Daily Archives: October 11, 2014

(BP) Remembering the Syrian Christians who are staying behind to help

With food and jobs scarce, and their savings depleted, Syrian Christians and their neighbors are struggling to provide for their families.

Despite their own trauma, many believers are choosing to stay in their beleaguered communities and reach out in love amid their neighbors’ pain.

Christians in Syria have been able to distribute food with the help of Baptist Global Response, a Southern Baptist-related relief organization. Families also are receiving blankets and medical care. Children who have been out of school for years once again are being educated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology, Violence

(Telegraph) Pope Francis signals blessing to traditionalist US Anglican group

Pope Francis has signalled his blessing to the breakaway traditionalist American church at the centre of the split which has divided the 80 million strong worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue of sexuality.

He sent a message offering his “prayers and support” to Archbishop Foley Beach, the new leader of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the conservative movement which broke away from The Episcopal Church after the ordination of the first openly gay bishop.

His message underlines the pressure facing the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, as he attempts to avert a formal schism in worldwide Anglicanism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

([London] Times) Isis to capture key province in days as Iraqi defences fade

The US-led coalition has unleashed more than 40 airstrikes on Anbar since August, helping drive Isis back from the critical Haditha dam.

However, the strikes have failed to blunt the militants’ overall advance, which has accelerated dramatically in the past three weeks. They have taken two military bases and a string of strategic towns, putting the Iraqi government’s already tenuous presence in Anbar at risk. Daily attacks on Iraqi security forces are taking place around the provincial capital, Ramadi.

After the capture of Hit last week, Ramadi and Haditha are now the only two government-held enclaves standing in the way of an unbroken Isis supply line running along the Euphrates river from Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria, to Baghdad.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(AP) Egypt completes restoration of famed St. Virgin Mary's Coptic church

After 16 years, Egypt has completed the restoration of a famous Cairo landmark ”” the St. Virgin Mary’s Coptic Church, also known as the Hanging Church.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and the country’s Coptic Christian pope, Tawadros II, attended the Saturday’s ceremony marking the end of the $5.4 million restoration project.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

John Inazu-Though Protestant Christianity is losing its mainstream status, our faith can be winsome

Despite the elusiveness of a common good, we can and indeed are called to pursue creative work for the good of others. We can do that regardless of whether we find ourselves within the acceptable mainstream or at the margins of society. That is the example of Martin Luther King Jr., John Perkins, Dorothy Day, Fanny Crosby, Sojourner Truth, and countless others who have gone before us. It is also the example of Jesus.

Our laws and our culture are in a state of flux, and we do not yet know what the new normal will look like. But we can move forward without knowing how the story ends, because of our faith in how the Story ends.

I am encouraged by what I see in the ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. The enforcement of the all-comers policy against groups like InterVarsity is a cultural marker that these groups are now outside of the mainstream of acceptability on the campuses that they serve. But InterVarsity has largely avoided the language of persecution. It has also worked for years to cross race and class lines, and to learn from those differences.

Read it all from CT.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Martin Feldstein in an Important interview on European weakness, the ECB, +the Federal Reserve

Watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, Theology

CDC: Ebola could infect 1.4 million in Liberia and Sierra Leone by end of January

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa, already ghastly, could get worse by orders of magnitude, killing hundreds of thousands of people and embedding itself in the human population for years to come, according to two worst-case scenarios from scientists studying the historic outbreak.

The virus could potentially infect 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of January, according to a statistical forecast by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday. That number came just hours after a report in the New England Journal of Medicine warned that the epidemic might never be fully controlled and that the virus could become endemic, crippling civic life in the affected countries and presenting an ongoing threat of spreading elsewhere.

Read it all.

Update: The elves also recommend the latest post on Ebola at Lent & Beyond, with a graph showing the cumulative number of cases of Ebola in West Africa. There are also suggested prayer points, and links to donate to several charities on the frontlines in the Ebola struggle.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Politics in General, Sierra Leone, Theology

Husain Haqqani–Malala Yousafzai–A Nobel Laureate and Beacon for a Troubled Nation

While Malala’s courage in defying the Taliban’s barbarism won her the admiration of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, her Pakistani detractors’ criticism reflects the national malaise that young Malala has committed herself to fight. Hundreds of young Pakistanis, most of them supporters of cricket icon Imran Khan, have started the #MalalaDrama hashtag on Twitter to describe Malala as a tool of the evil West who is seeking to impose Western values on Islamic Pakistan. A few on Twitter even called for her to be charged with blasphemy, the catch-all accusation frequently used in Pakistan against those advocating anything but the most primitive ideas. Luckily, she now lives in Birmingham, England, after having come to Britain for medical treatment for her head wound.

Malala began documenting life under the Taliban in 2009, after they took control in the Swat Valley of northwestern Pakistan and then tried to shut down her school. The Taliban and their Islamist supporters oppose education for girls, and their concept of education for boys is far from enlightened. A young village girl with little outside exposure, Malala wished to connect to the rest of the world. She says she was inspired by the Pakistani Benazir Bhutto, who became the Muslim world’s first woman prime minister and was killed in 2007 by terrorists for challenging their ideas.

By rejecting the Taliban’s version of Islam””which was being brutally imposed by force of arms””Malala showed greater foresight than many of Pakistan’s politicians, generals and public intellectuals who have gradually ceded space to extremist Islamists. She didn’t buy into the propaganda description of the Taliban as a nationalist reaction to U.S. dominance or Indian influence, recognizing them as a menace that would set the country back several centuries.

Read it all from the WSJ.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Education, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Violence, Women

Movie Recommendation–Jean de Florette+Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) [1986]

I happened to come across these this week, and I haven’t seen them since 1990 when we first caught them on boxing Day in England (really). French with english subtitles, beautifully filmed, and, perhaps most notably, full of Christian themes–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Christology, Energy, Natural Resources, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Soteriology, Theology

A Look Back to 2007–John Stott's Keswick farewell

The renowned evangelical speaker the Rev Dr John Stott called for Christians to continue to strive for ”˜Christ-likeness’ during his final major address before retiring from public ministry.

Speaking at the annual Keswick Convention, the 87-year-old former chaplain to the Queen told the audience that ”˜Christ-likeness is the will of God for the people of God’.

He warned his audience that being Christ like in ”˜patient endurance’ may become ”˜increasingly relevant as persecution increases in many cultures’, and highlighted the importance of the incarnation for Christians.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Evangelicals, Other Churches

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Philip the Deacon

Holy God, no one is excluded from thy love; and thy truth transformeth the minds of all who seek thee: As thy servant Philip was led to embrace the fullness of thy salvation and to bring the stranger to Baptism, so grant unto us all the grace to be heralds of the Gospel, proclaiming thy love in Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Teach us, O gracious Lord, to begin our works with fear, to go on with obedience, and to finish them in love, and then to wait patiently in hope, and with cheerful confidence to look up to thee, whose promises are faithful and rewards infinite; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–[one time rector of St Ebbes, Oxford] George Hickes

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

By the waters of Babylon,
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord’s song
in a foreign land?

–Psalm 137:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Phil Ashey: Anglicanism at Its Best

I am still elated from yesterday’s investiture of the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Right Rev. Dr. Foley Thomas Beach. It is always a joy at these gatherings of our Church to see so many old friends from across North America”“ it really does have the joy of a family reunion. I was so blessed to see the number of archbishops, bishops, clergy, laity and friends from all across the Anglican Communion with us (at substantial cost, I might add!) simply to rejoice with us in this milestone in the growth of our Anglican Church, and to reaffirm our communion with them and the vast majority of practicing Anglicans across the globe.

Here are just some of the high points for me:

”“The Communion anthem by the combined choirs on the Holy Spirit”“ it lifted me out of my seat and into the throne room of the Lord in worship, reminding me of our continuing need for a new Pentecost

”“ The presence of youth and adults, Americans, Canadians, Burmese, Nigerians (a Nigerian female deacon read the Gospel), all highlighting Archbishop ++Foley’s observation that we are indeed a “diverse lot”

”“ The greetings brought from The Rev. Preb. Charles Marnham, St Mark’s Chester Square London, on behalf of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, the Church of England Evangelical Council, Church Society, Reform, and the Anglican Mission in England”“ with the heartfelt reminder that we should never forgot “how many friends we have in the Church of England.”

But especially the Primates gathering around our new Archbishop, laying hands on him and praying together out loud the blessing, and adding in this significant sentence NOT in the original worship bulletin:

“Foley Beach, We receive you as an Archbishop and a Primate in the Anglican Communion.”

That they went out of their way, together, to pray this before the gathered people of God is a clear reaffirmation of the Primates’ authority to decide who is Anglican, and their confirmation of our Anglican identity on behalf of the vast majority of practicing Anglicans within the Communion.

Whether or not the Archbishop of Canterbury respects this, we will move on with the distinct mission to which our new Archbishop has called us”“ to be a repenting, reconciling, reproducing and relentlessly compassionate Anglican Church reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ!

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity

[Anglican Ink] ACNA is Anglican

…At the close of the prayer of investitute of the Most Rev. Foley Beach at the Church of the Apostles on 9 Oct 2014, the primates of Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Myanmar, Jerusalem and the Middle East and South America, and bishops representing the primates of the Congo, Sudan and South East Asia laid hands on Archbishop Beach. Giving him their primatial blessing, they also acknowledged him by word and through laying on of hands to be a fellow primate of the Anglican Communion.

The archbishops’ act comes one week after the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the Church of Ireland Gazette the ACNA was an ecumenical partner of the Anglican Communion..
Since 2008 the GAFCON primates have affirmed their fellowship with the ACNA. Last night saw primates of the Global South Coalition — conservative church leaders outside the Gafcon movement and seen as closer to Canterbury — join their African colleagues in validating publically the ACNA’s Anglican credentials.

The signficance of the statement, said one highly placed source who asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to speak for his peers, was that the 10 churches had made their positions quite clear to Archbishop Welby. If, as he told the BBC last Sunday, he would be guided by the mind of the primates in deciding issues of Anglican ecclesiology (such as the time of the primates meeting and structure and timing of the Lambeth Conferences), then he must now know that archbishops representing the majority of Anglicans worshipping today were in solidarity with the ACNA — and citing Daniel 6:15 said there was no turning back. (“Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”)

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity

(Deseret news Op-ed) David Blankenhorn–Don't give up on marriage now

I admire Isabel Sawhill deeply, but I respectfully disagree with this recommendation.

First, American marriage isn’t disappearing, it’s fracturing along class lines. In upscale America ”” about one-third of the society ”” marriage is thriving. Most people marry, few children (fewer than 10 percent) are born to unmarried mothers, and most children grow up through age 18 living with their two married parents. Among the more privileged, then, marriage clearly functions as a wealth-producing arrangement, a source of happiness over time, and a benefit to children.

Indeed, scholars today increasingly identify America’s marriage gap ”” in which the affluent reap the benefits of marriage while the non-affluent increasingly do not ”” as an important driver of rising American inequality. Wouldn’t it be odd, and sad, if American elites, at the very moment in which the role of marriage as both an indicator and producer of high status in their own lives is crystal clear, decided to throw up their hands in resignation when it comes to marriage in the rest of the society?

Second, changing what we support from “marriage” (a social institution) to “responsible parenthood” (a piece of advice) means downplaying the role of society and putting all responsibility on the individual.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Men, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Women, Young Adults

Makes heart sad–ISIS blows up "Church of Resurrection" in the Assyrian city of Baghdida (Qaraqosh)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence