Daily Archives: September 20, 2016

(Gallup) Jim Clifton–The Invisible American

I’ve been reading a lot about a “recovering” economy. It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week.

I don’t think it’s true.

The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.

Ten percent of 250 million adults in the U.S. is 25 million people whose economic lives have crashed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Theology

The Status of Global Christianity, 2016, in the Context of 1900-2050

What a resource–check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Jason Hammels victory gives the Cubs 4 pitchers with at least 15 wins for the 1st time since 1935

The loaded Chicago Cubs are going to have to make some difficult decisions when they set their postseason roster.

From pitcher Jason Hammel’s perspective, it’s a matter of making it as tough on them as possible.

Hammel tossed seven solid innings and Dexter Fowler hit a tiebreaking single during Chicago’s three-run seventh, leading the Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.

”This team continues to prove as long as you hang around for a little while they’re going to put up something,” Hammel said. ”They’ll make it exciting, so kudos to those guys (for) putting some good at-bats together late.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

([London] Sunday Times) Only Christianity is made to bear the cross of public ridicule

I meet all sorts in my job. You might say it’s a broad church. A few weeks back I was on another shoot when, during a break, the talk got around to religion. In these interesting times, it often does.

Eventually someone mentioned “believing in the sky fairy”, and there was general approval, a bit of laughter. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t much fussed. Generally speaking I’m in favour of a secular society, one without a state-sanctioned religion and where everyone minds a polite responsibility to go quietly about their business and not bother the neighbours with strongly held opinions on the matter of belief.

The sky fairy comment, as it happens, was in response to a general point someone made about the Anglican church ”” and this sort of thing is absolutely commonplace. Remembering to treat Christianity with unbridled contempt is an entry-level requirement for most modern conversations about religion in Britain.

Read it all from Neil Oliver (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Television recomendation–CNBC's Ground Zero Rising: Freedom vs. Fear

I finally got to Ground Zero Rising: Freedom vs. Fear hosted by Jim Cramer; its very worthwhile–put it on your list.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Architecture, History, Movies & Television, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

Anglican Archbishop of Central Africa writes to Ban Ki-moon on refugees

The global tragedy of the forced displacement of millions of people is now a crisis that calls us to work together in new and creative ways in response to such suffering and disruption. The trauma experienced by the world’s 60 million refugees speaks to our common humanity, and pleads with us to take action as we reach out to respond to their suffering. However, people are not only fleeing conflict and violence, but also moving around the world to escape from poverty or the effects of climate change. People search to find places where they can work and feed their families, to find better opportunities or freedom to live in peace and safety, whoever they are. All this demands a much more intentional and robust collective response in which the churches and other faith communities are more than ready to take their place.

In the United Kingdom, in my own country Zambia, and in many of the 164 countries around the world in which the Anglican Communion is present, the churches, together with other local religious communities, are working with their United Nations and civil society partners and with governments to provide sanctuary and protection to those fleeing conflict and poverty.

In addition, as our church communities reach out in loving service to those who have lost everything and who often arrive profoundly traumatized, bearing both physical and psychological scars from their experiences, we know that these people, whom the world labels as refugees, asylum seekers or migrants are, like all the people of the earth, treasured human beings made in the image of God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Church of Central Africa, England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Immigration, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(C of E) Increase in ministry numbers is necessary and achievable, report shows

Dioceses have responded to the call to work towards a 50% increase in candidates for ordination with new posts and new procedures. A review of numbers in ordained ministry over the last 67 years shows that the 50% increase in candidates for ministry by 2020 agreed by the General Synod in February, 2015, is needed to stabilise and increase the numbers ministering in parishes, chaplaincies and new forms of church.

The Church of England is seeking to increase by half the numbers training for ordained ministry and to sustain those numbers for a decade: an increase from about 500 to 750 by 2020. At the same time, the Church is also seeking greater diversity among those training for ministry. This will better reflect the communities where the Church is working, in terms of age, gender and ethnic and social background. The 50% increase is an aspiration and not a limit if more candidates come forward and dioceses require more new clergy.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Andrew Watson, chair of the Ordained Vocations Working Group said, “The aspiration to increase the number of new clergy by 50% is part of a wider vision to release and develop the gifts of the whole people of God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Young Adults

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Coleridge Patteson

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servants John Coleridge Patteson and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia, and by their labors and sufferings didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many, thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, who by precept and example hast taught us that the greatest of all is the servant of all, and that the humble shall be exalted: Make us content to take the lowest place; and if it shall please thee to call us higher, do thou preserve within us a simple and lowly spirit; to thy great glory.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders which he has wrought.
He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments….

–Psalm 78:2-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Child euthanasia in Belgium " wicked and damnable" says Archbishop Cranmer Blog

With children it is usually cancer: incurable sickness, unbearable pain, debilitating, degrading misery. What child wouldn’t prefer to go an be with Jesus? Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia (it’s a thing) agrees. Far better for children to be given a fatal injection than to cough up blood all night long, whether or not they go to be with Jesus. Indeed, Jesus doesn’t really come into it. Why should he? We’re talking about the exercise of free will for the alleviation of unbearable physical suffering. It is liberal, progressive and compassionate. A child could understand it, especially at the age of 17.

Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, and now injects people whether or not they are suffering a terminal illness. If you’re depressed and feeling suicidal for no particular reason at all, Belgium will provide a way out. They extended euthanasia to children in 2014. It is the only country in the world that has no age restriction. At least in the Netherlands you have to be 12 years of age before you can decide you’d prefer to be with Jesus than all those nasty doctors and nurses. In Belgium, the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia can give their blessing to your death if you’re 10, eight, six”¦ provided you’re in unbearable physical pain and know what you’re doing.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child”¦ (1Cor 13:11).

One hesitates to use the word ”˜evil’ of statutes promulgated by well-intentioned politicians in the context of a liberal democracy, with all the constitutional checks and balances afforded by reason and experience. But Belgium’s abolition of all age restrictions on “the right to die” must surely qualify as one of the most wicked and damnable decrees in the history of Christendom.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Belgium, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Church liberals’ anger over ”˜traditionalist dominated’ bishops’panel on same-sex unions

Supporters of a change in the Church of England’s stance on sexuality have voiced dismay after a new panel of bishops to help “discern” its future course on issues such as same-sex marriage was chosen seemingly dominated traditionalists.

The 10-strong “Bishop’s Reflection Group” appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York includes a string of prominent evangelicals and some seen as staunch conservatives but no-one who has openly advocated a change in teaching or practice on the issue.

Liberals voiced anger while opponents of any change also privately hailed the make-up of the group, set up after a four-day gathering of all the bishops last week, as better than they expected from their point of view.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Church ethics talks on same-sex unions 'to remain private'

A homosexuality debate by Church of England bishops will remain private to allow views to “deepen and flourish”, the new Bishop of Oxford has said.

The College of Bishops met in Oxford earlier this week to discuss attitudes towards sexuality.

The Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft told BBC Oxford talks were “constructive” and would continue through the autumn.

He said the bishops would reveal their conclusions to the General Synod in February next year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality