Daily Archives: July 15, 2015

Archbishop Gregory Venables on saying 'Yes'

Second Bible Study at New Wine Ireland on July 14th summarised by Ruth Garvey-Williams
Reading from John 7: 37 -39. God has so much more for you – rivers of living water, not a little trickle! And God wants so much more. God wants all of you. Every single little tiny bit of you. If you were the only sinner in the world, Christ would have died for you. That is love. And it is 100%. Do not judge God in the light of your experience, judge your experience in the light of God.

When I proposed to my wife, she said not a word. But one little tear trickled down her cheek and that said it all!

God will never overcome your free will. He will always wait to hear you say welcome. Love depends on how you respond. Are you thirsty?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Biblical Commentary & Reflection

([London] Times) Deradicalisation of UK’s would-be jihadis begins at home

Most British Muslims are Sunni, only about 5 per cent are Shia, but both communities are represented by the MC, which believes the government’s “Prevent” anti-terrorism strategy is discriminatory, demonising a law-abiding community. Relations have thawed; Shafi is pleased that Theresa May, the home secretary, is beginning to close what he calls the “trust deficit” by ordering police authorities to record every reported Islamophobic incident for the first time, even if charges are not pressed.

The MC is working with the government and the police to find out why young Muslims feel “alienated” and hence vulnerable to be being lured by the promise of a foreign adventure by people who are “misinterpreting Islam”.

“The Muslim Council has condemned those who claim to act in our name and we have mobilised mosque leaders, civil society leaders and families to speak out and redouble their efforts. However, we’ve no magic wand and what is important is sustained work within communities,” says Shafi, a retired doctor who arrived in Britain from India 46 years ago. “Extremism is mainly hidden on the internet and on social media and our concern is that the age group it attracts is getting younger and younger.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Anglican Journal) Intergenerational ministry: What's old is new again

In the mid-20th century many Anglican Church of Canada parishes joined their mainline and evangelical neighbours in creating tightly-focused programs for even the tiniest demographics. Now, many parishes are tearing down those walls between ages and stages, hoping to bind up scattered, sometimes shattering church communities.

The 20th century craze to split the church into demographic segments was a profound departure from Judeo-Christian tradition. Jesus grew up in a Jewish community where the generations nurtured each other’s faith ”” in fact, young Jesus was so caught up learning from his elders at the temple in Jerusalem that he let Mary and Joseph start for home without him. The Apostle Paul mentored his spiritual son, Timothy, in ministry; he also instructed older men and women to be good examples and to mentor younger people in faith.

Sadly, segmentation ”“ intended to keep kids, youth, young adults, or even seniors in church ”“ may cut off them off from each other and the worshiping life of the church. This leaves youth with “no sense of what it means to be a mature adult Christian living out a life of faith in the Church,’’ writes the Rev. Valerie Michaelson, pastoral associate and Queen’s Chaplain at St. James’ Anglican Church, Kingston, Ont., in “How to Nurture Intergenerational Community in Your Church,” posted on the Wycliffe College Institute of Evangelism website. It also deprives adults and seniors the opportunity to understand and mentor younger members of the church, say advocates of intergenerational ministry.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Children, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Youth Ministry

(EN) Archbp Justin Welby questioned on arms industry ties with Church of England center

Symon Hill, Christian writer and a coordinator of Christians for Economic Justice, said: “Jesus said that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.

“By hosting events sponsored by arms dealers, Church House Conference Centre is sending a clear message that they are happy to profit from those selling weapons to the dodgiest regimes.”

Campaigners are calling on Welby, as President of the Corporation of Church House, for his “assurance that the conference center will never again host events which support and legitimise the arms industry.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

(Daily Trust) Timawus Mathias–New Service Chiefs and a Resurgent Boko Haram

When President Buhari was sworn-in, Nigerians must have expected to hear broadcasts like “every past political office holder should report to the nearest Police Station”. Yet instead, it has been a quiet, slow, and seemingly irresponsive Buhari that has been impossible to predict as the nation is gripped by anxiety.

Nigerians expecting a quick and decisive fix were already deriding the President for being “slow and indecisive”, and refusing to understand that much more important in finding solutions to the problems of the country is the difficult and often slow task of articulating a plan, based on an ideological framework. Even if you had plans to hit the ground running, it matters where you hit ground.

The fact that the activity of the group gained momentum after Buhari’s inaugural pronouncement and slow moves to start off, shows the fundamental need to address the challenge from the root cause. The radicalisation of adherents, and their commitment to their faith-based mission, gives it ability to mutate, splinter, break up into cells and continue with the objective to spread terror. One can assume that momentum gained earlier has been lost due to the delay in determining the new order. One can understand the import of anxieties of the erstwhile service chiefs who Nigerians expected would have been rested long ago. President Buhari it is believed has, by now, received a proper briefing of why the Government did so poorly against the insurgents. Who would tell this better than the men in the situation room, the sacked Service Chiefs? Albeit, it was natural for insurgents to exploit such impasse to revive their deadly attacks that we are witnessing. There seemed to be a letting down of the guard.

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

(America) Sam Sawyer–Planned Parenthood Video Stirs New Outrage

While the video describes what is happening as the “sale” of body parts and claims that this violates federal law, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of communications, Eric Ferrero, claims that no such sale actually occurs: “There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”

Whether or not these practices violate federal laws regulating the sale of human tissue or prohibiting partial-birth abortion””and whether one is pro-life or pro-choice””what is described by Dr. Nucatola is indefensible. The issue is not only that fetal tissue is being procured from abortions, but that some of the medical details of the abortions themselves are being arranged in order to serve the purpose of supplying particular body parts of unborn children. Even if all the money changing hands is only reimbursing actual costs, as Planned Parenthood claims, these abortions are no longer purely about reproductive choice, but have become means to a larger and grislier end.

Read it all.

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

(BBC) 'Softener' may help kill cancers

It may be possible to “soften-up” cancers before hitting them with chemotherapy drugs, researchers suggest.

A study, published in the Cancer Cell, uncovered how tumours can become resistant to commonly used drugs.

The University of Manchester team suggest drugs already in development may be able to counter this resistance to make chemotherapy more effective.

The approach has not yet been tested in people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

"The biggest existential threat in the past century"–the view of ISIS from the frontline

The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the Italian embassy in Cairo. The BBC reported that ISIL had called western embassies “legitimate targets”.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently said it was important not to underestimate or be complacent about the national security threat from ISIL. He also said it was equally important not to overestimate that threat. He called ISIL twisted and wicked but said it wasn’t Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s Russia, with their power to conquer or challenge the West.

Australian journalist Martin Chulov has been on the ground in Iraq and Syria for a decade. He is Middle East correspondent for The Guardian and recently won the prestigious Orwell Award for his reporting. In Australia for a series of Guardian lectures, he assesses the current strength of ISIL.

Listen to it all from the Religion and Ethics Report.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Video–Pluto's Heart and Charon's Chasm Visible in New Images

Pluto's Heart and Charon's Chasm Visible in New Images | Video from Jungle Joel Videos on Vimeo.

Just amazing!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, History, Photos/Photography, Science & Technology

(LA Times) The talking ”” and arguing ”” points of the Iran nuclear deal

Criticism: Thousands of Iranian centrifuges will keep spinning.

The deal doesn’t dismantle or close Iran’s two uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow. It does require Iran to reduce its centrifuge inventory by two-thirds and eliminate 98% of its stockpile of enriched uranium. Iran will be allowed to keep about 6,100 centrifuges for the next 10 years and continue some enrichment work.

White House response: Iran’s inventory of centrifuges will be cut drastically from nearly 20,000, which is enough to create fuel for as many as 10 bombs. It will be left with only its oldest and least efficient models. No enrichment will be allowed at Fordow, and other activities will be restricted to producing uranium enriched to a level of 3.67%, far below the nearly 90% usually required to make a bomb.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, History, House of Representatives, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Senate, Theology

George Clifford–Did TEC General Convention Same-Sex Marriage Decision Further promote Division?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christian von Bunsen

Almighty and eternal God, who in thy Son Jesus Christ hast revealed thy nature as Love: We humbly pray thee to shed thy love abroad in our hearts by thy Holy Spirit; that so by thy grace we may evermore abide in thee, and thou in us, with all joyfulness, and free from fear or mistrust; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

–Psalm 38:21-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Mark Marshall writes from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

I am writing from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans meeting in Ft. Worth, Texas. But nobody tell the Low Churchman.

It all began last night with Solemn Choral Evensong, and you know what the Low Churchman thinks about Solemn things. Well, this one was more solemn than thou, especially in tat and hats. I’ve never seen so many mitres and birettas in one place.

In fact, Bishop Keith Ackerman even wore a red biretta whilst entering the car to take him to St. Andrews. This makes the car more visible, increasing safety, and therefore became a liturgical innovation of 20th Century ritualists. For wearing birettas whilst on airplanes, blue is the proper liturgical color.

Read it all, but not too seriously and there is an update

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life

Archbishop Gregory Venables on 'First Things First'

First Bible Study at New Wine Ireland on July 13th summarised by Ruth Garvey-Williams
Corinthians 14:20: Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

Somebody has to say it. At this stage in world history, God is saying, “I want you to grow up.” Unless the church matures and begins to function as the church was intended to function, what is going to happen? In the western world, we have abandoned the word of God and we have abandoned everything that makes sense.

How can I grow up? How can I take steps towards the maturity God wants in my life?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Biblical Commentary & Reflection

John Cochrane The Grumpy Economist: Greece Again

My main thought: what about the banks? The minute Greece reopens its banks, it’s a fair bet that every person in Greece will immediately head to the bank and get every cent out. The banks’ assets are largely Greek loans, which many aren’t paying — why pay a mortgage to a bank that’s already closed and will probably be out of business soon anyway — and Greek government debt; mostly Treasury bills that only roll over because banks hold them. They can’t sell either, so the banks will instantly be out of cash.

The deal reported in today’s papers really barely mentions that problem. But that is the problem of the hour.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, Greece

(GR) Terry Mattingly–Amidst recent MSM thinkpieces on same-sex marriage and religion-1 good article

From all this, the Religion Guy draws three conclusions for journalists.

*Religious groups and their beliefs are far more complex than the news media typically indicate.

* Strong internal disagreements afflict several denominations ”“ the biggest right out in the open being the United Methodist Church ”“ and will continue to make news.

* Finally, and most obvious, a sizable and variegated lineup of religious believers feels bound to strongly resist America’s new redefinition of marriage for the indefinite future.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Media, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology

A S Haley–Charges Filed against TEC Bishop Bruno by Clergy and Parishioners

The new charges will add to his recent woes. After the news came out that Bishop Bruno purportedly had arranged a “sweetheart” private deal with a developer — no bids or listing of the property, but just terms worked out with a single buyer who wants to erect a suite of expensive townhomes on the property — he received a letter from the original developer of Lido Isle (the area of Newport Beach where St. James is located), the Griffith Corporation. That letter informed him something he ought to have known already: that the property on which the church stands was gifted to the Diocese for use only for church purposes. Griffith stated that if he went through with the proposed sale, the property would automatically revert back to it.

The letter caused Bishop Bruno to instruct his attorneys immediately to sue the Griffith Corporation for “slander of title” — a rather heavy-handed response to the donor of one’s most valuable property. You can read the complaint and see the original deed of gift at this link — the deed restriction is for real, and the courts enforce them as written.

It will be interesting to watch this scenario play out — whether the Bishop can remain on top of the situation will require that he first rein in his attack dogs, and begin treating donors and parishioners for the valued assets they are. Meanwhile, some useful information is emerging. According to this letter to the Diocesan Standing Committee, Bishop Bruno told the parish that he was trying to recoup the Diocese’s litigation expenses (incurred in suing four former parishes, including the previous congregation of St. James) of Nine Million Dollars. That is five million dollars greater than I had estimated in tallying up all the costs of Church litigation, as reported in this post.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(OC Register) Joel Kotkin–The Institution of the family is being eroded

Some social conservatives are so despondent that they speak about retreating from the public space and into their homes and churches, rediscovering “the monastic temperament” prevalent during the Dark Ages.

This response would be a tragedy for society. For all its limitations, the fundamental values cherished by the religious ”“ notably, family ”“ have never been more important, and more in need of moral assistance. The current progressive cultural wave may itself begin to “overreach” as it moves from the certainty of liberal sentiment to ever more repressive attempts to limit alternative views of the world, including those of the religious.

In the next few years, social conservatives need to engage, but in ways that transcend doctrinal concerns about homosexuality, or even abortion. It has to be made clear that, on its current pace, Western civilization and, increasingly, much of East Asia are headed toward a demographic meltdown as people eschew family formation for the pleasures of singleness or childlessness.

Although sensible for many individuals, the decision to detach from familialism augurs poorly for societies, which will be forced to place enormous burdens on a smaller young generation to support an ever-expanding cadre of retirees. It also frames a spiritual crisis in which people no longer look out for their relatives, but only for themselves, inevitably becoming dependent on government to provide the succor that used to come from families.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology