Daily Archives: March 23, 2015

(NYT) Reformation Museum in Geneva Blends Humor and Wonder

Finding the International Museum of the Reformation is almost as complicated as explaining the historical movement it chronicles.

You must first navigate the labyrinth of Geneva’s Old Town, down narrow, cobblestone streets and then up a long flight of stone stairs, skirting the shadows cast by a towering 13th-century cathedral. Finally you arrive at the tranquil courtyard of the Maison Mallet, the 14-room 18th-century mansion housing the museum, which opened in 2005.

From the outset, its director, Isabelle Graesslé, knew she faced a challenge. “It’s not easy to do a museum around a concept,” she said with a chuckle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Religion & Culture, Switzerland

Dio. of South Carolina Conference Center's B.I. Environmental Education Ministry

Watch it all–14,000 students–just wonderful.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Theology

(BBC) The Jedi and the Bishop: two men from Essex, two religious outlooks

Both Stephen Cottrell and Michael Kitchen were born in Essex, both are the sons of non-religious parents and both went on to study religion. But that is where the similarities end.

Michael Kitchen laughs and shakes his head when asked the inevitable question: do you have a light sabre?

He does not. In fact he is not particularly keen on the Star Wars films. Though he does have a robe.

Born and raised in Saffron Walden, Mr Kitchen has been a member of the Temple of the Jedi Order for seven years. His Jedi name is Akkarin and he is a member of the order’s inner sanctum, the council.
Stephen Cottrell was born in Leigh-on-Sea and has been the Bishop of Chelmsford since 2010. A founding member of the College of Evangelists, he has also served on the Church of England’s Mission, Renewal and Evangelism committee.

But how do their spiritual journeys compare, what do they make of each other’s beliefs and does Jediism shed any light on the world of “new religions”?

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

Robert Oscar Lopez–Synthetic Children: Why Elton John Is Wrong About Dolce & Gabbana

I am not neutral. I agree with Dolce and Gabbana. Elton John is wrong. This is not to insult his children or take away from their humanity; nor is it to demean the character of men who love men everywhere. I am just as queer as both of these men. I have been out as bisexual since 1989 and have withstood a great deal of hostility from both the LGBT community and conservative Christians for refusing to use the label “ex-gay” to describe myself.

I also grew up with a lesbian couple without much connection to my father. In the process of writing my most recent book, Jephthah’s Daughters, I dealt with countless testimonials from children of same-sex couples all over the world. Stefano Gabbana gets us. Part of this is because his craft leads him outside of language to the ineffable world of instinct.

You can tell a child in such a home every day, “we are your fathers,” but our bodies and the rest of the visual environment around us will always reveal such words as false. The day-to-day rhythm of life, that quotidian routine that Gabbana must understand for his art but which Elton John does not have to, acts upon the language of same-sex parenting like a trickle of water wearing down a rock. With each day, in all the small gestures and emotional moments, the child puts together a picture of herself in the world and eventually realizes that the same-sex parents have created a world that is . . . what can we call it? Let’s use the language of theater critics: Contrived. Forced. Implausible.


Read it all from First Things.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Average Mohamed

Radical Islamic groups are using high-quality videos to recruit young Muslims in the US and Europe to join their fight. Now, a Somali Muslim immigrant in Minnesota is fighting back with his own videos””an animated series called “Average Mohamed” that counters extremist ideas about Islam.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Media, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

Stunning Photograph Taken of St Anne’s Church, Shandon, Cork during Solar Eclipse

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography

A Breath of Fresh Air; 224th South Carolina Diocesan Convention Emphasizes Moving Forward

“A breath of fresh air,” was how the Rev. Louise Weld, Associate Rector at St. James, Charleston, described the 224th annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, which was held in Charleston, March 13-14, 2015. “I felt like there was a big emphasis on evangelism and sharing your story,” said Weld, “in the Bishop’s address, in presentations, in video clips. There was a new thrust – a breath of fresh air. We’ve moved on and are about the Lord’s work!…”
The convention welcomed two new mission congregations, which have joined the Diocese since our last convention: Resurrection, North Charleston, led by the Rev. Matthew McCormick and St. James, Blackville led by the Rev. Russell Reed, assisted by Deacon Tom Cuny.

Eight new clergy have joined the Diocese since the last convention: the Rev. Gary Beson, the Rev. Rags Coxe the Rev. Tom Cuny , the Rev. Stephen Davis, the Rev. Donnie McDaniel, the Rev. Luke Rasmussen, the Rev. Russell Read and the Rev. Jamie Sosnowski.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Theology

Belated Sunday Worship links – March 22

[i]The elf who usually posts these was unable to do so yesterday. Apologies for the delay.[/i]

Click on the Resources for March 22 link to see the full list

Available now
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for March 22nd
+ My God, My God why has Thou Forsaken me – Dr Kendall Harmon

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Geoffrey Rowell–We need urgently to support for our fellow Christians in the Middle East

At the beginning of December [2014] I went on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, for a few days to the north of Iraq, to Kurdistan, first to Erbil, the Kurdish capital, and then a three-hour journey to Dohuk. I went to see and know at firsthand the situation of the many thousands displaced by the forces of the Islamic State, which in August last year over-ran Mosul, Iraq’s second city, and then swept across the Nineveh plain, with its many Christian villages.

In one camp, in the grounds of Mar Elias Church, they were putting up their Christmas crib. It was in a tent, a tent like those which had been the shelter for families who had had to flee from their homes, their culture, their churches. As they put up the tent, and placed the nativity figures in it, of Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child, with the shepherds and the angels, it was a indeed a reminder of the reality of the Incarnation: God chose to come down into our midst ”“ he pitched his tent among us.

The advance of ISIS forces, with their distorted fanatical interpretation of Islam, and appalling associated brutality, echoes the invasion of the Mongols centuries earlier, which likewise had devastating consequences for the Christian population of what is now Iraq. Christians and Christianity in the Middle East are under threat as never before. They find themselves ground so often between upper and nether millstones ”“ between the conflict between Sunni and Shia, or between Israel and Palestine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Gregory the Illuminator

Almighty God, who willest to be glorified in thy saints, and didst raise up thy servant Gregory the Illuminator to be a light in the world, and to preach the Gospel to the people of Armenia: Shine, we pray thee, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth thy praise, who hast called us out of darkness into thy marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and 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 the Scottish Prayer Book

O God, whose blessed Son did overcome death for our salvation: Mercifully grant that we, who have his glorious passion in remembrance, may take up our cross daily and follow him; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!

–Psalm 31:15-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Affinis Labs co-founder Shahed Amanullah-ISIS' extremism can by beaten by entreprenuers

For all its brutality, ISIS is often praised for its social media savvy and a passion among its members akin to that of a very famous Silicon Valley start-up, says one Muslim social media entrepreneur. The way to defeat the group’s extremism is by harnessing the creativity of entrepreneurs, he says.

Listen to it all (about 4 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Islam, Media, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Wash Post) The man whose utopian vision for the Internet conquered, +then warped, Silicon Valley

To understand where this cyber-libertarian ideology came from, you have to understand the influence of “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” one of the strangest artifacts of the ’90s, and its singular author, John Perry Barlow. Perhaps more than any other, it’s his philosophy ”” which melded countercultural utopianism, a rancher’s skepticism toward government and a futurist’s faith in the virtual world ”” that shaped the industry.

The problem is, we’ve reaped what he sowed.

Generally the province of fascists, artists or fascist artists, manifestos are a dying form. It takes gall to have published one anytime after, say, 1938. But “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” was an utterly serious document for a deliriously optimistic era that Wired, on one of its many valedictory covers, promised was a “long boom”: “25 years of prosperity, freedom, and a better environment for the whole world.” Techno-skeptics need not apply.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, History, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(CT) Kevin Emmert–The Lost World of Adam and Eve

In recent years, John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, has been both lauded and criticized for his interpretation of Genesis 1”“2. In his 2009 landmark book, The Lost World of Genesis One (InterVarsity Press), he argued that to rightly understand Genesis 1””an ancient document””we need to read it within the context of the ancient world. Read alongside other ancient texts, he says, Genesis 1 is not about how God made the world, but about God assigning functions to every aspect of it. In 2013, Walton contributed a chapter in Four Views on the Historical Adam (Zondervan). There he argued that Adam was a historical person, but also that Adam’s primary function in Scripture is to represent all of humanity. For Walton, Genesis 1”“2 is not concerned about human material origins, but rather about our God-given function and purpose: to be in relationship with God and work alongside him, as his image bearers, in bringing continued order to our world.

Walton spoke recently with CT assistant editor Kevin P. Emmert about his newest book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2”“3 and the Human Origins Debate (IVP Academic).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(National Post) Conrad Black: The shabby, shallow world of the militant atheist

Religious practice can certainly be targeted as a pursuit of the hopeful, the faith-based and the uncertain. But they badly overreach when they attack the intellectual underpinnings of Judeo-Christianity, from the ancient Judaic scholars and the Apostles to Augustine to Aquinas to Newman; deny the existence of any spiritual phenomena at all; debunk the good works and cultural creativity and conservation of the major religion; and deny that the general religious message of trying conscientiously to distinguish right from wrong as a matter of duty and social desirability is the supreme criterion of civilization. The theists defend their basic position fairly easily and only get into heavy weather when they over-invest in the literal truth of all the scriptures ”” though the evidence for veracity of the New Testament is stronger than the skeptics admit, including of Christ’s citations of God himself: “And God said ”¦”

It is in the nature of the world that we don’t know, but the decline of Christianity is much more of a delusion than God is and even more wishful, and the serious defenders of a divine intelligence such as the delightful John Lennox almost always win the argument, as he did with Dawkins and the rest. There is a long way between these two poles, and agnosticism is a much more rigorous position than the belligerence of the proselytizing atheists, but that is not a stance that stirs serious people to militancy. They have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(AP) Teachers in Rhode Island City Sue to Observe Good Friday

Teachers in Cranston, Rhode Island, have filed a lawsuit against the city’s school department after their requests to observe Good Friday were denied in a move they say violated their civil rights.

About 200 teachers contacted the union to report that they were being prevented from taking the day off, although they had provided more than the contractually required 24 hours’ notice, said Liz Larkin, president of the Cranston Teachers’ Alliance.

However, teachers’ requests to observe the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the fall were approved, Larkin said.

“That’s my big concern here, is equity,” Larkin said.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

(Chicago Tribune) Chicago Episcopal Cathedral names British Priest as new dean

A British priest with a reputation for supporting Christians in the Middle East has been named the new dean of St. James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago.

The Rev. Dominic Barrington, 52 a priest with a background in arts management who has led pilgrimages of Americans and British citizens to the Holy Land, will be installed as the cathedral’s dean on September 13, pending the approval of non-immigrant visas for him and his family.

“In Dominic Barrington, St. James Cathedral has called a strong, loving and wise priest to be its dean,” Bishop Jeffrey Lee said. “I believe he will be an inspirational leader at the cathedral, and a strong presence in the city of Chicago, championing the mission and ministry of the cathedral as a place of extraordinary hospitality, significant outreach, and excellence in the arts.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(NYT) Chris Borland, Fearing for Health, Retires From the 49ers. At 24.

It is an off-season like no other in the National Football League. Young players, with many games and millions of dollars potentially ahead of them, are walking away from the country’s most popular sport.

Linebacker Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the top rookies in the N.F.L. last season, is the latest case, and perhaps the most noteworthy. He said Monday that he was retiring because of concerns about his safety, and his decision may have ripple effects well beyond the professional ranks.

“Somebody said we’re at the beginning of the beginning, and that might be true,” Jeff Borland, Chris’s father, said Tuesday in a telephone interview regarding whether his son’s decision would influence parents of young football players.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Sports, Theology, Young Adults

(CNN) Steven Gerrard sees red as Manchester United beats Liverpool

Steven Gerrard’s final appearance as a Liverpool player against bitter rival Manchester United lasted just 38 seconds as his side slipped to a 2-1 defeat in a crucial English Premier League game Sunday.

Gerrard, introduced as a second half substitute to revive the flagging home side, was given his marching orders for a stamp on Ander Herrera.]

Down to 10 men, Liverpool quickly fell 2-0 behind to a second from Juan Mata before a 69th minute goal from Daniel Sturridge ensured a rousing finale at Anfield.

Manchester United nerves were hardly helped by Wayne Rooney’s failure to convert a penalty in injury time, but Louis van Gaal’s men held on for a crucial three points in the battle for Champions League spots.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports