Daily Archives: July 9, 2015

(Christian Today) ISIS blows up historic Mosul church, four children killed

Four children were killed when Islamic State blew up an historic church in Mosul, Iraq’s second city.

The blast destroyed the Mother of Aid church, according to the Kurdish news site Rudaw.

Saeed Mamuzini, of the Mosul branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said the children happened to be near the church, which was more than 1,000 years old and was in central Mosul.

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

(CSM) A women’s World Cup to remember

In 1985 the US women’s soccer team was such an afterthought that it only received its uniforms the day before it was to depart for an international tournament. The outfits turned out to be in men’s sizes: Team members spent the night cutting and sewing to make them fit.

What a contrast to this year’s women’s FIFA World Cup tournament, capped by a dominating 5-2 win by the United States over defending champion Japan. Interest in US women’s soccer has soared in the interim, and Sunday’s championship match may turn out to be the most-watched soccer match ”“ men’s or women’s ”“ ever on US television when final numbers are released.

The victory embedded the US women as the dominant team in women’s soccer (called football outside the US). Though it was their first World Cup championship since 1999, the team has remained a top contender, most recently losing the finals to Japan in 2011 on penalty kicks. The US team also has won four Olympic gold medals in five tries.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Sports, Women

Cathie Young remembers Bishop Terry Kelshaw–A Sunday Kind of Man

I received news last night that Bishop Terry (Terence) Kelshaw met His Savior face-to-face in the early dawn of yesterday after being diagnosed with wide-spread cancer. For those who knew him, you will appreciate God’s kindness in letting his earthly life end on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day as the birds sang at sunrise in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For Bishop Terry, this was the perfect day to die. Above all that he was in this life, he was a Sunday kind of man.

Bishop Terry loved the Church. He loved her when she was dressed up and beautiful. When she was big and accomplished. When she sang loudly and when she wept silently. When she was wounded and suffering. When she was sorrowful and ragtag. When she was many, when she was few and when she was just one. Bishop Terry loved the Church.

No one knew this lavish love more than the people of St. James Anglican Church who Bishop Terry came to lead in a critical time in our history. Our rector had just left following a fall from leadership which devastated our formerly successful congregation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology

Two new bishops and new archdeacon for London announced

Downing Street has today announced the appointments of two new Bishops in the Diocese of London. The Revd Rob Wickham, Hackney Area Dean and Rector of St John at Hackney, is to become the new Bishop of Edmonton and the Revd Ric Thorpe, the Bishop of London’s Adviser for Church Planting and Rector of St Paul’s Shadwell, is to become the new Bishop of Islington. In addition, the Bishop of London has confirmed that Prebendary John Hawkins will become the new Archdeacon of Hampstead.

Commenting on the three senior appointments, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO, said:

“Rob brings to the London team an enormous amount of experience and, in his eight years in Hackney, he has helped to provide a distinctive Christian contribution to the regeneration of his community. He will be well supported by John as Archdeacon of Hampstead, who has already experienced serving in an archidiaconal role in the area. They will form a highly effective partnership when they take up their roles in the autumn.

“As Bishop of the revived See of Islington, Ric will expand on his important work to date, supporting those involved in new Christian ventures, as well as applying the lessons learned for pioneers in training. He will harvest and share experience of church growth strategies as well as supporting people beyond the Diocese who are interested in the London experience.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(BBC) Finnish teen convicted of more than 50,000 computer hacks

A teenager involved in series of high profile cyber attacks has been convicted for his crimes in Finland.

Julius Kivimaki was found guilty of 50,700 “instances of aggravated computer break-ins”.

Court documents state that his attacks affected Harvard University and MIT among others, and involved hijacking emails, blocking traffic to websites and the theft of credit card details.

Despite the severity of the crimes, the 17-year-old has not been jailed.

Instead, the District Court of Espoo sentenced the youth – who had used the nickname Zeekill – to a two-year suspended prison sentence.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Theology

(CC) Marilynne Robinson–Sacred inwardness Why ”˜secularism’ has no meaning

We presume to know more than we can know. In periods and places where religious doubt is criminalized, unquestioning faith is likely to appear universal. Where religious faith is treated as naive and intellectually indefensible, few will confess to it. Where it truly is naive and intellectually indefensible, those who can’t identify with it are often treated as having actually rejected faith, and may believe this of themselves.

So let us call this inability to know the state of our fellow’s soul a veil dropped down between his or her sacred inwardness and the coercive intrusions to which the religious and the anti-religious are equally tempted. If the fate of souls is at the center of the cosmic drama, is it difficult to imagine that it will unfold, so to speak, in a place set apart, a holy of holies””that is, a human consciousness? Where better might an encounter with God take place? If God is attentive to us individually, as Jesus’ saying about the fall of a sparrow certainly implies, then would his history with us be the same in every case, articulable and verifiable, manifest in behaviors that square with expectations? Would it be something we should be ready to talk about to pollsters or journalists?

Perhaps the real lack of faith in modern society comes down to a lack of reverence for humankind, for those around us, about whom we might consider it providential that we can know nothing””in these great matters that sometimes involve feigning or concealment, that are beyond ordinary thought and conventional experience, and that can in any case be minutely incremental, since God really does have all the time in the world. Perhaps it is a gross presumption to try to imagine a God’s eye view of things, but I can only think these encounters, every one unique, must be extraordinarily beautiful. If it is hard for us to believe that the God who searches us and knows us also loves us, perhaps we should learn to be better humanists.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

(The Week) W. James Antell–How the Supreme Court's Oberfell ruling could destroy United Methodism

Some Christians are worried that their churches will lose their tax-exempt status as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision declaring gay marriage a constitutional right. I’m worried that my church will cease to exist altogether, or at least in its present form.

The United Methodist Church is the largest mainline Protestant denomination in America. Following decades of steep membership losses across all these historic churches, that’s kind of like being the tallest building in Topeka. But only the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention have more U.S. members, and the United Methodist Church’s international membership is actually growing.

Almost alone among mainline Protestant churches, the United Methodists have remained committed to orthodox Christian standards of sexual morality. Clergy must be celibate when single and monogamous in marriage, which is defined as the union of a man and a woman. Methodist pastors are not permitted to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Supreme Court, Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) Merkel faces rebellion in Berlin over Greek bailout

More than 100 MPs in Angela Merkel’s conservative party group have already written Greece out of the euro, even as its government scrambles to cobble together a plan acceptable to creditors.

The size of the rebellion in her own ranks ”” the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union faction ”” limits the German chancellor’s ability to soften her position against Greece and all but kills off its hope of a huge debt write-off as part of the new bailout plan it needs to prevent a banking collapse.

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has been given until midnight tonight to submit plans justifying another multibillion-euro loan deal to keep Greece afloat or face a future outside the euro, with the EU already preparing humanitarian aid for the Greek people.

Announcing its intention yesterday to seek a three-year bailout, Greece said it wanted to make its €323 billion debt mountain “sustainable and viable over the long term”, code for the cut of 30 per cent demanded by Mr Tsipras.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(The State) S.C. House votes to remove Confederate flag from State House grounds

The Confederate flag will leave the South Carolina State House grounds after five decades this week after the House overwhelmingly approved a bill to remove the Civil War icon early Thursday morning.

The House voted 94-20 to banish the flag from the Capitol after more than 12 hours of debate over the historic measure.

The bill now heads to Gov. Nikki Haley for her signature. Haley started the call for removing the flag in the days after nine African-Americans were shot and killed in a historic Charleston church last month.

“It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state,” Haley said in a Facebook post.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, State Government, Theology, Violence

(Pew R) A Global Middle Class Is More Promise than Reality

The first decade of this century witnessed an historic reduction in global poverty and a near doubling of the number of people who could be considered middle income. But the emergence of a truly global middle class is still more promise than reality.

In 2011, a majority of the world’s population (56%) continued to live a low-income existence, compared with just 13% that could be considered middle income by a global standard, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of the most recently available data.

And though there was growth in the middle-income population from 2001 to 2011, the rise in prosperity was concentrated in certain regions of the globe, namely China, South America and Eastern Europe. The middle class barely expanded in India and Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Personal Finance, Theology

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

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?”
And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

–Luke 24:13-35

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(TIC) Bradley Birzer–How Did Lewis and Tolkien Defend the Old West?

Like many Englishmen, he feared a world divided in two, in which the smaller peoples would be swallowed. Only fifteen years earlier, in reaction to the Teheran Conference, Tolkien had written: “I heard of that bloodthirsty old murderer Josef Stalin inviting all nations to join a happy family of folks devoted to the abolition of tyranny and intolerance!” One would be blind to miss Tolkien’s disgust. “I wonder (if we survive this war) if there will be any niche, even of sufferance, left for reactionary back numbers like me (and you). The bigger things get the smaller and duller or flatter the globe gets. It is getting to be one blasted little provincial suburb.” Soon, he feared, America would spread its “sanitation, morale-pep, feminism, and mass production” throughout the world.[4] Neither “ism”””corporate consumer capitalism or communism, both radical forms of materialism””seemed particularly attractive to Tolkien, a man who loved England (but not Great Britain!) and who loved monarchy according to medieval conventions, while hating statism in any form.

In his politics, Tolkien greatly resembled his closest friend and fellow member of the Inklings (the famous Oxford literary group), C.S. Lewis. During England’s darkest days of World War II, hope emerged from an unlikely source. An Oxford don”“a professor of English literature, who would later be best known for a seven-part children’s fantasy series”“gave frequent public addresses to the English people. Their purpose was to bolster English spirits. In late February, 1943, he devoted three of his addresses to a philosophical rather than a theological question. These relatively heady lectures were entitled: “Men without Chests,” “The Way,” and “The Abolition of Man.”[5] In each, C.S. Lewis addressed the nature and the future of character in England. Rather than spending his address on buoying the optimism of the English during the war against the German National Socialists, Lewis decided to ask what the English were really fighting for. Freedom from Nazi brutality was good, of course, but not, he argued, if it merely led to the victory of the “conditioners,” the democratic bureaucrats on the loose in England who served as an internal threat. The conditioners claimed to be liberating individuals from arbitrary restraints imposed by “religious sanction, and inherited taboos, in order that ”˜real’ and ”˜basic’ values may emerge.”[6] In other words, the conditioners needed to destroy history and faith, which they claimed as artificial shackles on the true, unadulterated self. Such debasement of tradition, Lewis argued, can only lead to the creation of man-made (and consequently, man-centered) philosophies, ignoring the Natural Law. But, the Natural Law, Lewis cautioned, “is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgements. If it is rejected, all value is rejected.”[7] Anything created outside of the Natural Law will simply be mere “ideologies,” that is, finite systems created by finite minds, shadows of shadows of a complex and nuanced world. “The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in,” Lewis concluded.[8]

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, Books, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AP) Bad day for geeks: Tech disruptions plague United, NYSE, WSJ

It was a rough day for tech: The nation’s biggest airline, its oldest stock exchange, and its most prominent business newspaper all suffered technology problems that upended service for parts of Wednesday.

Government officials said that it did not appear that the incidents were related, or the result of sabotage, counter to an endless stream of jokes and conspiracy theories posted on Facebook and Twitter ”” and even the suspicions of FBI director James Comey.

“In my business, you don’t love coincidences,” Comey told Congress Wednesday. “But it does appear that there is not a cyber intrusion involved.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Science & Technology, Stock Market, Theology, Travel

(Irish Times) Irish Catholics can now trace ancestry online back to 1740s

People of Irish Catholic ancestry will be able to trace their origins back almost 300 years online from Wednesday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys will officially launch online the entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI).

Involved are more than 370,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded and which will be accessible free of charge.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Church History, England / UK, History, Ireland, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

([London] Times) Archbishop Justin Welby fears for Arctic as oil giants move in to drill

The Archbishop of Canterbury has attacked plans by oil companies to begin drilling in the Arctic.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, who worked in the oil industry before he was ordained, said that he was concerned by how difficult it would be to contain and clean up an oil spill should there be an accident in the region.

Shell is expected to begin drilling in the Arctic this month after its plans were approved by the US government. A fifth of the world’s undiscovered gas and oil is believed to lie in the Arctic.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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