Daily Archives: September 10, 2015

(Spectator) Soon, having sex and having children will be utterly disconnected

I suppose it would be wholly wrong, and simplistic, to suggest that these potential problems could be obviated by doing away with sperm banks….

Read it all.

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

The Harvard Freshman Survey on Belief+Lifestyle shows over 21% are agnostic, the largest group

Part III of The Crimson’s survey of the Class of 2019 looks at the beliefs and lifestyles of the incoming freshmen. Almost two-thirds of the surveyed students are virgins, but respondents who took a gap year between high school and college were more likely to report having had sexual intercourse before arriving in Cambridge. Most have minimal experience with drugs and alcohol. A majority identify politically as at least somewhat liberal, but a plurality””45 percent””reported feeling unsure about whether their new school should divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry, a raging debate on campus. Forty-one percent said they are “not confident at all” that the police treat white people and black people equally.

Read it all from the Crimson.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

(Guardian) Zara Aziz–We need better palliative care, not assisted dying

…I can understand the argument for assisted dying, especially when I see people with dementia. I can (or I think I can) cope with physical frailty but it is the thought of losing one’s mind that troubles me most. Perhaps I, too, would want the independence to end my life at a time and circumstances of my choosing. But is dementia or another intractable condition even part of this assisted dying bill, which talks of capacity and death within fixed timeframes?

The proposed bill does not offer sufficient safeguarding for patients and doctors. Mental capacity can change depending on mood, physical distress or social hardship. There is always the risk that doctors will get it wrong. This risk of causing harm far outweighs any potential benefits.

Patients must have the trust and assurance that we are on their side. More thought needs to go into amending the bill further and looking at the practicalities of how assisted dying could be implemented, as there is no scope for this in routine medical practice. Assisted dying should not be the cheap alternative to high-quality palliative care.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

(AP) 1000 Indian Muslim Clerics condemn Islamic State, calling it 'un-Islamic'

More than 1,000 Muslim clerics in India have ratified a religious ruling that condemns the Islamic State and calls the extremist group’s actions “un-Islamic,” a top Indian Muslim leader said Wednesday.

Religious leaders from hundreds of Islamic mosques, education institutions and civic groups across India have signed the edict, or fatwa, saying the actions of the Islamic State group went against the basic tenets of Islam.

The edict was issued by a leading Mumbai-based cleric, Mohammed Manzar Hasan Ashrafi Misbahi, and has been signed by the leaders of all the main mosques in India, which has the world’s third-largest Muslim population.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, India, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

SSWSH Bishops Launch ”˜Communion and Catholicity in the C of E: A Statement of Principles’

The statement explains

the nature of communion;
The Society’s aspiration to be an expression of full, visible communion;
the communion that the parishes and people of The Society continue to share with other members of the Church of England.

It reflects on the vocation of catholic Christians in the Church of England.

Read it all and follow the link to the full statement.

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

(NPR) Minneapolis Unveiling Plan To Counter Recruiting By ISIS

Minneapolis officials are unveiling a million-dollar program aimed at preventing ISIS from radicalizing and recruiting Americans in the Twin Cities.

The effort is in response to the fact that Minnesota’s burgeoning Somali-American community ”” the largest in the U.S. at between 15,000 and 20,000 people ”” has become ground zero for ISIS’s U.S. recruitment push.

Law enforcement officials say between 50 and 60 young people in Minnesota have either successfully traveled to Syria, been stopped at an airport en route or are under investigation for allegedly planning to do so.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Young Adults

C of E vicar wins Funeral Celebrant of the Year

A Church of England vicar was named Funeral Celebrant of the Year at the Good Funeral Awards.

The Revd Juliet Stephenson, was awarded the Funeral Celebrant of the Year, and was the only Church of England vicar among 11 nominees in the category.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Tablet Mag) How a Writer Discovered the Bible Anew at the University of Iowa

Distinguished translator and critic Robert Alter expressed similar sympathy for the task Kushner had taken on for herself. “Existent English versions have not paid sufficient attention to issues of style,” he wrote to me, because “many biblical words do not map semantically onto their approximate English equivalents” and “the structure of biblical Hebrew is so different from that of modern English.”

Kushner writes in a chapter titled “God” that her mother taught her that language isn’t simply a collection of words. “It is an opening into a way of thinking,” she writes, “a view of the world, a naming of its neighborhoods. But it is not easy to make a language come alive for someone who does not speak that language; it is a challenge to rename the seemingly familiar and name the unfamiliar. The effort often results in clumsiness and misunderstanding. Perhaps that is why translators are often reviled.”

One of the many pleasures of this new book is to see the process by which Kushner struggles to come to an understanding of the text in language that at once is poetic and does justice to its source. “What Jewish law wants is an ongoing conversation between man and God, and between man and man””but most of all, between man and himself,” she writes. “It’s not a command, exactly, but a conversation: an inner song, full of melody and refrain.”

The book’s key message is that studying the Bible is never about just one solitary reading.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Judaism, Other Faiths, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Young Adults

(CT) J.I. Packer: How I Learned to Live Joyfully from Ecclesiastes

Christians like to quiz each other about their favorite book in the Bible. Finding out how people experience Scripture””especially those who write books about the Bible””is a natural interest to us. When asked which Bible book is my favorite, I say Ecclesiastes. Should people raise their eyebrows and ask why, I give them two reasons.

First, it is a special pleasure to read an author with whom one resonates. That is how the writer, who called himself Qohelet””Hebrew for “Gatherer,” a title that in Greek became Ecclesiastes, the “Assembly-man”””strikes me. I see him as a reflective senior citizen, a public teacher of wisdom, something of a stylist and wordsmith. As his official testimonial or third-person testimony (it might be either) in 12:10 shows, this man took his instructional task very seriously and labored to communicate memorably. Whether he was the Solomon of history or someone impersonating him””not to deceive but to make points in the most effective way””we do not know. All I am sure of is that each point has maximum strength if it comes from the real Solomon at the end of his life.

Whoever he was, Qohelet was a realist about the many ways in which this world gives us a rough ride. But while temperamentally inclined to pessimism and cynicism, I think, he was kept from falling into either of those craters of despair by a strong theology of joy.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Alexander Crummell (1819-1898)

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Alexander Crummell, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to those who were far off and to those who were near. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land evangelists and heralds of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor's Prayer Book

O Lord my God, for life and reason, nurture, preservation, guidance, education; for Thy gifts of grace and nature, for Thy calling, recalling, manifold recalling me again and again; for Thy forbearance, long-suffering, and long long-suffering toward me, even until now; for all from whom I have received any good or help; for the use of Thy present good things; for Thy promise, and my hope, of good things to come; for all these things, and for all other, which I know not, manifest or secret, remembered or forgotten by me, I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I give Thee thanks, all the days of my life. What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits to me? Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

–Philippians 2:12-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Rod Dreher–The Secret History of Father Maloney

So, when Wendell and I were researching The Wind in the Reeds, we learned a fascinating story from his Uncle Lloyd (“L.C.”), who is now 81. It’s a piece of civil rights history that amazed both of us. Lloyd had never told Wendell the story, and it’s the kind of story that might have been lost to history.

Father Harry J. Maloney, a big, bluff Irishman from New York City, had given his life as a priest of the Josephites, a Catholic religious order founded by Rome in the 19th century to provide priests to serve freed black slaves in America. Believe it or not, there were lots of Catholic slaves. In Louisiana, if the master was Catholic, his slaves were also baptized as Catholics. After the Civil War, they had no black priests, and the segregated culture made it impossible in most places for black Catholics to share churches with white Catholics. The Josephites dedicated their lives to serving African American congregations.

In 1948, the New Orleans archdiocese sent Father Maloney to Assumption Parish, where Wendell’s ancestors were living, to serve the black Catholics there.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Canadian Anglican Primate’s letter to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, England / UK, History, Hunger/Malnutrition, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Joe Gibbes–Advent Bible in a Year Blog: A Great Multitude That No One Could Number

As I watch football games on TV, I often marvel at the sheer number of people who have come to fill up these stadiums, often 80,000 ”“ 100,000 people, cheering on their teams with raucous intensity. And then throughout the day, I’ll see other games played at other stadiums around the country, all equally large, equally full, and equally loud, hailing their heroes’ momentary victories.

Yet then I read of heaven, where people of all tribes and languages, from all nationalities and all races around the world, and even from across the centuries””all of us who have believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior””will be around the throne of God, worshipping the Lamb. It will be a crowd far larger than the sum of those “mighty” stadium crowds, but all dressed in our team color””white””and all cheering for our great Hero.

Jesus will be our hero because he is the one who got us there, for “Salvation belongs to him!” He will be our hero because it is by his blood that our robes, rightly filthy rags, will be washed white.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Christology, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture