Daily Archives: January 11, 2015

(Daily Mail) Fear of criticising Islam has given Britain self-imposed blasphemy law, Carey warns

Britain’s fear of criticising Islam has led to a self-imposed ”˜blasphemy law’, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has warned.

Lord Carey’s comments come days after the brutal slaughter of journalists at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, which printed cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed.

He added that the Press should be encouraged to print controversial material, even if Muslims find it offensive.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

([London Sunday] Times) Lord Carey–The war against intolerance must continue

It is unbelievable that a modern democracy only managed to get round to disposing of these embarrassing laws so recently, but I find it even more shocking that a de facto blasphemy law is operating in Britain today.

The fact is that publishers and newspapers live in fear of criticising Islam. BBC guidelines, we have learnt recently, forbade the publication of images of the founder of Islam, even though this prohibition has not always been universal or absolute in Muslim history. Hastily revising its own guidelines, the BBC has now re-entered the 21st century, even picturing a Charlie Hebdo front cover on Newsnight featuring a cartoon of Muhammad.

Yet since 1988 and the hounding of Salman Rushdie and his publishers over The Satanic Verses, there has been a threat over free speech posed by radical and political Islam. I wish back then we had dealt with it. Every publisher and newspaper at the time throughout the world should have concertedly published extracts from The Satanic Verses to spread the risk and challenge extremist notions of blasphemy and apostasy, which surely apply only to consenting Islamic believers and not to ”˜kaffirs’ and ”˜heretics’?

Yet since 1988, the spectre of extremist censorship has reared its ugly head time and time again.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

The Communiqué from the ACNA College of Bishops

We were enriched and strengthened in our apostolic ministries through the inspiring sessions presented by the Rt. Rev. John A.M Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and Dean of Provincial Affairs, and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Ray Sutton, Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Mid America (REC) and Provincial Dean.

Bishop Guernsey spoke about the importance of a bishop’s prayer life and accented his presentations with powerful testimonies of the ways Almighty God had answered prayers of faith and vision. We were reminded that Jesus himself instructed the disciples to pray earnestly to the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (Luke 10:2). Each afternoon the College of Bishops was enriched by Bishop Sutton’s outstanding and anointed teaching on the office of the Bishop. He presented an historical survey of the ministry of the bishop, highlighting many godly examples for us as we seek to live, pray, love, and minister.

In surveying seven eras in the history of the Church, from the Apostolic Age of the New Testament to the present day, Bishop Sutton challenged the College to recover the best of the apostolic office as it has been revealed in Scripture and experienced in the life of the Church. His presentation concluded with a tremendously stirring call to us to fulfill our vocations….

We gave thanks for the presence of Bishop Mark Lawrence throughout the meeting. Our prayers continue to be with him and the faithful people whom he leads in the Diocese of South Carolina

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Theology

(CSM) Another massacre? Why Nigeria struggles to stop Boko Haram

In the latest campaign by the African Islamic militant group Boko Haram, hundreds of gunmen reportedly overtook the town of Baga, its neighboring villages, and a multinational military base.

During a five-day attack in Nigeria’s northeast, the heavily armed militant group descended on joint-run African military base, one of the few remaining government-run operations in the area. Upon seeing the gunmen, the military guards abandoned their posts.

In recent days, Boko Haram has attacked and destroyed 16 villages. Official death tolls have not been recorded, but reports vary widely, with anywhere from 200 to as many as 2,000 Nigerians killed, according to Amnesty International on Saturday.

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

Matthew Hall–Christian Scholarship and the Distinguishing Virtue of Humility

2. Humility presses against the values of the world and of American culture. To say we live in a narcissistic age is hardly news. But while our age may be particularly at ease with some of the most obnoxious and flagrant expressions of this form of arrogance, Christians realize this has been the spirit of the age since Genesis 3.

Christian scholars increasingly find themselves situated within a culture that prioritizes celebrity, that tells us of the necessity of “establishing our platform” and “building our brand.” Humility is essential for civility, and the deficit of both is reaching epidemic levels within American life, including in the academy. If you think the scholarly guild is immune from this toxicity, think again. Sure, we might dress it up in more genteel clothing (read a C.V. sometime to see what I mean), but it is there nonetheless: an aspiration to set ourselves above and apart from those within our own community.

In an age that has commodified all things, including education and the life of the mind, the pressure toward self-promotion, caustic polemicism, and visceral reactionism is everywhere. Christian scholarship framed by humility will be swimming upstream against these tides.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Religion & Culture

(AI) Peter Berger–New Atheism and the Rectification of Names

What is at least relatively new about the “new atheism” is its aggressiveness and its attitude of absolute certainty (in that curiously mirroring conservative Christianity, its main antagonist). Atheists can be described as people who have heard a voice from heaven telling them that heaven does not exist. There have been tormented atheists such as Friedrich Nietzsche, who proclaimed the “death of God” (he understood that this event, if it really took place, would be a cosmic tragedy). More recently Albert Camus in his novel The Plague depicted individuals who, without the comforts of faith, heroically defy suffering and evil. This is a far cry from the flippant contempt for religion that characterized H.L. Mencken (I would see him as a precursor of the post-1960s intelligentsia). He once proposed that the universe is a gigantic ferris wheel, that man is a fly who happened to land on it, and who thinks that the whole contraption was created for his benefit. (The shallowness of Mencken’s view of religion should not detract from his having been one of America’s great satirists.)

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Posted in Uncategorized

Le Monde/France 24: Massive Demonstration against Terrorism in France

Update from the BBC
More than three million people have taken part in unity marches across France after 17 people died during three days of deadly attacks in Paris.

Up to 1.6m are estimated to have taken to the streets of the French capital.

More than 40 world leaders joined the start of the Paris march, linking arms in an act of solidarity.

The marchers wanted to demonstrate unity after the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers, and a kosher supermarket.

The French government said the rally turnout was the highest on record.

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EN DIRECT : toute l'actu FRANCE 24 en Français by france24

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Terrorism

South Carolina Lowcountry Locals echo surveys that find steady growth among religiously unaffiliated

When Heather Remy tells friends she’s heading to church, they know she means the beach. It’s where she thinks, meditates and feels connected to something larger than herself.

But she doesn’t call that God or Christianity.

Despite growing up Catholic, she no longer believes in Jesus and hasn’t warmed a pew in years. Instead, she believes in a spiritual energy, something that binds living things, but not in a divine creator pulling the puppet strings of humankind.

“I think everything falls into place so nicely that I don’t believe it is all coincidence,” she said. “I try to keep my mind open as much as possible.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Religion & Culture

Your Prayers Requested for our parish Annual meeting this afternoon

Bishop Mark Lawrence is our special guest–read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry

(Guardian) Boko Haram escapee: ”˜I kept stepping on dead bodies’

…it was only after breaking cover on Tuesday night that he realised the true scale of the attack, which it is feared may be one of the worst in the six-year insurgency.

“For five kilometres (three miles), I kept stepping on dead bodies until I reached Malam Karanti village, which was also deserted and burnt,” he said.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who at the baptism of thy blessed Son Jesus Christ in the river Jordan didst manifest his glorious Godhead: Grant, we beseech thee, that the brightness of his presence may shine in our hearts, and his glory be set forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Scottish Prayer Book

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

–Psalm 146:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Paula Smalley going home today after 20 days in the hospital

You can find the background there and today’s news is here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Major News from one of the Diocese of SC Parishes–John Burwell stepping down

I write today to let you know that after much prayer and consideration, I am convinced that the time has come for me to retire from my position as Rector of the Church of the Holy Cross. I believe that I have run my portion of the good race and that it is right for me to pass the baton to the next generation.

I am excited and delighted to tell you that Bishop Lawrence met in a private session with your vestry (without my presence) and after prayer and discussion the vestry unanimously chose Chris Warner to become our next rector. I am of the opinion that there is no better person for the position anywhere.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Telegraph) Anglican chaplain Jemima Thackray–Twitter is a difficult place

…not only was I starting to feel left out during dinner table conversations about the latest viral phenomenon, I also realised that social media was the best way to disseminate my writing work. I wrote to be read, not so my words would simply disappear forever into the cloud. If I had ideas, I needed to get them out there.

However, aside from sharing my articles, I’ve actually had some difficulty in knowing what else to say. Well meaning techy friends gave me advice: find your ”˜thing’ and just be interesting about it. But it’s felt like a hard task to be witty and engaging about my ”˜thing’ which happens to be the subject of religion and spirituality. As an Anglican chaplain and commentator on religious affairs, my ”˜thing’ is a deeply held desire to draw near to the divine and see others do the same ”“ try packing that in 140 characters! It’s a rather complex and personal subject to generate regular pithy soundbites about.

All I knew is that there were certain things I didn’t want to say. More than anything I wanted to avoid becoming one of those people who post inane details about their personal life alongside random spiritual hash tags (e.g. ”˜Fed the kids now off to prayer meeting #meetwithjesus’), as if by shoehorning references to God into commentary about everyday life they might make spirituality seem more normalised and appealing.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Alan Jacobs on why he Cannot Quite Agree with Giles Fraser on Charlie Hebdo

I would love to agree with this, but can’t quite. All iconoclasm is not alike. Reading Fraser’s essay I found myself remembering Mikhail Bakhtin’s great essay “From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse,” in which he compares ancient and medieval parody with its modern equivalent.

Ancient parody was free of any nihilistic denial. It was not, after all, the heroes who were parodied, nor the Trojan War and its participants; what was parodied was only its epic heroization; not Hercules and his exploits but their tragic heroization. The genre itself, the style, the language are all put in cheerfully irreverent quotation marks, and they are perceived against a backdrop of contradictory reality that cannot be confined within their narrow frames. The direct and serious word was revealed, in all its limitations and insufficiency, only after it had become the laughing image of that word ”” but it was by no means discredited in the process.

By contrast, “in modern times the functions of parody are narrow and unproductive. Parody has grown sickly, its place in modem literature is insignificant. We live, write and speak today in a world of free and democratized language: the complex and multi-leveled hierarchy of discourses, forms, images, styles that used to permeate the entire system of official language and linguistic consciousness was swept away by the linguistic revolution of the Renaissance.” Parody for us is too often merely iconoclastic, breaking images out of juvenile delight in breaking, not out of commitment to a reality too heteroglot (Bakhtin’s term) to fit within the confines of standardized religious practices. I think Charlie Hebdo is juvenile in this way.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Art, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, History, Humor / Trivia, Media, Terrorism, Theology