Daily Archives: February 3, 2015

(Star-Tribune) Minnesota church women count words in Bible spoken by women

The Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman began scouring the Bible three years ago to do something that apparently had never been done: the cataloging of every word uttered by every woman in the more than 2,000-year-old holy book.

Meeting in a church library, Freeman and an unlikely research team systematically pored over every Bible chapter, documenting the words on spreadsheets and inserting context and highlights. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.

The results give surprise insights into the lives of women ranging from Abigail to Zipporah. Eve, for example, may be the Bible’s most well-known woman, but she utters only 74 words. Yet an unnamed “Shulamite woman” in the Song of Solomon holds forth with 1,425.

The research, now compiled in a book, is part of a boom in interest in women in scripture.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

(First Things) Mark Bauerlein–Standardized Culture: a new trend toward bland neutrality?

The trend toward bland neutrality is ensured by a process called “bias and sensitivity review.” Testing companies submit each passage and question to anti-­discrimination inspection. States have guidelines on what is and isn’t permitted. Expert reviewers ask, “Does this scene from Hemingway have sexist language that annoys females? Does that question about the Mexican-American War assume something about geography that gives students from the southwest a leg up?”

They spot topics, wording, stereo­types, and assumptions that the most nit-picking critic might flag. The bare chance of inequity moves them to drop a questionable item. From past experience, experts have learned not to take risks. Ten years ago, Diane Ravitch in The Language Police identified pressure groups eager to pounce on a biased test and an offensive book, too. She recounts how one editor told a children’s author whose story had been anthologized but only after every citation of Jews, God, and the Bible had been scrubbed, “Try to understand. We have a lot of problems. If we mention God, some atheist will object. If we mention the Bible, someone will want to know why we don’t give equal time to the Koran. Every time that happens, we lose sales.”

For the tests, educators reason that it is best to avoid certain things outright. The California Department of Education high school exit exam has a long list of excluded topics, ­including:

Dying, death, disease, hunger, famine
Junk food
Rats, roaches, lice, spiders

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Children, Education

The Bishop of Stafford, Geoffrey Annas, writes his pastoral Letter for February 2015

Churches have a key role to play in rural matters and I get frustrated with some ”˜incomers’ into our villages who do not seem interested in supporting their local parish church and who fail to engage with their new Community. It is indifference that has resulted in the loss of the village shop and pub and school and frankly will put at risk the future sustainability of many of our rural church buildings. The message is clear ”“ use it or lose it! We must focus the resources that God has given us where there is opportunity for mission and growth. This is nothing new – read Matthew 10:14!

The encouraging news is that despite all the challenges, many young people are still going to agricultural college and want to work in our rural areas. Many Young Farmers I meet are incredibly lively and upbeat and I admire both their enthusiasm and their commitment. The Young Farmers support and encourage one another and I warmly commend the local groups to any young person who is looking to make friends and try new activities – you do not have to be farming to join!

It is essential that we find ways to keep the cost of housing in our rural communities realistic to enable these young people who WANT to engage to do so. Bringing young families back into our villages is essential if they are to have any future and their loss would be tragically detrimental to the life of this nation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Religion & Culture

An Updated BBC article on the consecration of the Bishop of Burnley

A service to consecrate the new Bishop of Burnley that was changed to take into account his opposition to female bishops has taken place.

The Rt Rev Philip North’s consecration was led by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu at York Minster.

However, in a break from tradition, some parts of the service were overseen by the Bishop of Chichester.

Dr Sentamu said he had not led those parts of the service to “demonstrate respect” for the new bishop’s views.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Yorkshire Post) John Sentamu: Church can find a way to defeat fear and suspicion

Last week in York Minster I presided over the ordination of the Rt Rev Libby Lane, the first woman bishop in England. It made history. This week I shall lead another bishop’s ordination, this time of a man who, in all conscience will not ordain women to the Church’s priesthood, or take part in making them bishops. He is the Rev Philip North, who is going to be Bishop of Burnley in the Diocese of Blackburn. He and Bishop Libby Lane will both be bishops in the Church of God in England. They will hold their differences in Christian love. It is my prayer that nothing should be allowed to constrain our joy, our prayers and our thanksgiving, on their consecrations.

Consecration arrangements are in law a matter for the Archbishop of the relevant province. While they normally act as chief consecrator, and will continue to do so, Archbishops have always had the power to delegate the role on a particular occasion. This is something within their absolute discretion.

To demonstrate my respect for Father Philip’s position, I have decided to delegate part of my function at his ordination to other bishops who share his theological conviction regarding the ordination of women. That part of the service in the Minster when fellow bishops lay their hands on his head to signify his calling to join them and the blessing of the Holy Spirit, will be conducted by the Rt Rev Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester. He will also preside at the Holy Communion on that occasion, at my invitation. Please note that I am delegating, not abdicating and this is not an indelible pattern to be adopted by me or anyone else in the future.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Guardian) Iceland to build first temple to Norse gods since Viking age

Icelanders will soon be able to publicly worship at a shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg with construction starting this month on the island’s first major temple to the Norse gods since the Viking age.

Worship of the gods in Scandinavia gave way to Christianity around 1,000 years ago but a modern version of Norse paganism has been gaining popularity in Iceland.

“I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet,” said Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, high priest of Ásatrúarfélagið, an association that promotes faith in the Norse gods.

We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, History, Iceland, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

Deirdre McCloskey–'Beware Those Living in Idleness': On Work, Scarcity and the Image of God

Denys Munby said to me once, “In Heaven there is no scarcity and in Hell there is no choice.” In the created world there are both. The dignity of free will would be meaningless if a choice of one good, such as apples, did not have what the economists call an “opportunity cost” in, say, oranges. If we could have all the apples and oranges we wanted, “living in idleness,” as Paul put it, with no “budget constraint,” no “scarcity,” we would live as overfed pet cats, not as human beings. If we have free will, and therefore necessarily face scarcity, we live truly in the image of God.

Scarcity is necessary for human virtues. Humility, said Aquinas, answers among the Christian virtues to the pagan virtue of great-souledness, or magnanimity, which Aristotle the pagan teacher of aristocrats admired so much. To be humble is to temper one’s passions in pursuing, as Aquinas put it, boni ardui – goods difficult of achievement. To be great-souled – which, in turn, is part of the cardinal virtue of courage – is to keep working towards such goods nonetheless. No one would need to be courageous or prudent or great-souled or humble if goods were faciles rather than ardui.

The virtue of temperance, again, is not about mortification of the flesh – not, at any rate, for Christian thinkers like Aquinas (there were others, descendants of the Desert Fathers, who had another idea). On the contrary, this side of Christianity says, we should admire the moderate yet relishing use of a world charged with the grandeur of God.

It is the message of the Aquinian side of Christian thought that we should not withdraw from the world. On the contrary, as Jesus was, we should be truly, and laboriously, and gloriously human.

Read it all From ABC Australia’s Religion and Ethics website.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Independent) Three-parent babies: Main arguments for and against ahead of crucial MPs vote

MPs have an important free vote in the House of Commons today on the divisive issue of mitochondrial donation, which would allow the creation of IVF babies with DNA from three different people.

The MPs have come under enormous pressure from scientists and charities to support the historic and controversial amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.

Britain will become the first country ever to allow the procedures if MPs vote yes. The amendment is aimed at preventing serious or deadly genetic disease being passed on to the child.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(STL P-D) Missouri's Bonhomme Presbyterian Church fights for its property and its future

[The Rev. Tom] Pfizenmaier says much of the tension can be attributed to the denomination’s evolving views on the role of Jesus and Scripture.

“For us salvation is found in Christ, and in the progressive side, it’s kinda, well, no, you can find salvation in a lot of different places, a lot of different ways,” Pfizenmaier said. “It’s fine to have that opinion, but it isn’t the historical Christian position.”

The Presbyterian Lay Committee promotes conservative positions in the denomination. Its president, Carmen Fowler LaBerge, says clashes about sexuality, such as disagreements about whether to allow same-sex marriage, expose a growing divide over fundamental aspects of the faith. Drifting from the position that the Bible is the only authoritative word of God and that Jesus is the only way to salvation feels like a betrayal to some.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(The Day) Four ”˜Immortal Chaplains’ honored at annual ceremony

The selflessness of four Army chaplains who saved others aboard a sinking ship during World War II continues to serve as an example to pursue “greater service,” speakers said at a ceremony Sunday.

On Feb. 3, 1943, the U.S. Army Transport ship Dorchester, bound for Greenland, began sinking after an attack from the German submarine U-223. Four Army chaplains helped usher passengers to safety and ultimately gave up their own life jackets – and lives – to save others. In all, 230 out of 904 people aboard the Dorchester survived.

On Sunday afternoon, about 40 people honored the chaplains at the Peter Gallan American Legion Post 104. American Legion member Dennis A. Baptiste served as the master of ceremonies during the event that featured the parade of colors, the national anthem and speeches.

The event focused on the legacy of the four chaplains: Lt. George Fox, a Methodist minister; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, a rabbi; Lt. John P. Washington, a Roman Catholic priest; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, a Dutch Reformed Church minister.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Methodist, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Reformed, Roman Catholic, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the [four] Dorchester chaplains

Holy God, who didst inspire the Dorchester chaplains to be models of steadfast sacrificial love in a tragic and terrifying time: Help us to follow their example, that their courageous ministry may inspire chaplains and all who serve, to recognize thy presence in the midst of peril; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Eternal God, who committest to us the swift and solemn trust of life; Since we know not what a day may bring forth, but only that the hour for serving Thee is ever present, may we wake to the instant claims of Thy holy will, not waiting for tomorrow, but yielding today. Lay to rest, by the persuasion of Thy Spirit, the resistance of our passion, our indolence, or our fear. Consecrate with Thy presence the way in which our feet may go, so that the humblest work may shine and the rough places may be made plain. Lift us above unrighteous anger and mistrust, into faith, and hope, and charity. In all things draw us close to our Saviour Christ, that Thy lost image may be traced in us again, and all men, looking at us, may know that we have been with Thee; Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Pastor’s Prayerbook

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Touchstone) Hunter Baker–The Role of Christianity in Peter Drucker's Early Work

Like many, I discovered Drucker through his extensive writings in the discipline of management. But as I read his books, I got little hints that he might be something more than a gifted writer of bestselling business books. Though some credit him with the founding of management as an academic field, and most associate him with such books as The Effective Executive (1967) and Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, and Practices (1973), I noticed that his earlier works, from the 1940s and 1950s, had more expansive titles such as The End of Economic Man and The New Society. I also learned that his academic training was not in management but in law; he had obtained his European doctorate in international law. I began to see Drucker as a social and political thinker as well as an astute business mind. This is, after all, the man who viewed management primarily as a liberal art.

Since making that realization, I have studied his earlier books. Drucker thought a lot about such things as totalitarianism, decentralization, limited government, an American type of conservatism that he thought had special characteristics, social harmony, the impact of mass production on human beings, and other topics. One subject that preoccupied him in those earlier decades was the Christian faith. In an attempt to draw more attention to a somewhat forgotten aspect of the man and his work, I will in what follows identify and discuss some of Drucker’s key themes regarding the Christian faith in relation to society and government.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Books, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology, Zimbabwe

TEC Southeast Florida diocese elects Peter Eaton, a Colorado Dean, as its bishop coadjutor

The Very Rev. Peter Eaton, dean of St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, Colorado, was elected as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida on Jan. 31, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of The Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(CNS) California bill would legalize assisted suicide for terminally ill

California legislators have introduced assisted suicide legislation modeled on Oregon’s assisted suicide law, energized by the heartbreaking story of Brittany Maynard, a young woman with brain cancer, who moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon to end her own life Nov. 1.

Before her suicide, Maynard, 29, created videos asking for assisted suicide legislation that drew tens of millions of views, and her mother and husband are now campaigning for legalization.

California S.B. 128, as it is called, would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients who want to commit suicide. Written by Democratic Sens. Bill Monning and Lois Wolk, the bill has sparked strong opposition.

Read it all.

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