Daily Archives: March 19, 2015

(Atlantic) Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?

The resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe is not””or should not be””a surprise. One of the least surprising phenomena in the history of civilization, in fact, is the persistence of anti-Semitism in Europe, which has been the wellspring of Judeophobia for 1,000 years. The Church itself functioned as the centrifuge of anti-Semitism from the time it rebelled against its mother religion until the middle of the 20th century. As Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of Great Britain, has observed, Europe has added to the global lexicon of bigotry such terms as Inquisition, blood libel, auto”‘da”‘fé, ghetto, pogrom, and Holocaust. Europe has blamed the Jews for an encyclopedia of sins. The Church blamed the Jews for killing Jesus; Voltaire blamed the Jews for inventing Christianity. In the febrile minds of anti-Semites, Jews were usurers and well-poisoners and spreaders of disease. Jews were the creators of both communism and capitalism; they were clannish but also cosmopolitan; cowardly and warmongering; self-righteous moralists and defilers of culture. Ideologues and demagogues of many permutations have understood the Jews to be a singularly malevolent force standing between the world and its perfection….

The Anne Frank House has never had a Jewish director (though Hinterleitner pointed out that at least two members of the board must have a “Jewish background”), and I would learn later that it is widely understood in Amsterdam’s Jewish community that Jews should not bother applying for the job. Hinterleitner said that the museum addresses anti-Semitism in the context of larger societal ills, but also that it recently issued a strong press statement condemning anti-Semitic acts in the Netherlands and elsewhere. He said the museum has made an intensive study of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands, and has learned that most verbal expressions of anti-Semitism in secondary schools come from boys and are related to soccer.

The Anne Frank House is merely a simulacrum of a Jewish institution in part because, as its head of communications told me, Anne’s father said that her diary “wasn’t about being Jewish,” but also, Hinterleitner suggested, because a museum devoted too obsessively to the details of a particular genocide might not draw visitors in sufficient numbers. “We want people to be interested in this issue, people from all walks of life. So we talk about the universal components of Anne Frank’s story as well. Our work is about tolerance and understanding.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, Kansas, embrolied in controversy

It’s church time, close to 9 a.m. last Sunday.

Katherine Milligan, 66, walks through the central hallway of the Presbyterian Church of Stanley, feeling more uncomfortable, more spurned and more angry than she has in all her 33 years attending this Overland Park church.

“I’m too old. I don’t care what people think,” the Olathe woman said later, defiant in the battle she has joined. “No one is going to tell me I can’t worship in my sanctuary.”

Yet in late April a trial scheduled in Johnson County District Court will effectively determine exactly that. Judge Kevin Moriarty will hear arguments on who owns this $4.4 million house of God, a white modernist building erected in 1978 on a grassy rise at 148th Street and Antioch Road.

For six months, two factions of the church have been embroiled in what both sides agree has been an ugly and hurtful conflict.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/religion/article14448485.html#storylink=cpy

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Denver Catholic) George Weigel–Thinking about Marriage: A mission of love

Nothing falls outside God’s creative and redeeming purposes, which include our being created male and female, the complementarity and fruitfulness built into our being created male and female, and the permanence of marriage, which is a sign of God’s own covenant fidelity. God is a communion of loving Persons; thus married love, St. John Paul II taught, is an icon of the interior life of the Holy Trinity. God keeps his promises; thus the promise-keepers among us who live the covenant of marriage bear witness to that divine promise-keeping by their own fidelity.

In light of all this, the Christian idea of chastity comes into clearer focus. In the Catholic view of things, chastity is not a dreary string of prohibitions but a matter of loving-with-integrity: loving rather than “using;” loving another for himself or herself. The sexual temptations to which the Church says “No” are the implications of a higher, nobler, more compelling “Yes:” yes to the integrity of love, yes to love understood as the gift of oneself to another, yes to the family as the fruit of love, and yes to the family as the school where we first learn to love. “Yes” is the basic Catholic stance toward sexuality, marriage and the family. We should witness to that “Yes” with a joyful heart, recognizing that the example of joyful Catholic families is the best gift we can offer a world marked today by the glorification of self-absorption.

In a pontificate that has reminded us continuously of our responsibilities to the poor, for whom God has a special care, preparations for the World Meeting of Families are also an opportunity to remind our society that stable marriages and families are the most effective anti-poverty program in the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(TGC) Joe Carter–Are All Denominations in Decline?

In a recent interview in which she announced she had joined the Episcopal Church, Rachel Held Evans said,

Just about every denomination in the American church”” including many evangelical denominations ”” is seeing a decline in numbers, so if it’s a competition, then we’re all losing, just at different rates.

Many Americans, both within and outside the church, share Evans perception of the decline of denominations. But is it true? Are most denominations truly seeing a decline in numbers?…

Mainliners may try to comfort themselves by claiming that every denomination is in decline, but it’s simply not true. While conservative churches aren’t growing as quickly as they once were, mainline churches are on a path toward extinction. The mainline churches are finding that as they move further away from Biblical Christianity, the closer they get to their inevitable demise.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(AP) Ukraine urges EU to keep up sanctions pressure on Russia

Ukraine urged the European Union on Thursday to stay united in keeping up sanctions pressure on Russia over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as EU leaders gathered for a two-day summit.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to divide Europe over Ukraine and that this would be a “disaster for the free world.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Theology, Ukraine

(Ang. Journal) Cuban synod votes to return to the Episcopal Church

Members of synod for the Episcopal Church of Cuba narrowly voted in favour of returning to the church’s former affiliation with The Episcopal Church at their recent meeting last month in Cardenas, Cuba.

The move came two months after the historic decision by the United States and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations after a 54-year hiatus. The Cuban church had been part of a province in The Episcopal Church until the 1959 revolution, which made travel and communication between the two churches difficult. The Metropolitan Council of Cuba (MCC)””which includes primates of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Province of West Indies and The Episcopal Church””was subsequently created to provide support and oversight.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary, attended the synod””which ran from Feb. 19 to 22””as representatives of the MCC.

Hiltz said the vote on that resolution, which was 39 in favour and 33 against, showed that the synod was divided on the issue. “When the results of the vote were announced, there was just absolute silence,” he said. “There were some people that were feeling a sense of victory and others who were feeling a real sense of loss.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Caribbean, Cuba, Episcopal Church (TEC), Politics in General, Theology

A Reflection on Saint Joseph the Worker for his Feast Day

ZENIT spoke with Father Tarcisio Giuseppe Stramare of the Congregation of Oblates of Saint Joseph, director of the Josephite Movement, about Tuesday’s feast of St. Joseph the Worker….

ZENIT: What does “Gospel of work” mean?

Father Stramare: “Gospel” is the Good News that refers to Jesus, the Savior of humanity. Well, despite the fact that in general we see Jesus as someone who teaches and does miracles, he was so identified with work that in his time he was regarded as “the son of the carpenter,” namely, an artisan himself. Among many possible activities, the Wisdom of God chose for Jesus manual work, entrusted the education of his Son not to the school of the learned but to a humble artisan, namely, St. Joseph.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Joseph

O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Lancelot Andrewes

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us, that in thy light we may see light: the light of thy grace today, and the light of thy glory hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ”˜I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ”˜And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

–John 6:41-51

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Eerdmans Blog) Five Questions with Oliver O’Donovan

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring theologians?

It is the idiom of Christian thought that it proceeds in respectful dialogue with a canonical text. The theologian must be able to handle that text intelligently. “Exegesis, exegesis, exegesis!” Barth told his students, when he was driven out of Germany in the thirties. One has to learn enough from the professional exegetes to be able to make some crucial judgments for oneself. Yet theology needs more than exegesis; it needs questions formed and re-formed by constant reading of the Bible. My advice to a theologian who does not find that happening quite spontaneously, is to go and do something else. The opportunities for further thought should fly open like doors from the reading of Scripture. Not all the questions you will ever ask are there, of course, and they are not framed in the ways that you will come to frame them; but there are the openings, the questions that will build up in the end into the questions you will ask much later. The dutiful doctoral student will, of course, be told to forget the questions. “Don’t try to talk about God and beauty! Just compare Nicholas Wolterstorff and Synesius of Cyrene’s views on God and beauty!” Good advice for an apprentice, who has to pick up some technique before painting the Mona Lisa. But when the apprentice days are over, the questions must still be there.

And then there are the skills, linguistic skills, above all, of reading and writing, whether in English or any other language. I ought, of course, to insist that to read a text properly you must read it in the original language. But since nobody can do that for all texts, and to spend one’s life trying to would leave no time to read or think, there is a compromise to be reached on that. But thinking itself is a linguistic skill. Few people can think effectively in a language with which they are not natively at home. But how much at home is the average native? In any language we learn, but supremely in our own, we ought to make a practice of reading aloud, to get the music, the vocabulary, the modes of logical structuring deeply within our instinctive responses. I could never be a good horseman, not because I could not (in the end) learn how to stay on, but because I could never interest myself in the grooming and the feeding and the messing-out; the horse would always know I didn’t love it. Language, too, needs constant loving by those who expect to be able to ride it on long journeys to great ends; otherwise it will refuse to produce its turn of speed, will head off onto the wrong road, will perhaps throw them from its back.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Bishop of Rochester addresses national housing rally

The Bishop of Rochester has addressed more than 2,000 people at a rally pressing for all political parties to commit themselves to a long term plan for ending the housing crisis.

The Rt Rev James Langstaff, who is chair of Housing Justice, the national voice of the churches on housing and homelessness, told the Homes for Britain event in central London that ensuring decent and secure housing in the right place and at an affordable cost is one of the most important issues for our society.

Read the whole address there.

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

(Economist) The Federal reserve's meeting: A loss of patience

Rarely have investors lavished so much attention on a single word. After a two-day meeting, the Federal Reserve dropped the word “patient” from its monetary-policy statement. Why the fuss over this single word?

“Patient”, in Fed-speak, indicates that it will hold off increasing interest rates for at least two meetings. Now the word has been ditched, at subsequent meetings (most probably in June) we could see rates move off from rock-bottom for the first time since 2008.

The last rate-tightening cycle began over a decade ago. The Fed feels comfortable, it seems, with raising interest rates now that unemployment has moved towards 5.5%. The latest forecasts from the Fed show that it expects the economy to expand by 2.3%-2.7%, a slight fall from the projections in December but still one of the strongest in the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Theology

(C of E) Science & Faith Grant Interview provided

Churches are being encouraged to talk about the relationship between science and faith through a project backed by the Church of England.

The Templeton World Charity Foundation has awarded £700,000 to a three-year Durham University programme which aims to promote greater engagement between science and Christians.

Churches will be able to apply for grants of up to £10,000 for “scientists in congregations”, and more than 1,000 people training for Anglican ministry will be offered access to training and resources on contemporary science and the Christian faith as part of the project.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(CBC) All Saints Anglican Parish in Canada resurrected as Baptist Church in Louisiana

On a quiet street corner in a small Louisiana town, a large piece of Nova Scotia dominates the landscape.

It’s a church. For the first 200 years of its existence, it was the All Saints Anglican Church of Granville Centre in the Annapolis Valley. Now it’s Louisiana Church in Abita Springs.

The move, and the resurrection of the church, started with the vision of one man: Reverend Jerel Keene.

“As soon as I saw it and saw the ‘1814’ on the cornerstone and the area that it came from, which was Nova Scotia … I made a connection immediately,” Keene said last week on the doorstep of his church.

Keene envisioned moving the building intact to Louisiana, a grand gesture which he said would have attracted a lot of attention to both the building and his ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces