Daily Archives: December 12, 2016

(CEN) Theresa May backs new action on anti-Semitism

The UK today became the first country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

Theresa May said that the definition “means there will be one definition of anti-Semitism ”“ in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews ”“ and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”

The definition states: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The term was agreed during IHRA Plenary meetings held in Bucharest from 23-26 May this year. IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, stated at the time that by adopting a working definition, “the IHRA is setting an example of responsible conduct for other international fora and hopes to inspire them also to take action on a legally binding working definition.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Do not Take Yourself Too Seriously Dept–A Christmas Tree for Cat Lovers

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Animals, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Humor / Trivia

(GR) Another attack on Copts in Egypt: Once again, the details make the horrors even worse

Another bombing in a Coptic Orthodox sanctuary in Egypt, with at least 25 dead and that stunning number is expected to rise.

People, please allow me to speak as an Orthodox Christian for a moment. During recent years, it has been hard not to dwell on the hellish stories coming out of Iraq and Syria, with the Islamic State crushing Christians, Yazidis, traditional Muslims and members of other religious minorities. Ancient monasteries and churches, with irreplaceable libraries and works of sacred art, have vanished from the face of the earth.

It has been easy to overlook the horrors that have continued to unfold in Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and elsewhere. In my own daily prayers, I have continued to pray for those dying in these lands, as well as in the ISIS zone. Quite frankly, it is easy to slide into despair about all of this.

The mainstream press coverage of this attack has been very straightforward and has ”“ appropriately so ”“ shown that Coptic believers, once again, are caught in a clash between two Islamic factions inside the tense religious and political culture of Egypt. The only confusion in the coverage concerns some basic and crucial facts, as in the specific location of the attack and why the vast majority of the dead were women and children.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Media, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Violence

Lovely Story about a Michigan Restaurant Owner's Generosity

Every Thanksgiving for the past 10 years, George Dimopoulos has done something amazing.

It’s not that he shuts down his Northville, Michigan restaurant, called George’s Senate Coney Island. It’s that he opens it up even more than usual.

If you are homeless or even just alone for Thanksgiving (or Easter!), you can get a free meal at George’s.

“I’m a very good cook,” he told TODAY.com. “I cook a lot of good food, and I give a lot of food to people. I don’t tell people that I do this; I do this because I believe in God and believe that there are people who need a little help.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Poverty, Stewardship, Theology

(NYT) For Women Under ISIS, a Tyranny of Dress Code and Punishment

By the time the jihadists had finished, not even a woman’s eyes were legal. Showing them was a punishable offense.

The dress code imposed on the women of Mosul started soon after the Islamic State overran the city more than two years ago. It was carried out gradually, until every part of the female body was erased, starting with the face, then the rest of the body ”” including the hands, which had to be covered with gloves, as well as the feet, which had to be hidden by socks. It ended with an announcement blared over loudspeakers, telling women to wear a film of black cloth over their eyes.

Halima Ali Beder, 39, said she had resentfully made each new addition to her wardrobe, starting with the niqab to cover her face, and the abaya, also known as a jilbab, a loosefitting gown. Yet she still ran afoul of the Islamic State’s increasingly harsh enforcement of its codes when she stepped into the lane outside her home, planning to pop over to her neighbor’s house.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

(Guardian) Two-wheel takeover: bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen

Bicycle sensors in Copenhagen clocked a new record this month: there are now more bikes than cars in the heart of the city. In the last year, 35,080 more bikes have joined the daily roll, bringing the total number to 265,700, compared with 252,600 cars.

Copenhagen municipality has been carrying out manual traffic counts at a number of city centre locations since 1970, when there were 351,133 cars and 100,071 bikes. In 2009, the city installed its first electric bike counter by city hall, with 20 now monitoring traffic across the city.

Copenhagen’s efforts to create a cycling city have paid off: bicycle traffic has risen by 68% in the last 20 years. “What really helped was a very strong political leadership; that was mainly Ritt Bjerregaard [the former lord mayor], who had a dedicated and authentic interest in cycling,” says Klaus Bondam, who was technical and environmental mayor from 2006 to 2009 and is now head of the Danish Cycling Federation. “Plus, a new focus on urbanism and the new sustainability agenda broke the glass roof when it came to cycling.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Denmark, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

Egyptian President declares 3 days of mourning after Coptic cathedral attack left 25 dead+49 injured

Egyptian President has declared three days of mourning starting yesterday after an Coptic cathedral was attacked in Cairo leaving 25 people dead and 49 others injured.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called Pope Tawadros II, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria to express his condolences and declared a three-day national mourning period. The president also pledged to find the perpetrators and to arrest them.

Read it all and make sure to see the pictures from CCTV Africa.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Food for Thought–Gregory Nazianzen on the ordained ministry

(Fresco from Kariye Camii, Istanbul: Wikipedia)

Found there:

I felt shame on account of all who, being no better than the many,””it is much if they are not even much worse,””with unwashen hands, so to speak, and uninitiated souls, introduce themselves into the Holy of Holies, and before they have become worthy to approach the sacred things, lay claim to the altar, as if they considered this office not to be an example of virtue, but a means of livelihood,””not a responsible ministration, but an authority for which no account will be required. One must first be cleansed, and then cleanse others; first be instructed, then instruct; become light, then enlighten; draw nigh to God, then lead others up to Him; be sanctified, then sanctify; have hands, then lead by the hand; have prudence, then give counsel. No one is worthy of our great God, both Sacrifice and High Priest, who has not first presented himself to God, as a holy, living sacrifice, nor exhibited that reasonable service which is well-pleasing to Him. How could I assume the garb and name of priest before I had consecrated my hands with holy works; before I had accustomed my eye to take a healthy view of God’s creatures, so as to honour the Creator and not injure the handiwork’; before my ears were fully opened to the Lord’s instruction, and there were given to me an ear which could not be dull of hearing; before my feet stood on the rock, strengthened like harts’ feet, and my goings were ordered in the ways of God, neither almost nor altogether slipping; before every member had become an instrument of righteousness, and had cast away all deadness? Who could assume this office, until his heart had first been set on fire by the holy and fire-proved oracles of God, while the Scriptures were opened to him, and he had got those oracles written down thrice on the tablet of his heart, so that he should have the mind of Christ? ”“St. Gregory Nazianzen, Apologetic Discourse.

Posted in Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

O Christ our God, who wilt come to judge the world in the manhood which thou hast assumed: We pray thee to sanctify us wholly, that in the day of thy coming we may be raised up to live and reign with thee for ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed is he who considers the poor!
The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
thou dost not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness thou healest all his infirmities.

–Psalm 41:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Andrew Lightbown–Renewal, Reform and the ”˜resource church’

So where can we start?

One of the success stories of recent times has been the resource church. Resource churches tend to be found in the cities and typically have been HTB style plants. As Ian Paul has pointed out in a recent thought piece resource churches have achieved rapid growth, through focusing predominately on a discrete group (the 18 to 30 age range). Their astonishing growth in numbers includes a significant number of returnees to church and new converts (around 34% of their congregations comprise these two groups). Resource churches tend to be well resourced in terms of staff numbers and, have demonstrated success in terms of planting, and resourcing, new congregations. They are in other words porous.

So far resource churches have tended to be characterized through a commitment to an evangelical and charismatic expression of faith. Resource churches of this sort are not for everyone but they have been successful; up to a point, or more precisely a geographic point. They have shown an ability to reach from the centre to the suburb, but perhaps no further. But, perhaps, we can learn from the existing model of resource church, amending and extending our understanding of the term? We could, and in my view should, consider extending it to include a wider range of ecclesiologies and geographic territories.

Maybe some real work needs to be done in identifying churches that are potentially and genuinely capable of serving rural England, less we stop at the suburbs? We must invest in potential for real growth, as every good investment manager knows. We must seek out and invest in churches which are currently undervalued and, through a prudent investment strategy seek to release value.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Economy, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

[Tim Chester] Evangelicals, It’s Time to Reclaim Advent

…The Psalmist determines to let the story of God shape his understanding of God and his understanding of himself.

For the Psalmist that meant remembering the story of the exodus. He alludes to the plagues on Egypt and he describes the parting of the Red Sea. The exodus story kicks off when God meets Moses at the burning bush. “I have come down,” God tells Moses, “to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 3 v 8). God came down to reveal himself, to liberate Israel from slavery and to form them as his own people. This was the great defining moment for Israel. And it’s recalling this moment that so radically changes the Psalmist’s perspective on life.

The season of Advent is an opportunity for us to do the same. It’s an opportunity for us to remember the moment when God came down in the person of his Son to reveal himself, to liberate us and to form us as his bride.

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

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos on the Cairo bombing

It is with great sadness that we receive the news today of at least 25 people brutally murdered by an explosion during regular Sunday worship at St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, adjacent to the Grand Cathedral of Saint Mark.

Our prayers are with those whose lives have been so senselessly ended, those who have been injured, and every family and community affected. We also pray for every Coptic parish and community across Egypt as they fill their churches this morning, as well as for the broader Egyptian society that fall victim to similar inhumane attacks.

Many within our Coptic community in Britain will have family and friends in Egypt, and we also pray for them at this time of uncertainty.

We share in this tragedy but are encouraged by the strength and resilience of our brethren in Egypt that we have grown accustomed to and learn from. We pray God’s peace and protection upon the Christians of Egypt, the broader Egyptian society, Christians around the world worshipping this morning and all faith communities that fall prey to similar attacks.

Read it all and watch the interviews

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Other Churches