Daily Archives: May 18, 2015

(Morning Sun) Dennis Lennox–Wrestling with the Episcopal Church'sdecline

Among my own denomination, the Episcopal Church’s fall is hardly a secret, as Episcopalians everywhere have seen their church decline since 1970s.

There are many reasons cited for the collapse of what was once the closest thing to a state-established church in America.

There’s no doubt that deep theological shifts ”” in particular left-of-center politics moving the national church beyond orthodox theology and churchmanship ”” are at least partly to blame. Then there is the whole gay issue, which has divided Anglicans domestically and resulted in major schisms and multi-million dollar lawsuits over church assets and buildings.

Case in point: When was the last time you actually read something positive about Episcopalians? Seriously. Pretty much every major news item these days is a report over a lawsuit, schism or controversial theological change.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Religion & Culture

Third synod of the Zaria Diocese wants Corrupt Nigerian Politicians Prosecuted

Speaking at the third synod of the Zaria Diocese of the Anglican Communion in Kaduna State on Sunday, Reverend Asaju urged General Buhari to ensure he prosecutes all corrupt government officials irrespective of their background, and also ensure he revives the nation’s refineries and as well address the problem of unemployment.

The cleric also urged the governors-elect and other elected political office holders across the states to imbibe the tenets of integrity, openness, transparency and prudence in the discharge of their duties.

The 2015 edition of the annual event, which commenced on May 14, has as its theme; ”˜Walking in the Light of God’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Theology

(OC Register) Newport Beach Episcopal church to be sold

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is nearing the end of negotiations to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to real estate developers.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno announced the sale to congregants Sunday, Diocese spokesman Robert Williams said. The sale of the church could bring in roughly $15 million — twice the appraised value of the site, Williams said.

Services at the church will likely continue into the fall, Williams said. No information on where congregants will be moved or whether the congregation may reopen at a different site was available on Monday, he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

Rare TV recommendation: "'Witnesses" ("Les Temoins") Available on Netflix

Set in a small coastal village in France, a crime thriller which has a great script and wonderful acting. The two leads, Thierry Lhermitte and Marie Dompnier, give especially noteworthy performances.

In French with english subtitles, and not suitable for younger viewers–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Europe, France, Movies & Television, Theology

(Pew R) Methodists, Lutherans+Episcopalians all have declined as % of U.S. adults in recent years

Most of the Founding Fathers of the United States ”“ not to mention a majority of U.S. presidents ”“ were members of Christian denominations that fall into the mainline Protestant tradition. But in recent years, the share of Americans who identify with mainline Protestantism has been shrinking significantly, a trend driven partly by generational change.

Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study finds that 14.7% of U.S. adults are affiliated with the mainline Protestant tradition ”“ a sharp decline from 18.1% when our last Religious Landscape Study was conducted in 2007. Mainline Protestants have declined at a faster rate than any other major Christian group, including Catholics and evangelical Protestants, and as a result also are shrinking as a share of all Protestants and Christians.

Indeed, despite overall U.S. population growth between 2007 and 2014, the total number of mainline Protestant adults has decreased by roughly 5 million during that time (from about 41 million in 2007 to 36 million in 2014).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Cystic fibrosis drug offers hope to patients

A “groundbreaking” cystic fibrosis therapy could profoundly improve patients’ quality of life, say doctors.

Patients often die before their 40s as mucus clogs and damages their lungs and leaves them prone to infection.

A major trial on 1,108 patients, in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed a combination of drugs could bypass the genetic errors that cause the disease and may increase life expectancy.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust said it could “improve the lives of many”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(Bloomberg) How Berlin's Muslims Are Tackling Jihad

There’s a thin line separating angry youth and the world of jihadists, one that underscores the risk European countries face from people they call their own.

It’s also one Berlin imam Mohamed Taha Sabri knows all too well. When the Arab-born mother of a 23-year-old German Muslim man noticed her son had started using the words “jihad” and “infidels,” it was Sabri she turned to.

“The difference between adopting an extremist opinion and terrorist extremism is sometimes a hair’s breadth,” Sabri, 50, said in an interview at his Dar Assalam Mosque in the German capital’s Neukoelln district.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Action I) Jordan Ballor–Madeleine L’Engle has questions for the “Anglican establishment”

[…She asks] “Where and how do I want my establishment to inject itself into secular controversies?”

The essay is well worth reading in full, in part because it shows how L’Engle embodied a deeply articulate and vigorous faith, one that was characterized by liberality and generosity in the best senses. “It is impossible to listen to the Gospel week after week and turn my back on the social issues confronting me today,” she writes. “But what I hope for is guidance, not legislation.”

She goes on to discuss a host of difficult issues, including abortion, divorce, euthanasia, genetic manipulation, and slavery, and her conclusions about the official church’s role are not in every case ones that I agree with myself. She tends to have a more mystical view of how the “Gospel” will necessarily inform the individual believer’s conscience than do I. If she is a conservative, then she is certainly at least what might be called a “liberal conservative” in Peter Lawler’s parlance.

But she certainly is right to point to the necessary task of each individual believer to work for the good within their own spheres of influence regardless of whether the church holds an “official position” on any particular issue.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from W E Scudamore

O God, whose dearly beloved Son was, by thy mighty power, exalted that he might prepare a place in thy kingdom of glory for them that love thee: So lead and uphold us, O merciful Lord, that we may both follow the holy steps of his life here upon earth, and may enter with him hereafter into thy everlasting rest; that where he is, we may also be; through the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations. For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens.

–Psalm 89:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) Losing Faith: National Cathedral dean Gary Hall On America's Disillusionment With Church

On those who say religion is unnecessary, given humanity’s growing scientific knowledge.

I think science and religion are at some point both about big questions of origin and wonder. And I think, for me, I’ve always felt that it’s important for religious people to have the same kind of philosophical stance they use in their religious life as they do in the rest of their life. And a lot of times I think religion ”” religions ”” ask people to sort of turn off the scientific part of their lives and just go and kind of think about God kind of pre-scientifically.

I don’t think we can do that. We’ve got to have a faith that is, in some sense, consonant with the way we think about the world scientifically. And again, I think one of the things the Pew study suggests to us is that if the church can get over its anxiety about talking about God in a grown-up way, we would actually reach out to and speak to more people than we do right now.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sociology, Theology

Ch of Scotland plan for same-sex partnered ministers offers possible ”˜template’ for Anglicans

South of the border, the Church of England already allows clerics to form civil partnerships as long as they claim to be celibate. But the Church of Scotland’s approach does not require celibacy.

The Very Rev David Arnott, who coordinates the General Assembly’s business, said that although the Presbyterian structure of the Church of Scotland is different from that of Anglican churches, he hoped the plan could offer a “template” for the Church of England to consider.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme: “We are not going to change people’s minds, we have to come to a way of living together with our differences and living with our diversity and I hope that we’re able to do that.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Scotsman) Kirk vote clears the way for ministers in same-sex partnerships

Earlier last week, the outgoing moderator, the Right Reverend John Chalmers, issued an appeal for calm in the run-up to the debate and also called for a “year of grace”.

During the debate, the Rev Gordon Kennedy from Edin-burgh said: “This has been the greatest cause for the expression of disunity in our church for 170 years. The only fruit this will bear is disharmony and disunity,”

But the Rev Dr Ian Whyte strongly disagreed and said he had witnessed the suffering of gay ministers who felt they had to hide their sexuality.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Scotland, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ESPN FC) Barcelona take a step forward in treble hunt with another La Liga crown

Three things from the Estadio Vicente Calderon, where Barcelona clinched the La Liga title thanks to a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.

1. First step of treble completed

Lionel Messi’s goal midway through the second half has clinched the La Liga title for Barcelona, after a slow-burning afternoon of action saw Barcelona do enough to beat Atletico at the Calderon, meaning Real Madrid’s 4-1 win at Espanyol counted for nothing in the race at the top.

The game very much showed the real turnaround in fortunes for both Barca and their Argentine talisman. On May 17, 2014, Tata Martino’s side were unable to beat Atletico at home to win the title. They even went ahead in that game, but with the pressure on they wilted, and Diego Godin’s header clinched last season’s championship for Diego Simeone’s men.

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

Manchester United 1 Arsenal 1: Ashley Young shows his worth to Louis van Gaal

Young has been the unexpected outfield success of the season. If United could have themselves matched his renaissance then maybe there would have been more to salute at the end of the 2014-15 than just some glimmers of hope that the good old days will return.

Nobody is irreplaceable but you do have to wonder if David de Gea is Madrid-bound then can the Reds build on their top four finish next season.

Without the Spanish goalkeeper this season United could well have been facing a similar seventh place finish without European football they had to contemplate this time last year. He’s been that good.

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