Daily Archives: August 8, 2015

Mai Hariu-Powell–Public faith: Being a church for the skeptic and the Christian

There is a natural link between evangelism and worship. Yes, at Redeemer we talk about sharing the hope of Jesus out of our gratitude for his love and rescue. Worship and gratitude is a natural motivator for evangelism but there’s another link that comes to mind. When I talk to Christians and pastors who have a natural bent towards evangelism, I notice they live their faith very publicly because evangelism is an act of worship. They get to see a glimpse of God’s sovereignty, his unrelentless love and pursuit of someone and they get to see the Holy Spirit do beautiful things in their midst. Lyn Cook, a Community Group Director with Redeemer’s East Side Congregation, told me one time, evangelism is one way God reaches into her heart and reminds her of his grace and goodness. He reveals himself to her by giving her hope and compassion as she prays, listens and talks with non-believing friends. God’s sovereignty and relentless love are the foundation for evangelism and the way that many Christians, like Lyn, experience God as they live out their faith publicly.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Tel.) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Saudi Arabia may go broke before the US oil industry buckles

If the oil futures market is correct, Saudi Arabia will start running into trouble within two years. It will be in existential crisis by the end of the decade.
The contract price of US crude oil for delivery in December 2020 is currently $62.05, implying a drastic change in the economic landscape for the Middle East and the petro-rentier states.
The Saudis took a huge gamble last November when they stopped supporting prices and opted instead to flood the market and drive out rivals, boosting their own output to 10.6m barrels a day (b/d) into the teeth of the downturn.
Bank of America says OPEC is now “effectively dissolved”. The cartel might as well shut down its offices in Vienna to save money.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Theology

(Houston Chron.) George Foreman: Fighting the devil in the boxing ring of the Lord

The Rev. George Foreman flipped his Bible open to the Book of Genesis, let fly with a left hook for Jesus and sent Satan sprawling into the ropes.

“You’ve got to learn how to fight!” he exhorted. “If you believe in God, you’ve got to fight for him.”

The Sunday morning faithful, warmed by a hand-clapping round of gospel singing, rocked on their hard wooden pews with the verbal punch.

At 66, Foreman ”” a two-time world heavyweight champion and veteran of more than 80 scarring professional boxing bouts ”” might be graying, his card-topping pugilistic battles long over. But in his bout against sin as pastor of north Houston’s Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is still a powerhouse slugger.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Men, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sports, Theology

(Times-union) Albany Episcopal bishop's opposition to same-sex marriage creates rift

Episcopal Bishop William Love’s opposition to same-sex marriage in defiance of the recent 78th general convention of the Episcopal Church that affirmed marriage equality has roiled the Albany diocese and caused parishioners to quit the Cathedral of All Saints in protest.

In a July 18 pastoral letter in response to last month’s convention and June’s historic Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing nationwide rights for same-sex marriage, Love cited a Book of Common Prayer definition of marriage as a “solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman.”

Love was among just seven out of more than 100 bishops across the United States who flouted the convention’s stance and publicly opposed same-sex marriage.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Khaled Abou El Fadl–Dominating Muslims, Domesticating Islam: How the Middle East was Lost

My argument thus far is that the policymakers in the West and especially in the United States and Britain do not just tolerate dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, but at a minimum, refuse to oppose them and often will actively support them because of a basic sense of insecurity about Muslims exercising self-autonomy and determination. There is a visceral but historically rooted fear of the bogeyman of a united Islam and of Muslims demanding to be treated as equals and not as colonial subjects. Muslims are still the faceless, indistinct mass of dark-skinned natives who cannot be trusted unless they speak, act, and even covet what their imperial masters teach them.

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

In a survey, 88% of U.S. adults said they had sexted and 96% of them endorsed it

If you’ve ever sent racy text messages or revealing selfies to your sweetie, you’re not alone. More than 4 out of 5 adults in a new study reported sexting ”“ that is, sending or receiving sexually explicit text messages or pictures on their phones ”“ in the last year. And they were glad they did.

“Sexting is a prevalent behavior that adults engage in for a variety of reasons,” wrote study authors Emily Stasko, a doctoral student in psychology at Drexel University, and Pamela A. Geller, a professor who runs the Women’s Health Psychology Lab at Drexel. “These findings indicate a robust relationship between sexting and sexual satisfaction.”

To get a clearer picture of the state of sexting among American adults, Stasko and Geller enlisted 870 heterosexual adults to answer an online survey about sexting. The participants ranged in age between 18 and 82, with an average age of 35. The survey takers were recruited through the Internet site Amazon Mechanical Turk, and whites and women were overrepresented compared with the U.S. population as a whole.

Read it all from the LA Times.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Archbp Cranmer blog) G. Scott–Justin Welby’s “spiritual magpie” plan to save the C of E

Justin Welby was once a member of HTB and knows there is great potential to be found in the Church of England. He sees the need for change if it is to not just survive, but flourish. He also knows that for that to happen, things most definitely cannot stay as they are, and after decades of denial and procrastination, some urgent measures are needed. He describes himself as a spiritual magpie, drawing inspiration in his faith from different Christian traditions. He is equally happy to take the best of what he has seen outside of the church and adapt it for the needs within it. These are not the dealings of a misguided amateur. Those who doubt what he is working to achieve or demur from some of his more unorthodox methods should think carefully about their own understanding and motives before issuing harsh judgements.

If it is a stark choice between Linda Woodhead’s prosaic plan for the Church of England or the Welby-Gumbel vision for holiness, transformation, revival and growth, I know which I prefer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Theology

Manchester United beat Tottenham in opening game of the Premier League season

Manchester United began their Premier League season with a nervy 1-0 win over Tottenham at Old Trafford.

United started slowly and Christian Eriksen almost put Spurs ahead inside five minutes when he broke through but chipped his effort over new goalkeeper Sergio Romero — starting in place of the dropped David De Gea — and also over the bar.

But, despite having the better of the opening exchanges, Spurs fell behind soon after as Ashley Young scampered free to cross for Wayne Rooney and the backtracking Kyle Walker diverted the ball into his own net.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Dominic

Almighty God, whose servant Dominic grew in knowledge of thy truth and formed an order of preachers to proclaim the good news of Christ: Give to all thy people a hunger for your Word and an urgent longing to share the Gospel, that the whole world may come to know thee as thou art revealed in thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Nicholas Ridley

Heavenly Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding, and true strength: We beseech thee look mercifully upon thy servants, and send thy Holy Spirit into their hearts, that when they must join to fight in the field for the glory of thy holy name, then they, strengthened with the defence of thy right hand, may manfully stand in the confession of thy faith, and continue in the same unto their lives’ end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Sir William Walton: Spitfire Prelude and Fugue

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

(PW) ”˜Empire of Fear’ Author Shares Inside Story On ISIS

In addition to writing about your own experiences, you personally interviewed U.S., U.K., and Iraqi officials as well as clergy and religious leaders of all faiths. Can you describe some of the insight people of faith had on ISIS?

One of the terrible tragedies in Iraq is the fate of Christians, who were a central part of Iraq. I think there are more Iraqi Christians now in the state of Michigan than there are in Iraq. There were 1.2 million Christians living in Iraq in 2003; today there are 400,000, and most want to leave. I interviewed Reverend Canon Andrew White (vicar of the sole Anglican church in Iraq); he lost a quarter of his flock who were persecuted or forced to pay a tax or be killed. I asked myself, why has the Christian population gone down? It’s ISIS. The terrible violence, you wouldn’t believe it””what they did to people’s children, the churches they blew up and the number of people they have killed. I cite a report in the book about ISIS cooking a two-year-old Syrian girl and serving it to her family.

Can you describe what life is like in Iraq?….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

Melbourne Anglicans New reconciliation plan ”˜puts into words our desires to make a difference’

Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of Australia, has officially launched the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The RAP, developed in conjunction with Reconciliation Australia, is being implemented so that the diocese, along with its parishes and sector ministries, is able to coordinate key programs and initiatives aimed at changing the culture of the diocese to better embrace reconciliation. This will include advocacy and promotion of the key issues surrounding reconciliation, as well as providing practical advice and liturgical resources for parish and other ministry events.

“The full aspiration that Reconciliation Australia has encouraged is that we don’t overreach, over-promise and under-deliver, but have at every stage of this journey things that can be authentic and real and help strengthen our mutual resolve and understanding,” said Dr Freier. “I’m really thrilled my expectation coming to this night has been met by the reality.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR) Another Bangladeshi Blogger Hacked To Death For Secular Views

Niloy Chakrabati, a Bangladeshi blogger who used the pen name Niloy Neel to criticize Muslim extremism, was hacked to death by a machete-wielding gang who broke into his apartment Friday. He is the fourth such social media activist to be killed in the South Asian country so far this year.

“They entered his room on the fifth floor and shoved his friend aside and then hacked him to death,” Imran H. Sarker, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Online Activist Network, or BOAN, tells Agence France-Presse.

According to The Associated Press: “Hours after the assault, Ansar-al-Islam, which intelligence officials believe is affiliated with al-Qaida on the Indian subcontinent, sent an email to media organizations claiming responsibility for the killing and calling the blogger an enemy of Allah. The authenticity of the email could not be independently confirmed.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Bangladesh, Blogging & the Internet, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence