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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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John McCain and Joseph Lieberman have already called for arming Syria’s rebels, in statements last month from the US Senate where they serve. But they repeated their demand in more dramatic fashion Tuesday – from a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey and with violence unabated, as the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad disregarded the UN plan that was to have silenced the Syrian Army’s guns Tuesday morning.
The two senators joined a growing international chorus of voices finding that the unimplemented plan, brokered by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is simply allowing the Assad regime to continue its oppression.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Senate * International News & Commentary Middle East Syria
In The Brothers Karamazov, the rationalist and unbelieving Ivan is visited by the devil, who lays out the moral consequences of atheism. After belief in God is extinguished, “man will be exalted with the spirit of divine, titanic pride, and the man-god will appear.” Of course few will have the courage of the “man-god” to live in an entirely secular world. Ivan has the courage to face the fact that God is dead, or so the devil seductively suggests. And thus for him, “everything is permitted.”
I used to think that Dostoevsky was echoing a long tradition of anxious concern about atheism, one that presumes that without religious belief people will descend into a nihilistic state of self-regard and the moral order of society will crumble. This has not come to pass, at least not yet. Secular Sweden remains well-ordered. New York City, where many people don’t believe in God, is run by a neo-Puritan mayor who crusades against cigarettes and soft drinks. Today’s unbelievers have rules, plenty of them. Dostoevsky, it would seem, was wrong.
Or not. When the devil tells Ivan that “everything is permitted,” he was not suggesting that without God there are no rules. Instead, “everything is permitted” means that nothing is always wrong. Everything is, at least at some point and under some circumstances, permitted....
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The Reverend Fenhagen served as Rector of several parishes in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and at St. Michael and All Angels’ Episcopal Church in Columbia SC before becoming active in academic settings.
He was Director of the Church and Ministry Program at the Hartford Seminary Foundation.
He was named President and Dean of the General Theological Seminary in New York City in 1978 and retired from there in 1992.
Read it all. You may also find an ENS article there.
Japan and other countries in the Asia-Pacific appear to have failed to persuade North Korea to abort a rocket launch planned for as early as this week. Reports suggest that the region could be further unsettled by a rumored third nuclear weapons test by the regime.
The North insists that the launch, which could come on any morning between April 12 to 16 and will coincide with the centenary of the birth of the country's founder Kim Il-sung on April 15, is designed to put an observation satellite into orbit. Japan, South Korea, and the US, however, say the launch would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions banning the North from engaging in missile development.
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Bruce Boling will celebrate Easter Sunday this weekend among Southern Baptists, just as he did when he prayed at a tiny Kentucky church where his family filled half the pews.
After decades away from faith, "I slowly began to see what I was missing was the relationship with God that I could find in my church," said Boling, 45, who has settled in with a little Baptist congregation in Hendersonville, Tenn.
Lydia Scrafano's heart will again thrill to hear Catholic hymns sounding on a great pipe organ, just as she did as a child in Detroit.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Dr. Mark Rosenberg, chairman of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s, said he had consulted on more than 50 geriatric emergency rooms to be opened across the country, from Princeton, N.J., to California, overcoming initial resistance from doctors and nurses who saw assignments to the units as scut work.
“They thought it was a bedpan unit, focused on nursing home patients,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “When they finally realized this was the unit that gave better health care to their parents and grandparents, they jumped onboard.”
Hospitals also have strong financial incentives to focus on the elderly. People over 65 account for 15 percent to 20 percent of emergency room visits, hospital officials say, and that number is expected to grow as the population ages.
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Moving hastily to curb possible political fallout from a scandal involving Bo Xilai, a major Communist Party figure, China’s top leaders have decided to expel him from the Politburo, the 25-member body that runs China, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.
Already ousted from his regional party role and under house arrest, Mr. Bo will placed under formal investigation, the sources said.
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Q, which stands for "question," will allow 30 different culture leaders — from New York Times columnist David Brooks to Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter— to present their ideas for the common good during a two-and-a-half day confab.
"We feel we have a role to play in renewing the culture and holding back the effects of sin," said [Gabe] Lyons, founder of Q, a nonprofit organization based in New York City. "We're not to do it in an antagonistic way. We hope to do it in a hopeful way that gives witness to the rest of the world in how things ought to be."
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One of my favorite Easter hymns is about greenness. "Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain."
It goes on to talk about love coming again. It's a reminder to me of how centered our Easter images are in the Northern hemisphere. We talk about greenness and new life and life springing forth from the earth when we talk about resurrection. I often wonder what Easter images come in the Southern hemisphere, and I think that church in the south has something to teach us about that.
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Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar was instrumental in helping Ilyas Khan, a British philanthropist and former Muslim, to become Catholic. But so too were many other distinctly Catholic influences, all amounting to a “pull” towards the faith rather than a “push” away from Islam.
Khan, a merchant banker by training and the owner of the Accrington Stanley soccer team, is also chairman of the prominent British charity Leonard Cheshire Disability — the largest organization in the world helping people with disabilities. In a revealing interview with Register Rome correspondent Edward Pentin, Khan explains in more detail what drew him to the Catholic Church.
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One of the most profound challenges a human being can ever face is how to forgive in the aftermath of injury, hurt or violation. Healing Agony explores the theology of forgiveness alongside a number of contemporary forgiveness stories in order to glean insights for those facing just this challenge....
Check it out.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Books * Theology Pastoral Theology
Q. The Episcopal Church is often at the forefront of hot topic issues; given that we all have opinions on these issues, which do you view as the most serious issue facing the Church and how does/will your opinion impact the diocese in its response to the issue?
People are leaving the pews, evangelization is carrying a poor connotation and theChurch seems to be conforming to society rather than conforming society. These are theRead it all. Then take a look all the finalists for Episcopal Bishop of Western Louisiana and their answers to questions as the election approaches on April 21.
dangerous things happening in congregations and I believe the most serious issues facing the Church. We know right from wrong, but most of us make a choice to live somewhere in between in the decisions we make. Our mission of bringing Christ to the world is diminished when we are viewed by those outside our Church to be a people who frustrate the mission with our own internal arguments; our own misunderstanding of what is right and what is wrong. My hope for the future of our children is that being drawn into the family of God, the ills of the world will be dealt with in a swift manner that will put down the desires of the Evil One and give us strength to walk the way of the Via Dolorosa.
Issues focused around sexuality, social justice, and Church politics seem to be most often referred to when someone is claiming a position to extol. These are certainly issues that easily flare up and lend themselves to heated discussion. Addressing same-sex relationships, how we care for those who live in the margins of society, or bishops and dioceses moving from one association to another, and the Church’s handling of that movement, many times evoke distances in thought that seem impossible to bridge. When we begin to flare over issues that we believe to be unfair, it is the Church which is called to stand up for those who are persecuted. I believe this stems from our desire as the children of God, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
In living out our call to love our neighbor as ourselves and to respect the dignity of every human being as we vow in our baptismal covenant, we truly desire to make all things “right” with humanity. Controversies in our Church arise when we attempt to make all things right by making all things “okay.” Our Church is known for accepting people as they are, and that is a good thing. We do not do Christ’s ministry justice, however, when we leave them where they are....
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Theology
Teen births are at their lowest level in almost 70 years, federal data report today. Birthrates for ages 15-19 in all racial and ethnic groups are lower than ever reported.
"Young people are being more careful," says Sarah Brown, CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. She attributes the declines to less sex and increased use of contraception.
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Listen to it all.
Manchester United surged closer to a 20th English league title on Sunday, opening an eight-point lead by beating Queens Park Rangers 2-0 while floundering neighbor Manchester City lost 1-0 at Arsenal.
Having spent most of the season in City's shadow in the Premier League, United has eclipsed its big-spending rival to take control of the Premier League title race.
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Watson (69-71-70-68) made his charge to reach the play-off with four consecutive birdies on the back nine from holes Nos. 13-16. On the par four 14th, he hit a wonderful high approach that fed back near the cup while on the par five 15th, he hit it so long off the tee that he needed just a short iron to reach the green for a two-putt birdie.
Perhaps, his defining shot was on the 17th when he carved his drive left into the trees. His recovery from the trees off a lie that had been flattened all week by fan traffic was superb and gave him a settling par to stay in a share of the lead.
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Toward the end of “A Night to Remember,” Walter Lord briefly nodded to “the element of fate” in the story, which teases its audience with a sense at once of inevitability and of how easily things might have turned out differently. It is, he says, like “classic Greek tragedy.”
He was right. All the energy spent on the mechanics, the romance, the construction, the passenger list, the endless debates about what the Californian might have done and just how many people perished (still never resolved) has distracted from what may, in the end, be the most obvious thing about the Titanic’s story: it uncannily replicates the structure and the themes of our most fundamental myths and oldest tragedies. Like Iphigenia, the Titanic is a beautiful “maiden” sacrificed to the agendas of greedy men eager to set sail; the forty-six-thousand-ton liner is just the latest in a long line of lovely girl victims, an archetype of vulnerable femininity that stands at the core of the Western literary tradition.
But the Titanic embodies another strain of tragedy. This is the drama of a flawed and self-destructive hero, a protagonist of great achievements and overweening presumption....
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At least 38 people have died in a car bombing in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, officials said.
Many others were injured in the attack, which took place when officials stopped the vehicle as it approached a church.
Just hours afterwards, a bomb exploded in the central city of Jos, injuring several people.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
O God, the living God, who hast given unto us a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Grant that we, being risen with him, may seek the things which are above, and be made partakers of the life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
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