Monthly Archives: May 2015

(W Post) The real story of how the Internet became so vulnerable

Those who helped design this network over subsequent decades focused on the technical challenges of moving information quickly and reliably. When they thought about security, they foresaw the need to protect the network against potential intruders or military threats, but they didn’t anticipate that the Internet’s own users would someday use the network to attack one another.

“We didn’t focus on how you could wreck this system intentionally,” said Vinton G. Cerf, a dapper, ebullient Google vice president who in the 1970s and ’80s designed key building blocks of the Internet. “You could argue with hindsight that we should have, but getting this thing to work at all was non-trivial.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(St Johns, Johns Island) A Russ Parker Sermon–Will You Give Your Yes to God?

Listen to it all. You can read a bit about Russ Parker here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis: the Holy Trinity exhorts us to live "one with the other"

Marking the liturgical feast of Holy Trinity Sunday, the Pope reminded those present that it is celebrated in honor of the most fundamental of Christian beliefs, the mystery of the three Persons of God””Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ”” who are all equally God, and cannot be divided, the Pope said this solemnity renews in us “our own mission to live in communion with God and with each other”.

He said: “We are not called to live without the other, above or against the other, but with the other, for the other and in the other”.

This ”“ the Pope said – means welcoming and bearing witness to the beauty of the Gospel; loving each other, sharing joy and suffering, learning how to forgive”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Tom Wright–The Prayer of the Trinity

A different tradition is that of the Eastern Orthodox church, which I mentioned in chapter 12. There the “Jesus prayer” has been rightly popular: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (There are variations, but this is perhaps the best known.) This, like the Jewish Shema, is designed to be said over and over again, until it becomes part of the act of breathing, embedding a sense of the love of Jesus deep within the personality. This prayer, again like the Shema, begins with a confession of faith, but here it is a form of address. And instead of commandments to keep, it focuses on the mercy that the living God extends through his Son to all who will seek it. This prayer has been much beloved by many in the Orthodox and other traditions, who have found that when they did not know what else to pray, this prayer would rise, by habit, to their mind and heart, providing a vehicle and focus for whatever concern they wished to bring into the Father’s presence.

I have a great admiration for this tradition, but I have always felt a certain uneasiness about it. For a start, it seems to me inadequate to address Jesus only. The Orthodox, of course, have cherished the trinitarian faith, and it has stood them in good stead over the course of many difficult years. It is true that the prayer contains an implicit doctrine of the Trinity: Jesus is invoked as the Son of the living God, and Christians believe that prayer addressed to this God is itself called forth by the Spirit. But the prayer does not seem to me to embody a fully trinitarian theology as clearly as it might. In addition, although people more familiar than I with the use of this prayer have spoken of its unfolding to embrace the whole world, in its actual words it is focused very clearly on the person praying, as an individual. Vital though that is, as the private core of the Christian faith without which all else is more or less worthless, it seems to me urgent that our praying should also reflect, more explicitly, the wider concerns with which we have been dealing.

I therefore suggest that we might use a prayer that, though keeping a similar form to that of the Orthodox Jesus Prayer, expands it into a trinitarian mode:

Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth:

Set up your kingdom in our midst.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God:

Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Holy Spirit, breath of the living God:

Renew me and all the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Spirituality/Prayer, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Stephen Plant: Trinity Sunday helps us to see the real dangers of bad faith

The first few years of this century are turning out to be busy ones for anti-religious polemicists. Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion and, soon to appear, Christopher Hitchens’s God is not Great revive a tradition of impassioned criticism of religious belief and of what people do in God’s name.

The reason for the relative quiet in the closing years of the last century is plain enough. As long as religion had seemed to have little to do with anything important ”“ such as politics or war ”“ committed secularists were spared the bother of arguing that religion is bad. It is only when people do bad things in the name of their religious beliefs that atheists need to get evangelical about their creed.

Personally, I don’t feel any desire to leap to the defence of Christian faith against this renewed assault. This is not because others are doing the job well enough, but because, Christian though I am, I have some sympathy with the view that belief in God can be dangerous.

If God is not to be abused, it seems important to me to recognise that religious belief can be dangerous for individuals and for society. The fact that most of the time religious convictions in practice make believers good neighbours and good citizens does little to lessen the scandal when God is invoked to justify tyranny or terror.

Read it all from 2007 (from the London Times, requires subscription)

Posted in The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Gavin Dunbar on the Doctrine of the Trinity–Knowing the Mystery

When we speak about the doctrine of God the Holy Trinity, we approach with fear and trembling a great mystery. For many modern Christians, any attempt to think about the mystery is considered impious; but this cannot be: because “unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God”. Not to receive this gift of knowledge is the true impiety. And though the mystery ever exceeds our comprehension, yet “now we know in part” however imperfectly, the mystery which God has chosen to reveal to us. This attempt to understand is not an act of pride, but of humility ”“ ”˜standing under’ the bright heaven of divine truth, in openness to its vitalizing gifts.
In explaining the mystery of God, resort is commonly had to the acts of God in history. Thus, for example, the answer to the question about the Apostles’ Creed in the Prayer book Catechism, “What dost thou chiefly learn in these Articles of thy belief? Answer. First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath made me, and all the world. Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me, and all mankind. Thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the [elect] people of God.” That is to say, the persons of the Holy Trinity are revealed in the acts of God in history, the “economy” of salvation.

This is helpful, and yet a false conclusion may be drawn ”“ that the meaning of “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” is expressed fully in the formula “Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier”. The latter phrase speaks of God’s acts in history (in each of which all three persons are involved); the former of God in himself. For that we must engage with the paradoxes of the technical language of theology, developed to uphold the Biblical revelation: that there is but one divine substance, essence, or nature; infinite in power, wisdom, and goodness. Within this unity of substance there is a distinction of persons, each of them fully God, co-equal, co-eternal, consubstantial ”“ and yet “there are not three Gods, but one God”. God is not a committee.

According to Saint Augustine, the best image of the Trinity is in the life of the human soul itself, made in the image of God. When we look at the soul itself, we see a certain image and likeness of God. Robert Crouse summed up Augustine’s teaching: “One says of the soul three things: it is; it knows; and it wills, or loves. And these three powers are one soul: being, knowing, and willing. God is; God knows; and God wills. God eternally begets his Word, the Son ”“ that is the divine knowing; and in that knowing, there proceeds God’s love, God’s will, the divine Spirit. The Word begotten, the Spirit proceeding; Father, Son, and Spirit: one spiritual life, one substance, in which these three are co-equal, co-eternal persons. God is not some abstract principle, physical or mathematical or whatever; God is not some impersonal force in the universe. The actuality of God, being, knowing, and loving, Father, Son, and Spirit, is the actuality of life. He is the living God.” Since our end is to know and to love God, our salvation consists finally in our worship ”“ by knowing and loving ”“ the living God. So the doctrine of the Trinity is not some arcane obscurity, but the truth which shapes the spiritual life of Christians, as they turn to God and grow into his likeness in Christ. To a limited degree we may know God through God’s knowing of himself; we may love God through God’s delight in his own infinite goodness; our knowing and loving God is a participation in the life of God himself. Not to think the Trinity, therefore, not to believe and profess this doctrine, is to shut oneself out from salvation.

—The Rev. Gavin Dunbar is rector of Saint John’s, Savannah, Georgia

Posted in The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Praise to the Trinity to Begin the Day

Praise be to thee, O God the Father, who didst create all things by thy power and wisdom, and didst so love the world as to give thy Son to be our Saviour.

Praise be to thee, O God the Son, who wast made man like unto us in all things, sin except, and wast delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification.

Praise be to thee, O God the Holy Spirit, who dost lead us into all truth, and dost shed abroad the love of God in our hearts.

All praise and glory be to thee, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

An Address by Benedict XVI on the Holy Trinity

After the Easter season, which concluded last Sunday with Pentecost, the liturgy returned to Ordinary Time. That does not mean that the commitment of Christians must diminish, rather, having entered into the divine life through the sacraments, we are called daily to be open to the action of grace, to progress in the love of God and our neighbor. This Sunday, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, recapitulates, in a sense, God’s revelation in the paschal mysteries: Christ’s death and resurrection, his ascension to the right hand of the Father and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The human mind and language are inadequate for explaining the relationship that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and nevertheless the Fathers of the Church tried to illustrate the mystery of the One and Triune God, living it in their existence with profound faith.

The divine Trinity, in fact, comes to dwell in us on the day of baptism: “I baptize you,” the minister says, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We recall the name of God in which we were baptized every time that we make the sign of the cross. In regard to the sign of the cross the theologian Romano Guardini observes: “We do it before prayer so that ”¦ we put ourselves spiritually in order; it focuses our thoughts, heart and will on God. We do it after prayer, so that what God has granted us remains in us ”¦ It embraces all our being, body and soul, ”¦ and every becomes consecrated in the name of the one and triune God” (“Lo spirito della liturgia. I santi segni,” Brescia 2000, 125-126).

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Gregory of Nyssa: On the Holy Trinity

But our argument in reply to this is ready and clear. For any one who condemns those who say that the Godhead is one, must necessarily support either those who say that there are more than one, or those who say that there is none. But the inspired teaching does not allow us to say that there are more than one, since, whenever it uses the term, it makes mention of the Godhead in the singular; as”””In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead Colossians 2:9 “; and, elsewhere”””The invisible things of Him from the foundation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead Romans 1:20 .” If, then, to extend the number of the Godhead to a multitude belongs to those only who suffer from the plague of polytheistic error, and on the other hand utterly to deny the Godhead would be the doctrine of atheists, what doctrine is that which accuses us for saying that the Godhead is one? But they reveal more clearly the aim of their argument. As regards the Father, they admit the fact that He is God , and that the Son likewise is honoured with the attribute of Godhead; but the Spirit, Who is reckoned with the Father and the Son, they cannot include in their conception of Godhead, but hold that the power of the Godhead, issuing from the Father to the Son, and there halting, separates the nature of the Spirit from the Divine glory. And so, as far as we may in a short space, we have to answer this opinion also.

What, then, is our doctrine? The Lord, in delivering the saving Faith to those who become disciples of the word, joins with the Father and the Son the Holy Spirit also; and we affirm that the union of that which has once been joined is continual; for it is not joined in one thing, and separated in others. But the power of the Spirit, being included with the Father and the Son in the life-giving power, by which our nature is transferred from the corruptible life to immortality, and in many other cases also, as in the conception of “Good,” and “Holy,” and “Eternal,” “Wise,” “Righteous,” “Chief,” “Mighty,” and in fact everywhere, has an inseparable association with them in all the attributes ascribed in a sense of special excellence. And so we consider that it is right to think that that which is joined to the Father and the Son in such sublime and exalted conceptions is not separated from them in any.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

A Prayer for Trinity Sunday from the Scottish Prayer Book

O Lord God Almighty, eternal, immortal, invisible, the mysteries of whose being are unsearchable: Accept, we beseech thee, our praises for the revelation which thou hast made of thyself, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three persons, and one God; and mercifully grant that ever holding fast this faith we may magnify thy glorious name; who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.

Posted in The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

–Psalm 146:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Former archbishop of Canterbury weighs in on Islamic fundamentalism and its threat

The Right Rev. and Right Hon. George Carey includes among his passions his wife, Eileen; the Barclays Premier League football club Arsenal; and “certain things such as a peaceful world,” he told The Blade during an interview at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit.

The former archbishop of Canterbury elaborated on obstacles to peace that he sees.

“I really do feel very worried about” what is happening to Christians in the Middle East at the hands of the Islamic State, Lord Carey said. “I think we’re now living in a world more dangerous than ever.”

He said that “our biggest enemy now is [ISIS] and Islamic fundamentalism, which now exists in America in all those Muslim families that you have graciously invited and said, following the Statue of Liberty, ”˜Come and make your home here.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Defense, National Security, Military, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Lionel Messi's Just Ridiculous Goal from the Copa Del Ray Final Today

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Men, South America, Spain, Sports

From the Do not Take Yourself too Seriously Department–Jon Stewart tears into FIFA

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Humor / Trivia, Media, Sports, Theology

Laura McNally–Pornography, Violence and Sexual Entitlement: An Unspeakable Truth

The denial of the sex industry’s role in perpetuating sexism and its rebranding as “feminist” is a serious impediment to tackling gender inequality. While there is vocal commentary around reducing domestic and sexual violence in Australia, those voices are conspicuously quiet when the violence depicted is in pornography. Too many women’s advocates remain complicit in the sexual entitlement and unadorned violence that this industry is making normative.

While campaigns seek longer jail terms that will keep sex offenders out of society, this won’t change the terrain that is funnelling more and more young men down this dangerous path. The police cannot arrest their way out of the problem, nor can a lesson on sexual health undo a lifetime of socialisation.

Marches and protests against domestic violence rage on, discussions continue to unpack male entitlement, yet the elephant in the room remains unacknowledged. One of the most omnipresent and unavoidable drivers of sexist violence is seemingly invisible. To address sexist violence, advocates must challenge the lie that pornography is progressive.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Movies & Television, Pornography, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

(NYT) A Choice for Recovering Addicts: Relapse or Homelessness

After a lifetime of abusing drugs, Horace Bush decided at age 62 that getting clean had become a matter of life or death. So Mr. Bush, a homeless man who still tucked in his T-shirts and ironed his jeans, moved to a flophouse in Brooklyn that was supposed to help people like him, cramming into a bedroom the size of a parking space with three other men.

Mr. Bush signed up for a drug-treatment program and emerged nine months later determined to stay sober. But the man who ran the house, Yury Baumblit, a longtime hustler and two-time felon, had other ideas.

Mr. Baumblit got kickbacks on the Medicaid fees paid to the outpatient treatment programs that he forced all his tenants to attend, residents and former employees said. So he gave Mr. Bush a choice: If he wanted to stay, he would have to relapse and enroll in another program. Otherwise, his bed would be given away.

“”˜Do what you do’ ”” that’s what he told me,” Mr. Bush recalled.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Psychology, Theology

(Local Paper Editorial) Overdue red cards for FIFA

But by themselves, they are not likely to change the culture of the organization, a fact made clear Friday by the re-election of long-standing FIFA President Sepp Blatter. So though he obviously rated the equivalent of a red card (a game-ejecting penalty), he’s still in charge.

Two years ago Mr. Blatter suppressed a critical internal report on evidence of vote buying and other corruption in FIFA, causing the author, former U.S. Attorney for New York Michael Garcia, to resign in protest.

Observers of FIFA have long suspected rampant vote-selling in the choosing of World Cup host nations, such as the surprising decision to award the 2018 tournament to Russia.

The call to play the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was even more stunning.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Sports, Theology

Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison–Should we not say Christ our Passover was Sacrificed?

Why do many of our clergy, in the service of Holy Communion, change the words “is sacrificed” to “was sacrificed?” The short answer is that the word in question, etuthe, clearly means action completed in the past (was or has been). The phrase “is sacrificed” is a mistranslation of the Greek word. It appears only in the King James translation and is corrected by every translation since.

Read it all (page 15).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, --Book of Common Prayer, Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

CT Cover Story: Formed by War–Combat wounds the soul, but the gospel offers hope

At the heart of the gospel is a narrative of creation, brokenness, redemption and reconciliation, and new creation. Kinghorn turns to this narrative for a rich language and set of practices through which each war veteran can understand “what it means to be claimed by a God who created a good world.” He points out that in Jesus Christ, we have a “paradigm of mental health and flourishing.” After all, Jesus was once rumored to suffer from mental illness (Mark 3:21) and endured physical and mental anguish. The church has language and practices to foster healing for veterans: lament, confession, and reconciliation. All of these allow us to “listen, reflect, bear, and grieve” with our veterans.

The church can acknowledge that while war may sometimes be justified, says Kinghorn, it is “always a tragic manifestation of human brokenness.” We also have the hope of the Resurrection, and “the peace that is not simply the attenuation of distress but, rather, the right and ordered alignment of desire toward God and to God’s good creation.” Finally, we have the “healing resources of the community,” which can be brought to bear as we create spaces where veterans can experience reconciliation.

Churches and faith-related organizations have launched programs in recent years to better care for veterans’ mental and spiritual health. The Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, started the Soul Repair Center in 2012 with a focus on research and recovery methods for those suffering from moral injury. They serve as a resource to educators, caregivers, employers, and religious and nonprofit organizations in general. Partners in Care, initiated by a chaplain in the Maryland National Guard and later expanded by chaplains in the Missouri National Guard, connects soldiers to their local congregations. Wheat Ridge Ministries, a Lutheran organization committed to assisting local congregations’ healthcare ministries, gave a grant to a Lutheran pastor and former Minnesota National Guard chaplain to help widely distribute his book Welcome Them Home, Help Them Heal to congregations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(Telegraph) Opec under siege as Isil threatens world's oil lifeline

A year on from the start of the siege and a shaky alliance of the Middle East’s major Arab powers, with the limited support of the reluctant US government, has failed to contain the expansion of Isil.

The problem for the US and the rest of the industrialised world is that the Middle East controls 60pc of proven oil reserves and with it the keys to the global economy. Should Isil capture a major oil field in Iraq, or overwhelming the government, the consequences for energy markets and the financial system would be potentially catastrophic.

Many of the countries most threatened by the onslaught of the extremist group, which has grown out of the chaos of Syria but was initially dismissed as a wider threat to regional stability, will gather at the end of this week in Vienna for the meetings of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology

Badly educated men in rich countries have not adapted well to trade, technology or feminism

In most rich countries the supply of eligible blue-collar men does not match demand. Among black Americans, thanks to mass incarceration, it does not come close. For every 100 African-American women aged 25-54 who are not behind bars, there are only 83 men of the same age at liberty. In some American inner cities there are only 50 black men with jobs for every 100 black women, calculates William Julius Wilson of Harvard University. In theory black women could “marry out”, but few do: in 2010 only 9% of black female newly-weds married men of another race.

When men with jobs are in short supply, as they are in poor neighbourhoods throughout the rich world, any presentable male can get sex, but few women will trust him to stick around or behave decently. Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, two sociologists, asked a sample of inner-city women of all races why they broke up with their most recent partner. Four in ten blamed his chronic, flagrant infidelity; half complained that he was violent.

Read it all from the Economist.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Women

A S Haley–How much is the Episcopal Church Really Spending in its Litigation War?

[WARNING: the following post may be dangerous to one’s mental health. The panoply of unbelievably large figures in it may also cause one’s eyes to glaze over. For those who cannot wade through it all, here is the bottom line:

The Episcopal Church (USA) has spent, and further committed (in its adopted budgets) to spend, a total of $42,675,466 on suing fellow Christians in the civil and ecclesiastical courts over the first eighteen years of this century. When one adds in the estimated additional amounts spent by individual dioceses on such litigation, the total amount exceeds Sixty Million Dollars.

Can’t believe it? Well, then, read on — you have been warned.]

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joan of Arc

Holy God, whose power is made perfect in weakness: we honor thy calling of Jeanne d’Arc, who, though young, rose up in valor to bear thy standard for her country, and endured with grace and fortitude both victory and defeat; and we pray that we, like Jeanne, may bear witness to the truth that is in us to friends and enemies alike, and, encouraged by the companionship of thy saints, give ourselves bravely to the struggle for justice in our time; through Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from H. C. Cooksey

O Holy Spirit of God, Lord and Giver of life: Come into our hearts, we beseech thee; that enlightened by thy clear shining, and warmed by thine unselfish love, our souls may be revived to the worship of God, and our lives be dedicated anew to the service of our fellows: for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Christian Today) Ruth Gledhill on who shared the podium this week w/ women religious leaders

A leading witch and herbalist shared a Church of England platform last night with other women religious leaders including the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church and Gogglebox tv vicar Rev Kate Bottley.

