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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 fiction of Flannery O'Connor, especially her novel The Violent Bear It Away, resists the relegation of Satan to an abstract principle and thus to his ultimate irrelevance. She envisions Luciferian evil in traditional terms as a personal power determined to achieve his own supremacy. When Satan appears in her fiction, she candidly observed, he is not to be understood as "this or that psychological tendency." She cites Baudelaire's celebrated dictum that the Devil's greatest wile is to convince us he does not exist, and she declares his considerable success in our own time.
Yet for all that is traditional in her conception of Satan, O'Connor is concerned not to make him obvious, lest he be easily dismissed as a bogeyman. In fact, her demons disguise themselves in thoroughly Freudian and Jungian terms. Freud regarded Satan as nothing other than a symbol, albeit a powerful one, of repressed erotic desires or else of neuroses lying deep within the unconscious, often negatively projected "onto individuals or groups that we identify as enemies or potential enemies." In the work of Jung, Freud's student, Lucifer represents the massive destructive energy resident in the universe as it stands over against the equally enormous constructive powers that Jung links to the divine. Yet for Jung, Lucifer's name still applies: He is the light-bearer whose demonic negativity dwells in a mandala-like complementarity with divine positivity. Only as good incorporates evil into itself, Jung teaches, can higher wisdom and wholeness be attained.
It is noteworthy that, when I ask students to identify the voice that speaks inwardly to young Francis Marion Tarwater from the very beginning of the novel, they respond in Jungian and Freudian ways. They almost always answer that this "stranger" who gradually becomes Tarwater's "friend" is the boy's sub-conscious mind, his inward self, his alter ego. Such obtuseness is as predictable as it is inexcusable. Yet it plays perfectly into O'Connor's fictional purposes. Far from being an artistic failure, her ploy enables her readers, at least potentially, to experience Francis Marion Tarwater's own terrible awakening to the true identity of his inner voice.
Read it all.
From the perspective of Catholic social doctrine, democratic self-governance is not inevitable, it’s only possible; and its possibility can never be taken for granted. Even established democracies can decay, to the point where what Benedict XVI called the “dictatorship of relativism”—the use of coercive state power to impose regimes of lifestyle libertinism in the name of tolerance, while marginalizing those who object in the name of classic moral truths—becomes a real and disturbing possibility. That possibility is well advanced in parts of Europe. It cannot be ruled out in the United States.
It takes a certain critical mass of citizens, living certain habits of mind and heart, to make democracy and the free economy work properly. The formation of those habits is an essential task of the free associations of civil society, and the Church plays a critical role in shaping the moral understandings that animate those free associations. “History” continues because the task of forming the virtuous citizens that make freedom work never ends.
Read it all.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered a curfew Saturday in the city of Ferguson and declared a state of emergency after fresh violence erupted overnight amid public anger over the shooting death of an unarmed young black man by a white police officer.
The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m., starting Saturday night.
“This is a test,” Nixon said at a news conference, saying “the eyes of the world” are watching to see how the city handles the aftermath of the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, 18.
The announcement comes after community activists had taken to the streets and social media Saturday in hopes of preventing another night of looting and violence in Ferguson after at least three businesses fell victim to a predawn rampage by young men who targeted local stores as others tried desperately to stop them.
Read it all and join us in praying for all invovled.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Marriage & Family Race/Race Relations Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government State Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The pattern is becoming all too familiar to residents of Nigeria’s embattled northeast: Gunmen believed to be members of the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram descend on a village, burn houses, round up scores of young people, load them onto trucks and then drive away.
Four months after Boko Haram shocked the world by abducting nearly 300 girls from a rural school, fighters shouting “God is great” snatched dozens more young people from another village in recent days, according to officials, local journalists and Nigerian news media.
This time, the target was boys and young men, who were waved into trucks at gunpoint, prompting fears that they would be hauled off and forced to fight for the militants in their war against the Nigerian state.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
Ebola is now exposing how hard it is to contain an outbreak, particularly in poor countries. Stopping Ebola should, in theory, be straightforward. There is no cure, but there are ways to treat victims that will maximise their chance of survival and help prevent transmission. Patients should be isolated and kept hydrated, their blood pressure monitored and secondary infections treated. Those who have come into contact with the infected should be watched to see if symptoms develop. If none emerge within 21 days, the person can be deemed virus-free.
But all this is labour-intensive. “You still have to have a cadre of people who at the end of the day are able to go out there,” explains Ian Lipkin of Columbia University. That depends on strong health systems or substantial international help. In this case, there was neither.
The outbreak began in three of the world’s poorest countries. Guinea spends $62 per person on health each year, compared with $3,364 in Britain. Sierra Leone has two doctors per 100,000 people, compared with 245 in America (see chart). Such health workers as are available in the countries affected by Ebola are under severe strain. About 150 have been infected and 80 have died, the WHO said on August 8th. Médecins Sans Frontières, a non-profit organisation that has 680 health workers in the region, now says that its staff “simply cannot do more”.
Read it all.
...the book provides an encouraging reminder that God's people continue to stand in his power around the world. We meet Dennis, a poor yet influential pastor in Liberia, who works with his North American partner to drill wells, preach the gospel, and lead Christians in villages throughout his country. Grace, a Filipina missionary working with her husband, Noe, leads a church and cares for sex trafficking survivors and HIV/AIDS patients in Cambodia. Allan Yuan, a 90-year-old pastor in China, baptizes dozens of believers on the banks of the Ye Xi River after spending decades in prison for his faith.
But these are not always stories of triumph. Keesee remembers the life of Gayle Williams, a nurse ministering to children in Kabul, Afghanistan, who was killed by a sniper's bullet. He tells of Ika, a Muslim-background believer from Indonesia, who was rejected by her family, kept from her children, and cut off from her community. These stories reveal that God does not always take away our pain even as he comforts us within it.
Dispatches from the Front assures us that God has raised people around the globe to bring his Word into difficult circumstances.
Read it all.
I was fortunate, in my own life, to have a bold counseling professor tell me what he saw—immaturity, arrogance, insecurity. We live in a culture of affirmation, and I believe in affirming young men and women entering ministry or leadership positions. But not without some honest feedback—about their relational patterns, hidden insecurities, and messianic dreams.
Spiritual health is not about climbing some moral ladder, but about what Jesus calls "purity of heart." This means that our inner life matches our outer. Remember, this was the problem of the religious leaders in Jesus' day. They were hypocrites, play-actors, doing life on stage but hollow within.
It takes time and suffering for growth to happen. This is why the poor, broken, and unclean seem to be privileged in the New Testament—they've already hit bottom. Our humiliations breed depth, grace, forgiveness, strength, courage, curiosity, and hope—all the attributes that make healthy leaders. Otherwise we'll quickly experience what happens to anyone living a lie: We'll get caught, fall, or alienate everyone we love.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
[...] Remember how we read a million library books together? I’ll never regret every page we chose over screens.
We ate three meals a day together at a table (and don’t think that doesn’t change the shape of a soul and the world). And we never pushed back our chairs until we’d had our dessert of Scripture. Life is about one thing: Coming to His table and inviting as many as you can to come with you and feast on the only Living Food. We gave you this.
And for better or worse, your Dad and I taught you how to work hard. Make it for the world’s better, son. [...]
And never forget that happiness is when His Word and your walk are in harmony. Never stop keeping company with Christ– and all the sinners, tax-collectors and cast-offs. Be an evangelist and use your words with your hands because your part of a Body and never stop loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, and loving others as yourself. Make that your creed.
It’s true, son: Be different and know everything you do matters. It’s what the Christ followers know: One man with God can change a culture. God didn’t put people in your path mostly for your convenience; He put you there for theirs. Loving the poor will make you rich, I promise.
The only life worth living is the one lost.
And no matter how loud and crazy and broken the world is, child? Let joy live loud in your soul.
Believe that you are His beloved – it’s only when you trust that He loves you that you really begin to live. Really, count a thousand blessings more – why wouldn’t you want joy? Sing to no one and everyone on the front porch in the rain and laugh so much they question your sanity. Pet the dog long.
Because really, none of us knows how long we have. Remember that a pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted… in the small moments missed. None of this here is forever grace. That’s why it’s amazing grace.
Do it often: grab a lifeline by stepping offline. You’ll see your true self when you look for your reflection in the eyes of souls not the glare of screens.
This is what you always need to know: You have nothing to prove to anyone – if you’re in Him, you are already approved.
Read the full entry here.
Social Security Act is signed into law, assuring retirement income for all working Americans. Payroll taxes...are set at 1% (Courtesy of Barry Ritholtz)
...to demand that a work be “relatable” expresses a different expectation: that the work itself be somehow accommodating to, or reflective of, the experience of the reader or viewer. The reader or viewer remains passive in the face of the book or movie or play: she expects the work to be done for her. If the concept of identification suggested that an individual experiences a work as a mirror in which he might recognize himself, the notion of relatability implies that the work in question serves like a selfie: a flattering confirmation of an individual’s solipsism.
To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience. But to reject any work because we feel that it does not reflect us in a shape that we can easily recognize—because it does not exempt us from the active exercise of imagination or the effortful summoning of empathy—is our own failure. It’s a failure that has been dispiritingly sanctioned by the rise of “relatable.” In creating a new word and embracing its self-involved implications, we have circumscribed our own critical capacities. That’s what sucks, not Shakespeare.
Read it all.
More single U.S. women over the age of 35 are having children, even as the overall birth rates for unmarried women in the United States have dropped, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. There were 1.6 million births to unmarried women in 2013, the lowest since 2005, when there were 1.5 million, the data showed.
Running counter to the trend were middle-aged and older women having children outside of marriage. The birth rate for unmarried women between the ages of 40 to 44 increased 29 percent from 2007 to 2012 and 7 percent during that time for those aged 35 to 39, the CDC said.
"Many women are postponing births until their 30s, and the stigma of having a child outside of marriage has faded," said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University who has studied the issue but was not involved with the CDC report.
Women who choose to give birth at an older age now have greater medical options for increasing fertility, said Sally Curtin, a CDC statistician and an author of the study. "There's more out there for women to meet their fertility goals," she said.
Here's the full article
So the life of discipleship is oscillating between rest in God, and fruitful action in the world; both undergirded by active, unhurried, worshipful, compassionate, sometimes agonized prayer. It constantly moves between the two poles of wonder at the sacrifice of Christ dealing with my sin and winning my forgiveness, and engaging sacrificially with others, enabled by the indwelling divine living presence. There is an enormous richness in teaching over the centuries, in different church traditions, on Christ-centred prayer, and on maintaining these two poles, sometimes paradoxical, of inward and outward life, rest and yoke, of abiding and being productive, of atonement and empowerment. Yes there might be imbalance in the teaching of different groups, just as each of us because of our personalities tend to prefer contemplation or activism. But that doesn’t mean we are at liberty to reject clear teachings of Scripture or go searching outside the Christian tradition when Jesus commands us to come to him.
But sadly this is exactly what Rowan Williams advocates in a recent interview:
The whole article is about Williams’ morning spiritual disciplines – what evangelicals might call his “quiet time”. He begins encouragingly by talking about the ‘Jesus Prayer’ (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”) – one would think that this could be a great opportunity to explain its meaning to the secular readers who clearly are interested in this detail of the personal life of a celebrity. But the phrase does not prompt reflection, in order to worship or pray to the living Christ – it is simply repeated as a mantra, as part of a Buddhist-inspired technique of focusing on one’s body living and breathing in the moment. The former Archbishop does not give any indication at the end of the interview that God might really exist out there, a divine person separate from us, calling on us to repent and come to him in Christ. Rather “God ‘happens’: a life lived in you”, and the uncomfortable meditative technique is apparently a way in which anyone who puts in the work can become aware of this “inner light”.
Is Rowan Williams embarrassed about embracing and articulating fully the Christian story and the wonderful resources that Christ offers his followers by grace? Does he feel that Jesus is not enough, and the insights and practices of others faiths are needed to get closer to God, to feel loved, to have strength to face the day and help others? Or perhaps he believes that in synthesizing aspects of different religions, he is modelling inclusivity and helping to promote community cohesion between the different faith groups in Britain? This is suggested by his recent appearance as a speaker at the Living Islam Festival at the Lincolnshire showground. But again, is modern Britishness best achieved by a synthesis of Christian, secular, Islamic and Buddhist – and if so how, given the radically different worldviews of these four faiths?
Christianity is in retreat, yet secularism and Islam are becoming more confident in demanding the hegemony of their values. Many orthodox Christian leaders are responding by self-ghettoisation: increasingly arguing that faith is a private matter and that Gospel values, the ethics which flow out of taking on the yoke of Christ and being fruitful in him and on which the best “British values” are based, are only applicable to the converted. We continue to thank God for groups like Christian Institute and Christian Concern who have resisted this route. Liberal thinkers such as Rowan Williams want to engage in the public square, but seem to do so with embarrassment about the apparent former dominance of Christianity: the result is the articulation of a more “generous and inclusive” faith which synthesizes, merges with and ultimately submits to other worldviews rather than confronting, challenging and transforming them.
Read the full entry at Anglican Mainstream
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams Anglican Identity Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Multiculturalism, pluralism
Take a look at them all.
Robin Williams died this morning, his publicist confirms. You can read a statement from his wife Susan Schneider there.
Since Kendall posted his open thread on books earlier today, this elf thought some readers might be interested in the 9 Marks' review of the book Taking God at His Word, by Kevin DeYoung.
And confidence in Scripture is crucial for our confidence in the gospel Scripture preaches and the God Scripture reveals. So I’m grateful for a growing list of books on Scripture that have stirred and strengthened my faith.
For instance, Warfield’s The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture laid a bedrock foundation I return to constantly. Packer’s “Fundamentalism” and the Word of God crystallizes and condenses some of the same essential arguments. Bavinck’s Prolegomena is lucid, rock-solid, and pastorally perceptive. Timothy Ward’s Words of Life helpfully unpacks Scripture’s role in God’s plan of salvation, as does Scott Swain’s outstanding Trinity, Revelation, and Reading.
Kevin DeYoung’s new book Taking God at His Word now occupies a special place on this list. It’s the best book I’m aware of on the doctrine of Scripture that virtually any church member can read.
In eight short chapters, DeYoung traces the basic contours of what the Bible teaches about the Bible. He begins in chapter 1 with a brief exposition of Psalm 119, because “The goal of this book is to get us believing what we should believe about the Bible, feeling what we should about the Bible, and to get us doing what we ought to do with the Bible”
Read the full review at 9Marks Journal
From today's Washington Post, by a writer based in Charlotte, following the news that several SIM missionaries are returning to Charlotte and will be quarantined there.
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” or so says the lesson in the Gospel of John in the New Testament. It is a simple message that is now being tested by several modern-day crises, with complications that range from compassion overload to an instinct to protect loved ones close to home.
Charlotte, where I live, waits with support, careful interest and some apprehension after news that missionaries, some of whom have worked with and around patients with the Ebola virus, will be returning to the city. [...]
There has been backlash to the loud voices of criticism – that would be Donald Trump protesting the U.S. treatment of the sick, and Ann Coulter, questioning missionaries working in “disease-ridden cesspools” of Africa. But others are more calmly uncomfortable. Retired neurosurgeon and conservative activist Ben Carson said doctors should have flown overseas to treat Ebola patients there.
Admonitions to be our brother’s keeper are tempered with concern over things that are easy to fear and difficult to understand. It’s what happens when the generosity many Americans take pride in is complicated by practical concerns and worries. You can hear it in the low tones of good people who nonetheless have doubts.
You can hear it as Americans debate the fate of children fleeing violence in Central America. Many want to help and would never stand in the road angrily jeering busloads of women and children, but they also want to know laws are being followed. While the plight of resilient Yazidis escaping with the aid of American airstrikes is a survival story to cheer, for many that support would stop at the point it meant American soldiers on the ground.
In Charlotte, a city welcoming those returning from a mission of mercy, well-wishers also wonder about the limits of compassion. There is caution underlying the support in an overwhelming world that can seem full of danger and unfilled need. But were the Writebols and Brantly on to something? Would the fight against Ebola be further along if the international community had paid more attention when the victims were limited to countries many know little about?
The full article is here.
The more specific you can be (why did you choose this particular book, what especially do you like about it, etc. etc.), the more others can enjoy your contributions--KSH.
I know you understand. Posts will be catch as catch can. I am seriously considering an occasional open thread on an edifying subject so if you have suggestions for such threads please post in the comments below. Many thanks--KSH.
People in Sierra Leone and Liberia filled churches on Sunday to seek deliverance from an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, defying official warnings to avoid public gatherings to contain an epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa.
With their creaking healthcare systems completely overrun, Sierra Leone and Liberia have both declared states of emergency to tackle the highly contagious and incurable disease, which has also stricken neighbouring Guinea.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Liberia Sierra Leone
Ebola, one of the world’s most fatal diseases, has surfaced in Africa’s most populous country.
Nigerian health officials have announced 10 confirmed cases and two deaths in the country from the Ebola outbreak that is sweeping West Africa, including a nurse and a man from Liberia whom the nurse had been caring for.
The man, Patrick Sawyer, a naturalized American citizen, had flown to Nigeria in late July and died soon after. He had infected at least eight other people, including the nurse, who died on Tuesday, officials said.
Read it all.
As usual with Facebook, this is not the whole story. For one, it has begun tracking users’ browsing history to identify their interests better. Its latest mobile app can identify songs and films playing nearby, nudging users to write about them. It has acquired the Moves app, which does something similar with physical activity, using sensors to recognise whether users are walking, driving or cycling.
Still, if Facebook is so quick to embrace – and profit from – the language of privacy, should privacy advocates not fear they are the latest group to be “disrupted”? Yes, they should: as Facebook’s modus operandi mutates, their vocabulary ceases to match the magnitude of the task at hand. Fortunately, the “happiness” experiment also shows us where the true dangers lie.
For example, many commentators have attacked Facebook’s experiment for making some users feel sadder; yet the company’s happiness fetish is just as troubling. Facebook’s “obligation to be happy” is the converse of the “right to be forgotten” that Google was accused of trampling over. Both rely on filters. But, while Google has begun to hide negative results because it has been told to do so by European authorities, Facebook hides negative results because it is good for business. Yet since unhappy people make the best dissidents in most dystopian novels, should we not also be concerned with all those happy, all too happy, users?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Law & Legal Issues Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Stock Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Like J, with his effortless mastery of big data, these children do not need adult approval before they do things; they are already masters of their world and it is the older generations who must catch up. The millennials grew up with the magical manichean world of Harry Potter and its avuncular headmaster Dumbledore; Generation Z has Katniss Everdeen, the bow-wielding heroine of The Hunger Games, who defies the totalitarian oppressors and starts a revolution.
It will be interesting to see where this generation lands politically — not Ukip, because most have social media friendships that span continents, but will they morph from single-issue activism into democratic party politics or will they, like Everdeen, overturn the existing order? If I were running a political party I would be quite worried about a generation of tech-literate, global-thinking teens raised on a diet of dystopian fiction and the Kardashians. They don’t have much reason to trust adults. And even more alarming, thanks to 3D printers — which they will have mastered long before their parents — they will be able to bypass the arms manufacturers and print their own guns.
Universities and colleges should also be quite apprehensive about Generation Z — there is a growing number of gifted teens who are beginning to wonder whether they will get anything out of university other than a mountain of debt. For the millennials the partying was worth the pain of student loans that they probably won’t pay off before they draw their pension; but for the value- conscious younger generation the idea of education for its own sake is less appealing.
After all, they have online universities and TED talks; any curious teen can probably find a decent liberal arts education online without having to spend a penny on tuition.
Read it all.
Britain may be the first country to appoint an “older workers’ champion.” Last month, pensions expert Ros Altmann was given the task to challenge outdated perceptions of the elderly and rewrite the rules on early retirement.
Her key message to employers and even workers themselves: A person’s talents and experience don’t stop at age 65.
Dr. Altmann’s appointment reflects two trends in wealthier nations. More people are retiring later. And many governments are reversing policies that encourage early retirement.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
On a clear, Sunny July morning, as churchgoers all around Houston take to their pews, dozens of nonbelievers are finding seats inside a meeting room in a corporate conference center on the city’s west side to listen to a sermon about losing faith. But first there’s the weekly “community moment”–remarks on a chosen topic delivered by the group’s executive director, this time focused on how we’re hardwired to read sensationalized news–as well as announcements about an upcoming secular summer camp. In between, a musician sings softly of Albert Einstein.
The men speaking before the assembled gathering–executive director Mike Aus, who regularly leads the group, and Jerry DeWitt, a visitor who heads a similar gathering in Louisiana–are both deeply familiar with the idea of Sunday ritual. Just a few years ago, they were Christian ministers active in the pulpit. Today they’re both nonbelievers leading secular Sunday services.
This is Houston Oasis, a church that’s not a church. It was started in September 2012...
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Atheism
A man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kent Torrey Hinkson, a missing Anglican priest from Durham whose body was found late Saturday in a state park in Orange County.
Authorities said Sunday that Matthew Reed, 36, was being held at the Orange County jail. Reed has a first court appearance Monday. They did not say whether the suspect knew the victim.
Read it all.
Germany made headlines this week by letting Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One chief, pay $100 million to end his bribery trial. In Greek justice, money talks in a different way: Some inmates jailed for minor offenses are allowed to buy their freedom, at an average rate of five euros per day.
With the rich at a clear advantage, Greek Orthodox priest Gervasios Raptopoulos has devoted his life to paying off the prison terms of penniless inmates.
The soft-spoken 83-year-old has helped more than 15,000 convicts secure their freedom over nearly four decades, according to records kept by his charity. The Greek rules apply only to people convicted of offenses that carry a maximum five-year sentence, such as petty fraud, bodily harm, weapons possession, illegal logging, resisting arrest and minor drugs offenses.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Prison/Prison Ministry * International News & Commentary Europe Greece * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Orthodox Church * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Christ Church congregation listened in silence as Canon Andrew White talked about one of his parishioners who had been visiting Mosul when Isis overran it. After the jihadis had robbed this widow of her life savings they forced her wedding ring from her fingers. She was lucky. The ring came off. People with stickier rings have had their fingers chopped in half, then been ordered to flee to save their lives.
Many haven’t saved theirs. On his Facebook page Andrew White told of a Christian family of eight who had been shot through their faces after refusing to renounce their faith. A photo that was too horrific for him to publish captured the blood-soaked scene and the family Bible on the couch — still open but never to be read by them again. Elsewhere in Mosul there is a park where the heads of children who’ve been cut in half are put on a stick to warn others that anyone, however young, who refuses to convert to Islam will be put to the sword.
Mr White didn’t stay in Guildford for long. He keeps returning to the most dangerous place on earth and his explanation is simple: you can’t abandon the people you love. It is to the enormous shame of Britain and America that we did not live by the Andrew White principle. America stayed in Germany and South Korea for decades to help to ensure they became the stable nations that they are today. Iraq needed a similar level of commitment. It didn’t get it.
Read it all (if you click on the picture it enlarges).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Office of the President President George Bush President Barack Obama Terrorism * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Our politicians are at last speaking about the terror, torture, mass murder and genocide being meted out upon Christians and other minorities by the Islamic State in Iraq. Their assessment of the situation ranges from "completely unacceptable" to "barbaric". Cardinal Vincent Nichols astutely calls it "a persecution of immense proportions". The Archbishop of Canterbury calls it "evil". And not only is it evil, but "part of an evil pattern around the world where Christians and other minorities are being killed and persecuted for their faith". And he refers specifically to Northern Nigeria, Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that his subject is radical Islam and the malignant Saudi-backed Salafist strain.
Archbishop Justin knows a thing or two about evil: he has stared it in the face down the barrel of a gun while trying to bring peace and reconciliation to the warlords, bandits and murderous thugs of Africa. When you expect to die and phone your wife to say goodbye, you may begin to grasp what it is to agonise, grieve and suffer because of evil.
Archbishop Justin says that this "evil pattern around the world" is brutally violating people's right to freedom of religion and belief. It is, in fact, killing them for their faith in Jesus Christ. It is persecuting them for heresy, apostasy and infidelity to the temporal objectives and literal truths revealed by Mohammed. The Salafi-Jihadists or Jihadi-Salafists who agitate for a caliphate may constitute less than 0.5 percent of the world's 1.9 billion Muslims, but that still numbers them around 10 million - sufficient to establish an evil pattern of hard-line Islamisation around the world.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The 1918 Treaty of Versailles did restore independence to the Polish nation and created the League of Nations, which was blessed by Pope Benedict when he permitted the Catholic Union of International Studies to establish permanent relations with it. He urged the league to call for an end of slavery in Africa and Muslim countries and to send aid to people in Russia dying from famine because of the civil war there in the aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution. All this helps to explain why, 85 years later, Cardinal Ratzinger took the name of Benedict XVI, calling his predecessor “the courageous prophet of peace.”
Another pope again calls the world to peace. Pope Francis asks us to pray daily for an end to the various armed conflicts and wars in the Middle East and in Africa. The danger is always, as the world should have learned in 1914, that a small dispute can escalate into a general conflict that ignites the world.
Pope Francis called the presidents of Israel and Palestine to the Vatican to pray for peace, but this gesture seems to have been stillborn in the midst of the outbreak of hostilities in Gaza and the rocket attacks on Israel. The self-proclaimed Islamic State in parts of Iraq and Syria has told all Christians to leave or be killed. The Eucharist that was celebrated for 1,600 years in Mosul is no longer prayed there. The churches are destroyed and Christian families have fled. The persecution of Christians in parts of Africa continues unabated, and their protection is not a high priority for the western powers. As, united with Pope Francis, we remember our persecuted brothers and sisters in prayer each day, we pray for ourselves as well, that we may become peacemakers in our day and in our homes and country. Let the remembrance of the outbreak of the First World War be the occasion for intensified prayer for peace. God bless you.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI Pope Francis
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The Church of Ireland Bishop of Down and Dromore, Harold Miller, called for a united effort to help Christians in the war-torn country.
"It's really very important for the world at large to be supportive of Christians in Iraq," he said. "Christianity has been in Iraq for a very long time and what I have observed is that people are now being beheaded for their faith.
"The main Christian town has had most Christians expelled from it, like they did with Jewish people during the Nazi era.
"They are marking the houses of all the Christians with the letter 'N' because it comes from following Jesus of Nazareth. It's profoundly shocking."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Ireland * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Other Faiths Islam
Most people spend their Saturdays relaxing, especially when the weather looks grim. However, people driving through Durham's Woodcroft Shopping Center saw a small group of dedicated volunteers handing out copies of a police missing person message.
The handbills have two pictures of Kent Torrey Hickson, the 71-year-old Anglican priest who's been missing since Monday.
Hickson's son-in-law Maurice Perry told ABC11, "We've searched around his house, searched around where the car was found. And now, looking between the bank where he was last seen and where the car was found."
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Hoping that "the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored," the Acts 29 church planting network founded by Mark Driscoll has removed the Seattle pastor and his Mars Hill megachurch from membership.
“It is our conviction that the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network,” said Acts 29 in an online statement signed by Matt Chandler and other board members of the network of 500 churches.
Acts 29 came to the drastic decision "with deep sorrow," according to the statement. "In taking this action, our prayer is that it will encourage the leadership of Mars Hill to respond in a distinctive and godly manner so that the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored."
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Parker, the article says, preached in Baptist churches as a young man, before going into medicine. He had, he says, a “come to Jesus” moment where he became convinced that he ought to do abortions. “The protesters say they’re opposed to abortion because they’re Christian,” he says. “It’s hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I’m a Christian.”
The profile portrays Dr. Parker as he prepares women for the abortions he is selling them. He tells them to ignore everything but their own consciences, and then, of course, he informs their consciences that abortion is morally acceptable. “If you are comfortable with your decision, ignore everything from everybody else.”
Apparently, he knows how to ignore everything else, including the conscience. The article quotes him talking a woman through an abortion by telling her that her unborn child is “very small.”
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Research shows that children are best brought up in families where a mum and dad are present. The role of fathers in the nurture of their children is unique and cannot be replaced by other so-called ‘male role-models’ or, indeed, an extra ‘mother’.
Research tells us that children relate to their fathers differently than to their mothers, and this is important in developing a sense of their own identity....
None of this should detract from the heroism of single parents. They should be provided with every support by the State and by local communities.
There is, however, a big difference between children growing up without fathers because of death or family breakdown, and actively planning to bring children into the world who will not know one of their biological parents and where such a parent will never be part of the nurture of these children.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Jeff Bridges has been working on childhood hunger for longer than the children he champions today have been alive. In fact, it’s been a 30-year crusade. In the early 1980s, the Academy Award-winning actor founded the End Hunger Network, an organization focused on feeding children around the world. More recently, he’s focused on feeding kids here in the United States. Motivating the shift in Bridges’ attention is the reality that more than 16 million American kids live in households that are labelled “food insecure” – those that don’t know with certainty where their next meal will come from, or if it will come at all.
Watch the whole video.
The men in charge of Liverpool's two cathedrals have abseiled down the city's Anglican cathedral, to raise money for charity.
Cathedral Dean Rev Peter Wilcox and his Roman Catholic counterpart, Father Anthony O'Brien, joined an abseil down the cathedral on Saturday.
As part of a two-weekend event, the 150 ft (45m) leap has helped to raise about £48,000 for the cathedral,
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The five-year-old son of a founding member of Baghdad’s Anglican church was cut in half during an attack by the Islamic State1 on the Christian town of Qaraqosh.
In an interview today, an emotional Canon Andrew White told ACNS that he christened the boy several years ago, and that the child’s parents had named the lad Andrew after him.
“I’m almost in tears because I’ve just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half,” he said. “I baptised his child in my church in Baghdad2. This little boy, they named him after me – he was called Andrew.”
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Jose Gomez was born in Mexico. He grew up to become a Catholic priest and moved to the U.S. Now he is Archbishop of Los Angeles. And he's been thinking for years about immigrants who fill the pews.
JOSE GOMEZ: We can be a beautiful example for the whole world. What Los Angeles is now is the way the world is going to be, in my mind - with the movements of people.
INSKEEP: People speak more than 40 languages in the archdiocese, which says it serves five million Catholics. Taking office in 2010, Archbishop Gomez confronted a sex abuse scandal. Now he wants to focus on a long-standing passion, immigration. He wrote a book on it, quoting both the Bible and Thomas Jefferson. When we visited his office, he said he wants generous treatment for Central American children now crossing the border.
GOMEZ: It seems that sometimes we see these young immigrants coming by themselves as a threat for our country. When, in reality, they're just looking for safety and for a place where they can grow up as normal, healthy, and good and strong members of society. I think our concern, in the Church, was that we will send them back right away, without really giving them the opportunity to (unintelligible) their situation.
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Insurance fraud complaints in South Carolina have reached an all-time high with more than 1,200 pouring in last year, according to a report released Friday by Attorney General Alan Wilson.
The annual report from his office's Insurance Fraud Division noted attorneys prosecuted cases that resulted in 37 convictions and in more than $700,000 being returned to the victims of insurance fraud.
The report cites several notorious cases.
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What Tolkien and Lewis saw on the battlefield made it easy for them to imagine worlds ravaged by evil. Nevertheless, fortified by their Christian faith—Tolkien a Catholic, Lewis an Anglican—they believed that God and goodness were the deepest truths about the human story. In Middle-earth and Narnia, the ruin or redemption of every person depends on what side he or she has chosen in the conflict.
Is this so unlike our own world? Think of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram; the civilians caught in the genocidal storm of the Syrian regime; the courageous Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban for wanting Pakistani girls to go to school.
The heroic figure is the one who resists evil, who is willing to lay down his life for his friends. Perhaps the character of Faramir in "The Lord of the Rings" expresses it best: "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend." That may be the vision of humanity that our present world needs most.
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The vast majority of respondents to the 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing anticipate that robotics and artificial intelligence will permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025, with huge implications for a range of industries such as health care, transport and logistics, customer service, and home maintenance. But even as they are largely consistent in their predictions for the evolution of technology itself, they are deeply divided on how advances in AI and robotics will impact the economic and employment picture over the next decade.
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The Most Revd Clarke said: “One of the most perplexing aspects of the intervention of a former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, into the debate in England on the side of assisted dying was that a fundamental Christian tenet – that our life on earth is not our property to do with as we choose – appeared to have eluded him entirely.
“Much therefore depends on how we understand the significance of earthly life.
“If life is simply a personal commodity...then life is disposable, entirely at the will of the individual ‘possessor’. This is clearly not the Christian perspective and, even for the non-believer, it is not an automatic understanding of the significance of life.”
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The soldiers of the Islamic State fight under the banner of demons, but their enemies are no angels.
But not all distinctions can be erased. When enumerating the horrors meted out by the Assad regime, or noting the ubiquity of rape in the Congo, I can not help but think that these are the products of human venality. The thugs who murder children for Assad, or the soldiers who rape women in the Congo, may have their ad hoc justifications for what they do. But they do what they do not in a spirit of purpose, but on the orders of their paymasters or in a fit of amorality coming to the fore. Atrocity, even on a grand scale, can still be the marshaling of individual human weakness. The power of the Islamic State derives in part from the fact that inverts the moral order of the world. Some of its soldiers are clear psychopaths, as the most violent and brutal of international jihadis have been drawn to the Islamic State (as opposed to Al Qaeda, which is more pragmatic!). But a substantial number believe in its utopian vision of an Islamic society constructed upon narrow lines. A positive vision of a few evil goals, rather than a grand quantity of small evil pleasures. The Islamic State ushers in an evil new order, it does not unleash unbridled chaos. Though its self-conception that it is resurrecting the first decades of Islam is self-delusion in my opinion, it is still a vision which can entice some in the Islamic international.
I do not think that the Islamic State is here to stay. I believe it will be gone within the next five years, torn apart by its own contradictions and its rebellion against normal human conventions, traditions, and instincts. But that does not mean it is not going to cause misery for many on its way down. The irony is that the iconoclastic Islamic State may as well be worshiping the idols conjured in the most fervid of Christian evangelical apocolyptic literature, because they shall tear the land end to end and leave it in a thousand pieces, a material sacrifice to their god. They live under the illusion that they are building utopia, but they are coming to destroy an imperfect world and leave hell in its wake.
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Via Email from the Diocese of Fort Worth:
We have had the following message today from a member of our legal team:
“The U.S. Supreme Court has requested a response from the Diocese to TEC’s petition for writ of certiorari, filed on June 19. This is an unfortunate development due to the time and money it will take to respond. It does however give us a chance to set the record straight about the case, and I am still convinced that the odds are very small that the Court will want to review the case after reading our response.
“The response is due August 27th. After that TEC parties will have 14 days to reply.”
From the calls I got through the night, it's a revelation that people fear Ebola more than God....! Nobody calls me frantically for Godly things....(From his Facebook page)
Ebola brings death surely, but surely God gives life by grace through faith In Jesus!
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology * International News & Commentary Africa Gambia Liberia Nigeria Sierra Leone * Theology
Church leaders in West Africa have asked for our prayers as the Ebola virus continues to spread, with 932 reported deaths as we go to press.
Please make use of the prayer we have written....[Here is one]:
God of our anguish, we cry to youRead it all.
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful Father,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.
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An NHS Trust has withdrawn its offer of an appointment to an Anglican chaplain, after his bishop refused to grant him a licence on the grounds that he had defied the House of Bishops' pastoral guidance by marrying his same-sex partner.
The priest, Canon Jeremy Pemberton, is Deputy Senior Chaplain and Deputy Bereavement and Voluntary Services Manager in the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. He married Laurence Cunnington in April, and the Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, then withdrew his permission to officiate.
On 10 June, Canon Pemberton was offered a new job as Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services in the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This was conditional on the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham's issuing him with a licence....
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Nursery children are to be taught about “fundamental British values” to protect them from religious extremism. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, is said to be planning the shift as her first important policy announcement since securing the job in the coalition reshuffle last month.
Under the plan, to be announced today, local authorities will be forced to strip nurseries of their funding if they promote extremist views. She will demand that children are taught “fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way”.
Nurseries found to be teaching creationism as scientific fact will also be barred from receiving funding from the taxpayer. It will bring nurseries into line with state-funded schools.
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A 72-hour truce in the Gaza fighting expired at 8 a.m. Friday as Palestinian militants fired a barrage of rockets into southern Israel, signaling Hamas’s refusal to extend the lull and its desire to apply pressure for its demands to be met at talks in Cairo for a more durable cease-fire agreement.
In response, the Israeli military said it had targeted “terror sites” across the Gaza Strip, and there were reports of airstrikes and artillery fire.
Israel had said it was willing to extend the truce unconditionally and had vowed to respond to any fire from Gaza. Israel has withdrawn its ground troops from the Gaza Strip, but the air force has been on standby, and forces have remained on alert along the border.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Middle East Israel The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle
Various news outlets are carrying a story that this is an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into allegations of indecent assault on a child aged under 18 years and indecent assault on a second female aged over 18 years. The police have confirmed that no arrest has been made. You will all realise that this is therefore a traumatic time for Bishop Michael, his family and for those who have made the allegations. Please hold them in your prayers.
I am sorry that we have not been able to say more until now. I know many people have found this frustrating but I hope you will understand our reasons for this and will appreciate that we have been liaising very closely with Lambeth Palace.
Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury signed an Instrument of Delegation that allows me to act as diocesan bishop.
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Two Americans with Ebola received at least half of the world's supply of a drug that might be able to change the course of the deadly virus.
Some people are asking how to allocate additional doses of this drug and whether it was ethical to give those drugs to American missionaries when they weren't available to West Africans suffering from or fighting the outbreak.
The World Health Organization will convene a panel of medical ethicists early next week to discuss the use of such experimental treatments. The group will probably decide how to allocate medications should more become available.
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The Anglican Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is breaking new ground by bringing help and hope to a Pygmy community living in the country’s forests.
Pygmy peoples live in several ethnic groups across the forests of central Africa. There are an estimated 250,000 to 600,000 living in the Congo rainforest alone.
These forest dwellers have lived by hunting and gathering for millennia. But in the past few decades their homelands have been devastated by logging, war and encroachment from farmers. Their appearance and lifestyle means they have also been marginalized by much of society
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Republic of Congo
Clergy within the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh may now sign civil marriage certificates between same-sex couples, Bishop Dorsey McConnell confirmed in a recent open letter to the diocese.
The action builds on Bishop McConnell’s decision in November 2013 to allow clergy to conduct blessings of same-sex relationships.
At that time, same-sex marriage was not a legal option in Pennsylvania, but Bishop McConnell and diocesan chancellor Andy Roman reviewed civil and canon law after the May 20 federal court decision ruling that same-sex couples be allowed to marry in the state of Pennsylvania.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – the group otherwise known as ISIS – is no more. It hasn’t been defeated; if anything it’s stronger and more murderous. But now it’s known simply as the Islamic State, because it doesn’t recognise the old national borders. The New York Times reported that, at the weekend, it crossed into Lebanon. Its fighters have seized control of Iraq's biggest dam, an oilfield, and three more towns. And the Islamic State is now worth at least two billion US dollars in cash and assets. With that wealth, it’s pursuing a purist and violent dream of a fundamentalist caliphate. And it’s radicalising young men, including, as we’ve seen from the headlines this week, some young Australians. Australian journalist Martin Chulov, Middle East correspondent for The Guardian newspaper, has been face to face with the zealots and warriors of the Sunni "Islamic State"; and they're facing off against the proxies for Shi'ite Iran. Martin explains the impact this conflict is having on the region.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
Commemorations of the First World War have been years in the planning. No one could have foreseen when they began that this solemn anniversary would coincide with so many new wars. The Archbishop of Canterbury noted the grim paradox in his Radio 4 Thought for the Day on Monday morning, “We watch and feel for those suffering,” he said, “fear for those not born.” His final plea, to end war by making friends with our enemies, was heartfelt but, alas, unlikely to be widely translated into action.
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One of the reasons many churches struggle is they're not a friendly place for men.
Think about the worship service at your church. More than likely, there's a lot of talk about loving each other, but not much about fighting against sin or fighting for each other. There's holding hands when we sing, but not much locking arms as we get marching orders for the mission.
Yes, I'm stereotyping. But, that's what I often hear from many critics of churches. Regardless of its universal application, men need to be challenged to act like men—that's what the Bible does. We need to live out our callings as men, to be and do what God has called us to be and do.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Men Psychology * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Pastoral Theology
Warning--this is very hard to watch, make sure to be in a proper frame of mind to take it in; all of her words are translated in subtitles. When you are ready then watch it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology
Thousands of Christians are reported to be fleeing after Islamic militants seized the minority's biggest town in Iraq.
The Islamic State (IS) group captured Qaraqosh in Nineveh province overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.
An international Christian organisation said at least a quarter of Iraq's Christians were leaving Qaraqosh and other surrounding towns.
IS has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria to create an Islamic caliphate.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
The Diocese of Esan, Anglican Communion has condemned the ravaging activities of terrorists and insurgents in Nigeria while urging Nigerians, irrespective of party affiliation or religious inclinations to avoid making inflammatory statements capable of worsening the already bad security situation in the country.
The diocese in a communiqué issued at the end of the third session of the fourth synod held in Eguare, Ebelle, Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State also noted the helplessness of Nigeria in curtailing the ravaging insurgency in the country, inspite of assistance from the international community.
This, the diocese noted “makes the resort to divine intervention both imperative and timely”,In the communiqué signed by the Archoishop of Bendel province and Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. F.J. Imaekhai and the synod clerical secretary of the diocese, Ven A.O. Isibor, the diocese noted that divine direction is underscored by the fact that any nation that fails to heed the call for divine direction is bound to experience the kind of problem the Nigeria nation is confronted with.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria
Clergy often face a great deal of occupational stress that in turn can lead to mental distress. In recent years denominations have been turning to peer support groups to combat these challenges, but little research exists regarding their effectiveness. This
study explores the utility of peer support groups for reducing mental distress among pastors by analyzing data from two waves of an ongoing study of United Methodist Church (UMC) clergy in North Carolina, as well as focus group data from the same population. Results indicate that participation in peer support groups had inconsistent direct and indirect relationships to mental distress (measured as mentally unhealthy days, anxiety, and depression). Focus group data indicated that the mixed results may be due to individual differences among group participants, which in turn lead to a mix of positive and negative group experiences.
Read it all (Hat tip: DP).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Before birth, it is accepted practice to inject the heart of the unborn child with potassium chloride to cause death before inducing a stillbirth, or late term there may be a partial birth abortion in which during delivery an instrument is inserted into the child's brain through the back of the neck so it also is born dead. After birth, even the birth of a baby of the same or even less maturity or gestational age, to end the life would be regarded as a criminal offence in most jurisdictions.
Anecdotally, mothers who opt not to have their child given the fatal injection before birth are placed under great pressure to use the technique to prevent the birth of a child with a disability. It is a cognitive dissonance that seems irresolvable that birth, not maturity or gestational age, is what makes the difference in status of the infant.
Cultural attitudes to disability are obviously conflictual. Public reaction appears to condemn the commissioning couple for reportedly deserting a child on the basis of disability and the inherently discriminatory attitude involved, but would presumably have accepted the killing of baby Gammy before birth at the request of the commissioning couple or the agency, if the birth mother had acquiesced.
There are many other conflicts underlying this case.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Latest news Diocese of SC and on Facebook and Twitter
July 6: A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Mark Lawrence Regarding the Upcoming Trial
Aug 1: Trial Ends: Highlights from the Trial of the Diocese of SC vs. TEC and TECSC
Aug 1: A. S. Haley—Making Sense of the Trial in South Carolina between TEC and the Diocese of SC
July 28: A Message from Bishop Mark Lawrence at the Close of the recent Diocese of SC Trial
July 26: South Carolina Diocesan Trial Day 14—Drama Ends with the Testimony of Bishop Mark Lawrence
More articles follow by clicking on the "read more" link below...
More entries from during the trial:
July 26: An AP Article on the South Carolina Episcopal Court Case as it Wound up this week
July 26: New TEC Diocese in SC offers More Reports from the trial in Dorchester County
July 25: Diocese of South Carolina Trial—Jeremy Bonner gives an account of Yesterday’s proceedings
July 24: Trial Day 13: Expert in Religious History Allen Guelzo Testifies TEC Holds No Control Over Dioceses
July 24: Diocese of SC Day 12: TEC Uses Bishop vonRosenberg to Claim Dioceses Can’t Leave
July 23: Diocese of SC Trial Day 11-TEC Spends Day Making Arguments Judge Rules Irrelevant
July 23: A.S. Haley—Diocese of South Carolina Trial Day 11: a Waste of Time
July 22: Diocese of SC Trial Day 10: TEC Attorney Admits Constitution Does Not Prevent Diocesan Withdrawal
July 22: A S Haley’s Comments on SC Trial Day 10—Witness again Barred from Rendering Undisclosed Opinions
July 19: Diocese of South Carolina Trial—A.S. Haley’s Important Analysis of this weeks events
July 18: SC Trial Day 9—TEC Bishop Testifies Nothing in Governing Documents Says a Diocese Can’t Withdraw
July 18: SC Trial day 8-Judge Scolds TEC for Trying to Sneak “Expert Witnesses” into Trial…
July 19: New TEC Diocese in SC offers Reports from the trial in Dorchester County
July 17: SC Trial Day Seven: TEC Witness Admits Diocesan Constitution Trumps TEC’s
July 16: Trial Day 6: Bishop Lawrence Tried to Keep Diocese of S.C. “Intact and in TEC”
July 15: Trial Day Five: Diocese of SC v. The Episcopal Church’s new diocese in SC
July 13: A Summerville, S.C. Journal Scene Article on the TEC Diocese in SC vs Diocese of SC trial
July 12: Day 4: Judge Asks Both Sides of Diocese of SC Case to Agree on Facts for Parish Witness Testimony
July 11: A.S. Haley—Falsehoods Being Spread in South Carolina
July 11: New TEC Diocese in SC offers Reports from the trial in the Circuit Court in Dorchester County
July 11: Day 3 Testimony of trial between new TEC diocese and Diocese of SC Explores Facts about Parishes
July 10: [Locusts and Wild Honey blog] Anglican conflict survival guide
July 10: Get Religion on recent stories on Anglican developments in South Carolina
July 10: Second Day of South Carolina Trial Includes Testimony from Treasurer
July 9: Local Paper Article on the New TEC Diocese’s Decision to Allow for Same-Sex Union Blessings
July 9: The Trial to Protect Diocese of South Carolina Assets Begins
During the trial, Lent & Beyond posted daily prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina during this litigation process. A.S. Haley was posting daily trial updates at StandFirm
You can find all T19 posts about the conflict in South Carolina using this link TEC Conflicts: South Carolina category. Two previous posts South Carolina Links and South Carolina Chronology provide a history of the conflict up until October 2013.
Other Recent Entries:
July 8: TEC Bishop grants permission for blessings of same-sex relationships in new Diocese
July 7: Local paper major article on Lawsuit New TEC Diocese is bringing against the Diocese of South Car.
July 7: For Those of you who are Twitterites, the Diocese of South Carolina is now on twitter
July 7: A.S. Haley—The Two-Faced Episcopal Church
July 6: The PR from the new Episcopal Church Diocese in South Carolina about the Lawsuit
July 6: Prayer Vigil for the Trial (at Camp St. Christopher Prayer Center) Starting Monday, July 7th, 2014
July 5: (A S Haley) South Carolina Court Reporters Will Be Busy on Monday
July 3: The Dio. of South Carolina’s Response to TEC’s Request for Continuance which was adjudicated today
July 3: TEC appeals Circuit judges’ order from earlier today to SC Court of Appeals; They are denied
July 3: Trial to Protect Diocese of SC Assets Begins Tuesday, July 8
June 29: (AP) Wasting more Time and Money, the Episcopal Church tries a 4th Time to add Parties to S.C Suit
June 27: AS Haley: South Carolina Rump Group Files Frivolous Appeal To Delay Trial
May 8: A.S. Haley Offers Thoughts on recent TEC Court Decisions in Calif. and South Carolina
April 8: A.S. Haley—South Carolina Supreme Court Takes Jurisdiction of Appeals
April 7: SC Supreme Court Takes Jurisdiction Over TEC Appeals
Articles from January - March 2014:
March 24: A.S. Haley on the recent legal Rulings in the Episcopal Church’s S.C. and Texas Legal Battles
March 19: Diocese of South Carolina Convention - Links Roundup
March 18: SC Court of Appeals Denies TEC Appeal
March 18: Court of Appeals dismisses new Diocese of TEC in SC’s appeal in case against Dio. of South Car.
March 16: The Diocese of South Carolina Formalizes Wordwide Anglican Ties at 2014 Convention
March 16: (Local paper) Diocese of South Carolina accepts provisional oversight from Global South primates
March 12: Proposed Resolutions for the Diocese of South Carolina Convention upcoming this Fri/Sat
March 7: Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Message Regarding Resolution R-3 for the Upcoming SC Convention
March 1: A Local Paper art. on the new TEC Diocese involved in multiple lawsuits against the Dio. of SC
Feb 7: SC Diocese Seeks to End TEC Stalling Tactics by Asking State Supreme Court to Hear Appeal
Jan 16: (Diocese of S.C.) TEC denied again by Judge in attempt to seize Diocese of SC identity
Jan 13: The Personal Testimony of Mr. Alan Runyan, Attorney for the Diocese of South Carolina
Jan 7: South Carolina Legal Developments (II)—Commentary from A.S. Haley on S.C. and San Joaquin
Jan 7: South Carolina Legal Developments (I)—Diocese of South Carolina Wins Again Against Episcopal Church
Articles from late 2013
Nov 29: (Christian Post) Episcopal Church Files New Motion Against Hisotoric South Carolina Diocese
Nov 26: A.S. Haley—Rump TEC Diocese Tries “Hail Mary” Pass in South Carolina
Nov 26: (Local Paper) New TEC Diocese in S.C. Claims Conspiracy, Other Charges Against Diocese of SC Leaders
Nov 25: (Anglican Ink) TEC seeks to add 4 Diocesan Leaders to Their Latest South Carolina Lawsuit
October 12: (Local Paper) Historic S.C. Diocese retains right to use names and seal, new TEC Diocese Can’t
October 11: Judge Rejects TEC’s Request to Remove Injunction Protecting S.C. Diocesan Names and Seal
October 3: Judge Denies TEC Request to Expand South Carolina Lawsuit
Sept 19: A.S. Haley on the Latest South Carolina TEC Legal Maneuver to Appeal Judge Houck’s Decision
Sept 19: The ENS Article on the legal request of the new S.C. TEC Bishop to reconsider dismissal
Sept 19: (AP) Bishop of the new TEC South Carolina Diocese asks the judge to reconsider in Episcopal case
Sept 14: ACI - Affidavit of Mark McCall on The Episcopal Church’s Polity
August 23: Federal Judge Dismisses Case Against Bishop Mark Lawrence
August 12: A.S. Haley—More Episcopal Church related Court Proceedings in South Carolina
For a prior roundup to articles about South Carolina lawsuits and related issues, see here.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Polity & Canons * Admin Featured (Sticky) * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina
Killucan, Co Westmeath, Parish Registers (1696–1786)
Drogheda, Co Louth, St Peter’s Parish registers (1702–1900)
Taughboyne Union Registers, Co Donegal, (Taughboyne, All Saints’ Newtowncunningham, Killea & Craigdoonish)
(1820 – 1900)...
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“We should not be surprised if parents who have ordered a baby and rented a woman’s womb refuse it at birth if it is not healthy and perfect,” said an article published in the Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
“In fact if a child becomes a product to buy, it is obvious that as with any acquisition it must meet with the buyer’s approval.”
The strongly worded commentary was written by prominent Catholic feminist and regular contributor Lucetta Scaraffia, who argued the child’s rejection was to be expected in the “explosive mix” of consumerism combined with a “throwaway culture.”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Expressing concern that his summer vacation is too quickly passing him by, local incoming seventh-grader Matthew Valentine told reporters Tuesday he now has just two weeks left in which to acquire a cool new identity before school starts.
The 13-year-old acknowledged that he must dedicate all his remaining free time to developing a socially acceptable persona he can display to his classmates, noting that he still has a lot of work to do if he is to assemble a recognizable combination of attitudes, style choices, interests, and favorite bands that will win his peers’ approval during the upcoming school year.
“The clock is ticking, and I still haven’t figured out who I’m going to be yet,” said Valentine, adding that he hopes to remake himself as a popular kid, a scenester, a rebel, a hip-hop head, or a member of some other respected social category prior to his first day of classes at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
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Southern hospitality lives on. Eight of the 10 friendliest cities in the USA are in the South, according to a new survey by Conde Nast Traveler.
Charleston, S.C., was named the friendliest city and recognized for its culture, history, natural beauty, and food scene, the magazine said in its 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Charleston earned top honors last year as well.
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Will robots ease our toil or become a tool for automation and oppression? People who care about technology seem sharply divided, and passionate, about the topic.
The Pew Research Center asked 1,900 technology experts if robots will help or hurt the workforce over the next 10 years. Nearly half (48%) envision a future in which robots displace significant numbers of workers. The remaining 52% say automation will not displace more jobs than it creates by 2025.
But the numbers were just the starting point for some heated opinions.
“We, as a society, have a lot of decisions to make,” said study co-author Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Internet Project. “There’s going to be a lot of debate.”
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The Primate of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, on Tuesday, advised Nigerians to be wary of clerics claiming to have spiritual healing for the deadly Ebola virus.
Okoh said this in Abuja on the sideline of the 2014 Conference of Chancellors, Registrars, and Legal Officers of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
The primate advised persons infected with the virus not to waste time in seeking medical attention from...[in]appropriate authorities.
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Karim had time to do just one thing: burn all the documents that connected him to America—photos of him posing with Army officers, a CD from the medical charity—in case he was stopped on the road by militants or his house was searched. He watched the record of his experience during the period of the Americans in Iraq turn to ash, and felt nothing except the urge to get to safety.
By 9:30 A.M., Karim and his extended family were crowded into his Toyota Camry, his brother’s car, and his father’s pickup truck. They’d had no time to pack, and for the drive through the heat of the desert they took nothing but water, bread, canned milk for Karim’s two-year-old son, and their AK-47s. At first, Karim’s father refused to go along. A stubborn man, he said, “Let them kill me in my town, but I will never leave it.” Fortunately, the father’s paralyzed cousin, who had been left behind by his family, pleaded with him, and at the last minute the two old men joined the exodus. Karim’s twenty or so family members were the last to get out of the area by car, and they joined a massive traffic jam headed northwest. Thousands of other Yazidi families had to flee on foot into the mountains: “They couldn’t leave. They didn’t know how to leave. They waited too long to leave,” Karim said.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
Global health experts at the World Health Organization are meeting to discuss new measures to tackle the Ebola outbreak.
The meeting - being held in Geneva, Switzerland - is expected to last two days and will decide whether to declare a global health emergency.
That could involve imposing travel restrictions on affected areas.
The outbreak began last February and has since spread to four African countries, claiming nearly 900 lives.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization Health & Medicine * International News & Commentary Africa Guinea Liberia Nigeria Sierra Leone Europe Switzerland * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Indonesia has issued a ban on the teachings of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, being propagated online through a YouTube message encouraging locals to sign up with extremist movement.
Djoko Suyanto, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, told journalists Monday that the ban was reached after a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in mainly Muslim Indonesia, ucanews reports.
"The ISIS teachings are not a religious issue," he said. "The government and the State reject and ban ISIS teachings from growing in Indonesia.
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The Church of England faces fresh scrutiny over its handling of historic child abuse after the outgoing Bishop of Gloucester was placed at the centre of a police inquiry over allegations of indecent assault on a child more than 30 years ago.
The Rt Rev Michael Perham, 66, suddenly quit after nearly a decade as bishop on Friday citing “personal reasons” but it can be revealed that a police inquiry was launched centred on the parish in south London where the senior cleric started his career in the Church as an assistant curate in 1976.
The force confirmed today that officers from its sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command are investigating “allegations of indecent assault on a child said to have occurred between 1980 and 1981”. Nobody has been arrested during the course of the continuing inquiry, the force said in a statement.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Still scarred by a recession that ended five years ago, Americans are registering record levels of anxiety about the opportunities available to younger generations and are pessimistic about the nation's long-term prospects, directing their blame at elected leaders in Washington.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that despite the steady pace of hiring in recent months, 76% of adults lack confidence that their children's generation will have a better life than they do—an all-time high. Some 71% of adults think the country is on the wrong track, a leap of 8 points from a June survey, and 60% believe the U.S. is in a state of decline.
What's more, seven in 10 adults blamed the malaise more on Washington leaders than on any deeper economic trends, and 79% expressed some level of dissatisfaction with the American political system.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Psychology Sociology * Economics, Politics Economy Politics in General House of Representatives Office of the President President Barack Obama Senate * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Recent U.S. surveillance flights over northeastern Nigeria showed what appeared to be large groups of girls held together in remote locations, raising hopes among domestic and foreign officials that they are among the group that Boko Haram abducted from a boarding school in April, U.S. and Nigerian officials said.
The surveillance suggests that at least some of the 219 schoolgirls still held captive haven't been forced into marriage or sex slavery, as had been feared, but instead are being used as bargaining chips for the release of prisoners.
The U.S. aerial imagery matches what Nigerian officials say they hear from northern Nigerians who have interacted with the Islamist insurgency: that some of Boko Haram's most famous set of captives are getting special treatment, compared with the hundreds of other girls the group is suspected to have kidnapped. Boko Haram appears to have seen the schoolgirls as of higher value, given the global attention paid to their plight, those officials said.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Teens / Youth Violence Women * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Stranded on a barren mountaintop, thousands of minority Iraqis are faced with a bleak choice: descend and risk slaughter at the hands of the encircled Sunni extremists or sit tight and risk dying of thirst.
Humanitarian agencies said Tuesday that between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians remain trapped on Mount Sinjar since being driven out of surrounding villages and the town of Sinjar two days earlier. But the mountain that had looked like a refuge is becoming a graveyard for their children.
Unable to dig deep into the rocky mountainside, displaced families said they have buried young and elderly victims of the harsh conditions in shallow graves, their bodies covered with stones. Iraqi government planes attempted to airdrop bottled water to the mountain on Monday night but reached few of those marooned.
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This is an encouraging epistle, the most notable sentence being the final one. But the media have not entirely forgotten: the Christian media are well informed. And even if Channel 4 News is consumed by Gaza and busy lauding the bravery of Baroness Warsi, the BBC is slowly waking up to the horrors being inflicted upon Christians by the self-styled Islamic State.
But we must remember that these Salafist extremists neither represent nor speak for all Sunni Muslims. As Canon White explains elsewhere, there are voices being raised against them....
And it must be observed that the Islamic State is not only persecuting Christians, but also Shia, Turkmen, Shabaks, Yazidis and others.
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A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion username and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses, security researchers say.
The records, discovered by Hold Security, a firm in Milwaukee, include confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites, ranging from household names to small Internet sites. Hold Security has a history of uncovering significant hacks, including the theft last year of tens of millions of records from Adobe Systems.
Hold Security would not name the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable. At the request of The New York Times, a security expert not affiliated with Hold Security analyzed the database of stolen credentials and confirmed it was authentic. Another computer crime expert who had reviewed the data, but was not allowed to discuss it publicly, said some big companies were aware that their records were among the stolen information.
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Starting this September, every single K-12 student in Great Britain will start taking classes in computer programming. That is, kids at the age of five will take programming, and they won’t stop until they’re 16 at least. A majority of these children will be using the free online learning platform Codecademy, says co-founder Zach Sims. Ditto France, Estonia and Buenos Aires.
In China, Codecademy, which has programming lessons contributed by more than 100,000 people from around the world, has been cloned multiple times.
Meanwhile in the U.S., where education is controlled by the states, fewer than 20 even recognize computer science as a science; the rest consider it an elective.
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Christianity turns on a number of paradoxes. The Christian God is both imminent and transcendent; Jesus Christ is both human and divine; his Kingdom both has and has not yet arrived. These various internal tensions have proven immensely productive for anthropologists, and here Matthew Engelke is no exception. Engelke's first monograph, A Problem of Presence, examined how Apostolic Christians in Zimbabwe navigate the simultaneous proximity and distance of God by seeking direct experiences of the Holy Spirit, so much so that they reject all forms of mediation, including the biblical text. Engelke's new book, God's Agents, explores a very different group of Christians (with, it must be said, a very different relationship to Scripture), the British and Foreign Bible Society.
Engelke has already established himself as a skilful ethnographic writer, and in God's Agents he is in fine form. It is not easy to create compelling descriptions of the mundane workings of a nonprofit organization, but in this book even board meetings and the drafting of press releases are made to matter because Engelke has situated them in a game with stakes we've come to appreciate. In addition to ethnographic description and the firsthand narrations of his informants (as anthropologists call the people they study), the text is dotted with quotations from newspaper articles and blogs, as well as the words of Christian writers who have influenced the Bible society staff. These voices give the book a texture that extends the analysis beyond a particular Christian organization to contemporary Britain more generally. One of the primary implications of this wider focus is that God's Agents is very much an ethnography of secularism. What we learn from Engelke's analysis is that the secular is multifaceted, and that the Bible society has a long and complicated relationship with it.
Engelke focuses on the work of the Bible society at home in Britain, much of which amounts to "Bible advocacy," attempts to convince an increasingly indifferent public that the Bible, and Christianity more generally, have not become irrelevant.
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Italian officials on Tuesday (Aug. 5) moved to expel a Moroccan imam who was caught on video inciting violence against Jews during Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said he had ordered the imam, Raoudi Aldelbar, to be expelled “for seriously disturbing the peace, endangering national security and religious discrimination.”
The imam was filmed during a Friday sermon in a mosque near Venice last month calling for Jews to be killed “one by one,” according to the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute, which published the video on its website.
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Even in death, you can’t escape the property bubble.
From New York to London, growing populations are competing with the deceased for land, driving up real-estate costs well into the afterlife. In Asian megacities, where cremation is the norm, even space for urns is in short supply.
“At the end of the day, it’s like any other piece of real estate,” says Amy Cunningham, a New York state licensed funeral director. “Prices have conspired to put burials out of the range of most people’s budgets.”
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Housing/Real Estate Market * Theology
The President of Italy has formally signed a decree which recognizes seven years of preparation by the Church of England to have official status in the country and be recognised as a denomination. It was granted after careful and detailed examination of the Ministero dell’Interno (Italian Home Office) the Direzione Centrale degli Affari dei culti (central department for religious affairs) and Consiglio di Stato (advisory body of the Italian government on administrative matters and their legal implications, with the approval of the Consiglio dei Ministri (Italian Cabinet). It gives legal status to the association Chiesa d’Inghilterra and accepts its statutes.
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The Great War set its mark on the 20th century. Many people suggest that it was the beginning of a conflict that did not end until 1989. What an author called Philip Bobbitt called ‘The Long War’. Four empires collapsed as a direct result, and two more were so enfeebled that they began to decline, although they were unaware of the fact for some years.
The Great War unleashed forces that dominated most of the 20th century. It sowed the seeds of the Nazi regime in Germany and it opened the way to the horrors of Stalinism and the Communist regime of the Soviet Union, with its evil spread over Eastern Europe.
Everyone was conscripted in one way or another. Of course huge numbers of mainly men were conscripted into the armed services. There was a doctrine of attrition, meaning that if our army is bigger than their army, we can lose troops at the same rate but they will run out of troops first. Civilians were co-opted into famine and hunger, into refugee carts and dispersion and loss of families. Even in places where the war did not physically come, as in much of the United Kingdom, there was conscription into hatred and bitterness.
Even God was conscripted.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary England / UK
A new Christian community has started up in Crewe. ‘Restore’ is part of the ‘Fresh Expressions’ movement. The Revd Tim Watson is the leader of ‘Restore’, which will have a focus on the arts and has an ambitious plan to open an arts centre in Crewe.
The group currently meets twice a week – 8pm on Tuesdays at 30 Oakhurst Drive, Wistaston; and 10am on Sundays in Costa Coffee in the town centre.
In the months ahead, Tim and the team have also set themselves the task of restoring the old Christ Church site in the town centre, to turn it into an arts centre and café.
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An ethics committee has been set up to tackle moral issues faced by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the area's police and crime commissioner.
The independent committee is one of the first of its kind in the country and aims to make recommendations on moral and ethical dilemmas.
It will look at issues such as surveillance operations and the use of body cameras and water cannon.
Members of the public can make referrals to the committee.
The panel of 13 is chaired by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker.
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A rush of newly insured patients using health services has boosted hospital operators' fortunes but has racked up costs that insurers didn't anticipate, corporate filings and interviews with executives show.
People are getting more back surgeries, seeking maternity care and showing up at emergency rooms more frequently, executives say, boosting income for hospital operators.
At Tenet Healthcare Corp....patient volumes rose 4% in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, while uninsured inpatient admissions slid 22%....
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The first priest to marry his same-sex partner is to issue a legal challenge to the Church of England after his offer of a job as an NHS chaplain was withdrawn when his bishop refused the necessary permission.
The Rev Jeremy Pemberton, who married Laurence Cunnington in April, was informed on Friday that Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS trust had withdrawn its offer of a job after Bishop Richard Inwood had refused him the official licence in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.
"It this is not challenged," Pemberton said on Sunday, "it will send a message to all chaplains of whom a considerable number are gay and lesbian. This is an area of law that has not been tested and needs to be."
Read it all from the Guardian.
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We lost our innocence in the fall of our first parents, and our return to it is through the redemption which was brought about by Christ’s death and by our slow participation in it. Sentimentality is a skipping of this process in its concrete reality and an early arrival at a mock state of innocence, which strongly suggests its opposite. Pornography, on the other hand, is essentially sentimental, for it leaves out the connection of sex with its hard purposes, disconnects it from its meaning in life and makes it simply an experience for its own sake.
Many well-grounded complaints have been made about religious literature on the score that it tends to minimize the importance and dignity of life here and now in favor of life in the next world or in favor of miraculous manifestations of grace. When fiction is made according to its nature, it should reinforce our sense of the supernatural by grounding it in concrete observable reality. If the writer uses his eyes in the real security of his faith, he will be obliged to use them honestly and his sense of mystery and his acceptance of it will be increased. To look at the worst will be for him no more than an act of trust in God; but what is one thing for the writer may be another for the reader. What leads the writer to his salvation may lead the reader into sin, and the Catholic writer who looks at this possibility directly looks the Medusa in the face and is turned to stone.
By now anyone who has faced the problem is equipped with Mauriac’s advice: "purify the source." And along with it he has become aware that while he is attempting to do that, he has to keep on writing. He becomes aware, too, of sources that, relatively speaking, seem amply pure but from which may come works that scandalize. He may feel that it is as sinful to scandalize the learned as the ignorant. In the end, he will either have to stop writing or limit himself to the concerns proper to what he is creating. It is the person who can follow neither of these courses who becomes the victim, not of the Church’s dogmas, but of a false conception of their demands.
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War must always represent the abject failure of humanity, the head of the Anglican church in Ireland has said. Archbishop of Armagh Dr Richard Clarke said commemoration of the first World War could not be spiritually separated from carnage in Gaza and other contemporary trouble spots.
He addressed a Belfast service marking Britain’s declaration of hostilities against Germany. The Duke of York read a lesson and lit a candle.
“War must always represent the abject failure of the human spirit and of humanity itself,” Dr Clarke said. “It can never be other and we should never pretend it is other.”
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In the Great War, we see heroism and cruelty standing side by side, we see cynical disillusionment and moral determination intertwining, and we see hope and despair in equal measure, and on every side. This was the first time that the weaponry of war could be fully industrialised and it was, also for the first time, that the phrase ‘total war’ was coined to indicate that civilians were to be regarded as being as much part of the war as the military.
But there are of course also the myths to be debunked. It was not only foot soldiers who died in battle. Indeed, if one was an officer, one’s chances of dying on the western front were fifty percent greater than for those in other ranks. The British generals were for the most part not the total incompetents they are presented as being in popular mythology. Many of them too died in battle; they were not relaxing in beautiful chateaus miles behind the front lines. And personally I can well remember as a child knowing a number of veterans of the First World War whose memories of the conflict were not uniformly terrible.
For all of this, however, the 1914–18 War undoubtedly changed the history of the twentieth century. Three European empires had disappeared by the end of the War in 1918, and we can also trace to this war the beginnings of the sunset on a fourth empire, the British Empire. Also emerging from the Great War are the seeds of the development of two ‘super–powers’ – the United States of America and Soviet Russia – that would come to dominate the world for almost half a century after the ending of the Second World War, that further titanic war that in many respects cannot be totally separated from the First. The course of history changed, brutally, dramatically and forever.
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Watch and listen to it all; especially fitting on this day.
Detroitis the destination this weekend for Pastor Stephen Shaw and more than a dozen members of his Alabama church.
They’re joining an estimated 7,000-10,000 visitors expected at the 99th annual convention for the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World Inc., which begins Saturday at Cobo Center.
The mission is to learn, pray, find fellowship and more. But for Shaw and others, it’s also an opportunity to lift the city with spiritual support.
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The Archbishop joined Royal Family members and the Prime Minister at a solemn commemoration in Belgium tonight remembering Britain’s entry into WWI.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined members of the Royal Family and Britain’s Prime Minister at an event in Belgium this evening to remember the entry of British soldiers into World War One in August 1914.
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True to stereotype, San Francisco is the most leftie city in the union. But would people expect Washington, DC, to come second, ahead of Seattle (where it is legal to smoke pot) or the Democratic stronghold of Boston? On the other end of the scale, Mesa, Arizona is the most conservative large city, with a slew of Texan and Oklahoman municipalities high on the list. The data come from a study appearing this month in the American Political Science Review by Chris Warshaw of MIT and Chris Tausanovitch from the University of California at Los Angeles.
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A recent Pew Research Center survey shows that neither world power has a clear advantage when it comes to the hearts and minds of people in Africa. Among the seven sub-Saharan African countries polled this year, at least six-in-ten in each nation say they have a favorable view of the U.S., including roughly three-quarters or more in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Senegal. Broad majorities also rate China positively. The one exception is South Africa – just 45% express a favorable view of China, compared with 68% for the U.S.
Such questions are particularly important to U.S. officials this week as presidents and prime ministers from across Africa converge on Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The meeting is billed by the Obama administration as the “largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government” and is meant to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between the U.S. and African nations. Meanwhile, China has become Africa’s largest trading partner – surpassing the U.S. in 2009 – and just this year announced the formation of the “Africa Growing Together Fund,” a $2 billion investment vehicle created in partnership with the African Development Bank Group.
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Second-generation pagans — those whose parents were converts to pagan spirituality — are a lot like their peers in other faiths. They often do spirituality their own way. Or not at all.
“Born-to-it pagans just are who we are,” said Angela Roberts Reeder, 43, whose parents were involved in ceremonial magic when she was young.
This week, Reeder said she might continue the tradition by joining a public celebration for the first harvest festival of Lughnasa, also called Lammas, at a Washington, D.C., temple.
“Today, it’s so much easier to be openly pagan than 20 or 30 years ago” when converts often faced strong disapproval by family and society when they came out of the “broom closet,” so to speak, Reeder said.
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The Keep Me Posted campaign, which is pressing for the consumer’s right to choose how they are contacted by banks, utility companies and other service providers, has been joined by The Church In Wales.
In the face of an increasing trend for businesses to switch their customers to mainly digital communication, the campaign is calling for service providers to give customers the choice to retain paper bills without charge. Research from the campaign shows that it is often the poor and most vulnerable people in society who rely the most on traditional methods of communication.
The Church, which takes very seriously the economic, social and environmental needs of the communities of Wales, and works in areas of deprivation facing economic inactivity, poverty, debt and low skills, has recognised the barriers many people have to using the internet.
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