Daily Archives: October 18, 2014

Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy is ruled against by Lahore High Court

Asia Bibi’s death sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Thursday. Bibi, a Roman Catholic mother of five also known as Aasiya Noreen, was sentenced to die in 2010 after she was convicted of blasphemy. Bibi’s Muslim coworkers accused her of drinking the same water as them and verbally challenging their faith.

“I met Asia in prison a month ago. She’s fine and was hoping to hear good news, but, alas, our ordeal is not over yet,” Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, told Morning Star News after yesterday’s decision.

World Watch Monitor reports that Bibi’s attorney Naeem Shakir challenged the testimony of the women who feuded with Bibi, arguing to the appellate court that their testimony had been hearsay because the complainant in the case had not heards Bibi’s words himself. The judges ignored Sharkir’s critiques, suggesting he should have raised them the trial level.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Regent World) A Conversation with Mark Buchanan on Recovering Our Sabbath Hearts

CK: In your evening public lecture at Regent this summer, “Confessions of an Ex-Pastor,” you said, “I wished I’d have lived and ministered more out of a Sabbath heart.” Can you unpack this a bit more?

MB: In my lecture, I made reference to the story in John 12 that during a celebration dinner for Jesus after Lazarus was resurrected, Lazarus had become as interesting, dangerous, and fruitful as Jesus. But the backstory in John 11 begins with Jesus getting some bad news: “The one you love is dying, please come quickly.” Jesus doesn’t come quickly. He delays and, according to Mary and Martha, he delays far too long. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” I think there’s something compelling about that example of Jesus in the face of what we would consider as one of the greatest ministry crises imaginable for a pastor. The story begins with Jesus resting and ends with Lazarus resting with Jesus.

To draw a larger lesson from that, I think all effective ministry comes out of attentiveness and restfulness. That’s what I mean by a Sabbath heart. What you find in the life of Christ and the life of those who are present with him is an incredible fruitfulness and effectiveness in their ministry that people who are super busy don’t have. They’re not raising people from the dead like Jesus because they themselves are half dead.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jeremy Bouma–Michael Horton Says we must confront the problem of Everydayness

…what if living a radical life isn’t what Christ desires for us? What if He’s far more interested in how we approach the mundane, the everydayness of life?

The ordinary?

That’s the premise of Michael Horton’s balancing new book Ordinary: Sustaining Faith in a Radical, Restless World. Horton believes we need to question “false values, expectations, and habits that we have absorbed, taken for granted, and even adopted with a veneer of piety.” (27)

Horton suggests we’ve got a problem, the problem of everydayness: “our lives are motivated by a constant expectation for The Next Big Thing.” (16) Instead of dedicating ourselves to ordinary, everyday callings and people we chase after the radical, the revolutionary, the dramatic. He insists that “Changing the world can be a way of actually avoiding the opportunities we have every day, right where God has placed us”¦” (16)

So how did we get here and where do we need to go? Horton argues the everyday became so yesterday starting with Boomers, and this has been perpetuated by their children and grandchildren. And the path beyond is a refocusing around God’s own focus…

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

TEC Bishop Allen Shin–Forgiveness and Reconciliation

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology

What was fake on the Internet this week: Ebola edition

Ready? Here’s what was fake on the Internet this week:

1. The only people who contracted Ebola in America, as of this writing, are two nurses who treated a Liberian man in Dallas. That is it, full stop, there is no one else. We could devote an entire Friday debunking ”” nay, an entire series of Friday debunkings ”” to nothing but the false Ebola rumors flitting around locations as far-flung as Anchorage. Instead, let’s make this brief: Nobody in the United States currently has Ebola, except (a) Nina Pham, who is currently being treated in isolation at the National Institutes of Health and (b) Amber Vinson, who was recently transferred to Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital,,,.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Media, Science & Technology

(On Faith) Preston Yancey–4 Ways Millennials Are Embracing Traditional Faith

…it’s not surprising that a narrative of spiritually and religiously illiterate young adults would catch on. But the dominance of a narrative does not make it truthful, as any evaluator of history or prophet can tell you, and the orthodoxy-ambivalent college student is a narrative that I think deserves particular challenging.

In my first book, Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again, I attempt with the naive zeal of youth to turn some of this folly on its head. I describe my feelings ”” not anger, again, a dominant narrative ”” toward the Christian church, my experience seeking out a communal faith experience, and even my desire for orthodoxy. There is nothing essentially remarkable about any of that, unless you defer to the narrative that Millennials are incapable of serious engagement with faith.

There is no question that Millennials are different in articulating their faith experience than previous generations, but I believe what is fundamentally different has less to do with whether or not we care about faith, but what about faith we care about. What has changed is not our concern over questions of orthodoxy, but the kinds of questions of orthodoxy we ask.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

How the World's Top Health Body Allowed Ebola to Spiral Out of Control

Poor communication, a lack of leadership and underfunding plagued the World Health Organization’s initial response to the Ebola outbreak, allowing the disease to spiral out of control.

In one instance, medics weren’t deployed because they weren’t issued visas. In another, bureaucratic hurdles delayed the spending of $500,000 intended to support the disease response. Meanwhile, fresh information on the outbreak from experts in the field was slow to reach headquarters, while contact-tracers refused to work on concern they wouldn’t get paid.

The account of the WHO’s missteps, based on interviews with five people familiar with the agency who asked not to be identified, lifts the veil on the workings of an agency designed as the world’s health warden yet burdened by politics and bureaucracy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Luke

Almighty God, who didst inspire thy servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son: Graciously continue in thy Church the like love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of thy Name; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the day

Almighty God, who didst inspire thy servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son: Graciously continue in thy Church the like love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of thy Name; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

–Gregorian Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

–Psalm 20:7-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Tomorrows Guardian front page–"World warned: increase Ebola action or face scourge like HIV"

I posted this not to cause undue alarm in people but to motivate them to pray–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Spirituality/Prayer

(New Atlantic) Ian Hutchinson–The Genius and Faith of Faraday and Maxwell

By the nineteenth century…natural philosophy had become more natural and less philosophy. Theology and natural science were substantially separated. Apologetic natural theology ”” arguing that God can be deduced from nature ”” was now mostly for the theologians. The language of physics had become measurement and mathematics, and the objective of science had become a description of the world of nature in its own terms, rather than through the purposes of a Creator. As a result, it is tempting to read the science of that era as if it were completely independent of the religious commitments of its practitioners. But it wasn’t.

Because Victorian scientists are of interest to us mostly owing to their scientific contributions, their religious beliefs tend to be treated as incidental conformities to the conventions of the day ”” as if these figures were proto-rationalists and proto-materialists who, without the benefit of our full present enlightenment, had not completely shaken off the superstitions of an earlier age. This caricature is demeaning and mistaken, as can be illustrated by the lives and ideas of two men who were arguably the greatest physical scientists of their time, and among the greatest of all time: Michael Faraday (1791”“1867) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831”“1879).

The two men had very different backgrounds. Faraday was English; Maxwell Scottish. Faraday was the son of a blacksmith of limited means; Maxwell’s father had inherited a substantial estate and hardly needed to practice the law in which he had been trained. Faraday had only a basic, grade-school education; Maxwell had the finest education available. Faraday was one of the most popular scientific lecturers of his day; Maxwell gained a poor reputation in the classroom. Faraday knew practically no formal mathematics; Maxwell was one of the finest mathematicians of his time. Faraday’s research became dominant for experimentation in electricity and magnetism; Maxwell’s for electromagnetic theory. One experience they had in common: both were committed Christians. Yet even here fascinating contrasts existed between the religious traditions to which they belonged and the ways their spiritual commitments influenced and strengthened their science.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Gillan Scott–Justin Welby's Call to Battle with ISIS

This “different spirit” is the key to Welby’s thinking, and it is not one that can be entrusted to our politicians. Whether we choose to accept religious belief or not, it does not alter the reality that religious faith and ideologies hold far more power than guns and bombs. In the first three centuries of the Church it had no armies and pitched no battles, yet it overcame the Roman Empire through love and a gospel of God’s peace. Religious leaders need to be given a place at the top table as much as military commanders. Their insights into the role of religious belief as a driving force in individuals’ lives, along with their status, hold great value and potential to change the stakes.

There is an onus, too, on all of our religious leaders to take the initiative and become more outspoken, addressing those both inside and outside of their respective religions:

Religious leaders must up their game and engage jihadism in religious, philosophical and ethical space. Religious justifications of violence must be robustly refuted. That is, in part, a theological task, as well as being a task that recognises the false stimulation, evil sense of purpose and illusory fulfilment that deceive young men and women into becoming religious warriors. As we have seen recently, many religious leaders have the necessary (and very great) moral and physical courage to see the need for an effective response to something that they have condemned. It is essential that Christians are clear about the aim of peace and the need for joint working and that Muslim leaders continue explicitly to reject extremism, violent and otherwise. Any response must bring together all those capable of responding to the challenge.

Justin Welby talks about treasuring and preserving our values, but also of reshaping them. This would appear to be contradictory, but the context suggests that he is referring to both the values that have built peace and progress and also those that we have developed that bear the hallmarks of selfishness and self-preservation.

This is the battle that Justin Welby is calling for.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CT) The sheer beauty of the “ordinary” spiritual life is the Unexpected Progress it makes

In The Making of an Ordinary Saint: My Journey from Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines (Baker Books), Nathan Foster handles his “I” with a good deal of grace. On the brink of an existential crisis, Foster (a social worker) forswears buying a red convertible, deciding instead to “go saint.” What he envisions as a yearlong experiment with the 12 spiritual disciplines introduced by his father, Richard Foster, in the classic 1978 book Celebration of Discipline, turns into four. In the process, his efforts at spiritual practice travel the distance from “frustration to joy.”

In the opening chapter, “Submission,” Foster introduces us to “drafting,” and it becomes an apt metaphor for the book. “Drafting,” he writes, “is when two or more cyclists ride inches behind each other, creating a sort of wind tunnel.” On a grueling 224-mile ride””when “Mother Nature brooded from every direction, wobbling my flimsy cycle back and forth”””Foster abandons his hesitations about riding so closely in a group and submits himself to the “boredom of the paceline.” Although he didn’t “expect to find a way to actively practice a spiritual discipline in the windy, scorched Ohio farmland,” spiritual practices keep finding Foster in unexpected places.

With the exception of having a famous father, Foster is as “ordinary” as the book’s title suggests, and readers draft behind him in recognizable winds: the challenges of marriage and parenting, career ambitions (and jealousies), self-doubt, accumulated regrets.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology