Daily Archives: May 22, 2015

(Paris Review) Martin Amis on the Art of Fiction

I can write in the midst of””not very conveniently””but I can make progress in the midst of the usual family clamor. But it has to be said, perhaps with some regret, that the first thing that distinguishes a writer is that he is most alive when alone, most fully alive when alone. A tolerance for solitude isn’t anywhere near the full description of what really goes on. The most interesting things happen to you when you are alone….

When I worked on my first book at home, my bedroom was above my father’s study, and I would often hear, not crazy scientist’s laughter, but the sort of laughter where the shoulders are shaking, coming from below. And I continue that tradition. I do find that not only the comic scenes make you laugh but anything that works well. Really, laughter is the successful serendipity of the whole business.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Poetry & Literature, Psychology, Theology

[The Star Malaysia] Bishop 'no' to same-sex marriages

Kota Kinabalu: The Anglican church here will not allow same-sex marriages to take place on its pre­mises, said newly installed Anglican bishop Melter Jiki.

The 50-year-old bishop, who is the first native Kadazan chosen to lead the 90,000-strong Anglican community in the state, said this when asked about the church’s policies and what to expect during his tenure.

“We are totally against the so-called same-sex marriage. We will not allow it in the church,” said the father of four who was installed as the sixth Anglican bishop in Sabah on Tuesday.

Some Anglican churches in European countries have accepted gay marriages and even performed the ceremony in their churches.

Bishop Melter said while other Anglican dioceses and provinces decided to ordain women to the priesthood, South-East Asia had not taken the step yet.

“We are not ready for such a move.

“We are also not sure whether we will be open to the idea any time soon,” he said.

Bishop Melter was appointed bishop of the diocese on Feb 20, replacing the late Bishop Albert Vun who passed away on July 15 last year.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, The Anglican Church in South East Asia

Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala Meets with South Carolina Diocesan Council

Bishop Tito Zavala, Presiding Bishop of South America, was with us at Diocesan Council today, May 19, 2015.

“We are here to know you, to be with you, to say with our presence that we, in the Global South, are with you and want to do the best we can for you so you can continue being part of the Anglican Communion,” said Bishop Zavala.

As one of 40 primates of the 80 million member worldwide Anglican Communion, Bishop Zavala will be in South Carolina specifically to encourage and support fellow Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, and the clergy and lay people of the Diocese of South Carolina.

“We’re grateful for the strong support we’ve received from Anglicans around the world and are especially thankful for this time we’ll have with Bishop Zavala,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, XIV Bishop of South Carolina. “The Global South Primates have assured us of their prayers and their stand with us.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Chile, Evangelism and Church Growth, Global South Churches & Primates, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, South America

(Irish Times) Voting underway in landmark Irish referendum

Voters will be given two ballot papers: a white ballot paper for the marriage referendum and a green ballot paper for the age of presidential candidates referendum.

In the marriage referendum people may vote Yes or No to the proposal to include a new clause about marriage in the Constitution.

This new clause provides that two people may marry each other regardless of their sex.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Church/State Matters, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Guardian) First Ramadi, then Palmyra: Isis shows it can storm bastions of Syria and Iraq

Islamic State fighters are celebrating their second major conquest in a week in Syria and Iraq as they pick through the ruins of the historic city of Palmyra.

The sudden advance of the militants into the UN heritage site in central Syria resulted in the rout of a national army, the exodus of refugees and a fresh pulse of regional alarm at the resilience of the self-styled caliphate force.

The UN said one-third of Palmyra’s 200,000-strong population had fled. And Isis militants used social media to show themselves posing amid ancient columns in Palmyra on Thursday. Other images displayed a more familiar theme: the summary slaughter of local men whose blood drenched the road.

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

A Telegraph Article on Archbp Welby's speech–Religious groups filling ”˜huge gap’ left by state

Faith groups are now filling a “huge gap” in British life occupied by the state until the financial crisis and onset of austerity forced a rethink, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said churches, mosques, temples synagogues and other religious organisations had stepped in “in a most extraordinary way” over the past seven years.

He was speaking as a detailed national “audit” of faith groups was published calculating that their members give more than £3 billion worth of time a year on volunteer social action projects.

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

Archbishop Justin Welby's keynote speech at the Cinnamon Network Faith Action Audit launch

The public view of religion among young people, according to a YouGov poll – well, alright it’s a poll, but ”¦ [laughter] the reputation of religion among young people is actually more negative than neutral: 41% ”“ this was a poll in 2013, when they still got them right ”“ 41% of 18-24 year olds agreed that “religion is more often the cause of evil in the world” and only 14% say it is a cause for good.

The Faith Action Audit reveals something different. It shows the breadth of commitment across the country, the depth of commitment, and above all the strength of experience and good practice. Thanks to Cinnamon [Network] and other bodies like it, this is not mere do-goodery. It is seeking to find best practice and put it into action in the most professional way that can be imagined.

We’ve heard some of the figures, but just a reminder: the faith sector collectively is delivering, according to the audit ”“ I’ll round it ”“ 220,000 social action projects, from which 47 million people benefit.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology

Charleston's Fantastic Spoleto Festival Kicks off Today

You can read about it there. Also, please note that this is 10 time mayor Joe Riley’s last one to open: “Mayor Riley helped convince the late composer Gian Carlo Menotti to establish the festival in Charleston almost 40 years ago.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Art, City Government, Economy, Europe, Italy, Music, Politics in General, Theatre/Drama/Plays

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–A Profile of Wayne Meisel

[THE] REV. WAYNE MEISEL: We have a generation of young people in their 20s and 30s that define themselves by their commitment to service and justice work. The challenge is that many of them, I think most of them, do not believe the church cares about them or the causes they care about. There’s this bubbling fervor and energy and possibility that we just have to figure out how to both tap and how to support, and then for guys like me to get out of the way.

ABERNETHY: Craig Barnes is the president of Princeton Theological Seminary.

CRAIG BARNES (President, Princeton Theological Seminary): Wayne is a fascinating and charismatic kind of leader. He works best kind of on the margins of schools, churches, and organizations, and he’s a visionary. But he doesn’t work through the system. He works with the students themselves, and he excites students, and they become all caught up in his vision of changing the world and thinking that their life can make a real difference. And this is not just happening in Princeton. This is happening in seminaries all over the country. So it’s a phenomenon.

The students are asking different questions in class. Our professors are developing their syllabi differently to account for this passion they have to not just study ethics but to do ethics along the way. These students actually are devoted to loving thy neighbor. And they won’t tolerate any more sitting in class taking notes on wonderful lectures about social responsibility and then folding up their laptops and just going home.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

(BBC) Nigerian army 'relocates' 260 Boko Haram survivors

The Nigerian army has relocated at least 260 women and children recently rescued from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, officials say.

They were taken from a camp in the north-eastern city of Yola and flown to an unspecified military facility.

The women will receive medical help and support as part of their rehabilitation process, the BBC has learnt.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

(WSJ Op-ed) Peggy Noonan–Are today's young adults the Trigger-Happy Generation?

Readers know of the phenomenon at college campuses regarding charges of “microaggressions” and “triggers.” It’s been going on for a while and is part of a growing censorship movement in which professors, administrators and others are accused of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, gender bias and ethnocentric thinking, among other things. Connected is the rejection or harassment of commencement and other campus speakers who are not politically correct. I hate that phrase, but it just won’t stop being current.

Kirsten Powers goes into much of this in her book, “The Silencing.” Anyway, quite a bunch of little Marats and Robespierres we’re bringing up.

But I was taken aback by a piece a few weeks ago in the Spectator, the student newspaper of Columbia University. I can’t shake it, though believe me I’ve tried. I won’t name the four undergraduate authors, because 30 years from now their children will be on Google, and because everyone in their 20s has the right to be an idiot.

Yet theirs is a significant and growing form of idiocy that deserves greater response.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

(Church Times) Civilians in South Sudan without relief as aid-workers stuck in camps

Killings, rape, and the razing of houses to the ground are devastating the northern region of South Sudan, as aid agencies withdraw and the UN struggles to secure access.

Eyewitnesses report the targeted rape and killing of civilians, including children. About 100,000 people taking refuge in UN camps at Malakal, Upper Nile State, and Bentiu, Unity State, are now cut off, a spokesman for UNICEF, Jonathan Veitch, said on Tuesday.

“Survivors reported to UNICEF that whole villages were burned to the ground by armed groups while large numbers of girls and women were taken outside to be raped and killed, including children as young as seven,” Mr Veitch said. “I don’t know why people would do that to children; it’s absolutely staggering that it’s taking place.”

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Sudan

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Lancelot Andrewes

O God our Father, let us find grace in thy sight so as to have grace to serve thee acceptably with reverence and godly fear; and further grace not to receive thy grace in vain, nor to neglect it and fall from it, but to stir it up and grow in it, and to persevere in it unto the end of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They will perish, but thou dost endure; they will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away; but thou art the same, and thy years have no end.

–Psalm 102:25-27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper) Charleston seems certain to reclaim title as S.C.’s largest city soon

Some 239 years after South Carolina lawmakers decided to move the capital from Charleston to Columbia, and more than 65 years after the Capital City’s population eclipsed the Holy City’s, the title of the state’s largest city seems certain to switch back soon.

U.S. Census estimates released Wednesday showed Charleston ”” as well as Mount Pleasant and North Charleston ”” among the state’s fastest-growing cities.

Columbia, not so much, and Charleston’s population might have already eclipsed it ”” even with the Sergeant Jasper emptied out.

The 2015 population estimates ”” to be released at this time next year ”” could place Charleston as South Carolina’s largest city for the first time since World War II.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Census/Census Data, City Government, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYRB) Nicolas Pelham–ISIS & the Shia Revival in Iraq

Southern Iraq’s long-shuttered museums are also finally reopening. The National Museum of Iraq reopened in February 2015 after a $40 million renovation. And in Nasiriya, a city famed for its step ziggurat, the director of the antiquities museum, Iqbal Ajeel, proudly displayed the museum’s exquisite Sumerian miniatures and naked figurines to her first group of high school visitors since the 1991 Gulf War forced its closure.

Few Iraqis in the south openly champion separation from the rest of the country, but the chasm is widening. It is not only a question of ISIS imposing its rules on personal behavior and punishing people only slightly out of line. While ISIS destroys museums, the south refurbishes them; while ISIS destroys shrines, the ayatollahs expand them; and while ISIS is burning relics and books, the Imam Ali shrine hosts a book fair where scripture shares space with romantic novels. On the new campus of Kufa University, a burned-down wreck under American occupation when last I saw it, three engineering professors spoke of the golden age that awaits a united Iraq, or at least its Arab provinces, once the militias defeat ISIS.

But a dissenting fourth engineer quietly questioned why the south should bother. As long as al-Sistani’s jihad was defensive he supported it, but why, he asks, shed blood against ISIS for a Sunni population that is neither welcoming nor particularly wanted? The further north the militia advances, the more lives are lost, and the returns from the battle diminish. Compared to the south’s mineral wealth, the Sunni provinces offer few natural resources. Much of their territory is desert, and their feuding tribes will only cause trouble. Better, he argued, to safeguard what the south already has. In short, he said, breaking a taboo by uttering a word he claims many privately already espouse, why not opt for taqsim, partition? A heavy silence followed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Rural/Town Life, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CC Editorial) Counting the faithful

What does directly touch church life are Pew’s numbers on generational change. Attachment to religion is declining across all age groups, but the rise of the nones is most pronounced among younger cohorts: the younger the age bracket, the less likely people are to belong to any Christian (or other religious) body. And of all Christian groups, mainline Protestants do the worst job at reaching and retaining younger generations.

One practical lesson of the Pew report, then, is on the crucial need for mainliners to focus on passing the faith on to the next generation. Mainliners may need to borrow some of the ethos of evangelical Protestants (who seem to do a better job at this) in equipping families to be primary incubators of faith and in forming identities that are distinct and (in some selective ways) more oppositional toward the culture than they have been.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, Children, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Youth Ministry

Janine Schenone–I have never found Christianity more demanding of me than in TEC

To this author, to “go all the way” means to swim upstream against societal currents and to cleave to a life of prayer and Bible study. Evangelical Christians, she writes, are paying the greatest cost”“giving themselves over completely to Christianity and paying a personal price.

The implication is that progressive Christian churches are practicing Christianity Lite, a version that demands little of us spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. It’s ironic that, on the one hand, the author points out how the Episcopal Church and other progressive churches are declining in number, and on the other, that we have not paid a price for our Christian commitments.

I have never found Christianity more demanding of me than in the Episcopal Church. And it’s precisely because the Episcopal Church does not embrace many absolutist statements, but rather requires me and other followers of Jesus to pray, worship, study, and serve to figure out what the heck God requires of us in a given moment.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Theology