Daily Archives: August 19, 2017

(NPR) The Role Of Solar Eclipses In Religion

[TOM] GJELTEN: Even in faith traditions that now fully accept the science, a solar eclipse remains an occasion that highlights the wonders of the universe and our small place in it. In a book and on his website Talmudology, Jeremy Brown has written about Jewish understandings of solar eclipses.

[JEREMY] BROWN: Today, an eclipse is no longer seen as a threat, as an omen but as something to be celebrated. There is a consensus of opinion amongst the rabbis that an eclipse should be witnessed with joy and happiness and appropriate psalms and blessings.

GJELTEN: Brown and his family are heading to Charleston, S.C., for an eclipse-viewing event at a synagogue. But a total solar eclipse is momentous to everyone. The National Convention of American Atheists will also be in Charleston, hosting a viewing of their own.

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Posted in * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

(AFP) A New bishop brings hope to some of Syria’s Christians

Syriac Orthodox Christians in Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakeh celebrated the inauguration of the community’s new bishop on Saturday, four years after the last one left the country.

Six years of conflict have ravaged Syria and displaced more than half of its population, including millions who have become refugees.

Christians in some parts of the country have been particularly targeted by the jihadists of the Islamic State group, who have torn down and desecrated churches and Christian icons.

In the Saint George Cathedral in Hasakeh city, worshippers said Archbishop Maurice Amseeh’s arrival was a sign that their community remained resilient despite the war.

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Posted in Middle East, Orthodox Church, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

The new Christian movement seeking to open the Canon after 2,000 years

A body of believers representing a growing Christian “remnant” movement, the Doctrine of Christ Conference announced today that a vote to canonize new scripture will be held at its upcoming conference on September 2-3, 2017. The culmination of tens of thousands of hours of ongoing volunteer effort to assemble an “open” canon of Christian scripture, both ancient and modern, this effort represents a bold move to embrace the expansive truth-seeking roots of original Christianity.

The hosts of the conference are part of an emerging group of believers who have exited various organized Christian structures in favor of a new tide of open religious thought and worship that is highly individual, involving no paid clergy and no formal leadership. Consisting of fellowships, as taught and practiced at the time of Jesus Christ, the faithful in this new school of thought believe that God is capable of revealing His Word to anyone who earnestly seeks it, and when truth is discovered, it should be added to the canon of inspired writings.

Chris Hamill, spokesperson for the scriptures project said, “The last known major canonization was in 1672 by the Eastern Orthodox Church, so nothing like this has been seen in orthodox or Protestant Christianity in nearly 350 years. Not even the Mormon Church, or any of its offshoots, ever formally canonized (or accepted by common consent of the membership) all of their scriptures–including the Book of Mormon. This is a very important historical development.”

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Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

(BBC) More than football for these Man Utd fans in Iraq

In Iraq, football is the country’s most popular sport, but a room full of Manchester United supporters in Baghdad is not what you would expect to see.

BBC Persia’s Nafiseh Kohnavard visits the official Manchester United Fan Club in Baghdad, where members say football is used as an escape from violence which is part of their everyday life.

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Posted in England / UK, Iraq War, Men, Sports, Violence

(HLR) Mark David Pickup–A Cure for MS?

Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering)was an important source for me in my search to understand my anguish. Salvifici Doloris is Latin for “Redemptive Suffering.” That precious Apostolic Letter introduced me to the idea that if I relinquished ownership of my pain to Christ, He might unite my suffering with His own. He could, in fact, give meaning and purpose to my suffering. That is what happened, and it continues to this day.

Multiple sclerosis was the perfect tool to smash my colossal pride and ridiculous sense of self-sufficiency, both of which had kept my faith shallow and small. (It was hard to be proud and self-sufficient when someone else had to dress me, tie my shoes, and cut the meat on my plate.) A new me began to emerge from the waves of my grief, no less vital than the previous man—just different. My chronic illness and serious disability became an integrated part of my life and faith journey. I no longer let them dominate my life.

Instead, suffering taught me how to make an unqualified surrender, to trust Christ when the stakes are horribly high, and to accept what was once unacceptable. Christian suffering on earth is part of the joy of heaven. That’s how it works. Is it worth it? Yes, I believe it is. The long journey in my wheelchair has brought me to a point where I can accommodate that which I cannot control. There is consolation and peace—I am content.

Now, at this late stage in my journey, comes the very real possibility of a cure for multiple sclerosis.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Prayer Manual

O God, we pray for Thy Church which is set today amid the perplexities of a changing order, and is face to face with new tasks: fill us afresh with the Spirit of Pentecost; help us to bear witness boldly to the coming of Thy kingdom; and hasten the time when the knowledge of Thyself shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its inhabitants. He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields, and plant vineyards, and get a fruitful yield. By his blessing they multiply greatly; and he does not let their cattle decrease. When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, he pours contempt upon princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; but he raises up the needy out of affliction, and makes their families like flocks. The upright see it and are glad; and all wickedness stops its mouth. Whoever is wise, let him give heed to these things; let men consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

–Psalm 107:33-43

Posted in Theology: Scripture