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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The Archbishop of Canterbury today wrote to all 37 Primates inviting them to attend a special Primates’ gathering in Canterbury to reflect and pray together concerning the future of the Communion.
The meeting, to be held in January 2016, would be an opportunity for Primates to discuss key issues face to face, including a review of the structures of the Anglican Communion and to decide together their approach to the next Lambeth Conference.
The agenda will be set by common agreement with all Primates encouraged to send in contributions. It is likely to include the issues of religiously-motivated violence, the protection of children and vulnerable adults, the environment and human sexuality.
Read it all.
Other posts on this subject - newest first:
+ (Get Religion) The Atlantic goes halfway in reporting on Anglican primates meeting (September 21, 2015)
+ Gavin Ashenden responds to the London Times Editorial on the Anglican Primates Meeting (September 21, 2015)
+ GAFCON Chairman’s September Pastoral Letter on Saint Matthew’s Day (September 21, 2015)
+ (Daily Nation) Kenyan Anglican Primate Downplays Split Call Ahead of Proposed 2016 Primates Meeting (September 20, 2015)
+ Archbishop Mouneer at All Souls Church in London (September 19, 2015)
+ Canon Phil Ashey: What Brings Us Together (September 18, 2015)
+ Note to Blog Readers, the L. Times Editorial on the Primates Meeting is available on Anglican Ink (September 18, 2015 )
+ (The Tablet) Mgr Mark Langham—Too early to call time on the Anglican Communion (September 18, 2015)
+ Philip Johanson—Does C of E require radical emergency surgery or should it bea slow death? (September 18, 2015)
+ (Irish Times) Anglicanism in crisis: Canterbury’s risky move (September 18, 2015)
+ A BBC Today Programme Segment on the proposed Anglican Primates meeting (September 18, 2015)
+ (NYT) Meeting of Anglican Leaders Could Lead to a Looser Federation (September 18, 2015)
+ (Church Times) Crunch time for the Communion as Welby summons Primates to Canterbury summit (September 18, 2015)
+ GAFCON calls for ‘truth on the table’ in the Anglican Communion in called Primates Meeting (September 18, 2015)
+ Archbp Josiah Fearon on the call for a special Primates’ Meeting in January 2016 (September 17, 2015)
+ A Statement from ACNA leader Foley Beach on the Proposed Primates Gathering (September 17, 2015)
+ A S Haley—A Surprise Meeting for an Anglican Family no longer functioning as a Communion (September 17, 2015)
+ (L. Times Leader) The Archbishop of Canterbury is offering the Anglican communion a reality check (September 17, 2015)
+ ([London Times) Archbp Welby holds crisis talks to prevent a church split (September 17, 2015)
+ (Guardian) Archbishop of Canterbury plans to loosen ties of divided Anglican communion (September 16, 2015)
The Church Commissioners for England has announced that it has signed the PRI Montreal Pledge, an initiative that commits signatories to measuring and publicly disclosing the carbon footprint of their equity portfolio each year.
The Pledge was launched last year in Montreal during the annual conference of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which the Commissioners signed up to in 2010, and is also supported by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). It aims to attract commitment from portfolios totalling US$3 trillion in time for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in December 2015. At present, nearly 100 organisations representing over US$8 trillion have signed the pledge.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Globalization Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Stock Market Energy, Natural Resources * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Malaysian passenger plane that went down over eastern Ukraine last year was downed by a Russian-developed Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board says in a long-awaited report.
The surface-to-air missile detonated outside the front, left part of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 cockpit and caused other parts of the Boeing 777 to break off, according to the report released Tuesday.
The report does not say who fired the missile that brought down the plane, but suggests it should not have been flying in the area due to the risk from armed conflict there.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Travel * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Asia Malaysia Europe Russia Ukraine * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
A synod proposal to allow Anglican spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion has been rejected by the Archbishop of Birmingham.
The proposal, contained in the working document is due to be discussed at the synod next week.
If approved it would mean Anglicans being allowed to present themselves at Communion during Mass if they were married to a Catholic but unable to attend a service in their own denomination.
Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (Arcic), set up to further unity, has criticised the move, however, saying it did not meet the demands of either the Code of Canon Law or the Ecumenical Directory.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Sacramental Theology Eucharist
In other words, if democracy is to spread successfully throughout the world and if civic coexistence and peace are to spread with it, then this must happen as part of an endeavor to find a new and genuinely universal articulation of that global human experience which even we, Western intellectuals, are once more beginning to recollect, one that connects us with the mythologies and religions of all cultures and opens for us a way to understand their values. It must expand simply as an environment in which we may all engage in a common quest for the general good.
That of course presupposes that first, our own democracies will once more become places for quest and creation, for creative dialogue, for realizing the common will, and for responsibility, and that they will cease to be mere battlegrounds of particular interests. Planetary democracy does not yet exist, but our global civilization is already preparing a place for it: It is the very Earth we inhabit, linked with Heaven above us. Only in this setting can the mutuality and the commonality of the human race be newly created, with reverence and gratitude for that which transcends each of us singly and all of us together. The authority of a world democratic order simply cannot be built on anything other than the revitalized authority of the universe.
The effective expansion of democracy therefore presupposes a critical self-examination, a process that will lead to its internalization.
Read it all.
In the spring, Aeterna Zentaris announced the transfer of its library of 100,000 drug compounds to the Medical University of South Carolina in a collaborative venture it hopes will lead to new treatments.
MUSC can make that available to researchers within the University of South Carolina system. It also will own any therapeutic compounds it discovers outside of the company’s areas of interest.
Under the agreement, MUSC will try to provide Aeterna Zentaris with at least 10 development candidates over 10 years starting in 2018. The company also will get the rights to license any of those ideas.
Read it all from the local paper.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Canada * South Carolina
(In case any readers were unaware or forgot, your blog host is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan--KSH).
The Chicago Cubs have proven that they are willing and able to make history, but If they beat the Cardinals on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, they’ll accomplish something even more impressive than winning a playoff series over their hated rivals.
They’ll also clinch a playoff series on their home field for the first time in at least 112 years.
Granted, the Cubs have only won three postseason series (excluding the NL Wild Card Game vs. the Pirates last week) since the World Series was first contested in 1903, but it’s still shocking to realize that the team has never clinched a series on their home field.
Read it all.
Reconciliation has been on the hearts and in the minds of our church for decades. In 2015, the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, the #22Days project, and eighth national Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle among others further highlighted the issue of reconciliation with Indigenous people, putting it front and centre for and within the Anglican Church of Canada.
Reflecting on survivor testimony and an examination of the Indian residential school system in policy and practice, the TRC was able to determine that history to be nothing short of cultural genocide. The TRC brought to light the traumatic effect of the schools on generations of survivors and their families, as well as the negative social repercussions in Indigenous communities.
“For those who have ears to hear, a conscience to stir, and a heart to move, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has humbled this nation to confess its sin, and to pray for guidance in walking in a new and different way with the First Peoples of this land,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said in his opening sermon at this year’s Sacred Circle.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Culture-Watch Children Education History Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
underscoring the incredible momentum to legalize marijuana is the misconception that the drug can’t hurt anybody. It can, especially young people.
The myth that marijuana is not habit-forming is constantly challenged by physicians. “There’s no question at all that marijuana is addictive,” Dr. Sharon Levy tells me. She is the director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, one of a few programs designed to preemptively identify substance use problems in teens. At least 1 in 11 young adults who begin smoking will develop an addiction to marijuana, even more among those who use the more potent products that are entering the market.
Levy speaks of an 18-year-old patient who had started smoking marijuana several times a day in 10th grade, dropped out of high school, and been stealing money from her parents. “She and her family were at their wits’ end trying to find appropriate treatment in a health care system that doesn’t consider addiction to marijuana a serious problem,” Levy says. “We are simply not prepared for the fallout of marijuana legalization.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Fifth Anglican South to South Conference scheduled to begin today in Tunisia has been cancelled. On 10 Oct 2015 organizers of the meeting called by the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, stated the meeting organized round the theme of “How Africa shaped our Christian mind” that was set to begin on 12 Oct would not take place. A statement explaining the reasons for the cancellation and the date and place of the next gathering would be released shortly, organizers said.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Global South Churches & Primates * Christian Life / Church Life Missions * Culture-Watch Globalization * International News & Commentary Africa Tunisia
In our post-Christian context, public life has become markedly more secular and private life infinitely more diverse. Yet many Christians still rely on cookie-cutter approaches to evangelism and apologetics. Most of these methods assume that people are open, interested and needy for spiritual insight when increasingly most people are not. Our urgent need, then, is the capacity to persuade―to make a convincing case for the gospel to people who are not interested in it. In his magnum opus, Os Guinness offers a comprehensive presentation of the art and power of creative persuasion. Christians have often relied on proclaiming and preaching, protesting and picketing. But we are strikingly weak in persuasion―the ability to talk to people who are closed to what we are saying. Actual persuasion requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Guinness notes, "Jesus never spoke to two people the same way, and neither should we." Following the tradition of Erasmus, Pascal, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge and Peter Berger, Guinness demonstrates how apologetic persuasion requires both the rational and the imaginative. Persuasion is subversive, turning the tables on listeners' assumptions to surprise them with signals of transcendence and the credibility of the gospel. This book is the fruit of forty years of thinking, honed in countless talks and discussions at many of the leading universities and intellectual centers of the world. Discover afresh the persuasive power of Christian witness from one of the leading apologists and thinkers of our era.
