Daily Archives: October 4, 2015

A Haunting look back to 1998–Gilbert Meilaender: Affirming Ourselves to Death

Compassion, taken alone and severed from deeper, richer understandings of our nature and destiny, kills morality. Taken as the sole moral principle it undercuts our ability to articulate an ideal for human life. That is surely true of Tribe’s angle of vision on cloning. In order to assure that we do not risk making any person feel marginalized, we are suddenly forbidden to condemn what seems wrong to us. We are unable any longer to raise and discuss questions about what the nature of a cloned person would in fact be, what it means to be human, whether the bond between the generations created by ordinary human reproduction is integral to our humanity.

Tribe is not wrong to fear that cloning threatens human equality. As one made by us rather than one who comes from us, the clone would be a product rather than a gift. And when we make products, we determine their point and purpose. True compassion should draw us away from such circumstances, away from actions that might create cases metaphysically too baffling for our morality to address. But Tribe, as with the instance of removing the stigma from illegitimacy, purchases equality by means of a compassion that is the only moral law, and that makes for too shriveled and truncated a morality.

We ought, of course, to care as best we can for those who are victimized or marginalized in our society. But when we hesitate to pass judgment it should not be because we fear that moral ideals will, by their very existence, make those who fall short feel condemned. That is a dead end, if there ever was one. Bereft of any larger sense of the human good, unable to articulate (lest we hurt feelings) what is best in human life and what the family at its best might be, we will””if we follow Tribe’s prescription””lurch from one affirmation to the next until even the language of compassion finally loses its point. That is the possibility about which we ought to have second thoughts and which might remind us, in Chesterton’s words, of “the importance of an ideal.”

Read it all from First Things (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) He was a U.S. ally in Africa. Now he's on trial for crimes against humanity

(Warning–very disturbing content-KSH).

He was our man in Africa.

Hissene Habre, who ruled Chad in the 1980s, was a U.S. ally in good standing even as his government killed tens of thousands of people and filled prisons with enemies who were starved, beaten and tortured.

Last week he finally had to face victims of those times in court. There was frozen silence as former prisoners testified for the first time against the man who was feted at the White House in 1987 by President Reagan and was armed and supported in a covert CIA operation to fight Libya’s Col. Moammar Kadafi.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Chad, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Libya, Politics in General, Theology, Violence

In an Oregon church near shootings were nine died, Christians confront difficult questions

Their church, Turning Point Adventist, was located in an old Moose Lodge a few miles from Umpqua Community College, where a gunman had allegedly asked victims about their religion and then targeted Christians during a massacre Thursday that left nine dead. Now the sidewalk on the road between the church and the college had become one long memorial, chalked with Bible verses and visited by prayer groups who sang hymns into the night.

It seemed to Wibberding and many others here that the target of America’s latest mass shooting had been not just a classroom or a college or a town, but also a religion. Now, in a church near the shooting, it was left to Christians to ask hard questions about their faith and decide how to respond.

“If he had been pointing that gun at you, asking if you were Christian, what would you have said?” Wibberding asked. “How much does this mean to you? Imagine you were there.”

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence, Young Adults

(Forbes) Is The 21st Century The Century Of Religion?

As a Western European I have seen the dramatic drop in the influence of organized religion in society. Having spent part of my childhood in Spain, churches on Sunday were packed and priests and nuns in habits prominent features of the social landscape. Even though to a lesser extent, this was also the case in secular France. Today churches across Western Europe are empty, the average age in many congregations is well over 60, while priests need to be recruited from Latin America, Africa and Asia as their numbers among Western Europeans have dwindled dramatically ”“ a sort-of “reverse missionary” phenomenon. Thus, even though many Western Europeans like Pope Francis, there seems very little chance that they will return in droves to church. Western Europe would seem to have entered a post-religion era.

From a Western European prism it could be assumed that this would be a global trend. The assumption however could not have been more wrong. Religion is clearly a case where Western Europe is definitely the abnorm and not the norm. In the post-Cold War era, with the collapse of Marxist-Leninist ideologies, it is (to me, anyway) quite astonishing the degree to which religion has “returned” as a major driving force and prominent feature of the 21st century.

In speaking of Europe, I have stressed Western Europe, as this would not be true in Eastern Europe where the Orthodox Churches have seen a considerable revival. In post-Soviet Russia an estimated 47% of the population (67 million) are practicing. Similarly one could not claim, by any means, that “the West” has entered a post-religion era given the overwhelming importance and prominence of religion in the US.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, History, Religion & Culture

(Premier) "Time is running out" to save Christians in Middle East, stresses Lord Carey

A Former Archbishop of Canterbury has urged Prime Minister David Cameron to do more to help Christians in the Middle East saying “time is running out”.

Lord Carey said more had to be done to support followers of Christ who face persecution or death at the hands of Islamic terrorism.

“Time is running out for Christians in the region,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CNN) Doctors without borders urges independent inquiry after Afghan hospital blown apart

Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent investigation of the deadly bombing of its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, which it says is no longer operational.

Aerial bombardments blew apart the medical facility about the time of a U.S. airstrike early Saturday, killing at least 19 people, officials said.

The blasts left part of the hospital in flames and rubble, killing 12 staffers and seven patients — including three children — and injuring 37 other people, the charity said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Theology, Violence

The Latest Newsletter from the TEC Diocese of Upper South Carolina

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Lowcountry SC Rain will continue today; multiple severe weather warnings in effect

A photo posted by @ontheflysc on

The Lowcountry won’t see much of a break today, as the National Weather Service forecasts rain and possible thunderstorms to continue throughout the day and into the overnight hours. New rainfall amounts in excess of 4 inches are possible.

The high will be around 75 degrees and the wind will be between 5 and 8 mph.

Storms today could produce heavy rainfall, which has been the case since Thursday for most of the Lowcountry. The historic downfall has caused several event cancellations and has closed numerous Lowcountry roads. Residents are urged to stay home as much as possible.

Read it all and you can see 41 local photos there.

Posted in * General Interest, * South Carolina, Weather

A Prayer to Begin the Day from C J Vaughan

Write deeply upon our minds, O Lord our God, the lessons of thy holy Word, that only the pure in heart can see thee. Leave us not in the bondage of any sinful inclination. May we neither deceive ourselves with the thought that we have no sin, nor idly acquiesce in aught of which our conscience accuses us. Strengthen us by thy Holy Spirit to fight the good fight of faith, and grant that no day may pass without its victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!

–Psalm 118:1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(FT) Coke and McDonald’s call on Sepp Blatter to quit

Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser, three of the largest World Cup sponsors, are demanding that Sepp Blatter step down immediately from his presidency of Fifa, a week after he personally became the subject of a criminal investigation into a corruption scandal that has engulfed the organisation.

Visa, another important sponsor, also joined the call for Mr Blatter to fall on his sword. But the defiant head of Fifa pushed back in a statement through his lawyer, refusing to heed the companies whose deals with Fifa contributed to more than $1.6bn in sponsorship revenue for the body between 2011-14, according to consultancy IEG.

The demands from Coke, McDonald’s and Budweiser’s owner Anheuser-Busch InBev are the strongest yet. All three have urged Fifa to make swift progress in cleaning itself up but to date they had not called outright for Mr Blatter’s resignation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Sports, Theology

A Mississippi article on the Archbishop of Canterbury's call for a gathering of primates

“As of now, the GAFCON primates have said that if the Anglican Church of Canada and the U.S. is at the table for the January meeting, they will not attend,” said the Rev. Paul Stephens, rector at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Tupelo, “And that’s unfortunate.”

Stephens said that worldwide, the Anglican Communion is connected, but not obligated. The Anglican church was spread through British colonization. Wherever there was a British colony, there is now an Anglican church. Globally, 38 Anglican provinces make up the Anglican Communion, the centerpiece of which is the Church of England.

“In terms of authority, the Archbishop of Canterbury isn’t like the Pope. He doesn’t have the jurisdiction to ”˜make’ me do anything, though if he did I would almost certainly acquiesce,” Stephens said. “Anglican provinces have autonomy, and make their own rulings within themselves that don’t have bearing on the others. However, there’s a saying that goes something like, ”˜If someone sneezes at an Episcopal church in Corinth, someone at an Episcopal church in Bay St. Louis will say “Bless you.”’”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Symon Hill–Bisexuality is often misunderstood, but has the potential to refocus us

THE tendency to ignore bisexuals seems particularly prevalent in Christian circles. The Pilling report made almost no reference to bisexuality…It repeatedly used the phrase “gay and lesbian”. At certain points, it seems that this is meant to mean “people who are not straight” or “people in same-sex relationships”. At other points, it seems to involve the more usual meaning of “people attracted only to others of the same sex”.

Church discussions on sexuality are confusing and controversial enough without using sloppy language and ignoring a sizeable number of people. The Pilling report is far from being the only culprit.

Campaigners on both sides of the argument say “gay marriage” when they mean same-sex marriage. As a bisexual Christian, I know that marrying a man would not make me gay, nor would marrying a woman make me straight.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Corruption entrenches inequality in South Africa, says Archbishop Makgoba

It’s time to stop marching, having discourses and debates, writing and repeatedly speaking about being anti-corruption. Why?

Because it’s not about being anti-corruption…

It’s about being pro-courage. Pro-courage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology