Daily Archives: February 26, 2016

(WSJ) Charlotte Allen–A ”˜Faith-Based Film’ Rises Above the Usual

Nothing says cultural marginalization of Christians like the phrase “faith-based films.” The connotations: mediocre acting, directing and writing; cut-rate production values; and, most of all, niche product.

When I went to see “Risen,” the freshly released New Testament movie from “Waterworld” director Kevin Reynolds, I sat through previews for “The Young Messiah” and “God’s Not Dead 2” (yes, there was a “God’s Not Dead” 1), and the latter at least looked as though it embodied what I mentioned about talent and budget.

Yet with a nationwide release and at least one A-list star, “Risen” has performed reasonably well at the box office. It was the third-highest-grossing movie last weekend, when it opened, bringing in $11 million””a good showing for a project with a $20 million budget.

That may be because Mr. Reynolds has””for the most part””avoided the melodramatic clichés that have marred many an overblown Jesus movie.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

Susan Dynarski:USA has a dropout crisis-60%go to college these days, but just 50% graduate with a BA

The United States has a dropout crisis. Sixty percent of people go to college these days, but just half of the college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Some people earn a shorter, two-year associate’s degree. But more than a quarter of those who start college drop out with no credential.

Despite the rising cost of education, a college degree is one of the best investments that a young person can make. In 2015, median earnings among workers aged 22 to 27 with a bachelor’s degree were $43,000, compared with $25,000 for those with just a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, a person with a bachelor’s degree typically earns $800,000 more than someone who has completed only high school, even after netting out tuition costs.

The financial prospects for college dropouts are poor, for two reasons. First, dropouts earn little more than people with no college education. Second, many dropouts have taken on student loans, and with their low wages, they have difficulty paying off even small balances. Dropouts account for much of the increase in financial distress among student borrowers since the Great Recession.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Personal Finance, Theology, Young Adults

Meet the incredible woman chosen to lead Mother Emanuel Church after last year’s shooting

Her boisterous laugh warms the nearly empty sanctuary. She is flanked by three young black journalists who are wrapping up an interview for a TV station that airs out of Columbia, South Carolina.

It’s Dr. Betty Deas Clark’s fourth week as the first female pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, affectionately referred to as “Mother Emanuel.” The pew she grips while chatting with the young men belongs to the same set inhabited by the nine churchgoers massacred last June by 21-year-old Dylann Roof, a white supremacist.

“Hold on,” she tells me before we start the interview. Clark wants to switch up her attire. “I have an African outfit in the car,” she says with a beaming smile as she hastily exits the room.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Women

(CP) Conservative Anglicans, Lutherans Make Progress in Ecumenical Dialogue

Three theologically conservative church bodies released a report championing progress in their latest round of ecumenical dialogue.

Representatives from the Anglican Church in North America, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Lutheran Church-Canada have been engaging in an ongoing dialogue for the past six years.

Titled “On Closer Acquaintance”, the interim report on ecumenical dialogue charts the progress made thus far on conversations between ACNA, LCMS, and LCC.

“The report is intended as an aid for ACNA folk wishing to get a deeper understanding of their counterparts in LCMS”“LCC and vice versa, and as a resource that will help us determine the nature and goals of our relationship in the years ahead,” reads the report.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches

(Church Times) Message from on high: C of E bishops favour staying in the EU

The debate on Britain’s membership of the European Union reflects a loss of confidence, and is testing the goodwill of other members who are growing frustrated with it, the Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, said this week.

Speaking on Tuesday, after the Prime Minister’s announcement last Friday that the referendum on EU membership would take place on 23 June, Dr Innes said that he would be “very sad” if the vote favoured Brexit.

“We British inherit a huge stock of goodwill towards us but I am aware that that goodwill is being used up,” Dr Innes said on Wednesday. “At a time when Europe has some huge issues to deal with, people have been a little frustrated that Britain has actually used a huge amount of the time of its leadership in dealing with what seem to some rather small issues that only pertain to one country.”

He was “saddened”, he said, “that the debate seems to reflect a loss of confidence in Britain in dealing with our European compatriots and neighbours. We are a big player. . . I’d like to see us be a leader.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory

O God, mercifully grant that the fire of thy love may burn up in us all things that displease thee, and make us meet for thy heavenly kingdom; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: Services of Praise and Prayer for Occasional Use in Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

–Mark 4:35-41

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

"Every Single Thing in You Has to Bow Down"–A conversation with Christian Wiman

I’ve been reading a Czech theologian, Tomáš Halík. In one of his books, Patience with God, he takes that parable of the mustard seed, where Jesus says, “If you have faith like a mustard seed, you can move mountains.” We always read that parable as saying that if you have a mustard seed of faith, just a tiny bit, it can grow into a large faith, something more substantial, something able to move mountains. Halík, though, argues against that interpretation. He says, no””what the parable means is that faith is only really living when it’s crushed, when it becomes this tiny, tiny thing and therefore hard and volatile and vital and powerful. And he makes this point as someone who feels a great solidarity with the kind of atheism that he witnesses all around him, especially in Eastern Europe, where he couldn’t even disclose the fact that he was a priest. He had to be a priest in secret. He says what is happening in the private lives of many people””their faith existing only under siege””is happening culturally too. And he says maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe what we are seeing, Halík suggests, is faith being crushed to the size of a mustard seed, where it’s a more powerful, stranger force. It’s a very moving idea, I think, and a brilliant reading of that passage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Children, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Theology

Polyamory–Blythe Pepino and her partner reveal why monogamy wasn't doing it for them

I meet Blythe and Tom in a bar in Clapham. Blythe’s pastel-pink hair is easy to spot from a distance. Slim, sandy-haired Tom sits beside her. As I approach, their heads are together and they’re giggling softly. They look every inch the loved-up couple. I introduce myself and slide on to the sofa next to them, hoping three won’t be a crowd. I needn’t have worried.

The pair have been polyamorous from the beginning of their relationship after both realising, separately, that monogamy wasn’t doing it for them. Polyamory is an umbrella term for intimate relationships that involve more than two people. The expression covers everything from swinging to triad relationships. Typically, these encounters involve sex, although it’s not a prerequisite.

The dating website OkCupid recently became the first dating site to add a “polyamory” function for its users, allowing already established couples to search the site for people to join their relationships. The feature will also be available to singletons looking for open relationships to join.

Read it all from the Independent.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Polyamory, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women, Young Adults