Posted by The_Elves

December 21, 2014 at 4:58 am - 7 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On December 12, the Rt. Rev. William Skilton, retired suffragan bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina released an “Open Letter to the Faithful Anglicans/Episcopalians in Lower South Carolina” in which he shared correspondence he’d received from Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, the provisional bishop of TECinSC and his response. Bp. Skilton has been directed to no longer function in any sacramental capacity in any TEC congregation in South Carolina. Bp. Skilton had sought to minister in a reconciling way with parishes in both dioceses (though functioning as a bishop in neither). This action will effectively end that dual ministry. He will, nonetheless, continue to be a welcome guest among parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina and we look forward to his continued sacramental ministry among us.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm - 28 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the context of the present dispute, this means that the Court will base its final decision upon a close examination of the various deeds and other documents evidencing ownership and title, as well as the governing documents (constitution, canons, articles and bylaws) of the parishes, the Diocese, and of the Episcopal Church (USA) itself.

As to the ability of the Diocese to withdraw from ECUSA, it would seem that it has already been finally adjudicated (by the courts of Illinois) that there is no language in the Constitution or canons of ECUSA which would prevent a Diocese from withdrawing. That is also a decision drawn under neutral principles, and so is in harmony with the method shown in the All Saints Waccamaw case. I should think that Judge Goodstein will find the reasoning of those two cases both persuasive and binding upon her.

Resolution of that question will not, however, necessarily resolve the issue of property held in trust. Under the Waccamaw decision again, an express written trust of some kind will be required -- one that satisfies the Statute of Frauds under South Carolina law (it must be in writing, and signed by the actual owner of the person so placing the property into a trust). The Dennis Canon alone will not work -- that was one of the express holdings in the Waccamaw case which will be binding upon Judge Goodstein.

There was no evidence of any such trust document or documents offered at the trial, to my knowledge. Consequently, the decision on this point, while open, should not be a difficult one under neutral principles.

Read it all and please follow and read all the links as well.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

December 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

KIM LAWTON, correspondent: Southeastern Turkey shares a 500-mile-long border with Syria. On this day, the view into Syria looks quiet, peaceful even. But just a few miles from here, Syrian government forces, rebel groups and ISIS are waging a brutal battle for control. So far, nearly 1.6 million Syrians have sought safety in Turkey, and more are coming every day.

SAVAS METIN, Kimse Yok Mu: They escaped from this conflict with their own clothes. They couldn’t bring any kind of stuff, their belongings, together with them. They just escaped. They left everything behind.

LAWTON: Since the beginning of Syria’s civil war in March 2011, nearly 11 million people have been forced to flee from their homes. Almost eight million are displaced inside Syria, while three and a quarter million have ended up in neighboring countries. Daryl Grisgraber focuses on the Middle East for the advocacy group Refugees International.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryEuropeTurkeyMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It takes something unusually vile for the world to pay much attention to a terrorist outrage in Pakistan. Since 2007 the annual toll of murders by jihadists has never dropped below 2,000 and in 2012 and 2013 it was not far off 4,000. This year has actually seen the mayhem decline by a third. But the horror of the attack by the Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella organisation of militant groups officially known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), on an army-run school in Peshawar stands out for the scale and nature of its brutality.

At about 10am on December 16th, seven heavily armed Taliban gunmen scaled an outer wall of the school and began shooting indiscriminately. By the time army commandos regained control of the compound 141 people, most of them teenagers and younger children, had been killed. Given the seriousness of the wounds that the injured have suffered, the number of deaths will almost certainly rise (see article). This is the deadliest terrorist attack in Pakistan’s history.

The army, and previous governments, must take much of the responsibility for the violence the country has suffered in recent years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

December 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A $2 million gift from a Dallas couple will be used to establish a new endowed professor chair in religious freedom at Baylor University.

Jerry and Susie Wilson’s gift will benefit Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion and support the university’s efforts to rally support for the preservation, protection and defense of religious freedom in Congress, according a press release.

“The Wilsons are faithful supporters of local, national and international ministries, and their overarching passion is to follow Christ, to help grow God’s kingdom on Earth and to serve the local church,” Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr said in the release.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture

December 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Alert readers are asked to note that the title above is the one used in the paper's National edition in print this past week--KSH.

A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items to people’s rooms. Last spring, a software algorithm wrote a breaking news article about an earthquake that The Los Angeles Times published.

Although fears that technology will displace jobs are at least as old as the Luddites, there are signs that this time may really be different. The technological breakthroughs of recent years — allowing machines to mimic the human mind — are enabling machines to do knowledge jobs and service jobs, in addition to factory and clerical work.

And over the same 15-year period that digital technology has inserted itself into nearly every aspect of life, the job market has fallen into a long malaise. Even with the economy’s recent improvement, the share of working-age adults who are working is substantially lower than a decade ago — and lower than any point in the 1990s.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Egypt killed Islam in America,” said one Muslim-American of Egyptian origin, who had been involved in Muslim civic activism for years. He was responding to a question I had about Muslim-Americans’ reactions to the various twists and turns of the Egyptian revolution, after the well-known Swiss-Egyptian academic, Tariq Ramadan, had declared that he would boycott a gathering of Muslim activists in Canada, partly due to political differences over Egypt.

The activist’s answer was flamboyant, and likely overestimated the impact of the Egyptian revolutionary uprising and its aftermath on the development of a specifically Muslim-American consciousness. There are a number of different issues in the international arena that mobilise or interest Muslim-Americans, and there have been for many years – Egypt is certainly not the most critical one. But he had a point in noting that Egypt, before and after former president Mohammed Morsi had been ousted, had created two sharply opposing political camps in the Muslim-American community. That point has some currency far beyond the United States, in Canada as well as a number of European nations. In all of them, large numbers of Muslims are discussing the tensions arising from the Arab uprisings that began in 2011—and Egypt is a big part of that discussion.

The stances of those two camps are not only polarising—they are also inconsistent on the issue of speaking truth to power, in the midst of a multifaceted proxy war that remains deeply energised in the Arab world, and against the backdrop of clear positions on the normativity of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamism.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

December 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

December 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"True courage is knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one," Gandalf tells Bilbo in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.*

Gandalf's homily doesn't appear in Tokien's original novel The Hobbit. Still, the sentiment has some textual support....

[However]...if Jackson meant for Gandalf's comment to highlight Tolkien's nonviolent ethic, though, the rest of his film undercuts it—and, indeed, almost parodies it. The scene where Bilbo spares Gollum in the movie comes immediately after an extended, jovially bloody battle between dwarves and goblins, larded with visual jokes involving decapitation, disembowelment, and baddies crushed by rolling rocks. The sequence is more like a body-count video game than like anything in the sedate novel, where battles are confused and brief and frightening, rather than exuberant eye-candy ballet.

The goblin battle is hardly an aberration in the film. I had wondered how Peter Jackson was going to spread the book over three movies. Now I know: He's simply added extra bonus carnage at every opportunity. The dwarves, who in the novel are mostly hapless, are in the film transformed into super-warriors, battling thousands of goblins or orcs and fearlessly slaughtering giant wolves three-times their size.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksMovies & TelevisionViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 21, 2014 at 11:11 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches will be full again this week, as they always are at this time of year: three million people will go to an Anglican service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a third of the population will visit a place of Christian worship by the end of the season, but what then? What is happening to the Church of England and its place in the nation?

Churches will be full again this week, as they always are at this time of year: three million people will go to an Anglican service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a third of the population will visit a place of Christian worship by the end of the season, but what then? What is happening to the Church of England and its place in the nation?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchWomen

December 21, 2014 at 11:08 am - 5 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

December 21, 2014 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dan Taylor stood up in front of 13,000 people earlier this year and made them laugh. As the opener for comedy legend Russell Peters, Taylor was the envy of almost every comic in the industry. The next Sunday he stood in front of 300 people and preached, like he does most Sundays.

Pastor by day, comic by night, Dan Taylor of Edmonton, Alberta is making waves in the Canadian comedy scene after being named Edmonton’s top comic by Sirius XM satellite radio network. It also nabbed him the opportunity to open for Peters in Edmonton.

The recent exposure has shot Taylor to the top of Canadian comic lists, an opportunity he is using to minister not only to audiences, making people laugh in a way that honours God, but also back stage, being good at the craft and living a life of integrity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* General InterestHumor / Trivia* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyTheology: Scripture

December 21, 2014 at 6:15 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Regulations for controversial techniques to create three and four-parent babies have been published.

MPs and Peers will vote early in the new year on allowing the two procedures, Maternal Spindle Transfer (MST) and Pro-Nuclear Transfer (PNT).

MST involves replacing the nucleus in a healthy donor egg with the nuclear DNA from the prospective mother – resulting in a child with DNA from three parents....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 21, 2014 at 6:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Assembly Members (AMs) were asked to vote on whether they supported the principles of the Assisted Dying Bill.

The answer was a clear and refreshing “No” - it does not support it. Only 12 Assembly Members voted to support it, 21 voted against doing so; 20 abstained.

It was heartening to watch the quality of this debate from the public gallery.

I was particularly impressed by the understanding which many Members showed of a Bill that goes to considerable lengths to dress up what it is proposing in reassuring language (for example, by describing the lethal drugs it would supply to terminally ill people as ‘medicines’) yet makes no effort, beyond stating a handful of vague eligibility conditions, to provide for any serious safeguards to protect vulnerable people from harm.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Wales* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 21, 2014 at 5:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who didst promise that thy glory should be revealed, and that all flesh should see it together: Stir up our hearts, we beseech thee, to prepare the way of thine only begotten Son; and pour out upon us thy loving kindness, that we who are afflicted by reason of our sins may be refreshed by the coming of our Saviour, and may behold his glory; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth one God, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

December 21, 2014 at 5:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!

--Psalm 24:7-10

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 21, 2014 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Flagging morale, desertion and factionalism are starting to affect the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, testing the cohesion of the jihadi force as its military momentum slows.

Activists and fighters in parts of eastern Syria controlled by Isis said as military progress slows and focus shifts to governing the area, frustration has grown among militants who had been seen as the most disciplined and effective fighting force in the country’s civil war.

The group hurtled across western Iraq and eastern Syria over the summer in a sudden offensive that shocked the world. Isis remains a formidable force: it controls swaths of territory and continues to make progress in western Iraq. But its fighters have reached the limit of discontented Sunni Muslim areas that they can easily capture and US-led coalition air strikes partnered with offensives by local ground forces have begun to halt their progress.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The report reveals that in U.S. dioceses, baptisms are down five percent from 27,140 in 2012 to 25,822 in 2013. Similarly, marriages are down four percent from 10,366 to 9,933 (the denomination has seen a 40 percent decline in children baptized since 2003 and a 46 percent decline in marriages over the same period). The losses are not evenly distributed, with some dioceses performing worse than others: in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, where an ordained Buddhist was elected (and later failed to gain consent from other dioceses) to be bishop in 2009, zero children were confirmed in 2013.

Episcopal “renewing” dioceses in San Joaquin and Fort Worth are also continuing to struggle: Fort Worth closed five parishes in 2013 (from 22 to 17), with San Joaquin closing two (21 to 19). Pittsburgh added one new parish (36 to 37). Other diocese closing parishes include Maryland (4) and Massachusetts (3), with most of the dioceses in Northeastern Province 1 seeing the closure of at least one parish.

Despite continuing to claim over 70 parishes and 28,000 members following the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (DioSC) and the vast majority of its parishes ending their affiliation with the Episcopal Church, the renewing Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC) has posted updated information on baptisms and weddings, showing a drop from 388 children’s baptisms in 2012 to only 135 in 2013. South Carolina reported 170 children and 143 adults confirmed in 2012, dropping to 54 children and 37 adults in 2013.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause Partnership--Proposed Formation of a new North American ProvinceEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC DataTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptism

December 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

December 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is little doubt that those in favour of changing the law on assisted suicide have talked up a storm. In spite of peers expressing very mixed opinions during debates on the Assisted Dying Bill, the casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that all that remains to be done is to find effective safeguards ensuring that vulnerable individuals are not pressured into requesting assistance for ending their own lives; otherwise the matter is a done-deal. Leaving to one side, the rather important point that finding effective safeguards is proving as elusive as finding the Holy Grail, recent announcements from the medical profession have helped to bring some much-needed perspective to the debate.

The Royal College of Physicians’ recent announcement that, in the light of a thorough survey of its members, it will continue to oppose a change in legislation, is significant...

Read it all and follow the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



I really loved this--watch it and see what you think--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchMovies & Television* General InterestHumor / Trivia

December 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

Psalm 138:7-8 (ESV)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Our Father in heaven,

We thank You for the preservation of the Diocese of South Carolina. Fulfill Your purpose for them by Your steadfast love. Do not forsake them, for they are the work of Your hands. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

December 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church Commissioners have welcomed the news that they are the UK's second most charitable giver in the publication of City AM's list of the World's top 20 donors.

The list, published this week, named the Church Commissioners as the eighth highest donor in the world - and second in the UK - giving £207.84m in charitable donations to support the Church of England. The total giving, which supports the Church's ministry around the country, is highlighted in the Commissioners annual report for 2013, which announced that the performance of the investment fund exceeded it's target of RPI +5% per annum, returning 15.9% for during the year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

December 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Are you planning a visit to an old church during the Christmas season? Maybe you're a regular church goer or you might only set foot inside a religious sanctuary once a year.

However often you attend, administrators of downtown churches in St. John's say everyone should be concerned about the future of these historic buildings. Congregations are struggling with structural problems, exorbitant heating costs and fewer and fewer people in pews.

Between Patrick Street in the west end and King's Bridge Road in the east, there are nine churches. One church is Presbyterian, two are Anglican, two are Catholic and four are United Churches. St. Thomas's Anglican church is the oldest, built in 1836. The newest is Cochrane Street United, opened in 1915 during the First World War.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryCanada

December 20, 2014 at 11:22 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What a strange week it’s been in Hollywood. Tuesday night we actually had a thunderstorm. For those who don’t know Southern California, that’s like saying House Republicans think our country might have a race problem. Or Woody Allen is considering property in Malibu. Or the new Missal really seems to be catching on. (“Under our roof,” translators? “Under our roof”?)

There was even lightning, for God’s sake.

Then yesterday, hack-beleaguered Sony Pictures actually stopped distribution of major motion picture “The Interview,” maybe forever, after the United States’ five major theater chains refused to show it for fear of a 9/11-style attack on any theater that did.

To say the Internet was not happy with this series of events would be an understatement. Hollywood writer/director/producer Judd Apatow called the chains’ decision “disgraceful” and wondered, along with many others, what’s next: “Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now?” Many called it a sad day for creative expression, and feared that this forebodes a dangerous new self-censorship. Rob Lowe compared Hollywood to Neville Chamberlain (to which the nation of Czechoslovakia replied, “Mmm, Rob, I think not”). Newt Gingrich went so far as to call the hackers’ threat an “act of war,” forgoing the need for an act of war to involve an actual act. Forget the pesky details, there’s really never a bad time for a little preemption.

Read it all from America.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetLaw & Legal IssuesMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaNorth Korea* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 10:29 am - 7 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some nonprofit hospitals around the country don't ever seize their patients' wages. Some do so only in very rare cases. But others sue hundreds of patients every year. Heartland, which is in the process of changing its name to Mosaic Life Care, seizes more money from patients than any other hospital in Missouri. From 2009 through 2013, the hospital's debt collection arm garnished the wages of about 6,000 people, according to a ProPublica analysis of state court data.

After the hospital wins a judgment against a former patient in court, it's entitled to take a hefty portion of the patient's paychecks going forward: 25 percent of after-tax pay. For patients who are the head of household, if they tell the hospital or court that information, the hospital can seize only 10 percent of each paycheck.

But Heartland, through the debt collection company Northwest Financial Services, often sues both adults in a household — garnishing one at the 10 percent rate and the other at the full 25 percent of their pay. The hospital also charges patients 9 percent interest, the maximum allowed under state law.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 10:00 am - 6 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

fter the latest of his sermons denouncing the Islamic State, Mohamed Taha Sabri stepped down from an ornate platform at the House of Peace mosque. The 48-year-old chief preacher then moved to greet his congregation, steeling himself for the fallout.

Soon, two young men — they are almost always young, but not always men — were calling him out. Only moments before, Sabri had derided the militants’ tactics, saying “it is not our task to turn women into slaves, to bomb churches, to slaughter people in front of cameras while shouting ‘God is great!’ ”

One young man in a black leather jacket angrily chided him for challenging “Muslim freedom fighters.” His companion in a yellow shirt then chimed in: “What is your problem with the Islamic State? You are on the wrong path!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

December 20, 2014 at 9:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

‘Cheer up, you’re worse than you think,” Rev. Timothy Keller says with a smile. He’s explaining that humans are more weak, more fallen, more warped than they “ever dare admit or even believe.” Then comes the good news: At the same time people are “more loved in Christ and more accepted than they could ever imagine or hope.”

Do you know many New Yorkers who believe that? Perhaps not, but on Sundays some 5,500 city folk file into the church Mr. Keller founded 25 years ago, Redeemer Presbyterian, at eight packed services across three Manhattan locations, the Greenwich Village campus of which I attend on Sundays. The service is traditional, the congregation less so: Most who show up, if you can believe it, are single and under 35, whether bankers, lawyers, actors or artists.

Mr. Keller has a growing national following and is often described as a Christian intellectual who takes on the likes of Nietzsche, Marx and Freud in a sermon rooted in a specific Biblical text. He’ll sprinkle in references from popular culture—something about contentment he read in the Atlantic, a poignant passage from “Lord of the Rings.” His fruitful work has multiplied. Redeemer efforts have helped plant more than 300 churches in 45 cities, from Santiago to Dubai.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriology

December 20, 2014 at 8:28 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over the years I have enjoyed being a member of the Religion Newswriters Association. One of benefits I really enjoy this time of year is the announcement of the top stories in religion. I participate in the voting each year, and I usually am pretty good at picking choices that mirror the 300 or so journalists who take part in the voting. This year, not so much.

We are given a list of the top 25 stories in the field of religion, and are asked to vote for our top 10 selections. We also are asked to vote for the top religion newsmaker of the year, and this year I didn't come even close.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture

December 20, 2014 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Columbia, Mo.—The extremist Islamic State’s violent reign of terror in Iraq and Syria was voted the No. 1 Religion Story of 2014 by the world’s leading religion journalists. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision giving closely held companies the ability to claim religious objections to health care mandates was a close second.

For the second year in a row, Pope Francis was named the top Religion Newsmaker of the Year. He was selected overwhelmingly, receiving more than half of all the votes among a slate of 10 newsmakers.

The online ballot was conducted Friday, Dec. 5 through Wednesday, Dec. 10. Only RNA members, who comprise religion journalists in the U.S. and abroad, were eligible to vote. The Top 10 ballot items are listed here. Because of two ties, the list actually includes 12 stories

Read it all and see what you make of the list.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture

December 20, 2014 at 7:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God of hope, fill us, we beseech thee, with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of thy Holy Spirit, and show forth our thankfulness to thee in trustful and courageous lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

December 20, 2014 at 7:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tibe′ri-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturae′a and Trachoni′tis, and Lysa′ni-as tetrarch of Abile′ne, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Ca′iaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechari′ah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

He said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

--Luke 3:1-9

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 20, 2014 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

December 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm - 4 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There we are: Evangelicals are hidebound and change-allergic, straining attempts at compromise. Never mind that Archbishop Welby – who, as the Times itself says, "backed the push for female bishops" – is himself widely known as an evangelical.

There's also a glitch in the Times saying that Libby Lane's appointment will test the compromise. If Thomas' concern is male oversight for conservative churches, why wouldn't he be satisfied with a female suffragan who draws her authority from a male bishop? He should have been asked, don’t you think?

Nor does the article's grasp of history sound much better. Not when the story says, "The tradition of all-male bishops dates to the Church of England’s break with Rome five centuries ago, in the days of King Henry VIII."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

December 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all--so lovely (just over 3 minutes).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* General InterestAnimals

December 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They are angry at the loss, frustrated that the battle for Mosul is on hold and that Baghdad has failed to support them. In the meantime, they have backing from the Americans who have visited this camp and offered to start training soon.

"Maybe in the next week. Maybe," says Hamdani. But the Americans have made no promises to provide the weapons Hamdani says he needs. "The weapons come from Baghdad."

So far, Baghdad has delivered one small shipment of 1,000 Kalashnikov rifles and 30 heavy machine guns. It's not nearly enough, says Hamdani, against a dangerous enemy that is well-armed with U.S. weapons seized in Mosul when the Iraqi army collapsed in June. The fleeing Iraqi army left behind millions of dollars worth of U.S. armaments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq

December 19, 2014 at 11:25 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Director Ridley Scott ’s $140 million “Exodus: Gods and Kings” isn’t exactly drowning in a red sea, but its $24.1 million opening box office last weekend wasn’t spectacular, either—nearly $20 million below that for March’s “Noah,” another expensive biblical epic. Like “Noah,” this movie had a director who couldn’t bring himself to believe in the story he was telling.

Mr. Scott is famously hostile to faith. The “biggest source of evil is of course religion,” he told Esquire in 2012. Theoretically, that shouldn’t make a difference to his moviemaking.[...but it has].

Mr. Scott’s Moses (Christian Bale) not only can’t match Charlton Heston; his job is not to try. This Moses is a 21st-century skeptic who, instead of becoming the instrument of God in freeing the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, sits back and calls God “cruel” and “inhumane” for visiting plagues upon Egypt. Gone is the rhythmic narration in the Book of Exodus (and DeMille’s movie) in which Moses travels again and again to the pharaoh to demand, “Let my people go” (not uttered in the new movie). God, for his part, is depicted as a vengeful 11-year-old brat ( Isaac Andrews ) who resembles no one so much as Joffrey, the nasty child-tyrant in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 19, 2014 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

December 19, 2014 at 7:28 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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