Daily Archives: July 18, 2015

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–A Different Islamic School

In recent years, traditional Islamic seminaries, or madrasas, have come under scrutiny and criticism as incubators of terrorism and extremist interpretations of Islam. Correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has a report on one school, the Jamia Islamia Clifton madrasa founded 40 years ago in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, that is trying to change that image and broaden the scope of what students are taught.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Education, Islam, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

(Patheos) Roger Olson–A Major Problem I See with American Culture Today

A Major Problem I See with American Culture Today

We (America) claim to be a pluralistic society; we celebrate “otherness.” Of course there are individuals and subcultures that strongly oppose pluralism and want to impose their worldview, form of life, on everyone. In fact, that is exactly the problem I see and here decry.

We pretend to be pluralistic when, in fact, we are not. Sure, in the grassroots, pluralism abounds. In public spaces, however, the two values that are expected of everyone are consumerism and tolerance of every point of view and lifestyle””even to the point that people who wish no harm to anyone but who have strongly held personal opinions about right and wrong are looked at as intolerant, as enemies of “freedom.”

We have by-and-large confused tolerance with relativism. If a person or group holds and expresses strong beliefs about right and wrong, especially about behaviors that are assumed not to hurt anyone, he or they are widely criticized as intolerant.

Read it all.

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

(NBC) An Owner's Tribute to His Dying Dog Comes With a Bucket List

When a veterinarian told owner Neil Rodriguez that his 15-year-old dog was terminally ill, he took his companion Poh on the road for one last adventure.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Travel

(Christian Today) Ravi Zacharias: We've reached 'breaking point' on divide over sexuality

“Compromising the truth is a serious blunder” but we must always live out our beliefs with love and grace, Ravi Zacharias has said in a detailed blog post addressing same-sex relationships.

The author and speaker who chairs the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA), says he is against gay marriage, and points to the biblical description of one man and one woman in sacred commitment. “So profound is this union that the relationship of God to the Church bears that comparison. He is the bridegroom; the Church is the bride,” Zacharias writes.

Responding to the US Supreme Court’s recent decision to legalise same-sex marriage, which Zacharias says “sent tremors around the globe,” the author warns that we are at “breaking point”.

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, Politics in General, Sexuality, Supreme Court, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper) Grieving Gov. Nikki Haley forever changed by church massacre

Haley knew early on that she’d attend every funeral, even speaking at them when asked. She wanted each family to feel the state’s embrace of support.

“And I felt the need to go for me,” she says during a rare moment of quiet in a sitting room at the Governor’s Mansion.

Haley wanted to know the nine beyond a list of names.

“I had a need to meet them. I had a need to know, because I knew the forensic story. I knew the investigative part of the story. I needed to know the people.”

Through each funeral, she met them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Hinduism, India, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology, Violence

(CC) Samuel Wells–What Bonhoeffer knew

After I’d given a talk to mark the 70th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s execution, I got a letter complaining that Bonhoeffer had been drained dry of meaning and was of no more use to the church. Here’s what I replied.

Bonhoeffer was theological. We don’t all have to write two doctoral theses by the age of 24. But we do have to approach every challenge as fundamentally a question about God. The German Christians were seduced into treating the führer as God. Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church saw that the problem with the Nazis was first a theological problem.

Bonhoeffer was about Jesus. The Bonhoeffer of popular theology is the one who talks from prison about the “world come of age” and “religionless Christianity.” But what put him in prison was Jesus. The church fears that when it says the word Jesus it’s assuming an imperialistic oppressive voice that dominates, excludes, or devalues other voices. The church has too often assumed such a voice. But Jesus doesn’t assume such a voice. Bonhoeffer knew that when the church stops talking about Jesus, it has nothing to say. And when it assumes dominance, it’s not talking about Jesus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Germany, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NYT) At a Tennessee Mosque, Grief Mixes With Fear of Revenge

Just beyond a massive strip mall, with its Best Buy and Hobby Lobby, Abdul Baasit, the imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, found himself preaching on Friday about a nightmare.

It was Eid al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan, normally a time of gift-giving and carnival celebration. But the party that had been planned was canceled: A man who had attended prayer services at the center’s mosque killed four Marines on Thursday. And Mr. Baasit, 48, was trying to help Chattanooga’s Muslim faithful cope with their grief over the deaths, and their fear of reprisal.

“You do not want what is not right to be associated with Islam,” Mr. Baasit, a native of Ghana, said in lilting, heavily accented English. “And yet it is happening.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(AP) How did the Tenn. gunman go from ordinary suburban kid to killer?

A picture emerged Friday of Abdulazeez as a likable, outgoing young man who enjoyed a laugh, made the wrestling team and seemed “as Americanized as anyone else,” yet was clearly aware of what set him apart at his Chattanooga high school.

What’s not clear ”” to counterterrorism investigators and to neighbors and former classmates ”” is what set him on the path to violence that ended with him being gunned down by police.

Abdulazeez did not appear to have been on federal authorities’ radar before the bloodshed Thursday, officials said. But now counterterrorism investigators are taking a deep look at his online activities and foreign travel, searching for clues to his political contacts or influences.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence, Young Adults

(W Post) The victims of the Chattanooga shooting

On Thursday, 24-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at an armed forces recruiting center and a Navy Reserve center in Chattanooga. The apparent anti-military rampage left four Marines and one Navy petty officer dead. We will be updating the page with more information as we learn more. Here are their stories.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord God Almighty, King of glory and love eternal, worthy art thou at all times to receive adoration, praise, and blessing; but especially at this time do we praise thee for the sending of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, for whom our hearts do wait, and to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, be honour and dominion, now and for ever.

–Prayers for the Christian Year (SCM, 1964)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Gregory Venables on Mission Accomplished

Fifth and final Bible Study at New Wine Ireland on July 17th summarised by Ruth Garvey-Williams
Most things are never done because people never start. While they are procrastinating, things never happen. God will deal with things while you are getting on with it. You cannot get into the Promised Land sitting in a chair thinking and praying about it. There is a time to get up and do it! Tomorrow we are going to do it. Whatever happens we are going to do it. Then you find that God is with you. Otherwise it won’t happen.

2 Timothy 1:7. Timothy was fearful. Peter was the same Peter who denied Christ. Don’t say, “It is not me.”

How many of you do not open your mouths because you are ashamed? The fear of man can stop you doing what you need to do. Don’t be ashamed. Be shameless! Share in the suffering. You are not called to avoid suffering. You are called to share in the suffering.

We know whom we have believed. I don’t look at the problem, I look at Him. God has been faithful and kept us over all these years! He is good. And all those times when we didn’t know what was going to happen and how we were going to go on, He was there. So we are not ashamed. We might not understand it all, we might not have it all worked out but we know Him.

Paul knew where he was going. If you know where you are going, then you are fine! CS Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next.”

Read it all from half way down
Earlier Bible Studies in this series:
1. First Things First
2. Saying ‘Yes’
3. Spiritual Warfare
4. All Through the Storm

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

Statement from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Anglican Family, the Global South, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) movement, and all the faithful seeking a conciliar Church:

The International Catholic Congress of Anglicans, held July 13-17, 2015, at St. Andrew’s parish of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, of the Anglican Church in North America, gathered to reaffirm a catholic and conciliar doctrine of the Church. The Great Commission of our Lord directs the Church to make faithful disciples, calling them out of the nations of the world to be holy to the Lord. This statement seeks to sketch out the way forward in fulfilling our Lord’s call to make faithful disciples in the context of a properly conciliar church.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Organizations

(Time) "American universities are failing at ethics"

The narratives that help illustrate the lack of professional ethics at American universities occur with greater and greater frequency, though most often we fail to note them as such.

If we put our minds to it, we can remember quite a number of unethical stories at American universities in recent years: the sex abuse case that prompted the firing of the president and football coach at Penn State; the pepper-spraying of students at the University of California at Davis; the tragic hazing death of marching band member Robert Champion at Florida A and M University.

These are stories that happened at universities, and their settings, I believe, are not incidental to the narratives. As an author of University Ethics: How Colleges Can Build and Benefit from a Culture of Ethics, I believe our universities are breeding these scandals and ethical compromise. But rarely, even when the press exposes something shameful about a university, do we identify the issue as a lack of ethics.

Read it all.

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