Daily Archives: October 25, 2016

(Crux) For Iraqi Christians, mix of hope and horror is a daily affair

As the Christian town of Bartella was being liberated from the Islamic State last week, Mona, a Christian student miles from the front line, was hiding under a bed with six other young women.

Sitting on the bed above, inches away, were six ISIS militants, engaged in the terrorist attack on Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk.

Mona’s story highlights the complexities of the situation Christians face in Iraq. On the one hand, long-Christian villages are being liberated. On the other hand, the threats are real, even in a city outside of ISIS control.

After hiding under the bed for three hours, the young Christian women in Kirkuk were able to escape out the back door when five of the six terrorists left, leaving one behind who was wounded. He later blew himself up with a suicide bomb.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CEN) Lord Harries discusses his latest book at Burgh House

“The Beauty and The Horror ”“ searching for God in a Suffering World” spawned an interview by Piers Plowright and in deep discussion with an attentive audience Lord Harries noted on the holocaust at Auschwitz, the question was not “where is or where was God?” but “where was man?” in those very dark days of history.

Oscar Schindler was not a man of faith but he did help to save Jews. God is the source of all goodness, Lord Harries believes, and we are not in a post-religious world, with more believers in Christ, especially growing in China.

On science and medical ethics and religion:- is there a clash? He said that while science gives us results we feel confident in, people can’t feel confident in religion in the same way. Camus and the Karamazov brothers are both sources of allusions to the human condition ”“ much of suffering is debatably made from making the wrong choices.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Theodicy, Theology

(BBC Magazine) Jennicam: The first woman to stream her life on the internet

In 1996, 19-year-old Jennifer Ringley turned on a webcam that sat on top of the computer in her college dorm room. In that simple act, writes Aleks Krotoski, she changed the modern world.

It would be, at first glance, a perfectly innocent thing to do. But rather than use the cam to speak to friends and family back home in Harrisburg, Pennyslvania, she used it to do a most unusual thing: to broadcast herself live, to a globe of strangers, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Photos/Photography, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(C of E Comm Blog) Jessica Foster: ”˜The anxiety and grief is almost tangible in the camp’

Jessica Foster, a curate at St Peter’s, Hall Green, Birmingham, writes about a day trip to the Calais ”˜Jungle’ to deliver rucksacks and suitcases in advance of the operation to clear the camp.

Sitting in a meeting, planning what we, a group of friends from different faiths who live in south Birmingham could do to support people living in the Calais ”˜jungle’ I glance at my phone. There is an appeal for suitcases and rucksacks as thousands of people prepare for an eviction.

I had no idea that two weeks later I would be sitting in a café on the camp, eating a delicious meal of Afghani eggs, spinach and chicken having delivered around 100 pieces of luggage, tents, sleeping bags and some winter clothes to a warehouse in Calais.

The aid was donated by two churches, one church where I am a curate and one free church where another member of the group, Fred, worships. The loaded minibus was lent to us by Birmingham’s Central mosque, where one of our friends, Abdullah, has many connections.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Today) Bishop Omotunde blames poor education quality on govt takeover of schools

Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Ekiti, Most Reverend Christopher Omotunde, has blamed what he called ”˜decadence and nose-dived’ standard in quality of education being witnessed in the country on takeover of mission schools by state governments.

Consequently, the Bishop called on the Ekiti State Government to without delay, return schools established by the church to it for effective management and to boost education standard in the state.

Omotunde, who spoke in Ado Ekiti Monday at a press conference heralding weeklong activities marking the 50th anniversary of the diocese, described the takeover of schools by government as ”˜a robbery action’, saying the rot in educational standard could have been averted if the schools were still under the management of churches.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Education

(Ch Ch) After shooting, Tulsa prays for humility

Humility is strength born of prayer and devotion to God. That’s Warren Blakney Sr.’s Sunday morning message to the North Peoria Church of Christ.

He proclaims it, he shouts it, during the two-hour worship service. He even sings it, bursting into John P. Kee’s “Harvest” mid-sermon. The church joins in: “I read that Hebrews 11 and 1, the kind of faith to know my blessing will come.”

“I come to tell you that humble people are strong people,” Blakney preaches. “Humility means I’ve got the ability to do you in, but I won’t do you in.”
‘Humility is strength born of prayer and devotion to God.’

The 480-member church prays for justice and healing after police shootings of black men sparked protests and violence in cities across the nation, most recently in Charlotte, N.C. Here in Tulsa, white police officer Betty Shelby shot and killed an unarmed black man, Terence Crutcher.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from John R. W. Stott

O God, our heavenly Father, who so loved the world that thou didst give thine only Son to die upon the cross: Pour thy love into our hearts, we humbly beseech thee; that we loving thee above all things, may give up ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, to thy service; for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

–Luke 11:27-28

Posted in Uncategorized

(1st Things) Benjamin Myers–The Sentimentality Trap

Don’t get me wrong. I agree with Ted Kooser, who argues in his excellent Poetry Home Repair Manual that it is far better to risk being sentimental than it is to accept a dry, emotionless kind of poetry. I sometimes think, in fact, that the closer one gets to sentimentality without actually giving in to it, the better. Or to put that in terms more in tune with what I have been arguing, it is a great accomplishment in a poem to take content that is very close to a common emotional experience that can easily be sentimentalized but render it with a depth of feeling and attention to the particular that is entirely unsentimental.

I can immediately think of two great poems that do just that. The first is Robert Hayden’s classic “Those Winter Sundays,” a portrait of an emotionally distant father, but which starts

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

It ends, “What did I know, what did I know / of love’s austere and lonely offices?” This poem could easily have focused on the coziness of the fire, or painted an unmixed and all-admiring portrait of the father. Alternately, it could have railed like a cardboard Sylvia Plath against the evils of patriarchy. But instead, Hayden took the tougher road of telling us about his particular father and their relationship, and in that particularity there is a power to impart universal truth about the complexity of family relationships, something no sentimental poem can achieve.

The other poem that springs to mind is Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Spring and Fall.” The images are fresh and striking in their particularity: “Goldengrove unleaving” and “worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie.” (The fantastic sound certainly doesn’t hurt either.)

Once the Christian reader has dined on poetic fare as rich as this, how could he be satisfied with the thin gruel of sentimentality or with the hard biscuit of the cynical? Once we have known the sacred touch of real love, two made one flesh, both gift from God and image of his love for us, how could we ever again be content with poetic pornography?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Philosophy, Poetry & Literature, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology