Daily Archives: November 25, 2014

(F Things) R R Reno–To Rend Is Not to Retreat

Does the call for Christians to separate matrimony from government marriage mean we’re retreating from the public square? Damon Linker thinks so. He calls it an “unprecedented retreat of theologically conservative churches from engagement in American public life.”

That’s exactly wrong.

If the Marriage Pledge is a retreat, it’s a retreat from this: the illusion that the Christian view of marriage can comfortably accommodate a definition of marriage that has strayed so far from revelation and reason that it now allows men to marry men and women to marry women. We all have to live with the reality of the sexual revolution, but Christians cannot make peace with it.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

'This kind of individualism leads to human impoverishment and cultural aridity' Pope says to Europe

It also needs to be kept in mind that apart from the pursuit of truth, each individual becomes the criterion for measuring himself and his own actions. The way is thus opened to a subjectivistic assertion of rights, so that the concept of human rights, which has an intrinsically universal import, is replaced by an individualistic conception of rights. This leads to an effective lack of concern for others and favours that globalization of indifference born of selfishness, the result of a conception of man incapable of embracing the truth and living an authentic social dimension.

This kind of individualism leads to human impoverishment and cultural aridity, since it effectively cuts off the nourishing roots on which the tree grows. Indifferent individualism leads to the cult of opulence reflected in the throwaway culture all around us. We have a surfeit of unnecessary things, but we no longer have the capacity to build authentic human relationships marked by truth and mutual respect. And so today we are presented with the image of a Europe which is hurt, not only by its many past ordeals, but also by present-day crises which it no longer seems capable of facing with its former vitality and energy; a Europe which is a bit tired and pessimistic, which feels besieged by events and winds of change coming from other continents.

To Europe we can put the question: “Where is your vigour? Where is that idealism which inspired and ennobled your history? Where is your spirit of curiosity and enterprise? Where is your thirst for truth, a thirst which hitherto you have passionately shared with the world?

The future of the continent will depend on the answer to these questions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Globalization, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

Canon Andrew White is Interviewed by The Huffington Post

His views on the Middle East have often put him at odds with the Church. In his 20s, he abandoned a career as a doctor to become a vicar, eventually heading up the Church of England’s International Centre for Reconciliation (ICR) where his work took him to the Middle East.

He backed the 2003 invasion in Iraq and afterwards restored St George’s, the only Anglican church in the country. He has endured kidnappings, bombings and the recent onslaught of Islamic State, which forced him to leave in the face of grave threats to his life. Now, he is pushing for more war, saying the countries that invaded Iraq must go back in force to stop IS.

When he moves outside his church, White was protected by up to 35 Iraqi guards. But when he meets The Huffington Post UK, he is sitting without protection in a leather arm chair, at his home in Liphook, Hampshire. By White’s own estimation, he has spent 70 to 80 days of the year at most in the UK since he went to the Middle East.

A family friend of White’s told me he seems to know everyone wherever he is, to which White replies: “The only place I’ve ever been where I don’t know everybody is here.” The walls of this room are covered in crucifixes he collects, maps of Iraq and Baghdad and a letter from former US President George W. Bush thanking him for his work there.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Behind the scenes at the Anglican Fayre organized by the Church of Paphos

Without the hundreds of volunteers who are active before and during the one-day event, the Fayre couldn’t happen. “The event is organised and run by unpaid volunteers from the three churches in the parish of the Anglican Church of Paphos ”“ St Luke’s, Prodromi, St Stephen’s, Tala and Ayia Kyriaki, Kato Paphos,” said Payne. “Most people are retired British expats aged between 50 years and 90 plus.”

On the day, upwards of 100 people are involved manning the stalls and attractions, catering, security, entrance, car parking, first aid and providing general help. Setting up stalls and decor takes all day on the day before.
The event, which has been running for some 20 years, is well-known for loyally raising significant sums for hand-picked lesser-known charities where a little bit of cash can go a long way.
“With the exception of Paphos General Hospital where we donate an item of equipment which they have asked for to the value of a few hundred euros, we give cash,” said Payne. “This is used at the discretion of each charity; some goes towards general running costs, other towards the costs of specific items they need.”

At its peak just before the 2008 economic downturn which gradually impacted locally, the event raised in the region of €17,000 each year for charities. But with many feeling the pinch in recent years, funds have dropped considerably. “This year we will be delighted if we make the same €10,000 as in 2013,” said Payne.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

(Reuters) Suspected Boko Haram militants attack Nigerian border town

Suspected Boko Haram militants attacked a Nigerian border town in the restive northeast on Monday, setting fire to houses and killing an unknown number of people, witnesses and government sources said.

Hours after the raid started on Damasak, gunmen still roamed the area, with many locals seeking to flee into neighbouring Niger, just to the north of the town.

It was the third major attack over the last week in Nigeria’s Borno State, which have already seen close to 100 people die, including more than 25 people, mostly fishermen, shot dead in a remote community over the weekend.

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

(Telegraph) Sunday morning inconvenient for church services … says Church of England

Sunday morning is an inconvenient time for church services because people are busy shopping and doing DIY, the Church of England has admitted.

Worshippers are increasingly turning their backs on the centuries-old practice of attending worship on Sundays because of other leisure and social “commitments”, it said.

The admission came alongside new figures showing that attendances at midweek services in cathedrals have doubled in a decade while numbers in the pews in parishes on Sundays continue to fall.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, said many people still crave quiet reflection, but are seeking out less “pressurised” times in the week to worship than Sunday mornings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(LA Times) California's longest-serving wrongfully convicted inmate is a free man

A wrongfully convicted man who spent 36 years behind bars in California was set free Monday.

In Ventura, Superior Court Judge Donald D. Coleman ordered Michael Ray Hanline, 68, to be released but required that he still wear a GPS monitoring device.

It was found that DNA evidence collected at the crime scene did not match Hanline’s or that of his alleged accomplice, according to court documents. Also, a key witness was found to be under the influence of drugs when she testified against him.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Capital Punishment, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Theology, Violence

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial: The grand jury says no. Now St. Louis must make the most of it.

All of St. Louis owes a debt of gratitude to the 12 St. Louis County citizens who served on the grand jury that has decided that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson will not stand trial for the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown.

The debt is owed not for the decision. The debt would have been owed had the grand jurors come back with an indictment.

The debt is owed for hanging in there while all about them the experts and would-be experts speculated about what happened on Canfield Drive shortly after noon on that warm Saturday afternoon.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Otis Sargent Huntington

O loving God, by whose grace thy servant James Huntington gathered a community dedicated to love and discipline and devotion to the holy Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ: Send thy blessing upon all who proclaim Christ crucified, and move the hearts of many to look unto him and be saved; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, who by thy holy apostle hast called upon us to present our bodies to thee a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service: Graciously hear us, we beseech thee, O Lord, and grant that we may so dedicate ourselves wholly to thy service that henceforth we may live only to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber.

–Psalm 121:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–German bond yields to trump Japan as ECB battles deflation per RBS

German bond yields are to fall below Japanese levels and plumb depths never seen before in history as Europe becomes the epicentre of global deflationary forces, according to new forecast from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

“We are seeing `Japanification’ setting in across Europe,” said Andrew Roberts, the bank’s credit strategist. “We expect 10-year Bund yields to cross the 10-year Japanese government bond and we are amply positioned for such an outcome.”

Mr Roberts said it is a “weighty win-win” situation for investors. If the European Central Bank launches full-blown quantitative easing, it will almost certainly have to buy large amounts of German Bunds, and these are becoming scarce.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, Japan, Theology

Julian Savulescu+Ingmar Persson: Are We Fit for the Future? Making the Case for Moral Bioenhancement

The development and application of such techniques is risky – it is after all humans in their current morally-inept state who must apply them – but we think that our present situation is so desperate that this course of action must be investigated. We have radically transformed our social and natural environments by technology, while our moral dispositions have remained virtually unchanged. We must now consider applying technology to our own nature, supporting our efforts to cope with the external environment that we have created.

Biomedical means of moral enhancement may turn out to be no more effective than traditional means of moral education or social reform, but they should not be rejected out of hand. Advances are already being made in this area. However, it is too early to predict how, or even if, any moral bioenhancement scheme will be achieved. Our ambition is not to launch a definitive and detailed solution to climate change or other mega-problems. Perhaps there is no realistic solution. Our ambition at this point is simply to put moral enhancement in general, and moral bioenhancement in particular, on the table.

Last century we spent vast amounts of resources increasing our ability to cause great harm. It would be sad if, in this century, we reject opportunities to increase our capacity to create benefits, or at least to prevent such harm.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(Bloomberg) Pastors Confronting Race as Ferguson Grand Jury Meets

As St. Louis-area clergy urge a nonviolent response to a grand jury’s decision about whether to charge a white police officer in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, they’re re-evaluating their role in the struggle over race relations.

Religious leaders have become complacent in the decades since the civil-rights movement ended legal segregation, said Carl Smith Sr., 59, pastor at New Beginning Missionary Baptist in Woodson Terrace, Missouri. The August shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson and the weeks of unrest that followed awakened people of the cloth, he said. A decision on charges that could come any day and the prospect of renewed violence have forced religious leaders to the forefront and, for some, into a period of introspection.

“We have stopped doing what we were supposed to do,” Smith said in an interview after an interfaith service Nov. 22 in St. Louis. “We have stayed confined to our four walls, instead of coming outside of these four walls.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Post-Dispatch) Churches seek to serve as safe spaces after Ferguson grand jury announcement

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence