Posted by The_Elves

My ACI colleagues Ephraim Radner and Christopher Seitz have recently published a “Marriage Pledge” in the journal First Things in which they undertake to refrain from serving as agents of the state in marriage by, e.g., signing government-provided marriage certificates. Couples will be asked to contract civil marriage separately from “weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.” Their reasoning is that as civil marriage has been progressively redefined it no longer coincides with the Christian understanding of marriage: “to continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.”

...Many of the responses to the Marriage Pledge from both sides of the divide on same sex marriage have reflected substantial confusion over the distinction between Christian and civil marriage and what the role of the clergy is in the marriage ceremony. My purpose here is to clarify that distinction and then to evaluate criticisms of the Pledge in light of this discussion.
..................
...The differences between Christian and civil marriage in New York (and note once again that the nature and terms of civil marriage vary from state to state) could hardly be more stark. Christian marriage is a lifelong union created by God between a man and a woman; New York civil marriage is a terminable contract between any two eligible people—no bigamy or incest—with terms specified and amended from time to time by the legislature and courts of the state of New York.

Practical Implementation of the Marriage Pledge

The purpose of the Marriage Pledge is to keep these radically different concepts of marriage distinct so that no one, whether inside or outside the Church, thinks they are the same. How might the Pledge work in practice?......

Given these considerations, any of the following options would be available to the couple and priest subscribing to the Marriage Pledge:

1.The couple first contracts a civil marriage either by a written contract or oral recitations at the courthouse followed at a convenient time by entering into a Christian marriage using any of the three matrimonial rites specified in the Book of Common Prayer: “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage”; “The Blessing of a Civil Marriage”; or “An Order of Marriage.” All are consistent with the prior creation of a civil marriage contract.

2.The couple first enters into Christian marriage by means of either the first or third of the matrimonial rites followed in due course by contracting a civil marriage at the courthouse. The rite for “Blessing of a Civil Marriage” would not be appropriate for obvious reasons, but neither of the other two prohibits a subsequent civil contract. The rubrics for both require compliance with the civil law, but the civil law does not require a simultaneous—or even any—religious ceremony.

3.The couple could enter into a Christian marriage without entering into a civil contract at all. As noted earlier, one interpretation of the rubric and canonical requirement of compliance with civil law is that a civil contract is necessary, but civil law does not require that all religious marriages also be civil ones. Thus, the most likely effect of this provision is to prohibit bigamous and incestuous marriages.
.......
Objections to the Marriage Pledge

It is in light of the above what to make of the objections made thus far to the Pledge?

What would we be doing in the rite of matrimony if not solemnizing civil marriage? Something new?

Not at all. The couples married in a Christian marriage would be doing what they have always been doing since the earliest days of the church—and doing in the Episcopal Church since the publication of the 1789 Book of Common Prayer: entering into the “holy estate” of matrimony, the physical and spiritual union created by God upon the making of a public covenant by the bride and groom through their vows. In contrast, as the Ponorovskaya court noted, marriage licenses are “a relatively recent innovation, with statewide registration of marriages not having begun until 1881 at the earliest.”

Clergy taking the Marriage Pledge are leaving the distasteful actions to the couple rather than doing that work themselves and getting their hands dirty.

Hardly. Nothing in either the Pledge or the light of reason suggests there is anything “dirty” about civil marriage. It provides tax benefits to many couples and opens up useful strategies for maximizing Social Security benefits. It is often necessary in private commerce for securing benefits such as health insurance. The fact that non-believers, adherents of other religions and those not eligible for Christian marriage enter these civil contracts as well has no moral significance. They also obtain passports and drivers’ licenses, both of which can be useful to Christians as well. Civil marriage is not distasteful; it can be good. But it is not Christian marriage—although many (including some of the objectors) confuse the two. Hence the need for the Pledge.

This means abandoning the fight for traditional civil marriage in the public square.

Not at all. The fight for traditional civil marriage is based on natural law and the protection and flourishing of society. It cannot be based on an identification or conflation of Christian and civil marriage for they are not and never have been the same thing. The fight to preserve civil marriage, however, is not the same as the fight to protect and strengthen Christian marriage. As public surveys, divorce rates and even the responses to the Marriage Pledge demonstrate, too many people both inside and outside the church equate Christian marriage with whatever the state authorities determine civil marriage to be at any given time. The Marriage Pledge is one effort to change that misconception.

Read it all and there is a shortened version without the BCP, canonical and legal references on First Things

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family

November 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm - 7 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

In many jurisdictions, including many of the United States, civil authorities have adopted a definition of marriage that explicitly rejects the age-old requirement of male-female pairing. In a few short years or even months, it is very likely that this new definition will become the law of the land, and in all jurisdictions the rights, privileges, and duties of marriage will be granted to men in partnership with men, and women with women.

As Christian ministers we must bear clear witness. This is a perilous time. Divorce and co-­habitation have weakened marriage. We have been too complacent in our responses to these trends. Now marriage is being fundamentally redefined, and we are ­being tested yet again. If we fail to take clear action, we risk falsifying God’s Word.

Read more...

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family

November 18, 2014 at 9:32 am - 81 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

During the last eighteen months or so I have had the opportunity to visit thirty-six other Primates of the Anglican Communion at various points. This has involved a total of 14 trips lasting 96 days in all. I incidentally calculated that it involves more than eleven days actually sitting in aeroplanes. This seemed to be a good moment therefore to speak a little about the state of the Communion and to look honestly at some of the issues that are faced and the possible ways forward.

Read more...

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

November 17, 2014 at 10:56 am - 31 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Today the Illinois Supreme Court posted twenty-eight pages of its recent dispositions of requests made by losing parties for leave to appeal their decision to that Court. On page twelve, at the very top, appears this brief notation:
No. 118186 - The Diocese of Quincy et al., respondents, v. The Episcopal Church et al., petitioners. Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Fourth District. (4-13-0901)

Petition for leave to appeal denied.

What this means is that the highest court of a State has now ruled that there is no provision in the governing documents of the Episcopal Church (USA) that keeps a Diocese from withdrawing its membership in that organization. The Church in fact is an unincorporated association of dioceses fashioned under American common law, and not under the laws of any one given State. Under the First Amendment, members of such associations are free to leave the group at any time, with only reasonable restrictions placed on their ability to do so (they could be required to pay any back dues still owed, for example). The opinion delivered last April by the Illinois Fourth District Court of Appeal stands as written.

ECUSA’s options are now very limited. They could ask the Illinois Supreme Court to rehear their request -- a move that has never been known to be successful among the Illinois attorneys to whom I have talked. And they have 90 days within which to file a petition for certiorari (review) with the United States Supreme Court -- which thus far has turned down every other recent petition in the various church property cases.

Moreover, the Diocese of Chicago was never admitted to the case as the successor to the remnant Diocese of Quincy that merged into it a year ago September. So there is a procedural difficulty to ECUSA's taking the case further: it no longer has a diocese as a co-party which it can misleadingly try to put forward as "the real Diocese of Quincy." And if no diocese is a party, who is left to complain that the departure of the Anglican Diocese was null and void, because the "real one" is right here? Just ECUSA, which itself is not a diocese, but an association of dioceses -- and it already has lost that argument in two Illinois courts.

Meanwhile, however, the decision will come as a very useful precedent for the courts in the other pending diocesan withdrawal cases -- which present a unique question that the Illinois court is now the first to have definitively decided. Watch for the withdrawing dioceses to cite the case to the courts in Texas (Ft. Worth), California (San Joaquin) and South Carolina.

Read it all

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

November 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The family of Lee Rigby have said they hold Facebook partly responsible for his murder, after a report found it failed to take action over an online chat in which one of the killers vowed to slay a soldier.

The Intelligence and Security Committee’s long-awaited report yesterday labelled an unnamed internet company, widely reported to be Facebook, a “safe haven for terrorists” because it did not flag up the online exchange between Michael Adebowale and a foreign jihadist, which took place five months before Fusilier Rigby’s murder.

The parliamentary watchdog’s chair Sir Malcolm Rifkind stated that the web firm could have made a difference by raising the conversation, and said there was “a significant possibility that MI5 would have been able to prevent the attack” as Adebowale would have become “a top priority.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

African church leaders, theologians and health professionals have drawn up a road map they hope might help ease stigma and educate faith communities in the fight against Ebola.

The virus has killed more than 5,000 so far and has been declared a global security threat by the U.N.

The road map, drawn at a three-day conference that ended Wednesday (Nov. 26) in Nairobi and was attended by 70 religious and health care leaders, highlights the role faith groups can play as part of the global response, according to church leaders.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfrica* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

November 26, 2014 at 11:25 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Romania, the civil and religious ceremonies of marriage are not the same, due primarily to the fact that evangelical ministers do not have the authority to act as ministers of the state. (And I don’t think my Baptist friends there would accept the authority if it were offered to them.)

Our December 6 journey to the Courthouse with friends, family, and witnesses was a hoop to jump through. We’ve never considered the 6th to be our anniversary because the civil ceremony was simply a precursor to the real moment of marriage, which took place in Corina’s church.

I’m not saying that now is the time for a divorce between civil and Christian marriage. I haven’t signed the pledge. (I’m with Tolkien, not Lewis on this issue.) But I do think we can learn something from brothers and sisters in other parts of the world who have never had nor sought the ministerial privileges of authorizing civil marriage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 26, 2014 at 9:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Artificial intelligence, once confined to the realm of science fiction, is changing our lives. Cars are driving themselves. Drones are being programmed to deliver packages. Computers are learning to diagnose diseases. In a recent book, the economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee describe these recent advances as examples of the beginning of what they call “the second machine age.”

The very name – the first machine age was the Industrial Revolution – suggests an epochal shift. And, indeed, if the predictions are to be believed, these technological advances could have profound implications for the way we live.

One common forecast is that as ever-more advanced robots substitute workers, the cost of labor will become less important, and manufacturing will move back to rich countries. Another is that increasingly intelligent machines will reduce the demand for advanced skills, and that the economic advantage of having these skills will decline as a result.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 26, 2014 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* General InterestHumor / Trivia* TheologyTheology: Scripture

November 26, 2014 at 6:29 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are witnessing that the state has no business in recreating marriage, but the state does have a responsibility to safeguard children, by holding mothers and fathers to their vows to each other and to the next generation.

In this sense, we are acting much as Jesus did when he was asked about the payment of the temple tax. Jesus believed himself and his disciples to be heirs of the kingdom and thus free from this obligation. Nonetheless, he paid the half-shekel “so as not to give offense to them” (Matt. 17:27).

If the state ever attempts to force us to call marriage that which is not marriage in our churches and ceremonies, let’s obey God, even if that means we sing our wedding hymns in the prison block. But, for now, by registering Gospel-qualified unions as civil marriages and not officiating at unions that are not Gospel-qualified, we call the government to its responsibility even as we call attention to its limits.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

November 26, 2014 at 6:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

November 26, 2014 at 6:00 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Islamist suicide bombers have killed an estimated 60 people in a crowded market in Nigeria. The attack comes just days after the Islamist group Al Shabab hijacked a bus in Kenya and murdered 28 non-Muslim passengers.

Could Africa go down the path of Iraq and Syria? Dr Leah Farrall, research associate at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and a former terrorism analyst for the Australian Federal Police, explains.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfrica* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* Theology

November 26, 2014 at 5:45 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The WCC Executive Committee welcomes and supports the statement of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCCUSA) and together with them reiterates a call in this time of serious tension for the city of Ferguson that its citizens, law enforcement officials, justice-seekers, and others respond in a non-violent manner. We also join the NCCCUSA in expressing appreciation to the churches and faith communities in St Louis, Missouri who have declared themselves to be “sanctuary churches” and “sacred spaces.”

The WCC Executive Committee believes that the current situation in Missouri underlines the deep-rooted problems of race relations and racial profiling in the United States of America. We stress that the human dignity of everyone must be respected regardless of race, ethnicity, or culture, and the critical importance of justice being seen to be done.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 26, 2014 at 5:35 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will further divide our communities and saddens us as leaders of nearly three dozen of our region’s congregations, faith and ethical communities.

Frustrated youth and law enforcement officials worship together within our doors. Our Clergy Caucus is called to consecrate the streets of St. Louis as safe places for all our citizens, and in particular our black and brown children and brothers and sisters. We are called to discern and name all systems, institutions, and processes that dehumanize black and brown people and that distort the purposes of justice, peace, and equality that we believe God intends for this region.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

November 26, 2014 at 5:29 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I implore each of you: Choose peace! Reject any false and empty hope that violence will solve problems. Violence only creates more violence. Let’s work for a better, stronger, more holy community— one founded upon respect for each other, respect for life, and our shared responsibility for the common good.

In 1979, Saint John Paul II visited the war-torn and weary nation of Ireland to decry years of violence. “Violence is evil…” the pope said. “Violence is unacceptable as a solution to problems.” How true this saint’s words are. He didn’t merely condemn violence; he also aptly described the depravity of violent behavior by saying:

“Violence is unworthy of man. Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity. Violence destroys what it claims to defend: the dignity, the life, the freedom of human beings. Violence is a crime against humanity, for it destroys the very fabric of society.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

November 26, 2014 at 5:14 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I'd buy paracetamol rather than food" says 16-year-old Alice, addicted to painkillers, who can purchase an amazing quantity thereof on her way to school.

Listen to it all (26 1/2 minutes) and you can read a bit about Sally Marlow there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

November 26, 2014 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer

November 26, 2014 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Grant us, O Lord our God, ever to find in thee a very present help in trouble.

When we are in the darkness of doubt or perplexity, shed thy light upon our way.

When we are burdened with the affairs of our daily life, lift us to the calm of thy presence.

When we are battling with temptation and the flesh is weak, by the might of thy Spirit make us strong to overcome.

We ask these things through him in whom we are more than conquerors, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

November 26, 2014 at 4:19 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchae′us; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchae′us, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchae′us stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”

--Luke 19:1-10

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

November 26, 2014 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...I think Christian community provides something distinctive that you don’t get other places. (Other religious communities provide their own distinctives.)

But I can’t exactly fault young people for not being jazzed about deciding there are better uses of their time than choosing between Corporate Candidate Chet and SuperPAC Steve at the ballot box. And let’s not dump on them for not jumping on board with church, when what “church” often means is “the way we’ve always done it . . . until you’re around long enough for us to trust you to suggest ways we can change.”

The whole Diane Rehm discussion—and the discussion so many churches have—is backward. The question isn’t how to convince young people to show up and vote, or to go to church. The question is, what is it about the “product” that they find utterly un-worth their time?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureSociologyYoung Adults* Theology

November 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In light of the grand jury decision handed down tonight in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, I think it is of utmost importance that all Christians, but specifically white evangelicals, talk a little less and listen a little more.

Or, put another way, maybe some need to spend less time insisting that African Americans shouldn't be upset and spend more time asking why some are. Yes, this case reminds us again that the racial divide is clear, as a just released CNN poll demostrated.

I wasn't in the grand jury room, and I don't know the evidence, but many godly African American leaders are hurting and they are explaining why.

I think we should listen to them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I hold in my hands my iphone. Perhaps you have one too. The Apple industry of computers and phones has changed our world out of all recognition. What does this small gadget have in common with the book in my right hand- which is a Bible? There is a direct connection; they are both things that have changed the world. The legendary tale is told of Steve Jobs saying to John Sculley who was at Pepsi Cola and, as you may know, Jobs wanted Sculley to join his firm: "Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?" Sayings rarely get better than that!

Apple and Microsoft combined have done exactly that – but William Tyndale, whom we celebrate today, eclipses both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPoetry & Literature* Theology

November 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With public revulsion rising in response to snowballing accusations that Bill Cosby victimized women in serial fashion throughout his trailblazing career, the response from those in the know has been: What took so long?

What took so long is that those in the know kept it mostly to themselves. No one wanted to disturb the Natural Order of Things, which was that Mr. Cosby was beloved; that he was as generous and paternal as his public image; and that his approach to life and work represented a bracing corrective to the coarse, self-defeating urban black ethos.

Only the first of those things was actually true....

We all have our excuses, but in ignoring these claims, we let down the women who were brave enough to speak out publicly against a powerful entertainer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMediaMenMovies & TelevisionPsychologyViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Does the call for Christians to separate matrimony from government marriage mean we’re retreating from the public square? Damon Linker thinks so. He calls it an “unprecedented retreat of theologically conservative churches from engagement in American public life.”

That’s exactly wrong.

If the Marriage Pledge is a retreat, it’s a retreat from this: the illusion that the Christian view of marriage can comfortably accommodate a definition of marriage that has strayed so far from revelation and reason that it now allows men to marry men and women to marry women. We all have to live with the reality of the sexual revolution, but Christians cannot make peace with it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

November 25, 2014 at 11:34 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It also needs to be kept in mind that apart from the pursuit of truth, each individual becomes the criterion for measuring himself and his own actions. The way is thus opened to a subjectivistic assertion of rights, so that the concept of human rights, which has an intrinsically universal import, is replaced by an individualistic conception of rights. This leads to an effective lack of concern for others and favours that globalization of indifference born of selfishness, the result of a conception of man incapable of embracing the truth and living an authentic social dimension.

This kind of individualism leads to human impoverishment and cultural aridity, since it effectively cuts off the nourishing roots on which the tree grows. Indifferent individualism leads to the cult of opulence reflected in the throwaway culture all around us. We have a surfeit of unnecessary things, but we no longer have the capacity to build authentic human relationships marked by truth and mutual respect. And so today we are presented with the image of a Europe which is hurt, not only by its many past ordeals, but also by present-day crises which it no longer seems capable of facing with its former vitality and energy; a Europe which is a bit tired and pessimistic, which feels besieged by events and winds of change coming from other continents.

To Europe we can put the question: “Where is your vigour? Where is that idealism which inspired and ennobled your history? Where is your spirit of curiosity and enterprise? Where is your thirst for truth, a thirst which hitherto you have passionately shared with the world?

The future of the continent will depend on the answer to these questions.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 25, 2014 at 9:01 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

His views on the Middle East have often put him at odds with the Church. In his 20s, he abandoned a career as a doctor to become a vicar, eventually heading up the Church of England's International Centre for Reconciliation (ICR) where his work took him to the Middle East.

He backed the 2003 invasion in Iraq and afterwards restored St George's, the only Anglican church in the country. He has endured kidnappings, bombings and the recent onslaught of Islamic State, which forced him to leave in the face of grave threats to his life. Now, he is pushing for more war, saying the countries that invaded Iraq must go back in force to stop IS.

When he moves outside his church, White was protected by up to 35 Iraqi guards. But when he meets The Huffington Post UK, he is sitting without protection in a leather arm chair, at his home in Liphook, Hampshire. By White's own estimation, he has spent 70 to 80 days of the year at most in the UK since he went to the Middle East.

A family friend of White's told me he seems to know everyone wherever he is, to which White replies: "The only place I've ever been where I don't know everybody is here." The walls of this room are covered in crucifixes he collects, maps of Iraq and Baghdad and a letter from former US President George W. Bush thanking him for his work there.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsIraq WarTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 25, 2014 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Without the hundreds of volunteers who are active before and during the one-day event, the Fayre couldn’t happen. “The event is organised and run by unpaid volunteers from the three churches in the parish of the Anglican Church of Paphos – St Luke’s, Prodromi, St Stephen’s, Tala and Ayia Kyriaki, Kato Paphos,” said Payne. “Most people are retired British expats aged between 50 years and 90 plus.”

On the day, upwards of 100 people are involved manning the stalls and attractions, catering, security, entrance, car parking, first aid and providing general help. Setting up stalls and decor takes all day on the day before.
The event, which has been running for some 20 years, is well-known for loyally raising significant sums for hand-picked lesser-known charities where a little bit of cash can go a long way.
“With the exception of Paphos General Hospital where we donate an item of equipment which they have asked for to the value of a few hundred euros, we give cash,” said Payne. “This is used at the discretion of each charity; some goes towards general running costs, other towards the costs of specific items they need.”

At its peak just before the 2008 economic downturn which gradually impacted locally, the event raised in the region of €17,000 each year for charities. But with many feeling the pinch in recent years, funds have dropped considerably. “This year we will be delighted if we make the same €10,000 as in 2013,” said Payne.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

November 25, 2014 at 7:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected Boko Haram militants attacked a Nigerian border town in the restive northeast on Monday, setting fire to houses and killing an unknown number of people, witnesses and government sources said.

Hours after the raid started on Damasak, gunmen still roamed the area, with many locals seeking to flee into neighbouring Niger, just to the north of the town.

It was the third major attack over the last week in Nigeria's Borno State, which have already seen close to 100 people die, including more than 25 people, mostly fishermen, shot dead in a remote community over the weekend.

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

November 25, 2014 at 6:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sunday morning is an inconvenient time for church services because people are busy shopping and doing DIY, the Church of England has admitted.

Worshippers are increasingly turning their backs on the centuries-old practice of attending worship on Sundays because of other leisure and social “commitments”, it said.

The admission came alongside new figures showing that attendances at midweek services in cathedrals have doubled in a decade while numbers in the pews in parishes on Sundays continue to fall.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, said many people still crave quiet reflection, but are seeking out less “pressurised” times in the week to worship than Sunday mornings.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

November 25, 2014 at 6:00 am - 4 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A wrongfully convicted man who spent 36 years behind bars in California was set free Monday.

In Ventura, Superior Court Judge Donald D. Coleman ordered Michael Ray Hanline, 68, to be released but required that he still wear a GPS monitoring device.

It was found that DNA evidence collected at the crime scene did not match Hanline's or that of his alleged accomplice, according to court documents. Also, a key witness was found to be under the influence of drugs when she testified against him.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchCapital PunishmentHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 25, 2014 at 5:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

All of St. Louis owes a debt of gratitude to the 12 St. Louis County citizens who served on the grand jury that has decided that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson will not stand trial for the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown.

The debt is owed not for the decision. The debt would have been owed had the grand jurors come back with an indictment.

The debt is owed for hanging in there while all about them the experts and would-be experts speculated about what happened on Canfield Drive shortly after noon on that warm Saturday afternoon.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

November 25, 2014 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O loving God, by whose grace thy servant James Huntington gathered a community dedicated to love and discipline and devotion to the holy Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ: Send thy blessing upon all who proclaim Christ crucified, and move the hearts of many to look unto him and be saved; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

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

November 25, 2014 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, who by thy holy apostle hast called upon us to present our bodies to thee a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service: Graciously hear us, we beseech thee, O Lord, and grant that we may so dedicate ourselves wholly to thy service that henceforth we may live only to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church

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November 25, 2014 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber.

--Psalm 121:1-3

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

November 25, 2014 at 4:01 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

German bond yields are to fall below Japanese levels and plumb depths never seen before in history as Europe becomes the epicentre of global deflationary forces, according to new forecast from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

“We are seeing `Japanification’ setting in across Europe,” said Andrew Roberts, the bank’s credit strategist. “We expect 10-year Bund yields to cross the 10-year Japanese government bond and we are amply positioned for such an outcome.”

Mr Roberts said it is a “weighty win-win” situation for investors. If the European Central Bank launches full-blown quantitative easing, it will almost certainly have to buy large amounts of German Bunds, and these are becoming scarce.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsEuroEuropean Central Bank* International News & CommentaryAsiaJapanEuropeGermany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 24, 2014 at 7:20 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The development and application of such techniques is risky - it is after all humans in their current morally-inept state who must apply them - but we think that our present situation is so desperate that this course of action must be investigated. We have radically transformed our social and natural environments by technology, while our moral dispositions have remained virtually unchanged. We must now consider applying technology to our own nature, supporting our efforts to cope with the external environment that we have created.

Biomedical means of moral enhancement may turn out to be no more effective than traditional means of moral education or social reform, but they should not be rejected out of hand. Advances are already being made in this area. However, it is too early to predict how, or even if, any moral bioenhancement scheme will be achieved. Our ambition is not to launch a definitive and detailed solution to climate change or other mega-problems. Perhaps there is no realistic solution. Our ambition at this point is simply to put moral enhancement in general, and moral bioenhancement in particular, on the table.

Last century we spent vast amounts of resources increasing our ability to cause great harm. It would be sad if, in this century, we reject opportunities to increase our capacity to create benefits, or at least to prevent such harm.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPhilosophyPsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As St. Louis-area clergy urge a nonviolent response to a grand jury’s decision about whether to charge a white police officer in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, they’re re-evaluating their role in the struggle over race relations.

Religious leaders have become complacent in the decades since the civil-rights movement ended legal segregation, said Carl Smith Sr., 59, pastor at New Beginning Missionary Baptist in Woodson Terrace, Missouri. The August shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson and the weeks of unrest that followed awakened people of the cloth, he said. A decision on charges that could come any day and the prospect of renewed violence have forced religious leaders to the forefront and, for some, into a period of introspection.

“We have stopped doing what we were supposed to do,” Smith said in an interview after an interfaith service Nov. 22 in St. Louis. “We have stayed confined to our four walls, instead of coming outside of these four walls.”

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

November 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

November 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About a week after Tara Elonis persuaded a judge to issue a protective order against her estranged husband, Anthony, her soon-to-be ex had this to say:

“Fold up your PFA [protection-from-abuse order] and put it in your pocket

Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?”

Anthony Elonis didn’t deliver the message in person, by phone or in a note. Instead, he posted it on his Facebook page, for all to see, in a prose style reminiscent of the violent, misogynistic lyrics of rap artists he admired.

In its first examination of the limits of free speech on social media, the Supreme Court will consider next week whether, as a jury concluded, Elonis’s postings constituted a “true threat” to his wife and others.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

November 24, 2014 at 11:08 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Europe weary with disorientation. And I don't want to be a pessimist, but let's tell the truth: after food, clothing, and medicine, what are the most important expenditures? Cosmetics, and I don't know how to say this in Italian, but the “mascotas,” the little animals. They don't have children, but their affection goes to the little cat, to the little dog. And this is the second expenditure after the three main ones. The third is the whole industry to promote sexual pleasure. So it’s food, medicine, clothing, cosmetics, little animals, and the life of pleasure. Our young people feel this, they see this, they live this.

I liked very much what His Eminence said, because this is truly the drama of Europe today. But it's not the end. I believe that Europe has many resources for going forward. It's like a sickness that Europe has today. A wound. And the greatest resource is the person of Jesus. Europe, return to Jesus! Return to that Jesus whom you have said was not in your roots! And this is the work of the pastors: to preach Jesus in the midst of these wounds. I have spoken of only a few, but there are tremendous wounds. To preach Jesus. And I ask you this: don't be ashamed to proclaim Jesus Christ risen who has redeemed us all. And for us too that the Lord may not rebuke us, as today in the Gospel of Luke he rebuked these two cities.

The Lord wants to save us. I believe this. This is our mission: to proclaim Jesus Christ, without shame. And he is ready to open the doors of his heart, because he manifests his omnipotence above all in mercy and forgiveness. Let's go forward with preaching. Let's not be ashamed. So many ways of preaching, but to mama Europe - or grandma Europe, or wounded Europe - only Jesus Christ can speak a word of salvation today. Only he can open a door of escape.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

November 24, 2014 at 8:00 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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