Daily Archives: June 16, 2016

Orlando nightclub shooting: Omar Mateen threatened 'Islamic State vengeance' on Facebook

The shooter who killed 49 people at an Orlando LGBT nightclub used Facebook to threaten “Islamic State vengeance”, critique US attacks in Syria and research the locations of Florida police offices, a US senator has reported.

Omar Mateen, 29, used the social media network before and during the attack on Pulse nightclub, the deadliest mass shooting in US history, posting what is described as “terrorism-related content” and searching for “Pulse Orlando” and “Shooting”, Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson revealed.

Read it all from the Independent.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Get Religion) Terry Mattingly on AP's "politics-only" flawed reporting of the recent SBC Convention

Are there political implications to much of what takes place at an SBC gathering? Of course there are. You’d have to be blind not to see that. However, it is just as important to listen to the debates about WHY the convention takes some of the stands that it does.

It was nice of AP, in a piece containing very few attributions for quotes from real people, to note that the SBC has not changed its doctrinal stand on the moral status of sexual acts outside of marriage. It would have been nice, however, to have allowed readers to see a few quotes from actual Southern Baptists describing why they supported one type of action for the powerful people who lead the Disney corporation, yet another set of actions for the LGBT victims of a hateful act of terrorism.

Once again, journalists do not have to AGREE with the theological content of these arguments and decisions. But it is inaccurate, flawed, biased journalism to ignore the religious content of these kinds of events. By the way, this happens when journalists cover liberal, “mainline” Protestant events almost as often as it happens with coverage of doctrinal conservatives.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

(W Post) Consumers could be facing biggest increase in ACA health premiums next year

Premiums for health plans sold through the federal insurance exchange could jump substantially next year, perhaps more than at any point since the Affordable Care Act marketplaces began in 2013.

An early analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that proposed rates for benchmark silver plans ”” the plans in that popular tier of coverage that determine enrollees’ tax subsidies ”” are projected to go up an average of 10 percent across 14 major metropolitan areas.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance

Archbishop Welby preaches at Anglican Centre in Rome 50th anniversary service

…without any element of hyperbole, or attempt to flatter, there is nevertheless a need at 50 to consider what has been and to envisage what should be.

Pope Paul VI, on 23 March 1966, took as his text, “forgetting what is behind, I press on towards the upward call of Jesus Christ.”

Of course the apostle did not do anything so simplistically crass as to forget. His epistles are full of what is behind: of sin and deliverance, of past failures set right, and of how God had called and equipped him.

We have to see the statement in its context of the athlete whose only goal is the finishing line, whose only desire is to have used every resource of wit and courage and strength at the moment of crossing that line.”¯

Because to look back is always to begin to lose.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

(Dio of London) Bp of Kensington Graham Tomlin went to explore Theology's future at Yale

I have just been in on a series of fascinating discussions on the future of theology in Yale Divinity School in the USA. The premise we were there to discuss was that theology needs to re-think itself as the ”˜secular’ world no longer listened to theologians (they don’t produce anything useful, scientifically verifiable or economically profitable) and church didn’t much either (churches being more interested in pragmatic leadership training and no longer read theological books). As a result, theology has tended to drift into the descriptive mode of ”˜religious studies’ and lost interest in God. The suggestion was that theology should ultimately be about ”˜articulating visions of human flourishing’.

It was a fascinating 24 hours. Broadly speaking the thesis held up. Guilty as charged, the theological guild does often come over as talking to itself in ever-smaller circles about ever more abstruse subjects, and did need a new vision of itself and its purpose. The idea that we live in a secular world, however, was roundly challenged. We are no longer so much a secular world but a plural one, where religion is reviving around the world, with the odd exception of Europe, but even there and in the west generally, the real divide is not between secular and religious views of the world but between transcendental ones (including but not uniquely religious) and ”˜closed systems’ which saw the world in reductionist mechanistic terms.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(W Post) How a heroic Marine’s military training helped him save dozens from Orlando gunman

Yousuf told CBS that he knew there was a door behind the panicked crowd, but people were too overwhelmed to unlatch it.

“And I’m screaming, ”˜Open the door! Open the door!’ ” Yousuf said. “And no one is moving because they are scared.”

If they did not act, they could be targeted by the gunman, who could have appeared at any moment. They were a few feet from relative safety. Yousuf told CBS that there was “only one choice.”
“Either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance of getting shot and saving everyone else, and I jumped over to open that latch and we got everyone that we can out of there.”

It was a simple act of heroism, but it may have been one of the most decisive actions that took place that morning. Asked how many people left through that exit, Yousuf told CBS that he estimated as many as 60 or 70.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O Saviour Christ, whose compassion embraces all men, and who in the days of thy flesh didst welcome sinners: Graciously receive us who now come to thee, and who have nothing to plead but our own exceeding need, and thy exceeding love; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall ever be in my mouth.

–Psalm 34:1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ABC Aus) Michael Jensen–The Orlando Tragedy: What Can be Said?

But what we need most is not declarations of the undoubted meaning of the catastrophe, but lament. We need not commentary, but poetry.

The causes of this kind of calamity lie not simply with a lack of the adequate laws, or with the blaming or this or that group. What hidden rage could possibly cause an individual to murder without compassion or sorrow fifty of his fellow creatures? It cannot be reduced to one simple strand. It is, like most evil, absurd.
We want to generalise – to read the event in the light of cultural themes that are familiar to us – when what happened is filled with hideous and strange particularities.

What the word “tragedy” allows us to do is to sit in the dust bewildered at what has happened; to recognise that others are in agony, and that as human beings, we have been spared that agony not because we are virtuous, but because – this time – our group wasn’t in the frame.

The sixteenth century poet Sir Phillip Sidney wrote of tragedy that it

teacheth the uncertainety of this world, and upon how weake foundations guilden roofes are builded.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theodicy, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

This looks interesting–The Economist guide on Brexit

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Stock Market, Theology

(WSJ) World Health Organization Drops Coffee’s Status as Possible Carcinogen

Coffee drinkers have gotten some good news.

Twenty-five years after classifying coffee as a possible carcinogen leading to bladder cancer, the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm has reversed course, saying on Wednesday that coffee is not classifiable as a carcinogen.

The organization also said that coffee has no carcinogenic effects on other cancers, including those of the pancreas and prostate, and has even been seen to reduce the risk of liver and uterine cancers.

The agency is finally joining other major research organizations in those findings. Numerous studies in recent years have shown no conclusive link between cancer and coffee and have actually shown protective benefits in certain types of cancer.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Theology