Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Monthly Archives: July 2017
The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a preliminary report on Monday stating that its “first and most urgent recommendation” is for the president to “declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.”
“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day,” the report notes, “America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
The commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, states that the goals of such a declaration would be to “force Congress to focus on funding” and to “awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.”
A Leamington, Ont., church is renting out space in its basement to local Muslims for use as a mosque.
Since this spring, Muslim worship has been held in the basement of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, diocese of Huron, says the church’s rector, the Rev. Andrew Wilson.
The arrangement serves the church because it provides income to fund its ministry, he says; but it also an important part of the church’s outreach to Leamington’s growing refugee population.
“To one degree, it’s as basic as a rental, but it is creating wonderful community for them—they feel safe, they feel welcome,” he says.
You’ve vocally opposed assisted suicide laws, including in your home state of California, noting that laws of this kind expose “a fundamental fear of pain and disability.” How do you see this fear impact the way we as a culture respond to those with debilitating illness, chronic suffering, or disability?
People have a fear of pain. People have a fear of dying. Fear is what has driven the legalization of euthanasia—but fear should never ever be the foundation for social policy. It should not be society’s role to help people end their lives.
Most people, when they are at the end stages of life, are afraid of pain, they’re afraid of abandonment, they’re afraid of isolation, they don’t want to be a burden to their families. But all these issues can be addressed. They are problems that have solutions—like better pain management, better support services, better family counseling. Let’s pour resources into making it easier for people to live and not to die.
Compassion is often a motivating factor for those who favor physician-assisted suicide—including Christians who support it. In your view, how should Christians rightly understand and express compassion toward those who are suffering?
The first thing Christians ought to do before they even work on compassion is get a biblical view on suffering. Most Christians would rather escape, avoid it, drug it, medicate it, divorce it, institutionalize it—do anything but live with it….
— CT Women (@CT_women) July 28, 2017
Listen to it all (it begins 1 hour and 49 minutes in). It covers a wide range of topics including same-sex marriage and the Primates Meeting as well as the growth of the Global South church, Charlie Gard+Brexit.
These leaders have replaced a rhetoric of persuasion with a rhetoric of pure authority — very like the authority that Trump claims for himself. (“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”) Consequently, their whole house of cards may well collapse if the Trump presidency is anything other than a glorious success, and will leave those who have accepted that rhetoric bereft of explanations as well as arguments. Presumably the most fervent supporters of Trump will argue (as Trump himself will argue) that his failures have occurred because others have betrayed him, have rejected the man that God raised up to rescue America, but this will require the replacement of the Cyrus analogy with another one yet to be determined. We can only hope that no one compares a failed Trump to an American Jesus betrayed by American Judases.
If all this sounds like a strange fantasyland of narrative, an imaginative world of what members of the Trump administration have taken to calling “alternative facts,” that’s because it is just that. The larger, and longer-term, effect of accounts like this is to encourage Christians to abandon the world of shared evidence, shared convictions, and shared possibilities, and such abandonment is very bad news for Christians and for America.
What is required of serious religious believers in a pluralistic society is the ability to code-switch: never to forget or neglect their own native religious tongue, but also never to forget that they live in a society of people for whom that language is gibberish. To speak only in the language of pragmatism is to bring nothing distinctive to the table; to speak only a private language of revelation and self-proclaimed authority is to leave the table altogether. For their own good, but also for the common good, religious believers need to be always bilingually present.
Let’s say Sara walks into your church. She looks like a man dressed as a woman. One question she will be asking is, “Am I welcome here?” In the spirit of a redemptive witness, I hope to communicate to her through my actions: “Yes, you are in the right place. We want you here.”
If I am drawn to a conversation or relationship with her, I hope to approach her not as a project, but as a person seeking real and sustained relationship, which is characterized by empathy as well as encouragement to walk faithfully with Christ. But I should not try to “fix” her, because unless I’m her professional therapist, I’m not privy to the best way to resolve her gender dysphoria. Rather, Christians are to foster the kinds of relationships that will help us know and love and obey Jesus better than we did yesterday. That is redemption.
If Sara shares her name with me, as a clinician and Christian, I use it. I do not use this moment to shout “Integrity!” by using her male name or pronoun, which clearly goes against that person’s wishes. It is an act of respect, even if we disagree, to let the person determine what they want to be called. If we can’t grant them that, it’s going to be next to impossible to establish any sort of relationship with them.
The exception is that, as a counselor, I defer to a parent’s preference for their teenager’s name and gender pronoun. Even here I talk with the parent about the benefits and drawbacks of what they want and what their teenager wants if the goal is to establish a sustained, meaningful relationship with their child.
Also, we can avoid gossip about Sara and her family. Gossip fuels the shame that drives people away from the church; gossip prevents whole families from receiving support.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Sunday declared Sudan the 39th province of the worldwide Anglican Communion, six years after the predominantly Christian south gained independence from the north.
The Anglican church in Sudan, a majority Muslim country, has been administered from South Sudan since the 2011 split which followed a civil war that left more than two million people dead.
Sunday’s ceremony in Khartoum added Sudan to the 85 million-strong worldwide Anglican communion’s 38 member churches — known as provinces — and six other branches known as extra provincials.
O God, by whose grace thy servant Ignatius, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.
July 31st is the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Spanish-Basque priest, theologian, founder of the Society of Jesus & patron of soldiers. pic.twitter.com/gdEM8RZe9R
— Tradical (@NoTrueScotist) July 31, 2017
Into thy hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves and all who are dear to us this day. Be with us in our going out and in our coming in. Strengthen us for the work which thou hast given us to do. And grant that, filled with thy Holy Spirit, we may walk worthy of our high calling, and cheerfully accomplish those things that thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thou hast kept count of my tossings; put thou my tears in thy bottle! Are they not in thy book?
Then my enemies will be turned back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,
in God I trust without a fear. What can man do to me?
The number of children in the UK and Ireland being referred for specialist help because they are confused about their gender has risen by more than 2,000 per cent in eight years. Almost 2,000 children were seen by doctors last year, some as young as three.
Specialists attributed the increase in part to an increased willingness in society to accept gender diversity, with prominent transgender celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner emboldening children to raise their concerns. They warned, however, of potential difficulties maintaining staff recruitment in line with rising demand.
According to data released by the Gender Identity Development Service, commissioned by NHS England, 1,986 people under 18 were referred and accepted for specialist treatment in the past year, compared with 94 in 2009-10. The youngest were aged just three, with seven children that age referred since 2009. The most common age at referral was 16, accounting for 24 per cent of all cases since 2009.
Read it all (requires subscription).
(60 Minutes) A young American who grew up in the heartland tells Scott Pelley what made him try to join ISIS in Syria
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 31, 2016
Abdirizak Warsame learned the theology of murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota…
Scott Pelley: YouTube became more real to you than your neighborhood in Minnesota?
Abdirizak Warsame: Yes.
Scott Pelley: How could that be?
Abdirizak Warsame: It kind of takes control of you. And you think you’re doing something for a greater cause. And you think you’re doing it for good.
Scott Pelley: And what was that?
Abdirizak Warsame: Most of the videos would talk about how if you would engage in jihad you would be doing your family a favor. And that you would be saving their lives from eternal hell fire.
Scott Pelley:That if you died as a martyr you would not only go to paradise your whole family would go with you?
Abdirizak Warsame: Whole family would go to paradise.
What these paragraphs tell us is:
It would not be right to produce an authorised public liturgy in relation to the registration of a Civil Partnership;
Clergy should not provide services of blessing for those who register a Civil Partnership;
Clergy need to bear in mind the teaching of the Church on sexual morality, celibacy and the value of committed friendships;
Requests for prayer should be responded to pastorally and sensitively in the light of the circumstances of each case.
The last point clearly needs to be understood in the light of what precedes it. Requests for prayer should not be met by the use of an authorised public liturgy (since such a liturgy should not exist). They should not be met by the provision of a service of blessing (since such services are not allowed). Finally, any form of prayer needs to be in line with the Church’s teaching (hence it cannot suggest either explicitly or implicitly that the Church approves of any form of sexual relationship outside of heterosexual marriage).
In the light of all this, how should we view the material that is being sent out by Southwark Cathedral?…
Do not take yourself too seriously Dept–A look Back Through some of the Best of Gary Larson’s Cartoons
— The Far Side (@TheFarSide_ish) July 29, 2017
Read it all and tell us your favorite.
Apparently, some self-identified transgender people want to use restrooms and locker rooms designated for the sex that they are not yet physiologically. In other words, they have not yet undergone, and perhaps do not plan ever to undergo, sex change surgery. So, to be very specific, a person with “male parts” who identifies as female wants to use the locker room designated for females….
…I do suspect the source of controversy is the idea of a person with “male parts” using a locker room designated for girls and women. (I suspect few men really care about females using restrooms or locker rooms designated for boys and men.) To be very specific: I suspect many men and women care about anyone with “male parts” using the same restroom or locker room as their daughters and granddaughters.
So let us please look at the controversy through that lens in order to clarify it.
I propose that we distinguish between gender and sex in this controversy and insist that a person use the locker room (restrooms are really less a problem because women’s have stalls) designated for the sex he or she still is—until he or she has completed sex change hormonally and surgically. Otherwise, the specter (realistic or not) of sexually male persons claiming to be women walking around naked (locker rooms have showers) in women’s locker rooms is unavoidable.
(SA) Sydney Archbishop’s New Churches for New Communities unveils a 3-year fundraising plan for the construction of ministry facilities in growing areas
The Archbishop’s New Churches for New Communities (NCNC) has held a series of regional dinners, unveiling a three-year fundraising plan for the construction of ministry facilities in growing areas.
In partnership with the Mission Property Committee, which buys land, NCNC’s role is to raise funds to provide emerging congregations across the Diocese with dual-purpose facilities for community and church use.
“We are on a mission to preserve the future of Christianity in these growth areas and these facilities will enable emerging congregations to connect with the communities around them and grow together,” said the executive director of NCNC, the Rev Glenn Gardner.
There was an appeal at the dinners for parish councils to consider including NCNC in their mission allocations budget, and an appeal for ambassadors for this task. “Ours is the only Protestant denomination addressing this vital challenge,” Mr Gardner said.
(Local Paper) South Carolina historian Joseph McGill wants to observe the 1619 start of slavery in America
They were kidnapped from towns in Ndongo, given Christian names such as Isabella and Anthony, chained onto cramped bunks aboard a Portuguese slave ship for an 8,000-mile trip to Mexico. The ship didn’t make it.
It was plundered at sea by English pirates sailing under a Dutch flag. The pirates brought “20 and odd” of the African captives to the Jamestowne colony, where they were sold as “victualls,” or supplies.
The date was August 1619, and the sale is considered the beginning of slavery as an institution in what would become the United States.
Joseph McGill doesn’t think that should be forgotten.
The largest local church in the Mississippi Annual Conference in terms of worship attendance and one of the 25 fastest growing churches in the U.S. has now officially exited The United Methodist Church. According to lead pastor Bryan Collier, The Orchard Church (Tupelo) reached a settlement with conference leaders that made its departure official as of May 19, 2017….
“There was just no question among [The Orchard’s] leaders that this was right move for us,” said Collier. “Our departure was not about the homosexuality issue per se, but about the general church’s inability to deal with it. Unfortunately, its failure became an enormous distraction to the kingdom work our congregation is called to do.”
“The Orchard fully embraces, as it does with all people, its need to minister to those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, and with their families and friends as well,” said Collier. “But the denomination was not helping us do that. The Judicial Council’s recent, convoluted decision is emblematic of [the UM Church’s] inability to put the disagreement to rest. We didn’t want to let this one issue distract us anymore. We know the arguments on both sides, we’re clear in our hearts and minds where we stand, and we’re prepared to move forward accordingly.”
Archbishop Hart commended efforts to strengthen and better resource Palliative Care but said that was a minimum necessity.
“While the report recommends what it calls safeguards, the truth is that these safeguards are never going to be enough and that there are no flawless medical procedures,” he said. “All procedures and interventions can have complications. I have watched supporters of this proposal and they are going out of their way to convince us that assisted suicide is acceptable, seeking to lessen our human, moral and natural distress because of suicide.
“It seems that on the one hand we are seeking to lessen suicide in our society – an admirable aim – but here we have this report looking to normalise it. When viewed from the perspective of the whole Victorian community these two objectives cannot be reconciled.”
The archbishop said the legislation would impose extraordinary and unreasonable responsibilities on medical professionals, who would be called upon to determine which patients were eligible and how the safeguards were to be applied. This then became a matter for decisions by medical practitioners and not the patients for whom they were required to care.
Almighty God, who in thy Son Jesus Christ hast called us in from the bondage of sin to be servants of righteousness: Give us grace to yield our lives wholly to thine obedience; that, being made free from sin, we may have our fruit unto holiness, and hereafter may be made partakers of the life everlasting; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all you works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Globe+Mail) As our Northern Neighbors See us-The Trump administration is at war w/ itself, +Trump loves it
Why Can’t He Be Our President?” is the question Rolling Stone slapped on the cover of their most recent issue, featuring Justin Trudeau. Given who’s currently occupying the White House, leading an administration powered by a combustible mix of chaos and malice, the headline is understandable. No, it’s inarguable. The editorial sentiment would have been the same if America’s northern neighbour were led by Andrew Scheer or Tom Mulcair or anyone, really, other than the current President.
Yes, Donald Trump has yet to appoint his horse to the Senate. Then again, we’re only one-eighth of the way through his first term.
Mr. Trump made his name as a builder, but his presidency has so far been more of a demolition project. Sometimes he’s swinging a wrecking ball at adversaries. Sometimes it’s allies. Sometimes it’s his own administration, his own agenda and his own reputation. Sometimes it’s all of the above.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
In an interview from Zimbabwe, Bishop Malasa said he also asked the faithful to pray for one another, the Church and the country, because they are salt and light of the world where justice, peace and freedom should always prevail.
“When people chose to be greedy, jealousy, self-centeredness and corrupt, things does not work out for the majority, so we should be praying that this vice should go, and that every person should appreciate the need of the other,” said the Rt. Rev. Malasa.
The Bishop explained that Christianity is irrelevant when its followers do not show love, mercy, humility, peace and compassion on others, adding that the clergy have to cultivate a spirit of servant leadership.
If you wonder what is supposed to happen when the demand for labor outruns the available supply, take a look at the picture below. It’s a Starbucks plea for baristas-the usually young people who make your latte, americano, or coconut milk mocha macchiato every morning. True, this particular branch is located in small-town Colorado, a state in which the unemployment rate is around 2 percent, far below the approximately 6 percent considered “full employment” when I was teaching this stuff. Still, even after recent increases in hourly wage rates, and introduction of an attractive benefits package that includes free college tuition and health care, and free access to Spotify, which I am told is some sort of music app, Starbucks is having trouble filling its ranks.
The Seattle-based chain is not the only employer struggling to find staff. The problem is widespread. One construction executive told me he cannot find roofers, those who left the trade during the Great Recession having found easier and steadier work driving UPS and FedEx vans. A property developer with a $1 billion annual budget has the land on which to build to houses, but can’t find workers, skilled and unskilled, to build them. Amazon, which needs 50,000 workers to fill new positions, 40,000 of them full-time, many with starting salaries of about $13 an hour, will be holding a job fair next week and expects to face difficulties finding suitable candidates. Employers uniformly tell me that higher wages would not attract the workers they need. Before responding, “They would say that, wouldn’t they?” consider opioids.
As Fed chair Janet Yellen told a Senate committee recently, the opioid epidemic is contributing to the labor shortage. Opioids are just the thing to kill the pain of a tooth extraction. For two or three days. And a blessing for the terminally ill. But they are a bane for those who abuse them, and a factor to be considered when analyzing the labor market. Yellen testified, “We’ve had many decades of declining labor force participation by prime-age men. … We’ve seen now unfortunately that it is likely tied to the opioid crisis. … I don’t know if it’s causal, or it’s a symptom of long-running economic maladies that have affected these communities.” One iteration of the now-failed Senate health care bill included $45 billion to combat opioid abuse.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) July 29, 2017
Everyone has their own timeline for marriage (if at all), and a number of factors can play a part, whether it be finishing an education, establishing a career, or finding the right person. But looking over the past century, as a whole, people are staying single longer and marrying later.
Using data from the decennial census and the American Community Survey, you can see this shift.
The charts that follow show the timelines in animated form. Each line represents the percentage of people with a certain marital status, given their age. The time span is every 10 years, from 1900 to 2010 and ending at 2015.
You’re not the only one spending fewer summer weekends watching other people get married—but don’t worry, the weddings you’re still invited to might feel a little more special these days.
Fewer Americans are getting married, and the ones who still are have scaled back their weddings. Their nuptials are becoming smaller, though not necessarily cheaper, affairs.
Many couples are waiting longer and longer to schedule their weddings. In 2015, the median first-time American bride was almost 28 years old and the median groom almost 30, according to the most recent data available from the Census Bureau. (Ten years earlier, the typical bride was 25.5, the typical groom 27.)
The U.S. marriage rate—the number of new marriages per 1,000 people—has been falling for decades. It fell especially fast during the recession, in 2008 and 2009, but there’s little evidence that people started getting married again even as the economy recovered. And research firm IbisWorld predicts the marriage rate will keep falling over the next five years.
MCEVERS: Just describe this what you call rich aesthetic culture that these jihadis have. Besides the weeping during prayer, what else are we talking about here?
HEGGHAMMER: Yeah, so it’s basically a very sensitive aesthetic universe we’re dealing with, with poetry, singing, art, graphic art, visual art and a whole lot of religious rituals – a lot of things that seem to have no purpose, no kind of military function. And this is what got me interested in this to begin with. It was that you had these hunted men – because terrorists are hunted men. They’re short on time and resources. And you should expect them to spend all their time on useful things like building bombs or writing propaganda or raising funds. But here they are doing all these seemingly useless things. And that I thought was really, really fascinating.
MCEVERS: I mean, I think one reason this might be surprising to people is we think of jihadis as people who forbid culture, right? No pictures. No music. No – I mean, music in the sense that we understand it, right?
HEGGHAMMER: That is right. And there are some kind of boundaries to the creative expression here. For example, they don’t use instruments in their music because instruments are believed to have the potential of arousing sexual desires. So they stay clear of instruments. But they use a cappella voices very creatively so it really sounds like music with instruments.
Generous God, whose Son Jesus Christ enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany: Open our hearts to love thee, our ears to hear thee, and our hands to welcome and serve thee in others, through Jesus Christ our risen Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— The Roman Anglican (@RomanAnglican) July 29, 2017