Daily Archives: December 3, 2015

(NYT) F.B.I. Treats San Bernardino Attack as Possible Terrorism Case

Law enforcement officials said the F.B.I. had uncovered evidence that Mr. Farook was in contact over several years with extremists domestically and abroad, including at least one person in the United States who was investigated for suspected terrorism by federal authorities in recent years. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The officials called the case perplexing, saying that no clear evidence of terrorism had emerged, though the attack was clearly premeditated. The victims were Mr. Farook’s co-workers at the county health department, and the shooting may have involved grievances against them, but it did not fit the mold for workplace violence, either.

The idea that this was a workplace argument that spiraled out of control seems far-fetched, the officials said, given the explosives and the preparation. “You don’t take your wife to a workplace shooting, and especially not as prepared as they were,” said a senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. “He could have been radicalized, ready to go with some type of attack, and then had a dispute at work and decided to do something.”

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

(CT) Andy Crouch–On ”˜Thoughts and Prayers’ After the San Bernardino Shooting

3.a. To suggest that we should act (though usually without specifying how those of us not physically present could act in the immediate wake of tragedy or terror), instead of pray, therefore, is to ask us to deny our capacity for empathy.

3.b. At the same time, the Bible makes it clear that God despises acts of outward piety or sentimentality that are not matched with action on behalf of justice. The harshest words of Jesus recorded in the Gospels are directed at public leaders who pray extravagantly and publicly but neglect “the more important matters of the law””justice, mercy, and faithfulness” (Matt. 23:23).

3.c. Therefore we must never settle for a false dichotomy between prayer and action, as if it were impossible to pray while acting or act while praying. Nonetheless it is vital, whenever possible, to pray before acting lest our activity be in vain.

3.d. To insist that people should act instead of pray, or that we should act without praying, is idolatry, substituting the creature for the Creator.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Atlantic) Prayer Shaming After a Mass Shooting in San Bernardino

There are many assumptions packed into these attacks on prayer: that all religious people, and specifically Christians, are gun supporters, and vice versa. That people who care about gun control can’t be religious, and if they are, they should keep quiet in the aftermath of yet another heart-wrenching act of violence. At one time in American history, liberals and conservatives shared a language of God, but that’s clearly no longer the case; any invocation of faith is taken as implicit advocacy of right-wing political beliefs.

The most powerful evidence against this backlash toward prayer comes not from the Twitterverse, but from San Bernardino. “Pray for us,” a woman texted her father from inside the Inland Regional Center, while she and her colleagues hid from the gunfire. Outside the building, evacuated workers bowed their heads and held hands. They prayed.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(RNS) The megachurch boom rolls on, but big concerns are rising too

Change is coming to American megachurches ”” those behemoths for believers that now dot the religious landscape.

There are more participants in megachurch worship than ever.

“Last weekend 1 in 10 adults and children who went to a Protestant church went to a megachurch ”” about 5 million people,” said Warren Bird, director of research for Leadership Network and co-author of a megachurch study released Wednesday (Dec. 2).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

A rescued Eagle Released by South Carolina's Center for Birds of Prey

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Animals, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations

Bishop Jack Iker offers food for Thought for Advent 2015

It is Advent once again ”“ that wonderful season of the Church year full of joyful hope and anticipation as we prepare for the coming of our Savior. Please do give some thought to your Advent devotions between now and Christmas. One helpful practice would be to arrive at church a little early each Sunday and prayerfully meditate on the words of one of the Advent hymns as you prepare your heart for worship.

Though there is a definite penitential theme of preparation in Advent, nonetheless, this is not a “little Lent.” Rather it is a time of joyful anticipation and making ready for the One Who Is To Come to save us. You will notice that alleluias are not omitted in Advent as they are in Lent. However, the Gloria in Excelsis is not to be used during Advent and is replaced by either the Trisagion or the Kyrie. Many churches will begin the service each Sunday with the Penitential Order and perhaps use the Decalogue. However, the opening acclamation is not changed ”“ it remains “Blessed be God”¦” instead of the one designated for Lent.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(Reuters) The Southern California mass shooting is significantly different from other US massacres

Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Southern California center for the developmentally disabled came on the heels of other US massacres but differed from most in key ways, including the involvement of multiple people, including a woman, and an apparently well-planned escape route.

In the San Bernardino area near the site of the attack that killed 14, the police said a man and a woman dressed in tactical gear died in a gunfight with the police, as the FBI said the agency was considering the possibility that the shooting could be a terrorist attack.

“These are people that came prepared,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in a news conference. “They were dressed and equipped in a way that indicates they were prepared. They were armed with long guns, not handguns.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Francis Xavier

Loving God, who didst call Francis Xavier to lead many in India and Japan to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer: Bring us to the new life of glory promised to all who follow in the Way; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop W. Walsham How

O Almighty Father, fountain of light and salvation, we adore thine infinite goodness in sending thy only begotten Son into the world that, believing in him, we may not perish but have everlasting life; and we pray thee that, through the grace of his first advent to save the world, we may be made ready to meet him at his second advent to judge the world; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bishop William Walsham How (1823-1897)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

I love thee, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

The cords of death encompassed me,
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me,
the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens, and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub, and flew;
he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering around him,
his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him
there broke through his clouds
hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare,
at thy rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

He reached from on high, he took me,
he drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
and from those who hated me;
for they were too mighty for me.
They came upon me in the day of my calamity;
but the Lord was my stay.
He brought me forth into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.

–Psalm 18:1-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

I Was Glad

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

(W Post) Britain votes to join air campaign against Islamic State in Syria

Britain on Wednesday night opted to join a U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic State targets in Syria, with Parliament endorsing a push by Prime Minister David Cameron following a raucous debate marked by accusations that revived the ghosts of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war.

The vote put an end to an awkward year in the close military alliance between the United States and Britain, during which the Britons joined the Americans in bombing the Islamic State in Iraq but drew a line at the Syrian border. The British government had reasoned last fall that ”” unlike in Iraq ”” the Syrian government had not invited Western intervention.

But after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks last month that killed 130 people in Paris, Cameron vowed to expand his country’s military contribution to operations in both of the terrorist group’s main sanctuaries.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Theology

Episcopal Diocese Reckons With Rhode Island's Slaving Past

From the “Welcome to Bristol” sign at the town line, and along Hope Street’s red-white-and-blue stripe to the postcard-perfect Federal-style homes at its center, Bristol wears its Colonial past proudly. But one September evening, about forty Bristolians gathered in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church to talk about a past the town is not so eager to tell ”” the great crime that built Bristol: slavery.

Slavery was the economic lifeblood of the entire state for eighty years. Rhode Island passed its first law forbidding enslavement in 1652, but the law changed and the practice flourished apace with its profitability. From before the American Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, the slave trade powered Rhode Island’s rum distilleries and the textile mills, spinning cotton picked by Southern slaves into cheap “negro cloth” that was sold back to the South. Slavery employed the carpenters, the clerks, the bankers and the blacksmiths. Everyone made money from the slave trade, but few made more than the DeWolf family of Bristol.

Family patriarch Mark Anthony DeWolf started slaving in 1769. And for half a century, various DeWolfs transported 12,000 enslaved Africans. But it was Mark Anthony’s second youngest son, James DeWolf, who built the family business into an empire that included a bank, an insurance company and a distillery in Bristol, a sugar plantation in Cuba and a stake in Coventry’s Arkwright Mills.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(Anglican Ink) Sudan breaks with TEC, recognizes with ACNA

Following their November 25-28, 2015, meeting, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of South Sudan and the Sudan, announced that they have formally recognized the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

They also recommended that the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of the Church of South Sudan and the Sudan, forge a closer relationship with the Anglican Church in North America.

The decision to recognize the Anglican Church in North America was made in conjunction with a decision to end formal ties with The Episcopal Church (TEC). In a letter published following their meeting, the Sudanese House of Bishops pointed in particular to two resolutions passed by The Episcopal Church this past summer that redefine marriage. “In our view such innovations are not in conformity with the Scriptures,” the bishops wrote.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Archbishop of Canterbury's speech on Syria in the House of Lords debate today

The Just War criteria have to my mind been met. But while they are necessary, they are not by themselves sufficient in action of this kind ”“ where we can end up doing the right thing in such a wrong way that it becomes the wrong thing.

To my mind there are three components which currently need more emphasis and to some extent are missing.

In this role, through visiting all 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, through the constant contacts we have with Muslim and Christian leaders in the region ”“ as recently as three weeks ago in a conference at Lambeth Palace ”“ I am constantly reminded that this is a global issue, to which we are addressing local solutions.

ISIL is but one head of the Hydra: religiously-motivated extremism is not restricted to one part of the world.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology