Daily Archives: June 17, 2015

(NYT) Unused Embryos Pose Difficult Issue: What to Do With Them

After years of infertility, Angel and Jeff Watts found a young egg donor to help them have a baby. They fertilized her eggs with Mr. Watts’s sperm and got 10 good embryos. Four of those embryos were transferred to Ms. Watts’s womb, resulting in two sets of twins ”” Alexander and Shelby, now 4 years old, and Angelina and Charles, not yet 2.

But that left six frozen embryos, and Ms. Watts, 45, had no plans for more children. So in December she took to Facebook to try to find a nearby Tennessee family that wanted them.

“We have 6 good quality frozen six-day-old embryos to donate to an amazing family who wants a large family,” she posted. “We prefer someone who has been married several years in a steady loving relationship and strong Christian background, and who does not already have kids, but wants a boat load.”

In storage facilities across the nation, hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos ”” perhaps a million ”” are preserved in silver tanks of liquid nitrogen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Science & Technology, Theology

(Economist) Student “safety” has become a real threat to free speech on campus

For an hour or two on a foggy morning last December, some students at the University of Iowa (UI) mistook one of their professors, Serhat Tanyolacar, for a fan of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr Tanyolacar had placed a canvas effigy based on Klan robes, screen-printed with news cuttings about racial violence, on the Pentacrest, the university’s historic heart. The effigy had a camera in its hood to record public reactions.

The reaction among some black students was to fear for their safety, and that is not surprising. What is more of a puzzle””for anyone outside American academia, at least””is that students and UI bosses continued denouncing Mr Tanyolacar for threatening campus safety even after the misunderstanding was cleared up. In vain did the Turkish-born academic explain that he is a “social-political artist”, using Klan imagery to provoke debate about racism. Under pressure from angry students, university chiefs issued two separate apologies. The first expressed regret that students had been exposed to a “deeply offensive” artwork, adding that there is no room for “divisive” speech at UI. The second apologised for taking too long to remove a display which had “terrorised” black students and locals, thereby failing to ensure that all students, faculty, staff and visitors felt “respected and safe”. An unhappy Mr Tanyolacar feels abandoned by the university. He left Iowa earlier this month, when his visiting fellowship came to an end, and has suspended his teaching career.

A crucial word in this tale is “safe”. Campus activists have stretched the meaning of safety from an important but second-order concern””shielding students from serious harm””to a defining ambition for any well-run academy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

Abby Wambach scores as U.S. women’s soccer team defeats Nigeria

At this late stage of her marvelous career, Abby Wambach is no longer the centerpiece of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The headers are not as powerful and accurate as they once were and the days of 90-minute battles every match are over. But Wambach’s value remains unquestioned, and amid a personal and collective unproductive spell in the World Cup group stage, she added to her record goal haul and clinched first place for the Americans.

Untidy with her headers, Wambach turned to her left foot for a volley on the brink of halftime Tuesday, shattering a scoreless deadlock and lifting the United States to a 1-0 victory over Nigeria before 52,193 at sold-out BC Place in Vancouver.

“Jokingly, I thought when I took the job [last year], if Abby has one leg, she is going to make this roster because she embodies a lot of the spirit of this team and our program,” Coach Jill Ellis said. “Her leadership is tremendous. Her spirit is fantastic. So when I met with her early, I said, ”˜Listen, I have not predetermined your role. Your role will be as big as you deliver.’ I just know Abby, I know big moments, I know she will deliver. I’m really pleased with the investment tonight.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Globalization, Sports, Women

(Gallup) Confidence in Religion at New Low, but Not Among R. Catholics

Americans’ confidence in the church and organized religion has fallen dramatically over the past four decades, hitting an all-time low this year of 42%. Confidence in religion began faltering in the 1980s, while the sharpest decline occurred between 2001 and 2002 as the Catholic Church grappled with a major sexual abuse scandal. Since then, periodic improvements have proved temporary, and it has continued to ratchet lower.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

Archbishop Justin Welby joins faith leaders calling for action on climate Change

The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined faith leaders in Britain pledging to fast and pray for the success of key international negotiations over climate change, in a new declaration warning of the “huge challenge” facing the world over global warming.

Representatives of the major faiths, including Archbishop Justin Welby, said climate change has already hit the poorest of the world hardest and urgent action is needed now to protect future generations.

In the Lambeth Declaration, which will be launched tomorrow, signatories call on faith communities to recognise the pressing need to make the transition to a low carbon economy.

The call comes ahead of the international climate change talks in Paris this December where negotiators from more than 190 nations will gather to discuss a new global agreement on climate change, aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 when current commitments run out.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(ESPN) Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors, NBA Champions

When it came time for Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers to pick his favorite moment of the season, it wasn’t Stephen Curry winning the Most Valuable Player award or Klay Thompson scoring 37 points in a quarter or even his own moment of glory when he was named NBA Executive of the Year. It came on the quickly assembled stage on the court at Quicken Loans Arena, when Bill Russell handed the trophy named after him to Andre Iguodala in recognition of the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.

“That’s the one,” Myers said. “That he was up there getting it, it was perfect. Sometimes life works out like it should.”

If you have followed the Warriors, you know the reason Myers found Iguodala’s turn in the spotlight so fitting. Coach Steve Kerr told us of Iguodala’s importance all along. Well, maybe not at the moment Kerr lied about his intention to move Iguodala into the starting lineup in Game 4. But again and again, Kerr said the key to the Warriors’ season was Iguodala’s willingness to become a bench player for the first time in his career to open a spot in the starting lineup for Harrison Barnes. It was indicative of the type of unselfish attitude a team needs in order to win a championship. And Tuesday night it came to fruition.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Men, Sports

(CNS) Read encyclical on care for creation with ”˜open heart,’ pope asks

Appealing to the entire world, Pope Francis urged everyone to read his upcoming encyclical on the care of creation and to better protect a damaged earth.

“This common ”˜home’ is being ruined and that harms everyone, especially the poorest,” he said June 17, the day before the Vatican was releasing his encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”

He said he was launching an appeal for people to recognize their “responsibility, based on the task that God gave human beings in creation: ”˜to cultivate and care for’ the ”˜garden’ in which he settled us.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Diocese of Grafton to canvass congregation's views on same-sex marriage

In a wide-ranging interview on ABC radio yesterday, the Bishop of Grafton Sarah McNeil, spoke of the recent diocesan synod held in Port Macquarie.

Bishop McNeil said members of the synod had discussed a number of political issues, including gay marriage, asylum seeker policy and climate change.

The bishop said the synod decided to assess the views of the congregation on gay marriage in the next 12 months, then to present this to the 2016 synod.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Canadian Church leaders respond to recommendations of Truth+Reconciliation Committee

Several denominations partnered with the Canadian government for nearly a century to run the more than 130 residential schools, including Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and the United Church of Canada.

Winnipeg’s Anglican bishop says the report provides a framework for action and education, such as including indigenous perspectives in theological schools, studying the history and legacy of residential schools, and understanding the role of churches in colonization.

“For us, the TRC report is not threatening and it gives us a shot in the arm to really keep the agenda of healing and reconciliation and working in partnership with aboriginal people in front of (our) people,” says Bishop Donald Phillips of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land.

Read it all from the Winnipeg Free Press.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson apologises for church's handling of child abuse

Newcastle’s Anglican Bishop has fought back tears while apologising for past church cover-ups and the poor handling of complaints about child sexual abuse.

Greg Thompson marked 500 days in the position by saying sorry for “the terrible harm done [by] a culture of not listening”.

“If you are a victim or a survivor of abuse I want to encourage you to come forward,” he said.

“I want to assure you that when you do share your story the church will believe you and you will be supported in that process.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(NC Register) 3 Ways America’s Work Ethic is Destroying Families

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

This proverb does not have much resonance with Americans. In an age of numerous technological advances meant to save us time and energy, we find ourselves working more than ever. Instead of working fewer hours and taking more vacation, we have freely chosen to do the opposite.

We live by the “American Dream” where anyone can achieve anything if we simply “work hard enough.” Often it means “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” in order to realize your dreams.

While these maxims are not inherently bad, we have taken them to a new level and are working more and playing less. Unfortunately the family has been caught in the crossfire. As we continue to put emphasis on work and “getting ahead,” our families are quickly eroding and falling apart.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Augustine

O Thou, from whom to be turned is to fall, to whom to be turned is to rise, and in whom to stand is to abide for ever: Grant us in all our duties thy help, in all our perplexities thy guidance, in all our dangers thy protection, and in all our sorrows thy peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

–Acts 2:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

[Peter Ould] Briefing: the Jeremy Pemberton Employment Tribunal Case

What is happening?

The Revd Jeremy Pemberton is taking the Archbishop of York and Bishop Richard Inwood (who was the acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham) to an Employment Tribunal over the refusal of Bishop Richard to grant Mr Pemberton a licence. Jeremy Pemberton was offered a job with the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as a Chaplaincy Manager, but the NHS terms of employment required the appointee to hold a formal denomination’s recommendation.

Why was Jeremy Pemberton refused a licence?

Read it all

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

(BBC) Bishop of Buckingham defends Canon Jeremy Pemberton's Same-sex marriage

The Bishop of Buckingham has described the Church of England’s teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman as “a lousy definition”.

The Rt Rev Alan Wilson was speaking at a discrimination case brought by Canon Jeremy Pemberton against the Church.

He was refused a licence to work as a hospital chaplain by the then acting bishop of Southwell and Nottingham after he married his partner.

Read it all.

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

Diocese of South Carolina Files Reply Brief with the South Carolina Supreme Court

TEC’s essential legal arguments can be distilled down to one proposition: TEC claims to be a “hierarchical” church, with complete, top-down control of the entire organization.

“There are multiple and significant problems with these assertions in this case as detailed in this brief,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary. “First, TEC’s organizational structure is irrelevant to this case. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled clearly and repeatedly that in property matters of this sort courts not only can, but should decide them based upon ‘neutral principles of law’ if that can resolve all the issues. That means questions of ownership can be settled on the same basis as in any secular case.”

An example of this point is the 2009 decision of the All Saints case by the South Carolina Supreme Court. As in any litigation involving churches, doctrinal issues are often involved. However, if the court can decide the matter applying the customary laws of property ownership, it may do so. That occurred in All Saints.

Read it all

and see also Diocese of South Carolina’s PR on TEC’s ”˜Spurious’ Offer to Settle

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