Daily Archives: July 9, 2016

(Deseret News) Why the majority of Americans think cohabiting is a good idea

However, participants were more hesitant when it came to questions about their own children cohabiting before marriage. Forty-four percent of participants said they would be OK with their child cohabiting, similar to 40 percent who said it would not be OK.

According to a recent Deseret News report an analysis by the Census Bureau data found cohabitation has doubled in the past 25 years, noting that from 2011 to 2013 nearly two-thirds of of women ages 19-44 had lived with a partner outside of marriage.

“America is well beyond the tipping point when it comes to cohabitation,” Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group, stated in the report of the survey. “Living together before marriage is no longer an exception, but instead has become an accepted and expected milestone of adulthood.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sociology, Theology, Women, Young Adults

(CT) The Burden and Promise of Racial Reconciliation

Our vision, then, is bigger and bolder than social justice. And we pray and work not simply for reconciliation of blacks and whites, but of both, and all, to Jesus Christ. And precisely because this is a bigger and bolder vision, we must not become naively optimistic nor cynically despairing. The great American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr spent his life trying to show this nation a middle way regarding justice, one grounded in realistic hope. And he did so with these telling words in his The Irony of American History:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint; therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Violence

(Church Times) Appeal launched for victims of DRC sex attacks

An emergency appeal for the thousands of women and girls affected by endemic sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been launched by the charity Tearfund.

It is estimated that up to 1.8 million women in the country have experienced conflict-related violence, and that thousands more are added every day. Tearfund is urging people to fund its work, empowering communities to support survivors and tackle the “harmful social norms” that are among the causes of the violence.

Although the civil war officially ended in 2003, conflict persists in the east, where violence is “rampant” and “mindless”, and includes the rape of children and babies, the head of the charity’s sexual violence team, Veena O’Sullivan, says.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

The TEC Bishop of Dallas, George Sumner, on the recent events–American Tragedy

I have no easy answer to the crisis in which we find ourselves as Americans. But this much is clear: Dallas Christians, black and white, of all denominations, are called to stand together. As one we pray for those harmed. We who do so are already one body in Jesus Christ, in spite of all the fault lines in our society. May the Holy Spirit guide us all in discerning the shape of our common witness. May we all be praying for the welfare of our city and all its inhabitants. May He protect all exposed to danger in their work.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

James Smith on Yuval Levin's "The Fractured Republic"–Hope in the Ruins

But Levin’s case is not a counsel of despair. Far from it. Nor does he simply dismiss our nostalgia. Instead, we need to learn from it: “To learn from nostalgia, we must let it guide us not merely toward ‘the way we were,’ but toward what was good about what we miss, and why.” Or, as we’ve suggested here before, we need to “remember forward.”

That endeavour informs the second, constructive half of The Fractured Republic. The diagnosis is important: the same mid-century developments we celebrate were Trojan horses that unleashed forces hostile to the institutions, habits, and practices that made them possible. More specifically, what crawled out of those horses were agents of individualism that devoured the mid-level institutions of society, leaving atomistic individuals fending for themselves and/or looking to a behemoth state to save us. The result has been “the collapse of the culture of solidarity.”

The creative way forward, then, is to recover a culture of solidarity in the face of atomistic individualism and an abstract state. But what distinguishes Levin’s proposal from the nostalgia of others is his almost Hegelian attentiveness to the contingencies of history. So we can’t just turn back the clock to consolidation. Riffing on Alexis de Tocqueville, Levin concedes that the “diffusion” that characterizes our society is “a ‘generative fact’ of our particular time. It can be channelled and directed, perhaps mitigated at the margins, but it cannot be meaningfully reversed, at least in the foreseeable future.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Daily Report from the 41st General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada

Delight came through the commitment of the church to bear witness to God’s love for the world through the Marks of Mission, through evangelism, and its international discipleship through the worldwide Anglican Communion. He pointed to movements to renew liturgy in the church; how the church was making a difference in the lives of the poor; by the response of the church to help those affected by massive wildfires in Western Canada in summer 2015 and spring 2016; and parishes that had worked hard to raise funds in order to support Syrian refugee families, often partnering with social agencies and members of other faiths. He highlighted the church’s emerging relationship with Indigenous peoples””marked by an abiding commitment to truth and reconciliation.

Angst, however, was also present among members of General Synod as they prepared to debate amendments to the marriage canon that would allow for the blessing of marriages among same-sex couples. The Primate outlined developments since resolution C003 passed at General Synod 2013, which included the establishment of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, and the release of their report This Holy Estate, which was received at the September 2015 meeting of the Council of General Synod. He urged members to be especially mindful in their discussion of the “lives and loves and longings” of LGBTQ individuals who are members of our families, neighbours, friends, parishes, and clergy. He reiterated the need to recognize how much is at stake in the deliberations while maintaining the unity of spirit, with members conducting themselves in a way reflective of the idea behind “You Are My Witnesses”.

Yearning, the Primate added, came from the deep longing within the hearts of members to strive to be less focused on the church’s internal life, and more on being a church in and of the world. Archbishop Hiltz said that the gospel of Christ compels the church in every age not to remain silent in the face of real life and death issues in our world, which in our time include human trafficking, gender-based violence, racially motivated violence, religiously motivated violence, child labour, child soldiers, drug wars, gun control, criminalization of people for their sexual orientation, extreme poverty, starvation unto death, refugees in the millions, and environmental degradation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Augustine

O Lord our God, under the shadow of Thy wings let us hope. Thou wilt support us, both when little, and even to gray hairs. When our strength is of Thee, it is strength; but, when our own, it is feebleness. We return unto Thee, O Lord, that from their weariness our souls may rise towards Thee, leaning on the things which Thou hast created, and passing on to Thyself, who hast wonderfully made them; for with Thee is refreshment and true strength. Amen.

–James Manning,ed., Prayers of the Early Church (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1953)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

–Psalm 20:6-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Globe and Mail) Why ISIS' attacks in Saudi Arabia are a big deal

For one thing, the targets are too important to be left to just anyone. No one but the Islamic State (or possibly al-Qaeda) would dare attack the Prophet’s Mosque.

For another thing, only the Islamic State has the right kind of experienced personnel on the ground in Saudi Arabia. In the past four years, more than 3,000 young Saudi men have gone to fight with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Of them, about 700 have reportedly returned home to Saudi Arabia fully trained and willing to carry out such attacks as these.

Finally, it is the Islamic State that harbours the greatest contempt for Saudi Arabia.

Since the day, two years ago, on which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State, declared a caliphate in the parts of Iraq and Syria the group had conquered and occupied, he has wanted to overturn the House of Saud.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CT) Christopher Wright on Lamentations: A Bottle for the Tears of the World

What does Lamentations offer us today?

There are people who are, at this moment, seeing murder, rape, the loss of homes and loved ones, and the destruction of holy places. For them, Lamentations describes reality. We can and should lament with them.

Lamentations, as O’Connor says, provides a bottle for the tears of the world. We cry out to God for those who suffer so terribly from the effects of sin and evil and sheer folly: in wars, racial conflicts, and all manner of injustice and oppression. Lamentations holds up to God the sheer horror of what this suffering feels like, and appeals to him to act justly, to demonstrate his faithfulness. The book affirms God’s sovereignty””his throne is still in heaven even as the devastation of his temple happens on earth””in its closing verses.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Violence