Daily Archives: February 21, 2015

(Guardian) Giles Fraser–I regret that the devil is being made redundant. He’ll be much missed

It’s one of the most famous scenes in cinema. “Michael Francis Rizzi, do you renounce Satan?” asks the priest. “I do renounce him,” replies Michael, straight-faced, knowing full well that his orders to murder Moe Greene, Emilio Barzini, Philip Tattaglia, Victor Stracci and Carmine Cuneo are being carried out at that very moment. A particularly over-the-top organ piece by Bach reaches its climax. “And all his works?” asks the priest. Michael repeats: “I do renounce them.” Brilliant stuff. And a perfect rendition of the moral/existential drama of baptism. It’s not just a little bit of genteel water-sprinkling. It’s not just a chance to get out that floral patterned dress and drink lukewarm cava with a few select friends. It’s a scary participatory drama of death and new life.

Unfortunately, however, the Church of England has just agreed to take the devil out of the baptism liturgy. “Those who work with young people give constant advice that references to the devil are likely to be misunderstood in today’s culture,” the Bishop of Truro told the Church of England’s General Synod this week. What a pity. I’m going to miss the devil and all his works. I always thought those passages rather importantly referenced that little bit of Michael Corleone in all of us. And by their omission, we are being taken still further along the road from baptism as an expression of the big themes of death and resurrection to baptism as a polite middle-class naming ceremony….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theodicy, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Dean Michael Sadgrove) Ash Wednesday, the Bishops and the Election

What does a Christian mind bring to the debate about the future of our nation? The first thing is the belief that it matters to God, and must therefore matter to us. G. K. Chesterton famously said that the problem with British elections was not that only a small part of the electorate voted, but that only a small part of the elector voted: so little was the lack of conviction about politics and public faith. The Bishops want us to cast our vote, not in a routine, token way, but by giving the whole of ourselves to this privileged task of decision-taking in a free democracy.

Formation in citizenship will motivate us to think and talk about ‘a worthwhile society and what it means to serve the common good, and how politics helps serve that end’. The Bishops are not dreaming of the unattainable ideal of Athenian democracy under Pericles. They do however dare to hope that we can shed our cynicism and start believing in politics, politicians and political processes again. ‘This letter is about building a vision of a better kind of world, a better society and better politics. Underlying those ideas is the concept of virtue ”“ what it means to be a good person, a good politician, a good neighbour or a good community.’ That’s a good example of how the letter is motivated by a spiritual concern for citizenship, inspired by the theological ideas of justice and compassion in pursuit of the common good.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Markus Bockmuehl in Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright- Did St. Paul Go to Heaven When He Died?

Watch it all and note you have 2 downloadable options as well.

Posted in Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Diocese of Fort Worth) Trial court ruling expected soon in Episcopal Church Lawsuit

Oral arguments on each side’s motion for partial summary judgement were heard this morning in a two-hour hearing before the Hon. John Chupp, and a ruling is expected from him soon. The judge asked for each side to submit proposed orders to him on Monday, Feb. 23. He will likely select one of them to sign, subject to any alterations he may wish to make.
In the course of the hearing before several dozen clergy and lay people, Judge Chupp asked each side, “What are you asking me for today?” The Plaintiffs argued for a “simple solution” acknowledging that the property is held in trust for the Diocese and Congregations by those individuals recognized by The Episcopal Church.

The Diocese and Corporation countered that, under neutral principles of law as mandated for the trial court to follow, the Dennis Canon has been found by the Texas Supreme Court to have been revoked, leaving the property in trust for the parishes and missions in fellowship with the Diocese, and only those individual defendants before the court are the duly-elected officers of the Diocese and the Corporation.

Judge Chupp posed a number of questions to the Plaintiffs during their presentation, and the discussion was frequently animated. Near the conclusion of the hearing he indicated a philosophical preference for local self-determination, asking, “Why do we need to have a ”˜big government’ solution to this where a New York church says [what is best]?”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(BBC Thought for the Day) Bishop Graham James on the gospels and a sense of humour

Good morning. I’ve been re-reading Peter Ackroyd’s Life of Thomas More recently, prompted to do so by watching Wolf Hall. More’s characterisation in Wolf Hall seemed to drain him of his well attested sense of humour. It puzzled me. Ackroyd has reminded me of More’s wit. Sometimes it’s assumed that no seriously religious person will have a sense of humour at all. ”˜Where are the jokes in the gospels?’ I was once asked.

That Jesus had a sense of humour became evident to me once I began to preach. In the Church of England scripture readings are set for every day. One of the many purposes of what’s called the Lectionary is to stop clergy just using their favourite bits of the Bible….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Humor / Trivia, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) In the Service Sector, No Rest for the Working

Employees are literally losing sleep as restaurants, retailers and many other businesses shrink the intervals between shifts and rely on smaller, leaner staffs to shave costs. These scheduling practices can take a toll on employees who have to squeeze commuting, family duties and sleep into fewer hours between shifts. The growing practice of the same workers closing the doors at night and returning to open them in the morning even has its own name: “clopening.”

“It’s very difficult for people to work these schedules, especially if they have other responsibilities,” said Susan J. Lambert, an expert on work-life issues and a professor of organizational theory at the University of Chicago. “This particular form of scheduling ”” not enough rest time between shifts ”” is particularly harmful.”

The United States decades ago moved away from the standard 9-to-5 job as the manufacturing economy gave way to one dominated by the service sector. And as businesses strive to serve consumers better by staying open late or round the clock, they are demanding more flexibility from employees in scheduling their hours, often assigning them to ever-changing shifts.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Prison/Prison Ministry, Science & Technology, Theology

Oliver O'Donovan–What is 'the Common Good'? Communication, Community and Personal Communion

The language of the common good, like the language of property which exemplifies it, is Janus-faced. Looking back it points to a concrete givenness of community, a present and existing form within which we have been given to communicate with others, and which we cannot ignore without great blame. Looking forward, it can invite us to think of a City of God, a sphere of universal community, and encourage us to seek intimations of it from the future. But only so far can it take us. It cannot ease us through the portals of the City of God up the steps of a ladder of dialectical reconciliations.

To the extent that it can open the imagination to be receptive to a further future, it can serve us. But what will take possession of the open imagination? A word of promise from the self-revealing God of the future, to be grasped by faith and hope? Or seven devils worse than those of the past that have been cast out? Nothing in the idea of the common good itself can answer that question for us. Nothing can spare us the task of discerning the prophets.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology

Wesley Hill–The Creator God of the New Testament: Classical Theism and the Canon

In other words, it is only when we grapple with the New Testament’s truth that the Word has become flesh without ceasing to be God and without overwhelming or altering what it means to be human that we can grasp the Creator-creature distinction in its full depth and glory. Both parts of the canon of Scripture, both Old and New Testament, are necessary if we’re going to talk about the exegetical basis for classical theism.

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Posted in The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, spirit of peace and of grace, whose salvation is never far from penitent hearts: We confess the sins that have estranged us from thee, dimmed our vision of heavenly things, and brought upon us many troubles and sorrows. O merciful Father, grant unto us who humble ourselves before thee the remission of all our sins, and the assurance of thy pardon and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Prayers for the Christian Year

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

NPR's Marketplace Interviews Marc Goodman on the Future of the Internet+Cybersecurity

“There’s Moore’s Law and there are Moore’s Outlaws,” he says. Goodman has worked for Interpol, the FBI, even the U.S. Secret Service, and through his new book “Future Crimes”
he’s feverishly trying to sound the alarm that we will soon be more vulnerable than we have ever been. Why?

“Our cell phones and computers are now online,” Goodman says. “But in the future it’s going to be our cars, airplanes, pacemakers, pets, elevators, prisons. Every physical object is going online because of something called ‘the Internet of things.’”

Somewhere between 50 and 200 billion things will be connected soon, he says, and that will take the new crime paradigm to a terrifying level.

“Crime used to be a one-on-one affair. Go out and buy a gun or a knife if you’re a criminal, rob one person at a time,” Goodman says. “Now through technology it becomes possible for one person to reach out and touch over 100 million people.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Theology

(NZ Radio) Family facing deportation to Chile move to Anglican church

The Ravet family have lived in New Zealand for 11 years, but the parents’ work permits have expired, and they face being sent back to Chile.
They had first sought refuge at a Catholic Church in Burnside.
But Bishop John Gray of the Anglican Church said he could offer them a home within his church’s grounds and he was prepared to fight the Government over the issue.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(FT) Nato must prepare for Russian attack, warns UK general

Nato forces must prepare for a large-scale conventional assault by Russia on an eastern European member state designed to catch the alliance off guard and snatch territory, the deputy supreme commander of the military alliance has warned.

Openly raising the prospect of a conventional armed conflict with Russia on European soil, the remarks by Sir Adrian Bradshaw, second-in-command of Nato’s forces in Europe, are some of the most strident yet from the alliance.

The warning comes as relations with the Kremlin worsen just days into a second fragile ceasefire aimed at curbing the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine between Kiev’s forces and Russian-backed separatists.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Wash Po.) 'I’m a therapist. Movies are the best tool I have to help my patients'

Fifteen years of private psychotherapy practice has taught me that transformations have unexpected catalysts. Therapists are trained to help clients dig deep into their psyches, family histories and daily struggles. But to achieve real change, we need to help people gain space from their problems.

I’ve found that one of the most effective ways to achieve that space ”“ and to ignite a dramatic psychological shift ”” is to kick back and watch the right film.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Movies & Television, Psychology