Daily Archives: March 6, 2016

Margaret Heffernan: on Courage, Gayla Benefield+The dangers of "willful blindness"

…in Libby, Montana, there’s a rather unusual woman named Gayla Benefield. She always felt a little bit of an outsider, although she’s been there almost all her life, a woman of Russian extraction. She told me when she went to school, she was the only girl who ever chose to do mechanical drawing. Later in life, she got a job going house to house reading utility meters — gas meters, electricity meters. And she was doing the work in the middle of the day, and one thing particularly caught her notice, which was, in the middle of the day she met a lot of men who were at home, middle aged, late middle aged, and a lot of them seemed to be on oxygen tanks. It struck her as strange. Then, a few years later, her father died at the age of 59, five days before he was due to receive his pension. He’d been a miner. She thought he must just have been worn out by the work. But then a few years later, her mother died, and that seemed stranger still, because her mother came from a long line of people who just seemed to live forever. In fact, Gayla’s uncle is still alive to this day, and learning how to waltz. It didn’t make sense that Gayla’s mother should die so young. It was an anomaly, and she kept puzzling over anomalies. And as she did, other ones came to mind.

Read it all; cited by yours truly in the morning sermon.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

[Bishop Michael Lewis] Aden: Killings at the Mother Teresa Home

At least 15 people have been killed at the Mother Teresa Home in Aden, including four of the nuns. On Friday 4 March armed intruders raided the compound, where 70 or 80 old people, many found destitute on the streets, have for years been in the care of the Missionaries of Charity. One nun survived. Her sisters who died came from India, Kenya, and Rwanda. Also killed were Yemenis and Ethiopians who helped at the home or guarded the premises.

Doubtless the murderers are from the pernicious ultra-fundamentalist fanatical puritan strand of Islam that encompasses IS or Da’esh and takes inspiration from the Wahhabi sect. Their actions will be met with revulsion by true Muslims, especially native Adenis, whose respect for the works of charity and service by Christians in their city is great.

Hearing of these killings in the middle of the season of Lent, those of us who have often visited the sisters and prayed with them will reflect that all Christians are called to walk with Christ the way of the cross, and that that Way is none other than the way of glory and the gate of heaven.

We join Bishop Paul Hinder, the Christians of the Yemen, and all who know God to be the God of mercy and compassion in praying for the eternal repose of the souls of these faithful departed servants of the Lord.

+ Michael Cyprus & the Gulf

Read it all [h/t Anglican Ink] and there is a BBC Report here

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(AJ) Canadian Anglican Bishops split three ways over same-sex issue says Archbp Fred Hiltz

While the House of Bishops has said that the upcoming vote to allow same-sex marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada is unlikely to get the number of votes it needs from their order, Archbishop Fred Hiltz said it is not a clear-cut division.

When it comes to allowing same-sex marriage, the bishops seem to be thinking “yes,” “no” and “maybe” in roughly equal proportions, Hiltz said. A number of bishops in the Canadian church also have a “holy desire” to consider alternatives to a simple yes-no vote on same-sex marriages, he said. Some have given considerable thought to other alternatives, and these are likely to be the main topic of conversation when the House of Bishops next meets in April, he added.

“The reality in our House [of Bishops]””and I think it’s a reflection of what’s in the church at large””is that, I think, we’ve got about a third of the bishops that would clearly love to see us move, and we’ve got a third that would say no”¦and I think we’ve got a third that are really wrestling. That’s my sense,” Hiltz said. “So clearly you haven’t got a two-thirds either way.” Since a change to the marriage canon is considered a matter of doctrine, it will need the approval of at least two-thirds of three orders””laity, clergy and bishops””at two consecutive General Synods to be passed. The first such vote is slated for this July.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

New rector at St. Stephen's reformed Episcopal Church in Flowood Miss to start today

Father Jonathan Kell knows he has big shoes to fill at St. Stephen’s Reformed Episcopal Church of Flowood. He’s replacing the late Father Fred Basil, the parish’s beloved pastor who died of cancer last year.

But Kell, a former schoolteacher, wanted the position badly enough to move his family from Pennsylvania ”” a family that includes Kell and his wife, Annie’s, 15-month-old daughter and a son who was born last month. He’ll enter the pulpit focused not on growing membership but maintaining the overall health of the parish.

“It’s tough,” Kell said of relocating to a different part of the country. “We’re leaving behind our families and one of my best friends from college ”” a minister in a different denomination. But my wife, Annie, and I decided long ago that we were going to give our lives to the ministry and go where the Lord leads us.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Mountain

Almighty God, who has taught us in thy holy Word that the law was given by Moses, but that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ: Grant that we, being not under the law but under grace, may live as children of that Jerusalem which is above, and rejoice in the freedom of our heavenly citizenship; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Rev. James Mountain (1844-1933)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

–Psalm 66: 8-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT On Religion) Evangelists Adapt to a New Era, Preaching the Gospel to Skeptics

Mr. Ellis, 39, welcomed the dozen men and women seated before him. “This is a space,” he said, “for people who consider themselves non-Christian and are coming in from the outside.”

His weekly sessions, called the WS Café in a reference to the neighborhood, are at a new frontier of evangelism, one that seeks converts among a fervent and growing number of atheists in this country. The sessions started in September as a push by Redeemer Presbyterian’s prominent pastor, the Rev. Tim Keller, to preach the gospel to skeptics.

Such efforts proceed amid a rare moment in both Christian and American history. At the origin of Christianity, its apostles sought to convert adherents of other faiths, whether Judaism or Roman paganism. Missionaries of the last few centuries journeyed to China or Africa or the Americas to encounter the followers of other faiths, whether Buddhist or Yoruba or Aztec. In every case, the Christian evangelist seeking converts was at least dealing with listeners who embraced the concept of a divine being involved in the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

([London] Times) Young Jews reject top universities over antisemitism

Jewish students will turn their backs on leading universities en masse as they react to growing campus antisemitism, it has been claimed.

Jews disproportionately attend a small number of universities, which they have nicknamed “Jewnis”. The University of Manchester was once one of the most favoured but lost its place to Leeds, Birmingham and Nottingham after pro-Palestinian motions by its student union. These included twinning with An-Najah University in the West Bank.

Bristol has rapidly grown in popularity among Jews. Cambridge and Oxford also have significant numbers, as do University College London, King’s College London and LSE.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Globalization, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Young Adults