Daily Archives: March 8, 2015

(Bal. Sun) Episcopal leader Jefferts Schori in spotlight after bp charged in Baltimore hit-and-run

Just over two months ago, when Heather Elizabeth Cook, a newly ordained Episcopal bishop, was involved in an accident that left a bicyclist dead, the tragedy made headlines around the world, while sparking controversy within and outside the church.

Cook ”” who was drunk at the time of the accident, according to Baltimore police and prosecutors ”” had been made a bishop despite an arrest on DUI charges four years earlier. The Dec. 27 crash raised questions about how the Episcopal Church, already split over dogma and facing steep membership declines, chooses its leaders.

And it has put the stewardship of the national church’s presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, in the spotlight.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, Theology

(Economist) 1/4 Century after the end of the cold war, the world faces a growing nuclear threat

Some countries want nuclear weapons to prop up a tottering state. Pakistan insists its weapons are safe, but the outside world cannot shake the fear that they may fall into the hands of Islamist terrorists, or even religious zealots within its own armed forces. When history catches up with North Korea’s Kim dynasty, as sooner or later it must, nobody knows what will happen to its nukes””whether they might be inherited, sold, eliminated or, in a last futile gesture, detonated.

Others want nuclear weapons not to freeze the status quo, but to change it. Russia has started to wield nuclear threats as an offensive weapon in its strategy of intimidation. Its military exercises routinely stage dummy nuclear attacks on such capitals as Warsaw and Stockholm. Mr Putin’s speeches contain veiled nuclear threats. Dmitry Kiselev, one of the Kremlin’s mouthpieces, has declared with relish that Russian nuclear forces could turn America into “radioactive ash”.

Just rhetoric, you may say. But the murder of Boris Nemtsov, an opposition leader, on the Kremlin’s doorstep on February 27th was only the latest sign that Mr Putin’s Russia is heading into the geopolitical badlands…. Resentful, nationalistic and violent, it wants to rewrite the Western norms that underpin the status quo. First in Georgia and now in Ukraine, Russia has shown it will escalate to extremes to assert its hold over its neighbours and convince the West that intervention is pointless. Even if Mr Putin is bluffing about nuclear weapons (and there is no reason to think he is), any nationalist leader who comes after him could be even more dangerous.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, History, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, Russia, Science & Technology, Theology

(WSJ) Militants Attack Christian Villages in Syria

Forces from the group calling itself Islamic State launched a fresh offensive to overrun a string of Christian towns in northeastern Syria on Saturday, setting off violent clashes with local fighters mobilized against the militants.

A mixture of Assyrian Christians and Kurds fought off the Islamic State assault, activist groups said, just a week after extremists took about 250 people in the area””many women, children and elderly men.

The contested towns are along the Khabur river in al-Hasaka province, a strategic gateway that would help Islamic State consolidate territory it holds in Iraq and Syria. The population of the area is predominately Christian, while the Kurds are a minority.

Read it all.

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

(NPR) Dresden Anti-Immigration Protests Cause Tension In Muslim Community

CORNISH: Sitting next to Ala is Magdy Khaleel. He’s 46 and Egyptian. He teaches architecture at the Technical University of Dresden. He says the fear of the protesters was very real.

MAGDY KHALEEL: We have families here and some people have been attacked, so we are a little bit worried. When you are sitting, you don’t know who is with you in the metro or in the tram. You don’t know he’s with PEGIDA or against PEGIDA, so this has increased the feeling among people – so I should be careful, maybe he stab me. This is not comfortable life, you know? But we found some solidarity from different communities here in Dresden as well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Germany, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(CEN) South Africa Anglican Bishops divided over same-sex blessings

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has been unable to come to a common mind on the issue of… [same-sex] blessings, but have agreed to continue dialogue on the issue in preparation for the 2016 Provincial Synod.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Former St. Petersburg Episcopal priest says 'Thank God for marijuana' (w/video)

The bishop was not amused.

Not with the video of one of his priests ”” complete with clerical collar ”” advocating gratitude for marijuana.

“Now, thanking God for weed might feel a little awkward at first,” says the Rev. Chris Schuller ”” a former rector at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in the Snell Isle neighborhood ”” in the short video that’s punctuated with the reggae rhythms of Bob Marley.

“Thanking God is going to feel so much better than throwing stones at people who are already stoned,” he says.

Read it all from the Tampa Bay Times.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology

(Telegraph) Christopher Howse–The trouble with swearing an oath on a holy book

A trial in Liverpool for attempted robbery collapsed because a Muslim witness had sworn on the Bible, not the Koran.

“You have heard evidence from the witness on oath, just like you all swore an oath,” the judge told the jury. “Unfortunately it was sworn on the Bible and he just informed us he is a Muslim, which means I can’t accept his evidence and neither can you, because it was sworn on the wrong holy book. We have to start the case again.”

The next day, the judge thought better of it and stated in court that “in hindsight, it is a personal matter for any witness as to how they wish to be sworn”. It was a bit late, as the trial had been stopped. But the incident does show that swearing an oath is not just a quaint custom.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology

A S Haley–The Meaning of the recent Fort Worth Decision in the Ongoing Episcopal Litigation War

Judge Chupp’s ruling is thus significant for a number of reasons:

1. For all practical purposes, it ended the case — in favor of Bishop Iker and his co-defendants. There are still some claims for damages and trademark infringement, etc., reserved for another day.

2. It agreed with the Texas Supreme Court that “neutral principles of law” were to be used to decide the issues in the case, and that their application was not retroactive, since Texas courts had been applying neutral principles to church property disputes for a number of years already.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, who hast made the light of thy truth to shine in our hearts: Make us to walk as children of light in all goodness and righteousness, that we may have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bishop William Walsham How (1823-1897)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93:4-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Nigeria's Boko Haram pledges allegiance to ISIS

Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), according to an audio statement.

The message, which was not verified, was posted on Boko Haram’s Twitter account and appeared to be by the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Boko Haram began a military campaign to impose Islamic rule in northern Nigeria in 2009. The conflict has since spread to neighbouring states.

It would be the latest in a series of groups to swear allegiance to IS.

Read it all.

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

Australian branch of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) gears up for Launch

Says [the Venerable} Dr [Richard] Condie: “This is a whole church movement, and we are looking for dioceses, parishes and individuals (lay and clergy) who are concerned with defending and promoting the gospel and biblical authority in Australia to join us”.

Like the international fellowship ”“ which includes the 23 million-strong Nigerian Anglican Church ”“ members must assent to the Jerusalem Declaration, which Dr Condie calls “a statement of contemporary orthodox Anglicanism”.

“FCA puts us in fellowship with faithful Anglicans around the world from whom we might otherwise be separated,” he says, citing the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). “The FCA allows us to recognise them as true Anglicans.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates, Globalization, Theology

(Forbes) U.S. Doctor Shortage Could Hit 90,000 By 2025

The nation’s shortage of doctors will rise to between 46,000 and 90,000 by 2025 as the U.S. population grows, more Americans gain health insurance and new alternative primary care sites proliferate.

A new study announced by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), a lobby for medical schools and teaching hospitals, said “the doctor shortage is real” with total physician demand projected to grow by up to 17 percent as a population of baby boomers ages and the Affordable Care Act is implemented.

“It’s particularly serious for the kind of medical care that our aging population is going to need,” said Dr. Darrell Kirch, AAMC’s president in a statement accompanying the analysis by research firm IHS.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, Theology

The Archbishop Of Armagh offers two Lenten talks on two different poets

The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Revd Alan Abernethy, hosted a Quiet Morning for clergy of the diocese in St Aidan’s Parish Church, Glenavy, on Thursday 5 March.

Almost 70 clergy attended the event, at which the guest speaker was the Archbishop of Armagh and All Ireland Primate, the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke.

Guess which two poets he close and then go and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature

Bp Nicholas Holtam of Salisbury on the meeting of the Anglican Communion Environ­mental Net­work

[Not long ago]…sixteen bishops from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network are meeting in Cape Town to exchange ideas and concerns about the impact of climate change. We have done some of the preparatory work by Skype, and we all recognize the impact of air travel, but we also know that there is no substitute to our meeting in person, face to face.

The scientific collective that is the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment is 95 per cent certain that human activity is the main cause of current climate change. The burning of fossil fuels is the biggest source of the problem: as CO2 increases, so does temperature. Although the increase has flattened, this century has begun with fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record. The warming of the oceans has caused average humidity to increase by 4 per cent in fifty years, with greater floods and storms in consequence.

At Davos a few weeks ago, Al Gore was asked not only, “Do we have to change our current course?” but also, “if we do, can we?” He was hopeful about our capacity to change at the speed that is needed, pointing out that we are making better progress towards renewable energy than was thought possible: ten times better with wind power than was predicted fourteen years ago; seventeen times better with solar energy. Germany is the European leader, producing 35 per cent renewable energy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Theology

Priest and scientist Michael Beasley appointed Bishop of Hertford

The Revd Canon Dr Michael Beasley has been named as the next Bishop of Hertford, in succession to the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, who is now Bishop of Liverpool. Canon Beasley is at present Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford.

The announcement was made this morning, 5th March 2015, by 10 Downing Street and in a press conference hosted by the Mayor of Stevenage, Cllr Sherma Batson MBE, in the Council Chamber at Daneshill House. Canon Beasley will live near Stevenage, in Knebworth, when he takes up his post later in the year.

Canon Beasley has been Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford for the last five years. This follows a career in the scientific world, which for over a decade combined priestly ministry and epidemiology, the study of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations.

Read it all.

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

Canon Janet Trisk offers A Reflection for Lent III from 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25

For the third Sunday in Lent, Canon Janet Trisk reflects on the challenge posed to both “hardline atheists” and “dead certain Christians” by the image of a God who is crucified.

Listen to it all (about 3 1/3 minutes). For more from Janet Trisk you can read her reflections here and there. According to the Diocesan website, she current serves as rector of Saint Alphege’s, Pietermaritzburg, whose website is there and whose Facebook page is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Theology, Theology: Scripture