Daily Archives: October 8, 2014

(CC) Todd Brenneman–Are the Osteens evangelical outliers?

For many evangelicals, the Osteens are on the periphery of Christianity. They represent the “prosperity gospel”””a message that claims that God will bless the faithful with financial gain. Prosperity preachers often live extravagant lifestyles and point to their wealth as evidence of their message. They often quote biblical passages, taking them very literally, to further their claims that God’s desire is health and wealth.

Many evangelicals, however, assert that God doesn’t work in this way. Faithfulness to God doesn’t mean blessings from above, especially in such worldly pursuits. They try to distance themselves from the prosperity gospel, claiming that it doesn’t represent Christianity but a misunderstanding of it.

It is possible, however, that the Osteens represent not the margins but the center of evangelicalism. Considering the Osteens’ popularity, they garner a sizable audience that shouldn’t be ignored. Additionally, when one compares the Osteens to other popular evangelical authors such as Max Lucado and Rick Warren, several patterns emerge, suggesting that Osteens aren’t that far from what most evangelicals are looking for.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Prof Brian Cox: 'There’s a naivety in saying there is no God’

When I ask him how God fits into his understanding of the universe, Prof Cox says: “It doesn’t at all. I honestly don’t think about religion until someone asks me about it.” And that’s because, he explains, science is not about asking grand questions but very simple ones. The way to find out answers to big questions is “almost accidentally”.

Using physics that is beyond me, Prof Cox explains how his fridge shows that there is no afterlife (thermodynamics, apparently). But then he qualifies himself. “Philosophers would rightly point out that physicists making bland and sweeping statements is naive. There is naivety in just saying there’s no God; it’s b——s,” he says. “People have thought about this. People like Leibniz and Kant. They’re not idiots. So you’ve got to at least address that.”

He suspects that another civilisation exists in the observable universe, given that it contains 350 billion galaxies. But they would be so far away that we’d never make contact. “

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Apologetics, England / UK, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(FT) Martin Wolf–We are trapped in a cycle of credit booms

Huge expansions in credit followed by crises and attempts to manage the aftermath have become a feature of the world economy. Today the US and UK may be escaping from the crises that hit seven years ago. But the eurozone is mired in post-crisis stagnation and China is struggling with the debt it built up in its attempt to offset the loss of export earnings after the crisis hit in 2008.

Without an unsustainable credit boom somewhere, the world economy seems incapable of generating growth in demand sufficient to absorb potential supply. It looks like a law of the conservation of credit booms. Consider the past quarter century: a credit boom in Japan that collapsed after 1990; a credit boom in Asian emerging economies that collapsed in 1997; a credit boom in the north Atlantic economies that collapsed after 2007; and finally in China. Each is greeted as a new era of prosperity, to collapse into crisis and post-crisis malaise.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, History, The U.S. Government

(BBC) Jeremy Pemberton same-sex marriage case: Archbishop of York challenged

The Archbishop of York has been challenged over “discrimination” against a gay clergyman who married his same-sex partner.

Jeremy Pemberton can no longer work as a priest in Nottinghamshire and has been blocked from taking a job as a hospital chaplain in the county.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell challenged the archbishop over the case as he arrived at Southwell Minster.

However, Dr John Sentamu said he could not comment due to legal reasons.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Reuters) Parish priest, 20 Christians kidnapped in Syria

A parish priest and a number of Christians have been kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said on Tuesday.

The Latin Patriarchate, which oversees Latin Church Catholics in Israel and neighbouring countries, said Father Hanna Jallouf had been kidnapped on the night of Oct. 5 in Knayeh, a small Christian village. It said his kidnappers were brigades linked to the Islamist Nusra Front.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Middle East, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

(TECOPA) Info. about Young adult Episcopalians Serving in Various Global Capacities

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Globalization, Theology, Young Adults

A Diocese of Bristol Story–"I just thought..[The Bible] was a story about a nice bloke"

When I was 8 I decided I didn’t want to go to church anymore and I refused to go every Sunday. As far as I was concerned, church was a venue for weddings and funerals, nothing else.

I didn’t give my faith any more thought until I was in my 30s.

To my horror, my wife had started going to church and had decided to become a Christian. I refused to talk to her about church or her faith because I thought she had been taken in by the “cult” and did my best to talk her out of it.

I thought we had been happy together, both believing in God, but not Jesus. Now she was even happier, talking about her faith in Christ, going to church and reading the bible through choice.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Ireland's Commercial Court: where dark corners of economy dominated the dock

The court, now entering its second decade under Mr Justice Brian McGovern, has shone a light into some dark recesses of Ireland’s financial and business world, exposing greed and human misery on a grand scale alongside some shoddy and dubious, accounting, auditing, banking, business, legal, regulatory and stockbroking practices.

It has heard of property and other deals involving misappropriation, forged signatures, deceit, lies and secret profits; suspect property and money transfers aimed at avoiding repayment; exorbitant expenses for senior bankers; and slipshod and questionable loans, investments and valuations.

It has also shown existing laws provide limited opportunity to penalise some of these practices and revealed gaps in legislation on corporate crime, including the absence of an offence of reckless lending.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Tablet) Rome must lead way in defending persecuted Christians, says Anglican Bishop Nazir-Ali

He urged the Catholic Church not to “capitulate to culture” nor to succumb to a weakening of discipline that he said had “caused havoc” within the Anglican Church. He said that he had watched the growth of the ordinariate with close interest.

“Allowing Anglican patrimony to flourish should not just be taken as an exception, but it could be a charter for the future,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Bishop John Pritchard of Oxford writes on the sexuality discussions

9 What does good disagreement look like?
This is a fundamental question which underlies our conversations. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to be brought to a single position on same-sex relationships. What we can look for, however, is a way of living with disagreement that honours and respects views we don’t agree with, believing that those who hold such views are not just perverse, ignorant or immoral, but rather are bearing witness to different aspects of the truth that lies in Christ alone. Not only is all truth God’s truth, but God’s truth is ultimately bound to be beyond our grasp because our minds are but miniscule receptors before the great and beautiful Mystery of God.

10 Time is not on our side
Some of our ethical/doctrinal discussions have taken decades, if not centuries, to work through ”“ contraception, remarriage after divorce, the ordination of women. It’s important not to rush debates on profound issues, and it’s also important to keep such Godly conversations in the liquid solution of grace. However, the speed of social exchange in today’s world and the seriousness of our dis-connect with large sections of society on the issue of same-sex relationships mean that we haven’t got the luxury of endless internal debate. We are in real need of faithful, hopeful and pastoral ways forward.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) Student Borrowing Increases Among Affluent in U.S., Study Shows

Students from affluent families are taking out loans for college at twice the rate of two decades ago, the fasting-growing borrower’s group.

Fifty percent of graduates in the class of 2012 whose parents had incomes of more than $125,700 left college with loans, up from 24 percent about 20 years earlier, according to a study released today by the Pew Research Center. For graduates whose parental income was below $44,000, the rate rose to 77 percent from 67 percent.

“Across the spectrum, student debt has become an important way to pay for college and even graduates from well-off families rely on debt,” Richard Fry, an economist and primary author of the study, said in an e-mail.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Theology, Young Adults

(Irish Independent) Mind Matters – incest: challenging the ancient taboo

A government ethics committee in Germany has last week argued that laws banning incest between brothers and sisters, who were consenting adults, were an unacceptable intrusion into the right to sexual self-determination.

This intervention came after a much-publicised case, that involved several court hearings. A brother and sister living as sexual partners in Saxony have four children together. They were brought up separately and met when he was young adult and she 16. He was found guilty of incest and served a three-year prison sentence. The couple have tried unsuccessfully to get the case overturned by the European Court of Human Rights.

In July of this year, an Australian judge, Garry Neilson, suggested that the community may now accept consensual sex between consenting adult sibling couples. He opined that views against incest may have changed since the 1950s in a manner similar to those relating to homosexuality.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Germany, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology

(CSM) Instead of writing ticket, Michigan cop buys booster seat for girl

“The easiest 50 bucks I ever spent.”

That’s what the Michigan police officer said after purchasing a booster seat for a 5-year-old girl who was riding without a car seat.

This instance of gift-giving began as an ordinary traffic stop. Last Friday, Emmett Township Department of Public Safety Officer Ben Hall stopped a vehicle in the southwest Michigan community after someone reported there was a young child riding without a car seat. Alexis DeLorenzo and her daughter were driving in the car of a friend who was at the wheel.

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, whose love we cannot measure, nor even number thy blessings: We bless and praise thee for all thy goodness, who in our weakness art our strength, in our darkness, light, in our sorrows, comfort and peace, and from everlasting to everlasting art our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Woe to those who devise wickedness
and work evil upon their beds!
When the morning dawns, they perform it,
because it is in the power of their hand.
They covet fields, and seize them;
and houses, and take them away;
they oppress a man and his house,
a man and his inheritance.
Therefore thus says the Lord:
Behold, against this family I am devising evil,
from which you cannot remove your necks;
and you shall not walk haughtily,
for it will be an evil time.
In that day they shall take up a taunt song against you,
and wail with bitter lamentation,
and say, “We are utterly ruined;
he changes the portion of my people;
how he removes it from me!
Among our captors he divides our fields.”
Therefore you will have none to cast the line by lot
in the assembly of the Lord.

“Do not preach”””thus they preach””
“one should not preach of such things;
disgrace will not overtake us.”
Should this be said, O house of Jacob?
Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient?
Are these his doings?
Do not my words do good
to him who walks uprightly?
But you rise against my people as an enemy;
you strip the robe from the peaceful,
from those who pass by trustingly
with no thought of war.
The women of my people you drive out
from their pleasant houses;
from their young children you take away
my glory for ever.
Arise and go,
for this is no place to rest;
because of uncleanness that destroys
with a grievous destruction.
If a man should go about and utter wind and lies,
saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,”
he would be the preacher for this people!

I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob,
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.
He who opens the breach will go up before them;
they will break through and pass the gate,
going out by it.
Their king will pass on before them,
the Lord at their head.

–Micah 2:1-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Ceremony honors people killed in domestic violence as committee works to reverse abuse in S.C.

Billy DuBose blew into his bagpipe as he prepared to play Amazing Grace in honor of all of those killed in domestic violence in South Carolina last year.

Just before he walked in front of 46 people holding up human silhouettes in memory of the 46 who died, he thought about how many times he’s played for the ceremony and whispered:

“Too many.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government, Theology, Violence

(NPR) In Same-Sex Marriage's New Landscape, Glee, Confusion And Resistance

Same-sex couples are marrying in at least six more states today, after the Supreme Court left in place lower courts’ rulings against bans on gay marriage. But couples have been turned away in Kansas, one of several states that share federal jurisdiction with states where bans were lifted.

Legal experts say that federal appeals courts’ rulings against same-sex marriage bans in Utah, Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin now extend to all 11 states in their circuits. But officials in Kansas and Wyoming say no court has ruled specifically against their ban. And in several states, legal challenges to the bans that had been put on hold are being renewed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government, Theology

(NYT) More Older Adults Are Struggling With Substance Abuse

An estimated 2.8 million older adults in the United States meet the criteria for alcohol abuse, and this number is expected to reach 5.7 million by 2020, according to a study in the journal “Addiction.” In 2008, 231,200 people over 50 sought treatment for substance abuse, up from 102,700 in 1992, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency.

While alcohol is typically the substance of choice, a 2013 report found that the rate of illicit drug use among adults 50 to 64 increased from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 6.0 percent in 2013.

“As we get older, it takes longer for our bodies to metabolize alcohol and drugs,” said D. John Dyben, the director of older adult treatment services for the Hanley Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Someone might say, ”˜I could have two or three glasses of wine and I was fine, and now that I’m in my late 60s, it’s becoming a problem.’ That’s because the body can’t handle it.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Alcoholism, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theology