A college degree practically stamped Andres Aguirre’s ticket to the middle class. Yet at age 40, he’s still paying the price of admission.
After a decade of repayments, Aguirre still diverts $512 a month to loans and owes $20,000.
The expense requires his family to rent an apartment in Campbell, Calif., because buying a home in a decent school district would cost too much. His daughter has excelled in high school, but Aguirre has urged her to attend community college to avoid the debt that ensnared him.
“I didn’t get the warmest reception on that,” he said. “But she understands the choice.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Housing/Real Estate Market Personal Finance * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Check it out.
Who was Jesus really?
For the past few weeks I’ve been discussing this question with my high school theology class. Although most of my students have been brought up in the church, I know they’re going to face challenges to their faith when they go off to college. Many will hear jarring claims from classmates and professors about the “real” Jesus—claims contradictory to the church’s confession of Jesus as the risen Son of God.
So I want my students to be prepared. I want them to know these claims have been around for a long time, as have Christian responses. Despite what many critical scholars claim, there is no contradiction between the “Jesus of history” and the “Christ of faith.” In fact, studying Jesus as a historical figure can often strengthen faith. But that requires honestly engaging the critics and evaluating their claims.
Here I will briefly examine five popular alternative theories about Jesus, concluding with some general guidelines for how Christians can respond to them.
Read it all.
The crimes and misdemeanors of science used to be handled mostly in-house, with a private word at the faculty club, barbed questions at a conference, maybe a quiet dismissal. On the rare occasion when a journal publicly retracted a study, it typically did so in a cryptic footnote. Few were the wiser; many retracted studies have been cited as legitimate evidence by others years after the fact.
But that gentlemen’s world has all but evaporated, as a remarkable series of events last month demonstrated. In mid-May, after two graduate students raised questions about a widely reported study on how political canvassing affects opinions of same-sex marriage, editors at the journal Science, where the study was published, began to investigate. What followed was a frenzy of second-guessing, accusations and commentary from all corners of the Internet: “Retraction” as serial drama, rather than footnote. Science officially pulled the paper, by Michael LaCour of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Donald Green of Columbia, on May 28, because of concerns about Mr. LaCour’s data.
“Until recently it was unusual for us to report on studies that were not yet retracted,” said Dr. Ivan Oransky, an editor of the blog Retraction Watch, the first news media outlet to report that the study had been challenged. But new technology and a push for transparency from younger scientists have changed that, he said. “We have more tips than we can handle.”
The case has played out against an increase in retractions that has alarmed many journal editors and authors. Scientists in fields as diverse as neurobiology, anesthesia and economics are debating how to reduce misconduct, without creating a police-state mentality that undermines creativity and collaboration.
Read it all.
“We live in a world of social change. This is not a new observation, yet it brings fresh challenges for gospel proclamation in our society, which appears to be moving further and further away from the guidelines for living which are enshrined in God’s Word. As Christians, we are at odds with the world. For good reason, John the Evangelist recorded Jesus’ warning to his disciples: If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)”
“In the same chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus told his disciples that he had spoken these words so that his joy might be in them—in us—and that our joy may be full (John 15:11). This is an incredible promise and one that perhaps we do not appreciate, let alone assimilate, in our daily lives.
How is your joy? Is it real or feigned in the face of opposition to the gospel from your friends or family, workmates of fellow travellers?” the Archbishop said.
“The antagonism of the world to the Word of God is perhaps seen nowhere more acutely than in the virulent challenge to the definition of marriage which pervades conversations in the media, the workplace and even in our places of leisure.” Dr Davies said. “It is time that all Christians, especially Anglicans, should enter the discussion and graciously and sensitively explain the reasons why our good Creator has made marriage the way he has. We need to be courageous in our discussions both in private and in public, yet we also need to be sensitive and loving in our defence of biblical truth.”
Read it all and note the link to the full text of the Archbishop's address.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology
"Despite the tendency of new congregations to grow, the impact of these congregations on the level of attendance in the Episcopal Church is relatively small —simply because there are so few of them."
Take the time to read through it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Departing Parishes TEC Data TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
My parents announced their divorce calmly during our first and only family meeting. I was 14 and felt as if I had been punched in the face. There had been none of the clues leading up to it that my friends had described before their parents’ divorces. No screaming or dishes being thrown. Everything was quiet.
My parents said they loved my sister and me very much, that this wasn’t our fault. Later, when I grilled them separately, asking why, they each told me they never gave enough time to their relationship, that it was always all about the family.
“So it is our fault,” I said.
“No, no,” they assured me. They loved my sister and me and loved being parents.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
As most of you already know, Jerusalem and other parts of the country have witnessed a number of violent incidents this week. The upsurge in terrorism comes at a time when the Temple Mount has been a focus of friction between Israelis and Palestinians.
Our staff and volunteers are safe, but we do worry about the implications if this violence does not end soon. We at Christ Church ask that you pray for the following:
* That God will pour out his peace and the bloodshed will come to an end.
* For God’s protection of human life - in every community.
* For the Palestinian press that has been inciting the public with wildly exaggerated reports and untruthful stories.
* For the few politicians (on both sides) who are cynically using the unrest for their own political purposes.
* That God will discredit leaders (religious, political and others) who advocate solving this conflict with violence and more force.
* That those who perpetrate terrorism will be caught and brought to justice.
* That the Israeli army and police will act with wisdom.
* That Palestinian and Israeli officials will cooperate to bring an end to the tension.
* That God through his Spirit of Holiness will bring reconciliation and healing to Jews and Arabs (especially in Jerusalem where divisions between the two communities are the deepest).
* That God will give the followers of Jesus the opportunity to be witnesses of his Presence in this situation.
If you have planned to come to Israel in the upcoming weeks or months, please do not cancel. Tourists are rarely ever caught up in the political violence that occasionally breaks out here. Even with the recent events Israel is still safer than any major city in North American or Europe.
Christ Church Jerusalem
Via email and also seen later on Facebok--ed.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology
Nigeria's Islamic extremist insurgents Boko Haram are blamed for using teens and women to carry out suicide bombings in neighboring Chad and Cameroon this weekend, killing more than 45 people in what Cameroon's government spokesman said is a move to spread terror as a multinational force prepares to deploy against them.
Two girls between the ages of 13 and 17 carried out suicide bombings in the northern Cameroon village of Kangeleri near Mora town on Sunday, killing at least 9 and wounding 29 others, said Cameroon's Minister of Communications Issa Tchiroma Bakary.
The Cameroon explosions come after five coordinated suicide bombings in neighboring Chad on Saturday killed at least 36 people and wounded some 50 others in a village near Lake Chad that is home to thousands of Nigerians who have fled the extremists' violence. The government said a man, two women and two children carried out the attacks.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Cameroon Chad Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
Wall Street’s biggest banks are beginning to build their defences against downturns, signalling an end to the steady thinning of reserves that has helped boost profits in the past five years.
Tapping into reserves set aside for bad loans has become a reliable source of income for the banks in the post-crisis environment, allowing them to offset the effects of weak demand and ultra-low interest rates. Regulators let lenders dip into reserves in this way if they can argue that an improving outlook makes losses less likely.
But the practice is expected to have a limited impact on the banks’ third-quarter profits, which begin to be presented this week, because reserves have been run down about as far as they can go.
While some banks with plump cushions of reserves could still make net reductions, others are at an “inflection point,” said Jennifer Thompson, an analyst at Portales Partners in New York. Lenders with big exposures to energy could see “dramatic” increases in reserves, she said, while related sectors such as materials, commodities and industrials also look vulnerable to rises.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization History * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance The Banking System/Sector * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Clergy are being urged to talk about funeral costs during their pastoral visits to grieving families, to help people avoid getting into debt paying for a good send-off for their loved one.
In the past ten years, prices have soared by 80 per cent. The average cost of a funeral in the UK is now £8427.
Last year alone, the cost of dying rose seven times faster than the cost of living, and funeral services were the top transaction on credit cards in 2013.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * Theology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Fox News’ highly reluctant Jesus follower has found a new church.
Kirsten Powers, USA Today columnist and contributor to Fox News, announced her decision on a live broadcast of “The Five.”
“Tomorrow night at 7 o’clock, I'm becoming Catholic!” she told viewers.
Powers, who grew up in the Episcopal Church, became an evangelical about 9 years ago, after attending Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. Listening to Tim Keller preach opened the door for her to believe in God.
“I came to realize that even if Christianity wasn't the real thing, neither was atheism,” she wrote in a 2013 testimony for CT. “I began to read the Bible. My boyfriend would pray with me for God to reveal himself to me.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals Roman Catholic * Theology
For the many who are already engaged in ministry - whether ordained or not - opportunities for ongoing professional development certainly need to be provided, and in a format that is accessible. With many theological institutions utilising online learning platforms, there is a potential opportunity for them to further serve denominations by developing short courses on holistic mental health ministry that could be made available, regardless of location or time availability. This also ensures that courses are contextually appropriate for different denominational settings.
However, because training is not as much of a priority within many settings, denominations also need to ensure appropriate incentives are provided for those who engage in training. In many cases, theological institutions across Australia provide vocational training in basic chaplaincy skills that may complement a more rigorous theological training - and the incentive of adding a Certificate IV or Diploma to one's resume may be attractive. But when such courses are not logistically possible due to time restraints or location, shorter programs like Mental Health First Aid can also be beneficial, as they can work with the schedule of pastors, while still providing some recognition for training undertaken.
Still, there is a long way to go. While mental health training is readily available, much needs to be done to address the unbalanced theological underpinnings within congregations that may shape unhelpful attitudes and responses to those with mental illness. What is needed is a well-rounded understanding that God works through both the spiritual and the medical and psychological.
Read it all from Greta Wells at ABC Australia.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Mental Illness Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The New York Times recently ran an article “Turn the Page, Spur the Brain” that presented empirical findings showing that reading to children, even infants, was crucial for brain development. They found that exposing children to a video or a picture short-circuited the child’s imagination. One expert said: “They’re not having to imagine the story [for themselves]; it’s just being fed to them.” Another pointed out that children who were exposed to reading “showed significantly more activity in the areas of the brain that process visual association, even though the child was listening to a story and could not see any pictures.” In short, verbal communication makes your mind and heart do the work of grasping and imagining the story for yourself. Images tend to feed you what some other person’s imagination has created.
I am not denigrating visual arts in general. But this simple article about reading to children supports an ancient Protestant understanding about the power of the Word to capture our hearts with the truth in a way nothing else can. 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 4:6 says, remarkably, that right now by faith we can “behold the glory” of Christ. And this beholding is linked to the Spirit’s work in our hearts as the Word of God is read and heard (2 Corinthians 3:12-16).
For years I thought that God could be active in my life through the Spirit and that the Bible was a book I had to obey if God was going to come in. I now realize that Bible is the way that, through the Spirit, God is active in my life.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Books Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The building towers over its sprawling parking lot, its windowless slabs of off-white concrete giving it the authoritative look of a government building. People of all ages trickle into the building seven days a week, sometimes in large crowds. Outside the six floors of the main structure are a number of signs guiding visitors to other parts of the surrounding campus,
including a satellite building and a large courtyard. But this isn’t any kind of government, school or office building — it’s Raleigh’s Providence Baptist Church, one of many megachurches in the Triangle. Findings from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research show these churches attract younger participants to their congregations — more so than many other, smaller churches. That includes college students, who tend to drop out of church for at least part of their college careers, research says.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
A Florida congregation has successfully won the right to build a church in a Jacksonville Beach neighborhood despite objections from local residents and an attempt by the city to prevent construction.
Church of Our Savior, a congregation affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, will soon build a church in Jacksonville Beach, thanks to a settlement reached earlier this week with city officials.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Housing/Real Estate Market Politics in General City Government
A video of a “moving and beautiful” ceremony of a deaf couple who wed in Limerick city last weekend is touching the hearts of thousands of people online.
The wedding of Tara Long, 26, from Kileely in Limerick, and Timmy Doona, from Killorglin in Kerry, who are both deaf, left the congregation in tears of joy in St John’s Cathedral in Limerick on Saturday last.
A video of part of the ceremony – where the bride surprised her husband-to-be with a special song performed in sign language – has been posted online by Tara’s brother and has now counted more than 6,000 views to date on YouTube.
Read it all and follow the link to the video.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Globalization Marriage & Family * General Interest Photos/Photography * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The first challenge is leadership. A whole-of-community approach requires leadership that embraces the community. Is there an identifiable leader, whether an individual or a coalition, who is broadly accepted as such and capable of bringing together a range of stakeholders? Do they have a clear vision of the change to which they are leading the community?
The second challenge to overcome is inertia. A whole-of-community approach may require changes in how we work together, how we communicate, how we allocate finite resources - and change is rarely easy. Bureaucratic processes, political turf wars, over stretched personnel, and the time worn "that's not how we've done things in the past" can all contribute to a fairly difficult barrier of inertia. Asking the right questions and having a strong leader can ease some of these strains, but at the core of the implementation, things will have to change in order to address the challenges facing our communities.
The third challenge to successful implementation is turning competitors into partners. Government ministries compete for influence and slices of a finite budget pie. Community organisations compete for funding and recognition in the community and by opinion leaders. Service providers may compete for clients and contracts. Once potential allies are identified, having a clear strategy in place on how to build partnerships is key to a sustainable, effective whole-of-community policy initiative - facilitated by good leadership and a rich understanding of the community brought out through asking the right questions.
Countering violent extremism in Australia is challenging. In order to succeed, we have to overcome existing community tensions and divisions. The Countering Community Division policy framework is presented as a way to gather community insights and resources, facilitate in-depth analysis and understanding of the current situation, and coordinate efforts across stakeholders so that we can begin to reunite the divided and strengthen our communities to counteract further radicalisation.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
As we sit down to creation’s bounty in the form of a magnificent harvest dinner this month, let’s be thankful we can plan for this fine-weather feast on the second Monday in October. Historically, the date of Canada’s day of thanks has been anything but fixed.
In fact, it was not until 1957 that Parliament first officially set the permanent date we now observe, with Prime Minister John Diefenbaker declaring it “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.”
Before that, the celebration was decidedly, in Hemingway’s words, “a movable feast.” Often wrongly disparaged as lacking the deep historical roots of American Thanksgiving, English Canada’s first celebration occurred 43 years before the Pilgrim Fathers touched American shores. It’s linked to 1578, when British North West Passage explorer Sir Martin Frobisher declared a day of thanksgiving for cross-Atlantic and Arctic tribulations survived. An Anglican service was held near Baffin Island by the Rev. Robert Wolfall, expedition chaplain.
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The future of unique, historic murals in St. Jude's Anglican Church is in question now that the building is for sale.
A local heritage proponent and some former parishioners of the now-shuttered Brantford church are worried about the fate of the one-of-a-kind murals that have graced St. Jude's walls for 80 years.
"There is no protection" for the paintings despite a two-decade-old federal designation declaring the site as having national architectural significance, says Cindy MacDonald, chair of the city's heritage committee.
Multiple hand-painted murals depicting the life of Christ within St. Jude's on Peel Street were designated as significant in 1996 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Art History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Church members come together for Conway church damaged by flood
Thursday was back to school for more than 60 children at Conway's St. Paul's Anglican Church Day School, but not everything was back to normal.
The floodwaters damaged the classrooms on the lower level of the historic Conway building.
It soaked carpets and damaged drywall.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. Weather * South Carolina
The Behemoth is a small magazine about a big God and his big world. From the editors of Christianity Today, this ad-free, digital biweekly aims to help people behold the glory of God all around them, in the worlds of science, history, theology, medicine, sociology, Bible, and personal narrative.
See what you make of it.
Hypochondria among Americans may be jeopardising the development of new medicines, as a study reveals that the placebo effect is becoming worryingly powerful in the US.
Huge American drugs trials are increasingly foundering on the unexplained scientific phenomenon, which does not appear to be happening anywhere else in the world.
The findings leave US drugs companies with a serious dilemma. As the difference between receiving a new painkiller and simply thinking that you are receiving a new painkiller evaporates, it is becoming ever harder to tell whether the drug works or not.
This may explain why more than nine out of ten new pain-relief drugs fail at the testing stage.
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[Mark] Juergensmeyer, professor of sociology and global studies, and affiliate professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was scheduled to speak at the conference Wednesday (October 7) but withdrew for reasons of conscience.
On Saturday, he received an email from the Free BYU organization, which has for some time now been attempting to change the university’s policy toward students who enter the school as Mormons but then either lose or change their religion during their time there.
Free BYU contacted all of the speakers for the conference to make them aware of what the organization has called “BYU’s policy of terminating, evicting, and expelling LDS students who change their faith.”
Under the policy, students who enter the university as Mormons but then undergo a faith transition can be expelled, evicted from student housing, and fired from on-campus jobs.
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For those of us who spend, or spent, most of our twenties single while friends and relations jumped into domestic duties -- leaving us adrift at family and church functions to face the perennial question "Are you dating anyone seriously?" -- this culture has its definite disadvantages.
But the big fat marriage culture has its perks, too. Prime among them: continual, albeit irritating, reminders to grow up and get responsible.
Conversely, today's zeitgeist asks "What's the hurry?" offering reassurance that "Thirty is the new twenty," and "Though you'd never marry this guy, it's fine to move in with him." But today's cultural heirs, bewildered Millennials in their late twenties and early thirties, end up in Meg Jay's counseling office feeling behind and trying to make up for lost time. They form the cautionary tales interspersing research in Jay's recent book The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter -- And How to Make the Most of Them Now.
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“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,” says Isaiah, 43:2, “and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”
Well, for the most part, at least.
The biblical words resonated with area church leaders and parishioners affected by this week’s storm as they assessed the damage to their places of worship and helped each other find alternative spaces for upcoming services.
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As the western-backed bombing of ISIL targets continues in Iraq and Syria, a leading British Jew has established a fund to resettle Christian refugees from the region.
The 96-year-old peer, Lord George Weidenfeld, was rescued from Nazi Germany by Quakers. Now he’s set up the Barnabas Fund, which has already freed 158 Christians enslaved in Syria.
His campaign comes amid further reports of crucifixions and beheadings of Christians and other minorities.
Listen to it all from the Religion and Ethics Report.
Perhaps it's not surprising that the best arguments against assisted suicide — especially advanced by such liberal icons as E.J. Dionne and Victoria Kennedy — are progressive. Liberals are generally happy for government to restrict individual freedoms to prevent violence and killing. They are also generally skeptical of the idea that choice leads to genuine freedom, especially for those without power on the margins of our culture.
Indeed, liberal states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and, until this week, California had all recently rejected such legislation. Britain's attempt to pass an assisted-suicide bill also went down to overwhelming defeat.
To get a victory in California, its supporters were forced to bypass the regular legislative process (which defeated the bill) and instead consider the bill in a healthcare special session, and under unusual rules. This context is as telling as it is disturbing.
Read it all from the LA Times.
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The rooms in the intensive care unit are filled with folded-up walkers and moving boxes. In the lobby, plaques and portraits have been taken off the wall. By this weekend, the last patients will be discharged and Mercy Hospital Independence will close, joining dozens of rural hospitals around the country that have not been able to withstand the financial and demographic challenges buffeting them.
The hospital and its outpatient clinics, owned by the Mercy health care system in St. Louis, was where people in this city of 9,000 turned for everything from sore throats to emergency treatment after a car crash. Now, many say they are worried about what losing Mercy will mean not just for their own health, but for their community’s future.
Mercy will be the 58th rural hospital to close in the United States since 2010, according to one research program, and many more could soon join the list because of declining reimbursements, growing regulatory burdens and shrinking rural populations that result in an older, sicker pool of patients. The closings have accelerated over the last few years and have hit more midsize hospitals like Mercy, which was licensed for 75 beds, than smaller “critical access” hospitals, which are reimbursed at a higher rate by Medicare.
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On a mountainside in Iraq’s Kurdish region, at the end of a road that winds through sparse olive trees, stands the fourth-century Mar Mattai monastery. It is Iraq’s oldest monastery, named for the hermit monk who retired here at the dawn of Christianity. The forces of Islamic State are a little more than two miles away. When the weather is clear on the plain of Nineveh, you can see the Islamic State front lines defending Mosul about a dozen miles in the distance.
The vast monastery perched high on Mount Alfaf is hewed from stone, its passages, stairways and terraces exposed to the sun and weather. In the courtyard on the ground level live two families who fled Mosul and the persecution of Christians there.
Four monks live at Mar Mattai. There should be several dozen to judge by the empty rooms along the esplanade. But only these four remain, clad in their black robes and caps embroidered with white crosses. In the Eastern Rite church on the upper level, the monks are standing in the crypt at the far end, their eyes closed, intoning one of the “chants of the Greek church” described by Chateaubriand in his 1811 “Record of a Journey From Paris to Jerusalem and Back.” He admired the Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy) with its notes “held by different voices, some bass, others treble, executing andante and mezza voce, the octave, fifth, and third.” Its beauty, he said, was enough to cure him of a fever.
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Welcome to the Science Missioner's Science and Religion blog. The Science Missioner role exists to make connections between the church community and the local science community, to enable dialogue on matters of science and religion, and to help the church engage with some of the scientific issues that affect us all, such as global climate change and how to respond to the challenges it presents.
This blog is one aspect of that work. Here you will find a mix of things - sermons on science-related subjects, reflections on issues of science and faith, comment on scientific stories in the news, and more.
Check it out.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
We ask that you keep the families of those who have lost loved ones, those who have suffered loss of property and all those harmed or who are assisting in the rescue and relief efforts following this historic flood in your prayers.
While we are grateful to God that the majority of our Diocese has come through the recent catastrophic storm unscathed, a few of our parishes and people suffered significant damage that will not be adequately covered by insurance. It is also a reality that additional flooding is expected and the recovery process will continue for some time. That there will be unmet needs is certain.
For those reasons, the Diocesan office is recommending the following possible responses to this disaster...
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The Church of England is partnering with Twitter UK to broadcast services across the world using mobile technology.
ChurchLive, was created in conjunction with Twitter UK as a way of showcasing a broad range of live church services to global audiences simply and accessibly through use of a smartphone. ChurchLive could be the first taste of Church for those unfamiliar with church services and an introduction to the best of worship, preaching and prayer. ChurchLive will also enable other people to rediscover church in a new way or for those in other countries to learn more about Church of England services.
Rev Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Archbishops' Council said: "This is a project designed to bring Church of England services from Malton to Miami, Middlesbrough to Milan and Manchester to Mumbai. Those who may not make it to church on a Sunday for all sorts of reasons will have the opportunity to be part of a service. The ability to join in worship shouldn't be restricted to geographical constraint. We know that Periscope users are a global audience and we expect that there will be as many watching services broadcast via Periscope as are physically present at the services themselves."
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A Church on the corner of London’s tech hub is starting to build links with the industry. St John’s, Hoxton, is close to Old Street roundabout, often nicknamed Silicon Roundabout because of the proliferation of start-ups and technology firms in the area.
The Vicar, the Revd Graham Hunter, said that he had begun to try to bring Christian technologists together two years ago. “Being in Hoxton, and having Silicon Roundabout and Shoreditch right on the doorstep, I had this sense we needed to engage with that sector,” Mr Hunter said on Wednesday.
In 2013, he met two Christians who worked in the industry, and they began using St John’s to host a fortnightly gathering, Tech City Christians. “They wanted to network, and also pray for each other, and support one another in living out their faith in this sector; getting people to share their stories about what’s going well, and what their struggles are.”
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The prelude to the 2008 recession is just one recent example. The Justice Department has found that banks charged higher fees and rates to minority borrowers and in some cases directed minority borrowers to “costlier subprime mortgages when white borrowers with similar credit risk profiles had received regular loans.” It’s not surprising that as a result, “blacks and Latinos were more than 70 percent more likely to lose their homes to foreclosure.”
Or consider the children and teenagers in our church who attend schools that are funded by property taxes, a system that provides little hope of improvement for schools located in the midst of relative poverty. These kids face educational futures determined largely by their Zip code.
Coming to grips with our new location as cultural outsiders has the potential to lead us toward a growing sympathy toward those who have always existed in this place. How did race, ethnicity, and culture become dividing lines more powerful than the gospel we hold in common? How could we be zealous for world missions and global justice while nurturing a blinding apathy toward our Christian neighbors?
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My parish is a short drive from the house. Every Sunday I see the same people at 8:30 a.m.: the older couples whose children are grown, the many young families with their children, the teenagers who came with their parents but who would rather be in bed. This is the Mass I almost always attend alone. There are a few others who are also alone, though not many.
I serve as an acolyte twice a month, and on these Sundays I sit up at the front beside the priest. On other Sundays, I sit near the front of the church with a family I know. Apart from them, I know the director of music and worship, the deacons and the priests. Others in the parish are mainly just familiar faces, although they are the people with whom I take Communion each and every week.
At the end of Mass, I drive home to pick up my wife, Kim, and our three boys for the 10 a.m. liturgy at the Episcopal parish we attend as a family. Like my Catholic parish, this church is thriving, filled with young and old from a variety of backgrounds. There are cradle Episcopalians, ex-evangelicals who found life in the beauty of Episcopal liturgy and disaffected Roman Catholics. Because this is my family’s parish, I know these parishioners more deeply than the ones at my Catholic parish. My children play with their children, and our families regularly hang out together. During the liturgy I sit with Kim and my oldest son while his two brothers are downstairs for Sunday school. When it comes time for the Communion, we process to the altar rail where my wife and my son take Communion together. I cross my arms and am blessed by the priest. Apart from a few children, I’m the only person who does this.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology
“Mommy, can I get some candy?”
“Yes,” I replied, undaunted in my attempt to preach the Word. My almost four year-old daughter had recently discovered two things: 1)There is a bowl of hard candy in the church office and 2) Mommy isn’t really interested in teaching a lesson about nutrition or risking a meltdown in the middle of a sermon.
This was not the first time I received such a request, but when I saw a usually placid face on the front row contort with shock and fear, I knew something was terribly wrong.
I whipped around to find my little girl balancing on tip-toe at the communion table. One hand gripped the table cloth laden with lit votives, while her brown curls and pudgy fingers trembled as she attempted to set her own candle aflame.
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[Tiffany Wilson]..and her family had to be rescued from their home near Swan Lake Sunday. Her woke up to her dog wimpering in the back yard, where she say he was under water.
"I panicked because I have a six week old baby, and I have an eight-year-old son. Plus, I have a disabled Dad. So, my thought was to get everybody out."
Walking back into her new reality, Wilson says it was tough to see.
"I cried," stated Wilson.
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At the agency, “I was fascinated by the creative guys,” he said, especially the copywriters. While there was a lot of interesting characters to be seen at such a firm, there were less savoury aspects of the job that he, as a Christian, had to learn to contend with.
“I went to the cathedral at the time,” he remembered. “I was the only person in the agency who went to church…I was always perplexed by people my age who had no ethical qualms about how we did our business and who we represented.”
Around this time, the United Church of Canada was taking part in a boycott of Nestle, the chocolate maker, for their role in milk formula sales to Third World countries. Nestle was one of his clients and a friend asked a co-worker of his, “ “‘Doesn’t that bother you?’ She said, ‘No, this was business.’”
He began to question his direction in life, wondering: “Maybe it’s not possible to live in this world and be a Christian.” (He now believes it is so.)
It was at this time that “God moved me to look somewhere else.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary Canada
Concerned with what she calls the "increasing rhetoric about the wearing of the niqab by Muslim women," an Anglican priest in Regina decided to take matters into her own hands. She wore a hijab for a day to see what's like.
In a post on Facebook, Cheryl Toth said she's "uncomfortable with the way the debate focuses on what women wear (or decide not to wear). I am afraid that [the rhetoric] will increase hostility towards women who choose to wear a hijab, a niqab or a burka."
She said she sees her trial run with the hijab as a way "to contribute to the conversation."
She wore it around Regina including on campus at Luther College, walking around her neighbourhood, at a public lecture and while shopping at a mall.
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"It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a Bishop in the Church of England has today been sentenced for a series of offences over 15 years against 18 young men known to him. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades.
We apologise unreservedly to those survivors of Peter Ball's abuse and pay tribute to their bravery in coming forward and also the long wait for justice that they have endured. We note that there are those whose cases remain on file for whom today will be a difficult day, not least in the light of the courage and persistence that they have demonstrated in pressing for the truth to be revealed. We also remember Neil Todd, whose bravery in 1992 enabled others to come forward but who took his own life before Peter Ball's conviction or sentencing.
As the Police have noted Peter Ball systematically abused the trust of the victims, many of whom who were aspiring priests, whilst others were simply seeking to explore their spirituality. He also abused the trust placed in him by the Church and others, maintaining a campaign of innocence for decades until his final guilty plea only weeks ago. Since that plea was made processes in the Church have begun to initiate formal internal disciplinary procedures against Peter Ball.
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After second baseman Starlin Castro squeezed the line drive for the final out in the Cubs' 4-0 victory Wednesday over the Pirates, teammates danced around the field like the kids they still are.
In the middle of the mania, first baseman Anthony Rizzo lifted Jake Arrieta and put the pitcher over his shoulder for a few steps of frolicking. The man who had carried the Cubs this far was getting a well-deserved ride.
"Three cheers for Jake Arrieta!" a voice in a jubilant Cubs clubhouse yelled.
Three collective claps later, bedlam ensued. Rookie star Kris Bryant sprayed champagne and President Theo Epstein chugged it as teammates hugged and music blared. The pleasure easily exceeded the pressure.
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the other thing that John was concerned about was to banish apathy from the hearts of those to whom he ministered. Starting with his own congregation at All Souls, Langham Place in London and extending to all the congregations to whom he ministered quite literally all around the world.
Banishing apathy, what did that mean in positive terms? It meant that John summoned us to learn our faith and not be sloppy in terms of our doctrine, and equally not to be sloppy and casual in terms of our service of the Lord whom we love and honour as our Saviour.
John himself as we all know was, well, I call him a 15-talent man of God. 10 the number in our Lord’s parable really doesn’t seem enough. John Stott one sometimes felt could do anything and everything in ministry. He had all the gifts that make up a teacher and a carer and a unifier. He lived in a way which displayed the freedom of self-discipline. I am thinking there of the kind of freedom which in a different department of life a solo pianist or violinist will display. He or she has accepted the self-discipline of learning to master the instrument. Now he or she is able, if one may put it this way, to relax with the instrument and with the sort of inner ease to make it sound and sing out all the music that is there in the notes and which as a soloist the musician wants to convey.
Well, that is a picture an illustration of what I mean by freedom with self-discipline at its heart and you saw that in John as a preacher and teacher and influence in the church. And the self-discipline that lay at the heart of it was a discipline of constant Bible study, constant prayer, constant self-watch and constant refusal to go wild - John never went wild. John observed his own discipline so that he might always be at his best for ministry. And well we know, all of us I am sure, know something about the quality of that ministry, marked as it always was by love and wisdom in whatever form the situation demanded.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Globalization * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Christology Soteriology Theology: Scripture
Americans' search for the divine is alive and well, although it looks different than it has in the past, according to Diana Butler Bass, a prominent commentator on religion and culture, and author of nine books about American Christianity.
Her latest book, "Grounded: Finding God in the World — A Spiritual Revolution," published Oct. 6, explores how people are finding God in nature and fellowship with friends and neighbors, whether or not they attend church.
Nearly 23 percent of U.S. adults did not identify with any organized religion in 2014, a 7 percentage-point increase from 2007, Pew Research Center reported in May. However, only 3 percent of Americans say they don't believe in God, The Associated Press noted earlier this year.
In "Grounded," Bass, who holds a doctorate in religion from Duke University and identifies as Episcopalian, investigates the spiritual lives of contemporary believers, questioning what happens when people expand their search for God beyond church buildings to the world around them.
Read it all from the Deseret News.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Books Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * Theology
Enjoy it all (hat tip: SH).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources * General Interest Animals * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Theology: Scripture
But the Elle essay suggests yet another understanding of how secularism interacts with spiritual experience. In this scenario, the key feature of the secular world-picture isn’t that it requires people to reinterpret their numinous experiences as strictly psychological events; it’s simply that it discourages people who have such experiences from embracing any kind of systematic (that is, religious/theological) interpretation of what’s happened to them, and then as a corollary discourages them from seeking out a permanent communal space (that is, a religious body) in which to further interact with these ultimate realities. Under secularism, in other words, most people who see a ghost or have a vision or otherwise step into the supernatural are still likely to believe in the essential reality of their encounter with the otherworldly or transcendent; they’re just schooled to isolate the experience, to embrace it as an interesting (and often hopeful) mystery without letting it call them to the larger conversion of life that most religious traditions claim that the capital-S Supernatural asks of us in return.
What secularism really teaches people, in this interpretation, isn’t that spiritual realities don’t exist or that spiritual experiences are unreal. It just privatizes the spiritual, in a kind of theological/sociological extension of church-state separation, and discourages people from organizing either intellectual systems (those are for scientists) or communities of purpose (that’s what politics is for) around their sense, or direct experience, that Something More exists.
This interpretation – which I think is clearly part of the truth of our time — has interesting implications for the future of religion in the West....what you see in the Elle piece is that in the absence of strong institutions and theological systems dedicated to the Mysteries, human beings and human society can still make sense of these experiences through informal networks, private channels, personalized interpreters. And to the extent that these informal networks succeed in satisfying the human hunger for interpretation, understanding and reassurance — as they seem to have partially satisfied Peter Kaplan’s widow — then secularism might be more resilient, more capable of dealing effectively with the incorrigibility of the spiritual impulse, than its more arid and strictly materialist manifestations might suggest.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch History Marriage & Family Multiculturalism, pluralism Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism * Theology Eschatology
The killers involved in this and many other shootings haunt us. But lately there is some evidence of another pattern: a young man, good-natured and military-trained, who acts instantaneously in the moment of crisis to save the lives of others. This was the case with the Paris train affair a few weeks ago. This was the case again in Oregon. Those of us who bemoan the declension of the American man, historically a force for good in numerous ways, have found our hearts strangely warmed by ordinary heroes as we scan news reports of death and destruction.
I say “strangely warmed” because there is indeed much reason to shake your head at many modern men. As just one example from pop culture, I sometimes watch the television show “House Hunters” on HGTV. Almost invariably on this harmless show about would-be homebuyers, we encounter a man whose demands for the would-be home outpace his wife’s. As the realtor asks the couple what they want, the man spits out an extensive list of his desired accouterments, and they’re usually of the predictable sort. His wife stands uncomfortably beside him as he prattles on. The boy-man speaketh.
This common scene crystallized for me how many men today think about life: they think it’s about them. They believe that they should get what they want, and that everyone else can fend for themselves. The instinct to lead in their marriage by putting their wife’s interests before their own has gone missing. Chivalry, it seems, lies sprawled on the couch in the man cave, snoring loudly while a huge flat screen TV broadcasts endless replays of men playing the games of children.
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Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told Congress on Tuesday that the deadly U.S. airstrike on a civilian hospital in Kunduz was a mistake, but he declined to endorse calls for an outside investigation.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Campbell said the hospital was "mistakenly struck" and that the decision to carry out the attack was made through the U.S. military chain of command.
Campbell thus offered a further refinement of previous Pentagon claims. On Monday, he told reporters that Afghan forces had called in the airstrike. The Pentagon initially had said the attack by an AC-130 gunship was ordered to protect U.S. forces on the ground.
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Coates’s Between the World and Me appeals to readers’ desperation to see more clearly, feel more definitely, in a time of terrible racial violence. It resonates, too, with our doubts that justice is near, or possible, or even something much of the country wants. Ferrante’s novels — particularly her Neapolitan series, the final volume of which was just published — touch a nearer and quieter desperation. As Joanna Biggs wrote in a brilliant review essay, everyone she knows seems to have tumbled from Ferrante’s pages to some intense recollection of their own formative friendships and losses, their own most private and defining confusion and pain.
Yet in these books, both authors, seemingly knowing what readers have come asking of them, refuse to give it. They refuse on grounds that are formal, political, and, in a fashion, ethical. What joins these very different works is their refusal to be our books, to offer an easy connection, a place to rest that feels like clarity.
This is what makes the books documents of the moment. Their resistance to making connection and meaning co-exists with hunger for these. These authors argue, in their language as well as their stories and assertions, that you do not really know others, or yourself. They argue that all experience is violated and corrupted even before it happens. They claim that this condition is intolerable but also inescapable. The work of trying to escape it nonetheless and the desperate, inevitable frustration of that work are the books’ theme and also, simply, what these books are.
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The lingering crisis rocking the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Diocese of Yewa, Ilaro, Ogun State has taken a dangerous dimension as the members of the congregation demand the removal of their Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Revd Michael Adebayo Oluwarohunbi from office.
The festering crisis took a turn for the worse last Sunday following a fresh directive from Bishop Oluwarohunbi banning all priests under the Yewa Diocese from officiating and ministering at the church’s officially designated prayer ground, popularly called the “Prayer City.”
According to a copy of the memo dated September 28, 2015 signed by Bishop Oluwarohunbi and obtained by our correspondent in Abeokuta,the cleric barred the members of the congregation under the diocese from attending spiritual programmes organised as groups or individuals in the “prayer city.”
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Sorting out the specifics of the shooter’s background and motivation will take investigators some time. Those who have studied mass killings say it’s not uncommon for the perpetrators to harbor anger against society and express hatred toward various groups. Yet harboring such views doesn’t necessarily mean they were the prime motivation for the crime, they say.
Usually it’s “a toxic cocktail of factors,” says Christopher Kilmartin, a professor of psychological science at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.
But there’s one topic that’s not getting enough discussion, he and some others say: masculinity. “The elephant in the room with ... mass shootings is that almost all of them are being done by men,” Professor Kilmartin says. Male shooters often “project their difficulties onto other people.... In this case, it sounds like he was blaming Christians for his problems, but the masculinity piece is what is really missing in the discussions about the equation.”
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At the Harvest Hope Food Bank, each volunteer has a reason to serve, including Kassy Alia. Tuesday afternoon, Alia was dubbed the "Fun Food Lady" as she sorted cart-loads of cakes, pies, and pizzas.
"Something that's brought me a lot of peace over the past few days is I know I told my husband everyday how much I loved him, and he did the same for me. I'm confident, and I know that he would be so proud of me,” she said.
Kassy's late husband, Forest Acres police officer Greg Alia, was shot and killed in the line of duty last week while responding to a suspicious vehicle call at Richland Mall. He was a new father, just 32 years old, and a star at the small department. Alia was laid to rest on Saturday as the rain rolled in.
Read it all and watch the whole video.
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Sex abuse victims of former Sussex bishop Peter Ball are suing the Church of England for hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Ball, 83, who admitted offences against 18 teenagers and young men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, is being sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.
Lawyer David Greenwood who represents four victims said legal action had been lodged against the Chichester diocese
The Church of England has not yet commented.
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As an ecologist - I studied Ecological Science at university - I take an interest in the evidence about climate change. Overwhelmingly it shows that we are seeing major climatic effects from increased carbon in the atmosphere and these effects will increase unless something major is done. Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si wrote, ‘A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system’. I hope that his important contribution to the current debate will make more people wake up.
Many have already. They see daily the devastating effects of climate change in terms of increased sea levels, major weather events, flooding and drought. A defence strategist told me recently about the impact that climate change is having, and he predicted will increasingly have, in fostering future wars and world tensions. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, picked this up as a theme in his speech during the debate about the environment at the General Synod in July, saying, ‘Climate change is both a driver of conflict and a victim of conflict’. No wonder the military are taking it seriously.
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The Bible. We tweet it, believe it, preach it, argue about it. But the stats suggest we’re not reading it, or at least, reading it less often. Evangelical Alliance’s survey in 2011 found only 38 per cent of those 16-44 read their Bible every day compared to 69 per cent of those over 65. Perhaps yes, those over 65 will often be retired and may also have more time on their hands, but the results for those aged between 44 and 65 were much higher, suggesting there is a generational decline, which supports other studies both in the UK and across the western world.
It would be easy to assume we don’t hold the Bible in such great authority as previous generations, but the evidence doesn’t suggest this. Most show young millennial Christians still believe the Bible to be the word of God. So why aren’t we reading it?
Problem 1: The rise of technology
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, but there are some potential drawbacks.
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Our Father, Our King
Our father our king, hear our voice
Our father our king, we have sinned before you
Our father our king, Have compassion upon us
and upon our children
Our father our king
Bring an end to pestilence,
war, and famine around us
Our father our king,
Bring an end to all trouble
and oppression around us
Our father our king,
Our father our king,
Inscribe us in the book of (good) life
Our father our king, renew upon us
Renew upon us a good year
Hear our voice
Hear our voice
Hear our voice
Our father our king,
Our father our king,
Renew upon us a good year
Our father our king,
Hear our voice
Hear our voice
Hear our voice
Hear our voice
Since he was a teenager, Kim Min-hwan knew he would have to make a choice: abandon his religious convictions or go to prison.
Mr. Kim is a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who for decades have faced jail terms as conscientious objectors under South Korea’s Military Service Act. Since his release from prison in 2013, Mr. Kim has found the stigma too great to find a meaningful job, though he was a chemical engineering major. He spends his days volunteering at the Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters south of Seoul.
“I was predestined to become a convict because I believed in the creator,” Mr. Kim, 31, said in an interview. “I want South Korea to recognize that there are other, nonmilitary ways for us to serve the community.”
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A few months before 9/11, when I first moved to downtown Los Angeles, the city’s high rises teemed with lawyers and bankers. The lights stayed on late — a beacon of industriousness. But as I quickly discovered, they rolled up the sidewalks by sundown. No matter how productive and wealthy its workers, downtown was a ghost town. LA’s urban core was no place to raise a family or own a home. With its patchwork of one-way streets and expensive lots, it was hardly even a place to own a car. The boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s that had erected LA’s skyline had not fueled residential growth. Angelenos who wanted to chase the dream of property ownership were effectively chased out of downtown.
But things change. Last month, I moved back to “DTLA,” as it’s now affectionately known. Today, once-forlorn corners boast shiny new bars, restaurants, and high-end stores. The streets are full of foot traffic, fueled by new generations of artisans, artists, and knowledge workers. They work from cafés or rented apartments, attend parties on hotel rooftops, and Uber religiously through town. Yes, there are plenty of dogs. But there are babies and children too. In a little over a decade, downtown’s generational turnover has replaced a faltering economy with a dynamic one.
What happened? Partly, it’s a tale of the magnetic power possessed by entrepreneurs and developers, who often alone enjoy enough social capital to draw friends and associates into risky areas that aren’t yet trendy. Even more, it is a story that is playing out across the country. In an age when ownership meant everything, downtown Los Angeles languished. Today, current tastes and modern technology have made access, not ownership, culturally all-important, and LA’s “historic core” is the hottest neighborhood around. Likewise, from flashy metros like San Francisco to beleaguered cities like Pittsburgh, rising generations are driving economic growth by paying to access experiences instead of buying to own.
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Pastor Jesse’s mud-plastered Mitsubishi SUV jolted wildly along the newly dug dirt road that zigzagged up the mountainside toward the construction site of the new church. We stopped to let a pedestrian squeeze by, a middle-aged Lisu woman with a pink, checkered headscarf and a giant bamboo back basket which was strapped to her forehead. The Lisu are one of the 55 ethnic minorities of China and the predominant tribespeople in Gongshan, which nestles on the slope of the Gaoligongshan mountain range. Only 30 miles to the north, these mountain peaks reach more than 16,000 feet. Beyond that is Tibet.
It was a sun-drenched Saturday morning in December 2014. I had arrived the night before on my first visit to the area after reading Chinese media reports of the explosive growth of Christianity among the Lisu people in the “Gospel Valley,” as the Upper Salween River Valley is known. The church under construction is called Zion. It replaces a smaller one built in 1998 with members’ shovels, picks, baskets, and bare hands.
“Brothers and sisters brought their own bedrolls and woks and camped over there during construction of the first church,” Pastor Jesse said, gesturing toward the terraced fields up the slope. “Almost all the construction material was carried up here in bamboo baskets.”
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In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg on Monday declared the Safe Harbor data-sharing deal as invalid.
The agreement, signed in 2000 between Brussels and Washington, enables companies and international networks to easily transfer personal data to the United States without having to seek prior approval, a potentially lengthy and costly process.
"The Court of Justice declares that the (European) Commission's US Safe Harbour Decision is invalid," it said in a decision on a case brought against Facebook by Austrian law student Max Schrems.
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Another day, another bishop trying to tell us that the church has had it wrong for 2,000 years.
The latest is the Anglican bishop of Wangaratta, the Most Rev. John Parkes, who has gotten himself into the newspapers and on the radio to tell us that not only is same-sex marriage inevitable in Australia, but that it might actually be compatible with Christian doctrine.
He is, of course, not the first to make the argument in one form or another, and none of his arguments are new so they serve as good example of this tendency of the theologically liberal wing of the church - and, not least, the Anglican Church of Australia - to keep pushing contrived arguments that are less likely to make the grade than that famous strained gnat of which Jesus spoke.
Read it all from ABC religion and Ethics in Australia.
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Benefit cheats should be allowed to get away with fraud to stop innocent people being punished with sanctions and late payments, a leading bishop has said.
The Rt Rev David Walker criticised the "Kafkaesque" workings of the welfare system which he said produced too many wrongly imposed sanctions and delays.
The Bishop of Manchester made the remarks at a Conservative Party conference fringe event in the city.
He claimed innocent people are trapped in the drive to catch fraudsters.
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Why are you now taking up the issue of guns?
Our perceived need for self-defense discounts the life of the person on the other side of the gun. I’m really limiting my message to my fellow Christians, especially evangelicals. And we have a massive presence of lethal weapons in our Christian communities. I’m aware of some pastors who now go into the pulpit armed and ready to use their weapons to defend their congregants. That sets up, in my mind, a disaster.
What do you say to people who say they need a gun to protect themselves and their families?
I like to ask people the last time they faced a mortal threat in their life. Most people can’t think of one. Within our conservative ranks, there seems to be an almost rampant fearmongering that’s used as a device to build audiences and readership. And I think it’s contrary to the optimism of the Gospel.
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Q: What do critics say?
Many doctors continue to object to it, as do many religious leaders and activists for the disabled who fear that the disabled could be put under duress to end their lives prematurely.
The California Catholic Conference, the Medical Oncology Assn. of Southern California and the California Disability Alliance note that similar bills have failed recently in Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado.
"This bill is simply about protecting doctors and HMOs from liability," Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst for the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund told The Times earlier this year, "and tells people with disabilities who face a terminal diagnosis that may well prove inaccurate that there is no dignity in our lives."
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Deadly flooding has engulfed parts of South Carolina, forcing people from their homes. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has activated the National Guard to help with flood rescues, and charitable organizations are responding.
Impact Your World has gathered ways for people to help in these efforts.
• The Salvation Army is assisting communities along the East Coast by providing food, water and shelter to flood victims.
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South Sudan is the kind of place where a sermon anecdote about gunfire draws hearty laughter. The sound of a firearm is such an everyday occurrence that South Sudanese only question whether it came from a pistol, an AK-47, or an M-16. “Many people right now are praying, ‘Thank you God for not making me South Sudanese,’ ” says the pastor.
Listening near the back of the sanctuary in Juba is Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision. He is visiting the world’s newest and most fragile state in his quest to revive the compassion American Christians had for Sudan years ago. The South gained independence from the Muslim-dominated North in 2011 with the solid backing of evangelicals. But two years later, a political power struggle engulfed the Christian-majority nation in bloody conflict.
“It’s a hard sales pitch,” he told Christianity Today as he stood among 50 mothers with malnourished children at a clinic. He said South Sudan is a perfect example of how enormously difficult it is to fulfill both the Great Commission and Great Commandment amid chronic conflict and violence.
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Here is one from Carol Greider (Co-Recipient, 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine):
I don’t usually do the laundry so early in the morning, but I was already up, and there was all this laundry staring at me. I was supposed to later meet two women friends to take our morning spin class. People had speculated that sometime in the next five years, something like this might happen. And last year people said, “Maybe, it will be,” and it wasn’t. Reuters had made this prediction that we might get it this time. But I really didn’t have any idea. Maybe it would never happen. There are important fundamental discoveries that never get prizes.Read them all.
After I got the call, I sent my friend an e-mail: “I’m sorry I can’t spin right now. I’ve won the Nobel Prize.”
Pope Francis on Monday told a contentious gathering of the world's bishops on family issues to put aside their personal prejudices and have the courage and humility to be guided by God.
Francis told 270 cardinals, bishops and priests that the three-week synod isn't a parliament where negotiations, plea bargains or compromises take place. Rather, he said, it's a sacred, protected space where God shows the way for the good of the church.
The bishops are debating how the church can better care for Catholic families at a time when marriage rates are falling, divorce is common and civil unions are on the rise. The main sticking points include how the church should welcome gays and divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.
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Maajid Nawaz...and his favourite interlocutor Sam Harris are at first sight an unlikely pair, but they are doing their best to find common ground and get their act together. Mr Nawaz is a British-born Muslim who went through a radical fundamentalist phase and was imprisoned in Egypt; two years after his release in 2006 he co-founded Quilliam, a London-based research institution which describes itself as an anti-extremism think-tank. Mr Harris is a well-known atheist public intellectual in the United States.
A short but intensive dialogue between them is being published this week as a slim volume by Harvard University Press, and we can expect to hear a lot more from them, on talk-shows and in the more cerebral parts of the print media, over the coming months. Their conversation sprang out of an initially abrasive encounter after a debate in 2010, when Mr Harris put it to Mr Nawaz that liberal-minded Muslims were engaged in a near-impossible task: proving that their faith was really a religion of peace when the tenets and scriptures of the faith suggested otherwise.
That is still, broadly speaking, what Mr Harris thinks. He sees the elaboration of a peaceful and tolerant understanding of Islam as a praiseworthy enterprise, and one that only Muslims can undertake, but he is politely sceptical of their chances of succeeding. Mr Nawaz's reply is a measured one. He says that Islam is neither a religion of peace nor a religion of war. It is simply a religion, and one that has been subject to many different interpretations over the centuries, and is still refracted in lots of different ways.
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It is now public knowledge that prominent figures, notably the television personality Jimmy Savile and the Liberal MP Cyril Smith, took advantage of their celebrity to abuse children. It was also public knowledge at the time that they were committing these appalling acts; yet those who knew chose to protect the information, and those who merely suspected were given no official encouragement to investigate.
An independent inquiry into historical sex abuse is being led by Justice Lowell Goddard, who has already said that it may last till 2020. That is not her fault, given the scale of the task, but it is scant consolation for the victims whose lives have been ruined and psyches scarred. Archbishop Welby is right to take the initiative in the Ball case and in doing so has signalled a huge change in the way that the clerical establishment approaches these matters.
The Church of England remains the established church and an integral part of the life of the nation, even in an age of secularism and pluralism. The notion that it provided cover for crimes against the vulnerable by the sexually rapacious and that the perpetrators gained the protection of their posts is abhorrent. It must be aired and investigated.
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The Church of England said the review, which will be published next year, will examine its co-operation with the police and other statutory agencies and the extent to which it shared information.
It will also consider whether it properly assessed the possible risk that Ball posed to others and whether it responded adequately to the concerns of survivors.
The Archbishop of Canterbury in 1993, George Carey, now Lord Carey, was aware of the case at the time and has denied interfering in it.
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How do we live together in love and charity? Honesty and open debate must be part of that. I hope these further thoughts will be accepted in a spirit of the deepest possible love for my brothers and sisters who cannot yet receive the ordination of women. I will do everything I can to ensure that we can disagree well and live together in our church with our differences.
I am not an academic theologian, it is over 20 years since I studied academic theology. I have never studied academic theology beyond undergraduate level.
My apologies for talking of women as ‘them’ in this piece, I can’t see a better or more straightforward way of using language. This piece is about, I hope, getting everything on the table, including that type of language.
The recent statement by the bishops of The Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda makes several (31) references to the idea of validity and sacramental assurance.
With all humility, as a Catholic Christian, I think the logic of the Society bishops’ argument is flawed.
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The eight-hour workday hasn't changed much since Henry Ford first experimented with it for factory workers. Now, Americans work slightly longer—an average 8.7 hours—though more time goes into email, meetings, and Facebook than whatever our official job duties actually are. Is it time to rethink how many hours we spend at the office?
In Sweden, the six-hour workday is becoming common.
"I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think," says Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus. "To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge. . . . In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the workday more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work. We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things."
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The World Bank has said that for the first time less than 10% of the world's population will be living in extreme poverty by the end of 2015.
The bank said it was using a new income figure of $1.90 per day to define extreme poverty, up from $1.25.
It forecasts the proportion of the world's population in this category to fall from 12.8% in 2012 to 9.6%.
However, it said the "growing concentration of global poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is of great concern".
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Both Kunduz and Russia’s bombing are symptoms of the same phenomenon: the vacuum created by Barack Obama’s attempt to stand back from the wars of the Muslim world. America’s president told the UN General Assembly this week that his country had learned it “cannot by itself impose stability on a foreign land”; others, Iran and Russia included, should help in Syria. Mr Obama is not entirely wrong. But his proposition hides many dangers: that America throws up its hands; that regional powers, sensing American disengagement, will be sucked into a free-for-all; and that Russia’s intervention will make a bloody war bloodier still. Unless Mr Obama changes course, expect more deaths, refugees and extremism.
Having seen the mess that George W. Bush made of his “war on terror”, especially in Iraq, Mr Obama is understandably wary. American intervention can indeed make a bad situation worse, as odious leaders are replaced by chaos and endless war saps America’s strength and standing. But America’s absence can make things even more grim. At some point, extremism will fester and force the superpower to intervene anyway.
That is the story in the Middle East. In Iraq Mr Obama withdrew troops in 2011. In Syria he did not act to stop Mr Assad from wholesale killing, even after he used poison gas. But when IS jihadists emerged from the chaos, declared a caliphate in swathes of Iraq and Syria, and began to cut off the heads of their Western prisoners, Mr Obama felt obliged to step back in—desultorily.
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Let's debate less and dialogue more. Most Americans, whatever their stance on gun control, want less violence, fewer family accidents, less gun-related crime. However, minds often are clamped shut against the other side's proposals and statistics. Instead of using research to club opponents, let's take seriously the whole range of inquiry. Some of the research is surprising, much of it is sobering, and some is even heartening. The wisest strategies will come only from a willingness to evaluate complexity.
Let's learn from what works. The much-publicized (and much-imitated) Project Exile in Richmond, Virginia, has won endorsement from both the NRA and gun-control advocates. There the authorities have strictly enforced existing gun laws, including the mandatory five-year federal prison term for using an illegal gun. They have confronted the public with these policies through an attention-getting ad campaign. The result has been a dramatic decrease in gun-related crime. Focusing on enforcement is both good policy and good theology because it reflects the high value we place on human life, our respect for the rule of law, and a realistic view of guns.
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In the mid-20th century, Seventh-day Adventists stood on the far fringe of the North American religious spectrum. Some evangelicals even challenged their Christian credentials, worried by what was seen as their excessive veneration for Ellen White and her writings. By the late 1950s, the church celebrated the fact that it had surpassed the milestone of a million adherents, the vast majority of whom were in the United States. No scholar of religion picked the church as destined for any major growth spurt.
How shortsighted such secular prophets were. Sixty years later, Adventists constitute a global church that plausibly claims 18 million members, only 7 percent of whom live in the United States. The transformation is in fact even greater than these rough figures suggest, as so many Adventists within the United States have ethnic roots in Africa or the Caribbean. Most of this change has occurred since about 1980.
The SDA Church includes some 75,000 churches spread over 200 countries. Latin America and the Caribbean account for almost 6 million believers, almost a third of the church’s strength. Brazil is the country with the largest number of SDA members. Growth in Africa has also been spectacular. The church’s East-Central Africa division reports 2.5 million members worshiping in 11,000 churches.
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Compassion, taken alone and severed from deeper, richer understandings of our nature and destiny, kills morality. Taken as the sole moral principle it undercuts our ability to articulate an ideal for human life. That is surely true of Tribe’s angle of vision on cloning. In order to assure that we do not risk making any person feel marginalized, we are suddenly forbidden to condemn what seems wrong to us. We are unable any longer to raise and discuss questions about what the nature of a cloned person would in fact be, what it means to be human, whether the bond between the generations created by ordinary human reproduction is integral to our humanity.
Tribe is not wrong to fear that cloning threatens human equality. As one made by us rather than one who comes from us, the clone would be a product rather than a gift. And when we make products, we determine their point and purpose. True compassion should draw us away from such circumstances, away from actions that might create cases metaphysically too baffling for our morality to address. But Tribe, as with the instance of removing the stigma from illegitimacy, purchases equality by means of a compassion that is the only moral law, and that makes for too shriveled and truncated a morality.
We ought, of course, to care as best we can for those who are victimized or marginalized in our society. But when we hesitate to pass judgment it should not be because we fear that moral ideals will, by their very existence, make those who fall short feel condemned. That is a dead end, if there ever was one. Bereft of any larger sense of the human good, unable to articulate (lest we hurt feelings) what is best in human life and what the family at its best might be, we will—if we follow Tribe’s prescription—lurch from one affirmation to the next until even the language of compassion finally loses its point. That is the possibility about which we ought to have second thoughts and which might remind us, in Chesterton’s words, of “the importance of an ideal.”
Read it all from First Things (emphasis mine).
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(Warning--very disturbing content-KSH).
He was our man in Africa.
Hissene Habre, who ruled Chad in the 1980s, was a U.S. ally in good standing even as his government killed tens of thousands of people and filled prisons with enemies who were starved, beaten and tortured.
Last week he finally had to face victims of those times in court. There was frozen silence as former prisoners testified for the first time against the man who was feted at the White House in 1987 by President Reagan and was armed and supported in a covert CIA operation to fight Libya's Col. Moammar Kadafi.
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Their church, Turning Point Adventist, was located in an old Moose Lodge a few miles from Umpqua Community College, where a gunman had allegedly asked victims about their religion and then targeted Christians during a massacre Thursday that left nine dead. Now the sidewalk on the road between the church and the college had become one long memorial, chalked with Bible verses and visited by prayer groups who sang hymns into the night.
It seemed to Wibberding and many others here that the target of America’s latest mass shooting had been not just a classroom or a college or a town, but also a religion. Now, in a church near the shooting, it was left to Christians to ask hard questions about their faith and decide how to respond.
“If he had been pointing that gun at you, asking if you were Christian, what would you have said?” Wibberding asked. “How much does this mean to you? Imagine you were there.”
Read it all from the Washington Post.
As a Western European I have seen the dramatic drop in the influence of organized religion in society. Having spent part of my childhood in Spain, churches on Sunday were packed and priests and nuns in habits prominent features of the social landscape. Even though to a lesser extent, this was also the case in secular France. Today churches across Western Europe are empty, the average age in many congregations is well over 60, while priests need to be recruited from Latin America, Africa and Asia as their numbers among Western Europeans have dwindled dramatically – a sort-of “reverse missionary” phenomenon. Thus, even though many Western Europeans like Pope Francis, there seems very little chance that they will return in droves to church. Western Europe would seem to have entered a post-religion era.
From a Western European prism it could be assumed that this would be a global trend. The assumption however could not have been more wrong. Religion is clearly a case where Western Europe is definitely the abnorm and not the norm. In the post-Cold War era, with the collapse of Marxist-Leninist ideologies, it is (to me, anyway) quite astonishing the degree to which religion has “returned” as a major driving force and prominent feature of the 21st century.
In speaking of Europe, I have stressed Western Europe, as this would not be true in Eastern Europe where the Orthodox Churches have seen a considerable revival. In post-Soviet Russia an estimated 47% of the population (67 million) are practicing. Similarly one could not claim, by any means, that “the West” has entered a post-religion era given the overwhelming importance and prominence of religion in the US.
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A Former Archbishop of Canterbury has urged Prime Minister David Cameron to do more to help Christians in the Middle East saying "time is running out".
Lord Carey said more had to be done to support followers of Christ who face persecution or death at the hands of Islamic terrorism.
"Time is running out for Christians in the region," he said.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary England / UK Middle East Iran Iraq Syria * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent investigation of the deadly bombing of its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, which it says is no longer operational.
Aerial bombardments blew apart the medical facility about the time of a U.S. airstrike early Saturday, killing at least 19 people, officials said.
The blasts left part of the hospital in flames and rubble, killing 12 staffers and seven patients -- including three children -- and injuring 37 other people, the charity said.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Charities/Non-Profit Organizations Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Asia Afghanistan * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser, three of the largest World Cup sponsors, are demanding that Sepp Blatter step down immediately from his presidency of Fifa, a week after he personally became the subject of a criminal investigation into a corruption scandal that has engulfed the organisation.
Visa, another important sponsor, also joined the call for Mr Blatter to fall on his sword. But the defiant head of Fifa pushed back in a statement through his lawyer, refusing to heed the companies whose deals with Fifa contributed to more than $1.6bn in sponsorship revenue for the body between 2011-14, according to consultancy IEG.
The demands from Coke, McDonald’s and Budweiser’s owner Anheuser-Busch InBev are the strongest yet. All three have urged Fifa to make swift progress in cleaning itself up but to date they had not called outright for Mr Blatter’s resignation.
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“As of now, the GAFCON primates have said that if the Anglican Church of Canada and the U.S. is at the table for the January meeting, they will not attend,” said the Rev. Paul Stephens, rector at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Tupelo, “And that’s unfortunate.”
Stephens said that worldwide, the Anglican Communion is connected, but not obligated. The Anglican church was spread through British colonization. Wherever there was a British colony, there is now an Anglican church. Globally, 38 Anglican provinces make up the Anglican Communion, the centerpiece of which is the Church of England.
“In terms of authority, the Archbishop of Canterbury isn’t like the Pope. He doesn’t have the jurisdiction to ‘make’ me do anything, though if he did I would almost certainly acquiesce,” Stephens said. “Anglican provinces have autonomy, and make their own rulings within themselves that don’t have bearing on the others. However, there’s a saying that goes something like, ‘If someone sneezes at an Episcopal church in Corinth, someone at an Episcopal church in Bay St. Louis will say “Bless you.”’”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Church of England (CoE) Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Culture-Watch Globalization Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
THE tendency to ignore bisexuals seems particularly prevalent in Christian circles. The Pilling report made almost no reference to bisexuality...It repeatedly used the phrase “gay and lesbian”. At certain points, it seems that this is meant to mean “people who are not straight” or “people in same-sex relationships”. At other points, it seems to involve the more usual meaning of “people attracted only to others of the same sex”.
Church discussions on sexuality are confusing and controversial enough without using sloppy language and ignoring a sizeable number of people. The Pilling report is far from being the only culprit.
Campaigners on both sides of the argument say “gay marriage” when they mean same-sex marriage. As a bisexual Christian, I know that marrying a man would not make me gay, nor would marrying a woman make me straight.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine History Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
It's time to stop marching, having discourses and debates, writing and repeatedly speaking about being anti-corruption. Why?
Because it's not about being anti-corruption...
It's about being pro-courage. Pro-courage.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Southern Africa * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
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