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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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Over the years, we have a posted a lot of entries with favorite links for Lenten resources and devotional reading. I’ll link to some of those previous compilations at the end of this post. However, such compilations quickly go out of date. So, here is a list of some of the blogs and websites that I expect to be reading pretty regularly during Lent 2013. Note my emphasis in the links below is to focus on sites that I expect will provide frequent and edifying devotional or prayer entries throughout Lent, as opposed to specific Lenten resources or individual articles or blog posts...
Read it all and check out the links.
Read it all.
Worshippers from across the Church of England's 12,500 parishes will celebrate Ash Wednesday in special services tomorrow. Keeping with the centuries old tradition, worshippers' foreheads will be marked in ash with the Sign of the Cross, from the ashes of burnt palm crosses, as a sign of the spirit of penitence with which the season of Lent is kept.
Among other special events for Ash Wednesday, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will be visiting All Saints Church and Teesside University in Middlesbrough taking prayer into the public domain offering to pray with people in their worries and concerns or to give thanks for their blessings.
The Bishop of Dudley, Rt Revd David Walker, will be with members of churches in Worcester, Bromsgrove and Stourbridge hitting the streets and offering to say a prayer for the people they meet.
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Richard Bejtlich was a cyber-specialist for the U.S. Air Force in the 1990s, a time when the U.S. military was going on the offense in the cyberwar. He remembers the day he realized how important a software vulnerability can be to a cyberweapons designer.
"Myself and a couple other guys, we found a zero day vulnerability in Cisco routing equipment," Bejtlich recalls. "And we looked at it, and we said, 'Did we really find this? Can we really get into these Cisco routers?'"
They could, and so Bejtlich and his colleagues reported it to Cisco. They thanked him and said they'd fix it. Days later, he was talking to some friends who worked on the offensive side of the unit, and they had quite a different reaction to them reporting the bug to Cisco.
"They said, 'You did what? Why didn't you tell us? We could have used this to get into all these various hard targets,'" he says.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life The U.S. Government Foreign Relations Politics in General * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The vicar of St George's Church, Baghdad, has written a special reflection focusing on how Lent is a special time to refocus on God, to mark the launch of the Reflections for Lent 2013 app from Church House Publishing.
Canon Andrew White writes: "For all in this land Lent is combined with the fast of Nineveh and is an intense time of giving thanks to the Lord… In the midst of our immense suffering we remember the suffering of our Lord, culminating in his intense suffering on the Cross. That time though was also his greatest time of glory and also our greatest time of glory. So this is a time when we all draw near to God and He draws near to us. There is no better time to do this than to find time to reflect."
Take a look at the whole thing.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Lent * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq
One month after the Coalition’s ‘mid-term review’ sidestepped a pledge to cap social care funding, it appears the Government are finally willing to show their hand.
Today's announcement will impose a limit of £75,000 on the amount that individuals will have to pay towards their own care – after which point, the state will cover further costs.
Demos analysis shows a cap set at that level is miserly, helping only 16% of older people.
However, there remains another significant problem - one that risks further alienating the kind of middle class families already reeling from having their child benefit cut and marriage tax break postponed. The scheme contains a hidden penalty for couples, and for their children.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The future of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations is, in part, down to who will succeed Pope Benedict, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See.
Responding to today’s surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Very Revd David Richardson said the implications for Anglican-Roman Catholic relations in the long term “will depend on who is elected to succeed him.”
However, Dean Richardson, who is also Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said that other relationships continue despite the change in leadership.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI * Theology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology
This morning, addressing all the elderly in spirit, although I am aware of the difficulties that our age entails I would like to tell you with deep conviction: it is beautiful to be old! At every phase of life it is necessary to be able to discover the presence and blessing of the Lord and the riches they bring. We must never let ourselves be imprisoned by sorrow! We have received the gift of longevity. Living is beautiful even at our age, despite some “aches and pains” and a few limitations. In our faces may there always be the joy of feeling loved by God and not sadness.
In the Bible longevity is considered a blessing of God; today this blessing is widespread and must be seen as a gift to appreciate and to make the most of. And yet frequently society dominated by the logic of efficiency and gain does not accept it as such: on the contrary it frequently rejects it, viewing the elderly as non-productive or useless. All too often we hear about the suffering of those who are marginalized, who live far from home or in loneliness. I think there should be greater commitment, starting with families and public institutions, to ensure that the elderly be able to stay in their own homes. The wisdom of life, of which we are bearers, is a great wealth. The quality of a society, I mean of a civilization, is also judged by how it treats elderly people and by the place it gives them in community life. Those who make room for the elderly make room for life! Those who welcome the elderly welcome life! ... When life becomes frail, in the years of old age, it never loses its value and its dignity: each one of us, at any stage of life, is wanted and loved by God, each one is important and necessary.
Dear friends, at our age we often experience the need of the help of others; and this also happens to the Pope.
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Many Vatican watchers suspect the cardinals will choose someone with better management skills and a more personal touch than the bookish Benedict, someone who can extend the church’s reach to new constituencies, particularly to the young people of Europe, for whom the church is now largely irrelevant, and to Latin America and Africa, where evangelical movements are fast encroaching.
“They want somebody who can carry this idea of new evangelization, relighting the missionary fires of the church and actually make it work, not just lay it out in theory,” said John L. Allen, a Vatican expert at the National Catholic Reporter and author of many books on the papacy. Someone who will be “the church’s missionary in chief, a showman and salesman for the Catholic faith, who can take the reins of government more personally into his own hands,” he added.
The other big battle in the church is over the demographic distribution of Catholics, which has shifted decisively to the developing world. Today, 42 percent of adherents come from Latin America, and about 15 percent from Africa, versus only 25 percent from Europe.
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In some ways, the selection of a new pope will have more potential to influence the future of Catholicism than the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then 78, in 2005.
In the eight years since Pope Benedict took office, the divisions in the Catholic world have become more solidified. The West, including Europe and the United States, has been locked in a culture war over contraception, homosexuality and the role of women in the church, among other issues. Meanwhile, more theologically traditional Catholics in Africa and parts of Asia have fueled much of the church’s growth, threatening a standoff with Islam.
In other words, the next pope will have to carefully pick his audience and decide how best to communicate with it without alienating the rest of the faith’s followers.
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Since assuming the papacy, Benedict has called for a counter-witness to the bloody persecution of Christians by Islamic authoritarian regimes in Africa and the Middle East, to the church-outlawing police states of China and North Korea, and to the soul-decaying secularism of Western Europe and, increasingly, the United States of America.
Benedict has countered the sexual revolution with an Augustinian view of the meaning of human personhood. A human person, he has reminded the world, is not a machine. We are not merely collections of nerve endings that spark with sensation when rubbed together. Instead a human person is directed toward a one-flesh union, which is personal and spiritual. Destroying the ecology of marriage and family isn’t simply about tearing down old “moralities,” he has reminded us, but about a revolt against the web of nature in which human beings thrive.
And Benedict has stood against the nihilism that defines human worth in terms of power and usefulness. He has constantly spoken for those whose lives are seen as a burden to society: the baby with Down syndrome, the woman with advanced Alzheimer’s, the child starving in the desert, the prisoner being tortured.
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“Pope Benedict XVI spent his papacy sharing his love of God and love of Church with the Catholic Faithful around the world. His resignation today is an outward sign of that love. On behalf of the Diocese of Charleston, I wish to thank Pope Benedict for his 8 years of leadership as Shepherd of the Catholic Church.
“Last May, I was fortunate to be part of a group from the Province of Atlanta which met with the Pope during the Ad Limina visit. Our discussion with the Holy Father focused on life in the Church within our growing region and the use of social media as an evangelization tool. During the meeting, Pope Benedict seemed physically tired; he wore the expression of an 85 year old man dealing with his age. However, he was emotionally animated especially when the conversation shifted to the use of technology
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I caught this by accident recently and was hypnotized by its beauty. It is simply splendid--on central park, on the seasons, on the birders, and, oh my--on the birds.
You can read more about it here and if you are up for it there is a spectacular bird show there to whet your appetite.
O God of love, who hast given us a new commandment through thine only begotten Son, that we should love one another even as thou didst love us, the unworthy and the wandering, and gayest him for our life and salvation: We pray thee to give to us thy servants, in all time of our life on earth, a mind forgetful of past ill-will, a pure conscience, and a heart to love our brethren; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
--Coptic Liturgy of St. Cyril
O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.
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