Daily Archives: February 2, 2015

(BBC) Memories Sought for Bishop Ian Ramsay on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth

Memories of a man known as “the people’s bishop” are being sought on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Ian Ramsey was appointed Bishop of Durham in 1966, but died in 1972 from a heart attack.

His ashes are interred at Auckland Castle – the home of the Prince Bishops of Durham for more than 900 years.

Curators are now appealing for films, photographs and recollections to build up a “more complete picture of an extraordinary man”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Bp Lee Rayfield+Dr Brendan McCarthy–Three parent baby debate: where the C of E really stands

Through the MPA, the Church of England contributed to this consultation process, affirming the aim of using mitochondrial replacement (or donation as it is also termed) while also differentiating between the two methodologies being proposed; one of which (pronuclear transfer ”“ PNT) required embryos to be created as mitochondrial donors and recipients, the other (maternal spindle transfer) did not. Although the creation of embryos may be licensed by the HFEA, the MPA pointed out that PNT carried greater ethical concerns for many Christians and, indeed, those of other faiths or none.

More significantly, mitochondrial replacement involves modification of the human germ-line, with donor mitochondria being transmitted to future generations through the maternal line. As well as ensuring the techniques were as safe as possible, concerns were expressed that this would not be taken as approval for modifying defective mitochondrial genes that resided in the nucleus. Other concerns had to do with as yet unknown interactions between the DNA in the mitochondria and the DNA in the nucleus; these might potentially cause abnormality or be found to influence significant personal qualities or characteristics.

Such concerns were recognised by the HFEA in its work and recommendations to the secretaries of state.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Hurricane Katrina, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Men, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Women

(BBC) The Reverend Philip North to be consecrated new Bishop of Burnley

The Rt Rev Philip North replaces the Rt Rev John Goddard, who retired in July.

He will pledge obedience to the Archbishop of York John Sentamu, who will lead the service at York Minster.

But because Dr Sentamu last week consecrated the Church of England’s first female bishop, the new bishop will be consecrated by another bishop.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(PS) Javier Solana–Europe’s Jihadi Generation

He came from Algeria seeking a better life, anticipating an escape from poverty, oppression, and hopelessness. In Paris, he found a low-skill job and had children and grandchildren. As French citizens, they had the right to an education and health care. But they grew up in the ghettos that ring France’s major cities, surrounded by families like theirs, literally on the margins of society. Unable to integrate fully, they had few opportunities for economic advancement. Paradise was never gained.

This story has been repeated millions of times in the countries of Western Europe, with immigrants and their families ending up poor and excluded. In the worst-case scenario, they are recruited by extremist groups that seem to offer what they are missing: a sense of belonging, identity, and purpose. After a lifetime of marginalization, participation in a larger cause can seem worth the lies, self-destruction, and even death that inclusion demands.

In the wake of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the thwarting of another attack in Belgium, Europe needs to take a good look at itself.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Algeria, Children, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, France, Islam, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spain, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

([London] Times) Matt Ridley–The church is wrong on ”˜three-parent’ babies

The opponents of new technologies are always saying things have been rushed, as they did with fracking last week. It’s the last refuge of the person who wants to oppose something but has seen all his arguments shot down. And the change in the law will not create a free-for-all but merely allow clinicians to apply to the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) for a licence. So each case will be scrutinised and approved by scientists, lawyers and ethicists, who are more competent to do so than your average MP.

Ever since Baroness Warnock’s pioneering report on embryo research in 1984, Britain has regulated advances in genetics and embryology by having parliament set the overall ethical and social tone, then devolving the detail to the HFEA, an approach that is internationally admired. The church is effectively asking parliament to be a regulator of medical research and practice.

Shockingly, I understand that Doug Turnbull, the Newcastle University scientist leading the mitochondrial research, had not once been invited by the archbishops’ council ”” which advised the Church of England on this decision ”” to present his case to them before they issued their fatwa against mitochondrial donation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(The Observer) Scientists strike back at Church of England over DNA transfer trials

One of the most prominent supporters of a DNA technique designed to eradicate a range of inherited diseases has angrily condemned Church of England claims that MPs were being rushed into a vote to back the process. Consultation had been exemplary, he claimed.

Professor Douglas Turnbull, a Newcastle University scientist who works with women affected by mitochondrial disease, warned that this week’s parliamentary vote could be the UK’s last chance to pioneer the technique.

“I am glad this government has chosen to go ahead with a vote, but I am concerned about how that might play out,” he says. “A good number of MPs don’t appear to like the idea of mitochondrial transfer. If they vote it down then I think the technology could be lost for ever. We are due a new government and when it comes in, it will have other priorities. We may never get this chance again.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Men, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Women

The C of E Statement from the Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy on Mitochondrial replacement therapy

“Changing the human germline represents an ethical watershed; it is right to be cautious, requiring a comprehensive debate and degree of consensus with regard to the ethics, safety and efficacy of these techniques before any change to the current provisions are made.

“We accept in certain circumstances that embryo research is permissible as long as it is undertaken to alleviate human suffering and embryos are treated with respect. We have great sympathy for families affected by mitochondrial disease and are not opposed in principle to mitochondrial replacement.

“A wide number of questions remain to be answered before it would be wise to proceed….”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Men, Science & Technology, Theology, Women

(CSM) Why a Paris terrorist wore a GoPro

It’s not an event unless it’s on video.

That appears to have been the case for terror suspect Amedy Coulibaly, who wore a camera on his body when he attacked a Jewish grocery store in Paris earlier this month, according to multiple news outlets.

The information, first released by CNN, supports an earlier report by French magazine L’Express that Coulibaly used a GoPro camera to record seven minutes of his raid. He then emailed a copy of the clip using a computer at the market before he was killed by police, according to L’Express reporter Eric Pelletier.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Media, Science & Technology, Terrorism, Theology

(C of E Diocese of Europe) A drop-in center enables growth in a Spanish Parish

When St Christopher’s Church on the Costa Azahar in Spain (the name means Orange Blossom coast) north of Valencia, opened a drop-in centre in Alcossebre a few years ago they called it El Camino ”“ The Way ”“ and it has proved to be the way the Anglican church has reached out to residents and visitors in the community.

A friendly welcome is assured and there is a cup of tea or coffee and home-made cakes or savouries in an atmosphere where visitors can relax and learn that Christians do not have two heads and are really a joyful bunch. The centre also stocks second hand books and a selection of clothing and bric-a-brac and the bonus is that it helps to fund the payment of clergy and the general work of the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Europe, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Spain, Theology

(McClatchy) Europe’s Jews ponder: Is it time to flee again?

Then, in the 1950s, they trusted their instincts again and returned to Germany. Botsch-Fitterling has never left.

But today, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks in Paris, she’s been thinking about that first decision to leave ”“ thinking about it quite a bit, in fact.

The Charlie Hebdo attacks ended in a bloodbath inside a Jewish market in Paris with four Jewish men slaughtered. And there’d been other attacks: In 2012, a so-called “lone wolf” killed three students and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France; last May, an attacker with links to the Islamic State killed four people at the entrance to the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Botsch-Fitterling finds the pattern deeply distressing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

Avery Foley–How Do Christians Respond to Superstitions like Groundhog Day?

Superstitions abound regarding certain days, numbers, or objects. People fear that somehow Friday the 13th, black cats, broken mirrors, or ladders may have a hand in shaping the future. Most of these superstitions have murky, ancient origins and have been passed down from generation to generation.

Recent surveys show that superstition is alive and well in the Western world. One survey reported that 20 percent of Americans think it’s unlucky to walk under a ladder and 13 percent think a black cat crossing their path will bring bad luck. A survey in Britain found that 77 percent of those in the UK admit to being “at least a little superstitious” and 42 percent say that they are very or somewhat superstitious. How should Christians respond to these superstitions?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Apologetics, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Seattle Times) Seahawks lost because of the worst call in Super Bowl history

A second straight championship rested at the 1-yard line. The Seahawks needed to move the football a mere 36 inches, maybe less, to defeat improbability one last time and end this taxing season with a champagne shower. The situation called for Marshawn Lynch.

You could almost see the eccentric running back nicknamed Beast Mode diving into the end zone and doing his handshake celebration. You could almost see the blue and green confetti falling at University of Phoenix Stadium. Instead, in one moment, the Seahawks forgot who they were. And Super Bowl XLIX turned into the most painful loss in franchise history.

It happened because of the worst play call in Super Bowl history, a decision that will also go down as one of the most regrettable ever in Seattle sports. With 26 seconds remaining, Russell Wilson took a shotgun snap and threw a quick slant intended for wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. New England cornerback Malcolm Butler jumped in front of the route, however, and intercepted the pass in the end zone.

Game over. History delayed. Legacy unfulfilled.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Charles Kingsley

Lift up our hearts, we beseech thee, O Christ, above the false show of things, above fear, above laziness, above selfishness and covetousness, above custom and fashion, up to the everlasting truth and order that thou art; that so we may live joyfully and freely, in faithful trust that thou art our Saviour, our example, and our friend, both now and for evermore.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

–Psalm 56:3-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to the New England Patriots, Superbowl 49 Winners

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

(NYT) As Ebola Ebbs in Africa, Focus Turns From Death to Life

Life is edging back to normal after the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

At the height of the epidemic, Liberians met horrific deaths inside the blue-painted walls of the Nathaniel V. Massaquoi Elementary School, as classrooms became Ebola holding centers and the education of a nation’s children, shuttered in their homes for safety, was abruptly suspended.

Now, parents are streaming into the schoolyard once again, not to visit their stricken loved ones, but with their restless children in tow, to register for the start of classes in a delayed and shortened academic year.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(CP) Quebec Anglican Church challenged by exodus of parishioners

As Rev. Yves Samson speaks to his congregation in the Quebec town of Trois-Rivières, two things stand out: the bilingualism of the sermon and the dearth of parishioners.

Samson holds nothing back when he says that, without radical change, the Anglican Diocese of Quebec could soon be extinct.

“If we want to keep going on (the old) track we will all die,” Samson says in an interview after his French and English sermon to a room full of near-empty pews in the St. James Anglican Church.

The fact Samson, 49, preaches in both languages might not sound radical to many Canadians, but to the Anglican Church ”” the Church of England ”” it is.

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

(PS) Guy Ryder–Labor in the Age of Robots

Fears about the impact of technology on the labor market are nothing new. In the early nineteenth century, a group of English textile workers known as the Luddites worried that new technologies like power looms and spinning frames would cost them their jobs. They protested by smashing the machines.

Today, anxiety that new technologies could destroy millions of jobs is as high as ever. In the midst of a major employment crisis, technology continues to reduce the labor needed for mass production, while the automation of routine legal and accounting tasks is hollowing out that sector of the job market as well. The science of robotics is revolutionizing manufacturing; every year, an additional 200,000 industrial robots come into use. In 2015, the total is expected to reach 1.5 million. Adapting the labor market to a world of increasingly automated workplaces will be one of the defining challenges of our era.

Yet no country can afford to ignore the transformation. Globally, some 200 million people are unemployed, up 27 million since 2008. There is a critical need to anticipate coming technological changes and provide the global workforce with the education and skills needed to participate in the modern labor market.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Theology

(LA Times Op-ed) Ira Byock–We should think twice about 'death with dignity'

As someone who supports all those other liberal causes, yet opposes physician-assisted suicide, I’d ask my fellow progressives to shine a cold hard light on this issue. We have been the target of a decades-long branding campaign that paints hastening death as an extension of personal freedoms. We should bring the same skepticism to physician-assisted suicide that we do to fracking and genetically modified food.

Groups such as Compassion and Choices, the nonprofit advocacy organization spearheading SB 128 and similar bills elsewhere, masterfully employ Orwellian propaganda techniques: Redefine words to mean what you want them to mean. Repeat key points until they acquire an unquestioned air of truth.

“Suicide” is distasteful, so they promote “physician aid-in-dying,” “death with dignity” and the “right to die.” And yet all of these mean taking action to end one’s own life. The news media have largely adopted the assisted suicide movement’s terminology, so these euphemisms are worth unpacking here.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Thomas Merton

Brother QUENON: He loved being in the midst of nature, you know. The birds were his friends.

VALENTE: What do you think he did out here?

Brother QUENON: Well, read a lot and wrote. For him, praying was just to abide in the presence””the presence of the Lord.

(touring cottage): There’s the kitchen and then a bedroom. And then, a chapel was added later on.

VALENTE: Merton wrote this in his journal:

Mr. ATKINSON (reading from Merton’s journal): For myself I have only one desire and that is the desire for solitude: to disappear into God; to be submerged in His peace; to be lost in the secret of His space. I have gone to the hermitage not because I hate the world. I go to the hermitage to deepen my consciousness, to be more in communion with the world.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology