Daily Archives: December 1, 2016

(BBC) Archbp Justin Welby: Putting money in its proper place

In the last two chapters, he offers a couple of countermeasures:
What we give we gain
What we master brings us joy
These are what he calls the formulation of “divine economics”, a kind of upside-down approach to wealth where giving does not result in depletion but blessing, and where overcoming our natural appetite for accumulating wealth is the challenge that brings genuine and deep-seated peace.
“Money buys capabilities,” he says.
“It also buys security, but it risks taking us further and further away from being those who wash feet, who dethrone Mammon by subverting the power of wealth to give us a better life.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Con Coughlin–Did Britain’s Parliament do a Muslim Brotherhood whitewash?

he governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have all outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror organization and want Whitehall to ban the Muslim Brotherhood’s ability to operate in Britain. These Arab countries insist that Muslim Brotherhood activists are taking advantage of Britain’s tolerant attitude toward Islamist groups to plot terror attacks in the Arab world, allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood denies, claiming that it is opposed to terrorism and violence. Pro-Western Arab states also still resent Britain and America’s involvement in supporting the removal of Mr. Mubarak, who had been a loyal ally of Western policy in the region, dating back at least to the First Gulf War.

The review’s failure to come out strongly against the Muslim Brotherhood is now causing the British government some major headaches. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reportedly threatened to cancel lucrative trade deals with Britain in retaliation for the inquiry. Meanwhile, the British government has been heavily criticized by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as highly vocal pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Britain, who claim the review failed to take into account the brutal repression Muslim Brotherhood supporters suffered at the hands of the Egyptian security authorities after President Sisi came to power.

The continuing controversy certainly serves as an indictment of Mr. Cameron’s ill-advised meddling in Egyptian politics. Like many supporters of the Arab Spring, he took at face value the Muslim Brotherhood’s claim to be a reforming and democratic party that would transform Egypt’s political landscape following the endemic corruption of the Mubarak regime.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia, Theology, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Violence

(Wa Po) Michael Schulson–Why electing Donald Trump was a triumph for the prosperity gospel

The election of Donald Trump has lifted fringe ideologies, such as the alt-right, and little-known political figures, such as Trump’s immigration adviser Kris Kobach, to new levels of national prominence.

It has also elevated a group of evangelical Christian leaders and traditions that are often treated as marginal. Specifically, Trump’s victory has been an unlikely triumph for the prosperity gospel, as well as for a handful of prosperity-oriented preachers from the world of African American televangelism.

The president-elect identifies as a Presbyterian. But his rhetoric during the campaign often reflected the language of the prosperity gospel, a diffuse American Christian movement that links faith, positive thinking and material wealth into “the American religion of winning,” as journalist Jeff Sharlet described it this year.

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, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Office of the President, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

([London] Times) Firms must block child ”˜sexting’

Social media giants should block children from sharing explicit images to help to curb Britain’s “sexting” crisis, the health secretary has said.

Jeremy Hunt also heaped pressure on tech and mobile phone companies to tackle sexting among under-18s. Technology existed to allow social media platforms to block explicit images from young users automatically, following a request from their parents, he said.

It is the latest demand from a senior government figure for social media companies to take a greater role in confronting issues such as online porn, cyberbullying and extremism.

Giving evidence to the Commons health committee yesterday, Mr Hunt said the companies needed to show that they were willing to help to improve mental health among teenagers. He warned against an online culture of intimidation and sexual imagery.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology

(AA) Anglicans worldwide raise awareness on World AIDS Day 2016

ecognising progress in many countries, the Archbishop said: “The big challenge now is to eliminate HIV/AIDS where it strikes most fiercely and most remorselessly ”“ which is amongst the poor and those in places of great difficulty.”

Acknowledging the key role of faith responses, he said: “The Anglican Communion has been involved for decades in enabling communities to face the threat of AIDS, to support the victims of AIDS, families and others affected directly and indirectly. The clinical evidence is that it is through community-based initiatives, and the churches are among the best to do it, that it is tackled most efficiently and effectively.”

Reflecting on the stigmatising of people living with HIV, Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Faith based communities challenge that ostracism when they see in every single person someone made in the image of God, someone loved by God, and therefore someone who should be loved by each one of us.”

Read it all (and watch the video).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(NYT) Can Television Be Fair to Muslims?

It has never been easy to put a Muslim character on American screens.

Even in this TV renaissance, most characters are on shows that rely on terrorism ”” or at least, terrorist-adjacent ”” story lines. Other kinds of Muslim characters are woefully absent across the dial. Could that change now, after a divisive presidential campaign that included vows by Donald J. Trump to stop Islamic immigration? Or will it be more difficult than ever?

Less than two weeks after Election Day, five showrunners gathered in New York to discuss the representation of Muslims on TV. Howard Gordon, a creator of “24” and “Homeland,” has faced these issues the longest; after “24” emerged as a lightning rod for its stereotyped depictions, he engaged with Islamic community groups to broaden his understanding. (Mr. Gordon is an executive producer of the rebooted “24: Legacy,” debuting in February.) Joshua Safran is the creator of “Quantico,” an ABC series about F.B.I. operatives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(CT) Joanna Reed Shelton's wonderful testimony–My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ

… I finally embarked on a book about my great-grandfather.

I knew that if I hoped to understand what drew him into ministry in Japan, I needed to learn more about Christianity. So, for the first time, I began to read the Bible in a meaningful way, under the guidance of two devout relatives. A long-suppressed inner flame burned brighter as I read and contemplated the Scriptures. Several verses in particular spoke to me.

In Luke 17:20”“21, when Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God is coming, he replies: “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed; nor will people say, ”˜Here it is,’ or ”˜There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And in John 14:9, Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”

For the first time, I felt I understood the true meaning of faith, as hope in things unseen. I understood, too, how Jesus taught us what it means to be God’s people, loving one another as we love ourselves. Only through love can we help bring God’s kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Christology, History, Japan, Marriage & Family, Missions, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Nicholas Ferrar

Lord God, make us so reflect thy perfect love; that, with thy deacon Nicholas Ferrar and his household, we may rule ourselves according to thy Word, and serve thee with our whole heart; 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 Frank Colquhoun

O Eternal God, who has taught us in thy holy Word that love is the fulfilling of the law: Pour into our hearts that best of all thy gifts, that loving our neighbour as ourselves we may live as children of the day and of the light; for the glory of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

I love thee, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

The cords of death encompassed me,
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me,
the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears
Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens, and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
He rode on a cherub, and flew;
he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering around him,
his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him
there broke through his clouds
hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare,
at thy rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

He reached from on high, he took me,
he drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
and from those who hated me;
for they were too mighty for me.
They came upon me in the day of my calamity;
but the Lord was my stay.
He brought me forth into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.

–Psalm 18:1-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Toronto Star) Polyamory looks a lot like ordinary family life: Modern Family

People tend to think of swingers when they first hear about polyamory, she says. “That’s kind of where our brains go ”” that ’70s-style key party is the image that that conjures up.”

But for the estimated 4 to 5 per cent of the Canadian population that self-identify as polyamorous, according to a study published in the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy in 2012, when given the opportunity to live as they please, polyamory looks a lot more like ordinary family life than one big, free-loving party.

Yovanoff’s journey into polyamory began with her and her current domestic partner ”” who prefers not to be named for privacy reasons ”” dating other couples.

Read it all.

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Polyamory, Canada, Sexuality

£1 million social investment puts Church workers at heart of London estates

Estates in Old Street and Bethnal Green and their local church communities have been the first to benefit from missional workers living on-site, following the success of a pioneering bond. The Missional Housing Bond was developed by a partnership of churches and charities to allow church workers to live among the communities they serve, in spite of the rising rents in the capital.

Three years of work on the Missional Housing Bond have resulted in two successful rounds of crowdfunding raising close to £1 million of capital. This has enabled a partnership involving the Diocese of London to purchase two small flats near to Inspire London church in Old Street and St Peter’s church in Bethnal Green, both rapidly growing churches in an area of London where high levels of need and deprivation exist alongside some of the highest property values in the world.

The flats are made available at social rents to church missional workers who are not only on hand to help the life of their church, but also embed themselves in the life of the local area, helping the Church to fulfill its mission to local people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Rural/Town Life, Stewardship, Theology, Young Adults

(JE) Todd Ousley–The Episcopal Bishop of Eastern Michigan Warns Against Culture of Fear

The bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan, Todd Ousley, recently addressed his diocesan convention on November 11 in Gaylord, Michigan, noting that some parishes in his Lower Peninsula diocese are facing economic scarcity and demographic decline:

“Within the Diocese of Eastern Michigan, these past ten years have seen a decline in membership and Average Sunday Attendance. We are now 45 congregations on our way very quickly to 43. Annual congregational giving has declined making financial viability increasingly difficult for an increasing number of congregations. Our population continues to decline and Michigan demographics show us growing older while losing our young to opportunities in other parts of the country,” Ousley reported. “The reality of our communities and our churches is one that ought make all of us pause.”

The diocese has indeed been hard-hit, losing 28% of members and 36% of attendees from 2005-2015, a rate of decline that surpasses the national denomination. Marriages and baptisms have taken a bigger hit, with the former down 63%, while children’s baptisms were down 47 percent and adult baptisms down 62%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

John Stonestreet–No, we can’t ”˜agree to disagree’ on same-sex ”˜marriage’+ here’s why

Second, we often hear that the Church is evolving on this issue, especially every time a Christian celebrity changes their minds. But the vast majority of evangelicals still hold to the traditional view, and they’re not changing their minds anytime soon. As my “BreakPoint This Week” cohost, Ed Stetzer, points out in Christianity Today, “Evangelical organizations across the spectrum are making clear where they stand on marriage.” Groups like the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Christianity Today, and even more progressive social-justice-minded organizations like World Vision and Fuller Seminary, have all unambiguously committed to hold the line on this issue.

As have denominations. Virtually every evangelical communion has reaffirmed God’s design for sex and marriage. Even in the United Methodist Church, long considered a stronghold of liberal theology, and in the worldwide Anglican communion, the marriage debate has taken a conservative turn as traditional members in Africa and elsewhere exert their influence.

But, some will reply, “If Christians don’t all agree on what marriage is, you can’t say there’s such a thing as ”˜the Christian position.’” But Christian truth isn’t made of what people who call themselves Christians say. It’s revealed truth, made known through creation, through Scripture, ultimately through Christ””each of which are quite clear about what makes us male and female, what marriage is, and about sexual morality.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Apologetics, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture