Daily Archives: December 5, 2015

(Guardian) Peter Ormerod–We need the C of E more than ever. That’s why we need it to die

It takes something special to unite Richard Dawkins, Giles Fraser, David Cameron and the archbishop of Canterbury in a common cause, but that’s what Britain’s three biggest cinema chains have accomplished. Their refusal to screen an advert for prayer has provoked scorn and damnation ”“ or, in more Anglican terms, “disappointment”.

Yet, strange as it sounds, I think the cinemas have done the Church of England a huge favour: they’ve given it the dose of reality it desperately needs. The C of E has no right to any special treatment. We still await constitutional disestablishment, but it’s clear that we are in the midst of a cultural disestablishment. The sooner the Anglican church grasps this, the better it will be for all of us.

Looking at hard numbers, the sociologist Linda Woodhead asserts that the big shift started in 1989. We have now reached the point where the majority of under-30s in the UK identity as having no religion. Woodward says that the C of E is “in freefall”. The question is whether it should bother opening the parachute.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

San Bernardino shooter was in contact w/ at least 2 terror groups: Nusra Front and Al-Shabab

Pakistani intelligence agents say they have questioned members of Malik’s extended family in the Pakistani province of Punjab, an area that is considered a stronghold of Islamic militant organizations.

Malik belonged to an educated, politically influential family from Karor Lal Esan in Layyah district. Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh, one of her father’s cousins, was once a provincial minister. Residents said the Aulakh family is known to have connections to militant Islam.

“The family has some extremist credentials,” said Zahid Gishkori, 32, a resident of the Layyah district in the area who knows the family well.

Read it all from the LA Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(WWM) A Woman who survived 5 weeks in Boko Haram camp speaks for the 1st time

The “camp” consisted of a few houses close to each other. “When we got to the place, there were about 50 other women. I recognised many other Christians, who had now become Muslims and were forced to undergo Islamic teaching.”

Mercy could only guess what was in store for her. “My first day was like hell. I cried all day and all night. I prayed like never before and asked God to give me courage.”

The next morning, Mercy and the others were taken to a clearing for questioning. They were asked to become Muslims and to marry Boko Haram members.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Cameroon, Chad, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(SHNS) Colorado Springs cop–Pastor’s final sermon: Time is short

The congregation laughed as Swasey led them on a witty tour of his own mind, where serious thoughts about sin and forgiveness ”“ “Focus on the Gospel, focus on the Gospel, focus on the Gospel” ”“ crash into, “How the heck did Denver lose to Indy?” or visions from Three Stooges movies or nagging concerns about a superstar quarterback in New England improperly deflating footballs.

It’s hard to focus on the eternal, he stressed, again and again. But it’s crucial to try, because the clock is running and no one knows how much time they have left.

Two weeks later, the congregation gathered in mourning after Swasey ”“ on duty at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs ”“ was killed after he voluntarily responded to calls for help at the nearby Planned Parenthood facility.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Guardian) Fans jeer as Manchester United are held to 0-0 stalemate by West Ham

There was no need for spectators to chant “attack, attack” (although a few did), because United were doing. They just lacked the invention to find a way through. There were boos at the end, and a mass exodus before the final whistle. The West Ham contingent had been waiting for that. “Is there a fire drill?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

Andrew White: 'I've looked through the Quran trying to find forgiveness… there isn’t any.'

Muslims came to an Anglican church? ”˜People respect faith in Iraq,’ says Sarah. ”˜They can see he is sincere.’

So is it better to be a Christian negotiating with Muslims than to be secular, I ask. I’m always hearing that religion is the problem, not the solution, in Iraq.

”˜Yes, absolutely,’ says White. ”˜People say it’s important to keep religion out of the peace process in the Middle East, but you can’t have a peace process without religion. You can’t have politics without religion in the Middle East! It’s impossible. Faith is our common ground.’

Read it all from the Spectator.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Judaism, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(JE) New Numbers Detail Uneven Episcopal Church Decline

The decreasing numbers have had an effect upon the ability of smaller congregations to employ full-time clergy. In a first, a plurality of Episcopal congregations in 2014 (34.5%) have only a part-time or unpaid priest, outnumbering those with a lone full-time priest.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Data

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Clement of Alexandria

O Lord, who didst call thy servant Clement of Alexandria from the errors of ancient philosophy that he might learn and teach the saving Gospel of Christ: Turn thy Church from the conceits of worldly wisdom and, by the Spirit of truth, guide it into all truth; 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 E M Goulburn

O Blessed Jesus, who hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, and hast consecrated us in baptism to be temples of the Holy Ghost: Make us, we beseech thee, both in body and soul, meet for thy dwelling place; that our hearts may be houses of prayer and praise, of pure desires and holy thoughts of thee, whose we are and whom we serve, and to whom be glory, now and for evermore.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

–Psalm 20:6-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) Wallace Daniel–The church under Putin: Nationalism and Russian Orthodoxy

Since the passing of the Soviet era, the Russian Orthodox Church has aligned itself closely with the Russian government and especially the nationalist strategies of Vladimir Putin. In the speeches of Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, “Orthodox civilization” is interchangeable with “Russian civilization.”

Following a long Russian Orthodox tradition, Kirill likes to contrast Russia with secular Western nations. In Belgrade in November 2014, the patriarch argued that Western nations had “abandoned their Christian identity.” He identified both liberal democracy and secularism as enemies of Orthodoxy and envisioned a “clash of civilization” in which Russian Orthodox values stood against those of the secular West.

Kirill’s vision of Russian civilization transcends Russia’s current boundaries, encompassing all Orthodox people “living in the countries of historical Rus’””namely Belorussia, Russia, and Ukraine.” The Orthodox Church had risen to the defense of Russia in the prerevolutionary past, he maintained, and it must do so again to defend the nation’s values and unity.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, History, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Theology

(AI) Peter Berger–Where are the Muslim Voices Against Islamist Terror? There are many…

One can be more specific: They should be Sunni Muslims, since this is the community from which ISIS has emerged. (God knows, Shiite Muslims, with Iran in the lead, have engaged in their own variants of terrorism, but ISIS is the more immediate issue.) But also it should probably not be individuals with Muslim backgrounds who are so Westernized that what they say has little resonance among most Muslims””Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie come to mind. In other words, the want ad should be for conservative Sunni Muslims.

(I speak of ISIS. I’m annoyed by the practice of constantly listing every acronym by which this odious outfit has been called: “Islamic State” won’t do, because supposedly that legitimates the pretension that it is the Islamic state. So we get an endless serving of all the acronyms: “IS, ISIS, ISIL, Deash”. This is silly. We know who they are. I prefer the most descriptive acronym “ISIS”””the developing Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. No legitimacy implied.)

As a matter of fact, there have been a good many voices raised. Here is a partial list, who spoke up in the course of 2014: Probably the most significant has been that of Shawki Alam, Grand Mufti of al-Azhar in Cairo, the most prestigious Sunni center of learning in the world. He described ISIS as “corrupt”, “a danger to Islam”, “violating Sharia law and humanitarian law”. There have been statements by the Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Shaikh, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, who spoke of ISIS as “the number one enemy of Islam”; by Mehmet Gormez, the highest cleric in Turkey, who saw ISIS as “hugely damaging” and “truly awful”; and rather amazingly, 100 Sunni and Shi’a imams in Britain issued a joint statement (this unusual collaboration probably easier in Europe than in the Muslim heartland) calling ISIS “an illegitimate vicious group, who do not represent Islam in any way”. What has been the effect of these statements? I don’t know. But this is not a story of tacit acceptance.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence