Monthly Archives: June 2015

Bp Dan Martins reports on the TEC HOB Marriage Decision

Resolution A036 is another matter. It alters the canon governing marriage to make the language gender-neutral. My handful of allies and I felt this is where we needed to make our stand. We immediately moved a minority report that emerged from the Special Committee on Marriage as a substitute for the resolution. This report was simply a document affirming the traditional understanding of marriage, and was not an alternate canonical change. We had cleared it in advance with the parliamentarian, who deemed it in order. But one of the bishops fairly quickly challenged the Presiding Bishop’s ruling that the substitute was in order, and called for a vote on the matter, which is allowed in Roberts Rules. A majority of the bishops voted to overturn the Presiding Bishop’s ruling, so our substitute was taken out of play. The parliamentarian was, of course, correct, so this was simply the names exercise of raw power. The mood of this convention is “spike the ball.”

Debate proceeded, and there were a couple of amendments and amendments to amendments moved, but none carried. My allies and I did successfully request a roll-call vote, however, which tends to annoy people. Nonetheless, we felt it important for us to be on the record for the benefit of worldwide consumption, particularly among our Global South friends, who are always under pressure to cast us aside in favor of an exclusive relationship with the ACNA. There was some 150 or so bishops still around (down quite a bit from Saturday’s PB election). There were 26 No votes and five abstentions. We got our heads handed to us.

One could argue that there are some details still in play before it’s possible to conclusively say, “Done deal.” And the House of Deputies still has to act, though the conclusion there is more foregone than with the Bishops. Nonetheless, the Episcopal Church has, today, effectively redefined marriage–a universal and timeless human social institution that Christians have believed is, in fact, not merely a human social institution, but a gift from God that is literally prehistoric, participating in the order of creation. We have done so, moreover, without even a pretense of consultation with the other provinces of the Anglican Communion, to say nothing of the rest of the Christian world. It is an act of breathtaking hubris, an abuse of common sense truly worthy of the descriptor Orwellian.

Is it heresy?

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

AU 189 – The US Supreme Court Decision on Marriage

With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and Allan Haley at Anglican TV

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary

Archbishop of Canterbury response to US Episcopal Church Resolution on Marriage

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Marriage & Family, TEC Bishops

(Local Paper Editorial) Charleston SC as ”˜symbol of hope’

[ESPN’s Frank Isola said] “Starting with [coach] Pat Riley in the early ’90s, the Knicks held training camp at the College of Charleston in South Carolina for nearly 15 years. It was the team’s home away from home in early October ”” a time when hope is at its peak for every NBA team. The players, coaches and yes, even the curmudgeon beat writers absolutely fell in love with the place. The weather, the food, but mostly the people make Charleston the beautiful city it is today. I was there with my family last August, in fact.

“Now for all the wrong reasons, Charleston has been in the news lately. And yet in its darkest hour, Charleston sent a powerful message to the world when relatives of nine African Americans gunned down at a local church stood in a courtroom and told a hateful white man they forgive him. Thanks, Charleston.

“On Friday, President Obama delivered a moving eulogy for one of the victims, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. He even sang ”˜Amazing Grace.’ This all took place inside a basketball arena at the College of Charleston ”” more than ever, a symbol of hope.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., City Government, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Independent) Historic meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox head 'getting closer'

An historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is “getting closer every day,” a senior Orthodox prelate said in an interview published on 28 June.

The unprecedented meeting would be a significant step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in the Great Schism of 1054.

“Now such a meeting is getting closer every day but it must be well prepared,” Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s foreign relations department, said in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(FT) Gideon Rachman–Europe’s dream is dying in Greece

The danger now is that, just as Greece was once a trailblazer in linking a democratic transition to the European project, so it may become an emblem of a new and dangerous process: the disintegration of the EU. The current crisis could easily lead to the country leaving the euro and eventually the union itself. That would undermine the fundamental EU proposition: that joining the European club is the best guarantee of future prosperity and stability.

