Daily Archives: February 24, 2015

(CT) How Libya's Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt

Undaunted by the slaughter of 21 Christians in Libya, the director of the Bible Society of Egypt saw a golden gospel opportunity.

“We must have a Scripture tract ready to distribute to the nation as soon as possible,” Ramez Atallah told his staff the evening an ISIS-linked group released its gruesome propaganda video. Less than 36 hours later, Two Rows by the Sea was sent to the printer.

One week later, 1.65 million copies have been distributed in the Bible Society’s largest campaign ever. It eclipses even the 1 million tracts distributed after the 2012 death of Shenouda, the Coptic “Pope of the Bible.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Coptic Church, Death / Burial / Funerals, Egypt, Middle East, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

(LA Times) Karen Klein–Let's call physician-assisted suicide what it is

The number of words we can’t use without offending is ever growing, and if the supporters of the right-to-die movement have their way, it will stretch yet again to include the word “suicide.” At least when that suicide is the result of a dying patient taking a lethal dose of drugs to avoid impending mental and physical anguish.

It’s insensitive at best to use the “S” word in this context, I’ve been informed by several advocates, because people would not be choosing this option because of a psychiatric disorder or despair over life. They don’t want to die; their diseases have forced that on them. Senate Bill 128, legislation recently introduced in California to allow physicians to write lethal prescriptions under tightly controlled circumstances, not only refrains from calling this suicide but would not allow death certificates to reflect how the death occurred.

“The cause of death listed on an individual’s death certificate who uses aid-in-dying medication shall be the underlying terminal illness,” it reads.

In other words, it wouldn’t mention the legal drugs that actually caused the death. The public should have a problem with that.

Read it all.

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, Theology

A.S. Haley–Annual Litigation Survey for the Episcopal Church (USA) 2015

It is a fact well known to certain Episcopalians””both those who have left the Episcopal Church (USA) and those who have remained””that ECUSA and its dioceses have followed a pattern of suing any church that chooses to leave for another Anglican jurisdiction. But the full extent of the litigation that has ensued is not well known at all, either in the wider Church, or among the provinces of the Anglican Communion.
(Otherwise — one would think — it would never have been deemed to be conduct to be rewarded by this honorary degree, rather than this one.)

Your Curmudgeon proposes to do what he can to rectify this situation, by publishing an annual update on this site of the current status of all past and present cases in which ECUSA or any of its dioceses has been or is involved, from 2000 to date. Feel free to link to this post, to email links to it to other Episcopalians, and to send it to your Bishop — and feel free to post any updates or corrections in the comments. In another update to be posted as General Convention approaches, I will publish a revised total for all of the money spent by ECUSA and its Dioceses to date on prosecuting all of these lawsuits (and, in the case of the second group below, defending them).

The lawsuits initiated by ECUSA and its dioceses to date are first listed below. They far outnumber, as you can see, the second list of the eight cases begun by a diocese or parish against the Episcopal Church (or a diocese). The listing endeavors to be as complete as I can make it. The first 83 cases, generally grouped by the State in which they each originated, are the legal actions filed since 2000….

Take the time to read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology

(Church Times) Investigation into church salaries leads to Living Wage row

The Church of England has defended its stance on the Living Wage after it was revealed that cathedrals and churches were hiring staff on salaries below the benchmark.

An investigation by The Sun found that Canterbury Cathedral was advertising for porters and kiosk assistants on salaries between £6.70 and £7.75 an hour. The Living Wage (outside London) is currently set at £7.85.

Lichfield Cathedral was also revealed to be hiring waiting staff on £6.50 an hour, which is the national minimum wage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Church of England Statement on Living Wage

“The Pastoral letter from the House of Bishops was addressed to churches and encouraged them to implement the living wage. The Living Wage Commission, chaired by the Archbishop of York, recognised in its report last year, that a phased implementation may be necessary in some businesses and organisations. It welcomed employers seeking to implement the pay level progressively. What is important is that those who can, do so, as soon as is practically possible. The vast majority of those employed by or sub-contracted to the Church’s central institutions are already paid at least the Living Wage and all will be by April 2017….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, Theology

Carl Trueman on Wesleyan University's LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM House

If very few of the sexual acts of today’s identity politics are procreative, that has certainly not inhibited their proponents’ impressive ability to give birth to endless categories of sexual preference. This is the result of more than a mere lack of conceptual contraception. It also indicates the loss of any sense that sex in itself might carry some kind of larger moral significance. Indeed, the plethora of sexual identities now available witness to the fact that there is no longer any basis for rejecting any kind of sexual act, considered in itself, as intrinsically wrong. The multiplication of such categories is part of rendering sex amoral: When everything is legitimate, then nothing has particular moral significance.

This endless expansion of sexual categories is a necessary consequence of what is now the fundamental tenet of modern sexual politics, and perhaps a key element of modern politics in general: That a person’s attitude to sex is the primary criterion for assessing their moral standing in the public square. If you say that sex has intrinsic moral significance, then you set it within a larger moral framework and set limits to the legitimate use of sex. In doing so, you declare certain sexual acts illegitimate, something which is now considered hate speech. This constant coining of new categories of sexual identity serves both to demonstrate this and to facilitate its policing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Young Adults

(Sky News) ISIS Abducts 90 Christians In Syria

[ISIS] …militants have kidnapped dozens of people from Christian villages in Syria, a human rights watchdog has said.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the militants stormed at least two villages, inhabited by the ancient Assyrian Christian minority, shortly after dawn, taking some 90 civilians captive.

Nuri Kino, the head of the activist group A Demand For Action, quoted villagers who fled the attacks as saying between 70 and 100 people are being held.

A number of children are understood to be among them.

Read it all.

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

(Local paper) Judge denies motion to reconsider ruling against Episcopal Church

The motion had to be filed before an appeal can move forward.

“Their policy of using legal action to drain the finances of dissident congregations is not working. It only deflects denomination resources from projects to promote the faith and speeds the downward spiral of the Episcopal Church,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of South Carolina, whose parishes left the national church in 2012.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthias

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Thomas Wilson

O Heavenly Father, subdue in us whatever is contrary to thy holy will, that we may know how to please thee. Grant, O God, that we may never run into those temptations which in our prayers we desire to avoid. Lord, never permit our trials to be above our strength; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. He was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in God’s house. Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. (For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, when you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ”˜They always go astray in their hearts;
they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
”˜They shall never enter my rest.’”

–Hebrews 3:1-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

South Carolina Dorchester County Judge Diane Goodstein Reaffirms Ruling Against TEC

An updated list (as of March 1) of all the recent news stories about the South Carolina litigation may be found here.

For the second time in less than a month, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein rejected arguments by The Episcopal Church and its subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, that the two groups are rightful owners of the churches, symbols and other assets of the Diocese of South Carolina.

In her Order denying the motion for reconsideration she stated, “Large portions of the motion are simply the proposed orders previously submitted to the Court or reiterations of the Defendants’ positions at trial.”

The motion had also argued that because the Diocese had argued legal positions in the All Saints case contrary to those now being presented, that Judicial Estoppel should apply. In response, Judge Goodstein sharply noted… “The court finds that the Judicial Estoppel argument is without merit….If the Defendants’ argument in the instant action was correct, no party previously adjudicated to be wrong would be able to correct their conduct in compliance with a court’s holding. Such a result would be contrary to all sense of justice and order… With regards all other matters presented in Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration, they are hereby denied.”

Read it all.

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

A.S Haley–The Episcopal Church is sanctioned again in the Quincy Lawsuit

After analyzing the record to find that TEC had waived any right to claim that there were separate funds in the single account, the Court observed:

During the argument on these issues, TEC argued that it did not freeze the account, PNC did. To say this argument lacks merit would be charitable. While TEC, in a very literal sense, is correct on “who” froze the account, the “why” is the more important issue. PNC froze the account because it received a letter from counsel for TEC which threatened to hold PNC liable if funds were disbursed.

The court finds, based upon this record, that the continued threat made to PNC Bank to hold it accountable if funds were disbursed and the continued attempt to collaterally attack the clear order of this court dated October 9, 2013 even after this case had run its course through the appellate process constitutes bad faith, is not grounded in fact or existing law and has resulted in needless, ongoing and expensive litigation.

Accordingly, the court grants the request of the Plaintiffs for fees incurred from December 30, 2014 onward pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 137.

There is much more to savor in the Court’s order. It is gratifying to have a trial judge (not the one who rendered the original Quincy decision) see so clearly through TEC’s bullying tactics, and to deal with them accordingly.

Read it all and make sure to follow the link to the full order.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Time Magazine) 10 Questions With Elder Care Thinker Ai-jen Poo

Elder care is also often done for low wages by new or undocumented immigrants. Will that change?

Manufacturing in the ’20s and ’30s was sweatshop work, largely done by new immigrants. We turned factory work into good jobs with pathways to opportunities. That professionalization was the basis for 20th century prosperity. That’s what the care workforce needs to be. These have the potential to be really good jobs.

You compare investing in home-care workers to investing in railways or the Internet. But aren’t those about growth, not dying?

For working-age adults right now, especially with what they call the sandwich generation”“people who are caring for children and aging parents”“this is having an impact on their productivity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Video of Octopus' land attack on unsuspecting crab pulls in over 2m views on YouTube

Watch the whole incredible thing. You may also read more about it there.

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Australia / NZ, Photos/Photography