Daily Archives: November 4, 2016

Lord, For Thy Tender Mercy's Sake – Farrant

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(NYT) How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth

Next week, if all goes well, someone will win the presidency. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. Will the losing side believe the results? Will the bulk of Americans recognize the legitimacy of the new president? And will we all be able to clean up the piles of lies, hoaxes and other dung that have been hurled so freely in this hyper-charged, fact-free election?

Much of that remains unclear, because the internet is distorting our collective grasp on the truth. Polls show that many of us have burrowed into our own echo chambers of information. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 81 percent of respondents said that partisans not only differed about policies, but also about “basic facts.”

For years, technologists and other utopians have argued that online news would be a boon to democracy. That has not been the case.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Media, Psychology, Theology

Wesley Hill–why Christian Philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorf 's case for same-sex marriage is shallow

One would never learn from Wolterstorff’s reading of Romans 1 that multiple New Testament exegetes have offered cogent responses to Boswell’s interpretation, undermining its credibility even for most “progressive” Christians writing in this area today. Specifically, Wolterstorff declines to mention the pitched debate over the import of the multiple allusions Paul makes in Romans 1 to Genesis 1-3, allusions that suggest that “nature,” as Paul understands it, isn’t simply “what is common in Paul’s day” but rather what is given in God’s creation itself.

All of Wolterstorff’s engagement with Scripture appears to be shaped by his gambit: If same-sex sexual intimacy isn’t inherently unloving, then opposition to same-sex marriage can only be due to a misbegotten commitment to divine command theory. Once one sees that those supposed divine commands””for instance, in Romans 1””aren’t in fact a black-and-white proscription of all gay sex, then the traditionalists’ jig is up. And this is where Wolterstorff ends his lecture: Having neutralized the proof-texts beloved of conservatives, he closes with a positive case for same-sex marriage.

Read it all.

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

(Telegraph) Parents fear that religion will make their children outcasts

Almost a quarter of religious parents are not passing on their faith to their children for fear they will be alienated at school, a survey has revealed.

The poll found that one in four (23 per cent) were worried that their offspring might be sidelined by friends if they passed on their religious views.

A similar proportion (26 per cent) of parents said they were concerned that their children “may have questions I could not answer”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(BI) U.S. public pension plans are headed for a disaster on the current trajectory

The combined debt held by U.S. public pension plans will top $1.7 trillion next year, according to a just-released report from Moody’s Investors Services.

This “pension tsunami” has already forced towns like Stockton, California and Detroit, Michigan into bankruptcy. Perhaps no government mismanaged their pension as badly as Puerto Rico, where a $43 billion pension debt forced the commonwealth to seek protection from the federal government after having defaulted on its obligations to bondholders ”” a default which is expected to spread to retirees in the form of benefit cuts.

While the disastrous outcome of Puerto Rico’s pension plan ”” which is projected to completely run out of assets by 2019 ”” represents the worst-case scenario, the same series of events that led to its demise can be found in most public pension plans nationwide.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, City Government, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Psychology, State Government, Stock Market, Theology

(Church Times) Stanley Hauerwas–Countering the politics of resentment

…the racism and anxiety that Mr Trump has exploited are, I believe, manifestations of an even deeper pathology ”” namely, the profound sense of unease that many Americans have about their lives. That unease often takes the form of resentment against elites, but, even more troublingly, it also funds the prejudice against minority groups and immigrants.

Resentment is another word for the unease that seems to grip good middle-class ”” mostly white ”” people who have worked hard all their lives and yet find that they are no better off than when they started. They deeply resent what they interpret as the special treatment that some receive in an effort to right the wrongs of the past.

All this is happening at the same time as the Church ”” at least, the mainstream Church ”” is struggling against a culture of consumption. Americans find that they have no good reason for going to church. The statistical decline of Christians has led some church leaders to think that our primary job is to find ways to increase church membership. At a time when Christians are seeking to say something confident and useful about “church growth”, what we communicate is superficial and simplistic. You do not need to come to church to be told that you need to be nice.

The Church has failed to help people to live in such a manner that they would want no other life than the life they have lived….

Read it all.

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

Archbishop's Welby's speech in Abu Dhabi on religious freedom

In 2015 a powerful book* Dr Frances Flannery, a scholar at James Madison University in Washington, analysed the nature of apocalyptic terrorism. The author looks at case studies within the environmental movement, in Japan, amongst militant Christian militia groups in the USA, and in Islam.

For me the key finding was that whereas fundamentalist attitudes with an apocalyptic, imminent end of the world approach, in some groups might lead to psychological harm or isolation for their members, it was the sense of who was responsible for bringing in the rule of God that made the difference. If the answer was that God was responsible, the group was unlikely to be violent. Once they felt that they had a responsibility to do God’s work in the place of God, then extreme violence was inevitable.

In other words the issue is theological. What is the understanding of God that we have in terms of responsibility for a righteous society.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Bright

We beseech thee, O Lord, to enlighten our minds and to strengthen our wills, that we may know what we ought to do, and be enabled to do it, through the grace of thy most Holy Spirit, and for the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ”˜Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ”˜Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

–Luke 13:31-35

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Rosaria Butterfield–Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth: A Response to Jen Hatmaker

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The RNS Interview with Jen Hatmaker

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Media, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women