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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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A gunman detonated a grenade in a Nairobi church on Sunday, killing one worshipper and wounding 16 in the latest in a series of attacks in Kenya since it sent troops into Somalia to crush Islamist militants blamed for cross-border raids.
Nairobi has said al Shabaab militants, who merged with al Qaeda earlier this year, are behind the surge in violence and kidnappings that has threatened tourism in east Africa's biggest economy and wider regional destabilization.
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Lawrence and Trenton are adjacent. But given the different racial demographics of these two New Jersey towns — the former is predominantly white and the latter 52% black— they might as well be a hundred miles apart. Such is the magnitude of the chasm crossed by Lawrence's David Moriah and Trenton's Shiloh Baptist Church, where Moriah is not only the sole white male member but also has been accepted into the highly respected rank of deacon.
Credit goes to the black congregation in Trenton and the new white deacon for their commitment to racial reconciliation. Too bad a story like this stands out as such an anomaly. The Christian church in this country remains disturbingly segregated. But as Moriah has learned, connecting with the black church tradition can transform your perspective on race — whether you're religious or not....
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It all came down to one momentary defensive lapse. But City outplayed United today. Congratulations to them.
The Anglican Communion faces a shortage of qualified communicators, according to an international Working Group on communications. The group—consisting of communications professionals from five continents—concluded that the Communion life was at risk of being detrimentally affected by some Provinces’ inability to source and share their news and stories widely.
“The narrative of the Body of Christ is very powerful,” said group member Revd Dr Joshva Raja “and currently the Anglican Communion is not properly equipped to share that narrative.”
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Herewith the BBC description of this section:
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, meeting in London, say they'll offer alternative spiritual leadership to dissaffected members of the Church of England. They also want an alternative to the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman of the Anglican primates meeting. Is this a way of keeping the Anglican communion together or splitting it asunder?It consists of a report by Gavin Drake in which the following people are quoted: John Ellison, retired bishop of Paraguay, Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, and Gregory Cameron, bishop of St. Asaph. Listen to it all (starts about 4:25 in and last about 6 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Church of Wales Global South Churches & Primates FCA Meeting in London April 2012
More significant was the view that the election of the Archbishop of Canterbury was a matter for England alone. It will be the leaders of the FoCA who decide whether or not to accept him as part of the Fellowship: no-one is acceptable (i.e. godly and Anglican) merely by virtue of their office.
* * *
Therefore there will be no schism in the sense of one organization separating itself out from another on a certain day, followed immediately by either or both bodies setting up new structures and legal identities.
Instead there will be a steady continued tearing of the fabric as distinct ecclesial units (parishes, dioceses and provinces as well as individuals) align themselves explicitly with the FoCA. The legalities will depend on the law of each country (property and pensions being governed by secular law) and on the ecclesiastical structure of each Church.
I anticipate that the FoCA churches will thrive, purposeful and enthusiastic for at least the medium-term foreseeable future. It will thus be self-legitimating.
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In 2009, the Episcopal Church memorialized the Genesis Covenant, which is a national, ecumenical effort by religious communities to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from every facility they maintain by at least 50% within 10 years.
Most congregations find they save money when they implement the Genesis Covenant because they reduce their energy use. But the benefits go far beyond that. Community is built as people work together toward a common goal....
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BBC description: "One of the top judges in the family court division, Sir Paul Coleridge, is launching a campaign to promote marriage. He tells John Humphrys why he believes Britain needs marriage."
You can find the audio link at 07:42 on this page. Listen to it all (about 8 minutes).
Read it all (19 page pdf).
Nine years after electing the first openly gay bishop in the history of their church, causing a rift in the worldwide Anglican Communion that remains unrepaired, New Hampshire Episcopalians may choose a second [non-celibate] gay man as their leader....
...some US church leaders remain optimistic about the future of the Anglican Communion. Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Diocese of Massachusetts said he believes it will survive - not because conservative and liberal dioceses will reach agreement on hot-button issues like sexuality, but because he believes they will be willing to grant one another greater autonomy.
“I think there is definitely a change, a movement in much of the African church not to recognize the blessing of same-sex unions, or to encourage gay partnerships, but a real acknowledgment that our cultures and pastoral situations are different,’’ he said.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils Global South Churches & Primates FCA Meeting in London April 2012 Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
There was a certain style to the RJ [Reformed Journal]'s writing. First some current event or life experience grabbed the writer's attention. Calvin English professor John J. Timmerman recounted a speech he heard by a vice-president of General Motors, launching GM's annual "Parade of Progress." Then the writer exegeted the deeper values driving the topic. The American way of life, Timmerman said, was being identified with an abundance of things. At the dramatic heart of the article, the author put out a tight statement of the core truth at stake. Timmerman, drawing on an enduring Puritan strain, insisted that "the real American sees beyond the means to the goals they should serve." And then the deeper intellectual play commenced, riff upon riff, showing the varied ways the truth penetrates and bounces off the episode.--Joel Carpenter in Books and Culture, May/June 2012, page 5 (my emphasis)
What saved these pieces from becoming tedious or predictable was their playfulness. They were more like jazz than like sonatas. Postwar conservative Protestants of various kinds were re-engaging American culture, but the neo-Calvinists seemed more skilled and confident about this mode of thinking. They were less uptight about making mistakes or straying too close to the boundaries of propriety, patriotism, or orthodoxy. I saw this difference being played out at a remarkable event, "A New Agenda for Evangelical Thought," hosted at Wheaton in 1987. There was a panel of conservative evangelical theologians, including luminaries Carl F. H. Henry and Kenneth Kantzer. How earnestly they labored to keep the conversation rightly centered and bounded, and their body language underscored their efforts. Later came a panel of RJ types: Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., of Calvin Theological Seminary, and Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen and Nicholas Wolterstorff of Calvin College. They were relaxed, making jokes, trying on thoughts and arguments for size, gesturing and improvising freely in a brilliant intellectual jam session.
So the RJ conveyed orthodoxy with a forward view. It was Calvinism as an invitation to a conversation, not as a conversation stopper. It offered mixed feelings about American life, enjoying its bounty and creativity but bristling at its materialism and arrogance. Unlike Sojourners, which started publication as the Post-American, the RJ writers did not accuse the USA of being the main driver of evil in the world. Unlike Christianity Today writers, the RJ crowd readily saw and critiqued American individualism and its lack of regard for the power of history, institutions, systems, and structures.
What leapt out at me [in a recent book review I was reading], though, was this, introduced by the reviewer's observation that it is his "favorite sentence thus far in 2012":
"I have never felt like a good person, but I think that, thanks to my father's influence, I have sometimes managed to be a non-practicing bad person."I don't know what that's like in the original Spanish, but in English it's a precise description of unredeemed human nature, and a good reason for the church's practice of the confession of sin every day. Mr. Abad is under no illusions about "good people" and "bad people." He does not go along with the much-misused thought of Anne Frank to the effect that people are essentially good at heart (and by the way, my files are full of critiques of the widespread sentimental fixation on that one sentence of Anne's).
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The Christian church based its approach to marriage and the family, as it found it to be in different places, on the one-flesh union of man and woman. They were not only given a common mission (known as the cultural mandate in the world) and created and ordered towards one another for the birth and nurture of children, but also for their own fulfilment and security. It is very important to understand this.
Throughout the course of Christian history there have been many expressions of this view of marriage and the family, but I want to examine just one. His is a name difficult to avoid on the topic: St Augustine, the great Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. Augustine saw marriage first of all as the coming together of man and woman for the sake of children, but also for the sake of the security of the partners. This is what you might call the contractual view of marriage. It needed to be understood in a lifelong sense because, apart from anything else, the human child takes a long time to grow up.
But Augustine didn't stop there. He went on to speak of the commitment that is necessary — contract is not enough — so that we do not use one another simply as a means to our own selfish ends, but commit ourselves to the other as a person.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology
The French-led counter-attack and rumblings of revolt through every branch of the EU institutions last week have brought this aberrant phase of the eurozone crisis to an abrupt end.
"It’s not for Germany to decide for the rest of Europe," said François Hollande, soon to be French leader, unless he trips horribly next week. Strong words even for the hustings.
"If I am elected president, there will be a change in Europe's construction. We’re not just any country: we can change the situation," he said.
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Filed under: * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Credit Markets Currency Markets Euro European Central Bank The Banking System/Sector The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010 France Germany
The numbers led [Donald ] Stern to the same "inescapable conclusion" made by scores of sociologists, pastors, and pundits observing the post-Jim Crow black family: "There is a crisis in gender relations in the African American community. This is a painful reality."
Should a public health department—perceived as a government monolith unqualified to counsel individual men and women—try to change citizens' gender relations, encouraging fidelity, responsibility, and stable two-parent families?
When it costs a city $205 million every year in taxpayer dollars, say Stern and a number of Christians in Richmond, the answer is clear.
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Watch and listen to it all. The mandolin is just tremendous!
Witnesses told the inquiry that the regular use of pornographic material desensitizes children and young people to violent or sexually aggressive acts and reduces their inhibitions, making them more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. In addition, exposure to pornography leads young people to early sexual involvement.
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O God, our Father, we are exceedingly frail, and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking: Strengthen our weakness, we beseech thee, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
--Saint Augustine (354-430)
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
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