Daily Archives: September 3, 2015

ACC Standing Committee issues statement on Burundi

We deplore the situation of insecurity that prevails in Burundi. We call on those in leadership to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable ahead of their own interests. We call on the UN, the African Union and the East African Community to renew all possible efforts to support peace.

We call on Christians of all denominations to pray fervently for Burundi, and we call on the leaders in Burundi earnestly to seek peace and pursue it and especially to call the various political leaders to resume immediately serious and inclusive dialogue.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Burundi, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Theology

(RNS) Pope Francis to city dwellers: ”˜Come down from the towers’

Pope Francis on Wednesday (Sept. 2) told his followers to clamber down from their lofty skyscrapers, reclaim public spaces and rejoin communities.

Speaking at his weekly public audience at the Vatican, the pope said it was up to families to rejuvenate cities.

There may be a lot of ways to spend one’s free time in a city, but love is missing, Francis said.

“The smile of a family is capable of overcoming this desertification of our cities. And this is the victory of the love of a family,” he told followers in St. Peter’s Square.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Urban/City Life and Issues

(ABC Aus.) Stanley Hauerwas–The Humanity of God: Why Christianity Demands a Politics

In his book Civil Religion: A Dialogue in the History of Political Philosophy, Ronald Beiner argues that in modernity the attempt to domesticate strong religious convictions in the interest of state control has assumed two primary and antithetical alternatives: civil religion or liberalism.

Civil religion is the attempt to empower religion, not for the good of religion, but for the creation of the citizen. Indeed, the very creation of “religion” as a concept more fundamental than a determinative tradition is a manifestation that, at least in Western societies, Christianity has become “civil.” Rousseau, according to Beiner, is the decisive figure that gave expression to this transformation because Rousseau saw clearly that the modern state could not risk having a church capable of challenging its political authority. In the process, the political concepts used to legitimize the modern state, at least if Carl Schmitt is right, are secularized theological concepts.

In contrast to civil religion, the liberal alternative rejects all attempts to use religion to produce citizens in service to the state. Liberalism, in its many versions, according to Beiner, seeks to domesticate or neutralize the impact of religious commitment on political life. Liberalism may well result in the production of a banal and flattened account of human existence, but such a form of life seems necessary if we are to be at peace with one another. In other words, liberalism as a way of life depends on the creation of people who think there is nothing for which it worth dying. Such a way of life was exemplified by President Bush who suggested that the duty of Americans after 11 September 2001 was to go shopping.

I have earned the description of being a “fideistic, sectarian, tribalist” because of my attempt to imagine an ecclesial alternative capable of resisting the politics Beiner describes.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–What Is a Christian perspective on sin and Freedom (Mark 7)?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Sky News) US Marks 70th Anniversary Of End Of WWII

Veterans and US officials gathered in Pearl Harbor to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two.

Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, addressed the hundreds gathered on the deck of the now decommissioned battleship USS Missouri.

Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Army General Yoshijiro Umezu signed formal surrender documents on the same deck on 2 September, 1945.

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

(Local Paper) Senator Tim Scott blasts transferring Gitmo terrorists to SC idea after touring brig

After accompanying Pentagon officials on a tour Wednesday of the Navy brig near Charleston, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said he remained opposed to plans to transfer terrorists now held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to a mainland U.S. prison.

“The only solution is enemy combatants must stay in Guantanamo Bay,” Scott, R-S.C., said during a news conference outside the main gate to the Navy base. “One thing that’s completely clear, without any question, there is no compelling reason to close down Gitmo.”

The Navy brig and the Army Detention Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., are among the sites being considered for holding terrorist detainees if President Barack Obama succeeds in shutting down the prison at Gitmo.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Prison/Prison Ministry, Senate, Terrorism, Theology

(The Press) Anglican Church announces new deal for Christ Church Cathedral

An independent Government-appointed consultant will be brought in to negotiate plans for the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral after four years of deadlock.

Plans for the future of Christchurch’s iconic cathedral stalled in 2011 after Anglican leaders came out in support of plans to partially demolish the building.

They had faced ongoing opposition from heritage campaigners, particularly the Great Christchurch Building Trust (GCBT), which wanted the old cathedral to be fully restored.

Bishop Victoria Matthews made the announcement to a full house at the Christ Church Transitional Cathedral on Hereford St on Thursday evening.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Reuters) Suspected Boko Haram gunmen on horseback kill at least 24 in northern Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen on horseback killed at least 24 people in two separate attacks on villages in northeast Nigeria, military and vigilante sources said on Wednesday.

The gunmen opened fire and threw explosive devices in Kolori and Ba’ana Imam, in Damboa Local Government, Borno state, in the attacks on Monday evening.

Although nobody has claimed responsibility and the militants are rarely on horseback, the attacks bore the hallmarks of the Islamist group, which has killed thousands in its six-year-old bid to set up a state adhering to sharia law in the northeast.

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

(Economist Erasmus Blog) Varieties of atheism–Ways of getting along

If the clash between theism and atheism were merely about metaphysical ideas, personal choices, or even quests made by consenting adults, then it should indeed be a negotiable difference in societies which allow for many other kinds of diversity. Thinkers like Mr Gray or even Bishop Jenkins may help us negotiate. But they do not entirely solve the problem. It is striking that the most intractable disputes between believers and non-believers concern the treatment of children: how and by whom they should be raised; what they should be taught about the origin of the world; whether, in the name of religious custom, their bodies should be mutilated; whether the education of boys and girls should be separate and in some way differentiated, as conservative Islam mandates; and at what point in their biological development one can speak of a life which cannot morally be terminated. With or without the guidance of brainy public intellectuals, these are hard arguments which lead to hard choices.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Children, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Environmental Justice in Mossville

A new chemical plant is being built in the small African-American town of Mossville in southwest Louisiana, raising significant concerns about health, safety, and environmental impact. The plant’s owner has offered to pay Mossville residents to move out of their homes and sell their churches. The company says it is being generous, but some longtime residents and religious leaders feel they are being forced out. “The church is the hub of the community, as far as relationships and as far as love and caring for one another,” says LaSalle Clarence Williams Sr., chairman of the deacon board at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Mossville’s oldest house of worship.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AP) Judge OKs gender surgery opposed by 48-year-old's parents

A judge on Wednesday cleared the way for a 48-year-old transgender woman to undergo gender-reassignment surgery, rejecting her parents’ effort to have the operation blocked because they say she is mentally incompetent.

Christine Kitzler demonstrated clear understanding of the three-hour procedure and its risks, Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. said, dismissing her parents’ request that he appoint a legal guardian and subject her to an independent medical exam.

“I’m so happy,” Kitzler whispered as the judge ruled.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Alcuin

Eternal Light, shine into our hearts;

Eternal Goodness, deliver us from evil;

Eternal Power, be our support;

Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance;

Eternal Pity, have mercy upon us;

that with all our heart and mind and soul and strength we may seek thy face and be brought by thine infinite mercy to thy holy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.

–Psalm 37:3-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) Fasting To The Death: Is It A Religious Rite Or Suicide?

A person who is very old or very ill decides to stop eating in order to die.

To members of the ancient and tiny faith of Jainism in India, that’s a tradition called santhara or sallekhana (literally thinning out).

India’s Supreme Court is considering whether to ban the practice as a form of suicide, which is punishable under law. The court is now reviewing the end-of-life ritual.

Some form of fasting is deeply rooted in many religions: Christians practice Lent. Muslims have Ramadan. The Jewish tradition is to fast on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Hindu calendar is rich with days of forsaking food.

But right now the attention is on the custom of the Jains…

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Church Times) A Profile Article on Christine Hardman, the C of E's next woman bishop

The next likely flashpoint for the Synod currently being elected will be over same-sex marriage and sexuality, once the shared conversations currently being rolled out throughout the dioceses are completed.

Bishop-designate Hardman said that she was hopeful that the Church would learn from the bruising debates over women bishops when it came to discuss sexuality. “I hope we will all reflect on that and take forward the positive things that have happened in understanding ways in which we are going to remain together as a Church, albeit with divergent views.”

She would not be drawn on her own views, saying only that on her first day in her new job she was focusing on “excitement for all that I hope for in this diocese”. Speaking from a C of E academy in Newcastle where the press conference which announced her as the next Bishop of Newcastle was held, she explained that among her priorities as bishop would be education.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops