Daily Archives: April 28, 2015

Christians in Middle East at risk of extinction, evangelicals warn party leaders

The rise of extremism has left Christians without hope for a future in the birthplace of their faith, according to a new petition to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband.

Thousands of evangelicals who attended Spring Harvest are calling on the Conservative, LibDem and Labour leaders to set aside party differences and take new steps against persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

The 4,496 Christians warn that the faith is at serious risk of extinction in the region.

Read it all.

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

[Cranmer] Westminster Abbey acknowledges Mohammed in succession of prophets

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,

Praise be to the Lord of the universe who has created and formed us into tribes and nations so that we may know each other, and not so that we may despise each other, Peace be upon all auspicious prophets of God, from Adam, Noah and Abraham to Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed Mustafa, who pulled humanity out of darkness into the light and became guides to peace

the translated succession of prophets is a comprehensible assertion of Islamic theology which errs (to put it mildly), and may cause some theological disquiet (putting it milder still). The succession of prophets “from Adam, Noah and Abraham to Moses, Jesus and Mohammed Mustafa” is chronological: the first four are common to the prophetology of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Jesus as a prophet is common to Christianity and Islam (with disparity over priest and king); and Mohammed is a prophet of Islam alone (indeed, ”˜The Prophet’). ”˜Mustafa’ is an epithet ascribed by Muslims to Mohammed: it means ”˜The Chosen One’.

For Christians, of course, it is Jesus who is the Anointed of God; the Christ; the Messiah; the Chosen One..

it is not simply a benign multifaith expression of ecumenical respect in a commemorative service of reconciliation: it is a dogmatic affirmation of a perfected prophethood to which Jesus is subordinate, and His divinity thereby denied.

It may not be very PC or neighbourly or conducive to interfaith relations to say it, but Mohammed was a false prophet (Jer 14:14-16; 1Jn 4:1; Acts 4:12; 2Cor 11:3f). By rejecting the crucifixion and denying the resurrection of Christ (who is not the ”˜Chosen One’), Islam espouses ”˜another Jesus’, ”˜another spirit’ and ”˜another gospel’. They are and ought to remain free to proclaim their religiosity, however false and erroneous it may be. But not, please God, in The Collegiate Church of St Peter (aka Westminster Abbey), which is a Royal Peculiar of the Supreme Governor.

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

Judith Woods: Where do we draw the line between playing Darwin and playing God?

Two contrasting stories this week have thrown into sharp relief the complex relationship between humanity and science. The first was the harrowing yet inspirational story of how newborn Teddy Houlston became Britain’s youngest organ donor aged just 100 minutes old.

His parents allowed his kidneys and heart valves to be removed and given to a man 233 miles away. Why? Because it was medically possible and it felt right….

Meanwhile, across the globe, alarm is growing that Chinese geneticists have taken the first dangerous steps towards creating “designer babies”. Researchers have engineered embryos by “editing” the DNA to remove the gene responsible for the potentially deadly blood disorder thalassaemia.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(FT) US inflation expectations scale highs for the year

Several widely-watched gauges of US inflation expectations have climbed to their highest levels this year, as oil prices regain their footing and some investors bet that the Federal Reserve will be slow in quelling any price pressures.

The US 10-year “breakeven” rate measures the market’s expectations of average inflation over that time by comparing the yields of conventional US Treasuries maturing in 10 years and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, or Tips.

The 10-year breakeven has shot up from a low of 1.53 per cent in mid-January to 1.92 per cent on Monday, the highest since November 2014. The five-year breakeven rate has risen to 1.71 per cent, the highest since September, while the two-year is at its highest since July 2014.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Psychology, The U.S. Government

(NPR) Legal Battle Over Gay Marriage Hits The Supreme Court Today

People have been lining up outside the U.S. Supreme Court for days hoping that they will be among the lucky ones to get a seat for Tuesday’s historic arguments on gay marriage.

As of now, gay marriage is legal in 36 states. By the end of this Supreme Court term, either same-sex couples will be able to wed in all 50 states, or gay marriage bans may be reinstituted in many of the states where they’ve previously been struck down.

Tuesday’s Supreme Court arguments focus on two questions: First, whether bans on gay marriage are constitutional; and second, if they are, whether those states with bans may refuse to recognize out-of-state gay marriages performed where they are legal.

The court has scheduled an extraordinary 2 1/2 hours of argument and will make the audio available online later Tuesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Sexuality, Theology

Achbp Welby: 'Prayer is one of the most dangerous things anyone can ever do'

You may find the full video of this talk on prayer there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Spirituality/Prayer

A Very Interesting Wikipedia page–a List of people who disappeared mysteriously

Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, History, Theology

A ltr in response to the Bp of Niagara on selling Guelph property for residential development

As a Christian who has been living in Guelph for more than 35 years, I know from experience the impact that the Christian community has had. When this work is combined with the efforts of the other faith-based groups, there is no equal that can be found anywhere.

Certainly our city government could never fill this gap. That is why I believe Bishop Bird has confused community planning with the continuation of the Anglican Church’s role when he wrote, “We seek to serve the spiritual needs of citizens and care for those who are most vulnerable through collaborative and compassionate outreach initiatives.” That is community planning.

If a religious organization truly believes this, then they must consider it when selling property once it is no longer of use to the denomination that owns it.

Read it all from the Guelph Record.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

The Bishop if Niagara on selling Guelph property for residential development

To date, we have been relatively silent about the concerns raised by local residents in large part because of our contractual agreement with the proposed developer. But more to the point, our Diocese is in the business of nurturing and building spiritual communities in the Anglican tradition, not in the business of urban planning. For this reason we have been encouraging those with concerns to be in dialogue with the City of Guelph and the developer, both of whom have expressed a willingness to engage in substantive conversation.

For this reason, I strongly disagree with the editorial board’s characterization that there are villains in this story. The Diocese, the developer, members of city council, concerned citizens and others are each playing a role in what has become a very thorough planning process. I continue to have every confidence that the needs and well-being of Guelph citizens will be of primary concern. I am also heartened that the proposed development has sparked a worthwhile conversation about the importance of public space for community purposes, including religious ones.

Even though the story of this property will be different going forward, our ministry ”” both with the re-envisioned St. Matthias community and all our area parishes ”” will continue to further God’s loving purposes throughout the Royal City.

Read it all from the Guelph Record.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

Governor of Anambra State Obiano fetes Anglican Bishops

The governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, has taken steps to strengthen the existing relationship between his administration and religious organisations, especially the Anglican Communion, in the state.

Governor Obiano, at a dinner he organised for Archbishops and Bishops of the Anglican Communion at the Banquet Hall of the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, described the Church and government as partners in progress in the task of changing lives and building a virile society.

The governor expressed the belief that a healthy relationship with all denominations will avail his administration of the much-needed peace and spiritual backing to actualise its lofty dreams for the state.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(CC Editorial) We’re all Californians

No rain in California””which grows half the country’s fruits and vegetables””is a disaster for all of us. But the drought, now entering its fourth year, is also an opportunity. It’s a chance to take a long-needed hard look at how water is used and conserved, how food is grown, and what sustainable development means.

With 80 percent of California’s water usage devoted to agriculture, that’s the first place to make major changes. “Most watering technology is stupid and ­doesn’t react to the environment,” says CEO Chris Spain of the water technology firm HydroPoint. “We shouldn’t be talking about a 25 percent reduction in water use, but rather a 95 percent elimination of wasted water.” In fact, many California farmers have already become water technicians, measuring soil and leaf moisture content and treating every drop as utterly precious.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Court hears about financial failings within Anglican Diocese of Bathurst

The management board of the debt-ridden Anglican Diocese of Bathurst in western New South Wales has admitted huge loans weren’t properly examined before being approved.

The Commonwealth Bank is suing the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst for outstanding debts of $40 million dating back to 2007.

The diocese is being sued in the Supreme Court in Sydney and is responsible for roughly a third of all Anglican parishes across the state ranging from Bathurst to Bourke.

The actions of three governing groups within the diocese are being examined about their roles in the massive debt.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast promised in thy holy gospel that thy disciples shall know the truth, and the truth shall make them free: Give us, we pray thee, the Spirit of truth, sent by thee and leading to thee, that we may find the truth in finding thee, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities””all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

–Colossians 1:15-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) Sacred Mysteries: a new bio of Lincoln Cathedral recaptures its original atmosphere

James Essex’s work is noted in Jonathan Foyle’s admirable new illustrated book, Lincoln Cathedral: The Biography of a Great Building. It really is a biography. In narrating the life of the cathedral since its Norman birth, the author also provides a coherent sense of the building’s anatomy. He’s good on explaining when sculpture and structure are more modern work than their setting suggests.

When he shows the wonders of the 13th-century Angel Quire, which certainly lives up to Ruskin’s praise, he brings the reader in, not through the cathedral’s “front door” at the west end, but through the Judgment portal. This is right at the other end, beyond the high altar, on the south side. It struck me that an imaginary pilgrim entering by this door must have felt like one entering the cathedral at Santiago by way of the Puerta de la Gloria, sculpted in the previous century. (There’s a plaster cast of it in the V&A in London.)

Above the doorway, Christ sits in judgment. As Dr Foyle remarks (with a glance at a painting by Hans Memling), the exuberant Gothic doorway resembles medieval artists’ idea of the gate of Heaven itself. Once inside, the pilgrim finds angels carved all about, many playing musical instruments.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

(RNS) In Boston, engaging both sides of the church’s debate on sexuality

Only a few dozen worshippers attend Boston’s Tremont Temple Baptist Church on a typical Sunday, but preacher Dwight L. Moody once called the historic church “America’s pulpit.”

Last week, Tremont’s massive auditorium played host to influence once again when 1,300 Christian leaders gathered for the Q conference to discuss the most pressing issues facing their faith. There was no official theme, but one strand wove its way through multiple presentations and conversations: America’s””and many Christians’””debate over sexuality.

While at least three other Christian conferences during the past year focused on same-sex debates, this is the only one to bring together both pro-gay speakers and those who oppose gay marriage and same-sex relationships.

“The aim of Q is to create space for learning and conversation, and we think the best way to do that is exposure,” said Q founder Gabe Lyons. “These are conversations that most of America is having, and they are not going away.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Economisi Bad Delong) What Has Happened to the Middle Class, Anyway?

One thing going on is that the major lifestyle and utility improvements of the past generation”“really cheap access to communication, information, and entertainment”“are overwhelmingly available to pretty much everyone. On the one hand, this means that recent economic growth assessed in terms of individual utility and well-being is much more equal then when assessed in terms of income. On the other hand, it means that access these benefits seems much more like simply the air we breathe then as a marker of class status, or achievement.

Thus a loss of the ability to securely attain enough of economic security to firmly hold the indicators of what past generations saw as middle-class life shows itself as a loss. And those who focus on security rather than on utility do not see these as offset buy the information revolution.

Read it all and please note it is a follow up to this article previously posted.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology