Daily Archives: May 6, 2016

(WSJ) Mark Rathey–The Religious Heart of Bach’s Music

Bach was clearly interested in religious questions. He owned an impressive collection of theological books, and he made annotations in his copy of the Bible. But that isn’t enough to draw up a profile of his faith. Which of his theological books did he really read (which books on our own shelves have we read)? What exactly did he believe? While we cannot reconstruct Bach’s faith, we can try to understand the religious context in which he lived and how it might have shaped his music.

The religious language of Bach’s time was drenched with emotional images: Christ as the bridegroom, the believer as the bride; the heart as the dwelling-place of the divine; the relationship of God and mankind was understood as a sign of deep love.

We find this language all over Bach’s works: “The St. Matthew Passion” begins with a majestic chorus that welcomes the suffering Lamb of God as the “bridegroom,” and later the soprano sings in a deeply emotional aria “Out of love my Savior is willing to die.” In the “Christmas Oratorio,” the alto admonishes the church to prepare for the arrival of the “bridegroom” and later we hear the bass sing, “Tell me, most beloved, how may I glorify you?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, History, Music, Religion & Culture, Theology

On this Day in 1536

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Church History, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Nice Local Profile–College senior Ingrid Bonilla turns hardship into passion for medicine

Bonilla, 22, is one of thousands of Lowcountry students who will graduate from college over the next three weekends. On Saturday, she will receive her degree in biology from Charleston Southern University in a ceremony at North Charleston Coliseum. She will spend her summer applying to medical schools with the goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist.

“I’m very trusting that it will all work out, and I’m excited to be able to take a look at different schools this summer and see where God will take me,” she said.

Bonilla’s interest in oncology stems from a personal hardship even greater than overcoming the language barrier. When she was 17, her mother was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. Due to her mother’s limited English, Bonilla had to attend doctor’s appointments and translate heartbreaking news.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(Reuters) China protests at US accusations of abuse of religious groups

China has lodged a diplomatic protest with the United States after a U.S. government commission said Chinese violations of religious freedom last year remained “severe,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan U.S. federal government body, said in a report this week that there were “systematic, egregious and ongoing abuses” in China against Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and others.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday (May 5) that China fully respected religious freedom but that year in, year out, the United States attacked China on religion, ignoring the facts and distorting the situation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(C of E Comm Blog) Join the Big conversation about Death and Dying

The chatter is getting louder. More voices are joining in all the time as people of all ages and from all backgrounds begin to talk more openly about death, dying and funerals. And Christians have much to contribute: after all in Easter services every year, if not every Sunday, we remember and celebrate our great hope that death is not the end, and that God will bring comfort for the bereaved.

And now the big conversation is really emerging in our culture. The taboo around death and dying is being pushed and challenged . Almost every week there are articles, opinion pieces and comments about death and funerals, sometimes triggered by the death of well-known individuals, and sometimes triggered by personal events. Movements such as Death Café are growing quickly as people begin to face the issues, whether making good financial plans or talking more widely about bereavement and loss.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Eschatology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BBC) Alberta wildfire: Fort McMurray devastation revealed

Pictures obtained by the BBC show large parts of the Canadian city of Fort McMurray in ruins following a devastating wildfire.

The exact scale of the damage is difficult to assess, as access to the city is restricted.

Officials have given few details other than to report that 1,600 homes and other buildings have been destroyed.

However, people who have seen the damage say whole neighbourhoods have been wiped out.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire

(Bloomberg) Alberta Wildfires Set for Largest Canadian Disaster Ever

The wildfires spreading around Canada’s oil-sands hub of Fort McMurray may become the costliest catastrophe in the country’s history with losses potentially reaching C$9.4 billion ($7.3 billion).

Insurance losses could reach that high if nearly all homes, cars, and businesses in the Fort McMurray area were destroyed and owners filed a claim to insurers, according to a research note to clients from Bank of Montreal analyst Tom MacKinnon. He said it’s more likely that one-quarter to half of assets would be damaged, leading to total insurance industry losses of C$2.6 billion to C$4.7 billion, as much as quadruple the costliest Canadian natural disaster.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire

(Church Times) Churchyard rules cannot be ignored, Chancellor rules

Although a consistory court has a discretion to take into account pastoral considerations relating to a bereaved family, the churchyard rules must not be disregarded when erecting memorials in a churchyard.

Unauthorised memorials that violate those rules are a trespass, and liable to be removed by the PCC or on the orders of the Chancellor of the diocese. The fact that there were older memorials that had been installed without authorisation in the churchyard was not a reason for allowing more recent unauthorised memorials to remain there, the Consistory Court of the diocese of Durham said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Martin Luther

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Will you not give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you?

–Psalm 85:6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Crux) Robert Imbelli–Ascension isn’t Jesus ”˜on sabbatical’ until Second Coming

By his ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus becomes the head of his body the Church. For the Holy Spirit, who animates the Church, is the gift of the ascended Christ. Ascension makes Pentecost possible.

Moreover, this gift of the Spirit is not a one-time occurrence, whether at Pentecost or at an individual’s baptism or confirmation. The ascended Lord is the ongoing source of spiritual gifts that enliven and build up his body.

As chapter four of the Letter to the Ephesians teaches: “when he ascended on high ”¦ he gave gifts.” The ascension bespeaks the ongoing agency of Jesus “who always lives and makes intercession for us.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ascension, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

(FT) The longer the trip to work, the less worthwhile life feels according to a new Study

Ah, the journey to and from work. Last week’s train strikes, keeping many of us in the UK at home, served as a reminder that the commute is not capitalism’s greatest gift to humanity.

The longer the trip, the less worthwhile life feels, data from the Office for National Statistics tell us. Surveys have found that people with a taxing journey sleep poorly, while research by US academics links tough commutes to health problems, such as high cholesterol, hypertension and depression.

The commute is a post-industrial invention. For most of history almost everyone worked at, or near, home. But industrialisation created a separation between people’s living arrangements and their working ones….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Travel