage cooperation, to treat humans as objects and see them as special, to believe humans are machines and to say they have free choice, to attack religion and advance religion (particularly through a movement sometimes known as ”˜theistic evolution”).

A conference at Christ’s College in Cambridge, organized by The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, is actually titled “The uses and abuses of biology.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, History, Science & Technology, Theology

Local paper–Remembering Hugo–A Storm that big today would be 'total devastation'

It’s been 25 years since Hugo tore into the Lowcountry, its eye passing just north of Charleston Harbor and leaving an indelible scar on the lives of the people who lived it.

If a storm that powerful made landfall today just south of Hugo’s path, at Kiawah Island, the buzz saw of its worst, north-side winds would shear nearly all of the Charleston metro area and the storm surge would submerge the barrier islands.

According to an experimental Hazus computer model run by a College of Charleston team, a landfall just south of the city from a Hugo-scale hurricane could tear up nearly half the homes in the region and destroy tens of thousands of them. Tens of thousands of people would be homeless, at least temporarily, and thousands forced to shelters. Businesses and jobs could come to a standstill, and the loss to the economy alone could be far more than $2 billion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * South Carolina, History, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

Wisdom from M. Scott Peck on a Sunday Morning

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

–M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Books, Notable & Quotable, Psychology

(Fulcrum) Bishop Grahams Kings Review of ”˜Being Christian’ by Rowan Williams

Like prayer according to George Herbert, this is ”˜something understood.’ His writing is eminently sensible, with light touches of humour and irony, and only hints of a vast hinterland of learning.

There are four chapters: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer. Neatly alternating sacrament and word, the heart of the Christian faith is circulated. The questions for reflection or discussion at the end of each chapter, and the notes for further reading, are enticing and challenging.

He suggests, ”˜Perhaps baptism really ought to have some health warnings attached to it: “If you take this step, if you go into the depths, it will be transfiguring, exhilarating, life-giving and very, very dangerous.”’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Our God, we believe in thee, we hope in thee, and we love thee, because thou hast created us, redeemed us, and dost sanctify us. Increase our faith, strengthen our hope, and deepen our love, that giving up ourselves wholly to thy will, we may serve thee faithfully all the rest of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93:4-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Daily Mail) C of E may axe 400-year-old sacred law to let clergy report serious crimes

For centuries the secrecy of the confessional has been sacrosanct, but the Church of England may relax the rules to allow clergy to reveal serious crimes such as child abuse.

Former Bishop of Chelmsford John Gladwin ”“ who last year led an inquiry into clerical sex abuse in the Church of England ”“ is pressing for the changes, along with members of the Church’s ”˜parliament’, the General Synod.

But any change will be fiercely resisted by traditionalists who think clergy should retain the trust of worshippers. It will also cause tensions with Roman Catholics, who believe the seal of the confessional should remain inviolable.

Bishop Gladwin’s moves follow a decision by the Anglican Church of Australia to allow its priests to report crimes they hear during confession to the police.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(NYT) Panel Urges Overhauling Health Care at End of Life

The panel, which included doctors, nurses, insurers, religious leaders, lawyers and experts on aging, said Medicare and other insurers should create financial incentives for health care providers to have continuing conversations with patients on advance care planning, possibly starting as early as major teenage milestones like getting a driver’s license or going to college.

It called for a “major reorientation and restructuring of Medicare, Medicaid and other health care delivery programs” and the elimination of “perverse financial incentives” that encourage expensive hospital procedures when growing numbers of very sick and very old patients want low-tech services like home health care and pain management.

And it said that medical schools and groups that accredit and regulate health providers should greatly increase training in palliative care and set standards so that more clinicians know how to compassionately and effectively treat patients who want to be made comfortable but avoid extensive medical procedures.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Medicaid, Medicare, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

Fire destroys St. John the Baptist church in Edmundston, New Brunswick

The church was built in 1873 and classified as a historical site in 1991. The building was still used as a church, but was empty at the time of the fire. The former church hall, destroyed by fire earlier this month was a centre for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry

Anglican Bishop Owen Nwokolo worries Nigeria cd break up if Boko Haram is left unchecked

The Anglican Bishop of the diocese on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, has predicted that if the activities of rampaging Boko Haram insurgents continues unchecked, it would result into the break-up of Nigeria.

Although, he would not want Nigeria’s disintegration, Bishop Nwokolo stressed that it might be inevitable if it becomes too difficult for all the citizens to live together, “as we are now trying to observe with the ongoing slaughtering of innocent Nigerians in the name of religion.”

The Bishop made this known at the St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Omagba Phase 1, Onitsha, Anambra State, during the confirmation and induction into the Girls Guide and Mothers Union. He regretted that a lot would go wrong if Nigeria breaks up.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence