Daily Archives: November 29, 2014

(Quad City Times) Illinois Supreme Court rejects the Episcopal Church's appeal in Quincy Case

Local Anglican priests gave parishioners an extra helping of good news during Thanksgiving Day services.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition by the Episcopal Church to review a lower court ruling that decided contested money and property tied to a 2008 split rightfully belonged to the Quincy Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America, the Rev. Thomas Janikowski, public relations director, said Friday.

He shared the news with parishioners at Trinity Anglican Church in Rock Island, where he’s rector, during his Thanksgiving homily and said he saw several “moist eyes” in people grateful to learn the case finally may be over, he said…

The Supreme Court’s denial was a disappointing decision, according to Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee, of the Chicago Diocese, which the former Quincy Episcopal Diocese realigned itself with in 2013.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

(Ntl Post) Black Chicago high school and their white Canadian football coach offer hope

…against this backdrop of racial discord and ongoing black despair, in a place where hope can be hard to find for a young black man, Jamal Brown is part of a new story, a small but promising case study of possibility: It is about his black inner-city high school football team and their white Canadian football coach.

“This is the most positive story that is out there,” says Joe Winslow, a black man born and raised on the South Side, and an assistant with the Wendell Phillips Wildcats. “This is what can happen when people come together.

“This is a white head coach in a black neighbourhood ”” and it ain’t predominantly black ”” it’s black, where there are still gangs running certain neighbourhoods and running certain blocks, and where there are still kids getting jumped because they are wearing Phillips hoodies.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Canada, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Sports, Teens / Youth, Theology

(WSJ) Veterans Seek Help for PTSD Decades After War

Nightmares of a friend dying beside him in a bunker years ago now waken Donald Vitkus. “There is stuff that you carry from the war,” the 71-year-old Vietnam veteran said.

Mr. Vitkus spends his days in and out of therapy at a residential rehabilitation center filled with mostly older veterans, working on his memory while trying to gain control over disturbing recollections and the emotions they surface.

He is one of hundreds of thousands of aging Vietnam veterans who late in life are now seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder””a mix of flashbacks, depression and sleeplessness springing from a war that ended four decades ago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(BBC Radio 4 Today) Should readings from the Koran feature in the next Coronation?

The former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, has said readings from the Koran should feature in the next Coronation, when Prince Charles succeeds to the Throne.

In a debate on the role of religion in British public life, Lord Harries, now an independent peer, praised what he called “the hospitality” shown in a service last year at Bristol Cathedral.

However, Douglas Murray, author and associate editor of The Spectator, disagreed saying: “A lot of people will think this is an example of Anglican leaders not having faith in their own faith.”

Listen to it all (6 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Christian Century Editors–The Refugee crisis caused by the wars+violence in Iraq+Syria

In November a third American was beheaded by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has taken control of parts of those two countries. Peter Kassig was captured in Syria, where he was working as a volunteer medical assistant, trying to address what a top United Nations official has called “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as many as 13.6 million people have been displaced by the conflict in Iraq and by civil war in Syria. Over 3 million Syrian refugees are now encamped in the neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Nearly 2 million Iraqis have been displaced this year.

The refugees put a huge burden on their host countries. Lebanon, a country of 4 million, has over 1 million registered refugees. With winter approaching, these refugees face bleak prospects. Their plight is exacerbated, the UNHCR claims, by an underfunded relief effort, which faces a shortfall of $58 million. The charity Oxfam charges the United States with negligence in supporting refugee efforts, claiming that it has contributed only 60 percent of its fair share.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A 2009 Church Times Interview with Baroness P D James

My love for the Prayer Book began in very early childhood, before I could read – when I could only listen to it. Of course, it was the only book used then. Later, when I could read, during long, boring sermons I would read it and specially loved the instructions – for instance, those to priests for giving holy communion in time of pestilence. That conjured up pictures in my childish mind of the priest walking with the sacred vessels through the almost deserted village, almost certainly to become ill himself; or the prayers for when in danger on the sea, knowing that they would have been read by everyone on board, and the ship would almost certainly founder.

There is so much history, romance, and great beauty in it. And the prayers like the General Thanks­giving and the prayers after com­mun­ion are so superb that they meet my need in praying much better than my own words do, and I still use them in private prayer.

I enjoy services in other denom­inations, like those of the Reformed Church, or going to a Roman Catholic mass with a friend – but what is essential to me is an atmos­phere of devotion and concentration on God. If there’s a great deal of happy-clappy singing and an­nounce­ments of birthdays, and so on, I can see that it binds people together, but I don’t personally find it’s useful to me. I want silence, so I can concentrate on God – not just talking to him and giving him a list of my requirements.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Theology

(LN) Chinese mom ”˜asked’ to return bonuses from 1-child policy after applying for 2nd child

A woman in China’s central province of Henan has reportedly been “asked” to return the money she received for being compliant with the country’s One Child Policy, after she applied for a permit to have a second child.

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) official newspaper, the People’s Daily, said that a woman surnamed Chen was told by local authorities in the city of Zhengzhou that “if (she) wants to have two children, (she) must refund the one-child monies that she had previously enjoyed.”

Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, said that China’s One Child Policy is enforced not only through coercion, such as forced abortion and involuntary sterilization, but also through incentives, such as the “Parents of One Child Honor Certificate,” which entitles parents of only one child to receive benefits until the child reaches age 14.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Children, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology

(PS) Martin Feldstein–The Geopolitical Impact of Cheaper Oil

Although Saudi Arabia and several of the Gulf states are also major oil exporters, they differ from other producers in two important ways. First, their cost of extracting oil is extremely low, which means that they will be able to produce profitably at the current price ”“ or even at a much lower price. Second, their enormous financial reserves allow them to finance their domestic and international activities for an extended period of time, as they seek to transform their economies to reduce their dependence on oil revenue.

A further decline in the price of oil could have major geopolitical repercussions. A price of $60 a barrel would create severe problems for Russia in particular. President Vladimir Putin would no longer be able to maintain the transfer programs that currently sustain his popular support. There would be similar consequences in Iran and Venezuela.

It is not clear whether these countries’ current regimes could survive a substantial and sustained future decline in oil prices. By contrast, it is obvious that oil-importing countries would benefit greatly ”“ as they already are.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Theology

(NYT) Despite Aid Push, Ebola Is Raging in Sierra Leone

Military choppers thunder over the slums. Nearly a thousand British soldiers are on the scene, ferrying supplies and hammering together new Ebola clinics. Crates of food and medicine are flowing into the port, and planeloads of experts seem to arrive every day ”” Ugandan doctors, Chinese epidemiologists, Australian logisticians, even an ambulance specialist from London.

But none of it was reaching Isatu Sesay, a sick teenager. She flipped on her left side, then her right, writhing on a foam mattress, moaning, grimacing, mumbling and squinching her eyes in agony as if she were being stabbed. Her family and neighbors called an Ebola hotline more than 35 times, desperate for an ambulance.

For three days straight, Isatu’s mother did not leave her post on the porch, face gaunt, arms slack, eyes fixed up the road toward the capital, Freetown, where the Ebola command center was less than 45 minutes away.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Health & Medicine, Sierra Leone

(WSJ) Gregory Cootsona–C.S. Lewis and the Crises of Belief

Lewis grappled with crisis and struggle, and he came down on the side of faith. It was his honesty and intellectual rigor in describing his trials that help make him so compelling.

The crises that Lewis faced were substantial””his mother’s death when he was 9; being sent to a series of boarding schools that he detested; fighting and being wounded in World War I; living through the Great Depression and World War II; caring for his alcoholic brother; and, finally, the death of his wife, Joy.

How did he work through those crises? His son-in-law, Douglas Gresham, comments on Lewis’s response to Joy’s death, “He did what he always did under extreme stress. He sat down at his desk, and looking into himself and carefully observing what was happening deep in his mind where we keep our inmost secrets, he picked up his pen and an old exercise book and began to write.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Apologetics, Church History, Theology

(Church Times) FGM expert brings tears to MEPs’ eyes describing the suffering in Congo

Members of the European Parliament listened in tears on Wednesday as this year’s winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Dr Denis Mukwege, outlined a catalogue of sexual violence and abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dr Mukwege was presented with the award “in recognition of his on-going efforts to restore the physical and psychological integrity of thousands of women and girls who are victims of sexual abuse by rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

He has spent the past 15 years working with women who are the victims of a planned and continuing campaign of sexual violence. He is now seen as a leading international expert in repairing women’s mutilated reproductive organs.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Republic of Congo, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who didst wonderfully deliver thy people out of Egypt and didst bring them into their own land: Deliver us, we beseech thee, from the tyranny of sin, and bring us into that land where the Prince of Peace reigneth, and the lives of men proclaim thy righteousness; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

–Philippians 2:1-11

Posted in Uncategorized

(Aleteia) Steven Mosher–Why the Crackdown? Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China

There are now an estimated 100 million plus Christians in the world’s most populous country, with Catholics alone accounting for about 12 million of this number. Many of these are new converts who, eager to fulfill the Great Commission, are busy evangelizing their fellow Chinese citizens. The Chinese Communist Party has been doing some recruiting of its own in recent years, opening its ranks to intellectuals, business owners, and other previously suspect classes ”“ even capitalists! Still, the 86.7 million formal members of this decaying “faith” ”“ most of whom are Communists in name only ”“ are now outnumbered by a growing and vibrant Chinese Christianity.

For China’s leaders, who vastly prefer that the Chinese people believe there is no god but the Party (and remember: they are the Party), this is an intolerable situation. This latest wave of persecution is their answer. The good news is that Catholicism in China is on the rise nonetheless.

Let me share with you the many hopeful faces of the Catholic faith that I saw on a recent trip to China.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Wonderful (if lacking) NY Times obituary on PD James which is well worth your time

She was born Phyllis Dorothy James on Aug. 3, 1920, in Oxford, the eldest of three children of Dorothy and Sidney James, a civil servant who did not believe in inflicting too much education on his daughter. The family settled in Cambridge when she was 11, and before she left the Cambridge High School for Girls, at 16, she already knew that she wanted to be a writer and that mysterious death intrigued her.

“When I first heard that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall,” she was fond of saying, “I immediately wondered: Did he fall ”” or was he pushed?” But a marriage to Ernest C. B. White, a medical student, and World War II halted her plans for a writing career.

Ms. James gave birth to the first of her two daughters in 1942, during a bombing blitz. She served as a Red Cross nurse during the war. When her husband returned from military service with a mental disability, marked by bouts of violence, that kept him confined to hospitals, Ms. James was forced to support her family. She went to work for the National Health Service and attended classes in hospital administration.

It took her three years to write her first mystery novel, “Cover Her Face,” by working in the early morning, hours before going to her hospital job. She was 42 when it was published in Britain in 1962. (Like many of her books, it was published in the United States later.) The realistic hospital settings of three early novels, “A Mind to Murder” (1963), “Shroud for a Nightingale” (1971) and “The Black Tower” (1975), owe much to her 19 years of administrative experience with the National Health Service.

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Update: Terry Mattingly has rightly noted the Times missed pursuing her serious faith as part of the story.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Theology, Women

(NBC) Is Black Friday Madness America's Latest Export

Black Friday in the U.S.: like a regular weekend at the malls, only a little more so. Black Friday overseas: like Black Friday used to be in the U.S., including the shoving and fistfights.

Call it America’s latest export.

As Americans hunkered down on their couches to score Black Friday bargains online, shoppers in other parts of the world took part in what had been a uniquely American experience: Risking life and limb for dirt-cheap sweaters and discounted TVs.

British police officers were called to stores across the country on Friday to quell surging crowds and fights over deals. Retailers had adopted American-style Black Friday discounts to get a jump on the Christmas shopping season, according to Reuters. Even Brazil got in on the act, with stores offering Black Friday deals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Psychology, Theology