Daily Archives: November 13, 2014

(USA Today) Tom Krattenmaker–A Christian should lead Christians in a College Christian Group

Is the pope Catholic? Is the president of the Christian student club Christian?

These questions might seem equal in their wry obviousness. They’re not. In the massive California State University system, as at some other universities, new anti-discrimination rules for student groups mean it can no longer be required that the president of the Christian student fellowship is Christian, or that the head of the Muslim association is Muslim, or that the officers of any group buy into the interests and commitments of that group.

Student clubs that refuse to accept the new rules will find themselves on the sidelines when it comes to meeting space, recruitment opportunities and other valuable perks that go with being an officially recognized group.

Such is the fate that has befallen InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a national campus ministry that finds itself “derecognized” in the 450,000-student Cal State system for insisting that student leaders of its campus chapters affirm the basic tenets of evangelical belief.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology, Young Adults

Rick and Kay Warren: Tips on How to Have an Wholesome Marriage in Every Season of Life

Prominent author and pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay recently sat down for an honest and heartfelt discussion about how to fight for an awesome marriage in a society that continually pulls against it.

The couple, who have been married for 39 years, use four seasons to describe different stages of marriage and share tips on how to best draw closer to God and to one another during each seasons.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(dotCommonweal) Michael Peppard–Joseph Smith's many marriages

Over the past decade or so, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints””usually known as the “Mormon” or “LDS” church””has moved toward greater transparency about its earliest era.

Through the publication of “The Joseph Smith Papers” and new historical essays on the official church website, lds.org, interested readers have been able to learn about the fuzzy period of early Mormonism, the roughly fifteen years from its founding to the settlement in Utah.

Now a new essay, “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo,” makes frank admissions about the early days of polygamous relations (called “plural marriage” in LDS terminology) at Mormon settlements in Ohio and Illinois.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Mormons, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Kendall Harmon's 2014 All Saints Sunday Sermon now Downloadable

You can listen directly there and and download the mp3 theere.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology

A Previous PR from the Episcopal Church with small+unrepresentative African participation

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media

Mental Health Break–Kevin Delaney Makes Science Fun w/ Jimmy Fallon–so enjoyable!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Education, Humor / Trivia, Science & Technology

Rachel Harden–Blogging Faith

[The] Rev Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, executive religion editor for the Huffington Post, moderated the panel discussions. The Christian voice was heard loudly along with other faiths, political experts and US journalists: Bishop Prince Singh from the Episcopal Church, noted that the forum had gathered on the Hindu festival of lights known as Diwali, and said that it was a spiritual discipline to resist the urge to demonize opponents and instead to strive to bring light rather than heat to conversations on potentially divisive issues. This was very much the theme of the forum.

In his day job Paul blogs and hosts a weekly Huff Post podcast dedicated to exploring how religious ideas and spiritual practice inform and shape our personal lives, our communities and our world. Huff Post has an openly liberal/left commentary but does not shy away from debate. They welcome comment but have banned anonymity.

In a moving podcast he recently investigated mental health interviewing Kay and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, whose son lived with mental illness until his tragic suicide.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Religion & Culture

Bishop Francis Benjamin Quashie asks Govt to motivate Ghanaians to invest in economy

The Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese of the Anglican Church, Very Reverend Francis Benjamin Quashie, has advised government to use part of the resources used to encourage foreigners to invest in the country, to concentrate on motivating Ghanaian entrepreneurs both home and abroad, to invest in the country.

He said the citizenry have the resources that can be invested in the economy, to help turn things around when given the needed support and encouragement.

Very Rev, Quashie gave the advice at a Confirmation Service at the Anglican Church of Transfiguration at Odumase-Krobo.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ghana, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Theology

Gene Veith–The fastest-growing new religious movement

Several years ago, I blogged about the adoration of Santa Muerte, St. Death (as in a feminine saint), the hooded skeleton being venerated by Mexican drug lords. But now prayers to this saint and the sale of her images and icons have come into the mainstream, and not just in Hispanic enclaves but throughout the world. You can now find her images in Wal-Mart.

Although the Santa Muerte cult takes the form of the veneration of saints in Roman Catholicism, the Church strongly opposes the practice. Taping dollar bills to her statue and leaving cigarettes and liquor as offerings are thought to cause Santa Muerte to provide good luck and protection. One expert says that worship of “Holy Death” is “the fastest-growing new religious movement.” I suppose it is fitting that a culture of death has a religion of death.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Should domestic abusers lose gun rights just like mentally incompetent?

Keeping guns out of the hands of convicted abusers is one measure under consideration by a state House committee set up to improve the state’s domestic violence laws.

The committee is to begin efforts Wednesday to draft the reforms. Rep. Shannon Erickson, a Beaufort Republican who chairs the panel, said guns could be banned from convicted abusers in a manner similar to the way the state last year restricted guns from those designated mentally incompetent by the courts.

Erickson said evidence presented to her committee showed that domestic violence often is an escalating crime that can result in severe injury or death to others. Accordingly, she said she believes it’s possible to maintain South Carolina’s support for individual gun rights while creating “good laws that protect our own citizens in the process.”

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

(Focusing on Christian Smith of Notre Dame) Peter J. Leithart–asking Sociology some hard qtns

What is missing, he points out, is as important as what is researched and written upon. There are few or no studies of theologically-oriented sociology, studies of efficient economic growth, the role of pain and suffering in personal growth, persecution and martyrdom, spiritual “retardation” (66-7).

One of his most extensive, and most damning, bits of evidence has to do with the reaction of the sociological community to University of Texas sociology Mark Regnerus’s 2012 article that concluded that “adult children of parents who had had one or more same-sex romantic relationships fared significantly worse as adults on many emotional and material measures than their adult peers who were raised in an intact, biological family” (102). The reaction was vicious, with sociologists attacking like tribesmen protecting a shrine. It is, Smith rightly says, an unsavory episode in recent sociology.

Smith is measured in his evaluation of the goals of the sacred project. Some he sympathizes with, others not. The problem is severalfold. It’s partly that sociology is in denial about itself; it doesn’t admit to its own spiritual agenda. Because the sacred must be guarded, viciously if necessary, sociology has become “boringly homogenous, reticently conflict-averse, philosophically ignorant, and intellectual torpid” (144). The animus of sociology’s project to organized religion, and especially to Christianity, has led it to misread evidence (e.g., secularization theory) and miss trends (e.g., the decidedly unsecular present).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Sociology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

O God, who, calling Abraham to go forth to a country which thou wouldest show him, didst promise that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed: Fulfill thy promise in us, we pray thee, giving us such faith in thee as thou shalt count unto us for righteousness; that in us and through us thy purpose may be fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:


Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

–James 1:1-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Wabukala's CAPA Sermon: You Cannot Serve God and Money

Sermon delivered at the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa Theological Consultation, Nairobi, 5th September 2014
”˜No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.’ (Matt. 6:24)

I have been asked this morning to speak on the theology of money and it is a very good title, because money is not simply something useful. For many people it is the most important thing in their lives. It actually functions as an object of worship and it is therefore right that we recognize money is a theological issue. Money, as we are reminded in the Sermon on the Mount, can become a god! While the Scriptures are not legalistic about money, the teaching of Jesus penetrates right to the heart of the matter. Love of money is one of the most common, but least recognized, forms of idolatry and there is no way we can serve two masters.
Knowing the godlike power of money, we need to be uncompromising about the sources of our funding and the gifts we receive. We live in a culture where money is used to buy influence and control. So we should be wary of accepting lavish gifts from government and politicians. Sadly this principle also applies within the Anglican Communion. I think it is a matter of general agreement amongst the Anglian Provinces of the Global South that The Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada have torn the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level, yet the Anglican Communion Office continues to receive at least US$500,000pa and possibly much more from these two Provinces. Without this money the Anglican Consultative Council, Continuing Indaba and the Bible in the Life of the Church project and other activities likely could not continue. This must place a question mark over the integrity of these enterprises, but we also need to make sure that our own house is in order here in Africa. The giving and receiving of money is an act of fellowship and we cannot with integrity continue to take money from those we say we cannot be in fellowship with, who have sown division, abandoned the clear teaching of the Scripture, flaunted immorality and persecuted those who would not assent through the courts.

Africa is on the brink of a new era of growth and prosperity. Whether or not this is sustained and whether or not it becomes a blessing or a curse depends upon African Christians loving God rather than money. It is a theological and teaching task for which we are under-equipped and have more often than not failed in, but if we can disciple our people to break the power of money in their lives, I believe that we will truly be set for Africa to be blessed beyond our imagining in the century ahead.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates

Anglican Unscripted 136 – Communion Instruments

“Is Gafcon the only working Instrument of Unity?”

With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary

Lent and Beyond: Prayer for South Carolina on Wednesday November 12th

At the portico of the temple, Solomon erected two bronze pillars. The capitals at the top of the pillars were shaped like lilies. The pillars were named Jakin (He establishes) and Boaz (in Him is strength).
On the destruction of the temple by Babylon”“
Jeremiah 52:22-23
The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1⁄2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 pomegranates on the network around the top.

There were 196 pomegranates at the top of each pillar. 196 x 2=392.

On the return of the exiles from Babylon”“
Ezra 2:58
All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon’s servants were 392.

The Lord establishes, and in Him is strength. The Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
We acknowledge You, Lord, as God. You made us, and we are Yours. We are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture.
We lift up the Diocese of South Carolina in this season of waiting. May they go into Your courts with praise, give thanks to You, and praise Your name. Bless the Diocese of South Carolina with fruitfulness, in every understanding of the word. Amen.
Psalm 100

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(BBC) Nigeria college in Kontagora 'hit by suicide bombing'

A female suicide bomber has blown herself up at a college in northern Nigeria, killing at least three people, witnesses say.

The explosion went off outside a packed lecture hall at the college in Kontagora town, the witnesses added.

Casualty figures are unclear, but lecturer Andrew Randa told the BBC he had seen four bodies.

This is the second suicide attack on a school this week – on Monday, 46 boys were killed in Yobe State.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

It’s Official: Mormon Founder Had Up to 40 Wives

Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old.

The church’s disclosures, in a series of essays online, are part of an effort to be transparent about its history at a time when church members are increasingly encountering disturbing claims about the faith on the Internet. Many Mormons, especially those with polygamous ancestors, say they were well aware that Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, practiced polygamy when he led the flock in Salt Lake City. But they did not know the full truth about Smith.

“Joseph Smith was presented to me as a practically perfect prophet, and this is true for a lot of people,” said Emily Jensen, a blogger and editor in Farmington, Utah, who often writes about Mormon issues.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology