Daily Archives: October 1, 2015

(BBC) Womb transplants given UK go-ahead

Doctors have been granted approval to carry out the UK’s first 10 womb transplants, following the success of the procedure in Sweden.
The go-ahead has been given by the Health Research Authority – as part of a clinical trial – which launches in the spring.
Around one in 7,000 women are born without a womb, while others lose their womb to cancer.
If the trial is successful, the first UK baby could arrive in early 2018.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology, Women

Archbishop Justin Welby's sermon at commissioning of Church Credit Champions

Those of you who are shortly going to be commissioned as Church Credit Champions have heard God’s call, as the whole church has in recent years, to be a church of the poor for the poor; to seek justice and the common good for all in our society.

You have set up credit union access points in your churches, brought new people onto the boards of local credit unions, supported people struggling with debt through signposting them to debt advice resources.

You have seen the need, and you have met it with love, grace and hope.

We all know that the Christian relationship with money is, at best, slightly ambivalent. We recognise when it’s got the wrong place, but we find it quite hard to find the right place.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

Archbishop Welby commissions Credit Champions to help churches support people struggling with money

The church has heard a fresh call to be “a church of the poor for the poor” in recent years, the Archbishop of Canterbury said last night as he commissioned volunteers to help churches engage with issues of credit and debt in their communities.

Speaking during a special service at St George-in-the-East in Shadwell, London, the Archbishop told more than 50 volunteers ”“ who have taken part in a pilot scheme in London, Southwark and Liverpool dioceses ”“ that they had “seen the need, and met it with love, grace and hope.”

The first phase of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Church Credit Champions Network is on course to secure benefits worth over £2million for local communities.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(NYT Op-Ed) Sherry Turkle–Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.

One 15-year-old I interviewed at a summer camp talked about her reaction when she went out to dinner with her father and he took out his phone to add “facts” to their conversation. “Daddy,” she said, “stop Googling. I want to talk to you.” A 15-year-old boy told me that someday he wanted to raise a family, not the way his parents are raising him (with phones out during meals and in the park and during his school sports events) but the way his parents think they are raising him ”” with no phones at meals and plentiful family conversation. One college junior tried to capture what is wrong about life in his generation. “Our texts are fine,” he said. “It’s what texting does to our conversations when we are together that’s the problem.”

It’s a powerful insight. Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. People keep the conversation on topics where they won’t mind being interrupted. They don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

The Latest Anglican Unscripted–Kevin Kallsen and George Conger on the Proposed Anglican Primates Ga

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop of London delivers Lambeth Lecture on church growth in the capital

One such place was Holy Trinity Brompton whose leaders had experienced a measure of frustration in their dealings with the Kensington Area hierarchy. Alpha was beginning to develop into the global movement that it is today, and there were voices within HTB urging that a base outside the Church of England would be more conducive to growth. The local hierarchy was unwilling to see HTB as much more than a conventional parish in the Area, and in particular was keen to restrict the numbers of curates that the Church could employ, even though there was finance available to enlarge the staff. The restrictions were fuelled by a liberal distaste for charismatic evangelicalism and a conviction that the supply of curates should be evenly spread throughout the Diocese, irrespective of the capacity to pay.

There was an important principle here, also expressed in the Common Fund system. The Diocesan budget was calculated on the basis of the establishment figure for clergy numbers, together with elements for administration and national church obligations. The total sum was then divided between parishes by reference to a complex formula which relied heavily on electoral roll numbers, with the consequence that a church in decline would be more and more heavily subsidised by any that were growing. There was in effect a tax on growth and an incentive to be less than candid in declaring parochial resources. This may have been tolerable when the Diocese still enjoyed a substantial benefit from the distributions of the Church Commissioners but, as these declined in significance and pension obligations in particular mounted, the contributors to the system were increasingly restive as they saw that they were being asked to subsidize less active neighbours. It was clear that a crisis of consent could not be long delayed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(UMNS) Local pastors on the rise

When large, multisite Grace Church in Florida needed a pastor for its new downtown Fort Myers campus, the Rev. Arlene Jackson got the call.

She began with about 30 in worship. Over five years, her flock at Grace ”” a United Methodist church ”” has grown to more than 400. Many were previously “unchurched” and recovering from addictions, as she did.

“It’s the most diverse bunch of mixed nuts you’ve ever met,” Jackson said. “They’re growing in Christ and bringing people and having a lot of joy in their walk with the Lord.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Crux) John Allen–What it means that Pope Francis met Kim Davis

….there’s no way to view the encounter other than as a broad gesture of support by the pope for conscientious objection from gay marriage laws, especially taken in tandem with his statement aboard the papal plane that following one’s conscience in such a situation is a “human right” ”“ one, he insisted, that also belongs to government officials.

So what does it mean?

First, it means that Francis has significantly strengthened the hand of the US bishops and other voices in American debates defending religious freedom.

In the wake of a massively successful trip in which Francis was lauded for his stands on issues ranging from climate change to immigration to fighting poverty, it will be more difficult for anyone to wrap themselves in the papal mantle without at least acknowledging his concerns vis-à-vis religious freedom.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(WSJ) The Price We Pay for Sitting Too Much

New research is helping medical experts devise formulas for how long a typical office worker should spend sitting and standing.

Studies have found that sedentary behavior, including sitting for extended periods, increases the risk for developing dozens of chronic conditions, from cancer and diabetes to cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Some ergonomics experts warn that too much standing also can have negative effects on health, including a greater risk for varicose veins, back and foot problems, and carotid artery disease.

“The key is breaking up your activity throughout the day,” said Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University. “Sitting all day and standing all day are both bad for you,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Remigius

O God, who by the teaching of thy faithful servant and bishop Remigius didst turn the nation of the Franks from vain idolatry to the worship of thee, the true and living God, in the fullness of the catholic faith; Grant that we who glory in the name of Christian may show forth our faith in worthy deeds; through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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 the Pastor's Prayerbook

O gracious Lord, Who as at this time, didst raise Thy Son Jesus Christ with power from the grave, raise us up, we beseech Thee, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; Revive our faith, and make us followers of Him Who hath taken away the “sin of the world; Who by His death hath destroyed death, and by His rising to life again hath restored to us everlasting life.” Hear us, O merciful Father, we pray Thee, for the sake of our risen Saviour, to Whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually!

–Psalm 105:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Ephraim Radner–An Anglican Anti-Corruption Movement?

I would put it this way: corruption involves, not restriction of voice in general, but its illegitimate restriction, defined in terms of the rules of a given game. When those rules are established and accepted, then the issue of “voice” becomes less problematic: bowling clubs are not acting illegitimately when they restrict their membership to bowlers, rather than opening it up to ping-pong players. Similarly, churches are not acting illegitimately, and therefore are not restricting voice, when they limit ordination to baptized and believing Christians. Thus, the inevitable question of whether “orthodoxy” should restrict the voices of the “unorthodox” must be answered as both “yes” and “no.” “Yes,” if this restriction is built into the canonical structures of the church in question; “no”, if these restrictions derive from structures that are extra-canonically constrained by manipulations of influence. For when there is canonical space for diverse embodiments of, e.g. theological positions in a church, as in both “evangelical” and “catholic” views within the older Anglican ecclesial structures, engaging the Influence Market in a way that restricts those voices becomes a matter of corruption.

This can arguably be shown with the Episcopal Church (TEC): what was once a relatively theologically diverse church, within the limits of its formularies, has become one of the most theologically monochromatic churches in America. This has happened through the ever more deeply engaged Influence Market. On the one hand, there has been nothing “illegal” about the outworking of that market: bishops can ordain whom they wish and appointments can be made according to personal preferences of those in power. But the end result of caving into, let alone deliberately manipulating, these dynamics is corruption, and on two scores.

First, through the suppression of legitimate voices in the Church, it is inevitable that the truth ”” in this case, the truth of the Gospel ”” suffers, simply for lack of adequately trained hearts and minds to engage that truth. More corruption follows, through the perversion of critical Christian inquiry. Second, when Influence Markets such as TEC’s are moving ahead at full steam, it is inevitable that more concrete and classical acts of corruption take place: misuse of funds and misuse of canons (the church’s legal process). In an institution where everybody is “on the same side” (because there are few left on any other side), no one wishes to hurt their “friends” by raising questions. This has happened on a number of fronts in TEC in matters involving the national budget (e.g. misusing trust funds to balance the bottom line), discipline (manipulating canons to silence dissenting voices), and the legislative process (not following canonical procedures at General Convention). It represents a matter of corruption, at least in Johnston’s paradigm, where the “legal” Influence Market has finally given way to quite “illegal” activities.

Read it all from the Living Church’s Covenant blog (emphasis his).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecclesiology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

An ABC article on Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom in Australia

The synod of the Anglican Church’s Sydney diocese will next month consider a report from a senior bishop which argues that wedding service providers should have the “religious freedom” to refuse to cater for gay couples.

While some believe that such laws would set a dangerous precedent, Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson argues the rights of both groups can be protected.

The Anglican Bishop of South Sydney Robert Forsyth heads up the Religious Freedom Reference Group within the church’s conservative Sydney diocese.

He is personally opposed to gay marriage and wants any new laws to offer an opt-out for those opposed to [same-sex marriage].

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology