Daily Archives: November 10, 2014

New Church of England statistics for 2013

New Church of England statistics for 2013 published today show that an average of one million people attend services each week, down about 1% on the previous year

The one million figure relates to regular weekly parish and cathedral services and does not include other core services carried out by the Church of England on a regular basis. With some 2,000 baptisms, 1,000 weddings and 3,000 funerals conducted every week it is estimated that a further half a million people attend a service conducted by a Church of England minister every week. In addition the count (which takes place in October) does not include the many carol and nativity services during Advent and many other regular services responding to community need. The services carried out by the Church of England’s chaplains in hospitals, prisons, schools, universities and military bases are also excluded from the attendance totals.

Figures for Christmas attendance show a stable trend, with 2.4 million people attending services on Christmas Eve and Day – where figures have hovered around the 2.5 million mark over the past decade.

Read it all and the full data set pdf is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(Independent) 1/3 of UK jobs to be replaced by robots and computers in next 20 years

Advances in robotics and computing could wipe out as much as a third of all UK jobs over the next 20 years, a new report has claimed.

More than 10 million roles are likely to be replaced by automated systems, with repetitive, lower-paid jobs (those earning less than £30,000 a year) five times more likely to be made obsolete than higher-paid jobs.

Experts said the trends identified in the report were already well under way, with “high risk” jobs identified in “office and administrative support; sales and services; transportation; construction and extraction; and production.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(Telegraph) Doctor to appear in court in UK’s first gender abortion prosecution

A doctor has been ordered to appear in a criminal court accused of planning an abortion based on the sex of the unborn baby in the first case of its kind ever to come to court in the UK.

Dr Prabha Sivaraman was one of two doctors filmed allegedly agreeing to arrange terminations because of the gender of the foetus in a Telegraph investigation in 2012.

The 46-year-old from South Yorkshire has been served a summons to appear before Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court next month to face an allegation under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.

It is part of a rare private prosecution brought by a pro-life campaigner and supported by the Christian Legal Centre after the Crown Prosecution Service decided against charging Dr Sivaraman and another physician featured in the Telegraph investigation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology

(FT) Ethical investing: An understanding of grey areas is crucial for success in business

Investors’ long-term success may increasingly depend not just on the narrow financial performance of the companies whose shares they buy, but on how well they manage the ethical questions that will ultimately shape the outcomes for those companies.

While many asset owners look on responsible investing as an ethical obligation, the growing consensus is that it is also good business.

This view casts responsibility as a question of risk management. If you invest only in businesses with good human rights practices, engagement with local communities, clear accountability through the supply chain and clarity about exposure to resource scarcity, you are less likely to be caught out by an unforeseen problem such as protests over water rights or litigation following an oil spill, such as BP’s Deepwater Horizon debacle in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Stock Market, Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby appoints a Prior to oversee radical new community at Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has appointed the Revd Anders Litzell as Prior of the Community of St Anselm, a radical new Christian community at Lambeth Palace.

Mr Litzell, 34, is an Anglican priest from Sweden, who has experience of the Pentecostal and Lutheran traditions as well as three provinces of the Anglican Communion. He will pioneer the Community, which launches in September 2015, and direct its worship and work. He will work as Prior under the auspices of the Archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community. Mr Litzell will take up the role on 5th January 2015.

The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining as non-residential members. The Archbishop hopes that the Community will be definitive in shaping future leaders to serve the common good in a variety of fields, as they immerse themselves in a challenging year of rigorous formation through prayer, study, practical service and community life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(BBC) Nigeria school blast 'kills 47 students' in Potiskum

At least 47 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said.

The explosion at a boys’ science and technical school in the town is believed to have been caused by a suicide bomber dressed as a student.

Militant group Boko Haram is believed to be behind the blast, police said.

The group has targeted schools during a deadly five-year insurgency campaign to establish an Islamic state.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Terry Mattingly) Foggy faith in 'mushy middle' of the American religion scene

The language is mysterious and ancient. Yet according to a new survey probing what Americans believe on crucial theological issues, a majority of those polled ”“ 71 percent ”“ believe in the Trinity.

But what about that whole “God in three persons” thing? Not so much.

In fact, 75 percent of Catholics polled by LifeWay Research agreed that the “Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being” ”“ a shocking number in light of the fact that only 52 percent of non-Christian Americans took that unorthodox stance. Among “mainline,” mostly liberal, Protestants, 74 percent denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit along with a small majority ”“ 58 percent ”“ of evangelical Protestants.

The spring survey is the latest to show that most Americans affirm traditional religious beliefs, sort of, but turn into “cafeteria” believers who pick and choose whatever makes them feel comfortable when it comes to doctrinal specifics, said LifeWay President Ed Stetzer. Things can get foggy and confusing in the “mushy middle” of the religious spectrum, where Americans worship a “Christian-ish god,” rather than the God of traditional Christian faith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

60 Minutes Excellent Segment from Last night–The Ebola Hot Zone

Liberia lies just north of the equator and is home to part of the last great rainforest in West Africa, where the Ebola virus thrives in tropical, humid conditions.

With their hospitals overwhelmed, special centers for the sick, called Ebola treatment units, are being built as fast as possible. One of them is run by an American relief-group, the International Medical Corps — where Lara Logan, who is currently self-quarantined for 21 days, reported this story.

To get to the Ebola treatment unit, we traveled north from the Liberian capital along pitted roads toward the border with neighboring Guinea where this outbreak began. American virologist Joseph Fair, who’s been here for most of the epidemic, came with us.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Leo the Great

O Lord our God, grant that thy Church, following the teaching of thy servant Leo of Rome, may hold fast the great mystery of our redemption, and adore the one Christ, true God and true Man, neither divided from our human nature nor separate from thy divine Being; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and 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 from the Roman Breviary

O God, who by the lowliness of thy Son hast raised a fallen world: Grant to thy faithful people perpetual gladness; and as thou hast delivered them from eternal death, so do thou make them partakers of everlasting joys; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(TNN) Top British medical expert says UK will allow assisted dying within next two years

A top medical expert in Britain has said that assisted dying will be made legal in UK within the next two years.

The deputy chair of the British Medical Association Dr Kailash Chand has confirmed that a Bill that offers assisted dying to terminally ill patients who are mentally capable and are likely to have less than six months to live will soon be cleared.

UK has been seeing a growing support for the move ”” influenced by opinion polls suggesting that up to three quarters of the public would support a change in the law allowing assisted dying.

One of the world’s most revered religious leaders Desmond Tutu – a Nobel peace laureate and archbishop emeritus of Cape Town has lent his full-fledged support to Britain’s plans of legally allowing assisted death.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Ghanaweb) Ebola cure may be in survivors’ blood ”“ Scientists

A group of scientists including three Nobel laureates in medicine has proposed that U.S. health officials chart a new path to developing Ebola drugs and vaccines by harnessing antibodies produced by survivors of the deadly outbreak.

The proposal builds on the use of “convalescent serum,” or survivors’ blood, which has been given to at least four U.S. Ebola patients who then recovered from the virus. It is based on an approach called passive immunization, which has been used since the 19th century to treat diseases such as diphtheria but has been largely surpassed by vaccination.

The scientists propose using new genetic and other technologies to find hundreds or thousands of different Ebola antibodies, determine their genetic recipe, grow them in commercial quantities and combine them into a single treatment analogous to the multi-drug cocktails that treat HIV-AIDS.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

(W Post) Fate of ISIS chief unclear following U.S. strikes on group's leadership in Iraq

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was injured in a strike in Iraq’s western Anbar province on Saturday, Iraqi security officials told The Associated Press.

The officials said that they did not know the extent of the top militant’s injuries. Their accounts could not be independently confirmed, and it was unclear if the strike that might have wounded him was carried out by U.S. forces, which had targeted Islamic State leaders in the north of the country on Friday.

American officials said on Saturday that military aircraft had struck a convoy of armed trucks near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul the day before, and that they believed the vehicles had been ferrying some of the group’s commanders. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command said he could not confirm whether Baghdadi had been in the convoy, which was destroyed in the raids, officials said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq, Middle East, Terrorism

(Daily Beast) Candida Moss–Intersexuality and God Through the Ages

If you haven’t thought much about intersexuality, you’re not alone. Even though approximately 1 in 2,000 people are born with intersex (roughly the same amount as are born with cystic fibrosis or Down’s syndrome) it’s rarely discussed. One of the reasons for this is that doctors have employed a concealment-centered model focused on normalizing””through surgery and medication””the body and often even concealing intersexuality from the patient.

There is also striking lack of agreement among doctors about the precise definition of intersex….

While intersex activists have done an excellent job of re-educating the medical profession about the perils of across-the-board involuntary gender assignment, our cultural commitment to the male/female binary is about the reinforcement of majority rule, tradition, culture, and power. And a great deal of that tradition is about Christianity. According to Genesis, when God created humanity he created “humankind in his image” and “male and female he created them.” The idea that human beings are created in the image of God and divided into two complementary pairs has left a deep impression in our understanding of the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Sunday [London] Times) New book 'The Lost Gospel' claims Jesus married Mary Magdalene+had 2 kids

It sounds like The Da Vinci Code: a new history book claims that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and fathered two children with her.

The book, The Lost Gospel, will also claim that there was a previously unknown plot on Jesus’s life when he was 20 and an assassination attempt on Mary and her children.

While it may appear to be fiction, the book, which is published later this month, is based on an ancient manuscript held by the British Library.

The authors are Simcha Jacobovici, an Israeli-Canadian writer and film-maker who specialises in ancient historical and archeological investigations, and Barrie Wilson, a professor of religious studies at York University, Toronto.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Children, Christology, England / UK, History, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Cool Website–Charleston's African American Center for Biblical Dialogue

Our mission is to nurture children in Charleston’s Eastside by providing a safe environment where they can learn and grow.

The Biblical Family Center provides hope and optimism to the Eastside Community of Charleston.

Through our summer camps and after school programs,we provide year round mentoring and support for families. The Biblical Family Center has created a safe space to address risky behaviors, build on protective factors, and improve relationships. We are addressing: school attachment, avoiding self-harm, positive body image, avoiding tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, communicating needs of families, making healthy choices regarding nutrition, self care, recreational activities, and abstinence.

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues