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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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If the genetic basis of attributes like intelligence and musicality is too thinly spread and unclear to make selection practical, then tweaking by genetic manipulation certainly seems off the menu too. “I don’t think we are going to see superman or a split in the species any time soon,” says Greely, “because we just don’t know enough and are unlikely to for a long time – or maybe for ever.”
If this is all “designer babies” could mean even in principle – freedom from some specific but rare diseases, knowledge of rather trivial aspects of appearance, but only vague, probabilistic information about more general traits like health, attractiveness and intelligence – will people go for it in large enough numbers to sustain an industry?
[Bioethicist Henry] Greely suspects, even if it is used at first only to avoid serious genetic diseases, we need to start thinking hard about the options we might be faced with. “Choices will be made,” he says, “and if informed people do not participate in making those choices, ignorant people will make them.”
Read it all.
Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen? https://t.co/bF8Mp2dGH6— Guardian Science (@guardianscience) January 8, 2017
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine History Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Science & Technology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Saward’s case led to changes in attitudes toward rape victims and important legal overhauls. Victims of sexual assault were given the right to appeal lenient sentences and the media was blocked from identifying a victim before a defendant was charged. In 1990, Saward became the first person in Britain to waive her right to anonymity as a victim of rape. With Wendy Green, she wrote a book, Rape: My Story, in which she spoke openly about her trauma, how it had led to suicidal thoughts and how she had overcome them. “I believe forgiveness gives you freedom,” she wrote. “Freedom to move on without being held back by the past.” Saward went on to give training to judges and police on how to treat rape victims.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality Violence Women * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
[SCOTT] SIMON: What are some of the reasons you think more people's families, I guess I should - I almost said why more people are choosing to be cremated. And that might technically be true - but usually after their death.
[BARBARA] KEMMIS: So cremation is simply cheaper than burial. Of course, when you consider a funeral or a memorial service or celebration-of-life expenses, those are extra. And consumers also report that they see extra value with cremation and that they have more flexibility. To put it bluntly, death, even when it's anticipated, is inconvenient.
We don't want to lose our loved ones. We don't want to drop everything and gather and grieve and do what we need to do. But we must. And we can do that. But as families are spread across the country in various states, it's more and more difficult to bring people together on short notice. Cremation can expand the timeframe of grieving and memorializing your loved one.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Eschatology
Jory Fleming will be studying for his masters degree next fall at Oxford — one of just 32 Americans to do so.
Take the time to watch the whole video portrait (just over 2 minutes). Note carefully the important role played by his bird (!) and his Mom.
While dining at home on December 1, 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow received a telegram that his son had been severely wounded four days earlier. On November 27, 1863, while involved in a skirmish during a battle of of the Mine Run Campaign, Charley was shot through the left shoulder, with the bullet exiting under his right shoulder blade. It had traveled across his back and skimmed his spine. Charley avoided being paralyzed by less than an inch.
He was carried into New Hope Church (Orange County, Virginia) and then transported to the Rapidan River. Charley’s father and younger brother, Ernest, immediately set out for Washington, D.C., arriving on December 3. Charley arrived by train on December 5. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was alarmed when informed by the army surgeon that his son’s wound “was very serious” and that “paralysis might ensue.” Three surgeons gave a more favorable report that evening, suggesting a recovery that would require him to be “long in healing,” at least six months.
On Christmas day, 1863, Longfellow—a 57-year-old widowed father of six children, the oldest of which had been nearly paralyzed as his country fought a war against itself—wrote a poem seeking to capture the dynamic and dissonance in his own heart and the world he observes around him. He heard the Christmas bells that December day and the singing of “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14), but he observed the world of injustice and violence that seemed to mock the truthfulness of this optimistic outlook. The theme of listening recurred throughout the poem, eventually leading to a settledness of confident hope even in the midst of bleak despair.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military
...glimpses into the life of the holy family are rare.
Three qualities, however, seem evident. First, there was a firm, but loving authority in the home. This can be seen in the one episode where there was a misunderstanding between Jesus and his parents. (Luke 2:41ff) A second familial practice was implicit in this event: they were faithful in keeping holy days, as well as in Sabbath and synagogue worship. Thirdly, both Mary and Jesus demonstrated a deep intimacy with the Hebrew Scriptures. Great portions of the Law, Prophets and Psalms appear to have been memorized. We might like to know more about their daily lives, but this much we may safely assume: There was a strong, positive and loving discipline; a sure trust in God’s providential care; a commitment to regular worship; and a deep and practical knowledge of the Scriptures.
How such qualities are needed today in our homes—where
the Bible is read and children hear and see their parents reading and praying the Scripture
prayers are said as individuals and as families
parents and children go to church and worship together
God’s name is spoken with reverence and where his teachings are believed
wholesome and proper authority is respected
It was from this kind of home that Jesus went out to minister to a hurting world. For those of us who are parents or grandparents is there any better gift we can give our children or grandchildren than a decision to model our home and family in this way?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * South Carolina * Theology Christology Theology: Scripture
....the one quick anecdote, and that is, when General Charles Krulak was commandant of the Marine Corps, every Christmas — this was in the late ’90s — he and his wife would bake cookies for the last couple weeks before Christmas. And he would get up at 4:00 in the morning with General Krulak and deliver them in little packages to the Marines who were standing duty that day, because every Marine base, every Marine post has be somebody standing duty.
And he showed up at Quantico and he asked the Marine lance corporal who was on duty, where is the officer of the day and who it is? He said, it’s General Mattis, sir. He said, no, no, it’s not General Mattis. I mean, who is the officer of the day? And he said, it’s General Mattis, sir.
And up comes Jim Mattis and a general, brigadier general, and he is on duty and he has got his sword. And the commandant says, what are you doing here? He said, well, there was a young lieutenant who was on duty today, and he has a wife and two children. And I thought it was better that he have Christmas with his family.
That’s the kind of man he is. It’s the kind of values he’s embodied. He’s independent. He’s strong. And he will be good for the country.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Men Sports Young Adults * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * General Interest Photos/Photography
Under current Church rules, gay clergy wanting to enter into civil partnerships are required to assure their bishops they will remain celibate – in line with traditional Church teaching that sex is only permitted within heterosexual marriage.
Such clergy also have to make similar official assurances to their archbishop before they can be promoted to the rank of bishop.
But sources said the bishops could now call for the rule to be scrapped so that clerics living with same-sex partners would no longer have to make a solemn vow.
They would still be expected to remain celibate.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
With his slick navy suit, silver watch and non-stop smoking, Yu Feng is an unlikely ambassador for Chinese family values. The office from which he operates, in Chongqing in western China, looks more like a sitting room, with grey sofas, cream curtains and large windows looking out on the city’s skyscrapers. Women visit him here and plead for help. They want him to persuade their husbands to dump their mistresses.
Mr Yu worked in family law and then marriage counselling before starting his business in 2007. He charges scorned wives 100,000-500,000 yuan ($15,000-75,000); cases usually take 7-8 months. He befriends both the two-timing husband and the mistress, encouraging them to find fault with each other, and gradually reveals that he has messed up his own life by being unfaithful. Most clients are in their 30s and early 40s. “This is the want, buy, get generation,” he says; sex is a part of China’s new materialism. But changing sexual mores and a rocketing divorce rate have prompted soul-searching about the decline of family ties. Mr Yu claims a 90% success rate.
The ernai, literally meaning “second wife”, is increasingly common. So many rich men indulge that Chinese media sometimes blame extramarital relationships for helping to inflate property prices: some city apartment complexes are notorious for housing clusters of mistresses, paid for by their lovers, who often provide a living allowance too.
Read it all.
One of CEEC’s tasks, prompted by “Guarding the Deposit”, is to consider together the various ways evangelicals will respond to this situation and how the wider church might face the reality of our diversity over human sexuality. “Guarding the Deposit” outlines three broad ways the church might act in 2017 and beyond.
Its hope is that the Church of England will maintain its current teaching and practice as the 2007 Synod committed us to do. Alternatively there may be a full acceptance of same-sex relationships as in a few other Anglican provinces. This would undoubtedly lead to major division within the CofE and the destruction of the Anglican Communion in its current form. There may therefore be an attempt – as in the Pilling Report – to offer some form of supposed via media with official permission for marking of same-sex relationships.
But, as “Guarding the Deposit” argues, this too would both represent a departure from apostolicity and lead to continuing conflict. It would therefore require some form of agreed visible differentiation and structural separation within the Church of England (and wider Communion).
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The police officer who entered Mikaya Feucht’s Ohio apartment found it littered with trash, dirty dishes and plastic milk jugs full of the opioid addict’s vomit.
He also found two toddlers, aged 3 and 2, who watched as the officer uncovered the track marks on their mother’s arms and looked in vain for any food to feed them.
That was three years ago. By the time Mikaya overdosed and died from the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil this summer, her sons were living with their grandparents. But the chaos of watching their mother descend into addiction will burden them for years. They were often hungry and dirty in her care, and spoke of being hit with a belt by her boyfriend, according to their grandparents.
At the funeral home before Mikaya, 24 years old, was cremated, her younger son, Reed, clung to her through the open casket. “And it wasn’t just a quick hug. It was heartbreaking,” says Chuck Curran, his grandfather.
Widespread abuse of powerful opioids has pushed U.S. overdose death rates to all-time highs. It has also traumatized tens of thousands of children. The number of youngsters in foster care in many states has soared, overwhelming social workers and courts. Hospitals that once saw few opioid-addicted newborns are now treating dozens a year.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine Marriage & Family * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Seth and his girlfriend of many years were already engaged when he discovered she had cheated on him. It was only once, with a co-worker, but the betrayal stung. “I had jealousy, insecurity, anger, fear,” he recalls. “It was really hard to talk about it.” He wondered whether his fiancée’s infidelity meant there was something fundamentally wrong with their otherwise loving relationship. He worried it was a sign that their marriage would be doomed. He also still felt guilty about an indiscretion of his own years earlier, when he’d had a one-night stand with an acquaintance. “I knew that what I had done meant nothing,” said Seth, a New York-based entrepreneur in his early 30s. “It felt like a bit of an adventure, and I went for it.” But anxiety about these dalliances gnawed at his conscience. How could he and his fiancée promise to be monogamous for a lifetime if they were already struggling to stay loyal to each other? Did their momentary lapses of judgment spell bigger problems for their union?
For help answering these questions, Seth and his partner went to Esther Perel, a Belgian-born psychotherapist who is renowned for her work with couples. Her two TED talks – about the challenge of maintaining passion in long-term relationships and the temptations of infidelity – have been viewed over 15m times. Her bestselling 2006 book “Mating in Captivity”, translated into 26 languages, skilfully examined our conflicting needs for domestic security and erotic novelty. Recently she has taken her work further, into more controversial terrain. Her forthcoming book “The State of Affairs”, expected in late 2017, addresses the thorny matter of why people stray and how we should handle it when they do. When Perel is not seeing clients in New York, she is travelling the world speaking to packed conferences and ideas festivals about the elusiveness of desire in otherwise contented relationships. After Seth saw Perel speak at one such conference, he sought her out for guidance with his fiancée.
“Esther helped us understand that perfection is not possible in relationships,” he explains to me. With Perel’s help, Seth and his fiancée have come to embrace a relationship they are calling “monogamish” – that is, they will aspire to be faithful to each other, but also tolerate the occasional fling. “It just never occurred to us that this is something we could strive for,” he says. “But why should everything we built be destroyed by a minor infidelity?”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Men Psychology Women * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Europe * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The gunmen, who abducted the wife of the General Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Venerable Ayodeji Fagbemi, Ebunoluwa had contacted the family, demanding for a sum of N20 million for her release.
The victim, Mrs.Fagbemi was kidnapped by unknown gunmen who invaded her house at Oba-Ile in Akure North local government Area of Ondo State on Monday night.
Leadership learnt that the abductors took the woman away to unknown destination after gaining entrance into her house through the window.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Marriage & Family Violence Women * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Anthropology Eschatology
The College of Bishops of the Church of England met at Lambeth Palace on Monday 12th December.
The meeting began with a service of Holy Communion and reflections from the Archbishop of York. Discussions on issues of sexuality took place as part of a process of episcopal discernment which began in September and continued at the meeting of the House of Bishops in November.
The college discussed the reflections of the House from their November meeting and also received an update from the Chair of the Bishops Reflection Group on Sexuality.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
(You need first to take the time to read read the original document there.
“In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber,” said Flannery O’Connor. Her point was that sentimentality cannot restrain the darker forces in human nature. Which brings us to the Catholic bishops of eastern Canada.
They recently published a pastoral document indicating how, in their opinion, Catholics who commit suicide voluntarily, through doctor-assisted euthanasia (which is now legal there), should be treated by the Church....It is a masterpiece of Francis-speak. The document can be summed up like this: “Yes, euthanasia is strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church, but we know that some people are going to choose it anyway, so we intend to offer them all the sacraments to help them along the way, because who are we to judge?”
Here are some passages from the document. This is the opening paragraph:
In our Catholic tradition we often refer to the Church as our Mother. We perceive her as a mother who lovingly accompanies us throughout life, and who especially wishes to support and guide us when we are faced with difficult situations and decisions. It is from this perspective that we, the Bishops of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, wish to share with you this pastoral reflection on medical assistance in dying.Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary Canada * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Many churches have been involved in wonderful work in ministering in fearful communities, caring for the suffering and the families of those killed by disease or violence, while at the same time (in the case of bible-based congregations), continuing to teach of the love of Christ, and following God’s design for celibate singleness and faithful marriage as the best way of avoiding HIV. Some churches have been brave enough to challenge, with the Gospel, the toxic culture of machismo which is partly responsible for the high levels of murder and sexual abuse. While of course there are church leaders and nominal Christians who live no differently to those in the communities around them, there are many thousands of godly, prayerful and compassionate men and women who understand that counter-cultural sexual purity and control of anger is not old fashioned prudishness but a literal lifesaver and a witness to God’s goodness.
This background, essential for understanding any discussion about sex in South Africa, did not feature in the BBC programme, which sought to give the impression that people with same sex attraction are uniquely vulnerable. While violence against gay people is appalling and unacceptable, it is sadly part of a culture where women are abused whether they are gay or not, and people are beaten up and murdered for being foreign, or in the wrong place at the wrong time, for having a phone, for looking at someone’s girlfriend, etc, etc. The Western concept of LGBT rights is simply inappropriate in such a context. The church should be speaking up publicly against all violence and abuse, and developing communities of peace, safety and tolerance (as is doing so in many places), not focusing on one particular minority.
Also, given the prevalence of heterosexual promiscuity in society and even in the church, which combined with the sexual abuse has contributed to the devastating spread of AIDS and family breakdown, what effect would an acceptance and celebration of same sex relationships have in the townships and across Africa as a whole? It would surely send the message that the church is controlled by white Western liberalism (not good for mission?); that the Bible is not reliable; and that only ‘love’, not sexual self-control, is the concern of the church. If a same sex relationship is OK, people will ask, then why is adultery wrong?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Media Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The ET found that Bishop Inwood’s refusal to grant Canon Pemberton an EPML did fall under s 53 Equality Act 2010 and was a “relevant qualification” within the meaning of s 54: that was not the case, however, in respect of the revocation of his PTO. The ET further held, however, that the EPML qualification was for the purposes of employment for the purposes of an organised religion and the compliance principle was engaged; therefore, Bishop Inwood was exempt from liability by reason of paragraph 2, schedule 9 Equality Act 2010. As for the harassment claim, Bishop Inwood’s conduct did not amount to harassment. Context was everything: Canon Pemberton would not have experienced that (admittedly, unwanted) conduct had he not defied the doctrine of the Church. Moreover, Bishop Inwood had acted lawfully pursuant to schedule 9; it would be an affront to justice if his conduct was found to constitute harassment.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Self-harm among children has reached “epidemic levels” with almost 19,000 under-18s ending up in hospital for their injuries last year, a report says.
Figures obtained using Freedom of Information requests found a growing number are being treated after cutting or burning themselves to try to cope with mental health problems.
In all, 18,778 children aged 11 to 18 were admitted to hospital for self-harm in the year to March 2016, compared with 16,416, two years previously, a 14 per cent rise.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Rev. Charles D. Cooper (Pete) died on December 7, 2016. A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Church (252 South Dargan Street) at 11:00 am on Monday, December 12, 2016, with burial immediately following the service, in the St. John’s Memorial Garden. A reception will follow in the St. John’s Fellowship Hall.
Mr. Cooper was born in Lancaster, SC and was raised in Great Falls and Clinton, SC. A 1963 graduate of Clinton High School, Pete was a member of the Class of 1967 at the Citadel. He also received postgraduate degrees from Furman University and the University of the South (Sewanee) and was ordained in the Episcopal Church, 1981.
Pete served in the United States Marine Corps and was most proud of his fellow Marines. He spent many years as priest, teacher, coach, chaplain, assistant headmaster of several schools beginning his career with Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, SC and ending with Trinity Byrnes Collegiate School near Florence. He loved all of his school families. He also served in the Church as Assistant and Rector of several Parishes beginning at St. John’s Church in Columbia, retiring as Rector of St. John’s Church in Florence after 20 years, and continuing as Interim at The Church of the Ascension in Hagood, SC until the time of his death. His other service included St. David’s in Cheraw, SC and St. Cyprian’s in Lufkin, TX. Again, he loved all of his parish families.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * South Carolina * Theology
One question which hovered over the initial ET judgment was in relation to the doctrine of the Church in relation to marriage. I was startled when, under cross-examination, Richard Inwood had agreed that the doctrine of the Church ‘was a busted flush’. But both the ET and the EAT have ruled that, in the context of employment law, the Church’s doctrine of marriage is both clear and enforceable, and that clergy can reasonably be expected to conform to it.
As for the doctrines of the Church, this referred to the teachings and beliefs of the religion and the ET had been entitled to find these were as stated by Canon B30 (“marriage is … a union … of one man with one woman …”), evidenced, in particular, by the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The Respondent had applied a requirement that the Claimant not be in a same sex marriage so as to comply with the doctrines of the Church; it was not fatal to the ET’s conclusion in that regard that a different Bishop might not have done the same.
That final comment seems to me to be highly significant. Even if the Church’s doctrine has been applied inconsistently in the past, and elsewhere in the Church, then that does not undermine the action of a bishop who acts on it. In other words, if the collegial support for this doctrine in the House of Bishops collapses, and some bishops decide to declare UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence] and ignore the doctrine, then other bishops are still secure in law in enacting discipline based on this doctrine.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Mr Pemberton, a hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire, was barred in 2014 by the then acting Bishop of Southwell from taking up a job for the NHS in Nottinghamshire, just weeks after marrying.
The Church had warned him marriage other than between heterosexual couples was against its teaching.
In a statement today, Mr Pemberton said his appeal had been dismissed on every ground but judge Jennifer Eady QC had granted leave to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Pemberton said: "The result is, obviously, not the one my husband and I had hoped for...."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Seventy-five years ago today: pic.twitter.com/PKvDxpneaE— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) December 7, 2016
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I am speaking to you tonight at a very serious moment in our history. The Cabinet is convening and the leaders in Congress are meeting with the President. The State Department and Army and Navy officials have been with the President all afternoon. In fact, the Japanese ambassador was talking to the president at the very time that Japan's airships were bombing our citizens in Hawaii and the Phillippines and sinking one of our transports loaded with lumber on its way to Hawaii.
By tomorrow morning the members of Congress will have a full report and be ready for action.
In the meantime, we the people are already prepared for action. For months now the knowledge that something of this kind might happen has been hanging over our heads and yet it seemed impossible to believe, impossible to drop the everyday things of life and feel that there was only one thing which was important - preparation to meet an enemy no matter where he struck. That is all over now and there is no more uncertainty.
We know what we have to face and we know that we are ready to face it.
Read it all.
Update: Through the onders of the internet you hear it live there.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Women * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Asia Japan * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Even with all the setbacks from recessions, burst bubbles and vanishing industries, the United States has still pumped out breathtaking riches over the last three and half decades.
The real economy more than doubled in size; the government now uses a substantial share of that bounty to hand over as much as $5 trillion to help working families, older people, disabled and unemployed people pay for a home, visit a doctor and put their children through school.
Yet for half of all Americans, their share of the total economic pie has shrunk significantly, new research has found.
This group — the approximately 117 million adults stuck on the lower half of the income ladder — “has been completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s,” the team of economists found.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine History Marriage & Family Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
(Hat tip: Greg Kandra)
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Marriage & Family Media * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
It was exactly 20 years ago that I experienced something as a believer and as a young father that changed the way I view and experience Christmas. It was our first Christmas in England and in the Anglican Church. Growing up in a different denomination and in America, I’d never experienced going to church on Christmas morning. We always attended Christmas Eve services. Once I became a believer, they were particularly powerful experiences. The only time after I was married that we attended church on Christmas day was the rarity of it falling on a Sunday. And to be honest, we only did so because I worked for the church and it was expected of me.
What we experienced in 1996 was nothing less than amazing. As a family we went to church together on Christmas morning, and it forever changed the way we want to experience Christmas. We got up that morning, had breakfast and allowed our three small children the luxury of opening their stockings before getting dressed for church. We headed to church that morning, opened the doors and were amazed at what we saw. The entire church family packed the place! By that I mean all the active members of the church were there and some had brought extended family or friends. There was hardly a spare seat in the place. The service was lively and full of a spirit of true celebration. We sang “Joy To The World” as if we had never sung it before. The service was all-ages-oriented, and the sermon proclaimed the good news in a way that every generation could appreciate. There was no question as to why Jesus came to the earth by the time we left the church. And leaving was no hasty matter either. People lingered after the service exchanging cards, gifts, and hugs. The joyful spirit in the air was nothing less than stunning. We probably stayed longer than we did most Sundays. I then took my wife and three small children back to our house to continue the celebration. We opened gifts and shared phone calls with grandparents and ate entirely too much food.
The focus of our day was simply Jesus. It was possibly the first truly Christ-centered Christmas we as a Christian family had experienced. Having taken the time to worship our Lord first set the stage for the entire day.
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Imagine a two-tiered society with elite citizens, genetically engineered to be smarter, healthier and to live longer, and an underclass of biologically run-of-the-mill humans. It sounds like the plot of a dystopian novel, but the world could be sleepwalking towards this scenario, according to one of Britain’s most celebrated writers.
Kazuo Ishiguro argues that the social changes unleashed by gene editing technologies, such as Crispr, could undermine core human values.
“We’re going into a territory where a lot of the ways in which we have organised our societies will suddenly look a bit redundant,” he said. “In liberal democracies, we have this idea that human beings are basically equal in some very fundamental way. We’re coming close to the point where we can, objectively in some sense, create people who are superior to others.”
Read it all from the Guardian.
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It's 8 a.m. Sunday at St. Hilda's in Catonsville, and the priest in the pulpit wears a white robe and green chasuble to celebrate the Episcopal Mass — a formal liturgy with roots that date to the 16th century.
Two hours later, he has exchanged the alb and chasuble for a black Joe Flacco jersey to lead an evangelical service — his language now part Billy Graham, part Rodney Dangerfield.
Read it all from the Baltimore Sun.
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In what sense is the contemporary progressive the faithful heir of Jim Crow? https://t.co/5lSLWGAR0B— Justin Taylor (@between2worlds) December 2, 2016
Perhaps progressives hope and expect that, under the heavy weight of the law, traditionalists will abandon their religious conviction that sexual relations should be confined to marriage between a man and a woman. If that is the expectation, then the project would appear to be one in suppression or elimination: disagreements about marriage and sexuality should be eliminated by using law to make one side disappear.
More commonly, though, what we hear from the progressive side is that the Christian florist and photographer and marriage counselor are still free to retain their private religious convictions about marriage. They simply cannot act on those convictions while carrying on the business of florist or photographer or counselor. Such religious commitments should be left behind when the believer enters the public square. If a believer is unwilling or unable to make that sacrifice, then she should stay at home or find some other line of work.
This position is overtly segregationist in its strategy for dealing with religious diversity. Those who take this view are analogous to the 1960s segregationist who said, “Of course there’s a place for you: it just isn’t here (in this school, or this section of the bus, or this end of the lunch counter).” In that respect, it is the contemporary progressive, not the Christian florist or photographer, who is the faithful heir of Jim Crow.
Read it all from Professor Steven Smith at PD.
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... I finally embarked on a book about my great-grandfather.
I knew that if I hoped to understand what drew him into ministry in Japan, I needed to learn more about Christianity. So, for the first time, I began to read the Bible in a meaningful way, under the guidance of two devout relatives. A long-suppressed inner flame burned brighter as I read and contemplated the Scriptures. Several verses in particular spoke to me.
In Luke 17:20–21, when Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God is coming, he replies: “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed; nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And in John 14:9, Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
For the first time, I felt I understood the true meaning of faith, as hope in things unseen. I understood, too, how Jesus taught us what it means to be God’s people, loving one another as we love ourselves. Only through love can we help bring God’s kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven.
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Second, we often hear that the Church is evolving on this issue, especially every time a Christian celebrity changes their minds. But the vast majority of evangelicals still hold to the traditional view, and they’re not changing their minds anytime soon. As my “BreakPoint This Week” cohost, Ed Stetzer, points out in Christianity Today, “Evangelical organizations across the spectrum are making clear where they stand on marriage.” Groups like the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Christianity Today, and even more progressive social-justice-minded organizations like World Vision and Fuller Seminary, have all unambiguously committed to hold the line on this issue.
As have denominations. Virtually every evangelical communion has reaffirmed God’s design for sex and marriage. Even in the United Methodist Church, long considered a stronghold of liberal theology, and in the worldwide Anglican communion, the marriage debate has taken a conservative turn as traditional members in Africa and elsewhere exert their influence.
But, some will reply, “If Christians don’t all agree on what marriage is, you can’t say there’s such a thing as ‘the Christian position.’” But Christian truth isn’t made of what people who call themselves Christians say. It’s revealed truth, made known through creation, through Scripture, ultimately through Christ—each of which are quite clear about what makes us male and female, what marriage is, and about sexual morality.
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Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed recently discovered that the church Chip and Joanna Gaines attend, Antioch Community Church, is led by a pastor who does not support same-sex marriage and who believes that homosexual practice is a sin. In other words, Chip and Joanna Gaines attend a historically Christian congregation on the matter of sexual ethics.
Now, not all Christians will agree with some of the statistics cited by the Gaines’ pastor, his linking homosexuality in most cases to abuse, or his portrayal of the “gay lifestyle.” But there is nothing newsworthy about a Christian church teaching that male-female marriage is God’s original design and that newly invented definitions fall short of God’s intention for human flourishing.
What is newsworthy is the religious undertone of the Cosmopolitan article. It reads like a heresy hunt. The magazine has “uncovered something many fans will likely want an explanation for—a startling revelation that has left many wondering where Chip and Jo stand.”
Buzzfeed is seeking clarification from HGTV, hoping (apparently) to hear the Gaines recant their pastor’s heretical beliefs. Until then “their silence speaks volumes.”
Read it all from TGC.
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In a revealing personal interview with the Sunday Times, Mrs May confessed that the Brexit debate is keeping her awake at night, but that her faith was guiding her decision making.
She said that while the issues were "really complex" she is also "very conscious" that the government needs to get on with delivering a deal for Britain.
She said: “Well, it is a moment of change. It is a hugely challenging time. And we need to get on with the deal in terms of Brexit. And I’m very conscious of that. I want to make sure that everything we do ensures Britain is a country that works for everyone.
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There have always been examples of unkind attitudes, bullying and discrimination towards people who appear to be, or who identify as, homosexual, just as there has always been racism, snobbery and other ugly traits. Sadly, Christians have sometimes been guilty of this, and in doing so we are failing to follow the way of Christ.
However, in recent years the accusation of ‘homophobia’ has been levelled not just at these unkind attitudes towards gay people, but also reasoned biblical convictions about problems associated with homosexual practice, and any expression of concern about the power and intolerance of pressure groups. We are told that no matter how compassionate a person is towards gay people, if we do not fully embrace the goodness of the gay identity and lifestyle we are homophobes. We are said to rely on irrational feelings and thoughts to reject and damage homosexual people.
You cannot argue your way out of such a moral judgement. You are not being accused of using bad arguments to support a case, but of reacting viscerally in an immoral and damaging way.
Not surprisingly, in the West in particular, those who wish to argue for a traditional sexual ethic have been intimidated by the word.
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While we have thus far highlighted their impact on isolated families like mine, on my darkest days I cannot help wondering if Neoeugenicist attitudes are re-booting the whole ethos of Western medicine and an entire civilisation. Whichever way the cake is cut, the principle that one group of people can legally coerce another to destroy their offspring simply because their skeletons contain low levels of collagen or their eyeballs are a funny colour seems ineradicably totalitarian. Once established this tyranny can never remain quarantined within healthcare institutions - like a virulent pathogen such contempt for human dignity will surely propagate beyond hospital walls and inflict damage upon our society as a whole.
Some hints concerning the social consequences that accompanied medical totalitarianism in an earlier age emerge from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the former University of Berlin academic who opposed the dehumanisation of the Jews in eugenics-obsessed Nazi Germany. He explores the influence of the anti-democratic impulse within healthcare in his famous unfinished work, Ethics.
As he sensed his execution approaching, Bonhoeffer grasped that a commitment to the intrinsic value of every human life is basic to a humane civil order. In such a society, the strong vigilantly resist the temptation to lord themselves over the weak.
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Secondly, “clergy and laity are entitled to argue for changes to teaching and practice”. Again, of course we have freedom of speech! But this seems to open the door to the widespread promotion of any view, even an irresponsible disregard for core doctrines, which include marriage. This provision was no doubt originally intended to allow for a free exchange of views during the ‘Shared Conversation’ process. Its effect now will be again to undermine any idea of clear universally agreed teaching in which we can have confidence.
Thirdly, the letter says “prayers of support on a pastoral basis for people in same-sex relationships” are permitted in churches. This is very misleading: in its original context (The Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance of 2014) such private prayers were clearly distinguished from public ‘prayers of blessing’ which are explicitly not permitted. Without this clear distinction, public services of celebration of same sex relationships could be carried out under the guidelines of ‘pastoral prayer’ - and indeed such services are being carried out as the GAFCON document on Lambeth I:10 violations shows.
On one hand, then, the Church of England has an official doctrine of sex and marriage based on the wonderful fruitful biblical vision of godly celibate singleness, man and woman sacrificially committed to each other exclusively for life, a family of mum, dad and kids; power for living it out, forgiveness for all (ie the 100%) who fall short. But in practice the Church is extremely diffident about explaining or commending this vision, not just because it knows that many in the ranks of its own leadership don’t believe in it, but because it is more afraid of unpopularity from the secular British establishment and Twitter mobs than it is concerned about fellowship with the worldwide church or doing what is right before God.
So rather than changing the doctrine, the Church puts it on the shelf, and allows other beliefs and practices to take hold. The church officially believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, but Bishops can argue for same sex marriage, and clergy can conduct a ceremony which looks to all intents and purposes like the blessing of a same sex relationship, and it’s ‘within the guidelines’.
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The Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday that adultery does not amount to mental cruelty per se runs the risk of treading a fine line between being seemingly progressive, and terribly detached from reality.
The remarks were made as the two-judge bench acquitted a man convicted by the high court for abetting his wife’s suicide, allegedly due to his affair with a woman colleague. While calling an extra-marital affair “illegal and immoral” and retaining it as a ground for divorce, the judges felt that it should still not draw criminal provisions under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, as the latter depends on evidence that the affair directly led to the suicide.
One wonders if in a country like India, the magnitude of social stigma attached to a woman whose husband left her for someone else can be ignored while defining cruelty.
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A few years before Craig Sanders lost his father to suicide, a music pastor in their South Carolina town took his life.
“I remember the superficial and judgmental anger I had toward him,” Sanders said. “How could you do that to your daughters? What a selfish act.”
When his own father, Larry, a pastor plagued by depression and insecurity, died, Sanders was also angry at him. But it wasn’t the same; this time, he sought to understand the complexities of mental health and other issues behind his dad's decision to take his life. Sanders felt hurt at being left behind and frustrated with a pastorate that doesn’t make it easy to get help.
“I remember the last conversation with him on the phone. He said, ‘Craig, I’m a failure.’ And I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I said, ‘Dad, you’re my hero. Do you understand that all my life I’ve tried to measure up to you? I’m at seminary because I want to be like you.’”
Larry’s depression, which was in part biological, had likely worsened from diabetes medication, church conflicts, and unhealthy comparison with other ministers, Sanders said. “He really got stuck in the comparison game. . . . He was doing a doctor of ministry degree and reading books on church growth, looking at models of how to make your church grow. He was like, ‘If I’m doing these things and my church isn’t growing, what does that say about me?’”
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The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, has issued the following response to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement:
Bishop David said: "The political turbulence of the past year and lower growth forecasts have meant the Chancellor has been given limited economic room for manoeuvre. But I welcome the emphasis in the Autumn Statement on long term stability, investment in innovation, in our national infrastructure and on supporting regional growth. To be a nation living within its means is an aspiration worth keeping, even if the revised figures for deficit reduction mean that the goal of its achievement has been moved slightly further away.
The Government is to be commended for wanting to address the situation of those who are 'just managing' and for its emphasis on work as being an important route out of poverty. The increases in the National Living Wage and a partial reversal of planned cuts to Universal Credit announced in today's Autumn Statement are welcome and will offer some help. But at a time when the cost of living is set to rise, more on the lowest incomes will still struggle to get by and they might benefit from more targeted assistance than further increases in the tax free personal allowance, which mostly benefits better off families, as the recent report by the Centre for Social Justice points out.
As the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have highlighted, the four-year freeze on working-age benefits is looking increasingly out of date, especially with rising inflation.
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Losing the Super Bowl four years in a row was tough, but it wasn’t even close to what was about to enfold. Life was about to take a much more difficult turn for Kelly, one that would put those football losses in perspective.
In 1997, Kelly’s son Hunter was born. Kelly had huge dreams for him; Hunter would be the next great athlete in the family. But “four months into his life, we realized he wasn’t reaching a lot of his milestones,” Kelly recalls. “The pediatrician told us ‘your son is showing signs of cerebral palsy.’ It was devastating. But my son continued to get worse.” Then came the tragic news. Hunter was diagnosed with globoid-cell leukodystrophy, or Krabbe disease, a deadly neurological disease. Average life expectancy is less than a year. “The doctors told us to take him home, make him comfortable and watch him pass away,” Kelly says. But Kelly and his wife fought and tried to give their son a real life.
Hunter lived long enough to see his father inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. Kelly dedicated his speech to his son. Hunter ultimately passed away on Aug. 5, 2005, at the age of 8. “This was the lowest point of my life,” Kelly says choking up.
Kelly acknowledges that he had problems with his marriage and wasn’t proud of his behavior. “I hit rock bottom. I was mad. I knew I had to change my life and in 2007 I finally did. I had to humble myself to admit I made mistakes,” he says.
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I have seen a paper entitled, "The Church of England and Lambeth 1:10", produced by GAFCON UK and dated 13 November, which is described as a briefing to GAFCON Primates. It purports to be an account of "the situation in the Church of England regarding attitudes and teaching on sexual ethics."
The paper paints a significantly misleading picture both of the teaching and practice of the Church of England, and of Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. I am writing to correct some of the erroneous assertions.
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Gresham had read the Narnia books that had been published by then, never dreaming that he might be adopted by their author. He had been captivated by Lewis's imagined world, which also fuelled a fantasy about the man who would be his father. "I was an eight-year-old American boy steeped in the medieval legends of King Arthur," he recalls. "England to me was a land where I expected everyone to ride chargers and joust whenever they met. So when I was taken to meet the man who was on speaking terms with the great lion Aslan, I subconsciously expected him to be wearing silver armour and carry a sword.
"But he was the antithesis of what I had imagined – a stooped, balding, professorial gentleman with unbelievably shabby clothes and nicotine-stained fingers. It was also clear, however, that he had an enormous personality and sense of fun. This immediately eroded any visual deficiencies. I lost an illusion and gained a great friend and, later, a father."
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Sarah-Jane Cunningham knew that her Facebook posts about the election were rubbing her family the wrong way, but she didn’t realize the posts would get her uninvited from Thanksgiving dinner.
The 19-year-old said her mother called a week before Thanksgiving and confronted her about the Facebook posts regarding President-elect Donald Trump.
“She asked me if I was going to be disrespectful to my family, and I told her that it could work either way, Cunningham said. "If the things I am saying are disrespectful to Trump supporters, the things they are saying are also disrespectful to me."
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When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’(--used yesterday by yours truly in the morning sermon).
“‘Luciano,’ my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’
“I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book—whatever we choose—we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.”
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Children as young as seven are being signed up to be frozen after their death by the organisation at the centre of the controversy over cryonics.
Cryonics UK, which prepares bodies for long-term frozen storage in the US, said it had about “four or five” children on its membership list. The youngest person it had been asked to freeze was seven, but the arrangements could not be made before the child died.
Tim Gibson, 45, a committee member of Cryonics UK, which operates as a charity, said there was no age limit for children to be frozen. The cost of the procedure is about £45,000 and is offered in the hope that those who have died might be resuscitated in the future.
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The U.S. divorce rate dropped for the third year in a row, reaching its lowest point in nearly 40 years, according to data released Thursday.
Marriage rates, on the other hand, increased last year. In 2015, there were 32.2 marriages for every 1,000 unmarried women age 15 or older, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. This represents a jump from 31.9 in 2014 and is the highest number of marriages since 2009, which suggests that marriage rates may be stabilizing after decades of decline.
On the divorce side, the 2015 rate was 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women age 15 or older, which is down from 17.6 in 2014 and a peak of almost 23 divorces in 1980.
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The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, but it would look dramatically different if its 50 states were organized according to income instead of geography.
If that were the case, residents of the poorest state in the union would have a median household income that’s just above the federal poverty line for a family of four. They would also expect to live shorter lives than people in more than half of the world's countries.
It's not a pretty picture, according to the researchers who carried out this thought experiment.
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Nigeria is by far the largest of Africa’s 54 nations, and its $1 billion economy is fifth largest on the continent. With 51 percent adult literacy, it lags far behind other former British colonies such as Ghana and Kenya, yet it has contributed much—possibly more than any other African nation—to the growing list of novels written in Africa that are read around the world.
Two debut novels by Nigerians, richly textured narratives of family life in both city and village, are attracting critical attention and deserve a wide readership. In each of them, a young narrator observes his elders negotiating the economic and cultural challenges of daily life in postcolonial Africa. Each is set in the 1990s, when Nigeria made halting steps forward in its quest for effective and accountable government and then slipped catastrophically backward. Each illuminates the tensions between African traditions and Western ambitions, between the old ways that have sustained families and communities for many generations and the new ideas that promise but do not always deliver an escape from poverty and isolation.
When Jowhor Ile’s narrative begins in 1995, the Uku family of Port Harcourt (once a verdant garden city on the Niger delta and now a chaotic megalopolis) is comfortably established in the Nigerian middle class. General Sani Abacha has thrown out Nigeria’s elected government in favor of a military dictatorship, one of several that mar Nigeria’s postindependence history.
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Chris Hart confronted his own mortality in Fallujah.
It was April 2004. He was a year out of high school and one month into his deployment. He was barely a man. This was his first tour of duty as a Marine in Iraq. Boot camp at Parris Island tested his limits, transforming him into a warrior.
He felt invincible — until he wasn't.
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For St Paul, it was the Road to Damascus, for Matt Woodcock, journalist and Oasis fan with high energy and low sperm count, it was on the A19 to when he recognised God's calling. God joined presented him with an offer he found impossible to refuse. The diary traces the how that offer unfolds.
Becoming Reverend, from Church House Publishing, is a compelling and original account of how faith can work in the midst of a messy life, combining family, fertility, faith and friendship with the story of a divine - but unlikely - calling.
In his first book, also available as an ebook and Church House Publishing's very first Audiobook, Matt lays bare his joys and struggles as he attempts to reconcile his calling as a vicar with his life as a party-loving journalist, footy-freak and incorrigible extrovert.
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Being childless has allowed me to invest in myself.
Right now, most 50-somethings are cashing out their savings to send their kids to college.
And a great deal more are paying for their kids’ weddings, embracing grandkids, or supporting Millennial children who are returning to the nest.
Me? Let’s just say my life doesn’t exactly fit into the typical mold.
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Even when they try to stake out a more ostensibly counter-cultural position, as Hatmaker did in 7, they often end up mimicking more mainstream trends in rich, suburban America.
To be fair, the BELONG Tour is not unique in this. Millennial evangelicals from this second-generation seeker-sensitive movement are doing this sort of thing en masse. The other obvious example of this is the Q Conference, which is an evangelical riff on TED talks.
Even so, this needs to be understood: The things that Hatmaker said last week are entirely consistent with a movement that cannot create culture but can only react to it and mimic it. Even where I think she is more right than wrong, as she is in her handling of race issues, for example, her response shows a kind of captivity to prevailing cultural norms that are typical of seeker-sensitive ministries. It is a movement driven by the same techniques used to grow businesses and which interprets the contemporary expression of Christian faith through the medium of current cultural norms and, particularly, common business norms and practices.
There is simply no foundation in the movement for someone like Hatmaker to resist the cultural momentum that has carried so many people toward a view of the human body and sexuality that is wildly out of step with historic Christian teachings.
To the extent that Hatmaker has helped promote and grow this sort of syncretist Christianity she should be criticized, but this problem is far older than Hatmaker and is something that Hatmaker inherited from other older Christians. So criticism that singles out Hatmaker is misguided; Hatmaker is one part of a much larger sub-culture of evangelicalism that is deeply broken and incapable of doing the very things it was designed to do, which is communicate the truths of the Gospel to a culture that finds those truths increasingly strange and alien. By adopting the norms of the bourgeois, the attractional Christians of the 1970s were setting themselves and their children up to become good syncretists and utterly incapable of mounting any kind of serious prophetic critique of their culture.
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One would never learn from Wolterstorff’s reading of Romans 1 that multiple New Testament exegetes have offered cogent responses to Boswell’s interpretation, undermining its credibility even for most “progressive” Christians writing in this area today. Specifically, Wolterstorff declines to mention the pitched debate over the import of the multiple allusions Paul makes in Romans 1 to Genesis 1-3, allusions that suggest that “nature,” as Paul understands it, isn’t simply “what is common in Paul’s day” but rather what is given in God’s creation itself.
All of Wolterstorff’s engagement with Scripture appears to be shaped by his gambit: If same-sex sexual intimacy isn’t inherently unloving, then opposition to same-sex marriage can only be due to a misbegotten commitment to divine command theory. Once one sees that those supposed divine commands—for instance, in Romans 1—aren’t in fact a black-and-white proscription of all gay sex, then the traditionalists’ jig is up. And this is where Wolterstorff ends his lecture: Having neutralized the proof-texts beloved of conservatives, he closes with a positive case for same-sex marriage.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Almost a quarter of religious parents are not passing on their faith to their children for fear they will be alienated at school, a survey has revealed.
The poll found that one in four (23 per cent) were worried that their offspring might be sidelined by friends if they passed on their religious views.
A similar proportion (26 per cent) of parents said they were concerned that their children “may have questions I could not answer”.
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
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Bishop Bayes’ article is a mixture of Christian and secular aspiration, but it is fatally flawed by his preferencing the spirit of the age and its values over Scripture and spiritual discernment.
He begins his article by encouraging change and transformation, (St Paul would agree with that) but he is unwilling or unable to make any discrimination between wholesome, holy desires- desires of the Spirit as the New Testament teaches, and desires of the flesh – the lower nature. Not all change is good.
The New Testament understands the idea of the heart’s desire he advocates, but it locates it as a Christian in a longing for God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Bishop Bayes, ditching any recognition of being single and celibate, locates it in the desire for a romantic, erotic relationship; and in the face of the whole weight of Christian experience and biblical teaching, encourages the anger that is the fruit of the frustration of not getting what you want, to be directed against the Church.
This is taking up cudgels on behalf of the flesh, not the Spirit, as not only misses but perverts the point of the Kingdom of Heaven.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Marriage, as Jesus defines it in Matthew 19—where a man leaves his father and mother and joins with his wife in covenant marriage—is a core evangelical belief.
It might not seem that way these days, when we hear of a few people making news by changing their views on sexuality and marriage, but we are in a season of one evangelical organization after another feeling the need to make clear their position on marriage.
That’s the bigger story than the celebrity of the moment.
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We live in very challenging times for Christians in the West. There are cultural forces that unsettle and disturb the Church, and at times threaten to engulf it.
The tragedy is that many Christians and many church leaders are swept away by many developments that are at odds with our faith. They are lost or missing in action and have become victims of cultural struggles and differences that have always been with us since the very beginnings of Christianity. Others have changed sides and actively campaign against faith positions they once held dear.
There are several developments which I find appalling and which I will loosely group around issues to do with Christianity and western law which have long themselves been linked.
1. It is absolutely chilling that Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland have lost their case in the Court of Appeal. The original ruling was that Ashers had discriminated against a gay man because they refused to bake a cake that carried a pro-gay marriage slogan. Let’s not forget that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that retains the previous perfectly serviceable and Christian definition of marriage. The Ashers Bakery contended that they are happy to bake cakes for anyone but would have refused to bake a cake supporting gay marriage even if a heterosexual had asked them to do so....
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A few days after the conversation in the car, I found [Emma's older sister] Hannah alone in her room and asked her again what was going on with Emma. She hesitated at first, but finally came out with it.
“Emma is transgender,” she said matter-of-factly.
“What does that mean?” I had heard the term, but never thought much about it.
“Emma is a boy,” Hannah said.
“But Emma’s a girl. She can’t be a boy,” I said. It sounded ridiculous.
“She feels like she was supposed to be a boy instead of a girl.”
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
In a world where we are surrounded 24/7 by all kinds of digital media from iPhones to electronic billboards, trying to figure out the maximum — or better yet optimal — amount of screen time that's good for kids has been a challenge.
For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics set a simple and clear ceiling: no more than two hours parked in front of the TV for any child over the age of two. But at its annual meeting in San Francisco on Friday, the group, acknowledging that some online media exposure can be beneficial, announced that it has radically revised its thinking on the subject.
The first big change is in how it defines screen time in the first place. The AAP now says that its limits apply solely to time spent on entertainment and not on educational tasks such as practicing multiplication facts online or reading up on the history of Fort McHenry and the Star Spangled Banner. The entertainment category itself is very broad and can include old-fashioned broadcast TV, streaming services like Netflix, video games consoles and being on social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. The new recommendations are also more specific to the age of the child and, as a whole, are more generous.
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There is a kind of baby-boomer Pharisaism in Clinton’s outlook. It’s an outlook that recognizes the existence of evil, yes, but the evil is always located in other people, never in oneself; it’s always out there somewhere—in society, in discriminatory practices, in “backward-looking policies,” in partisan climates, in “an interlocking network of groups and individuals who want to turn the clock back on many of the advances our country has made” (this last an explanation, in Living History, of her notorious reference to a “vast right-wing conspiracy” in 1998).
Clinton is the product, first, of the midcentury Protestant liberalism of her upbringing—she was raised in a solidly mainline Methodist church outside Chicago—and, second, the countercultural protests of the 1960s. These are very different cultural phenomena in many respects, but both tended to locate human wickedness in institutions, social trends, historical processes. War, consumerism, social injustice, poverty, the “military–industrial complex”: the problem was always some kind of social or political circumstance, never man himself and certainly not one’s own heart. For Clinton, an honest admission of wrongdoing isn’t something to avoid doing; it isn’t a thing at all. Except in some extreme case in which the individual admits his part in an institutional or political sin (Lee Atwater’s late confession of cruelty to political opponents, perhaps), decent, right-thinking people can’t admit to wrongdoing because wrongdoing isn’t really the result of individual decisions.
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Ashers Baking is owned by the McArthur family. It offered to bake cakes iced with a graphic of the customer’s own design. Gareth Lee is gay; and to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, in May 2014 he ordered a cake from Ashers bearing the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” and a picture of the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie. Ashers initially accepted his order but Mrs Karen McArthur subsequently telephoned him to say that his order could not be fulfilled because Ashers was a Christian business and that, with hindsight, she should not have taken the order in the first place. She apologised and refunded his money.
Before Belfast County Court, in Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd & Anor  NICty 2 Mr Lee had claimed that he had been discriminated against contrary to the provisions of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 and/or the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998. District Judge Brownlie found for Mr Lee, concluding that Ashers Baking was liable under the 2006 Regulations for the unlawful acts of its two directors, Mr and Mrs McArthur, and that they, in turn, were liable under Regulation 24 for aiding Ashers Baking to act unlawfully. As a result of their actions, the company had discriminated unlawfully against Mr Lee. They appealed and the matter came before the Court of Appeal in Belfast by way of case stated.
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By the end of the 20th century, however, the special role of adolescence in US culture began to fall apart. Global competition was making skills acquired in high school obsolete as higher levels of schooled certification became necessary in the workplace. The longtime educational advantage of the US and the competence of its students was challenged as other nations prospered and offered their children schooling that was often superior when measured by international scores. New immigrants, who began to arrive in the US in large numbers in the 1970s, were less well-integrated into high schools as schools re-segregated, leaving Latino immigrants, for example, in underperforming schools.
High schools, long a glory of US education and a product of democratic culture, had lost their central social role. Graduation, once the final step for most Americans on the road to work and steady relationships leading to marriage, no longer marked a significant end point on the way to maturity. It provided neither an effective transition to adulthood nor a valuable commodity for aspiring youth, and was an impediment to those who dropped out. Going to college became a necessary part of middle-class identity, and this complicated the completion of adolescence for everyone. Now that college was held up as essential to economic success, the failure to go to college portended an inadequate adulthood.
The extension of necessary schooling into the 20s (and sometimes even into the 30s) strongly attenuated the relationship between a stage of physical maturation (puberty) and the social experiences to which it had been attached in the concept of adolescence.
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My jaw dropped."
This was the instant reaction of a mother suffering from a terminal disease when she was told by her medical insurance company that they could not pay for her chemotherapy but would be willing to shoulder the cost of drugs that would put her to death. The drugs' price: $1.20.
Four years ago, 33-year-old California resident Stephanie Packer was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes scar tissue to form in her lungs, the New York Post reported.
Read it all from Christian Today.
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[Will] Willimon once preached about an encounter he had with the father of a graduating student. The father called his office and exploded over the phone. “I hold you personally responsible for this,” he yelled at Willimon. The father was angry because his graduate-school-bound daughter had decided (in the father’s words) “to throw it all away and go and do mission work in Haiti with the Presbyterian church.” The father screamed, “Isn’t that absurd! She has a bachelor of science degree from Duke University, and she is going to dig ditches in Haiti! I hold you responsible for this!”--shared by my coworker Craige Borrett in the morning sermon and one of my favorite Willimon stories
Willimon, not easily intimidated, asked him, “Why me?” The father replied, “You ingratiated yourself and filled her with all this religion stuff.” Dr. Willimon was quick to reply, “Sir, weren’t you the one who had her baptized?” “Well, well, well, yes,” the father stumbled. “And didn’t you take her to Sunday school when she was a little girl?” “Well, well, yes.” “And didn’t you allow your daughter to go on those youth group ski trips to Colorado when she was in high school?” “Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?” replied the father, becoming more and more aggravated. “Sir,” Willimon concluded, “you are the reason she is throwing it all away. You introduced her to Jesus. Not me!” “But,” said the father, “all we wanted was a Presbyterian.” Willimon replied, “Well, sorry sir, you messed up. You’ve gone and made a disciple.”
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Missions Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Young Adults * International News & Commentary Caribbean Haiti * Theology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
But if there is a growing gap between the beliefs of the elites and the laws of the nation on one hand, and the Christian Church on the other, then the Bible and church history give clear guidance: the Church’s responsibility is to do precisely the opposite of what Mr Archer suggests, and stick to its principles courageously, compassionately and prophetically, as for example the Anglican Church did in South Africa, otherwise it becomes a puppet of the State and a religious cipher in society.
Mr Archer goes on to predict, with approval, that Parliament will in time act to “urge” the Church of England to change its official teaching and practice regarding sexual ethics and marriage. He may be right, and readers should not be surprised in the coming months to see influential leaders such as Mr Archer siding with Government and media to put pressure on the Church in this way.
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In the Shubra al-Kheima neighborhood of Cairo, Sharouk, 20, has had two engagements broken off by her prospective grooms' families. The reason: She couldn't afford to buy kitchen appliances.
In Sharouk's working-class community, the groom is responsible for the apartment and furniture, while the bride provides a refrigerator, stove and washing machine. The engagement is sealed with a gift of gold jewelry from the groom to the bride.
The soft-spoken young woman has worked in a nearby factory since she was 12. But Sharouk's earnings of about $50 a month are buying less and less. And she is still helping her widowed mother, Samiha, pay off debts from money they borrowed for the marriages of her sister and brother.
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The common wisdom, as research verifies, is that most men want sons. That’s starting to shift. Some men, like me, fear becoming fathers to sons.
At the website for the NPR radio show “On Being,” the writer Courtney E. Martin observes of many younger middle- and upper-middle-class fathers-to-be, “I’ve noticed a fascinating trend: They seem to disproportionately desire having a girl instead of a boy.” An informal Facebook survey she took yielded these results: “I wanted a girl mainly because I felt it was harder to be a boy in today’s society. If I have a boy I will embrace the challenge of raising a boy…who can learn the power of vulnerability even as male culture tries to make him see it as weakness. But, frankly, I hope that when I have a second child, it’ll be another girl.’” This was emblematic of a lot of the responses, which revealed that men felt more confident, or “better equipped,” co-parenting “a strong, confident daughter.”
Ms. Martin says that her own husband was relieved to have daughters instead of sons. He says: “‘I haven’t felt like I fit into a lot of the social norms around masculinity…. I’m much more interested in the challenge of helping a girl or young woman transcend sexist conditions. It feels more possible and more important, in some ways.”
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There is another moment — actually, a single hour — that I will never forget.
On the final day, as we waited for Laura’s organ donor surgery, all I wanted was to be alone with her. But family and friends kept coming to say their goodbyes, and the clock ticked away. About 4 p.m., finally, everyone had gone, and I was emotionally and physically exhausted, in need of a nap. So I asked her nurses, Donna and Jen, if they could help me set up the recliner, which was so uncomfortable, but all I had, next to Laura again. They had a better idea.
They asked me to leave the room for a moment, and when I returned, they had shifted Laura to the right side of her bed, leaving just enough room for me to crawl in with her one last time. I asked if they could give us one hour without a single interruption, and they nodded, closing the curtains and the doors, and shutting off the lights.
I nestled my body against hers. She looked so beautiful, and I told her so, stroking her hair and face.
Read it all from the New York Times. If you have a moment, this is a lovely video report also.
One of the forerunners of the Ordinariate is the remarkable parish of Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, Texas.
As a young Anglican seminarian, Christopher Phillips trained for the ministry at Salisbury in England. On his return to the United States he and his wife Joanne, living at that time in Rhode Island, felt the call to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.
It was 1981 and Pope John Paul II had just given permission for married Anglican priests who become Catholic to be granted a dispensation from the vow of celibacy, thereby allowing them to be ordained as Catholic priests. Permission was also granted for groups of Anglicans to set up “personal parishes” using an Anglican-style liturgy under the supervision of their Catholic bishop.
At the same time Christopher and Joanne were discerning the way forward, a small group of Episcopalians in San Antonio had decided to leave the Episcopal church and seek re-union with Rome. They asked Christopher if he would move to Texas to be their pastor.
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Canadians are grappling with one of the most difficult legal issues we have faced in decades: our collective responsibility to facilitate medically assisted death for those who choose it and satisfy the legal criteria. Since the Supreme Court decided in 2015 that Canadians have a Charter-protected right to a dignified death of their choosing, governments, doctors, hospitals and citizens have struggled to accept and move forward with a workable regime. One of the biggest impediments, however, is institutional resistance. Hospitals that claim a right to conscientious objection may well prove the Achilles heel in government efforts to breathe life into a right to die.
Catholic hospitals, which are publicly funded, take the position that as institutions they have religious rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This position was recognized by some Supreme Court judges in a 2015 case known as Loyola High School v Quebec. Three judges concluded that a religious institution, as a collective, could claim a right to freedom of religion under Section 2(a) of the Charter. However, the three judges added a key caveat to this conclusion: “… an organization meets the requirements for s. 2(a) protection if (1) it is constituted primarily for religious purposes, and (2) its operation accords with these religious purposes.” Publicly funded hospitals do not satisfy this test and therefore have no claim to freedom of religion.
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Vaughan then views the issues through the biblical framework of creation, fall and redemption. True freedom is found not through radical independence, but through being who we are. The result of being left to invent our identities is a deep insecurity and fluidity. But in reality our identity is given to us in creation. We are made embodied and sexual. As a result of the fall, however, we are now all disordered. Some people have disordered bodies which, in the case of gender, includes a small minority with intersex conditions. More common are disordered minds. This includes phenomena like depression and anxiety. But it can also include gender dysphoria. These are not necessarily a direct result of an individual’s own sin. But they are the result of humanity’s rebellion against sin. We are now all in some way or other broken people in a broken world. Vaughan draws on his own experience of same-sex attraction to illustrate this point. The gospel is the good news of redemption through Christ in a new creation. Before the day when our bodies will be redeemed, we are to resist desires contrary to God’s will. ‘That means that those who experience gender dysphoria should resist feelings that encourage them to see themselves as anything other than the sex of their birth.’ (61) Though this may be difficult, this will lead to a greater experience of freedom and a secure identity. Vaughan ends with a chapter entitled ‘Wisdom’ where he address a series of ‘What if …?’ scenarios including advice to parents, friends and churches.
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[The] Rev. Dr Keith Mascord appears to be the first Anglican casualty of the same-sex marriage debate.
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Dr Glenn Davies has decided not to renew Rev. Mascord's ministry licence.
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Parents must also teach their children right from wrong. No child is born knowing right from wrong. Children have to be taught the difference, which means (in this context) accepting instruction as authoritative truth. And authoritative teaching requires authority.
When parents abdicate their authority, they set their children adrift. Kids need firm guidance. When their parents don’t provide it, they look to peers or social media or the Internet. What they find is Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Akon, Eminem, Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga. It’s a confusing mélange of sex, selfies, and the endless striving for popularity and attention. What really counts in that world is who’s sexy and who has the most followers on Twitter and the best photos on Instagram.
Legitimate authority establishes a stable moral universe for children. It provides an alternative to the popular culture that has become a culture of disrespect: disrespect for parents, for teachers, for one another. This culture of disrespect leads young people even to disrespect themselves: hence the growing propensity of American teens to post photos on social media of themselves in various states of undress. This new norm—the casual obscenity of sexting—would have been unthinkable even twenty years ago. “Everybody does it” is what kids tell me, with a shrug. “It’s no big deal.” Without clear adult authority to guide them, they live in an unstable moral universe in which everything is relative, in which self-worth is contingent on the opinions of same-age peers.
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In other words, what Francis emphasizes is that the “memory of a people” is never an abstraction - it’s composed of specific memories and experiences lodged in individual, flesh-and-blood people, and thus “keeping alive the past” is in large part about hearing their stories and paying respect to their wisdom.
As he often does at this stage in his improv sessions, Francis emphasized the importance of the elderly, issuing a call on young people to cultivate strong ties with their grandparents, and also stressed the importance of “mothers and grandmothers” as the carriers of both memory and culture.
“A plant without roots doesn’t grow, the pope said. “In the same way, a faith without roots in a mom and grandma doesn’t grow.”
Read it all from Crux.
The world watched in amazement as, on the day of their son’s funeral, nearly 30 Amish men and women, some the parents of the victims, came to the cemetery and formed a wall to block out media cameras. Parents, whose daughters had died at the hand of their son, approached the couple after the burial and offered condolences for their loss.
Then, just four weeks after the shooting, the couple was invited to meet with all the families in a local fire hall. One mother held Roberts’s gaze as both women’s eyes blurred with tears, she said. They were all grieving; they were all struggling to make sense of the senseless.
But the Amish did more than forgive the couple. They embraced them as part of their community. When Roberts underwent treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer in December, one of the girls who survived the massacre helped clean her home before she returned from the hospital. A large yellow bus arrived at her home around Christmas, and Amish children piled inside to sing her Christmas carols.
“The forgiveness is there; there’s no doubt they forgive,” Roberts said.
Read it all from the Washington Post.
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In The Irish Times, expatriates described how the liberal abortion laws of their adopted homes made Ireland appear regressive in comparison, motivating them to hold their own demonstrations calling for repeal.
One woman, a television producer based in Vancouver, described how living in such a “progressive and liberal society as Canada has made it apparent to me how far Ireland has to go in terms of women’s rights and politics in general”.What was left unsaid – as has become routine in these discussions – is just how extreme the abortion laws are in some of the supposedly more civilised countries we are being asked to look up to.
In Canada, there are no legal restrictions on abortion whatsoever, allowing terminations up until birth for any reason that doctors are comfortable with.
Contrary to its liberal image, the country is apparently uninterested in transparency when it comes to this legal regime, refusing to collect statistics on the number of late-term abortions....
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This past summer, three elderly members of my summer parish in rural Québec received a diagnosis of cancer at the local hospital, a small-town facility an hour’s drive from cosmopolitan Ottawa and even farther from hyper-secular Montréal. Yet after the diagnosis had been delivered, the first question each of these people was asked was “Do you wish to be euthanized?” That is what the new Canadian euthanasia regime has accomplished in just a few months: It has put euthanasia at the top of the menu of options proposed to the gravely ill.
Then there is Belgium, where, as reported in NR’s October 10 print issue, a minor was recently euthanized by lethal injection. You might think that, with the suburbs of Brussels having become the de facto capital of the ISIS caliphate (Euro-subdivision) and a birth rate so far below replacement level that native Belgians will soon be a rare anthropological specimen, the good burghers of Flanders and Wallonia would have something better to do than hasten the deaths of teenagers, even when the teenagers in their distress request just that. But if you thought that, then, as Richard Nixon famously said, “That would be wrong.”
The more apt mot about all of this lethality masquerading as compassion, however, is from the quotable quotes of another Richard, Richard John Neuhaus, who famously said of the morally egregious and its relationship to law, “What is permitted will eventually become obligatory.” Canada isn’t quite there yet, nor is Belgium; but they’re well on their way, not least because their single-payer health-care systems will increasingly find euthanasia cost-effective — and because the arts of pain relief combined with human support will atrophy in those countries as the “easy way out” becomes, well, easier and easier.
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The world’s first child created using a controversial “three-parent” baby technique has been born in Mexico, it has been announced.
Limited details about the birth were revealed ahead of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's scientific congress in Salt Lake City next month, where it will be discussed more fully.
According to critics, the procedure is tantamount to genetic modification of humans or even “playing God”. But supporters say it allows women with a particular type of genetic disease to have healthy children who are related to them.
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People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up not to be religious as adults, the study found. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents told pollsters they are now nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children.
Other studies on the rise of the “nones” — those who say they have no religion — have focused on millennials’ changing preferences. This study found that 29 percent of adults who were raised religious and left their faith say they left because of their religion’s negative teachings about gay and lesbian people. Nineteen percent say they left because of clergy sexual-abuse scandals. Sixty percent say they simply do not believe what the religion teaches.
“A lot of the narrative around the rise of the nones, or the rise of the non-affiliated, has focused on how there’s changing cultural preferences, that people are choosing to move away from religion,” said Daniel Cox, one of the researchers on the new study. “I think there’s also a structural part of the story that has not gotten as much attention. We wanted to focus on the way millennials were raised, which is different from any previous generation. And part of that is they’re more likely to have grown up with parents who are divorced.”
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Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! By the grace of God and for the glory of Christ, we have been called to serve with you at Church of the Good Shepherd, and we could not be more excited....
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My country’s parliament recently passed the first national assisted-suicide legislation in our history. Prompted by the Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision last year to strike down the previous law as unconstitutionally restricting individual rights to life, liberty, and security, Parliament is now arguing over how widely or narrowly to involve Canadian citizens—both patients and health care providers—in assisted suicide.
In Culture of Death, first published in 2000, American lawyer and activist Wesley J. Smith warned that this debate was upon us. A new, updated revision of the book sharpens this warning, drawing on a wide range of cases in Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and the bellwether states of Oregon and Washington.
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Now we have come full circle. It was widely reported on Saturday that a terminally ill 17-year-old became the first minor to be officially euthanized in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia were lifted in 2014. Jacqueline Herremans, a member of Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission (death panel?), said in a French media report, “The euthanasia has taken place.” She further announced that the euthanasia was done “in accordance with Belgian law.” Few details were provided other than the minor child had “a terminal illness.” Belgium is presently the only country in the world that allows terminally-ill children of any age to choose to end their life, but Belgian law requires that the minor be capable of making “rational decisions.” Further, any request for euthanasia must be made by the minor, be studied by a team of doctors, approved by an independent psychiatrist or psychologist, and have parental consent. The only thing missing is the 1,700 special courts and 27 higher courts to give their legal authorization . . . always within the law, of course. The Netherlands also allows mercy killings for children, but only for those aged over 12. Lord, have mercy!
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For some families with an Autistic child, going on vacation isn't always easy, but now there's a place that's making it possible for them to enjoy their time together.
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Reliable contraception is important, and will become even more so in countries like Nigeria where couples increasingly seek smaller families. But the assumption that family planning should be all about birth control is a 1960s relic. In a growing number of countries, the problem of getting hold of contraception is giving way to the problem of getting pregnant. As Mr Feng puts it, unmet need is being replaced by unmet demand.
As our poll shows, people in wealthy countries consistently want bigger families than they get. Couples start having children late and find it increasingly difficult. A 30-year-old woman has a roughly 20% chance of getting pregnant each month, falling to about 5% by the age of 40. The resulting baby shortfall is painful for couples and alarming for governments, which worry about the long-term solvency of old-age-pension systems.
Read it all from The Economist.
In the wake of July’s vote on same-sex marriages at General Synod, Indigenous Anglicans intend to “proceed towards self-determination with urgency,” the Anglican Church of Canada’s three Indigenous bishops say.
General Synod voted this summer to provisionally approve changes to the marriage canon, which would allow same-sex marriages. The proposed changes must pass a second reading, slated for the next General Synod in 2019, before they can take effect.
On Thursday, September 22, National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald; Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh; and Bishop Adam Halkett, of Missinipi, released ajoint statement they say was requested by an Indigenous circle that met after the results of July’s vote were revealed. The bishops begin by saying that they do not speak for all Indigenous peoples, although, they add, they have consulted “broadly and deeply” with many. The statement voices displeasure both with the decision and the process it was made, and expresses desire for a more self-determined Indigenous Anglican community in Canada.
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The ICBC also highlights that Māori and Pacific voices have been notably absent in public conversations over assisted suicide, raising questions whether the debate so far has accurately reflected this country’s cultural diversity on these issues.
The submission also flags:
1. The limits of claiming assisted dying as a personal ‘right’. The ICBC propose that an individual choice to die does not exist in a vacuum. The ICBC reminds Kiwis that no person is free of social responsibility for others who may suffer as a result of their choice to die.
2. Overseas experience indicates that assisted suicide promotes suicide by normalising it.
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The majority position of the Way Forward Working Group (composed of some of the best legal and theological minds of our church) agreed that blessing committed same-sex couples is not a departure from the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ, and therefore not prohibited by Te Pouhere (our church’s constitution). Many places provide such blessings, and people in committed same-sex relationships hold a bishop’s licence. Under the 2016 revision of Te Pouhere, bishops can even authorise such blessings in places under their jurisdiction.
I propose that our doctrine of marriage be changed to being between a couple, with the intent that it be lifelong and monogamous. Such a change would enable the sort of diversity illustrated in my first paragraph. The change would remove the current hypocrisy around marrying divorcees, clarify practice in relation to committed same-sex relationships, and facilitate honesty and openness.
Within this, I propose we affirm the current position that any minister shall have full discretion to decline to conduct any marriage service or blessing, and that we also affirm and encourage vocations to religious life, singleness, and chastity.
Yours in Christ,
(Rev) Bosco Peters
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The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitude have welcomed the establishment of a Reflection Group under the leadership of Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. Whilst expressing disappointment that a group tasked with reflecting on issues of human sexuality does not appear to include any openly gay people, we recognise that this simply reflects the reality within the church’s leadership - that LGBT people are invisible, our voices often silenced, and our experiences unheard. We welcome the opportunities which have arisen as part of the Shared Conversations to included the lived experience, deep conviction and prophetic witness of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and we recognise the enormously costly nature of the contribution many people have made to that process.
The Reflection Group must now consider the Church’s steps into the future. In doing so, they will be called to listen carefully to all they have heard during the Shared Conversations. We call upon them to lead the House of Bishops towards a future that celebrates the gifts of all God's people including the LGBTI members of the Church of England and embodies the radical equality to which we are called in Christ.
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The Rev. Kevin Robertson was among three priests elected suffragan bishops at a synod of the diocese of Toronto, Saturday, September 17. Photo: Diocese of Toronto
A gay man living with a male partner is among three priests to have been elected suffragan bishops in the diocese of Toronto this weekend.
On Saturday, September 17, members of an electoral synod elected the Rev. Riscylla Walsh Shaw, Canon Kevin Robertson and Canon Jenny Andison as suffragan, or assistant, bishops. Each will be responsible for one of the diocese’s four episcopal areas: York-Scarborough, York-Credit Valley, Trent-Durham and York-Simcoe. Archbishop Colin Johnson, diocesan bishop, will decide which bishop will serve in each area. Bishop Peter Fenty is currently the bishop responsible for York-Simcoe.
Canon Kevin Robertson, incumbent at Christ Church, Deer Park in Toronto, was elected on the fourth ballot of the second election. According to an article on the diocese of Toronto website, Robertson, who lives with his male partner, said it was a “historic day.” He said he believed he was the first openly gay and partnered bishop-elect in the diocese and perhaps even in the entire Anglican Church of Canada.
His election, Robertson said, together with this summer’s provisional vote at General Synod to allow same-sex marriages, showed a growing acceptance of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people in the church.
Read it all. You can read more about the Suffragan Bishop-elect there.
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Think about the people at work who are part of your network — the individuals who help you improve your performance or provide you with emotional support when you are going through a tough spell. If you’re like most people, the colleagues who come to mind are those you get along with and who have a good impression of you. But has anyone in your network actually given you tough feedback?
Your likely answer is “not many.” As I discovered in recent research I conducted with Paul Green of Harvard Business School and Brad Staats of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, people tend to move away from those who provide feedback that is more negative than their view of themselves. They do not listen to their advice and prefer to stop interacting with them altogether. It seems that people tend to strengthen their bonds with people who only see their positive qualities.
In one of our studies, we used four years of archival data on over 300 full-time employees at a United States-based food manufacturing and agribusiness company. The company has a fluid structure that gives employees some discretion in defining the scope, responsibilities, and deliverables of their role on an annual basis.
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A book I begrudgingly appreciate is The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller. Keller is not my theological cup of tea. He embraces traditional gender roles and rejects same-sex marriage, and these points are not marginal to his arguments. They are central to his take on the whole institution of marriage. So while I longed to write him off on principle, I found myself nevertheless affirming a great deal of what I read, particularly his take on premarital sex.
One of the reasons we believe in our culture that sex should always and only be the result of great passion is that so many people today have learned how to have sex outside of marriage, and this is a very different experience than having sex inside it. Outside of marriage, sex is accompanied by a desire to impress or entice someone. It is something like the thrill of the hunt. When you are seeking to draw in someone you don’t know, it injects risk, uncertainty, and pressure to the lovemaking that quickens the heartbeat and stirs the emotions.Many will roll their eyes at this blanket statement. After all, according to Keller, he and his wife were virgins on their wedding night. What does he actually know about what it’s like to have sex before marriage? Surely this is a reductive blanket assessment of casual or committed-but-not-married sex. There are undoubtedly a wide variety of ways to experience unmarried sex. But for me? Yeah. The shoe fits. I can see it now. My relationships with boyfriends were devoid of any true intimacy. Sure, on rare occasions the sex was great—but it was never truly good.
The contrast between unmarried and married sex is significant. The covenant of marriage—the vows to love now and forever—changes everything. It just does.
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Supporters of a change in the Church of England’s stance on sexuality have voiced dismay after a new panel of bishops to help “discern” its future course on issues such as same-sex marriage was chosen seemingly dominated traditionalists.
The 10-strong “Bishop’s Reflection Group” appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York includes a string of prominent evangelicals and some seen as staunch conservatives but no-one who has openly advocated a change in teaching or practice on the issue.
Liberals voiced anger while opponents of any change also privately hailed the make-up of the group, set up after a four-day gathering of all the bishops last week, as better than they expected from their point of view.
Read it all from the Telegraph.
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