Daily Archives: September 1, 2015

Archbishop Justin Welby–Learning to disagree well on Europe

In less than two years we will have a referendum on our place in Europe. There will be passionate arguments on both sides.

POverlaid Flagseople will say that we should not take the risk of leaving, others that it is less of a risk than staying. There will be talk of national sovereignty, of national confidence, of repatriation of laws, or being bound by European laws over which we have no control. The only certainty is that there will be much heat, probably slightly less light, but that it is a hugely important decision, with thoughtful and committed people, including Christians, on both sides.

But what about those in the UK for whom our membership, or withdrawal, from the Union, is not a major question, those for whom the needs and responsibilities of each day take precedence, and mention of political debates such as this leave them cold?

This new blog is a contribution to the debate. It is a joint initiative between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Theology

[Catholic Herald] Dominic Selwood: What English Catholicism will look like in 2115

Some of the following predictions are guaranteed to be wrong. Casting the runes of the future is an imprecise art. However, the broad themes of the next 100 years are already taking shape.

The first is the de-Christianising of England, where the number of Christians is dropping. This affects the Catholic Church as it does the others, yet not all are falling at the same rate. The most acute crisis is in the Church of England, where recent independent statistics show membership fell from 40 per cent of the population in 1983 to 17 per cent in 2014, a drop of 58 per cent.

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has argued that the writing is now on the wall, and the Church of England is only a generation away from total extinction. Unless something truly radical happens to reverse decades of decline, the Church of England and its many charms will have disappeared before 2050. (The numbers look similarly bleak for the Church of Scotland, whose membership dropped from 36 per cent of the population in 2001 to 18 per cent in 2013.)

The death of the Church of England will be immensely significant. For the first time since the reign of King Henry VIII, the Catholic Church will again be the largest Christian denomination in England.

The second big theme will be the general trend in global religion. Although Christianity is waning in Europe, religious adherence (including to Christianity) is increasing globally, which will make the world in 2115 a more religious place.

Behind this trend, the big story is Islam, which is the world’s fastest growing religion. Today, there are 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. By 2100 the positions will have reversed, with Islam overtaking Christianity to become the single largest religion on the planet.

The life of an English Catholic in 2115 will be significantly affected by the consequences of these two trends. These are my predictions…

Read it all

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(C of E) Wycliffe Hall, Oxford receives top marks

Wycliffe Hall, Oxford has today received a vote of confidence in 13 out of 16 criteria including its governance, management, constitution and organisation as part of a periodic external review (PER) report on published today. Additional categories for endorsement include its teaching and learning; its worship and training in public life; its ministerial, personal and spiritual formation; and its aims, objectives and evaluation of the institution.

At the time of the review, Wycliffe Hall had 50 Church of England ordinands engaged in training. Another 81 students are members of the Hall, comprising a mix of independent part-time students, independent undergraduates and postgraduates.

Revd Dr Simon Vibert, Acting Principal of Wycliffe Hall commented, “Wycliffe welcomes the very positive report from the review team and looks forward to continuing to improve the formation and training offered at the Hall.”

Read it all and follow the link.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

[ABC] Making cricket bats for holy cause helps resurrect Victorian industry

Australian bat makers are rejoicing after they were called upon to supply the Pope’s cricket team.

The St Peter’s XI ”” a team of Vatican priests ”” will play the Church of England in an exhibition match in Rome in October and they will be using Australian-made willow.

“They were beaten by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI last year in England and I suggested that that was because they weren’t using [Australian] timber,” said Victorian bat-maker Ian Callen.

Mr Callen’s advice was taken up by Australia’s Ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy, who organised last year’s inaugural match…

Read it all

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations

Statement from the Canadian Anglican Primate on the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

The worldwide Anglican Communion’s fifth Mark of Mission calls us “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.” Canadian Anglicans are especially conscious of our obligations as caretakers of (in the words of one of our eucharistic prayers) “this fragile earth, our island home.” We are now reminded of it when we renew our baptismal vows. The recent meeting of the Sacred Circle further called to mind the special relationship Indigenous people have with the land, and the often damaging effect settlers continue to have.

I therefore invite all members of the Anglican Church of Canada to join with me on September 1 and pray in an especially intentional way for the integrity of God’s creation, and for the will and the means to confront and resolve the ecological crisis our planet is facing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

“I have conducted more burials than weddings, naming ceremonies” ”“ Kwashi on Plateau killings

From the Daily Post Nigeria
Following ongoing killings in some communities in Plateau State, the Anglican Bishop of Jos, Rev Dr Benjamin Kwashi, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address the lingering crisis bedeviling the North Central Region.

Kwashi made the appeal while speaking during a peaceful protest by Plateau citizens, who protested to the State House of Assembly to register their displeasure over renewed killings in the State.

The Cleric, while addressing the gathering, revealed that the Plateau State was losing citizens to attacks.

“As a pastor, I have conducted more burial-occasions by attacks than weddings and naming ceremonies since 2001.

“It’s sad to note that most victims of the attacks are armless children, some infants, women and youth; the present administration must end the killings, attention should not be concentrated only at the north east alone, people are being killed here in Plateau, Benue Nasarawa and Kaduna states.”

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

John L Allen Jr: On Chibok anniversary, Christians are caught between hope and experience

ABUJA/JOS, Nigeria ”“ On Thursday, Nigerians marked the 500th day since the kidnapping of almost 300 mostly Christian schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok by Boko Haram, the radical Islamic terrorist group held responsible for more than 17,000 deaths here since 2009.

It’s long been frustrating for Nigerians that their armed forces, with 200,000 active duty troops, 300,000 paramilitary personnel, a budget of $3.25 billion, and a history of successful peacekeeping operations in neighboring countries, has been either unable or unwilling to get Boko Haram under control.

The fact that most of the Chibok girls remain missing 16 months into their abduction is the single most damning symbol of that failure.
In Christian circles, the fact that Boko Haram is still operational despite the seeming mismatch with the army has bred suspicions that politicians may have encouraged inaction in order to gain votes or to terrorize their enemies, and that some military personnel may either be on the payroll of Boko Haram or sympathetic to its agenda.

In mid-August, Nigeria’s new no-nonsense president, a former army commander named Muhammadu Buhari, vowed all that would change.

Buhari promised to wipe out Boko Haram “within three months,” and especially for Christians, it’s tempting to want to believe it. Yet for many, the war that defines their attitude isn’t so much the one between the government and Boko Haram, but rather the one that pits hope against experience.

Often, that translates into skepticism vis-à-vis Buhari’s pledge.

“I think it’s just a typically empty political statement,” said Samson Tsok, who lives in the north central Nigerian state of Plateau that’s been an epicenter of Muslim/Christian clashes for the past 15 years…

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria

(PD) Salim Furth on "Our Kids" by Robert Putnam

As a reader, I expected that Putnam would exhort me to tutor, attend a diverse church, babysit for a single mom, move to a poorer neighborhood””to take action. After all, his fond memories of Port Clinton emphasize its warm social cohesion. Perhaps Putnam assumed the exhortation to personal action was obvious, and omitted it. If so, he missed an opportunity to turn theoretical discussions of inequality into a non-political social movement toward renewed community.

Putnam’s proposals for government transfers, better-paid teachers, and free sports teams may represent helpful stepping stones to children who are socially secure and were raised in a stable, disciplined home, as his poor classmates were. But the children of Our Kids demonstrate painfully that outside influences are too little, too late for those from broken homes.

In 1959, eight out of eight poor parents in Our Kids had been present throughout their children’s lives.* In 2015, that was true of two out of twelve. Putnam does not have a plan that will help the kids whose parents have fled.

Read it all.

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

(SA) Michael Kellahan+the Freedom to have faith on the agenda

The Rector of East Roseville, the Rev Michael Kellahan, has been appointed the executive director of Freedom for Faith ”“ a legal think-tank that promotes and protects religious freedom in Australia.

Mr Kellahan will continue his work in the parish, combined with a part-time role at Freedom for Faith. “These are critical times for the future of religious freedom in Australia,” Mr Kellahan told Southern Cross. “Debates are happening and decisions are being taken now which could influence the cultural landscape for decades to come.”

Bishop Robert Forsyth and Professor Patrick Parkinson are among the leaders of the organisation, which also has advisers from Baptist, Presbyterian, Seventh-day Adventist and Pentecostal traditions, and from the legal profession. An office in North Sydney has been established as a base but the organisation will operate nationally as well as running a website, freedomforfaith.org.au.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NYT) Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities

Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year ”” after 86 homicides in all of 2014.

More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ago. In New Orleans, 120 people had been killed by late August, compared with 98 during the same period a year earlier. In Baltimore, homicides had hit 215, up from 138 at the same point in 2014. In Washington, the toll was 105, compared with 73 people a year ago. And in St. Louis, 136 people had been killed this year, a 60 percent rise from the 85 murders the city had by the same time last year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Nigeria's Boko Haram 'spreads to Lagos'

Boko Haram is trying to expand its activities beyond Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, to include the commercial capital Lagos, as well as other parts of the country, officials say.

Nigeria’s intelligence agency says 12 members of the Islamist militant group have been arrested in Lagos since July.

It is not possible to independently verify details of the statement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Independent) Daily Marijuana use among US students at 35-year high

The number of US university students who smoke cannabis on a near-daily basis is at its greatest for 35 years ”“ and has even surpassed daily cigarette use, according to a recent study.

As part of the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, a series of national surveys showed use of the drug has been growing slowly on the nation’s campuses since 2006, with 5.9 per cent saying they smoke it almost every day ”“ the highest number since 1980.

This figure is up considerably from 2007 when 3.5 per cent admitted to the same, meaning one in every 17 university students is now smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Education, Health & Medicine, Young Adults

A Prayer for the Feast Day of David Pendleton Oakerhater

O God of unsearchable wisdom and infinite mercy, who didst choose a captive warrior, David Oakerhater, to be thy servant, and didst send him to be a missionary to his own people and to execute the office of a deacon among them: Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self, and empower us for service to thee and to the neighbors thou hast given us; through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from B. F. Westcott

Blessed Lord, who wast tempted in all things like as we are, have mercy upon our frailty. Out of weakness give us strength; grant to us thy fear, that we may fear thee only; support us in time of temptation; embolden us in time of danger; help us to do thy work with good courage, and to continue thy faithful soldiers and servants unto our life’s end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.

–Psalm 26:8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Barber: Adagio for Strings

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Annalee Newitz's Amazing Gizmodo Article detailing the Ashley Madison Website Fiasco

Overall, the picture is grim indeed. Out of 5.5 million female accounts, roughly zero percent had ever shown any kind of activity at all, after the day they were created.

The men’s accounts tell a story of lively engagement with the site, with over 20 million men hopefully looking at their inboxes, and over 10 million of them initiating chats. The women’s accounts show so little activity that they might as well not be there….

Either way, we’re left with data that suggests Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there.

Read it all (used from the pulpit in yesterday’s sermon by yours truly and yes, emphasis mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

Interview with Bishop John Harrower

An interview with Bishop John the day after his 15th anniversary as the Bishop of Tasmania and the day after he announced his resignation

Listen to it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces