Daily Archives: February 8, 2016

Why Nepal Has One Of The World's Fastest-Growing Christian Populations

Famous for its high peaks and wind-whipped prayer flags, Hindu-majority Nepal used to be a nation unreached by Christianity.

Now the country has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world, according to the World Christian Database, which tracks global trends in Christianity.

Bishwa Mani Pokharel, news chief at Nepal’s Nagarik newspaper, pulls out copies of the census to show the statistical gallop of Christianity across Nepal. It listed no Christians in 1951 and just 458 in 1961. By 2001, there were nearly 102,000. A decade later that number had more than tripled to more than 375,000. Pokharel and others think the increase is really much higher but inaccurately reported.

“Before, when the Christians had a party, they slaughtered a chicken. Now, they slaughter a goat,” says Pokharel, who has been reporting on the conversions. That extra meat, he explains, is necessary to feed all of the new people who’ve joined the guest list.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Nepal, Religion & Culture

Parishioners at St. Matthias in West Ottawa bid farewell to house of worship

Parishioners at a west Ottawa church bid farewell to their house of worship Sunday as they prepare to merge with another Anglican congregation.

St. Matthias Anglican Church on Parkdale Avenue is closing as declining attendance numbers are forcing parishioners to join All Saints’ Anglican Church in Westboro.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Roger Scruton-Is sex necessary? On the poverty of "progressivism"'s fixation on sexual liberation

But the question remains: If sex is liberated, what is it liberated from, and what is it liberated to?

If sex is just a matter of physical pleasure, then the freedom to enjoy it becomes the default moral position. Any further question concerns the use to which this pleasure is put. Such is implied by Foucault’s title, The Use of Pleasure. This way of seeing things feeds into two other orthodoxies of our time. My pleasures are mine, and if you are forbidding them you are also oppressing me. Hence sexual liberation is not just a release but a duty, and by letting it all hang out I am not just defying the bourgeois order but casting a blow for freedom everywhere. Self-gratification acquires the glamor and the moral kudos of a heroic struggle. For the “me” generation, no way of acquiring a moral cause can be more gratifying. You become totally virtuous by being totally selfish.

Furthermore, it becomes easier to weigh sex in the cost”“benefit balance. As society retreats from the vestigial experience of the sacred and the forbidden, we easily imagine that sex has nothing especially to do with love, and that it has lost its sacramental aura. We then try to reconstruct sexual morality in utilitarian terms. Pleasures can be weighed in terms of their intensity and duration, and if there is no more to sex than pleasure we can form a clear and decidable distinction between “good sex” and “bad sex,” qualified only by the principle of consent. It is in these terms that the ethos of sexual liberation is now expressed, with “good sex” being esteemed as the natural outcome of a truly liberated and self-expressing desire””the desire being precisely a desire for pleasure.

If we see sex in that way, as the release of the real me inside, the reward of which is pleasure, then the sexual revolution does not lead to the “withering away of the state,” such as the Marxists foretold. It leads to the withering away of society.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

(CP) Quebec Anglican diocese looks to secure future through ethical investing

There are a lot of empty pews in the Anglican Diocese of Quebec’s churches, but the treasury is fuller than it has been in years.
As shrewd investing is replacing weekly parishioner offerings as a main revenue source, the diocese is looking to ethical investment to build its portfolio in a socially responsible way that better reflects its values.
In December, the diocese completed the process of selling off its $1.72 million in fossil fuel investments and the $525,000 it had invested in gold and copper mining. In doing so, it added its name to the growing list of organizations that have chosen to divest from oil and gas over climate change concerns.
Bishop Dennis Drainville says the next step for the Quebec Anglicans is an investing shift to renewable energy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market, Theology

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–the Unsettling Glory of the Untamable God (Luke 9:28-36)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to the Denver Broncos for winning the Super bowl over the Carolina Panthers

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

(SMH) New Anglican Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, installed at St Andrew's Cathedral

The new Anglican Dean of Sydney has made history. Kanishka Raffel, who was officially installed as Dean of Sydney last Thursday, is the first person from a non-European background to hold the role in the church’s history in Australia.
“No, it probably doesn’t cross my mind … I just feel like me,” the Dean said.
But his appointment heralds a bid by St Andrew’s Cathedral to cater for the changing demographic of its congregation, with a rise in parishioners from Asian and sub-continent backgrounds.

It also presents a opportunity for the church to access and attract new followers, Dean Raffel said, pointing to census statistics that 56 per cent of the City of Sydney’s population have both parents born overseas compared to the state average of 36 per cent.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the German Reformed Church

Almighty God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, who giveth power to the faint, and strength to them that have no might: Look mercifully, we beseech thee, on our low estate and cause thy grace to triumph in our weakness; that we may rise and follow in the way of righteousness those who by faith already inherit the promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LAT) Many US elderly are on the road, way past retirement and chasing jobs

[Dolores Westfall]…endures what is for many aging Americans an unforgiving economy. Nearly one-third of U.S. heads of households ages 55 and older have no pension or retirement savings and a median annual income of about $19,000.

A growing proportion of the nation’s elderly are like Westfall: too poor to retire and too young to die.

Many rely on Social Security and minimal pensions, in part because half of all workers have no employer-backed retirement plans. Eight in 10 Americans say they will work well into their 60s or skip retirement entirely.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(CSM) Molly Jackson–What have 20 years of online dating done to Americans' love lives?

Nervous about Valentine’s Day? Try a tiger roll.

First dates at a sushi restaurant are 1.7 times more likely to lead to a second, says Match.com, America’s largest online dating site. The sushi tip is just one finding from the sixth annual Singles in America survey, which asked 5,500 respondents everything from which politician they want to vote for to which politician they’d be up for dating (Joe Biden and Marco Rubio dominate with 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively). Match’s match-making masterminds conclude that it’s probably okay to talk religion, politics and money on Date 1, but keep your hands off your phone. And if you’re male, double-check those text messages: women are way less forgiving of spelling and grammar errors.

But even as more and more Americans turn to online dating, as it loses the “desperate” reputation of its early days, the jury’s still out on what, exactly, it’s doing to singles’ hearts and minds. At a time when more Americans are unmarried than ever before, are Tinder and OKCupid changing what Americans want in a partner, or just how they find them?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Women