Daily Archives: September 12, 2015

NT Wright: Matthew Parris is wrong ”“ the gospels do help us respond to the migrant crisis

NT Wright – Spectator
..All right: much popular reaction, Christian included, has been little more than anguished arm-waving. But soundbites are not the real clue. What counts is action. To look no further than my own church, the Anglican chaplaincies in Budapest and Athens have been working with tireless generosity. The Canterbury diocese, close to Calais, has been going the second mile, then the third and fourth. It’s risky to say, ”˜Look what we Christians do’; history is littered with our follies and failures. But the early Christians were first in the field of caring for strangers, the poor and refugees, just as they initiated public medicine and education. We’re still doing it.

This still begs Matthew’s question about priorities. But there should be no puzzle. The gospels pick up the ancient Israelite narratives of hope: hope for a coming king who would do justice for the poor, defend and deliver the needy, overturn oppression and take pity on the weak. ”˜Remember the poor,’ St Peter reminded St Paul. By the end of the second century, the Roman authorities didn’t know exactly what Christianity was, but they knew what bishops were: pesky nuisances, always banging on about the plight of the poor…

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Matthew Parris on duty to migrants ”“ says Christianity doesn’t help

Matthew Parris – Spectator
..though an atheist, I accept that my morality ”” and to a considerable degree what we call western morality ”” is anchored in a Christian culture. Whether or not we ourselves believe in God, we’ve all soaked up the ethical teachings.

And they’re useless. ”˜Do unto others as you would that they would do unto you’ is, like ”˜Love your neighbour as yourself’, either impossible or circular. Circular if it means ”˜Act towards others as you think they should act towards you,’ because this leaves open the question of how you think people should act, and would permit a cannibal to eat another cannibal. If, however, the commandment means ”˜Treat others as it would please you to be treated by them,’ then the precept is impossible because you’d give all your money to the first beggar you encountered. We’d all be off to Calais to try to smuggle migrants in our car boots.

Christianity (as represented by the Gospels) is all but silent ”” extraordinarily so ”” on the question of familial obligation. There is some evidence that Christ was impatient with family, and none that these were ties He wanted to reinforce. As to ”˜community’, the parable of the good Samaritan suggests a certain impatience here, too. As to nation, I find ”˜Render unto Caesar”¦’ an evasive answer, because it does not assist our understanding of which things ”˜those things that are Caesar’s’ might be.

If, as I believe, the main difficulty that faces us in deciding moral duty is the difficulty of prioritising, then Christianity is profoundly unhelpful…

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

CofE: Statement following vote on Assisted Dying Bill

James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, and lead bishop for the Church of England on health care issues, said: “We are heartened that MPs have decided not to change the law on assisted suicide.

“We believe that the proposals contained in the Assisted Dying Bill would have exposed already vulnerable people to increased risk. The vote in the House of Commons sends a strong signal that the right approach towards supporting the terminally ill is to offer compassion and support through better palliative care. We believe that all of us need to redouble our efforts on that front.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Suicide

Stephen Trott: Assisted suicide ”“ some reflections from recent history

As a law student in 1975 I studied David Steel’s Abortion Bill of 1967, which it was claimed would provide a remedy to the rigidity of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, according to which a doctor performing an abortion where the continuation of the pregnancy would endanger the mother’s life, faced prosecution and even a long jail sentence. Assurances were given or implied that this would mean a tiny number of cases each year in which such abortions would be carried out legitimately in order to save the mother’s life.

However, as we have seen since the Act was passed in 1968, giving permission in what were thought to be strictly controlled circumstances for a tiny number of cases of medical necessity, has resulted in a dramatic change to our society and culture. The historic recognition of unborn children as human beings, and the legal protection which was afforded to them, has given way to an interpretation of the Act (which Parliament said it did not intend in 1967) by means of which roughly one in five pregnancies now end in abortion, carried out even for reasons such as gender selection.

Almost all frail members of society depend on society in some way for their well-being and in many cases for the continuation of their lives from hour to hour and day to day. They are able to trust the institutions, agencies and above all the medical profession quite literally with their lives…

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Suicide

[John Bingham] Right to die: MPs reject assisted dying law

MPs vote against enshrining right to die in British law, blocking second reading of Assisted Dying Bill by 212 majority in historic Commons vote
MPs have overwhelmingly rejected the legalisation of assisted dying in England and Wales after an impassioned four-and-a-half hour debate in which party lines were set aside.

Members voted by three to one against giving second reading to a bill tabled by the Labour backbencher Rob Marris, to allow terminally ill patients to be supplied with a lethal dose of drugs

It was the first ever serious attempt to change Britain’s assisted suicide laws through the House of Commons and saw calls for the issue to be put to a referendum amid polling suggesting public support running at around 80 per cent.

MPs on both sides lined up to give moving personal accounts of the loss of loved ones arguing both in favour and against.

But they were swayed by a series of warnings, including from fellow MPs qualified as doctors, that a change in the law would fundamentally alter the relationship between doctor and patient.

Read it all and read down for a helpful listing of arguments for and against.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Suicide

(NYT) California Legislature Approves Assisted Suicide

In a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, the California State Legislature on Friday gave its final approval to a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill people end their lives.

Four states ”” Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont ”” already allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to some patients. The California bill, which passed Friday in the State Senate by a vote of 23 to 14, will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will roughly triple access to doctor-assisted suicide across the country if he signs it. Mr. Brown has given little indication of his intentions.

The California bill is modeled on the law in Oregon, with several notable changes. The California law would expire after 10 years and have to be reapproved, and doctors would have to consult in private with the patient desiring to die, as part of an effort to ensure that no one would be coerced to end his or her life ”” a primary concern for opponents of the law.

Leaders of the “death with dignity” movement said they hoped the passage of the California law could be a turning point.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, State Government, Theology

The Lamb of God, a sermon by Bishop John Henry Hobart for his Feast Day

The striking and appropriate terms in which the prophet Isaiah depicts the character and offices of the Messiah, have procured for him, by way of eminence, the title of the Evangelical Prophet. He exhibits a glowing but faithful picture of the character of Christ, and all the humiliating and all the triumphant events of his life. In the chapter which contains my text, the prophet has dipped his pencil in the softest colours, and draws a portrait of the Saviour, which, while it conveys to us the most exalted ideas of his character, is calculated to awaken our tenderest and liveliest sympathy.

Let us then contemplate the character of Christ, as delineated by the prophet under the emblem of “a lamb brought to the slaughter,” that our penitence may be awakened, our gratitude enlivened, and our souls warmed with the ardent emotions of love and duty.

Under the character of a “lamb brought to the slaughter,” we are led to consider,

The innocence of Christ;

His tenderness and compassion;

His patience;

And, finally, to consider him as the victim for our sins.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Henry Hobart

Revive thy Church, Lord God of hosts, whensoever it doth fall into complacency and sloth, by raising up devoted leaders, like thy servant John Henry Hobart whom we remember this day; and grant that their faith and vigor of mind may awaken thy people to thy message and their mission; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

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

Jesus, our Master, do thou meet us while we walk in the way and long to reach the heavenly country; so that, following thy light, we may keep the way of righteousness, and never wander away into the darkness of this world’s night, while thou, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Light art shining within us; for thy mercy’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But I call upon God; and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice. He will deliver my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

–Psalm 55:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NBC) 9/11 Anniversary: Remembering the Victims 14 Years Later

It’s been 14 years since the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. People all over the country paused to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost on 9/11.

Watch it all.

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

Music for 9/11 written by John Adams–On the Transmigration of Souls

This has a haunting quality to it, so be ready–listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Music, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Local Paper) Remembering 9/11–a day that changed history

Before Wilsondebriano threw a memorial wreath into the harbor, he shared his story of the events that ultimately caused him to leave his fire station in Queens and travel to lower Manhattan inside a bus-like ambulance ”” just as the first tower collapsed.

“I couldn’t see the tower anymore,” he said. “In my mind, I was saying that this can’t be true.”

He called his girlfriend of six years, who told him not to go any further downtown. “I told her I’ve got to get down there to my guys,” he said.

He was stationed near the North Tower when it became the second to fall. “I felt this big rumble. … It sounded like the biggest train that could ever be underneath me,” he said. “I looked up and I saw the top of the tower twisting as it started to collapse.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Faith Mcdonnell–Everything You Know is About to Change: Why I Will Never Forget 9/11

…that scene reminds me of the bright, sunny Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001. Although most of us didn’t realize it, we, America, the West, were already engaged in a life-and-death struggle against evil forces that had taken control. We only became aware of it when the planes hit the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and crashed into the Shanksville, PA field.

That story explains why September 11, 2001 is as present a reality to me today as it was twelve years ago. The grief I feel today is as sharp as it was then.

I did not lose any family members or close friends amongst the almost 3,000 people killed when the jihadists that we call “the 9/11 terrorists” turned three airliners full of men, women, and children into missiles. But I mourn the loss of each one, their lost potential to grace the world with their own gifts, talents, humor, and affection ”” their humanity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence