Posted by The_Elves

Thanks to commenters Pageantmaster and profpk for this topic:
"With twitter, facebook and other social media providing instant albeit short interactions, are weblogs approaching their sell by date?"

"In response to Pageantmaster’s comment, yes I believe blogs are fading as a useful means of communication, even though I have been following TitusOneNine for years and have filched leads from it to post on my Facebook group, Anglican Evangelicals. No one reads my blog, An Anglican Witness, anymore, whereas we are approving new members of the Facebook group daily. I was very pleased when Kendall joined the group."

Is the day of the weblog over? Will it go the way of the VHS video recorder? Do weblogs still perform a useful function?

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social Networking

August 29, 2015 at 9:22 am - 12 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

With thanks to Underground Pewster for suggesting this topic
Losing your religion? What resources may help renewal during spiritual slow downs and do you have any experience of using them?

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 28, 2015 at 9:04 am - 5 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

It is late Summer, the living is easy, and the Elves are feeling lazy. Can you help them out with ideas for an open thread or post? Have you seen something you would like to draw others attention to?
Do you have any suggestions?

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet

August 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm - 9 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina; The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a South Carolina Corporate Body; All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.; Christ St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Christ the King, Waccamaw; Church of The Cross, Inc. And Church of the Cross Declaration of Trust; Church of The Holy Comforter; Church of the Redeemer; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Saint Luke's Church, Hilton Head; St. Matthews Church; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church; St. David's Church; St. James' Church, James Island, S.C.; St. John's Episcopal Church of Florence, S.C.; St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Inc.; St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Bennettsville, Inc.;

Read more...

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* Theology

August 12, 2015 at 6:12 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude reports on his conversations with David Porter - from 'A Conversation with Colin Coward 18th April 2015' at St Brides, Liverpool
OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.

I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.

Read more...

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

July 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm - 9 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

April 28, 2015 at 7:35 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seminary students have a reputation for taking theology seriously. But would they relocate from, say, New York City to Mississippi for a better doctrinal fit?

“Seminarians are not relocating to go to seminary,” said Ligon Duncan, president of the Jackson, Mississippi–based Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). “Many are choosing to attend regional institutions with which they have less theological affinity in order to stay in the same city.”

That’s one key reason why RTS has formed a new partnership with Redeemer City to City, a church-planting network founded in 2001 by Tim Keller. Now RTS students based in New York won’t have to choose between a local school and a Reformed one. (It also has six other extension campuses.)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

August 31, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What does this mean for conservative Christians? Keller uses the analogy of an umbrella:

So what’s happening is the roof has come off for the devout. The devout had a kind of a shelter, an umbrella. You couldn’t be all that caustic toward traditional classic Christian teaching and truth. I spoke on Friday morning to the American Bible Society’s board. American Bible Society does a lot of polling about the Bible. The use of the Bible, reading the Bible, attitudes toward the Bible. They said that actually the number of people who are devout Bible readers is not changing that much.

What is changing is for the first time in history a growing group of people who think the Bible is bad, it’s dangerous, it’s regressive, it’s a bad cultural force, that was just never there. It was very tiny. And that’s because the middle ground has shifted, so it is more identified with the more secular, the less religious, and it’s less identified now with the more devout.

Later, he explains what the loss of this umbrella means for the devout:

The roof came off. That is, you had the devout, you had the secular, and you had that middle ground that made it hard to speak disrespectfully of traditional values. That middle ground now has not so much gone secular, but they more identified with this side. They are identified with expressive individualism, and so they don’t want to tell anybody how to live their lives.

And so what that means now of course is that the devout suddenly realize that they are out there, that the umbrella is gone, and they are taking a lot of flak for their views, just public flak.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

August 31, 2015 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Terrorism is a multifaceted problem, so the solutions should address the political, economic, social and religious layers. Approaches that reduce the problem to religion do a disservice to at-risk youth and the world at large. The international community would do well to realize that Muslims are the primary victims of terrorism—both literally and symbolically—and they can help marginalize terrorists and prevent recruitment. That’s why governments should avoid statements and actions that result in the alienation of Muslims.

Violent extremism has no religion; there will always be people who manipulate faith texts. Just as Christians do not endorse Quran burnings or the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, and Buddhists do not endorse atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, mainstream Muslims do not endorse violence.

Muslims have historically added much to the flourishing of human civilization. Our greatest contributions were made in eras when the faith cherished mutual respect, freedom and justice. It may be immensely difficult to restore the blotted image of Islam, but Muslims can be beacons of peace and tranquility in their societies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

August 31, 2015 at 6:26 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Can the Christian community flourish in a post-Christian context? This is the main question behind a landmark study of the state of faith and effective ministry in Scotland—the first of its kind for Barna Group outside of North America.

Despite levels of secularization that are much higher than in the U.S., the research findings from Scotland will likely strike American readers as familiar: increasing numbers of non-religious adults, declining church attendance numbers and fewer people engaged with the Bible. What is happening? And how can the trends revealed by the research help church leaders in America and beyond do more effective ministry in their own post-Christian context?

The yearlong research effort, commissioned by the Maclellan Foundation, examines the current state of the Christian faith in Scotland and identifies ministry approaches that seem to be working in this particular post-Christian context. While some of the trends revealed in the new report, Transforming Scotland, may paint an uncomfortable picture for church leaders, the research also shows surprising “countertrends” that refute traditional expectations of secularization, including best practices among growing churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland

August 31, 2015 at 5:38 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

August 31, 2015 at 5:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even after pitching his first career no-hitter, Jake Arrieta wasn't too big to wear his PJs.

He threw the second no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 10 days, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 victory Sunday night.

Arrieta was lights-out on the mound, striking out a season-high 12. He was ready for lights out afterward, slipping into one-piece pajamas decorated with moustaches for the overnight flight home.

Fitting, since Arrieta had thought about throwing a no-hitter since he was a kid. His grandfather witnessed one of Nolan Ryan's no-hitters in Texas.

Read it all from ESPN.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports

August 31, 2015 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everliving God, who didst call thy servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and endued them with loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

August 31, 2015 at 4:39 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My God, my Father and Preserver, who of thy goodness hast watched over me during the past night, and brought me to this day, grant also that I may spend it wholly in the worship and service of thy most holy deity. Let me not think, or say, or do a single thing which tends not to thy service and submission to thy will, that thus all my actions may aim at thy glory and the salvation of my brethren, while they are taught by my example to serve thee. And as thou art giving light to this world for the purposes of external life by the rays of the sun, so enlighten my mind by the effulgence of thy Spirit, that he may guide me in the way of thy righteousness. To whatever purpose I apply my mind, may the end which I ever propose to myself be thy honour and service. May I expect all happiness from thy grace and goodness only. Let me not attempt any thing whatever that is not pleasing to thee.

Grant also, that while I labour for the maintenance of this life, and care for the things which pertain to food and raiment, I may raise my mind above them to the blessed and heavenly life which thou hast promised to thy children. Be pleased also, in manifesting thyself to me as the protector of my soul as well as my body, to strengthen and fortify me against all the assaults of the devil, and deliver me from all the dangers which continually beset us in this life. But seeing it is a small thing to have begun, unless I also persevere, I therefore entreat of thee, O Lord, not only to be my guide and director for this day, but to keep me under thy protection to the very end of life, that thus my whole course may be performed under thy superintendence. As I ought to make progress, do thou add daily more and more to the gifts of thy grace until I wholly adhere to thy Son Jesus Christ, whom we justly regard as the true Sun, shining constantly in our minds. In order to my obtaining of thee these great and manifold blessings, forget, and out of thy infinite mercy, forgive my offences, as thou hast promised that thou wilt do to those who call upon thee in sincerity.

(Ps. 143:8.)—Grant that I may hear thy voice in the morning since I have hoped in thee. Show me the way in which I should walk, since I have lifted up my soul unto thee. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord, I have fled unto thee. Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God. Let thy good Spirit conduct me to the land of uprightness.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

August 31, 2015 at 4:17 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

--Psalm 25:1-4

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

August 31, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

August 30, 2015 at 5:27 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

As a researcher, I felt compelled to empirically test my observations about faith and disaster resilience. I began collecting data for my first Katrina study 2 months after the storm. Even now, on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I’m still studying faith and disaster resilience among Katrina survivors. Following are some of the empirical lessons I’ve learned along the way with my colleagues and students...

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHurricane Katrina

August 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who in Christ Jesus hast fulfilled to the sons of men thy ancient word of promise: Grant us grace to lay hold upon that promise by a living faith, that we may receive thy gift of righteousness, and at the last may enter upon our eternal inheritance; through the merits of the same thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

August 30, 2015 at 4:22 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Read more...

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

August 30, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Yesterday marked]... 60 years since Chicago teenager Emmett Till was killed at age 14 for apparently whistling at a white woman in Mississippi.

Civil rights activists, relatives of the black teen and other families "victimized by racial violence" -- including the family of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown -- have invited the public to unite for a commemorative weekend in Chicago to remember Till and to continue the legacy of Till's mother, Mamie Till Mobley.

"As I travel across the country supporting families who have lost their loved ones through hate crimes, I realized that Mamie lived her life fighting for our youth and fighting for Emmett’s legacy,” Till's cousin Airicka Gordon Taylor, said in a news release. "This is why we have decided to host the Commemoration. This moment is for Mamie and all that she sacrificed. This is for Emmett, the sacrificial lamb whose death changed the course of the Civil Rights Movement."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

August 29, 2015 at 4:15 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it. Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the "virtues." In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are "good," it does not matter being a fool. But that is a misunderstanding. In the first place, most children show plenty of "prudence" about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly. In the second place, as St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only "as harmless as doves," but also "as wise as serpents." He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. The proper motto is not "Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever," but "Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can." God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world.
----C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (my emphasis)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

August 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

August 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The floodwaters retreated. Homes were rebuilt. New Orleans rebounded with Mardi Gras, jazz festivals and even a Super Bowl in 2013.

In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina smashed the shoreline of the Gulf Coast, the images of despair grew distant.

But for the people who lost everything, they never went away.

In the immediate aftermath of the destruction, survivors opened up to NBC News about their loss, grief and rage.

We reconnected with those same survivors recently — and learned how the storm, even a decade later, still shapes their lives.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHurricane Katrina

August 29, 2015 at 1:57 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

A prominent priest in the Diocese of Menevia has announced he is leaving the Catholic Church for the Anglican Communion.

Fr Ceirion Gilbert was a parish priest at Briton Ferry in Neath, director of youth services, chaplain to two secondary schools, secretary to the bishop’s council and in charge of the diocese’s online and social media presence. He is also a fluent Welsh speaker. He has now, however, announced he is to be received into the Church in Wales on 12 October and will continue ordained ministry in the Diocese of Llandaff.

In the letter below he explains why he decided to leave the Catholic Church.
...the church is wherever and whenever in a life or in the life of a community Christ is proclaimed as Lord, and the Paschal Mystery of sacrificial and hence life-nurturing Love proclaimed, not so much in rite and liturgy but in reality and life. The question that will be asked of us before the Gates of he Kingdom of heaven will not be what particular brand of Christianity we belonged to but, surely, the one question that takes different forms in the Gospel stories but remains essentially the same: "Have you loved? Have you been a person of compassion, solidarity, of healing and hope, as you were able, in the places and with the people whose stories touched your own?" Love one another, as I have loved you. Ecumenism is not about doing everything we can do so that "they ( non-Catholics) come back to us" (an interpretation that, sadly, seems still to be in practice that of the Catholic Hierarchy) but is rather about dismantling the unnecessary and obstructive barriers of dogma and definition, history and tradition that have decimated our common home and prevent us from seeing the clarity of that simple but immense and profound truth. We are all disciples, walking in our own ways, in our own time, with our own baggage, and yes with our own styles and differences of expression and language - but together following him, the crucified and risen one. Where he leads us, not where we think we should be going.

And it is him, his words and his life that have led me to that other "truth" that I find defines my life and my choices - and this decision, as well. What is the Church - and ministry and priesthood and liturgy and sacrament- really "for"?

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Wales

August 29, 2015 at 9:50 am - 3 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

This is a piece of driftwood that my family found on the beach in Cornwall where we used to go for our holidays. In our family, like every other family, sometimes we had rows and ructions with the kids as they were growing up. As a child growing up in Yorkshire, a word used in the playground was “Barlow”, said in order to take time out and call a truce.

So this is our family Barlow stick, and whenever there was a row in the family, someone would pick up the stick and say “Barlow” so we would all have to stop whatever we were doing and sit down and talk to each other.

In every house I’ve lived in, and I have moved quite a lot, our Barlow stick sits in front of the fire in the main room. The kids have all left home now and we haven’t had to use it for a long time but it serves as a reminder that you don’t always have to be locked or stuck in conflict. You can stop at any point and this free gift from the beach reminds us that you can live a life that’s marked by peace as long as there is some way you can stop, and that’s what our Barlow stick is for…

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 29, 2015 at 7:16 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..In a society which genuinely prizes freedom and equality, the chief principle of debate and argument must be persuasion rather than coercion. Just as I claim the right to put my point of view – respectfully and without interruption or abuse – so I must be willing to uphold the right of my opponent to the same courtesies. Shouting louder and hurling abuse is no substitute for careful argument and reasoned conclusions. Threatening those who disagree with you with legal or economic sanctions might eventually force them into silence but at what cost to democracy and free speech?

Across the world this debate has been accompanied by the application of a range of strategies to silence dissent. As one of the US Supreme Court justices remarked in the recent judgment on same-sex marriage, there is an emerging new orthodoxy which is relentless in its persecution of those who disagree. The idea of conscientious objection is dismissed with the cavalier suggestion that no one of good conscience or in their right mind could possibly object to what is being proposed.

So anti-discrimination legislation is applied – though only ever in one direction. No one complains when corporations declare they will only do business with those who support the gay agenda but there is a hue and cry when one of 10 bakers in a town refuses to bake a cake with a activist slogan on top. Worst of all, terms like "hateful", "intolerant", and "bigoted" are applied before an argument is even heard, and applied in the most aggressive, belligerent and intolerant manner. They are intended to shut down the argument before it even begins. Witness Q&A last week.

Is there a way of reframing the debate, even at this late stage, which abandons coercion for genuine persuasion? Is there any hope that those who dissent on this issue may freely continue to do so without fear of reprisal? Could we get to the point where we will do all in our power to protect the freedom of those with whom we disagree? Can we get beyond the slogans – and full marks to the person who came up with the slogan "marriage equality" – to a considered debate of the issues, the evidence and the consequences? This is the debate behind the debate and one which, for all our sakes, needs to come out into the open.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family

August 29, 2015 at 7:11 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..as part of a wider effort to reform a church led by an often corrupt and ignorant clergy, Cranmer had produced a book of twelve Homilies. Every parish in the land was required to own them, and every parish priest to preach them. The ninth of these homilies is entitled: An Exhortation Against The Fear Of Death. Cranmer outlines three reasons why men fear to die: a fear at losing worldly honours, a fear of the suffering and pain that attends dying, and the ‘chief cause’ of fear, namely, ‘the dread of the miserable state of damnation’. He then goes on,
“There is never a one of all these causes… that can make a true Christian man afraid to die, but plainly contrary, he conceives great and many causes undoubtedly grounded upon the infallible and everlasting truth of the Word of God, which moves him not only to put away the fear of bodily death, but also (for the manifold benefits and singular commodities which ensues to every faithful person by reason of the same) to wish, desire, and long heartily for it. For death shall be to him no death at all, but a very deliverance from death, from all pains, cares and sorrows, miseries, and wretchedness of this world, and the very entry into rest, and a beginning of everlasting joy… And we ought to believe that death being slain by Christ cannot keep any man that steadfastly trust in Christ under his perpetual tyranny and subjection…”
But there is a large difference between words written in the safety of an archbishop’s study, and words believed in the shadow of a looming stake! ...

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 29, 2015 at 7:01 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Inklings lived in a society that became successively less Christian-a society that more and more resemble our own-but they offer some hope for us in our own fragmented culture.
................
The Inklings were men who had seen the worst the world has to offer, but who wanted to offer, in contrast, something higher, a vision of a reality we only sometimes glimpse that is as real as any horror, and more eternal. Carol Zaleski summed up the great gift of The Inklings in this way:

We read, Lewis once said, because "we seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves. . . . . We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own." All literature offers us this gift - it takes us out of ourselves - but mythopoeic literature has a particular power to make spiritual realities imaginatively plausible. That doesn't mean that religious people need or wish to live in a dream world, lulled by compensatory fantasies. Far from it! If the Inklings succeeded as writers it was because they wedded realism to hope and fantasy to reason.

The Inklings were involved in a great enterprise, and to a larger degree than they might have imagined possible, they created something lasting and important. As the book puts it, "their great hope was to restore Western culture to its religious roots, to unleash the powers of the imagination, to reenchant the world through Christian faith and pagan beauty." Because they worked largely in fantastic realms, in fantasy and science fiction and faerie, the Inklings were able to approach many real-world issues obliquely, without, as Lewis once put it, "waking the sleeping dragons of reason," to deal with faith, war, technology, and many other contemporary concerns. The Fellowship does an admirable job of capturing why the Inklings mattered--and of arguing for their ongoing relevance.

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 29, 2015 at 6:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of peace, who didst call John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in thy heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

August 29, 2015 at 6:35 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at the carpenter’s bench didst manifest the dignity of honest labour, and dost give to each of us our tasks to perform: Help us to do our daily work with readiness of mind and singleness of heart, not with eye-service as menpleasers, but as thy servants, labouring heartily as unto thee and not unto men, so that whatever we do, great or small, may be to the glory of thy holy name.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

August 29, 2015 at 6:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

--Psalm 20:6-9

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

August 29, 2015 at 6:05 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves


Filed under: * Culture-WatchMusic

August 28, 2015 at 9:24 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The love of God is revolutionary. It is not a careless, sentimental, “I love you.” The love of God transforms, it changes you completely! When Jesus died on the cross carrying our sins and our burdens, he literally took our hatred, our bitterness, our lies and our unforgiveness into the grave. When He rose on the third day, He left those unwanted commodities in the grave. He came out triumphant bursting out with love!. God is LOVE!

When you hate, you are walking back into the grave to take what Jesus has already deposited there. When you say you will not forgive, you are going back to the grave and taking something that is like contraband in heaven! You cannot take hatred or lies or unforgiveness to heaven. If it is useless to God and to you so why carry it around?

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeBiblical Commentary & Reflection

August 28, 2015 at 9:21 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Next year's census has a very subtle edit that may completely change the way Australia sees itself and have drastic consequences for the way government money is spent on welfare and education.

For the first time since the "no religion" option was introduced in 1991, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will place it first on a list of answers to the question "what is the person's religion", and move the "Catholic" option into second position.

As every politician knows, getting to top spot on the ballot paper has a big impact.

In the last census taken in 2011, 5.4 million people picked the "Catholic" box and a total of 13.1 million Australians (61.1 per cent) said their religion was some type of Christianity. Meanwhile 4.7 million (22.2 per cent) Australians picked "no religion", or wrote down agnosticism, atheism, humanism or rationalism. The "no religion" option was in a difficult-to-find location under the "other please specify" box.
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the ACL has previously reminded members about the importance of ticking the right box on the census form. Governments use the ABS data to "plan for services and infrastructure" and "we need to prove the size of the constituency who hold these values," the ACL told members in August 2011.

So is it possible Australia is no longer a Christian nation? When a similar change was introduced into the New Zealand census the country's Christians lost their position as the majority and the number of people recording no religion jumped from 35 per cent to 42 per cent.

And placing the 'no religion' box at the top of the list could swing the results significantly, according to associate professor Roger Wilkins at the University of Melbourne

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia

August 28, 2015 at 8:45 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Chinese security forces have launched a roundup of church activists who opposed a Communist party campaign to remove crosses.

“At least nine people I know have been taken away by the police and that figure is still rising,” a church leader in the eastern province of Zhejiang – the operation’s focus – told the Guardian on Thursday afternoon.

“We think it is a campaign targeting church leaders across the province. It can only be a co-ordinated action initiated by the provincial government.”

Among those understood to have been detained is Zhang Kai, a prominent Beijing human rights lawyer who had been offering legal support to a number of churches in the region.

Friction between the Communist party and the church has been building in in Zhejiang since late 2013 when authorities initiated a demolition campaign that they said targeted illegal buildings.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

August 28, 2015 at 8:39 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

It wants videos with "reasonable messages, better messages" to drown out extremism, and is recruiting Muslims to make them. But will it work?
On a Thursday night late last fall, after leaving the Manhattan office where he works as a digital products specialist, Aman Ali -- a well-known comedian in American Muslim circles -- received an unusual email from YouTube.

“We need you,” read the note, which invited Ali to the company’s sprawling, 41,000-square-foot production facility in Los Angeles and promised a free flight and two nights in a hotel. “Muslim community leaders [are] struggling to have their voices heard against the overwhelming extremist and bigoted content currently surfacing the web.”

The words “Islamic State” appeared nowhere in the note asking Muslims like Ali to “change the discourse,” but the message was clear. The terrorist organization's vast media arm, with its slick recruitment videos, was winning the propaganda war. Muslims needed to figure out a way to fight back and “get your voices heard.”

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsTerrorism

August 28, 2015 at 8:07 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Aisha Yesufu is the chairwoman of the strategic committee of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign in Abuja.

"We keep on hoping that the girls will be found. We will keep up the fight, there will be no retreat, no surrender on the Chibok girls until each one of them is accounted for," she told DW.

Activists have organized numerous events this week to mark the 500 days of the disappearance of the more than 200 girls. They included Muslim and Christian prayer services, a tree planting ceremony and a march through Abuja.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

August 28, 2015 at 7:56 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

For years, the Rev. Philip Woo, the feisty leader of a small Protestant church here, has delighted in testing the limits of China’s restrictive laws on religion. From his perch in Hong Kong, he has delivered fiery sermons on human rights, led seminars on social problems for mainland students, and ordained pastors in the mainland without permission from the ruling Communist Party.

But Mr. Woo, a longtime Hong Kong resident, was startled when he was summoned across the border recently for a meeting with officials from the State Administration for Religious Affairs. Over tea, he said, the officials rattled off a list of laws they said he had violated, and they ordered him to stop...

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

August 28, 2015 at 7:45 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new report suggesting that marriage is “alive and well” among the rich, but not the poor, is evidence that the “liberal elite” are hypocrites, a researcher said this week.

“It’s very striking that the liberal elite will happily tell everyone that it does not matter if you marry or not, yet nearly 90 per cent, even today, get married if they have children,” Harry Benson, research director at the Marriage Foundation, said on Tuesday.

“They talk a good liberal story, but act in very conservative ways for themselves. . . These modern-day Pharisees tell us how to live our lives, but live their own lives in a completely different way.”

The report from the Marriage Foundation, The Marriage Gap, looks at mothers with children under the age of five. In 2012, 87 per cent of mothers with an annual household income of above £45,000 were married.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

August 28, 2015 at 7:31 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Iran appears to have built an extension to part of its Parchin military site since May, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report on Thursday, as part of its inquiry into possible military dimensions of Tehran's past nuclear activity.

A resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Parchin file, which includes a demand for fresh IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran's July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers.

The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said:

"Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building" appeared to have been built.

The changes were first observed last month, a senior diplomat familiar with the Iran file said.

The IAEA says any activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since U.N. inspectors last visited in 2005 could jeopardize its ability to verify Western intelligence suggesting Tehran carried out tests there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations more than a decade ago. Iran has dismissed the intelligence as "fabricated".

Read it all and for the earlier Associated Press report see AP Exclusive: UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site and follow up here

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIran

August 28, 2015 at 6:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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