Daily Archives: September 24, 2016

(CSM) Singing fish: Unraveling the secrets of mysterious humming at night

In 1924, an academic called Charles Greene described how the “California singing fish” would hum at night. Just why the plainfin midshipman is so vocal at night remained a mystery for nearly a century, until now.

For much of the year, you won’t hear these fish singing at all. The plainfin midshipman, named after the bioluminescent organs on its underside, which reminded early observers of uniform buttons, resides in the depths of the ocean during the fall and winter. During the spring and early summer, they move to coastal waters between Alaska and Baja California. There, the male fish “sing” to attract mates, a sound that can be heard by humans onshore.

But these vocalizations aren’t spontaneous, say Cornell University researchers Andrew Bass and Ni Feng in a new study in Current Biology. Instead, they’re controlled by the fish’s internal clocks. That’s why they happen exclusively at night. And the hormone that controls these clocks is the same one that regulates bird activity and human sleep patterns.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Science & Technology

(Liturgy) Bosco Peters–My Submission on Same-Sex Couples

The majority position of the Way Forward Working Group (composed of some of the best legal and theological minds of our church) agreed that blessing committed same-sex couples is not a departure from the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ, and therefore not prohibited by Te Pouhere (our church’s constitution). Many places provide such blessings, and people in committed same-sex relationships hold a bishop’s licence. Under the 2016 revision of Te Pouhere, bishops can even authorise such blessings in places under their jurisdiction.

I propose that our doctrine of marriage be changed to being between a couple, with the intent that it be lifelong and monogamous. Such a change would enable the sort of diversity illustrated in my first paragraph. The change would remove the current hypocrisy around marrying divorcees, clarify practice in relation to committed same-sex relationships, and facilitate honesty and openness.
Within this, I propose we affirm the current position that any minister shall have full discretion to decline to conduct any marriage service or blessing, and that we also affirm and encourage vocations to religious life, singleness, and chastity.

Yours in Christ,

(Rev) Bosco Peters

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) Boko Haram Rages in Nigeria, but the World’s Eyes Are Elsewhere

The crisis spawned by Boko Haram has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to a relatively little-known city in Nigeria that has finally become safe enough for them to wait out an end to the awful, deadly war.

With villagers from the countryside pouring in, it is almost as though the entire city, Maiduguri, has become a sprawling refugee camp.

Tented government encampments dot the exurbs where people wait for bags of food to arrive. Once-quaint neighborhoods overflow with cardboard hovels filled with young children who are lucky to eat three meals a day.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Saturday Mental Health Break–Hubble: Galaxies Across Space and Time

Breathtaking–don’t miss it.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, History, Photos/Photography, Science & Technology

(Local Paper) Charleston area civil rights activist Esau Jenkins' legacy on display at Smithsonian

Messages of faith and progress echoed from the edge of Gadsden’s Wharf on Thursday as community leaders paid tribute to the legacy of social justice left by the late Esau Jenkins, one of Charleston’s most influential civil rights figures.

The city of Charleston helped host the event to send off Jenkins’ family on a trip to Washington, D.C., for Saturday’s grand opening of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Dozens of members of the Jenkins family spanning three generations will travel together on a charter bus, symbolic of the countless bus trips that Jenkins organized for African-American communities across the Sea Islands and beyond during the Civil Rights Movement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, History, Race/Race Relations

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–The gentle, evangelical insider religious satire of The Babylon Bee

[Adam] Ford, who once yearned to be a pastor, stressed that he is trying to be critical and supportive at the same time.

“God can and does use goofy things like lasers and smoke machines to bring people to Christ, sure, but I believe church services that are reminiscent of WWE productions have peaked and will be less and less successful and prevalent moving forward,” he said.

The key is that Ford is a modern man who is filling an ancient role, said media scholar Terry Lindvall, of Virginia Wesleyan College.

“The biblical satirist shares in the blame and shame of his defendants. He may be God’s prosecutor, but he is also entwined with the people he ridicules,” wrote Lindvall, in his book “God Mocks: A History of Religious Satire from the Hebrew Prophets to Stephen Colbert.” A skilled satirist, he added, holds up a prophetic mirror that “offers a comic frame in which to look at and to look through the heart; the satirist finds that none are righteous, including himself.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Evangelicals, Humor / Trivia, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from B. F. Westcott

Blessed Lord, who wast tempted in all things like as we are, have mercy upon our frailty. Out of weakness give us strength; grant to us thy fear, that we may fear thee only; support us in time of temptation; embolden us in time of danger; help us to do thy work with good courage, and to continue thy faithful soldiers and servants unto our life’s end.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WaPo) The Museum of African American History and Culture Opens–What you need to know before you go

It’s with good reason that Lonnie Bunch, the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s founding director, has called this weekend a “mini-inauguration.” It’s jam-packed with things to do and places to be, not the least of which is inside the new museum.

If you’re determined to be on the Mall at the heart of it all as the museum prepares to open its doors Saturday, we have everything you need to know, including who you’ll see at the Freedom Sounds Festival, what to bring (and leave at home), how to get there and, if you’re fortunate enough to have a timed pass to the museum, how admission will work for this historic weekend.

For updates, photos and news through the weekend, go to wapo.st/museum.

Read it all and make sure to take the time to look at all 33 photos.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations

Ian Paul–Do we in the Church of England need more vicars?

The Church of England has just released two related reports on numbers in ordained ministry. These are not related to annual ministry figures; the last figures (from 2015) were released in June, and caught the headlines for a number of reasons. These reports are related more to the aims of the Renewal and Reform process, and look back at the historical context as well as projecting forwards. Although there is no new research data included, the reports do contain some important observations which have implications for both national and diocesan approaches.

The first thing to say is that these reports are really helpful, with relevant information, well presented, and with interesting narratives to complement the information. This is a reflection of two important changes, one in strengthening the analysis of what is happening through the Research and Statistics team (they are very impressive””do go and visit them if you are passing through Church House) and the other in focussing more clearly on vocations at a national level within Ministry Division, not least through the appointment of Catherine Nancekievill as Head of Discipleship and Vocation. Is it too optimistic to think that the C of E is actually getting its act together in this area”¦?

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

Wycliffe Hall Oxford is delighted that the Very Revd Dr Justyn Terry is to be new Academic Dean

From here:

Wycliffe Hall is delighted to announce that The Very Revd. Dr. Justyn Terry is to be our new Academic Dean, giving strategic oversight to all our teaching programmes, both academic and ministerial, and driving for co-ordination and quality.

The Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Michael Lloyd, writes: ”˜Justyn has, for the past eight years, been Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry, in the wonderfully named Ambridge USA, so he brings an extraordinary wealth of experience to this new job. I am thrilled at this appointment, and am looking forward with great excitement to working with Justyn. His outstanding gifts will help Wycliffe provide women and men with the best possible training for a lifetime’s service of God. Please do pray for Justyn and Cathy and their daughters, Sophia and Lydia, as they adjust to life back in the UK.’

Justyn is the author of several books, including The Justifying Judgment of God: a Reassessment of the place of Judgment in the Saving Work of Christ, The Gospel according to Galatians: The Good News of Jesus Christ for a Secular Age, and The Five Phases of Leadership: An Overview for Christian Leaders. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity School for Ministry.

Justyn will begin two days a week in October, and then be full-time from 1st January 2017.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology