Daily Archives: March 5, 2015

(Barna) What Millennials Want When They Visit Church

A plurality say they attend church to be closer to God (44%) and more than one-third say they go to learn more about God (37%). Getting outside the humdrum of their everyday lives to experience transcendence””in worship, in prayer, in teaching””is a key desire for many Millennials when it comes to church.

Two-thirds of survey participants say a good description of church is “a place to find answers to live a meaningful life” (a lot + somewhat = 65%). Over half say “church is relevant for my life” (54%), and about half “feel I can ”˜be myself’ at church” (49%). Three out of five survey respondents don’t agree that “the faith and teaching I encounter at church seem rather shallow” (not too much + not at all = 62%), and about the same number don’t believe “the church is not a safe place to express doubts” (60%).

That’s a lot of open windows.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology, Young Adults

(Get Religion) Terry Mattingly–Star-Telegram coverage of Anglican Wars needs Work

This reference makes it sound as if the tradition of properties being controlled by the local diocese is a brand new concept, created by Iker and company in the very recent past. Did those ordinances “declare” this fact or affirm older traditions? Stop and think about it: Why was there such a bitter battle in Denver back in 1979 when the national church took the unusual step of creating and passing the Dennis Canon?

As always, I am not saying that journalists need to agree with Iker, or with High for that matter. The key is to understand the arguments being made by experts on both sides.

The bottom line: When dealing with Anglican controversies, it always helps to include specific dates in the timeline, while also remembering that these battles are being fought at the local, regional, national and global levels.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology

Help restore peace in South Sudan, Anglican clerics tell the world

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya Eliud Wabukala and his South Sudan counterpart Daniel Dena Bul have appealed to the international community to fast-track peace efforts to resolve the conflict in South Sudan.

Speaking in Mogotio during a church function, the clerics said the on-going war was all about power struggle and not ethnic difference.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Defense, National Security, Military, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Violence

A Truly Sad Forbes Portrait of The Post-Minecraft Life of Gamer Markus Persson

These days Persson pays less attention to the heckling on Twitter and more to the insults hurled his way by close friends on a WhatsApp group they’ve crudely titled Farts. The unleashed Persson has regressed toward adolescence. At the temporary office for Rubberbrain, jokes about male genitalia and laughter bounce off the ceiling and elicit annoyed floor banging from the upstairs neighbor.
Persson ignores the foot-thumped berating much like he’s done with the armchair trolls. He says he’s taken fondly to the mute button on Twitter, which allows him to tune out unkind people without notifying them that they’ve been blocked. Occasionally, though, his curiosity will get the best of him, and he’ll reply. Lately he’s been responding to his haters with a moving image from the movie Zombieland of Woody Harrelson wiping tears away with a wad of money. “I’m aware that tweeting the image is a little douchey,” he shrugs. He’s equally gauche with people he likes, broadcasting his vacations via chartered jet on Snapchat. As for girls, “I tried to use Tinder, it didn’t work. In Sweden it’s horrible; there’s only like four people.” Hence the $180,000 nightclub bills.

“I’m a little bit making up for lost time when I was just programming through my twenties,” he says. “Partying is not a sane way to spend money, but it’s fun. When we were young we did not have a lot of money at all, so I thought, if I ever get rich I’m not going to become one of those boring rich people that doesn’t spend money.”

Right now he’s spending on the permanent office for his new company”“a teenage boy’s fantasy that will include a full-service bar, a DJ booth (he’s learning how to spin) and secret rooms hidden by bookshelves”“despite the fact that Rubberbrain is nothing more than a name waiting for an idea.

Little inspiration seems imminent.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

A Christian Century Editorial–Martyrs

The persecution of Christians reached historic levels in 2014, according to Open Doors USA, which estimated that 100 million Christians around the world face dire consequences for practicing their faith. North Korea topped the list of offending nations, with Iraq third and Syria fourth. Other regimes among the worst for Christians were Somalia, Iran, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

In Iraq and Syria in 2014, the so-called Islamic State ravaged Christian towns and forced Christians to flee or face death. In mid-February of this year, the world witnessed a video allegedly portraying the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by militia in Libya allied with the Islamic State. Christians have been repeatedly targeted in the midst of that nation’s civil war….In late February, 90 Christians were kidnapped in northeastern Syria.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Globalization, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Today in History: March 5

You can check here and there. This is what stood out to me:

1558–Smoking tobacco was introduced in Europe by Francisco Fernandes.

1770–British troops taunted by a crowd of colonists fired on an unruly mob in Boston and killed five citizens in what came to be known as the Boston Massacre.

1868–The Senate was organized into a court of impeachment to decide charges against President Andrew Johnson, who was later acquitted.

1946–Winston Churchill appeared as Pres. Truman’s guest at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. and delivered his ”Sinews Of Peace” speech later known as the “Iron Curtain Speech:”

1956–US court victory for black students–The United States Supreme Court upholds a ban on racial segregation in state schools, colleges and universities.

What stood out to you–KSH?

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

(BBC) Ebola outbreak: Liberia has no new cases for a week

Liberia has gone a week without reporting any new cases of Ebola, the first time such a milestone has been reached since May 2014, the World Health Organization says.

But officials say there have been 132 new cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone in the week to 1 March.

They have warned that populations are so mobile in the area that there could easily be fresh outbreaks in Liberia.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Pastoral Theology, Sierra Leone, Theology

(WP Wonkblog) Five key takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare hearing yesterday

Based on oral arguments this morning, the latest Supreme Court showdown over Obamacare could lead to another narrow ruling determining the fate of the health-care program. Here are five important takeaways from the hearing in King v. Burwell, a challenge an IRS rule providing financial assistance to millions purchasing health insurance through federal-run exchanges offered in states that did not create their own online marketplaces….

(1) The vote will be close. The four justices from the court’s liberal wing appear on board with the Obama administration’s argument that all exchanges — whether state or federal — can offer subsidies. Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts are still potential swing votes. Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito seem to sympathize with the plaintiffs’ argument that the text of the Affordable Care Act only authorizes subsidies in state-run exchanges….

Read it all.

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

Blog Open Thread: Your Thoughts on the Best Shows You would Recommend on TV for others

Remember that the more specific you can be, the more the rest of us will get from your comments–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Movies & Television

(Good News) Bill Mefford March for Life Sign (I Stand for Sandwiches) No Laughing Matter

Recently, the General Board of Church and Society in Washington D.C. has done a pretty good job ”“ of keeping a low profile and not making the kinds of radical statements that have baffled and bothered traditional United Methodists for decades. But all that changed when one of the Board’s senior staffers, Dr. Bill Mefford, posted a picture of himself on Twitter as a spectator to the March for Life this January in Washington D.C. As sincere persons of faith marched for the unborn , Mefford greeted them with a large sign, stating, “I March for Sandwiches.”

Mefford serves as the board’s “Director of Civil and Human Rights.” While others were marching to protect the most basic human right ”“ the right to life ”“ our United Methodist champion for human rights seemed to be more concerned about his next ham on rye….

You have to wonder how Mr. Mefford would have reacted to someone holding a similar placard at a pro-immigration, anti-gun or climate change march whose defense was nothing more than, “I just wanted to make people laugh.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Humor / Trivia, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Gordon Hewitt

O God, who through thy Son Jesus Christ hast promised help to man according to his faith: Grant us the freedom of the children to taste the food of eternal life, and to share with others what we ourselves receive; through the merits of the same thy Son, our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
But if you call yourself a Jew and rely upon the law and boast of your relation to God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed in the law, and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth”” you then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

–Romans 2:12-24

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Christian Today) Boko Haram 'incorporating itself into ISIS' with latest beheading video

A video released by Boko Haram purporting to show two beheadings shows that it is “incorporating itself into the Islamic State”, an organisation that monitors terrorist groups has warned.

Veryan Khan, editorial director of the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium [TRAC], told Fox News that the latest release “shows Boko Haram is not a mere copycat of ISIS; rather, it is incorporating itself into the Islamic State.”

ISIS supporters are “already starting to call Boko Haram the ‘Islamic State Africa,” Khan said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(ACNA Leader) Bill Atwood–Responsibility, Culpability, Fidelity, and Lethal Force

What the Lord showed me as I read history and studied the Bible is that it is crucially important to assess what faithfulness requires. I came to the position that St. Augustine was right and there is the possibility of a just war. Though I had not thought about it consciously, I was also greatly influenced by the Nürnberg War Trials, having grown up there while the echoes of those trials were still reverberating around the city. Eventually, I came to the position that it was possible for me to serve in the military as a Christian, but I also had to monitor orders to assess if they were lawful or not. Righteousness may demand refusing an unlawful order, but then it almost always comes with a terrible price when we stand against unrighteous deeds. Sometimes that prices is our freedom, reputation, or even our life.
The question at the heart of the challenging times I was facing then is much like the question we face in the church and culture today. Each query can be spoken from one of two different””essentially opposite””perspectives. One perspective will say essentially, “Lord, how far can I stray and still keep my salvation.” That is not, however, the way that faithful people are called to live. Instead, there is another way. I was blessed early on in my walk as a disciple to be taught by some very mature and wise Christians. They taught me that faithful Christians say, “Lord, show me ways that I can be more faithful; ways that I can be more closely conformed to your heart and will. Even if it is costly, show me what is right. Show me how I can draw more closely to You and to Your Cross.”

In this fallen world, the easy way is almost never the righteous way. It is also almost never God’s way. Of course, we should not choose a solution just because it is hard, we should choose a path because it is right. Whatever else we might say about choosing a righteous path, it is going to be costly. Those faithful leaders were very helpful in assisting me in taking the first steps of fidelity. They taught me how to weigh my heart in the Kingdom justice balance of Scripture and what to do in repentance when I came up on the wrong side. Over time, I was able to learn some things about how I was called to live.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Christology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

John Lawson–Thwarted dreaming about new uses of Guelph, Ontario, church property

It is somewhat rare today that the church can gather an overflow crowd but the Anglican Diocese of Niagara has succeeded in doing that ”” unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

The crowd that gathered were neighbours of Saint Matthias Anglican Church (at the corner of Edinburgh and Kortright roads) concerned that the Anglican Diocese is planning to sell the church and land to a developer who will build 81 units of rental housing geared to students.

It is understandable why the neighbourhood would be concerned. But I would suggest that it should be of concern for all of us in the rest of the city as well. In the whole south end of Guelph, there are only two church buildings ”” the Salvation Army and Saint Matthias.

Regardless of what you think of churches, these are often the only free or low-rent spaces available for community groups such as scouts, guides, AA, moms and tots groups or places where people can gather in times of celebration or mourning. And while it is true that many churches could do a better job connecting with their community, the Saint Matthias Church community has always had an open and welcoming presence in their neighbourhood. Unfortunately, they themselves now have no say in the matter.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Canada, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(RNS) Original Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese win latest round in Texas church property fight

For the second time in as many months, a state court has sided with a group of breakaway Episcopalians, ruling that they can keep their property after leaving the national church in 2008 over sharp differences on homosexuality and the authority of Scripture.

Judge John P. Chupp of the 141st District Court in Tarrant County, Texas, ruled Monday (March 2) that more than 60 parishes in greater Fort Worth can retain their property and remain independent of the Episcopal Church.

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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, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology