Daily Archives: December 14, 2015

(Pew Facttank) Patriotic, honest, selfish: How Americans describe themselves

The American public has shown itself to be quite critical in its views of politicians and the federal government, expressing low levels of trust in both. Yet a recent Pew Research Center survey of attitudes about government also finds that Americans pull no punches when assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their fellow citizens.

The public gives the “typical American” a mixed assessment when asked about specific traits. Most (79%) agree that the term “patriotic” describes the typical American very or fairly well, and majorities also view the typical American as “honest” (69%) and “intelligent” (67%).

However, just over two-thirds (68%) say the term “selfish” also applies to the typical American very or fairly well, and half of the public says that the typical American can be aptly described as “lazy.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Theology

PBS Religion+Ethics Newsweekly–Religious Responses to Call for US Muslim Ban

[KIM] LAWTON: Many across the faith community condemned the plan as discriminatory and a violation of religious liberty. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said their faith was being unfairly singled out by a lynch mob. Thousands of US faith leaders wrote an open letter urging Trump to repudiate his comments. Reverend Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called the plan “reckless rhetoric.”

RUSSELL MOORE: The idea of banning people from the country simply because of what they believe? It’s shocking to me. When I first heard this, I had to stop and say, did I really hear that correctly and listen to it again. It’s really troubling.

LAWTON: He said his evangelical beliefs motivate him to speak out.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(1st Things) Timothy George–Bonhoeffer's Last Advent

Bonhoeffer once said that he thought he would die at age forty. In fact, he made it to thirty-nine. Bonhoeffer loved the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, especially the magnificent St. Matthew Passion. But Bethge had introduced him to Heinrich Schütz, Bach’s musical predecessor, whose polychoral compositions had enriched the tradition of Lutheran church music. During Advent 1940, Bonhoeffer and Bethge had performed the music of Schütz during a sojourn at Ettal Benedictine Monastery in Bavaria. Among their favorites was “Bone Jesu” from Schütz’s Kleine Geistliche Konzerte: “O good Jesus, Word of the Father/splendor of the Father’s glory/on whom the angels long to gaze/teach me to do Your will.” The melody and words of this sacred song were in Bonhoeffer’s mind as his hopes for release from prison dimmed. He had memorized the musical notation to this song and transcribed some of it onto the final letters he wrote. In this way, he continued to share his life and bless the world until the very end.

Earlier, Bonhoeffer had written these words to Eberhard and Renate Bethge:

The world lives by the blessing of God and of the righteous and thus has a future. Blessing means laying one’s hands on something and saying, Despite everything, you belong to God. This is what we do with the world that inflicts such suffering on us. We do not abandon it; we do not repudiate, despise or condemn it. Instead we call it back to God, we give it hope, we lay our hand on it and say: May God’s blessing come upon you, may God renew you; be blessed, world created by God, you who belong to your Creator and Redeemer.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Advent, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Germany

Communiqué from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order

In the context of the contemporary crises of displacement and uprooting of people, of refugees and of human trafficking, the Commission paid a deeply moving visit to the Cape Coast Castle (see photograph). This was a major centre of the transatlantic slave trade, with the terrible incongruity of an Anglican church directly over the dungeons that held those who, through the ”˜Door of No Return’, were to be shipped into chattel slavery.

For part of the meeting, the Commission was joined by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, who offered a deep and wide-ranging reflection on the present challenges within and future hopes for the Communion. The Commission warmly welcomed the opportunity to engage with him on ways of strengthening its capacity to fulfil its mandate in the service of the Communion.

The Commission was also greatly heartened by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s timely decision to invite his fellow Primates of the Anglican Communion to meet together in January, and held this gathering in its daily prayers. Recalling that all of the Primates gathered at the Enthronement Eucharist of the Archbishop in March 2013, IASCUFO believes that the forthcoming meeting could be an opportunity for a new, redeemed conversation within the Communion to begin, and stands ready to assist in any way consistent with its remit.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques

(AP) Living well the goal as eldery seek aggressive care

Irwin Weiner felt so good after heart surgery a few weeks before turning 90 that he stopped for a pastrami sandwich on the way home from the hospital. Dorothy Lipkin danced after getting a new hip at age 91. And at 94, William Gandin drives himself to the hospital for cancer treatments.

Jimmy Carter isn’t the only nonagenarian to withstand rigorous medical treatment. Very old age is no longer an automatic barrier for aggressive therapies, from cancer care like the former president has received, to major heart procedures, joint replacements and even some organ transplants.

In many cases, the nation’s most senior citizens are getting the same treatments given to people their grandchildren’s age ”” but with different goals.

“Many elderly patients don’t necessarily want a lot of years, what they want is quality of life,” said Dr. Clifford Kavinsky, a heart specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “They want whatever time is left for them to be high quality. They don’t want to be dependent on their family. They don’t want to end up in a nursing home.”

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

Rod Dreher–Islam, Christianity, Secularism

My answer, as you will have guessed is that no, it is not ”” at least any religion that refuses to assimilate and thereby sign its own death warrant.

The Establishment ”” the state, the media, the academy, the law, corporations ”” will grow less and less tolerant as America becomes more secular, as is likely to happen given the stark falling-away from religion of the millennials. And then what will we Christians do? British Christians are facing this calamity because 70 percent of Britons say they have no religious belief, and therefore likely don’t see a problem with the government’s proposal, or even support it.

Now is the time to start thinking and talking about this, an acting on it. If you think voting Republican is going to solve this long-term problem, you are deluded. Politics has a role to play, but in the end, politics reflect the will of the people, and if a majority of the people lose their faith, and with it goes an appreciation for religious liberty, politics will avail us nothing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

CS Lewis on Christian Stewardship and the Call to Give

In the passage where the New Testament says that every one must work, it gives as a reason “in order that he may have something to give to those in need.” Charity-giving to the poor-is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing a society in which there were no poor to give to. They may be quite right in saying that we ought to produce that kind of society. But if anyone thinks that, as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted company with all Christian morality. I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them. I am speaking now of “charities” in the common way. Particular cases of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbours or employees, which God, as it were, forces upon your notice, may demand much more: even to the crippling and endangering of your own position. For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear-fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a temptation.Sometimes our pride also hinders our charity; we are tempted to spend more than we ought on the showy forms of generosity (tipping, hospitality) and less than we ought on those who really need our help.

Mere Christianity (New York: Harper Collins, 2001), Book III, Chapter 3 [emphasis mine]

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John of the Cross

Judge eternal, throned in splendor, who gavest Juan de la Cruz strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul: Shed thy light on all who love thee, in unity with Jesus Christ our Savior; 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 the Gelasian Sacramentary

Make us, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, watchful and heedful in awaiting the coming of thy Son Christ our Lord; that when he shall come and knock, he shall find us not sleeping in sin, but awake and rejoicing in his praises; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed is he who considers the poor!
The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
thou dost not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness thou healest all his infirmities.

–Psalm 41:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) C of E may back GM embryos to cure inherited diseases

The Church of England could agree to the genetic modification of human embryos, its medical ethics adviser has suggested.

The controversial method known as germline editing could be used to cure inherited diseases and treat infertility. There have been concerns, however, that the changes are passed on to future generations.

Critics of the technology, who include several European governments, have called for a global ban on the ground that it could be unsafe and might lead to “designer babies” genetically enhanced to have greater strength or intelligence.

Britain is running several pioneering gene therapies, and ministers have hinted that they could allow scientists more scope to carry out fundamental research on embryos.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(AP) Court to decide whether Judge's Islam-education order went too far

After a landlord was convicted of pushing her Muslim tenant down a flight of stairs, a judge ordered her to respect the rights of all Muslims and to take an introductory course on Islam. Now the highest court in Massachusetts is being asked to decide whether the judge violated the landlord’s constitutional rights.

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments next month in a case that poses interesting legal questions at a time when the country is grappling with anti-Muslim backlash following deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, both allegedly carried out by radical Muslims.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Observer) Manchester United Lose to AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth extended the greatest period in their league history by aggravating the troubled times at Manchester United. This thrilling win came a week after victory at Chelsea, leaving Eddie Howe’s top-flight debutants celebrating unprecedented achievements and United fans questioning harder what Louis van Gaal’s philosophy really means.

This defeat was a severe blow to the Dutchman, just days after United’s premature elimination from the Champions League. United, who have now failed to win in five matches, returned to domestic duty with a side even more depleted than the one beaten in Wolfsburg on Tuesday, injuries to Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian forcing Van Gaal to field an inexperienced back four, with Paddy McNair and Guillermo Varela joining Daley Blind and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.

But sympathy has been in short supply for Van Gaal, whose pre-game grumbles about United fans’ unreasonable expectations did nothing to spread belief in his management. Bournemouth supporters are certainly unlikely to tolerate sob stories from United, as Howe has had to contend with a fraction of United’s resources and an injury roster just as debilitating. But there is no doubt that Howe’s philosophy fits.

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