Daily Archives: September 14, 2015

(RNS) Jewish beekeepers sweeten New Year, teach wisdom of the hive

Sabrina Malach acknowledges that she once felt some “Jewish guilt” about her honeybees.

“Are we stealing from them?” she had asked herself. “They’ve done all this work. They never stop, and now we’re taking all their honey.”

But as she looks toward the Jewish New Year, which begins Sunday evening (Sept. 13), the Jewish beekeeper shares that she eventually learned the opposite lesson about bees and honey, a gastronomic symbol of the holiday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Animals, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Grieg: Morning from Peer Gynt

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Religious Freedom Versus Rule of Law

The high-profile case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue a marriage license certificate to a same-sex couple, has raised questions about law, conscience, and religious liberty. Can exercising religious freedom trump obeying the law? Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Roger Severino, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, discuss the Kentucky case with host Bob Abernethy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, City Government, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Gillian Scott–Dignity in dying and the callous indignity of their spin

The compelling religious opposition to Dignity in Dying’s aims has been a constant thorn in their side and, as their own polling has shown, opposition to assisted suicide is strongest among those who most frequently attend worship: support is highest amongst infrequent attendees; those who might be described as culturally or more loosely affiliated to a religion.

What is surprising is not that Dignity in Dying has sought to apply PR solutions to their problematic lack of support among churches and other religious bodies, but that they have taken a more combative position against those with a religious faith more generally; those who tend to believe that assisted suicide is mistaken, regardless of whether the primary objection is on religious or non-religious grounds. This has, as we saw last weekend, extended so far as to question the sincerity of those advancing pragmatic arguments about concern for the vulnerable, because they might also happen to have a faith, or because they may be associated with others that do.

In June, Catherine Bennett wrote in the Guardian ”˜When politicians do God, no wonder we have doubts”˜. She focused negatively on Liberal Democrat leadership contender Tim Farron’s Christian beliefs. Wootton tweeted that she “couldn’t agree more” with Bennett, who had concluded that “everyone agrees that, when it might affect their objectivity, MPs must declare an interest. It seems only fair to ask that, when ethics are debated, they disclose which supernatural affiliation has dictated their response, along with any penalties for disobedience”.

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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, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(London Times Leader) Yemen on the Brink

As the Middle East is consumed by violence, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are at last putting boots on the ground. They are doing so not in Iraq or Syria, where western attention is focused, but in Yemen, where it is not. Six months and 5,000 deaths into a largely unreported war for control of Yemen, Saudi, Qatari and Egyptian troops are massing in the centre of the country for an offensive intended to dislodge Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from its capital, Sanaa.

If the likely outcome of this campaign were any sort of stability it would be a gamble worth taking. Yet the reverse is true. In the desert east of Sanaa a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is escalating. There is no sign of Iran or the Houthis backing down, and every sign that the only real winners will be Islamist extremists who have shown from Afghanistan to Somalia that they thrive where conventional governance fails.

Britain and the United States have a clear interest in de-escalating this war, and they have leverage on both sides.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Yemen

(CSM) In aftermath of Ebola, Sierra Leone finds forgiveness is a powerful resource

Sierra Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries, was startlingly unprepared for the Ebola outbreak that tore through the country last year. It had only 120 doctors for a population of 6 million people, and life expectancy hovered below 50 years. The Rhode Island-sized district where the disease first struck lacked both electricity and paved roads.

But the country is rich in a resource that may best promote recovery from an epidemic that killed nearly 4,000 people and turned whole communities against one another: forgiveness.

“It begins with honest conversation,” says Keppa. “I wanted him to know that by isolating his son, we prevented others from getting sick here. He died, but that was the last case we had in this village.”

Just over a year after their ordeal, Tommy and Keppa stand side by side as they recount the story, not betraying even a flicker of the hurt and suspicion that both men say nearly broke them after the younger Tommy’s death.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sierra Leone, Theology

(Catholic Herald) Patrick Pullicino the Liverpool Care Pathway for dying patiens remains lethal

The controversial Liverpool Care Pathway for dying patients was phased out after an independent review by Baroness Neuberger, which concluded that it had been “misused and misunderstood” by hospital staff.

But although the LCP has gone (in name, at least), it represented “the best quality of care possible” for the dying as defined by palliative medicine physicians. It is therefore not surprising that new guidelines replacing the LCP, recently issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), are very similar. Indeed, they perpetuate the features that made the LCP so dangerous.

The Nice guidelines are, if anything, even worse than the LCP as a result of certain additions. The writers had the Neuberger report to draw on, but they have not taken on board some of its main recommendations. Although the guidelines say they respond “to a need for an evidence-based guideline for the clinical care of the dying”, references to a solid base of scientific evidence are almost totally lacking.

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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, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(News+Observer) Holy Trinity Anglican Church opens in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina

More than 500 people flocked to worship Sunday at the first new church campus to open downtown in more than half a century.

Located near the corner of Peace and Blount streets, Holy Trinity Anglican Church drew such a multitude that ushers scrambled to assemble rows of brand-new folding chairs for overflow seating in the foyer.

The crowds arrived early, and the building buzzed as members took the opportunity to explore every inch of the new facility. That energy soon filled the sanctuary, where the voice of Rev. John Yates III voice boomed out over a powerful speaker system.

“The first thing I want to say this morning is: ”˜Welcome home,’” he said, before asking those gathered to address God individually in prayer.

Read it all and the the church website is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Time Magazine) Is Monogamy Over?

Andy Stanley has a piece entitled “We Crave Something Beyond Biology,” Toni Bentley’s is called “Monogamy Is a Charade,” John Cameron Mitchelle’s is named ” Hook-Up Culture Allows Exploration,” etc.

There are ten articles on the side to link too–Read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Sexuality, Theology, Women

Faith communities urge U.S. to resettle more Syrian refugees

Church World Service (CWS), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and other faith communities are urging the U.S. government to resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees this coming fiscal year, in addition to increasing the total U.S. resettlement commitment to 100,000 refugees from other parts of the world.

The CWS and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service are cooperative ministries by churches based in the United States, including member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

“More than 60 million people have been displaced from their homes,” said Erol Kekic, executive director of the Immigration and Refugee Program for CWS. “Syria is the largest crisis we are facing but let’s not forget Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Lutheran, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology

Once fired, Will Campbell now memorialized at Ole Miss

The Rev. Will Campbell was fired in 1956 as the University of Mississippi’s director of religious life for speaking against the segregationist standards common to the time.

On Friday, the University honored him posthumously by naming a gathering space near Paris-Yates Chapel “the Rev. Will Davis Campbell Plaza.” The dedication, which attracted leaders such as former Gov. William Winter and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, was part of the university’s Racial Reconciliation Week.

“No one has had more influence on me as a person and as a leader,” said Dr. Dan Jones, whose “very personal remarks” about his late friend marked his last official duty as the university’s chancellor. He noted the inscription, “For Dan, my friend, my chancellor,” on his copy of Campbell’s book “Brother to a Dragonfly,” which he called “my favorite commentary on scripture.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

A Prayer for Holy Cross Day

O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life and peace: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sake didst endure the cross, and hast bidden us to follow thee: Take away from us all fear, all coldness of heart, all unwillingness to suffer; that we, glorying in thy cross, may glory also that thou hast called us to bear it with thee; for thy name’s sake.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

–Psalm 56:3-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) Samuel Wells–Walking toward the storm

In March 1990 the European rugby union championship lay in the balance. Scotland and England had both won all their matches, and England traveled to Edinburgh knowing that the winner would take the coveted Grand Slam. The game was perhaps the finest in Scottish rugby history. But the defining moment came before it started. The England players ran onto the field to a largely hostile reception, but the Scots’ captain David Sole did something different. He led his team out at a stately walking pace. It was an iconic moment. It said, “There’s nothing you can throw at us we can’t deal with. We’re going to win this game, and we’re going to walk right toward you, and we will not be overcome.” And that’s what happened. England threw everything at Scotland, but to no avail. And David Sole’s walk became part of Scottish folklore.

Get into David Sole’s mind for a moment. This is the defining moment of my life, in my nation’s cultural life. What happens in the next two hours will be my identity, my legacy, my single truth. And I’m walking slowly toward it. I’m entering the eye of the storm.

Perhaps you are facing a storm. Your life, or the joy in your life, or the well-being of someone you treasure, seems to hang by a thread. Your instinct is to dodge, escape, deny, dive for cover, find a way out, run away….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Carl Trueman on the church tradition he thinks is best able to lead Christians through exile

We live in a time of exile. At least those of us do who hold to traditional Christian beliefs. The strident rhetoric of scientism has made belief in the supernatural look ridiculous. The Pill, no-fault divorce, and now gay marriage have made traditional sexual ethics look outmoded at best and hateful at worst. The Western public square is no longer a place where Christians feel they belong with any degree of comfort.

For Christians in the United States, this is particularly disorienting. In Europe, Christianity was pushed to the margins over a couple of centuries””the tide of faith retreated “with tremulous cadence slow.” In America, the process seems to be happening much more rapidly.

It is also being driven by issues that few predicted would have such cultural force. It is surely an irony as unexpected as it is unwelcome that sex””that most private and intimate act””has become the most pressing public policy issue today. (Who could have imagined that policies concerning contraception and laws allowing same-sex marriage would present the most serious challenges to religious freedom?) We are indeed set for exile, though not an exile which pushes us to the geographical margins. It’s an exile to cultural irrelevance.

Read it all from First Things.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Christopher Howse–“O God of earth and altar": A hymn written for the bright dawn of socialism

At a country funeral this week, amid the heavy foliage of a late English summer, we sang the hymn “O God of earth and altar”. It is not directly socialist, but it is consistent with socialism.
That was the context in which it was sung when newly written ”“ after a meeting of the Church Socialist League in 1912, for example, when civil war was suggested as a solution for the nation’s ills. There was a miners’ strike on, and the meeting marched with a petition to the Archbishop of Canterbury, singing (perhaps to the tune of “The Church’s One Foundation”):

O God of earth and altar
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die.
There is resonance between the next stanza and the feeling of the world now, 100 years later:
From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation
Of honour and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Sunday [London] Times)Yuval Harari–Sorry, everyone; technology has decided you don’t matter

When Thomas Newcomen built his pioneering steam engine in 1712, Queen Anne and the Duke of Marlborough were right to ignore it. Though in the long run steam engines completely reshaped the world, in the short run the war with France and the Hanoverian succession were far more important. Even when the Industrial Revolution picked up steam in the 19th century, it still moved slow enough for politicians to be one step ahead of events and to regulate and manipulate its course.

Yet whereas the rhythm of politics has not changed much since the days of steam, technology has switched from first gear to fourth. Technological revolutions now outpace political processes, causing ministers and voters alike to lose control.
The rise of the internet gives us a taste of things to come. Cyberspace is now crucial to our daily lives, our economy and our security. Yet the critical choices between alternative designs for the internet weren’t taken through a political process, even though they involved traditional political issues such as sovereignty, borders, privacy and security. Decisions made far from the limelight mean that today the internet is a free and lawless zone that erodes state sovereignty, ignores borders, abolishes privacy and poses perhaps the most formidable global security risk.

Whereas a decade ago it hardly registered on the radars, today hysterical officials are predicting an imminent cyber 9/11. Any day now we might wake up to discover that the power grid is down, the local refinery is up in flames, and crucial financial data has been erased so that nobody knows who owns what.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(CT) Why Christianity Is Surging in the Heart of Islam

Sam Espada led friends in a chorus of “Happy Birthday” for his sombrero-wearing brother at a Mexican restaurant. After dinner, they saw the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

The five-story mall could have been anywhere in America, except that every storefront sign was in Arabic as well as English. The group was in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“This place is like Disneyland,” said Espada, a Christian from New Jersey. “But I don’t feel fully free. You can definitely tell you are living in a Muslim country.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Economy, Globalization, Islam, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Qatar, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia, Soteriology, Theology, UAE (United Arab Emirates)

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Theology