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(Christian Today) Archbishop of Canterbury warns cutting 0.7% aid budget would be ‘tragedy’

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned it would be a ‘tragedy’ if Britain backed off its commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of its spending on overseas aid.

Justin Welby’s remarks came as Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring admitted the scandal around sex abuse committed by the charity’s staff in Haiti had undermined public support for the government’s international development budget.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology

(1st Things) Matthew Rose–The Anti-christian Alt-right: The Perverse Thought Of Right-wing Identity Politics

Almost everything written about the “alternative right” in mainstream outlets is wrong in one respect. The alt-right is not stupid. It is deep. Its ideas are not ridiculous. They are serious. To appreciate this fact, one needs to inquire beyond its presence on social media, where its obnoxious use of insult, obscenity, and racism has earned it a reputation for moral idiocy. The reputation is deserved, but do not be deceived. Behind its online tantrums and personal attacks are arguments of genuine power and expanding appeal. As political scientist George Hawley conceded in a recent study, “Everything we have seen over the past year suggests that the alt-right will be around for the foreseeable future.”

To what is the movement committed? The alt-right purports to defend the identity and interests of white people, who it believes are the compliant victims of a century-long swindle by liberal morality. Its goals are not conventionally conservative. It does not so much question as mock standard conservative positions on free trade, abortion, and foreign policy, regarding them as principles that currently abet white dispossession. Its own principles are not so abstract, and do not pretend to neutrality. Its creed, in the words of Richard Spencer, is “Race is real. Race matters. Race is the foundation of identity.” The media take such statements as proof of the alt-right’s commitment to white supremacy. But this is misleading. For the alt-right represents something more nefarious, and frankly more interesting, than white identity politics.

The alt-right is anti-Christian. Not by implication or insinuation, but by confession. Its leading thinkers flaunt their rejection of Christianity and their desire to convert believers away from it. Greg Johnson, an influential theorist with a doctorate in philosophy from Catholic University of America, argues that “Christianity is one of the main causes of white decline” and a “necessary condition of white racial suicide.” Johnson edits a website that publishes footnoted essays on topics that range from H. P. Lovecraft to Martin Heidegger, where a common feature is its subject’s criticisms of Christian doctrine. “Like acid, Christianity burns through ties of kinship and blood,” writes Gregory Hood, one of the website’s most talented essayists. It is “the essential religious step in paving the way for decadent modernity and its toxic creeds.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

World Council of Churchs calls for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo on Feb 23

In the DRC, 4.3 million people are displaced throughout the country and 13.1 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance throughout the country this year.

In South Sudan, 2 million people have fled the young nation as refugees and about 1.9 million people are internally displaced, over the past four years of conflict – with 7 million people inside the country – this is almost two-thirds of the remaining population – still in need of humanitarian assistance.

Read it all and note the resources at the bottom of the page.

Posted in --South Sudan, Congo, Spirituality/Prayer, Sudan

(PD) Matthew Franck–Pressing Pause on the “Transgender Moment”: Ryan T. Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally

The most affecting chapter in When Harry Became Sally is devoted to the personal stories of individuals who “detransitioned,” returning to identification with their biological sex after having previously identified with the opposite sex. The transgender movement’s response to such cases is either to pretend they don’t exist or to insist that these men and women were never really transgender in the first place. Of course, since doctors believed them when they said they were, and acted accordingly, these “not really” patients would have a pretty good case for accusing their former physicians of malpractice. And since declared feelings of being “born into the wrong body” are the only basis of a diagnosis that can lead from a change of wardrobe to the surgical excision of healthy sexual organs, no doctor can ever be sure that his patient will not one day wish to detransition. And what could he possibly do then to put things right?

These are truly awful tales of intense suffering. They are the personal stories of men and women, boys and girls, who went to medical professionals with terrible confusion and distress and received only harm where they sought relief. Now, in telling the truth about what happened to them, they attract the abuse and invective of the transgender movement’s ideologues. Some of them, understandably, prefer to tell their stories anonymously. All of them should be applauded for their courage and candor and thanked for their contribution to public understanding.

Anderson writes in his conclusion that these stories, more than anything else, led him to write When Harry Became Sally. “I couldn’t shake from my mind the stories of people who had detransitioned. They are heartbreaking. I had to do what I could to prevent more people from suffering the same way.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(CT) The Radical Christian Faith of Frederick Douglass

Douglass rejoiced in 1865 when the Union triumphed in the Civil War and the nation ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery forever. But he did not believe his prophetic work had ended. At the end of his life, equality under the law remained an aspiration, not a reality. African Americans and women were denied the right to vote. The ghost of slavery lived on in oppressive economic arrangements like sharecropping. Jim Crow carved rigid lines of racial segregation in the public square. White mobs lynched at least 200 black men each year in the 1890s.

He had good reason, then, in 1889, to mourn how the “malignant prejudice of race” still “poisoned the fountains of justice, and defiled the altars of religion” in America. Yet Douglass also rejoiced in the continued possibility of redemption. A new way of seeing the world, and living in it, still remained—one that rested, Douglass said, on a “broad foundation laid by the Bible itself, that God has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

–Mark 1:21-28

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(The Hill) Lawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology

Lawmakers are concerned that advances in video manipulation technology could set off a new era of fake news. Now legislators say they want to start working on fixes to the problem before it’s too late.

Technology experts have begun to sound the alarm on the new software, which lets users take existing videos and make high-quality altered video and audio that appears real. The emergence of the technology opens up a new world of hoaxes driven by doctored audio or video, and threatens to shake faith in the media even further.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the most vocal members of Congress on tech issues, painted a grim picture about what the advances could mean for the future of discerning truth in media.

“Since we can’t rely on the responsibility of individual actors or the platforms they use, I fully expect there will be a proliferation of these sorts of fictions to a degree that nearly drowns out actual facts,” Wyden told The Hill.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology

(BBC) Church of England’s Sports Direct criticism praised

The Church of England still holds a minority stake in tycoon Mike Ashley’s chain, the BBC understands, but continues to engage over key areas of concern.

A spokesman confirmed it sent letters to Sports Direct attacking executive pay and working conditions.

The letters were sent over the last two years, when Sports Direct was dealing with union claims of not treating workers as humans at the Shirebrook headquarters, according to the Press Association.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, Stock Market

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon-The Gospel as Power Encounter (Mark 1:12-14)

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there(and the reference to the greek should be diakoneo not doulos).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.”

–1 Corinthians 1:20-31

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sos’thenes, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

–1 Corinthians 1:1-8

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CNN) Parents in Ohio in danger of losing custody of their 17 yr old daughter who now identifies as a boy

The medical team from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where the child had been in treatment, testified that the teen is improving mentally and emotionally through therapy and because his grandparents have created a supportive environment. However, they believe the teen should start treatment as soon as possible to decrease his suicide risk.
According to a transcript of closing arguments, the grandparents said they are prepared to make medical decisions with the child, which may include starting hormone therapy.
“We think the grandparents are the ones who have an open mind and will … make this sort of decision best for the child,” argued attorney Paul Hunt, who represents the guardian ad litem, or the child’s court-appointed guardian. “The parents have clearly indicated that they’re not open to it.”
The teen’s parents did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
But in her written closing argument, their attorney, Karen Brinkman, argued that the parents maintain that they love their child and said that the child’s mother said the child has “nothing to fear” from her and that she wants to have a relationship with her child. She also acknowledged that if the parents are granted custody, they want the child to continue to live with the maternal grandparents, “not in an effort to avoid parenting their child, but because they believe that the current living arrangement is in (the teen’s) best interest.”
Citing the teen’s mental state, Brinkman said, “it does not appear that this child is even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time.”

Read it all–cited by yours truly in the morning sermon. also, you may find another article there.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Local paper Front Page) Firefighter suicides outnumber line-of-duty deaths. How South Carolina first responders are trying to save their own

Later that morning, Emily Avin called 911 from her home in Aiken to report a suicide.

She then picked up a gun, walked outside and pulled the trigger before anyone could reach her. She was 26.

Scrolling through her daughter’s phone in the following days, Sue Ann Avin found a prophetic cartoon. It depicted an EMS worker illustrated to resemble a ticking time bomb, saying, “Traumatic calls, burn out, compassion fatigue — that stuff never gets to me.” The paramedic wore a badge that said “denial.”

Suicides such as Emily Avin’s were once overlooked by firefighters and paramedics eager to maintain an image of bravery and invincibility. But that’s changing as the profession acknowledges a deadly scourge that claims more lives than the perils firefighters face in the line of duty.

Long a taboo topic in firehouses, suicide was recently labeled by the U.S. Fire Administration as a “critical” issue that’s being “faced more squarely by the fire service.”

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Psychology, Suicide

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,

“I will proclaim thy name to my brethren,
in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee.”

And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

–Hebrews 2:10-18

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Regent College Profiles David Robinson, a visiting scholar in theological ethics for the 2017-18 year

You were ordained in 2009 and have worked in both Anglican and Episcopal churches. Can you comment further on how you have tried to balance your pursuits in ministry with your academic pursuits?

I have to confess that I don’t think I do balance very well. That’s partly because my week is mainly spent caring for a rambunctious toddler. But I have also been trained to pursue something other than balance. I remember one mentor, in particular, talking about what it means as a theologian to, before all else, be responsive to the Word, the Word being God’s address to us in our forms of life across different seasons. Sometimes God’s call will provide you a feeling of equilibrium between academic work and other ministry opportunities.

But sometimes it can mean that you have an intense period where life feels a bit out of control—starting a new ministry, for instance, or that final period of “writing up” a thesis. The important thing for me is to be able to say that I’m responding to God at that moment, giving my all where I’m called to serve. Right now, I’m primarily an academic and dad; while I certainly take part in the church, I’m not that active in leadership. That’s the shape of my obedience for this season and I’m finding new clarity and joy here.

Maybe twenty years from now I’ll be able to give you a better answer. Maybe part of it is that I’ve had a period of four years in ministry, then four years in PhD work, now a combination of full-time parenting and writing. Certainly in both cases I sought the other community: as a pastor in Ottawa I was regularly involved on the neighbouring university campus, and as a doctoral student in Scotland, I was regularly involved in the local churches. Then there are times when the communities overlap: a big joy of my time in Scotland was working with Iain Provan and other Regent alum as they founded the Abbey Summer School, where they insist on integration.

Read it all and you can check out his website there.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology