Daily Archives: January 26, 2017

Echols Appointed Adjunct Professor of OT at South Carolina's Cummins Seminary

Cummins Theological Seminary in Summerville, [South Carolina,] is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Charles L. Echols as a new Adjunct Professor of Old Testament. For this Spring Semester he will be teaching a course in the Major Prophets. In 2005, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Old Testament by the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, England. He also holds degrees from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Trinity School for Ministry, Abridge, Pennsylvania.

Read it all.

(Diocese of South Carolina)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Economist Erasmus Blog) Fewer+ Lonelier: Why the celibate priesthood is in crisis

The isolation experienced by elderly clerics, especially in wealthy, liberal societies, is one symptom of a crisis in the Catholic priesthood. They were ordained at a time when their status as men dedicated to the church was understood and revered, sometimes to an unhealthy degree. In that era, priests could look forward an old age in which the respect and support of the faithful might compensate to some degree for the absence of any life-partner. With the standing (and finances) of the clergy damaged, in many countries, by child-abuse scandals and shabby attempts to cover them up, the twilight years are a harder prospect than ever for priests on their own, even those who have led exemplary lives. Small wonder that fewer and fewer young men want to walk the same stony path..
As measured by the number of faithful, global Catholicism is faring decently. The flock is still growing in the developing world and migration from poor countries is reinvigorating tired congregations in the West. But the priesthood, with its hard calling of celibacy, is in freefall in many places. In America, the number of Catholics connected to a parish has risen over the past half-century from 46m to 67m, while the number of priests has fallen from 59,000 to 38,000. In France, about 800 priests die every year while 100 are ordained. Priest numbers there have fallen from 29,000 in 1995 to about 15,000. On present trends they may stabilise at less than 6,000.

The result is that many jobs once done by priests, like taking funerals or ministering to the sick, are now done by lay-people or by deacons who may be married. But certain functions, including the consecration of bread and wine which is Christianity’s most important rite, can only be performed by a priest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) L. Gail Irwin-Can retiring pastors mentor their own successors?

Judicatory leaders may feel either overjoyed or overwhelmed by an expanding corps of retired clergy who bring a wide range of needs and gifts to the wider church’s table. Moyer hopes that the future will bring a fruitful convergence of older clergy who need more relaxed schedules and a supplement to their pensions with congregations that can no longer support full-time salaries.

Whatever happens, judicatories will have to stay focused on the leadership needs of churches. Congregations, for their part, might be wise to find roles for retirees who are creative and flexible””and who can support new pastors in a time when the demands of leadership are changing.

“My guess is that no matter how the transitions happen, a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate,” said Moore-Nokes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(1st Things) Peter Hitchens: The Fantasy of Addiction

It was the triumph of the Christian religion that for many centuries it managed to become the unreasoning assumption of almost all, built into every spoken and written word, every song, and every building. It was the disaster of the Christian religion that it assumed this triumph would last forever and outlast everything, and so it was ill equipped to resist the challenge of a rival when it came, in this, the century of the self. The Christian religion had no idea that a new power, which I call selfism, would arise. And, having arisen, selfism has easily shouldered its rival aside. In free competition, how can a faith based upon self-restraint and patience compete with one that pardons, unconditionally and in advance, all the self-indulgences you can think of, and some you cannot? That is what the “addiction” argument is most fundamentally about, and why it is especially distressing to hear Christian voices accepting and promoting it, as if it were merciful to call a man a slave, and treat him as if he had no power to resist. The mass abandonment of cigarettes by a generation of educated people demonstrates that, given responsibility for their actions and blamed for their outcomes, huge numbers of people will give up a bad habit even if it is difficult. Where we have adopted the opposite attitude, and assured abusers that they are not answerable for their actions, we have seen other bad habits grow or remain as common as before. Heroin abuse has not been defeated, the abuse of prescription drugs grows all the time, and heavy drinking is a sad and spreading problem in Britain.

Most of the people who read what I have written here, if they even get to the end, will be angry with me for expressing their own secret doubts, one of the cruellest things you can do to any fellow creature. For we all prefer the easy, comforting falsehood to the awkward truth. But at the same time, we all know exactly what we are doing, and seek with ever-greater zeal to conceal it from ourselves. Has it not been so since the beginning? And has not the greatest danger always been that those charged with the duty of preaching the steep and rugged pathway persuade themselves that weakness is compassion, and that sin can be cured at a clinic, or soothed with a pill? And so falsehood flourishes in great power, like the green bay tree.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Evangelical Experts Oppose Trump’s Plan to Ban Refugees

Despite previous plans to admit the highest number of refugees in decades, the United States would be shutting its doors to thousands displaced by conflict in the Middle East””at least temporarily””under an executive order President Donald Trump is expected to sign this week.

Christian aid groups responsible for resettlement mourned and criticized the impending decision to stop accepting any refugees into the US for the next four months. A circulating draft of the order puts an indefinite ban on refugees coming from Syria, and a month-long pause on anyone entering America from a handful of Muslim-majority nations.

“Our concern is that this action really does further traumatize a group of people that have already borne so much tragedy,” said Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, one of nine agencies that partner with the federal government to resettle refugees. “The human toll is really crushing.”

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, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Do not Take Yourself Too Seriously Dept–Pop Singer Surprised To Learn Her Music Considerd Christian

“I just wanted to sing professionally, so I signed a contract and I just sing whatever words they put in front of me,” Collier told reporters after the incident. “I had no idea the song was Christian””it doesn’t say anything about God or Jesus, or anything like that. Just vague inspirational stuff about being happy, lights, fire, and floods, mostly.”

Read it all from the Babylon Bee.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Music, Religion & Culture

Congratulations to Roger Federer for making it to the Australian Open Men's Finals

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Europe, Men, Sports, Switzerland

(CEN) Oak Hill principal Mike Ovey remembered at memorial service

(Oak Hill College)

To compel attention in his lectures, where he never got to the end of the notes, he used Sooty and Sweep puppets to illustrate the Trinity. But staff feared that the meat cleaver sitting on his study chair might make visiting DDOs nervous.

His love of PG Wodehouse found expression in exam questions in which a couple of pages of Woodhousian narrative were populated by various ecclesiastical figures espousing different theological nostrums to which the candidate was invited to respond.

The Rev Andrew Cornes from Crowborough, his training vicar, recalled him as a fierce fighter for justice. Dr Dan Strange, now acting principal, said: “He had so little ego and no interest in self-aggrandisement.” His local pastor, Jonathan Prime said he was the best of listeners.

Present were his wife of 29 years, Heather and their children, Charles, Harry and Ana. Before they were a ”˜couple’, they had led a Bible study group at St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, while Mike was a Parliamentary draftsman and living in Clapham. Heather told Mike he should devote his life to teaching the Bible.

Mike’s parents, John and Ruth and sisters Elizabeth and Margaret were present. Dr Mark Thompson, principal of Moore College, Sydney, where Mike had done post-graduate study and lectured, led prayers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Timothy and Titus and Silas

Just and merciful God, who in every generation hast raised up prophets, teachers and witnesses to summon the world to honor and praise thy holy Name: We give thanks for the calling of Timothy, Titus and Silas, whose gifts built up thy Church in the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we, too, may be living stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

O Lord God of time and eternity, who makest us creatures of time that, when time is over, we may attain thy blessed eternity: With time, thy gift, give us also wisdom to redeem the time, lest our day of grace be lost; for our Lord Jesus’ sake.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

–Psalm 50:14-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) Apple Set to Join Amazon, Google, Facebook in AI Research Group

While the introduction of the Siri virtual assistant in 2011 gave Apple an early presence in AI for consumers, it has since lost ground to rivals such as Google and Amazon. Apple’s penchant for secrecy limited its efforts to improve AI offerings and hire the best talent. That’s because researchers in the field like to publish their findings, something Apple frowned upon in the past. That approach began to change late last year with the hiring of Carnegie Mellon Professor Russ Salakhutdinov and the publishing of its first public AI paper.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

(Reuters) Real Madrid logo won't feature traditional Christian cross in Middle East clothing deal

Marka MARKA.DU, a retailing group in the United Arab Emirates, has been granted exclusive rights to “manufacture, distribute and sell Real Madrid products” in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

But Marka Vice Chairman Khaled al-Mheiri told Reuters by phone Real Madrid has two versions of the crest for the Middle East market and that Marka would use the one without the Christian cross due to cultural sensitivities.

“We have to be sensitive towards other parts of the Gulf that are quite sensitive to products that hold the cross,” said al-Mheiri, who owns a Real Madrid cafe in Dubai.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spain, Sports, Theology, UAE (United Arab Emirates)

Mary Tyler Moore RIP

Mary Tyler Moore, whose witty and graceful performances on two top-rated television shows in the 1960s and ’70s helped define a new vision of American womanhood, died on Wednesday in Greenwich, Conn. She was 80.

Her family said her death, at Greenwich Hospital, was caused by cardiopulmonary arrest after she had contracted pneumonia.

Ms. Moore faced more than her share of private sorrow, and she went on to more serious fare, including an Oscar-nominated role in the 1980 film “Ordinary People” as a frosty, resentful mother whose son has died. But she was most indelibly known as the incomparably spunky Mary Richards on the CBS hit sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Broadcast from 1970 to 1977, it was produced by both Ms. Moore and her second husband, Grant Tinker, who later ran NBC and who died on Nov. 28.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Women

(Tennessean) Task force to study Episcopal diocese of Tennessee's same-sex marriage ban

Instead of appealing to the national Episcopal church or the bishop to lift his own ban on priests officiating same-sex marriages, lay and clergy members of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee sent the matter to a task force for further study.

More than two-thirds of the delegates at the diocese’s Annual Convention on Saturday supported a resolution that directs the diocese’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender task force to assess how Bishop John Bauerschmidt’s marriage restrictions affect congregations and clergy in Middle Tennessee.

Read it all.

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

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Churches and the qtn of Security: Beware of the siege mentality

What surprised me, however, was not that churches suffer from hate crime ”” we have known this anecdotally for years, but do not have the research statistics to prove it ”” but the response of churches, the police, and other statutory authorities to how to tackle and best protect churches.

Almost all the applications were for the installation of CCTV in and around the church. There seems to be a common thought that CCTV stops crimes because it is a deterrent to offenders. This is simply not true. CCTV is a useful tool: it is most effective at providing evidence after an offence, and in assisting the police in identifying offenders. It does not, however, prevent the crime, especially when it comes to the types of crimes which most often occur in churches.

Theft, violence, and disturbances in churches are usually committed by people who are under the influence of a substance such as alcohol or drugs, or are suffering from a mental-health episode. These types of offenders do not care or recognise that they are being recorded by CCTV at the time of the offence. Therefore, the decision to put CCTV into a church should be looked at carefully, and those making the decision need to recognise its limitations.

Read it all from Nick Tolson in the Church Times.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology