Daily Archives: January 15, 2015

Lent and Beyond: Prayer for South Carolina on Thursday January 15th

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God’s Kingdom in South Carolina

2 Chronicles 30:5-12 (New International Version)

5 They decided to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel. . . . 10 The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but the people scorned and ridiculed them. 11 Nevertheless, some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. 12 Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the LORD.

O Lord,
We thank You for the unity of mind of the Diocese of South Carolina to carry out Your holy ordinances. Keep Your hand upon them, we pray. Amen.

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

Posted in Uncategorized

(Washington Post) Vivek Wadhwa–7 admirable start-ups that are driving social change

A standing joke in Silicon Valley is that the smartest people go into online advertising, virtual currency, or dumb online games. And you surely have to wonder what has gone wrong when the industry’s heavy hitters and venture capitalists provide $1.5 million to seed a useless app such as Yo.

Fortunately, there are many tech start-ups that are solving real problems ”” and many entrepreneurs who care. The venture capital community is also beginning to see the light. Witness the recent decision of Google Ventures to back away from consumer Internet start-ups and focus more on health care and life-sciences companies, and Y Combinator, the most powerful start-up accelerator in the world, backing seven nonprofits in its latest class.

There is surely hope for tech. Here are seven companies that stand out….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Science & Technology, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Bloomberg) Binge Drinking Isn’t Just a problem for College Kids Anymore

The typical picture of a binge drinker may look as much like a middle-age man working long hours as it does a college fraternity boy partying late at night.

Doctors are increasingly focusing on that older population after years of placing a higher priority on experimenting adolescents and young alcoholics. Evidence is emerging that high-pressure jobs push millions of people toward binge drinking, and deaths from alcohol abuse escalate as people get older.

A new study from 14 countries published in the British Medical Journal found that people who work more than 48 hours a week are more likely to drink to excess — defined as 14 drinks a week for women and more than 21 for men. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in a report last week that six people die daily from alcohol poisoning, mainly those ages 35 to 65.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Middle Age, Theology, Young Adults

(CT) Gregory Thornbury–How I Almost Lost the Bible

After high school, I attended a Christian liberal arts college. In the first semester of my freshman year, I signed up for a course with a brilliant, articulate, recently minted DPhil graduate of Oxford University. The textbook for our introduction to the Bible course was Jesus: A New Vision, by Marcus J. Borg, a prominent fellow of the Jesus Seminar. The scholarly project intended to discover “the historical Jesus” apart from creedal commitments or church teaching….

For me, this dose of higher criticism was nearly lethal. Any sense that the Bible was divinely inspired and trustworthy, or that the creeds had metaphysical gravitas, started to seem implausible. The best I could muster was that, somehow mystically, perhaps Jesus was the Christ, existentially speaking….

When I told my father what I was thinking, he was alarmed. He recommended different apologetics works that defended biblical authority. I sloughed them off. Keep in mind that this was an era before figures such as Craig Blomberg, N. T. Wright, and Luke Timothy Johnson had gained notoriety among evangelicals and had written their best work on the historical reliability of the Scriptures.

Then Dad had a brainstorm. He knew that I was enamored with modern philosophy. So one day when I phoned home, he said, “There’s an evangelical theologian who might interest you. His PhD is in philosophy….His name is Carl F. H. Henry. Find the volumes of God, Revelation, and Authority in your library, and read them before you decide to give up the faith.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Telegraph) Entire Cities Cast Aside by Governing Coalition Say Church of England Archbishops

Britain under the Coalition is a country in which the poor are being “left behind” and entire cities “cast aside” because politicians are obsessed with Middle England, the Church of England says today in a damning assessment of the state of the nation.

In a direct and unapologetically “political” intervention timed for the beginning of the General Election campaign, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, warn party leaders are selling a “lie” that economic growth is the answer to Britain’s social problems.

Questioning David Cameron’s slogan “we’re all in this together” they condemn inequality as “evil” and dismiss the assumption that the value of communities is in their economic output as a “sin”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Dan Alger–Sacramental Church Planting

I once accompanied a friend to visit a church plant with roots in a non-denominational tradition. He was excited to take me because his church shared the Lord’s Supper weekly and he knew I was “into Communion.” On this particular occasion the Pastor concluded the service with a prayer, the exit music came over the sound system and he walked off the stage. We were gathering our things to leave when he jogged back up on stage, turned his mic on and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to mention that on your way out we have some bread and juice on a table by the door. Christians call this Communion and have done it for thousands of years. If you are into that kind of thing, we’d love to have you grab some on your way out.”

As an Anglican, my sacramental soul shriveled. I literally stood where I was and said a silent prayer interceding for the people as the words of 1 Corinthians 11 ran through my head, “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died (29,30).” I felt like Moses waiting for a plague to spread like a wave until it stopped at my outstretched hands. It was a profound juxtaposition to hear the lackadaisical language of the pastor “if you’re into that kind of thing” and Paul’s clear language of warning of the importance of approaching the Eucharist with preparation, solemnity, respect and awe, “this is why some of you have died.”

While mistakes like this are common among well-intentioned planters and pastors, new missional works do not always have careless sacramentology. I have celebrated the Eucharist with linens draped over a plastic table in a gym that smelled like sweaty kids and experienced something transcendent and beautiful, something ancient but immediate. What makes the difference in a church plant between an experience of the sacraments that is holy and one that is sloppy?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(CSM) An uncomfortable time to be Muslim in France

Q: What is unique about the Muslim experience in France?

Because of secularism, Muslim life in France is vastly different from that in other European nations. The Muslim population in France is estimated to be about 5 to 10 percent (about 5 million), the largest community in Europe. But since 1905 the separation of church and state has been codified as law and forms the basis of some of the more controversial decisions in recent history in France: A 2004 law bans veils, yarmulkes, and crosses in schools, and a 2011 law bans full-face coverings, including wearing the niqab, in public. Many Muslims say they view the law of secularism as anti-Muslim, and some Muslim women in France will wear a veil even if they are not particularly religious to promote their cultural identity.

“France’s situation is very singular. Its colonial past weighs extremely heavily on the nation’s collective memory,” says Mansouria Mohkefi, a special advisor for the Middle East and North Africa at the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI) in Paris. “Any type of communitarianism or show of public religiousness is forbidden.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Church Times) C of E's pre-Election publication warns of lose-lose situations for many towns+cities

Entire regions of the country are trapped in an apparently inescapable economic downward spiral. It is “a tale of two cities”, and turning the tide will come only through a commitment to solidarity, the Archbishop of Canterbury says.

“The hard truth is that [many cities and towns where there is long-term decline] are in what appear to be lose-lose situations,” he says. “Already in decline, the road towards recovery and growth is made even more difficult. . . As the south -east grows, many cities are left feeling abandoned and hopeless.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Bloomberg) Boko Haram Razed Two Nigerian Towns, Amnesty Images Confirm

Amnesty International said satellite images of the towns of Baga and Doron in Nigeria’s northeast provide “indisputable and shocking evidence” of the scale of last week’s attack by Boko Haram.

Images of the towns, 2.5 kilometers apart (1.6 miles), taken on Jan. 2 before the attack and on Jan. 7 after it, showed the extent of the devastation, with more than 3,700 buildings destroyed, Amnesty said in an e-mailed statement. The London-based group said last week it was investigating reports that as many as 2,000 people were killed in the attacks.

The military has disputed the 2,000 casualty figure, saying no more than 150 people were killed. Security forces are struggling to contain a six-year insurgency that has killed more than 13,000 people, President Goodluck Jonathan said in September.

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

(WSJ) Declining Population Could Reduce Global Economic Growth By 40%

Declining population growth that shrinks the pool of available labor over the next 50 years will reduce by 40% the rate of growth in global economic output for the world’s 20 largest economies compared to the past 50 years, according to a new study.

The report from the McKinsey Global Institute says that to compensate for the drop in the growth of the labor force, productivity needs to accelerate 80% from its historical rate to keep global growth in gross domestic product from slowing.

Over the past 50 years, global growth increased six-fold, and average per capita income nearly tripled. McKinsey researchers estimate that around half the increase stemmed from gains in productivity and half from the growing labor force.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Theology

(FT) Roula Khalaf–The search for a Muslim Martin Luther

Big terrorist attacks are often accompanied by calls for a reformation in Islam. But it will be a long wait for a Martin Luther. There is no church or hierarchy in Islam, and there are several schools of thought, so interpretations are usually based on the consensus of clerical institutions. The vast majority of clerics argue that jihadis misunderstand their religion and the overwhelming majority of Muslims never resort to any act of violence. But that is not to say there is no need for reform.

After the attacks of September 11 2001, a rare and welcome debate erupted over the ideology and teachings of the puritanical Wahhabi Islam practised in Saudi Arabia and its role in misleading youth. Liberals were given the space to argue their case and the language of clerics grew more moderate. But then the pressure faded and so did the reforms.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O Blessed Lord, who in the days of thy earthly childhood didst earnestly desire to be about thy Father’s business: Give us the grace of thy Holy Spirit early to seek thee and evermore to follow thee; that being continuously aided by thy grace, we may be exercised in thy service; who livest and reignest with the Holy Spirit, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

–Psalm 18:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Robert Cottrill–To the regions beyond I must go

The phrase that dominates this hymn, “to the regions beyond,” is taken from the words of Paul in Second Corinthians.

Having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. But ”˜he who glories, let him glory in the Lord’” (II Cor. 10:15-17).

Or, as J. B. Philips has it, “Our hope is that your growing faith will mean the expansion of our proper sphere of action, so that before long we shall be preaching the gospel in districts beyond you.”

Particularly in the Christian missionary work of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that phrase, “the regions beyond,” came to represent the goal and passion of many servants of Christ. One of these was Canadian pastor and missionary statesman Albert Simpson.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Missions

(Baltimore Sun) Maryland Episcopal diocese to review how it elected bishop now in jail

Episcopal officials will reassess the process by which the church elected a bishop now accused in the hit-and-run death of a prominent local bicyclist, the head of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland wrote in a letter to members Tuesday.

“A disciplinary process is underway to consider consequences for [Bishop Suffragan Heather Elizabeth Cook] as well as review the process that resulted in her election,” Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton wrote in the letter posted online.
Bail set for $2.5m for bishop charged in cyclist’s death.

Sutton said the diocese continues to pray for the family of Thomas Palermo, the bicyclist killed in the accident Dec. 27, as well as for Cook “in this time of her tremendous grief and sorrow.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology, Travel, Violence

(WRAL) Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University

A weekly call to prayer for Muslims will be heard at Duke University starting Friday, school officials said.

Members of the Duke Muslim Students Association will chant the call, known as adhan or azan, from the Duke Chapel bell tower each Friday at 1 p.m. The call to prayer will last about three minutes and be “moderately amplified,” officials said in a statement Tuesday.

“The adhan is the call to prayer that brings Muslims back to their purpose in life, which is to worship God, and serves as a reminder to serve our brothers and sisters in humanity,” said Imam Adeel Zeb, Muslim chaplain at Duke. “The collective Muslim community is truly grateful and excited about Duke’s intentionality toward religious and cultural diversity.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Islam, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Young Adults