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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Fundamentally, they noted, the HHS contraceptive mandate "still forces us to act against our conscience and teaching," particularly because the new proposal does not modify the inclusion of sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortifacients, in the "preventive services" mandate.
"Those falling outside the government definition of 'religious employer' will be forced by the government to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions," the bishops said. "Whatever funding and administrative mechanisms are ultimately chosen, it remains that many deeply religious institutions and individuals will be forbidden to provide even their own employees -- or, in the case of educational institutions, their own students -- with health coverage consistent with their values."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Pope Benedict XVI said that during his recent journey to Mexico and Cuba, he experienced "unforgettable days of joy and hope."
While he went as "a witness of Jesus Christ," it was also an opportune occasion to call for reform, especially in allowing greater religious freedom, he said.
At his weekly general audience April 4 in St. Peter's Square, the pope told an estimated 11,000 pilgrims and visitors about his March 23-28 visit.
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The Barnabas Fund reports that the “city of Homs, the third largest in Syria, has now seen almost its entire Christian population of 50,000 to 60,000 flee.”
Read it all and watch the video.
The Rev. Roger A. Ferlo compares his new calling as the first president of two federated Episcopal seminaries to helping an internet startup firm. Ferlo, Virginia Theological Seminary’s associate dean and director of its Institute for Christian Formation and Leadership, will become president of Bexley Hall and Seabury-Western seminaries beginning July 1.
“It’s kind of like venture capital,” he said. “I’m 60 years old. This is fabulous. I feel like it’s the culmination of my ministry to take these two seminaries and move them to a new place” of ministry.
The boards of trustees for both seminaries announced March 27 that they had approved the federation in unanimous votes. They will share one budget, one president and one board, but continue in their two locations: Seabury-Western in a building shared with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s national office in suburban Chicago and Bexley in its cooperative ministry with Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio.
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Ask Margaret Feinberg what she thinks of being one of the leading evangelical female voices in a mostly male arena, and she bypasses the issue of gender. “I don’t really think about it. I walk into a room and see amazing leaders, thoughtful presenters, and compelling communicators regardless of gender.” Feinberg is the author most recently of Hungry for God, which reflects on ways to recognize and satisfy our longings for holy relationship in the midst of our daily lives. Having penned more than two dozen books and Bible studies, including The Organic God (Zondervan), The Sacred Echo (Zondervan), and Scouting the Divine (Zondervan), Feinberg recently released the six-week John and Genesis Bible studies series (September 2011), and is considering developing another study on the Gospel of Luke....
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Books Psychology * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Pastoral Theology
Mitt Romney to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012--95.2
Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012--60.8
The Church of England is dumbing down and needs to revert to more traditional ways, a Jersey vicar has claimed.
The rector of St Saviour Dr Anthony Swindell said religion was being "over-simplified to make it more popular".
He said people were too worried about salesmanship and not enough about Christianity.
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In an Easter message copied to Ghana News Agency in Accra, he said death by crucifixion alone might suggest disgrace, disaster and defeat by the forces of evil "but with Easter it is a loud and clear message that by the power of God, death could not hold him. Beyond death there is life; beyond defeat and humiliation there can be victory and exaltation and joy, if we walk with God".
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Surveillance means safety. This is the argument wherever and whenever governments seek new powers to monitor their citizens. Proposed legislation in the UK to enable police and intelligence services to access emails, Skype calls and Facebook messages is another such example. It is also another case of the unnecessary and dangerous expansion of state power, in collaboration with companies, into our online – and offline – lives.
The UK government has said that without a warrant it could only get “who, when and where” forms of data – times, dates, numbers and addresses of communications – not the content of emails, chat messages or Skype calls. The latter would still require a warrant, according to the government. Some critics are sceptical, and rightly so.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Law & Legal Issues Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary England / UK
The blessing was prepared to support parents awaiting the birth of a child, to encourage parish prayers for and recognition of the precious gift of the child in the womb, and to foster respect for human life within society. It can be offered within the context of the Mass as well as outside of Mass.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Children Life Ethics Marriage & Family * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI
The average wage, calculated by the International Labour Organization, is published here for the first time. It's a rough figure based on data from 72 countries, omitting some of the world's poorest nations. All figures are adjusted to reflect variations in the cost of living from one country to another....
Read it all and do your own calculation.
Church leadership in the 21st century involves making numerous decisions about the future of ministry, frequently against a backdrop of rapid change and poorly understood but increasingly challenging circumstances.
For example, at the beginning of the 21st century, a number of churches are either in decline or (by contrast) are experiencing significant numerical growth.
Churches are facing major decisions as to whether to sustain or expand their present facilities, continue to minister in the same way, relocate to another community, disband or even sell their property and facilities.
Austerity measures and declining budgets further compound these issues.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking History Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Theology Pastoral Theology
While many of Google's products are free to users and supported by advertising, Google for Nonprofits gives charities breaks on several products it charges for, including Google Apps (its competitor to Microsoft Office) and free advertising in its AdWords program. It is also rolling out some services first to its nonprofit members. Last week the company said it would first offer live streaming video on YouTube to its nonprofit members.
"We're constantly evaluating our services," said Google spokesman Parag Chokshi. "Since launching Google for Nonprofits as a consolidated offering last year, we've received feedback from many organizations and believe this change will allow us to help more organizations take advantage of Google services."
Tim Postuma, web manager for the Christian Reformed Church in North America, said the change was unexpected but welcome.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life
Federal Reserve policymakers have backed away from the need for another round of monetary stimulus as the U.S. economy gradually improves.
Minutes of the central bank's meeting published on Tuesday showed only two of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee's 10 voting members saw the case for additional monetary stimulus.
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Filed under: * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market The Banking System/Sector The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- The U.S. Government Federal Reserve
(In case some readers are not aware, A.K.M. Adam [AKMA] is currently serving as a Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow--KSH.)
Obviously Rwandan canons don’t affect the canon law or interpretation of the US Episcopal Church — but this interpretation of ‘orders’ and ‘transferring’ appears to make more sense. The bishops in question must (on this interpretation — I’m not arguing anything about their side of the disagreement) have a canonical relationship with one or another Anglican province, but that’s a separate question from whether their orders as bishops are valid. If on the other hand they have no relationship to another recognised Anglican body, the status of their request to withdraw from the Rwandan Church is canonically intelligible only as a request to be removed from the roll of actual bishops. If my situation were interpreted on this basis, we would say that I wish to move (‘transfer’) my vows of obedience and allegiance to the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway and the Scottish Episcopal Church — not to renounce my orders altogether.
If I understand the interpretation of canon law from the US Episcopal hierarchy, my priesthood is not in question — they’re interpreting my ‘orders’ as sort of ‘the ordered relationship that binds me to my bishop and the doctrine, disciple, and whatever of this [US Episcopal] Church’. On their account, then, it would be possible for me to maintain my ordained status without having a canonical relationship with a particular Church (and, by extension, so would the US-Rwandan bishops, if in fact the US Episcopal Church recognised their episcopal orders in the first place) — though I would not be authorised by any Church to exercise that priesthood. The Rwandan interpretation (again, if I understand it correctly) is that apart from a relationship with a particular Church, the idea of ‘orders’ is incoherent; the validity of orders depends on a living relationship of authority and accountability with a Church.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Rwanda Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Polity & Canons Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Ecclesiology Sacramental Theology
What Jesus offers this Holy Week is not an escape from loss but a better way of losing. In each Passion account, and especially in the Gospel of John, Jesus suffers humiliation and defeat but does not relinquish his identity as the Son of God. His final cry is addressed to his Father. His divinity is confirmed not by coming down from the cross but by his gestures of love while impaled upon it. From the cross he provides for his mother and forgives his tormentors. From the cross he draws a world of lost souls to himself. As it turns out, what remains in each of us is not the bravado of mastery but the vulnerability of love.
All our losses, however sharp or permanent they may be, deprive us of our ability to think and act beyond ourselves. They rob us of the very quality of love Jesus performed in the Upper Room and on the cross. Take grief, for example. Grief bears witness to no story or solution larger than itself. It shrinks your life to the exact size of your longing. The art of love is lost to you.
By God's power, however, some break through the anguish and, in the midst of their own loss, find someone else to help or love. A boy dies of a drug overdose, and his parents take a new and active role in drug education for teens. A woman survives breast cancer, but instead of nesting with her own anxiety, reaches out to other women with the same disease. Poor people help other poor people. The bereaved understand and comfort the bereaved. This is the true art of losing. And it is an art or, as the apostle would say, a gift of the Spirit, no less a blessing than any of the other, better-known gifts. Jesus teaches the art of losing. It's one of the reasons why some of us still sit in darkened churches on a Thursday and Friday night.
Read it all.
O Lord, who didst spend this day in quiet retreat at Bethany, in preparation for thy coming passion: Help us ever to live mindful of our end; that when thou shalt call us to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, we may fear no evil, for thou art with us, who didst die that we might live with thee for ever.
And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. 2 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
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