Daily Archives: September 24, 2014

(USA Today) Christianity will live on in Iraq

This persecution has reached well beyond Mosul. As recently as 2003, roughly 1.4 million Christians lived in Iraq. After more than 60 church bombings and ISIL’s recent campaign to exterminate religious minorities, the numbers have dwindled. Syrian Christians are under equally serious assault, as are Coptic Christians in Egypt.

But history offers a glimmer of hope in the midst of this darkness. It is not just that refugees from persecution often find a home in new countries where their beliefs can flourish, as Catholics and Jews did in 19th century America, and Protestants did before that. The more profound truth is that violence rarely has the final word, even in the country from which a religious minority has been excluded.

The Roman Empire sought to snuff out Christianity on several occasions, most famously during the reign of Nero.

Even when they were not actively persecuted, Christians often were forbidden from owning property and subjected to social stigma. Yet Christianity survived and eventually thrived. Ironically, Christianity’s own commitment to human rights ”” such as the dignity of women ”” was a key feature of its success.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Guardian) Father’s education level strongest factor in child’s success at school ”“ study

A father’s level of education is the strongest factor determining a child’s future success at school, creating a self-reinforcing cycle of poverty and lack of achievement passed down from parents to children in Britain, according to research.

The report from the Office for National Statistics claims that children are seven and a half times less likely to be successful at school if their father failed to achieve, compared with children with highly educated fathers.

A mother’s education level was important to a lesser degree, with a child approximately three times as likely to have a low educational outcome if their mother had a low level of education.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Education, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Theology

(The Atlantic) Ezekiel J. Emanuel–Why I Hope to Die at 75

Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

Americans seem to be obsessed with…a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. This has become so pervasive that it now defines a cultural type: what I call the American immortal.

I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CT) Eugene Cho-Working For Justice Will Make You Uncomfortable

What prompted you to write this book?

I went to a basketball game a couple years ago, and the crowd was screaming, “Overrated! Overrated!” at the other team. It’s not that I’ve heard people scream that when I’m preaching, but the possibility of being “overrated” myself is something I’ve sensed throughout my life.

For example, I’ve been speaking, writing, blogging, and preaching about justice. It’s easy to fall in love with the idea. But something gets lost in the actual practice and application. When I started sensing this, I personally felt exposed and began to see the problem in the larger church….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(Independent) A North London School refuses to teach a 6th form girl wearing niqab

Camden School for Girls, in London, which describes itself as one of the top 100 schools in the country is refusing to allow the Muslim teenager to start her A-levels unless she stops wearing the veil.

The 16-year-old, who has attended the school for the past five years, was supposed to start her sixth form studies this month. Her 18-year-old sister described the school’s decision as “very upsetting” for the family and said: “My sister just wants to wear the niqab for her own reasons and attend a school. I don’t feel like her education should be compromised or the way she dresses should affect the way anyone looks at her.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology, Women

Acts8 Blogforce Roundup–Why the Episcopal Church?

This week concludes our three-part BLOGFORCE challenge. The first challenge was, “Why the Church?” The second was, “Why Anglicanism?” This week, we asked, “Why the Episcopal Church?…”

Holli Powell blogs, “Why Why Why?”

And that’s exactly why the Episcopal Church, at least for this silly, frustrated soul. Because I care enough to keep slogging through this mess with these folks who all care just as much as I do, if not more, rather than separating from everyone and writing my own church creed with a cup of coffee in my hand in my back yard. Because all these arguments and disagreements mean that we are a family, bound together by the blood lines of liturgy and faith and reason, and even if you desperately want to run away from your family sometimes, you don’t get to. Because this institution has survived through hundreds of years in order to be just the thing I needed to remind me that I was a child of God, in order to remind me that everyone else is too. And it will survive hundreds of years more, God willing, in spite of ourselves, to be that for other Grumpy McFussypants just like me.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Identity, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR) A Place To Reflect During Jewish Holy Days ”” That's Not A Temple

“I developed this idea for a project called 10Q, which would be 10 questions through an online interface, as a way of guided introspection,” says writer Ben Greenman, a member of a group that works to connect Jewish traditions to modern life. When you sign up for 10Q, a question comes to your inbox during each of the Days of Awe asking about major milestones, regrets, hopes for the future.

“A lot of people, as they answer them, do really take it in an ethical direction, and then some people say ‘Oh, I really got taken on interest rates, and I should have waited two more months to buy the house,’ ” he says.

However you answer the questions, after the 10 days end, the online form disappears. And then, a year later, your answers are emailed back.

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

(Anglican Journal) The Bishop of Montreal posts bond for refugee claimant

Over a year after seeking refuge in a Montreal church, an ailing Pakistani woman threatened with deportation has been able to exchange her sanctuary in the church for what freedom her health permits under a $5,000 bond posted by Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal.

Supporters and a daughter said at a Montreal press conference held Sept 22. in the dioceses’s Fulford Hall that Khurshid Begum Awan, 58, has been living with her daughter, between hospitalizations for her heart condition and other problems, since she left St. Peter’s TMR Church in the Town of Mount Royal in early August. She was not at the press conference for health reasons.

In August, she presented herself to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and applied for what is known as a Pre-Removal Risk-Assessment. She is entitled to remain in Canada, subject to the $5,000 bond, pending results of the assessment and of an earlier application for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CNS) Religion, marriage increase life expectancy, study finds

Study after study has confirmed that those who are involved in religion and those who are married are healthier, physically and mentally happier and live longer than those who are not.

“The health benefits of marriage are so strong that a married man with heart disease can be expected to live, on average, 1,400 days (nearly four years) longer than an unmarried man with a healthy heart,” said Dr. Scott Haltzman, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

“This longer life expectancy is even longer for a married man who has cancer or is 20 pounds overweight compared to his healthy but unmarried counterpart,” Haltzman added. “The advantages for women are similar.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sociology

Religious leaders called for restraint in the face of escalated terrorism fears within Australia

Christian and Muslim leaders have called for restraint and common sense in the face of escalated terrorism fears within Australia.

The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, joined senior leaders from the Muslim Sunni and Shiite communities and and the Greek-Melkite, Maronite, Anglican and Catholic Christian Churches to reject threats from the Islamic State (IS) group to harm Australians.

In a statement Dr Mohammed, Sheik Yahya Safi from the Australian National Iman Council and Father Patrick McInerney from the Catholic Church said the fatwa from IS calling on Australians to be targeted should be rejected by all Australians.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(Wash. Post) After eight years with Facebook’s News Feed, there’s no such thing as ”˜TMI’

In the eight years since, Facebook’s News Feed ”” that LED-lit window through which we glimpse news, memes and snatches of other people’s lives ”” has not exactly gotten less controversial. But the nature of that controversy has fundamentally changed. Where early college users raged against sharing, and seeing, too much information ”” of being subsumed, in effect, by the social media noise ”” our anxieties today frequently involve getting too little of it. Facebook’s latest changes to the News Feed, announced just last week, are essentially tooled to give users more content, more quickly.

Both concerns relate to control. Whether we see too much content or too little, everything we see in Facebook’s News Feed is determined by an algorithm ”” an invented mathematical formula that guesses what you want to see based on who posted it, where it came from, and a string of other mysterious factors known only to the programmers and project managers who work on it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Media, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

For Many, Ukraine a Nation That Seems Less Free From Moscow’s Dominance Than Ever

Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian leader, they say, got everything he wanted by attacking Ukraine overtly in Crimea and covertly in the southeast.

The vague cease-fire terms in the southeast are likely to only freeze the conflict. It could leave Russia’s thuggish proxies running the area and create a permanent geographic Taser that Moscow could use to zap Ukraine at will, leaving it unstable and less than sovereign.

The association agreement with the European Union ”” described by its advocates as the catalyst for broad reform ”” has been delayed until the beginning of 2016 because of Russian objections, leaving its fate uncertain.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Russia, Theology, Ukraine, Violence

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 the enemy: Grant us to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gregorian Sacramentary

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

While Apol”²los was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve of them in all.

And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God; but when some were stubborn and disbelieved, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the hall of Tyran”²nus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

–Acts 19:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Mon. Gazette) The Montreal School of Theology celebrates 100 years of ecumenism

The centenary celebration Sept. 24 of what is now known as the Montreal School of Theology will probably pass almost unnoticed, at a time when religion is often a topic of strife. But in its quiet way, the anniversary is also a reminder that religious strife and debate in Montreal, Quebec and the rest of Canada have been around for a while.

The three theological seminaries on the McGill University campus ”” Presbyterian, United Church and Anglican ”” will be celebrating 100 years of what is now known as ecumenism, a word hardly anyone used in that sense a century ago.

The celebration will be a modest affair….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(RNS) Episcopal Church’s Katharine Jefferts Schori will not seek re-election

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

(Gallup) U.S. Economic Confidence Ticks Down to -18

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans’ views of current economic conditions and their opinions on whether the economy is getting better or worse. Last week, 18% of Americans said the economy was “excellent” or “good,” while 35% said the economy was “poor,” resulting in a current conditions index score of -17. Over the past four weeks, the current conditions index has fallen one point per week.

Meanwhile, 38% of Americans last week said the economy was “getting better,” and 57% said it was “getting worse.” This resulted in an economic outlook score of -19, down three points from the week before, but similar to several prior weeks.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government