Even if an angry and impoverished Greece ultimately remains inside the tent, the link between the EU and prosperity will have been ruptured. For the horrible truth is dawning that it is not just that the EU has failed to deliver on its promises of prosperity and unity. By locking Greece and other EU countries into a failed economic experiment ”” the euro ”” it is now actively destroying wealth, stability and European solidarity.

The dangers of that process are all the more pronounced because Greece is in a highly strategic location. To the south lies the chaos and bloodshed of Libya; to the north lies the instability of the Balkans; to the east, an angry and resurgent Russia.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

A Living Church report on General Convention–TEC Bishops Redefine Marriage

The Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely, Bishop of Vermont, reported the work of the special legislative committee on marriage. Five of the bishops on the committee recommended that a liturgy for blessing covenant relationships and “three liturgies of marriage be authorized for trial use in accordance with Article X.” The designation of the liturgies as being for “trial use” sets into motion the process of amending the Book of Common Prayer. Bishop Ely described this move as “the approach most faithful to our polity.”

He then described A054 as “a more practical ordering of Canon 18.” He noted, however, that the resolution had been amended in committee to include “a more robust declaration of intent” in line with the prayer book. He stated his belief that the proposed canon in A054 does not conflict with the prayer book, thus avoiding “a constitutional crisis.”

Read it all and there is more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons

Archdeacon Ruth Worsley announced as next Bishop of Taunton

After her ordination in 1996, Ruth served for fourteen years as a parish priest in Nottingham in one of the poorest areas in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. During this time she served as an Area Dean and was made Dean of Women’s Ministry for the diocese in 2007. In 2010 she took on the role of Parish Development Adviser in the Diocese of Southwark, based in Bermondsey. In 2013 she swapped inner-city life for Wiltshire.

Speaking in advance of today’s announcement, Ruth said, “I am surprised and amused to be chosen as the next Bishop of Taunton as I grew up in a non-conformist church where women held no roles of leadership. I am delighted to be heading to Somerset to join the diocesan team in this wonderful part of the world, moving ”˜next door’ as it were. It will be a great privilege to meet and serve everyone who lives and works in the county.”

“In a diocese with such a mix of rural and more urban parishes, each I’m sure with its own distinct personality, I’m really keen to experience how our churches and the diocese are meeting those different needs. And how we can engage in the process of transformation, one which changes lives, both our own and others, and then influences the way in which we are ”˜Church’ and brings about a renewed sense of community.”

Read it all.

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

The State Newspaper interviews SC Governor Nikki Haley–This was like a hurricane hit South Carolina

What did you want to tell the country in the wake of the shooting?

“I knew that we needed to put on a face for this state (for Friday morning national TV interviews), which was that we were hurt and that we were sad, but that we were together. I wanted the country to know that the people of South Carolina love their God, love their country and love their state but, more importantly, they love each other. … I take great pride in the state, talking about what we build and what we do and tourism and all. The people of South Carolina, I love bragging on them. So, I just didn’t want them to think (the shooting is) who we were.”

Were you worried that the perception of South Carolina changed?

“No, I was concerned about those nine families and that church family and the people of South Carolina. It was so obvious how broken everybody was. Going through Charleston, they were devastated. That was all I could think about, was how was I going to heal the state. I didn’t care about anything else.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(BBC) New Ebola case marks disease's return to Liberia

The body of a dead Liberian man has tested positive for Ebola – the country’s first reported case since it was declared free of the disease.

Deputy health minister Tolbert Nyenswah said tests confirmed that the 17-year-old man, from a town near the main airport, had died of the disease.

Officials are investigating how he contracted Ebola, Mr Nyenswah said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Liberia, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

Another of the Charleston 9–Myra Thompson’s life of faith, service honored at funeral service

She was remembered as a tireless woman whose devotion to Mother Emanuel, the church in which she grew up, was second only to her commitment to her family: her husband, the Rev. Anthony Thompson, and children, Kevin Singleton and Denise Quarles. When the lights went out in the chandelier above the sanctuary, she called the Fire Department to replace them. A fixture in the church basement, Thompson had her Bible and hymn book in tow when the Rev. Norvel Goff signed her certificate to preach. That was June 17, the evening of her death. A moment you could say she prepared for her entire life.

“My mother actually prepared me for this day,” her daughter Denise said. “She would often say to me, ”˜Dee, Mama isn’t gonna always be around, and I want you to be a good girl and always remember what I taught you.’ … I told my mom I would do exactly as she instructed me to do, but I never thought she would be gone.”

Thompson was entombed in Carolina Memorial Gardens, wearing clothes from her favorite designer, a St. John ivory jacket and dress her daughter picked out. After the service, as mourners spilled out the front doors and down the stairs of Mother Emanuel, a group had assembled along the iron barricade on Calhoun Street. They were singing “Amazing Grace.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ecclesiology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Wash. Post) Robert Samuelson–are we currently sowing the seeds of the next financial crisis?

The BIS critique goes like this. Low interest rates have sustained the recovery, but the support is fragile. The economy relies too much on debt, which cannot build forever, and artificially high asset prices (stocks, homes, bonds) may someday tumble from unrealistic levels. A new crisis could be severe because governments have already deployed their standard anti-recession tools: cheap credit and big deficits.

The BIS’s most intriguing point is that a new recession or financial crisis might originate with emerging-market countries: China, Brazil, India, Turkey and the like. Although there has been debt repayment in the United States, the opposite has happened in some emerging-market countries, the BIS says. Private firms have assumed dollar loans worth $3 trillion, even though their “debt servicing capacity .”‰.”‰. has deteriorated.” Will defaults follow?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, History, Psychology, The U.S. Government, Theology

(BBC) Chibok girls 'forced to join Nigeria's Boko Haram'

Some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria have been forced to join Islamist militant group Boko Haram, the BBC has been told.

Witnesses say some are now being used to terrorise other captives, and are even carrying out killings themselves.

The testimony cannot be verified but Amnesty International says other girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been forced to fight.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, the author and fountain of hope, enable us to rely with confident expectation on thy promises, knowing that the trials and hindrances of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed, and having our faces steadfastly set towards the light that shineth more and more to the perfect day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–J.H. Oldham ed., A Devotional Diary (SCM, 1925)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber.

–Psalm 121:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Michael Wear–Stop Explaining Away Black Christian Forgiveness

The critiques of forgiveness in recent days are strikingly similar to the critiques against nonviolence during the civil rights movement. In both cases, some advocates for social justice misunderstood the allegiances of the black Christians they criticized. Dr. King and the Charleston families believed forgiveness and nonviolence are on the right side of history. They believed they would be served well on this earth by those tenets, but also that their reward is in heaven. And, clearly, they saw no conflict between forgiveness and full-throated, sacrificial advocacy for change. People so often underestimate the Christian conviction that the ends do not justify the means. The ultimate goal is not to achieve justice on this world, though we pursue that with all of our souls, but to be faithful to God. We believe, ultimately, that faithfulness is justice.

I do not think I could forgive Roof. Forgiveness is not a burden I would place on anyone in the situation of those families. We should reject all calls from those who wish to sweep under the rug the culture and systems of racism that infect people like Roof. We should reject all calls to make excuses for the evil Roof actively embraced and acted upon. He was no passive actor. He was more than simply a result of cultural, economic, or social circumstances. He had agency. And his actions were evil.

But we should also reject all calls to strip the agency and dignity from the mourning families as well. I am not mature enough in the faith to so quickly pass the burden of judgment to God. But I am inspired by those family members to grow in that direction. I am a Christian because of the black church and black faith. When I was far from God, it was the unashamedly Christian black culture, movies, and music of people like Lauryn Hill and Fred Hammond that introduced me to Jesus. It is the black church that so consistently embodies the confounding, radical love of Jesus. What other American community today displays less shame, less reservation, less self-awareness about proclaiming the Christian faith? I will not turn the Bride of the living Christ into a cultural artifact.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(NYT Op-ed) Roxane Gay–Why I Can’t Forgive the Killer in Charleston

I do not forgive Dylann Roof, a racist terrorist whose name I hate saying or knowing. I have no immediate connection to what happened in Charleston, S.C., last week beyond my humanity and my blackness, but I do not foresee ever forgiving his crimes, and I am wholly at ease with that choice.

My unwillingness to forgive this man does not give him any kind of power. I am not filled with hate for this man because he is beneath my contempt. I do not believe in the death penalty so I don’t wish to see him dead. My lack of forgiveness serves as a reminder that there are some acts that are so terrible that we should recognize them as such. We should recognize them as beyond forgiving.

I struggle with faith but I was raised Catholic….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(NYT) With Same-Sex Decision, Evangelical Churches Address New Reality

The result has been an obvious change in tone and emphasis ”” but not teaching or policy ”” at many churches. Almost all evangelical churches oppose same-sex marriage, and many do not allow gays and lesbians to serve in leadership positions unless they are celibate. Some pastors, however, now either minimize their preaching on the subject or speak of homosexuality in carefully contextualized sermons emphasizing that everyone is a sinner and that Christians should love and welcome all.

“Evangelicals are coming to the realization that they hold a minority view in the culture, and that on this issue, they have lost the home-field advantage,” said Ed Stetzer, the executive director of LifeWay Research, which surveys evangelicals. “They are learning to speak with winsomeness and graciousness, which, when their view was the majority, evangelicals tended not to do.” A handful of evangelical churches have changed their positions. City Church in San Francisco, for example, has dropped its rule that gays and lesbians commit to celibacy to become members, and GracePointe Church in Tennessee has said gays and lesbians can serve in leadership roles and receive the sacrament of marriage. Ken Wilson, who founded the Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor, Mich., published an open letter calling for a greater embrace of gays and lesbians in evangelical churches. But Mr. Stetzer said they are the exceptions.

“Well-known evangelicals who have shifted on same-sex marriage, you could fit them all in an S.U.V.,” Mr. Stetzer said. “If you do shift, you become a media celebrity, but the shift among practicing evangelicals is minimal.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Sexuality, Supreme Court, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Food for Thought from Dallas Willard

“We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can almost be as stupid as a cabbage as long as you doubt.”

–Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God (IVP, 2012), p.283

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Notable & Quotable, Other Churches

Bp Graham Kings: The Mission of God and the Future of the Anglican Communion

I am very grateful to the Center for Anglican Communion Studies, at Virginia Theological Seminary, and to the Compass Rose Society, for the invitation to attend General Convention and to speak today.

I look forward to the responses from the three Primates here: of Korea, Paul Keun-Sang Kim; of Pakistan, Samuel Robert Azariah; and of Brazil, Francisco De Assis Da Silva; for I have been given an impossibly wide-ranging title!

…Justin Welby, with his wife, Caroline, has visited all 38 Provinces of the Communion in his first 18 months, staying with the Primates and listening attentively to them.
He has written a significant Foreword to the 2014 book, Living Reconciliation by Phil Groves and Angharad Parry Jones. It is entitled ”˜Reconciliation is the Heart of the Gospel’, and is worthy of an extended quotation:

We agree on these [five] marks [of mission]. Yet in so many other things, we disagree. Given our transparent and open structures, we often do so loudly. But we do so as part of a family which, however much it falls out, remains linked. We have to deal with the reality that, no matter how strained our relationships may become at times, we belong to each other”¦

I am not arguing that we should resist making decisions until the whole Anglican Communion (let alone the universal Church) is in total and unanimous agreement. That would be a legalistic and regulatory response to a problem that is relational and missional.

Rather, I am eager to encourage each of us to take full account of the way in which decisions in one province echo around the world. We do not have a volume button that can limit or determine how our voices are heard beyond our own country or region. The impact of their echoes is something to which we must listen in the process of our decision-making, if we are not to narrow our horizons and reject the breadth of our global family. That process requires extensive conversation and prolonged engagement ”“ an honest reinforcement of the bonds of the relationship ”“ amidst the confusing and costly work of common discernment.
Justin Welby, ”˜Foreword: Reconciliation is the Heart of the Gospel’ in Phil Groves and Angharad Parry Jones, Living Reconciliation (London: SPCK, 2014), p. x and xi.

Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the new Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, will be commissioned in September 2015. His long term work of mission and dialogue with Muslims in Nigeria, and on the Network for Inter Faith Concerns of the Anglican Communion, is remarkable.

Frank Griswold, the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, has known him since 1998. He told the Episcopal News Service in April:

Josiah is, above all, a man of communion, a careful listener, and a respecter of the different ways in which we are called to articulate and live the good news of God in Jesus Christ.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

[The Living Church] Video: The Primate of Pakistan

In this conversation, Azariah outlines the growing need for reconciliation within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

“I also think the Episcopal Church is going through a major time of challenge,” he said. “There is a need of great healing. There is a need for great understanding within the family of the Episcopal Church and within the Anglican Communion here in the United States of America. It is not easy, but it is something which has to be done in love, in faith, in trust upon God, and in not being judgmental to one another.

“I appeal to my brothers and sisters here in the Episcopal Convention ”” and I also appeal to those Christians and Anglicans who were a part of the Episcopal Church but … do not relate to the Convention ”” that the time has come when we cannot live like this. Let us not exhibit a ”˜holier than thou’ game over here. ”¦ Let us stand together and believe in whatever we believe in and continue to do that ”” but let us not break up the life of the body of Jesus Christ.”

Read and watch it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Chinese Delegation Explores Religion in Egypt

Last week Archbishop Mouneer Anis, the Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt, welcomed a Chinese delegation from the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) led by Mr. Jiang Jianyong, Vice Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of China. They had a number of important meetings during their visit to discuss religious affairs in both Egypt and China. They were accompanied by Dr. John Chew, former Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

(AP) Conservative churches confront new reality on same-sex marriage

At First Baptist Dallas, where the pulpit was adorned Sunday with red, white and blue bunting to honor the Fourth of July, the pastor called the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling “an affront in the face of Almighty God.”

The iconic rainbow colors that bathed the White House Friday night after the court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide represent “depravity, degradation and what the Bible calls sexual perversion,” the Rev. Robert Jeffress said.

“But we are not discouraged,” Jeffress said. “We are not going to be silenced. This is a great opportunity for our church to share the truth and love of Jesus Christ and we are going to do it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Kathleen Parker–The giant step from realization to racial reconciliation

I asked Dr. Susan Glisson, executive director of the William Winter Institute of Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi. She and Associate Director Charles Tucker gave me a three-hour tutorial in my Washington living room about how people can have the necessary conversation and work toward true reconciliation. First, said Glisson, it can’t be a national conversation. “The best conversations are the most local,” she says.

To this end, the institute created a portable template for conversation called “The Welcome Table,” a physical table where up to 25 people of all races sit and talk. Really talk. As moderator, Glisson or Tucker might ask each participant to speak for three minutes about when he or she first noticed the elephant of race in the room.

Honesty is crucial, even if it smarts. Sometimes people’s stories lead to tears. Other times, to laughter. People often laugh over what Tucker calls their “nervous stories.” Tucker, who is African-American and grew up on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, releases a rolling, baritone laugh from deep within his 6-foot-3 frame at my own nervous story. He has had plenty of personal encounters with racism yet seems to have a considerable well of compassion for the most foolish among us. This is in part because he has listened to other people’s stories and really heard them. Something about the telling of stories draws out our more human selves. Empathy displaces cynicism and guardedness.

Glisson, a font of knowledge and wisdom, paraphrases Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, saying, “My enemy is someone whose stories I don’t know.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CEN) Amelia Abplanalp–Assisted dying law would put the most vulnerable in mortal peril

Rejected in 2006, and again in 2009, attempts to introduce assisted suicide are now back on the table. This also follows rejection in Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Rob Marris MP has introduced an assisted dying bill that is expected to be largely the same as Lord Falconer’s previous effort, which ran out of time before May’s general election. It is anticipated the bill will make it legal to assist in the death of people who are terminally ill with six months or less to live, provided they are considered mentally competent by two doctors. The change is presented as a compassionate response to tragic situations. Cases of people in severe continual pain make us want to be compassionate, and that is a good thing.

But this is a wholly wrong way to look after the most vulnerable. In fact, it does the opposite, putting them in mortal peril. The law must stay as it is now to protect those who are least able to have their voice heard: the disabled, terminally ill and elderly, people who might otherwise feel pressured into ending their lives. Campaigners to change the law make grand promises for the modesty of their goals, but I don’t believe them. The parameters set out for who could ask for a doctor’s help in killing themselves are ambiguous, open to challenge, and not unanimously supported among assisted dying advocates.

For example, many campaigners would like the law to apply to chronic non-terminal conditions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–What does it Mean to Live Faithfully to Christ in our Time?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

There a many references to the Diocese of South Carolina statement here if you need it.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sermons & Teachings, Sexuality, Theology

(Local Paper) Fort Sumter furls its Confederate flags, probably forever

Tim Stone, superintendent of the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie National Monument, said Fort Sumter’s four flags were lowered the day after the shooting.

“The tragedy has made all of us re-evaluate our role in the community and in the nation,” he said.

On Thursday, the National Park Service, which runs the fort, issued a directive to remove Confederate flag items such as banners, belt buckles and other souvenirs from its gift shops, though books, DVDs and other materials showing the flag in a historical context may remain for sale.

On the same day, the Park Service also instructed its parks and related sites to not fly flags other than the U.S. flag and respective state flags outside their historic context.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, History, Race/Race Relations, Violence

Abortion, Down syndrome and the throwaway culture: Why the left has to grapple with Pope Francis

Almost on cue, there were three different news stories about abortion and Down syndrome around the time of the encyclical’s release. New blood screening, for instance, has resulted in a 34 percent increase in such abortions in Britain. Just a few days later, a Washington Post guest columnist argued such routine and systematic screening ”” not least because between 67 percent and 92 percent end up aborting ”” constitutes the formal “elimination of a group of people quite happy being themselves” under “the false pretense of women’s rights.” And then there was the story of the truly despicable company stealing the image of a child with Down syndrome for their Orwellian-sounding test kit named “Tranquility.”

You couldn’t ask for a more revealing practice of the throwaway culture Pope Francis so strongly decries. It doesn’t matter that people with Down syndrome are happier than those who are “normal;” our consumer culture’s tendency is to turn everything into a mere object or tool of the market, and when the object or tool is no longer useful, we simply discard it. These children don’t meet the quality-control standards of the consumer, and so the product simply gets thrown out as so much trash.

But one of the central themes of Pope Francis’s encyclical is that all creation has value independent of its value within a consumer culture. In response to my sharing the three stories mentioned above on social media, an old friend sent me a touching e-mail (parts of which are shared here with permission) about her sister with Down syndrome. She remembers that her family was initially sad and worried ”” but now, looking back, “it truly made no sense….”

Read it all from Charles Camosy in the Washington Post.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of St. Peter and St. Paul

Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified thee by their martyrdom: Grant that thy Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by thy Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O God in whom all fullness dwelleth, who givest without measure to them that ask; Give us faith to ask, and faith to receive, all that thy bounty giveth; that being filled with all thy fullness we may as thy faithful stewards impart thy gifts to all thy children; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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