Daily Archives: June 5, 2016

(Barna) Bible Engagement in a New World

There are three major changes that are reshaping the landscape in which we read and engage with the Bible. These shifts are most apparent among today’s youngest generations so, in a sense, they give shape to the present and future reality within which we read and interact with the Bible.

First, the steady rise of skepticism is creating a cultural atmosphere that is becoming unfriendly””sometimes even hostile””to claims of faith. In a society that venerates science and rationalism, it is an increasingly hard pill to swallow that an eclectic assortment of ancient stories, poems, sermons, prophecies and letters, written and compiled over the course of 3,000 years, is somehow the sacred “word of God.” Even in just the few years Barna has been conducting “State of the Bible” interviews, the percent of Americans who believe that the Bible is “just another book written by men” increases. So too does the perception that the Bible is actually harmful and that people who live by its principles are religious extremists.

Second, as Gabe Lyons and I propose in Good Faith, the broader culture has adopted self-fulfillment as its ultimate measure of moral good….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Guardian) European churches say growing flock of Muslim refugees are converting

A growing number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity, according to churches, which have conducted mass baptisms in some places.

Reliable data on conversions is not available but anecdotal evidence suggests a pattern of rising church attendance by Muslims who have fled conflict, repression and economic hardship in countries across the Middle East and central Asia.

Complex factors behind the trend include heartfelt faith in a new religion, gratitude to Christian groups offering support during perilous and frightening journeys, and an expectation that conversion may aid asylum applications.

Read it all and don’t miss the great picture.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Europe, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Bendigo re-opens

Bendigo was ringing with the sound of bells on Sunday to mark the re-opening of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral.

The bells went quiet about 2.45pm in preparation for an invitation-only opening service for the diocese.

Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, The Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier, delivered the sermon.

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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, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(SABC) South African Anglican church clarifies position on same sex marriages

The Anglican Church has clarified its position regarding same sex marriages and why it has accepted the decision by Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu-van Furth of the Saldanah Bay diocese to give up her licence.

Tutu-van Furth, who recently got married to long-time partner and academic, Marceline Tutu-van Furth, voluntarily gave up her practice licence before it was revoked by the church.

Tutu-van Furth, the daughter of Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, recently made headlines when she decided to marry another female.

Anglican Church spokesperson, Father Bruce Jenniker says the church guidelines do not allow for same sex marriages.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Novak Djokovic Wins the French Open and Completes a Career Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic, once the odd man out in this all-time great tennis generation, made history here on Sunday by winning his first French Open title and his fourth consecutive major title, a first in men’s tennis since 1969.

After a dozen trips to Roland Garros and three losses in the final, Djokovic finally prevailed with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory against Andy Murray. He fought nerves. He showed frustration. He got annoyed at the chair umpire. But this time, Djokovic survived.

The victory puts Djokovic in rare company: He is first man to hold all four major titles at the same time since Rod Laver, and only the third man in history to do it, along with Don Budge, who won six consecutive major titles from 1937 to 1938. Djokovic could become the first man since Laver to win a single-season Grand Slam if he defends his titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open later this year.

Read it all from the WSJ.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, History, Men, Sports

DCI Julie MacKay solves a 32 year old murder case which she began working on in 2009

There was something unique about DCI Julie MacKay’s statement outside Bristol Crown Court on May 9 this year – the day Christopher Hampton admitted his guilt in murdering 17-year-old Melanie Road in 1984.

MacKay spoke from the heart; blonde hair whipped by the wind, barely using her notes, and in a way that was so personal, so affecting, that she single-handedly showed the human face of Britain’s police.

Her conviction that she would find Melanie’s killer – and her belief in her own intuition ”“ shone through. Here was DCI Jane Tennison, played expertly by Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect, brought to life.

“I can’t describe it, but I always knew I was going to be the one to solve Melanie Road, she tells me. “I could feel it right here in my tummy.”

Read it all from the Sunday Telegraph.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Mountain

Almighty God our heavenly Father, who hast given thy Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, and hast commanded us to love one another as thou hast loved us: Make us, we beseech thee, so mindful of the needs and sufferings of others, that we may ever be ready to show them compassion, and according to our ability to relieve their wants; for the sake of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Rev. James Mountain (1844-1933)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The next day, as they were on their journey and coming near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. And he became hungry and desired something to eat; but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood before the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down, and accompany them without hesitation; for I have sent them.” And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house, and to hear what you have to say.” So he called them in to be his guests.

The next day he rose and went off with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

–Acts 10:9-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Charles Murray–Replacing the welfare state with an annual grant to revitalize America

A key feature of American exceptionalism has been the propensity of Americans to create voluntary organizations for dealing with local problems. Tocqueville was just one of the early European observers who marveled at this phenomenon in the 19th and early 20th centuries. By the time the New Deal began, American associations for providing mutual assistance and aiding the poor involved broad networks, engaging people from the top to the bottom of society, spontaneously formed by ordinary citizens.

These groups provided sophisticated and effective social services and social insurance of every sort, not just in rural towns or small cities but also in the largest and most impersonal of megalopolises. To get a sense of how extensive these networks were, consider this: When one small Midwestern state, Iowa, mounted a food-conservation program during World War I, it engaged the participation of 2,873 church congregations and 9,630 chapters of 31 different secular fraternal associations.
Did these networks successfully deal with all the human needs of their day? No. But that isn’t the right question. In that era, the U.S. had just a fraction of today’s national wealth. The correct question is: What if the same level of activity went into civil society’s efforts to deal with today’s needs””and financed with today’s wealth?

The advent of the New Deal and then of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society displaced many of the most ambitious voluntary efforts to deal with the needs of the poor. It was a predictable response. Why continue to contribute to a private program to feed the hungry when the government is spending billions of dollars on food stamps and nutrition programs? Why continue the mutual insurance program of your fraternal organization once Social Security is installed? Voluntary organizations continued to thrive, but most of them turned to needs less subject to crowding out by the federal government.

This was a bad trade, in my view.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology