EXIT POLL: The exit poll projects a Conservative win, with a majority of 86 seats #GE2019
LIB DEM: 13
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 12, 2019
The Early Exit Polls Point in a Certain Direction, but we shall need to wait until Tomorrow Morning to see The General Election 2019 outcome
(New Statesman) The Rev Lucy Winkett: It’s always a risk walking around this time of year with a dog collar on. People might ask you things
It’s always a risk walking around with a dog collar on. People might ask you things. A bishop I know carries a list of the 12 disciples in his briefcase just in case someone puts him on the spot (the biblical list isn’t entirely clear). It’s like politicians being asked how much a second-class stamp is. Clergy dread being asked something they probably should know but forgot long ago.
I was once in court as an expert witness, testifying on behalf of a member of our congregation seeking asylum on the basis of conversion to Christianity. The Home Office lawyer was scathing when he couldn’t name six disciples and used this fact to challenge the genuineness of his conversion. In fact, he’d named five, which I thought was pretty good. I asked our congregation the following Sunday. They got as far as Simon Peter, Andrew and John – most remembered Judas – but after that it was a stretch.
“Can you be illiterate and be a Christian’’? demanded the lawyer. I was totally bemused by the question. Of the two billion Christians in the world today, a large proportion are technically illiterate. And for the first four centuries of Christianity, not a whole lot was written down in any case.
Great article by Lucy Winkett from @StJPiccadilly
‘It’s like politicians being asked how much a second-class stamp is. Clergy dread being asked something they probably should know but forgot long ago.’https://t.co/UNTsByf2My
— London Diocese (@dioceseoflondon) December 12, 2019
Our households – who lives with us, how we are related to them and what role we play in that shared space – have a profound effect on our daily experience of the world. A new Pew Research Center analysis of data from 130 countries and territories reveals that the size and composition of households often vary by religious affiliation.
Worldwide, Muslims live in the biggest households, with the average Muslim individual residing in a home of 6.4 people, followed by Hindus at 5.7. Christians fall in the middle (4.5), forming relatively large families in sub-Saharan Africa and smaller ones in Europe. Buddhists (3.9), Jews (3.7) and the religiously unaffiliated (3.7) – defined as those who do not identify with an organized religion, also known as “nones” – live in smaller households, on average.
— Pew Research Global (@pewglobal) December 12, 2019
Half an hour down the highway from Topeka, Kansas, not far from the geographic center of the United States, sits the town of St. Marys. Like many towns in the region, it is small, quiet, and conservative. Unlike many towns in the region, it is growing. As waves of young people have abandoned the Great Plains in search of economic opportunity, St. Marys has managed to attract families from across the nation. The newcomers have made the radical choice to uproot their lives in pursuit of an ideological sanctuary, a place where they can raise their children according to values no longer common in mainstream America.
St. Marys is home to a chapter of the Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX. Named for the early-20th-century pope who railed against the forces of modernism, the international order of priests was formed in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church’s attempt, in the 1960s, to meet the challenges of contemporary life. Though not fully recognized by the Vatican, the priests of SSPX see themselves as defenders of the true practices of Roman Catholicism, including the traditional Latin Mass, celebrated each day in St. Marys. Perfumed with incense and filled with majestic Latin hymns, the service has an air of formality and grandeur. To most American Catholics under the age of 50, it would be unrecognizable.
Throughout American history, religious groups have walled themselves off from the rhythms and mores of society. St. Marys isn’t nearly as cut off from modern life as, say, the Amish communities that still abjure all modern technology, be it tractor or cellphone. Residents watch prestige television on Hulu and catch Sunday-afternoon football games; moms drive to Topeka to shop at Sam’s Club. Yet hints of the town’s utopian project are everywhere. On a recent afternoon, I visited the general store, where polite teens played bluegrass music beside rows of dried goods. Women in long, modest skirts loaded vans that had enough seats to accommodate eight or nine kids—unlike most American Catholics, SSPX members abide by the Vatican’s prohibition on birth control. At housewarming parties and potluck dinners, children huddle around pianos for sing-alongs.
In their four decades in St. Marys, the followers of SSPX have more than doubled the town’s size….
Interesting article on the SSPX community in St. Marys, Kansas.
Fervent religious communities blocking out the modern world seem more like the future than integralism https://t.co/RG8TTcRvB7
— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) December 12, 2019
A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup’s trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.
Gallup first asked this question in 1991, at which time 22% reported that they or a family member delayed care for any kind of condition, including 11% for a serious condition. The figures were similar in the next update in 2001, and Gallup has since asked this question annually as part of its Health and Healthcare poll. This year’s survey was conducted Nov. 1-14.
Americans’ reports of family members delaying any sort of medical treatment for cost reasons were lower in the early to mid-2000s when closer to a quarter reported the problem. Since 2006, the rate has averaged 30%.
The pattern is similar for the subset of Americans postponing medical treatment for a serious condition. The rate rose from 12% in 2001 to an average of 19% since 2006. However, the current 25% is the highest yet, exceeding the prior high-point of 22% recorded in 2014.
“A third of U.S. adults say their family couldn’t afford care in past year | One in four say care was deferred for a serious medical condition” https://t.co/ya0Mj6y2fS
— Healthcare Advocate (@ClaudiaNichols) December 11, 2019
A year ago, clerics here in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country expressed alarm over China’s treatment of ethnic-minority Muslims—around a million of whom have been detained in re-education camps, according to human-rights groups.
Leaders of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization, issued an open letter in December 2018 noting reports of violence against the “weak and innocent” community of Uighurs, who are mostly Muslims, and appealing to Beijing to explain.
Soon after, Beijing sprang into action with a concerted campaign to convince Indonesia’s religious authorities and journalists that the re-education camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region are a well-meaning effort to provide job training and combat extremism.
More than a dozen top Indonesian religious leaders were taken to Xinjiang and visited re-education facilities. Tours for journalists and academics followed. Chinese authorities gave presentations on terrorist attacks by Uighurs and invited visitors to pray at local mosques. In the camps they visited classrooms where they were told students received training in everything from hotel management to animal husbandry.
Views in Indonesia changed. A senior Muhammadiyah religious scholar who went on the tour was quoted in the group’s official magazine as saying a camp he visited was excellent, had comfortable classrooms and wasn’t like a prison.
An inside look at China’s public-relations campaign to persuade one Muslim nation to stay silent on Xinjiang’s re-education camps for Uighurs https://t.co/R4JHvVsG9K
— WSJ China Real Time (@ChinaRealTime) December 12, 2019
The Living Ministry programme tracks the progress of groups of clergy ordained in 2006, 2011 and 2015 and women and men who entered training for ordination in 2016, seeking to understand what helps clergy to flourish in ministry.
The latest research from the project includes responses from 579 ordained clergy and 113 people training for ordained ministry in the Church of England.
The quantitative study includes research into physical and mental, relational, financial and material and spiritual and vocational well-being as well as responses to questions about ministerial effectiveness.
Read it all and take the time to look through the whole report (64 pages).
— BishopSarah (@bishopSarahM) December 12, 2019
Most Gracious God, who hast bidden us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before thee; Teach us, like thy servants Francis and Jane, to see and to serve Christ in all people; that we may know him to be the giver of all good things, through the same, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“True virtue has no limits, but goes on and on, and especially holy charity, which is the virtue of virtues, and which having a definite object, would become infinite if it could meet with a heart capable of infinity.”
— JaimeWinck (@jaime_winck) December 11, 2019
O Wisdom, that camest out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to another, firmly and gently ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of understanding.
O Adonai, Captain of the house of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and gavest him the law on Sinai: Come and deliver us with thine outstretched arm.
O Root of Jesse, who standest for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall shut their mouths, to whom the nations shall seek: Come and deliver us and tarry not.
O Key of David, Sceptre of the house of Israel, who openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: Come and bring forth out of the prison-house him that is bound.
O Day-spring from on high, Brightness of Eternal Light, and Sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
O King of nations, thou for whom they long, the Cornerstone that makest both one: Come and save thy creatures whom thou didst fashion from the dust of the earth.
O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.
(for those interested in more about this, please read further there).
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
Just before Christmas 1919, George V signed the Enabling Act into law. This conferred on a National Assembly of the Church of England the power to adopt “Measures” through a Legislative Committee, which would pass to an Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament for scrutiny and rapid progress into law.
This single piece of legislation still forms the bedrock of the Church of England’s modern representative system. It came with a great fanfare of acclaim, led by a pressure group headed by the charismatic future archbishop William Temple. In consequence, it is often seen as a decisive and unexpected leap forward in the Church’s self-understanding.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Enabling Act was a vital piece of legislation for the Church of England, and has good claim to be the most important piece of legislation passed by Parliament for the Church in the 20th century. But it was the result of a long evolution in church polity and ecclesiastical authority, and of the careful development of practical solutions to problems of governance by the Church’s leadership. In its essential conception, it owed little to Temple.
Read it all (registration).
“The real difficulty has been the wider failure of Temple’s vision: declining numbers in the past 50 years have drained church governance of the chance of broadening and deepening its roots in the community at large”https://t.co/bfffR7sb9E
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) December 10, 2019
The House of Bishops met from Monday 9th December to Wednesday 11th December at Lambeth Palace.
The House considered progress to date in the Living in Love and Faith project through discussion, prayer and reflection. The House discussed safeguarding with a presentation from the National Director of Safeguarding.
On the eve of the general election, the House reviewed the national situation politically and prayed for the good of the country.
Other items on the agenda included Renewal and Reform and the Implementation and Dialogue Group Report.
Jo Chamberlain has been appointed as the National Environment Officer for the Church of England, taking forward the strategy developed by the Environment Working Group. This is a new post reflecting the Archbishops’ Council’s focus on the environment as a theological and mission priority.
Jo joins the Mission and Public Affairs team from Christian Aid and the Diocese of Sheffield where she volunteers as their Environment Adviser. She will work closely with the Environment Consultant, David Shreeve, and link with the Cathedrals and Church Buildings team where Open and Sustainable Churches Officer, Catherine Ross, forms the third part of a new environment staff ‘hub’.
Like so many of his generation, he took as his theological labor interpreting and promoting the theological riches of Vatican II. Along with Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, O. P., and others, he was a cofounder of the journal, Concilium, which had this purpose.
For him, in particular, this work meant helping the Catholic Church make the transition from the seamlessly Catholic world of Auerbach to the techno-scientific, multicultural, religiously pluralistic and often secularized world of today. In the 1960’s he became one of the founders, along with Jürgen Moltmann and Dorothee Sölle, of a theological approach called “political theology,” which he himself named the new political theology, in order to distinguish it from the work of Nazi legal theorist, Carl Schmitt.
Political theology was a prophetic protest against the privatization of Christian faith: the reduction of its scope to one’s relationship to God and one-on-one ethical behavior towards others. For Metz, religion in general and Christianity in particular, is inherently political.
So too is Christian theology. Christianity’s privatization, Metz warned, is a principal way that it has been domesticated in the modern world, with the church too often going along, explicitly or tacitly. Yet Christian faith was not for him simply a source of meaning or a social glue in society; it was not a kind of sacred canopy, as sociologist Peter Berger once put it, a religious authorization or echo of what is going on in society anyway.
Religion is, rather, for Metz, provocative and interruptive. It breaks through our self-reliance and self-satisfaction, attitudes often purchased at the cost of ignoring the suffering of those put on the margins of society or who had been left beaten on the side of the road in its march of progress.
Remembering them is dangerous, but these dangerous memories are liberating. And they are ultimately sustained by the dangerous memory of Jesus Christ, who died and was raised by the God of the living and of the dead. It is a memory that can give rise to great hope, but only if it is put into practice, a “combative hope,” as Pope Francis puts it.
Metz followed these insights with thoroughness and integrity, realizing that for a German the dangerous memory above all others had to be the memory of the Jews and the fate they suffered under the Third Reich. He will be remembered for insisting that Christian identity, “after Auschwitz,” can only be reconstructed and saved together with the Jews and by retrieving the lost or suppressed roots of Christian faith in Judaism.
(Guardian) Archbp John Sentamu–It’s time to act against the oil companies causing death and destruction
The legal system in Nigeria is cumbersome, costly and inefficient. Victims are rarely able to afford the means to justice and redress. While governments must accept a share of responsibility for this catastrophe, the onus lies largely with the multinational oil companies that dominate the scene. They drill and export the oil and gas. They own the inadequate and poorly maintained and poorly guarded infrastructure that have allowed oil spills and other forms of pollution to become systemic for people in Bayelsa.
All too often they do not respect their fundamental human rights and are getting away with a pollution footprint with global consequences, including climate change. Yet those who bear the immediate cost are the people of Bayelsa, where human life appears to be disposable in the pursuit of wealth.
Repentance, reparation and remedy for damage done for decades is long overdue. Too many people treat distant parts of the world like giant rubbish dumps. If you or I behaved like that in our locality, albeit on an infinitely smaller scale, we would be rightly prosecuted for fly-tipping.
We are all temporary tenants on this planet and will be held accountable for its management. Future generations will look at the state of their inheritance and will want to know who in the past benefited from its irresponsible exploitation and who paid the price for it. If there is still an opportunity for the present generation to make amends, we had better get on with it with the utmost urgency.
Medically assisted treatment (MAT), which involves using drugs such as methadone or buprenorphine to both manage cravings and, in the case of buprenorphine, block the effects of other opioids, has shown been shown to reduce overdose deaths by nearly 50 percent. A study in Massachusetts found a 59 percent reduction in overdoses for those on methadone and a 38 percent reduction with the use of buprenorphine. However, their use is not allowed in many treatment facilities, prisons and abstinence-based recovery programs.
Why? MAT is effective in part because the medicine includes opioid agonists—meaning they interact with opioid receptors and are able to reduce withdrawal symptoms. They are, in effect, milder forms of the drugs themselves. In a view in which the drug, and not our relationship to it, is the matter of moral concern, this is anathema.
This belief, buttressed by Christian theological developments about substances, holds back progress on addressing addiction and overdoses. An addiction does not involve being taken over by an evil or demonic substance; it stems from a disordered relationship with one. Prohibition and punishment have failed. Approaching addiction as only an individual moral flaw—instead of a public health crisis—has only made things worse. And the eschewal of effective approaches like MAT means more needless deaths.
These beliefs have real consequences. If my doctor had used blame and shame to confront me and then immediately cut me off from pain medicine, I likely would have found myself in the position many others have: seeking them illicitly. Yes, addiction can be harmful but so can the way we have chosen to treat those with addictions as a society.
([London] Times) A Profile of a Married vicar whose (theology? or) good looks has won him 116,500 Instagram followers
With 116,500 Instagram followers, many more than the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rev Chris Lee has built a cult following with his “60-second sermons”, short selfie videos in which he chats about the Bible and his faith.
He insists fans are drawn more to the power of the gospels than to his good looks, but Mr Lee, 36, who is married and has two young daughters, has been sent messages saying “I love you” by adoring fans. He said: “It’s never a horrible thing to be told you’re good-looking, but I think most people follow me because of my content, because I speak to them on a deeper level.”
— Catherine Jones (@cathyjones173) December 9, 2019
(AL.com) Greg Garrison–That Old-Time Religion: Heyday of the rural church slips away as country church gets swallowed by the suburbs
It used to be a country church. Now it’s in the middle of the suburbs, on two of the busiest roads in the state.
Oak Grove Baptist Church sits on Highway 119 near the intersection of U.S. 280. In the eighties it drew attendance of dozens weekly. That’s dwindled. “Now there are more people in the cemetery than the church,” said Rob Langford, who grew up on the other side of the woods behind the church and started walking to attend services at age 11….
The Rev. John Killian, former pastor of Maytown Baptist Church in Sylvan Springs and former president of the Alabama Baptist Convention, has seen the heyday of the rural church slip away.
“That’s what I deal with all the time,” said Killian, now director of missions for Fayette County. “Some of them are barely hanging on. Some seem to be doing okay.”
That Old-Time Religion: Heyday of the rural church slips away as country church gets swallowed by the suburbs https://t.co/FVCudU2P5G
— Kent Faulk (@krfaulk) December 8, 2019
O thou, who hast foretold that thou wilt return to judgment in an hour that we are not aware of, grant us grace to watch and pray always, that whether thou shalt come at even, or at midnight, or in the morning, we may be found among the number of those servants who shall be blessed in watching for their Lord, to whom be all glory now and for evermore.
Thus the Lord God showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me,
“The end has come upon my people Israel;
I will never again pass by them.
The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,”
says the Lord God;
“the dead bodies shall be many;
in every place they shall be cast out in silence.”
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy,
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and sell the refuse of the wheat?”
The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and every one mourn who dwells in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”
“And on that day,” says the Lord God,
“I will make the sun go down at noon,
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth upon all loins,
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son,
and the end of it like a bitter day.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
“when I will send a famine on the land;
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
but they shall not find it.
“In that day the fair virgins and the young men
shall faint for thirst.
Those who swear by Ash′imah of Samar′ia,
and say, ‘As thy god lives, O Dan,’
and, ‘As the way of Beer-sheba lives,’
they shall fall, and never rise again.”
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–John the Baptist, the standard of God for humanity, and where the standard takes us (Isaiah 11:2-3)
All Saints North St York. Seven stars as seven gifts of the holy spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, wonder pic.twitter.com/2XQ5Oh7Aai
— Dr Jonathan Foyle (@JonathanFoyle) February 2, 2017
(ABC Aus.) Controversial religious discrimination bill overhauled as Australia Government releases new draft
The Federal Government has overhauled its proposed religious discrimination laws in an effort to win over faith leaders who rebuked the Coalition’s earlier attempts.
Attorney-General Christian Porter outlined 11 changes to the draft bill, which the Government opted against introducing to Parliament last month after facing criticism from religious and groups advocating for racial and sexual equality, and for those with disabilities.
As flagged, the new bill will allow religious bodies — such as hospitals and aged care providers — to continue to hire people on the basis of their religion.
The other changes include defining the word “vilify” as inciting “hatred or violence” and exemptions to allow religious camps and conference centres to take faith into account when deciding to provide accommodation.
Take the time to listen to and ponder it all.
(AI) A Message from the Vestry of Truro Parish to the congregation in reference to the recent resignation of Tory Baucum
Message from the Vestry of Truro Parish to the congregationhttps://t.co/USxInnc7PJ
— Anglican Ink (@anglicanink) December 10, 2019
“But the man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and yet recognizes that he may be the object of God’s love precisely because of his shortcomings, can begin to be sincere. His sincerity is based on confidence, not in his own illusions about himself, but in the endless, unfailing mercy of God.”
—No Man Is an Island (New York: Houghton Mifflin 2002 paper ed. of 1953 original), p.202
— Mauricio Ruiz (@Ruizm1) December 10, 2019
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
“Encourage us to go beyond clear and comfortable ideas of God”
Intercessions at the Office for Thomas Merton pic.twitter.com/czKIlriUsD
— Father Richard (@mission_priest) December 10, 2019
Gracious God, who didst call thy monk Thomas Merton to proclaim thy justice out of silence, and moved him in his contemplative writings to perceive and value Christ at work in the faiths of others: Keep us, like him, steadfast in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Feast of Thomas Merton: “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” pic.twitter.com/aUU4Bnww2I
— Rev. Bosco Peters (@Liturgy) December 9, 2019
Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.