Helene Mobius, who heads the prison chaplain ministry of the Pagan Federation, challenged stereotypes of women at the event, the latest in the Westminster Faith Debates series at London’s liberal flagship church, St James’s Piccadilly.

The Pagan Federation and the Druid Network have recently become fully-fledged members of Britain’s religious establishment, having been voted into the Inter Faith Network UK as a body representative of its community.

Read it all.

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, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

(Suffragan Bishop of Swindon) Lee Rayfield– Awe and Wonder

As a boy I was fascinated with space travel. Perhaps it was growing up during the so-called ”˜space-race’ when the USSR competed with the USA to send a human into space or land a man on the moon. Although the Soviets won the initial stage with the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin they were soon eclipsed by the Americans, 12 of whom stepped onto the lunar surface.

My reading material reflected this fascination as I went through a series of library books with such gripping titles as Mission to Mercury, Voyage to Venus and Journey to Jupiter. At around that time, it must have been in the second half of junior school, I was introduced to the concept of infinity. The universe itself was presented as infinite and I can remember lying in bed thinking about the vastness of space and finding myself feeling afraid, pulling the bed covers over me as if that would make a difference!

Scientists do not now regard our universe as infinite, though the notion of ”˜multiverses’ ”“ the theory there may be an infinite number of other possible universes ”“ keeps the thought alive. Yet even if our universe may have bounds, its immensity is truly overwhelming and intimidating.

Read it all.

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

(DM) Mother's fury at vicar who refused to baptise her baby son because she isn't married

A Christian mother has slammed a vicar who refused to baptise her nine-month-old son because she is not married to the baby’s father.

Heather Lawrence and her partner Jonathan, tried to arrange a service with Reverend Tim Hayes at St John’s Church in Dunkinfield, Manchester, but were told they could only have a blessing.

The couple, who have been in a relationship for four years, were shocked by the vicar’s refusal on the grounds that were not married.

The 30-year-old says the only reason they haven’t had a wedding is because they cannot afford one but had hoped to have baby Roman christened in order to be accepted into the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Baptism, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(W Post Wonkblog) U.S. economy shrinks in first quarter, raising questions about underlying strength

The U.S. economy shrank at an annualized pace of 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, according to government data released Friday morning, a tumble for a recovering nation that until recently seemed poised for takeoff.

The contraction, the country’s third in the aftermath of the Great Recession, provides a troubling picture of an economy that many figured would get a lift from cheap oil, rapid hiring and growing consumer confidence. Instead, consumers have proved cautious, and oil companies have frozen investment ”” all while a nasty winter caused havoc for transportation and construction and a strong dollar widened the trade deficit.

The numbers released Friday were a revision of earlier figures that had shown GDP growing in the first quarter at 0.2 percent. Markets had since expected the downward revision, in large part because of recent data showing the trade deficit at a 6½-year high.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Theology

(WSJ) Phillip Thompson–Grappling With Faith and the Death Penalty

When I started researching the death penalty in 1995, roughly 80% of Americans favored its use. The death penalty was a rare point of consensus in American politics, crossing party affiliation and political ideology.

Times have changed. The unicameral legislature of a very conservative state, Nebraska, voted last week, 32-15, to repeal capital punishment. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed the bill on Tuesday. But on Wednesday Nebraska became the 19th state to abolish the death penalty after legislators voted to override the governor’s veto.

Clearly, a tide is building against the death penalty in America. One of the most powerful factors is science. DNA evidence in the past 20 years was a strong reason for the exoneration of many of the 153 innocent people released from death row during that period. These people in earlier generations would have been wrongfully put to death. This realization has challenged the conscience of a fair-minded country that doesn’t want to kill innocent people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Capital Punishment, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology