Daily Archives: January 10, 2015

Episcopal Church's DFMS Report to the Church 2015 Released

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

(AFP) Boko Haram suspected after girl, 10, blows herself up in NE Nigeria

Two explosions rocked northeast Nigeria on Saturday, including one by a female suicide bomber thought to be just 10 years old who blew herself up in a crowded market, as the US condemned a bloody spike in Boko Haram violence.

At least 19 people were killed at the Monday Market in the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, at about 12:40 pm (1140 GMT) when it was packed with shoppers and traders.

Hours later, a suspicious vehicle that had been stopped at a checkpoint outside the city of Potiskum, in neighbouring Yobe, exploded at a police station as its driver was being taken in for questioning.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

William Doubleday–Alcohol and the Episcopal Church: There but for the Grace of God Go Many of Us

During the twenty-five years I taught Pastoral Care at The General Theological Seminary, and later at Bexley Hall and Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, I always tried to include a unit on Alcohol and Addictions. I was disappointed to see how few students really engaged with the issues, no matter what books I had them read, what speakers I had them hear, or what case studies I had them consider. Periodically I would arrange elective courses on “Alcohol and Addictions” which were taught by skilled clinicians. Alas they were undersubscribed and sometimes had to be cancelled due to insufficient registrations. I was also troubled by the number of seminarians I knew over twenty-five years who arrived at seminary “in recovery” and graduated persuaded that they were really healthy social drinkers. Not a few train wrecks have ensued over the years.

Starting in 2010, I bought numerous copies of So You Think You Don’t Know One? Addicition and Recovery in Clergy and Congregations by Nancy Van Dyke Platt and Bishop Chilton R. Knudsen, and gave them as gifts to all of my seminary students. The book is full of wisdom and superb case studies that are diverse enough to engage almost anyone’s awareness or imagination. These days, I hand out copies to parishioners from time to time as well.

I am convinced that at this tragic time in the life of the Diocese of Maryland, and the Episcopal Church, we are called yet again to come out of the darkness and the silence which still surrounds alcohol and addictions. Perhaps some brave souls will shed their anonymity, though that can be a serious career risk for clergy. Perhaps more of us can raise these concerns in our teaching and preaching. Perhaps we can draw on the expertise of professionals in the fields of alcohol and addictions, some of whom are present in our parishes or communities. In the early days of the AIDS Crisis, one of the activist groups had the slogan: Silence = Death. Indeed it does!

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II's Christmas Message

Watch and Read it all and there is some information on the Coptic Orthodox Church here

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Other Churches

An Edmonton Journal Profile of Bishop Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander was a teenager before she set foot in a church, and she wasn’t baptized until she was in her mid-20s with her first child.

Her parents, confirmed atheists, actively discouraged religion but encouraged music in their young soprano. That was her window into Christian faith and it changed her life, eventually.

Soft-spoken with a disarming smile, Alexander has been Edmonton’s Anglican bishop for the past six years. She’s one of a handful of females who hold this prominent job in Canada.

She has also just taken on a major leadership role in the city as head of Mayor Don Iveson’s ambitious task force on poverty.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Religion & Culture

(RNS) After living without God for a year, former pastor no longer believes

Q: This weekend you told NPR: “I don’t think that God exists.” Can you elaborate?

I think the best way I can explain the conclusion I’ve come to ”” and conclusion is too strong a word for the provisional place I now stand and work from ”” is that the intellectual and emotional energy it takes to figure out how God fits into everything is far greater than dealing with reality as it presents itself to us.

That probably sounds very nonrational, and I want people to know that I have read several dozen books and understand a good many of the arguments. I’d just say that the existence of God seems like an extra layer of complexity that isn’t necessary. The world makes more sense to me as it is, without postulating a divine being who is somehow in charge of things.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

(Guardian) TS Eliot: the poet who conquered the world, 50 years on

In English, Eliot, the greatest poet of London, is also the greatest poet of the second world war ”“ not because he fought in it, but because he registered so fully its struggle and destruction: the houses that turned to dust, the raids, the need to persist against wholly unfavourable odds. Those are some of the elements that power “East Coker”, “The Dry Salvages”, and “Little Gidding”. The last named of the Quartets in particular draws on Eliot’s experience as a fire watcher during the London blitz, while “The Dry Salvages”, drawing on and addressing his own American past, was written in the period before America entered the second world war and as Britain was facing defeat. Though in no way directly propagandistic, Eliot’s poem nonetheless seems geared to encourage Americans to understand the necessity of persisting in struggle. After the second world war, as after the first, Eliot went out of his way to voice his Europhilia, his belief in European unity and “the mind of Europe”. All this contributed to his being regarded, rightly, as an Anglophile poet who could contend at one moment that “History is now and England”, but who could see, too, the importance of a sense of pan-European civilisation. So, in the decades after 1945, the importance of this poet to whom Dante mattered as much as Shakespeare can be seen as emblematising European cultural politics. There is a European Eliot, an English Eliot, an American Eliot, an Indian Eliot, a Chinese Eliot: this proliferation of Eliots has made him all the more a world poet.

So when, on Monday in London, the Poetry Book Society and the TS Eliot Trustees host a group of contemporary poets for the TS Eliot prize award ceremony, honouring “the best collection of poetry published in 2014” at an event marking the 50th anniversary of TS Eliot’s death, whether or not the winning poet echoes Eliot directly is immaterial. More than any other 20th-century poet, Eliot showed how to balance tradition and modernity ”“ that is his true legacy; as poet, publisher, critic and editor, his art opened up the space in which we write and read. Sometimes people try to caricature him; his detractors must grant him his full complexity, just as his fans must acknowledge that his background was not just one of ragtime and high culture but also of familial antisemitism and attitudes to race that trouble St Louis to this day. To appreciate him requires an acknowledgement that his life and work were full of daring, astuteness and a preternaturally acute ear for language.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, England / UK, History, Poetry & Literature

Experts fear terror threat is greater than capacity of security agencies to respond

Andrew Parker, head of Britain’s domestic security agency, said this week: “My sharpest concern as director general of MI5 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capabilities to address it.” In a briefing at MI5 headquarters in London he said about half of the agency’s work was now devoted to counter-terrorism.

For Nigel Inkster, a former senior intelligence office and a three-decade veteran of Britain’s MI6 overseas intelligence agency, “a lot of what needs to be done is being done, but it’s a problem of scale.” According to Inkster, now director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies: “There are now more of these people around involved in attack planning.”

The Paris attack was part of a terrorist phenomenon that was fragmenting and taking multiple different directions, he says.

Read it all from Time.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Terrorism, Theology

Two Pictures that show why the Employment Situation in the US is still a concern

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

(NPR) Are Teenagers Capable Of Making Life-Or-Death Decisions?

The Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling that 17-year-old Cassandra could be forced to undergo cancer treatment sparked thousands of impassioned comments on NPR.org and Facebook.

Cassandra, who is being identified by her first name because she is a minor, had been removed from her home and put in the custody of child welfare authorities after she said she didn’t want chemotherapy for Hodgkin lymphoma.

The state and her doctors said that without treatment, she would die. With treatment, she has an 85 percent chance of survival.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Teens / Youth, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Laud

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like thy servant William Laud, we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Jesus, our Master, go with us while we travel to the heavenly country; that, following thy star, we may not wander in the darkness of this world’s night, while thou, who art our Way, and Truth, and Life dost shine within us to our journey’s end; for thy mercy’s sake.

–based on the Mozarabic Sacramentary

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber’i-as. And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

–John 6:1-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT Front Page today) Raising Questions Within Islam After the France Shootings

Islamist extremists behead Western journalists in Syria, massacre thousands of Iraqis, murder 132 Pakistani schoolchildren, kill a Canadian soldier and take hostage cafe patrons in Australia. Now, two gunmen have massacred a dozen people in the office of a Paris newspaper.

The rash of horrific attacks in the name of Islam is spurring an anguished debate among Muslims here in the heart of the Islamic world about why their religion appears cited so often as a cause for violence and bloodshed.

The majority of scholars and the faithful say Islam is no more inherently violent than other religions. But some Muslims ”” most notably the president of Egypt ”” argue that the contemporary understanding of their religion is infected with justifications for violence, requiring the government and its official clerics to correct the teaching of Islam.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence