Monthly Archives: February 2015

(M Evening News) Manchester United Defeat Sunderland 2-0

It was scrappy and horrible at times but United did enough to win. The first-half was dire with the fans screaming ‘attack, attack, attack’ at every opportunity. Still, they were much better in the second half and deserved to win.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

(Ind. Star) This dreamer, Doug Arnholter, has a totally crazy, possibly genius idea–what is it?

What’s Arnholter’s big idea? It’s simple. Ambitiously simple. Create a mural made by thousands of people in every state in the country, plus Washington, D.C. Call it the “Mural of America,” make it about reminding people that humanity is a shared experience and allot 15 months, 16,000 miles and $175,000 to do it.

“It’s important for this country,” Arnholter says. “We’re always bickering, so we miss the big picture. A woman once told me this project is about ‘the cohesion of diversity.’ That’s the best way I’ve heard anyone describe it.”

Traveling to a new state every weekend, with a break in the winter, Arnholter wants to stop by the Boston Marathon, the Las Vegas Art Festival, the Treme Gumbo Creole Festival in New Orleans and the Broad Ripple Art Fair. He’ll use a similar route taken by the Ringling Brothers Circus in the 1900s. He’ll live in an RV.

First stop: Pendleton, S.C.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Art, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Bishop John Gray of the Maori Anglican Diocese Suspended

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(BBC) Sir John Sawers, ex-MI6 chief, warns of Russia 'danger'

Russia has become a danger to Britain and the country must be prepared to take steps to defend itself and its allies, the former head of MI6 says.

Sir John Sawers, who recently retired after five years as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Russia poses a “state to state threat”.

Sir John said dealing with such threats would require more defence spending.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Theology

(Washington Post) Russian opposition leaders see Kremlin links to Nemtsov slaying

Russian opposition leaders on Saturday accused the Kremlin of being behind the death of a towering figure of post-Soviet politics, Boris Nemtsov, as they struggled to come to grips with the highest-profile assassination of President Vladimir Putin’s 15 years in power.

Nemtsov was gunned down late Friday, steps from the Kremlin and underneath the swirling domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral ”” the heart of power in Russia and one of the most secure areas in the nation. The slaying of one of Putin’s most biting critics swept a wave of fresh vulnerability over those in the opposition, and some expressed new fears for their lives.

Putin and other allies said that the assassination was a provocation intended to discredit the Kremlin. There were no immediate suspects brought into custody in the drive-by shooting. Authorities said they were working hard to track down a light-colored sedan that was captured on surveillance cameras as Nemtsov crossed a bridge over the Moscow River on an unseasonably warm February night.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Russia, Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby welcomes Korean Anglican leader to Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the Primate of the Anglican Church of Korea to Lambeth Palace yesterday.

Archbishop Paul Kim is visiting London and Canterbury with directors from the Christian Broadcasting System of Korea (CBS) to give them a better understanding of the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, South Korea

(NYT On Religion) Muslim Scholar, Looking to ”˜Speak the Truth,’ Teaches the Holocaust and Islam

Early in the summer of 2007, a doctoral student named Mehnaz M. Afridi traveled from her California home to a conference in southern Germany. Her official role was to deliver a paper on anti-Semitism in Egyptian literature, a rather loaded subject for a Muslim scholar. Seventy miles away, she had another appointment, and an even riskier agenda.

After the conference concluded, Ms. Afridi drove to the former concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. As she stood before the dun bricks of a crematorium, she prayed. “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un,” she said in Arabic, meaning, “Surely we belong to God and to him shall we return.”

“I didn’t know that moment would be defining my role,” Dr. Afridi, 44, said a few weeks ago. “I didn’t even realize then that I was at a crossroads. People see the Holocaust and Islam as two separate things, but these stories of faith and catastrophe are not opposites. They are companions.”

Read it all.

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

(Reuters) China cuts rates again in face of weak demand, deflation risk

China’s central bank cut interest rates on Saturday, just days before the annual meeting of the country’s parliament, in the latest effort to support the world’s second-largest economy as its momentum slows and deflation risks rise.

The central bank said the 25 basis point cut in the benchmark interest rate to 5.35 per cent – its second cut in just over three months – and a 25 basis point cut in the benchmark saving rate to 2.5 per cent would be effective from Sunday.

“The focus of the interest rate cut is to keep real interest rate levels suitable for fundamental trends in economic growth, prices and employment,” the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement on its website.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General

Scientific American and Nature Editors Remember Leonard Nimoy

I was saddened to hear Leonard Nimoy died. It was even more sorrowful to find that years of smoking had caught up with him. I caught myself thinking: Spock smoked? Why would an ascetic, someone as fastidious about his health and logical about evidence-based science, ever take up smoking? And that mental jump from the actor to the character was what made Leonard Nimoy’s professional life a burden and a blessing””a hazard for many actors who play an iconic character.

About 20 years ago I was working at a photography magazine and attended an event in the Hayden Planetarium where Nimoy was a spokesman. It was for a photography product launch, although memory of what escapes me. There was a lunch and as the tables quickly filled a colleague and I picked one that had a few seats left. There was one empty seat, and Nimoy walked over, asked if the chair was taken and sat down. He barely touched his salad before he was completely bombarded with questions about Star Trek and Mr. Spock, which he politely and warmly answered, before he made a graceful exit. To confess, during the session I was fighting temptation to add to the pile-on, but it seemed to me that he wanted to talk about photography or anything else. I saw firsthand why he had written his 1975 autobiography, I am not Spock, albeit to great uproar from the Trek fan base. I also understood why he followed it with his second installment in 1995, I am Spock. Obviously Nimoy, no matter what he did or accomplished, was stuck with Spock, and decided to embrace his inner Vulcan science officer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology

(Guardian) Westminster Abbey wins permission to add first new tower in 300 years

Westminster Abbey has won planning permission to add its first new tower in almost 300 years, which will create public access to a museum of treasures and curiosities housed in the triforium, the church’s attic gallery.

At present, the public can get only a distant glimpse of the spectacular and shadowy space through the stone arches 70ft up at the top of the walls above the high altar.

The only way in is a perilous journey up narrow spiral staircases and along ledge-like passages high above the nave. The spectacular but vertigo-inducing view down to the altar and nave has mostly been enjoyed by maintenance staff and camera crews covering major state events.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Architecture, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day from C J Vaughan

O Lord God, keep ever in our remembrance the life and death of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Make the thought of his love powerful to win us from evil. As he toiled and sorrowed and suffered for us, in fighting against sin, so may we endure constantly and labour diligently, as his soldiers and servants, looking ever unto him and counting it all joy to be partakers with him in his conflict, his cross, and his victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,

“Thou art my Son,
today I have begotten thee”;

as he says also in another place,

“Thou art a priest for ever,
after the order of Melchiz′edek.”

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchiz′edek.

–Hebrews 5:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

George Herbert on his Feast Day–The Thanksgiving

Oh King of grief! (a title strange, yet true,
To thee of all kings only due)
Oh King of wounds! how shall I grieve for thee,
Who in all grief preventest me?
Shall I weep blood? why thou has wept such store
That all thy body was one door.
Shall I be scourged, flouted, boxed, sold?
‘Tis but to tell the tale is told.
‘My God, my God, why dost thou part from me? ‘
Was such a grief as cannot be.
But how then shall I imitate thee, and
Copy thy fair, though bloody hand?
Surely I will revenge me on thy love,
And try who shall victorious prove.
If thou dost give me wealth, I will restore
All back unto thee by the poor.
If thou dost give me honour, men shall see,
The honour doth belong to thee.
I will not marry; or, if she be mine,
She and her children shall be thine.
My bosom friend, if he blaspheme thy name,
I will tear thence his love and fame.
One half of me being gone, the rest I give
Unto some Chapel, die or live.
As for thy passion – But of that anon,
When with the other I have done.
For thy predestination I’ll contrive,
That three years hence, if I survive,
I’ll build a spittle, or mend common ways,
But mend mine own without delays.
Then I will use the works of thy creation,
As if I us’d them but for fashion.
The world and I will quarrel; and the year
Shall not perceive, that I am here.
My music shall find thee, and ev’ry string
Shall have his attribute to sing;
That all together may accord in thee,
And prove one God, one harmony.
If thou shalt give me wit, it shall appear;
If thou hast giv’n it me, ’tis here.
Nay, I will read thy book, and never move
Till I have found therein thy love;
Thy art of love, which I’ll turn back on thee,
O my dear Saviour, Victory!
Then for thy passion – I will do for that –
Alas, my God, I know not what.

–George Herbert (1593-1633)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Poetry & Literature

A Prayer for the Feast Day of George Herbert

Our God and King, who didst call thy servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in thy temple: Give unto us the grace, we beseech thee, joyfully to perform the tasks thou givest us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for thy sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Poetry & Literature, Spirituality/Prayer

Negative Mortgage rates? In Europe, Bond Yields and Interest Rates Go Through the Looking Glass

At first, Eva Christiansen barely noticed the number. Her bank called to say that Ms. Christiansen, a 36-year-old entrepreneur here, had been approved for a small business loan. She whooped. She danced. A friend took pictures.

“I think I was so happy I got the loan, I didn’t hear everything he said,” she recalled.

And then she was told again about her interest rate. It was -0.0172 percent ”” less than zero. While there would be fees to pay, the bank would also pay interest to her. It was just a little over $1 a month. But still.

These are strange times for European borrowers, as if a wormhole has opened up to a parallel universe where the usual rules of financial gravity are suspended.

Read it all from the NYTimes Dealbook.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Denmark, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, History, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Telegraph) Why do so many middle-aged men feel so lost?

I am sitting by the swimming pool at the Canyon Ranch resort in Tucson, Arizona, only it is not really a resort, it is a fitness/wellness/life-enhancing centre where people who are very stressed come to detox and, as I am discovering, “find” themselves. But this resort is not brimming with stressed-out women, worn thin and ragged by juggling motherhood, wifedom and being the heads of companies. No. The classes here are full of men ”“ men with great big identity issues.

There is 45-year-old Lee, who has just “gotten divorced” and has, in the course of a month, slept with 15 women. “I don’t see myself as that type of man,” he says, “but I feel so lonely and I don’t know what to do with my life.” There is Ryan, aged 53, who has never married and is in crisis about why he hasn’t. Then there is Steve, 49, a travel agent, long-time married, who has hit a midlife crisis. He says he really does want to buy a Harley-Davidson and head off down Route 66. “Is that wrong?” he asks. “I just don’t know what I want in my life anymore.”

They are all part of a “sandwich generation”: they sit between the baby boomers and the digital natives. And they are a group who have, according to recent statistics, lost their way.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Men, Middle Age, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

A 2015 Lenten February Pastoral Letter from the GAFCON Chairman

“A Church that is no longer able to say ”˜it is written’ has placed itself in great spiritual danger, but that is where the Anglican Communion could be led according to a review just released of ”˜Living Reconciliation’, a book written to promote the ‘Continuing Indaba’ project.”
My dear brothers and sisters,

I send you greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ who by his suffering and death has destroyed death!

The gospel writers normally portray Jesus’ mission as the unfolding of a clear divine purpose so I find it striking that the only occasions when we find him wrestling with choices are the temptations in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry and in the Garden of Gethsemane as he approaches the cross.

In contrast, we easily become preoccupied with self-centred choices that distract us from the challenges of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. The temptations that Jesus faced remind us that we too are in a lifelong spiritual battle. This is a truth we affirm in the baptism service of the Anglican Church of Kenya which includes the words ”˜Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified. Fight bravely under his banner against sin, the world and the devil and continue his faithful soldiers and servants to the end of your lives.’

Attacks on Christians in the Middle East and West Africa show us that for a growing number of Christians, confessing the faith of Christ crucified can lead to extreme suffering and cruel death. Now we have seen Islamic militants extend their barbarity to North Africa and turn the sea red with the blood of twenty-one Egyptian Christians beheaded on a Libyan beach for being ”˜people of the cross.’ Let us pledge during this Lenten season to pray continually for those facing such ruthless persecution. In the same week as this atrocity, the Church of Uganda celebrated the courageous leadership of Ugandan Archbishop Janani Luwum who died as a martyr at the hands of Idi Amin thirty-eight years ago and whose witness is a continual inspiration and a reminder that the blood of those who die for the cause of Christ is not be shed in vain.

For many of us testing comes in more ordinary ways through life’s trials, in the face of which there can be the temptation to despair and give up. A person who could have done just that was the first missionary to East Africa, Johann Krapf, who was sent by CMS and arrived in Mombasa in 1844. In the same year his wife and baby daughter died of malaria, but he persevered and wrote ”˜The victories of the Church are gained by stepping over the graves of her members’. Today, he is honoured as a founding figure of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

We learn the key to such spiritual strength in the face of temptation from Jesus’ experience in the wilderness. He repels the devil’s assaults by the Word of God and challenges the devil’s prompting to turn stones into bread by saying ”˜it is written’ as he quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 ”˜Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4).

Jesus here affirms that the words of Scripture are words that come from the mouth of God. They are divine words, not merely human words, and it is by every such word that we are to live, not just those words that we find comfortable in our culture.

A Church that is no longer able to say ”˜it is written’ has placed itself in great spiritual danger, but that is where the Anglican Communion could be led according to a review just released of ”˜Living Reconciliation’, a book written to promote the ‘Continuing Indaba’ project.

The review by Dr Martin Davie, a respected Church of England theologian who was until recently Theological Consultant to its House of Bishops, shows that ”˜Living Reconciliation’ is not faithful to the Bible’s teaching that reconciliation has evangelism at its heart. What the writers are really concerned about is institutional unity and they simply assume that the deeply divisive promotion of same sex relationships by such Churches as the Episcopal Church of the United States is not a barrier to full and continued fellowship.

According to Dr Davie ”˜The New Testament’s emphasis is not on people learning to live with what divides them, but learning to live out what unites them’. The New Testament teaches that reconciliation with each other flows from reconciliation with God through repentance and faith in the gospel message. It does not make sense to call for reconciliation in the Church while at the same time accepting behaviour that the Bible says excludes people from the Kingdom of God unless they repent.

He concludes that the path recommended by the authors of ”˜Living Reconciliation’ is ”˜effectively a blank cheque for the acceptance of any and every possible form of deviation from New Testament Christianity.’ An introduction and link to the review is given on the GAFCON website.

The GAFCON movement is vital for the future. At its heart is a passion to see the Anglican Communion restored and renewed so that it can confess the faith of Christ crucified with integrity and without confusion and division. This is a call to discipleship for each one of us, so let us learn from Jesus to say ”˜it is written’ and stand firm in the power and promises of God.

–(The Most Rev.) Eliud Wabukala is Archbishop and Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates

(WSJ) We Must Remember America is ”˜An Incorrigibly and Confusedly Religious Nation’

Neuhaus sympathized with [many so-called ‘conservatives’] grievances””over abortion and gay rights, challenges to school prayer and to Christian displays in public, and the coarsening of American culture. But he rejected their solution because the groups, he wrote, saw no reason “to engage the Christian message in conversation with public and universal discourse outside the circle of true believers.” Neuhaus instead affirmed the core premise of Enlightenment political thought: the differentiation of public authority into separate, autonomous spheres that valued individual rights.

He argued that the strongest support for these rights came from the Judeo-Christian tradition’s foundational conviction: We are made in the image of God. Demanding absolute obedience to political dictates, whether in the name of God or something else, would undo centuries of political progress, and goes against God’s own gift of free will to every human person.

And so he rejected the Christian right’s political project of establishing an explicitly Christian America. He further reasoned that if the right’s only argument for how Christians could contribute to American public life was through exclusively religious dictates, then it made sense that secular elites were pushing back so strongly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Am. Interest) What Realists Get Wrong About Niebuhr

…an appreciation for human sinfulness””which Niebuhr drew from his Christian faith””helps us guard against unchecked power in government. But an appreciation for human potential””drawn from the Biblical notion that human beings are made in the image of God””should also lead us to value human freedom. As Niebuhr famously put it in his foreword, “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” Importantly, Niebuhr grounded democracy’s necessity in the nature of mankind, without qualification, not in cultural or social factors unique to the West. What is true about human nature in the West is also true of human nature in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Niebuhr then suggests””contrary to the realists who want to appropriate him””that the goodness of democracy should lead us, by love of our neighbor, to make its spread a part of our foreign policy. Niebuhr’s well-known complaint against Wilsonianism wasn’t that it was idealistic, but that it was naive. In Children of Light and the Children of Darkness he applauds the idealism of democracy, even as he understands that it will inevitably be hypocritical: “Hypocrisy and pretension are the inevitable concomitants of the engagement between morals and politics. But they do not arise where no effort is made to bring the power impulse of politics under the control of conscience.” The effort itself is sound in principle; better to be a failed idealist than a successful cynic.

This is the part of Niebuhr that today’s realists fail to hear.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Court ruling may quadruple insurance premiums for Obamacare customers in South Carolina

Cathy Keaton’s health insurance premium will jump nearly $400 each month if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that she’s ineligible for a federal subsidy to lower the price she pays.

The 63-year-old part-time College of Charleston student said she couldn’t afford coverage without the substantial discount she receives.

“It’s very scary for me,” Keaton said. “If I lose this, it means that I will have to make some really hard decisions until I can get Medicare.”

She’s not alone. Insurance premiums for thousands of customers in South Carolina could increase by 400 percent if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that they’re ineligible for subsidies this summer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Theology

(RNS) Anti-Semitism a big problem at US colleges, report says

A student group in South Africa this month called on all Jews to leave the Durban University of Technology, an act of anti-Semitism that Americans could not imagine on their own college campuses.

But a comprehensive survey of anti-Semitism at American colleges released this week shows that significant hostility is directed at Jews on U.S. campuses, too.

The National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students, produced by a Trinity College team well-known for its research on religious groups, found that 54 percent of Jewish students experienced anti-Semitism on campus in the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year.

Professors Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar asked 1,157 students in an online questionnaire about the types, context and location of anti-Semitism they had encountered, and found that anti-Jewish bias is a problem for Jews of all levels of religious observance.

Read it all.

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

"New every morning is the love"

New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.

John Keble (1792-1866)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Poetry & Literature

(Washington Post) ”˜Jihadi John’ is a Kuwaiti-born Londoner named Mohammed Emwazi

For months he taunted, knife in hand, his voice slightly muffled behind the mask that became the grim symbol of Islamic State barbarism.

But when the identity of the killer known as “Jihadi John” was revealed Thursday, the profile that emerged was disturbingly familiar: a young man whose parents’ decision to immigrate to the West afforded him a comfortable life and an education, but who ultimately found identity and succor in extremist ideology.

His name is Mohammed Emwazi. And despite friends’ descriptions of a polite and quiet man not capable of violence, Emwazi’s links to extremist groups appear to have been long-standing, and he was well known to counterterrorism officials in London before he went to Syria.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

(CC) The pastor as person–an interview with Ministry counselor Ross Peterson

What do you see as trends in seminaries regarding discernment of vocation?

I see an increasing focus on the pastor as a person””an increasing awareness of the importance of self-care and of developing strong spiritual disciplines. It used to be that seminary was a time when people’s spiritual discipline waned and their academic discipline increased. Now many seminaries emphasize integrating the spiritual, reflective process with the academic, which I think is all to the good.

We often talk about burnout as a problem among clergy. How do you understand that term?

When we see pastors who are experiencing burnout, sometimes it is simply because they are working too hard. But more often they are doing a lot of things that are not central to their sense of call. When people are working close to their sense of call and purpose and meaning, they can work really hard without feeling burned out. But when they are doing a lot of things that people are telling them should be done or that feel urgent but aren’t close to the heart, that is a strong indicator of burnout.

It’s been said that most pastors are a “quivering mass of availability,” eager to please everybody. That is a path to destruction.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper 2) Ltr to Editor id defense of brining gambling to South Carolina

As usual your editorial on casino gambling reflects the past and current thinking in South Carolina that we must never move into the 21st century. The attitude of our politicians to keep South Carolina as backward as they can is bad enough. But for The Post and Courier to espouse the same old argument that any form of gambling is going to target the poor and irresponsible is just thinking from the past.

Are we to ignore the reality that if someone wants to gamble he will find a way, no matter the cost or any other obstacle? If you don’t believe that, go to any convenience store and observe who is buying all of those lottery tickets.

Wouldn’t it be something for visitors to Charleston to ride down I-26 through the neck area and see large casinos with hotels and theme park environments rather than the blighted area it now is?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government, Theology

(Local Paper 1) An Editorial against using Gambling as a means to fix South Carolina's Roads

As reported in [a recent] …Post and Courier, House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, wants to let voters decide, via statewide referendum, whether to legalize casino gambling.

Rep. Rutherford made his case this way last month: “If you have casinos on the coast and dedicate them as a funding source on our roads, you have something that goes into fixing a problem.”

But if you have casinos on the coast you also have other problems, including a notoriously unreliable source of funding from a cruel tax of sorts imposed to a significant degree on the poor, the gullible, and compulsive gamblers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government, Theology

(Church Times) Multifaith hub for the City of London

A vision to create “one of the most significant interfaith centres in the world” in the City of London was unveiled on Wednesday night at the launch of a £20-million fund-raising appeal.

The planned centre, Coexist House, is the idea of Dr David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge; and is supported by the Inner Temple, the Corporation of the City of London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Coexist Foundation.

“Coexist House is designed as much for a secular audience as a religious audience and will not promote any one particular faith,” the trustees say in a summary of their feasibility study. “It is a civic endeavour which would improve the way people understand religions and beliefs in all their variety. Nevertheless, it will offer a spiritual space, hospitable to all, in the heart of London.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CP) SC Judge Rejects Episcopal Church's Attempt to Take Over one of its Founding Dioceses

Regarding the latest legal victory, [Canon Jim] Lewis told CP that he expects the legal action to continue, as The Episcopal Church will likely appeal the Goodstein decision.

“While it is unfortunate that ministry resources on both sides will continue to be wasted in this fashion, it is entirely in keeping with TEC legal strategy,” said Lewis, who drew parallels to a similar property case that took place in Illinois between The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Quincy.

“The court sanctions imposed against TEC in Illinois last week are the perfect illustration of the lengths to which their leadership is prepared to go in pursuit of its scorched earth policy. We have no reason to expect different behavior here in South Carolina.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Euchologium Anglicanum

Almighty and everlasting God, who for the well-being of our earthly life hast put into our hearts wholesome desires of body and spirit: Mercifully increase and establish in us, we beseech thee, the grace of holy discipline and healthy self-control; that we may fulfill our desires by the means which thou hast appointed, and for the ends thou ordainest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

–Hebrews 4:12-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture