Posted by Kendall Harmon

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’.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsGlobal South Churches & PrimatesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“My Christianity is a never ending source of nourishment and I feel so enriched by faith,” he says. “I would like more gay men to experience the beauty of faith.”

Philip Baldwin is certainly unusual, and a larger-than-life character. Young, Christian and gay. He knew his orientation when he was in his teens, but his encounter with Christianity came much later. Now, the 30-year-old says that it is not only the key to his being, it is the driving force in all he does.

After graduating from Oxford (Modern History) and Cambridge (History of Art and Architecture), he then undertook a law conversion course and began working with one of the leading law firms in London. Indeed, his role at this Magic Circle firm seemed to have set him up for life.

However, at the age of 24 he was diagnosed as HIV positive, and while at the time it was a hammer blow, it was to take his life in a completely different direction.

Read it allby Colin Blakely.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 3, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Contrary to popular perception, tolerance of all remains one of Britain’s most redeeming features. This is a proud Christian country which is also respectful, and appreciative, of people who hold other faiths in a multi-cultural society. The regret is this is being overshadowed by those who hold extreme positions, whether it be intolerant liberals who don’t want Christians to demonstrate their faith, or the violence meted out against Muslims, and with the most tragic of consequences on occasion. This is a proud Christian country which is also respectful, and appreciative, of people who hold other faiths in a multi-cultural society. The regret is this is being overshadowed by those who hold extreme positions, whether it be intolerant liberals who don’t want Christians to demonstrate their faith, or the violence meted out against Muslims, and with the most tragic of consequences on occasion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 3, 2016 at 12:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are Christians who worry about whether they can or cannot speak about their faith at work. This is a fact. There are Christians who worry about it. However, that is not to say that their concern is justified. Furthermore, we cannot – and should not – extrapolate from (for example) one media report of a Christian being disciplined for doing so to a judgement that all Christians are concerned. This is patent nonsense. Theresa May was following a report that said we should grow up and use common sense.

I did not use the word “scared”. I did not “slam” (as I am being reported to be doing) anyone. I also said clearly that this is not a concern for me and that we should get on with it with confidence.

The bit about secularists was simply that there is too often an assumption that there is a potential tension between the faiths and that others might be offended by Christians talking about their faith or the content of Christmas. This also is nonsense. However, there can be an illiberal element to some liberals who are tolerant only of those who consent to their understanding of liberalism or tolerance. That is true. However, it is not to say that all liberals are illiberal.

Read it all and you can find a Yorkshire post article on this there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 3, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...before we shout, we need to pay proper attention to the voices of those whose votes have caused this revolution, whether or not we like what we hear.

On both sides of the Atlantic, there has been an almighty cry of anger from a dispossessed and mar­­­­­­­­ginalised working class — the s­o-called “victims of globalisation”. Such people feel frozen out of the post-crash economy, their wages shrinking in real terms while the rich get ever richer. They are routinely accused of xenophobia, or worse, when they express concerns about changes imposed on their com­munities by those who live far away. In the UK, they feel abandoned by the institutions that were formed to represent them: austerity-stricken local government, the Labour Party, and the demutualised building soc­i­eties.

If the C of E was still adequately present in areas of deprivation, it would not have been surprised at the revolution in popular politics that this anger caused (Comment, 1 July). But it has become so discon­nected from many of these communities that it no longer hears what they are saying, let alone amplifies their voices to the nation. And, until the Church re-invests in urban ministry, places the best leaders in the most deprived parishes, and returns to the estates it has abandoned, these voices will continue to go un­­heard.

The Church’s agenda is being set not by the poor, but by academia, the moneyed elites, and certain sections of the secular media.

Read it all from the Church Times.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 3, 2016 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House is scheduled to vote Friday on the National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation is passed annually to set the military’s budget and settle other policy issues. A significant hangup had been Democratic opposition to a provision known as the “Russell amendment,” which would have clarified conscience protections for religious groups that receive federal contracts. The amendment is named after Rep. Steve Russell (R., Okla.), who offered the amendment at the House Armed Services Committee.

Forty-two Democratic senators signed an Oct. 25 letter opposing the Russell amendment. They claim it would have authorized bigotry by allowing religiously affiliated contractors to “engage in discriminatory hiring practices” or even to fire employees for using birth control or in vitro fertilization. These accusations are grossly inaccurate, but they led to the amendment’s removal from the final bill. The U.S. now risks losing the crucial work religious service providers do for communities with the support of federal contracts.

Every day, stories of grace and mercy are being written as people of faith help those in need. Catholic Charities has helped single moms fill their basic needs. The Mormon Church, through LDS Charities, has donated wheelchairs to hundreds of thousands of people. The University Muslim Medical Association Community Clinic in Los Angeles provides care for thousands of people in a desperate part of town. The Jewish Social Service Agency supports families of children with autism. Samaritans Purse provides disaster relief across the world.

These groups are being marginalized by the federal government. What happened?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.


Posted December 3, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




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.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMulticulturalism, pluralismRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than half of British Muslims want to “fully integrate” with society, according to the most extensive survey of its kind.

Research involving more than 3,000 Muslims shows that they broadly share the views and priorities of the wider population, rather than being shaped by supposedly “Islamic” concerns. Ninety-three per cent feel a fairly or very strong attachment to Britain and are likely to identify the NHS, unemployment and immigration as the biggest issues facing the country.

British Muslims were more likely than the general population to condemn terrorism, the survey by ICM and Policy Exchange, the right-of-centre think tank, found. They were also more likely to give credence to conspiracy theories that the United States government or Jewish influences were behind the September 11 attacks.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 2, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New video, obtained by ABC News, shows Farook two days before the attack practicing at a local firing range with a pistol and an assault rifle that a friend bought for him

The video shows Farook adjusting the sights on his rifle and then firing at paper torso silhouette targets, one of which was later recovered in the shooters’ vehicle and led authorities to the range.

“They had high-powered weaponry. They had lots of ammunition. They had bombs at their disposal,” said Burguan.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Irish priests' ever-increasing workload is threatening to turn this aging, demoralized and declining group into "sacrament-dispensing machines" who find pastoral work less and less satisfying, a co-founder of Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests has warned.
In his address to the association's annual general meeting in Athlone Nov. 16, Fr. Brendan Hoban highlighted how suicide is on the rise among Irish priests, a group he said was also increasingly prone to depression.

With the vast majority of Irish priests now age 70 or over, elderly diocesan priests are living increasingly isolated and lonely lives and are constantly "reminded that we no longer really matter, that at best we're now little more than a ceremonial presence on the sidelines of life," he said.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyStressReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no better example of the expression of good values than in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan; a story deeply embedded in our collective understanding of what it means to be a good citizen, and which reminds us that our values have not emerged from a vacuum — but from the resilient and eternal structure of our religious, theological, philosophical and ethical heritage.

It reinforces a Christian hope of our values: those of a generous and hospitable society rooted in history; committed to the common good and solidarity in the present; creative, entrepreneurial, courageous, sustainable in our internal and external relations; and values that are a resilient steward of the hopes and joys of future generations in our country and around the world — hopes that are not exclusive, but for all. That is what our values have been when they are at their best.

Burke famously wrote that society is a “partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”[1] He articulates an idea of loyalty:[2] loyalty to those who have sacrificed much in the past for us to be where we are; to our fellow citizens and to those whose lives will stem from our lives. Speaking of loyalty transforms the abstract idea of values — shared or otherwise — into relationships and practices.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Europol has warned that militants from so-called Islamic State (IS) will aim to step up attacks on European targets, as they face defeat in the Middle East.
The European police force says more foreign fighters will try to come back to Europe, and "several dozen" capable of attacks could already be there.
Their tactics could include car bombs, kidnappings and extortion, it said.
But the report plays down the likelihood of attacks on critical infrastructure, such as nuclear sites.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over 27,000 services and events, ranging from the contemporary to traditional carols and nativity stories, have been added to a new website that enables the public to enter their postcode and find Christmas services and events happening near them.

Smartphone users will also be able to geo-locate the nearest services and add a reminder to their calendar. So far more than 2,300 congregations are providing mulled wine and 3,500 sharing mince pies after services.

In addition to the http://www.AChristmasNearYou.org website, there are four videos being released throughout December, each one sharing a moment of true Christmas joy. The short films star Gogglebox vicar Revd Kate Bottley, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Becoming Revered author Revd Matt Woodcock and comedian Paul Kerensa.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmas* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the last two chapters, he offers a couple of countermeasures:
What we give we gain
What we master brings us joy
These are what he calls the formulation of "divine economics", a kind of upside-down approach to wealth where giving does not result in depletion but blessing, and where overcoming our natural appetite for accumulating wealth is the challenge that brings genuine and deep-seated peace.
"Money buys capabilities," he says.
"It also buys security, but it risks taking us further and further away from being those who wash feet, who dethrone Mammon by subverting the power of wealth to give us a better life."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

he governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have all outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror organization and want Whitehall to ban the Muslim Brotherhood’s ability to operate in Britain. These Arab countries insist that Muslim Brotherhood activists are taking advantage of Britain’s tolerant attitude toward Islamist groups to plot terror attacks in the Arab world, allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood denies, claiming that it is opposed to terrorism and violence. Pro-Western Arab states also still resent Britain and America’s involvement in supporting the removal of Mr. Mubarak, who had been a loyal ally of Western policy in the region, dating back at least to the First Gulf War.

The review’s failure to come out strongly against the Muslim Brotherhood is now causing the British government some major headaches. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reportedly threatened to cancel lucrative trade deals with Britain in retaliation for the inquiry. Meanwhile, the British government has been heavily criticized by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as highly vocal pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Britain, who claim the review failed to take into account the brutal repression Muslim Brotherhood supporters suffered at the hands of the Egyptian security authorities after President Sisi came to power.

The continuing controversy certainly serves as an indictment of Mr. Cameron’s ill-advised meddling in Egyptian politics. Like many supporters of the Arab Spring, he took at face value the Muslim Brotherhood’s claim to be a reforming and democratic party that would transform Egypt’s political landscape following the endemic corruption of the Mubarak regime.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptSaudi ArabiaUAE (United Arab Emirates)* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The election of Donald Trump has lifted fringe ideologies, such as the alt-right, and little-known political figures, such as Trump’s immigration adviser Kris Kobach, to new levels of national prominence.

It has also elevated a group of evangelical Christian leaders and traditions that are often treated as marginal. Specifically, Trump’s victory has been an unlikely triumph for the prosperity gospel, as well as for a handful of prosperity-oriented preachers from the world of African American televangelism.

The president-elect identifies as a Presbyterian. But his rhetoric during the campaign often reflected the language of the prosperity gospel, a diffuse American Christian movement that links faith, positive thinking and material wealth into “the American religion of winning,” as journalist Jeff Sharlet described it this year.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted December 1, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It has never been easy to put a Muslim character on American screens.

Even in this TV renaissance, most characters are on shows that rely on terrorism — or at least, terrorist-adjacent — story lines. Other kinds of Muslim characters are woefully absent across the dial. Could that change now, after a divisive presidential campaign that included vows by Donald J. Trump to stop Islamic immigration? Or will it be more difficult than ever?

Less than two weeks after Election Day, five showrunners gathered in New York to discuss the representation of Muslims on TV. Howard Gordon, a creator of “24” and “Homeland,” has faced these issues the longest; after “24” emerged as a lightning rod for its stereotyped depictions, he engaged with Islamic community groups to broaden his understanding. (Mr. Gordon is an executive producer of the rebooted “24: Legacy,” debuting in February.) Joshua Safran is the creator of “Quantico,” an ABC series about F.B.I. operatives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyApologeticsEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 30, 2016 at 2:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When I introduced myself, Artan initially seemed surprised. It was his actual first day of classes at Ohio State, as he had just transferred to one of the largest college campuses in the country from a community college nearby. But he opened up quickly. He was soft-spoken, in a slightly accented voice, and friendly.

In a 20-minute, wide-ranging conversation, Artan told me about his major in logistics management. He told me about his family fleeing Somalia when he was about 10 years old — including fuzzy memories of his native, war-torn land — and then about living for years in Pakistan and how much he enjoyed it. He bemoaned what he felt were western misconceptions about Pakistan: “It’s not like people believe.” He told me about his family’s journey once they got to the United States just a few years earlier, first spending some time in Dallas before coming to Columbus, which has a large and vibrant Somali expat community.

Artan spoke calmly but seriously about his acute awareness of what he saw as major American misconceptions about Islam, his religion. From memory, he ticked off examples of Islamophobia that garnered media attention, such as the police being summoned because a man in Avon, Ohio, was speaking Arabic in a parking lot or when a college student was removed from a plane after he said “Inshallah” in a phone conversation with his uncle.

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationMediaReligion & CultureViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism

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Posted November 30, 2016 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 30, 2016 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all from the CEN.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 29, 2016 at 7:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Melbourne's Catholic and Anglican archbishops have condemned the Andrews government's imprisonment of teenagers in "the harshest of adult prison settings", warning that teen offenders' welfare and chances of rehabilitation are at risk.

Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart and his Anglican counterpart Philip Freier have taken the "unusual step" of writing a joint letter to Mr Andrews offering to boost chaplaincy and pastoral care services to "the most vulnerable and impressionable children" in the care of the state as the youth justice crisis deepens.

Earlier this month rioting teen inmates damaged the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre at Parkville. In response, Premier Daniel Andrews' government moved some inmates to the maximum security Barwon Prison, making "no apology" for the plan.

Read it all from The Age.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted November 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A senior BBC presenter has criticised the corporation's attitude to religious programming in a rare intervention by an insider.

Roger Bolton of Radio 4's Feedback says: "Just six months after the Archbishop of Canterbury called in these very pages for broadcasters to take religion seriously, it seems the BBC is doing anything but."

Bolton spoke out after the BBC decided to drop the post of Head of Religion and place corporate responsiblity for religion and ethics under Factual Scotland "to simplify the existing mangement structure". James Purnell, the former Labour minister who is head of radio and education at the BBC, is to take responsibility for religion as part of his remit.

Writing in the Radio Times, Bolton says this will threaten the coverage of religion on the BBC.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is finally acknowledging the significance of Fresh Expressions, a national conference of 600 participants heard on Saturday.

The event, Catching Sight, hosted by the diocese of Leicester, was designed to take stock of the movement, which dates back to 2004 and has registered 3400 different groups. It has a parallel in pioneer ministry.

Canon George Lings, director of the Church Army Research Unit, took a Screwtape approach to demonstrate the unwillingness of the inherited Church to accept the positive findings of reports such as The Day of Small Things and From Anecdote to Evidence.

This manifested itself, he suggested, in everything from ignoring the reports, to complacency — “Cathedrals now sing Graham Kendrick songs so we know we’re up to date” — and ridicule: “Five Christians meeting at a bus stop, so it must be a Fresh Expressions church.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 29, 2016 at 2:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Former NFL player Jason Brown was earning millions of dollars on the gridiron but, at the height of his career, he left it all behind to pursue a wildly-different life on the farm focused on giving.

Watch it all from NBC. For those interested, there is more there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPovertyReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 29, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In August, Christianity Today partnered with Deidox Films to debut The Ordinance, a documentary exploring churches’ efforts to fight predatory payday lenders. Many church leaders recognize the shameful practices of these lenders and seek to meet the needs of their church members while also fighting for justice on a legislative level. On the other side of the same coin, however, are churches attempting to fight poverty and prevent the situations that lead people to accept these loans.

In recent years, several Christian organizations have developed programs providing microloans, savings groups, and economic education in international contexts. But how much do we know about empowering our own communities? With racial and economic tensions exacerbated in recent years, the local church has a key role to play in bringing about reconciliation. Organizations like The Chalmers Center, whose founders wrote the bestselling When Helping Hurts, have recognized the vast needs in the United States and are now working to equip churches to meet economic and spiritual needs in their communities.

“As Chalmers worked to empower grassroots churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to help the poor help themselves, we became acutely aware of the same need to address poverty holistically in our own nation,” said John Mark Bowers, the Curriculum Specialist at The Chalmers Center. “After publishing When Helping Hurts, we heard from even more churches that were hungry for tools to help them walk alongside people across economic lines right here in the United States. Thus, the birth of an IDAs [Individual Development Accounts] pilot—out of which came Faith & Finances, and later, Work Life.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For at least the first few sessions with men who have survived horrific violence during the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s north-east, therapist Kingsley Nworah knows to expect lots of long silences and scepticism.

After he helps the group establish trust, he typically then witnesses a deluge of emotions and often tears from the men as they begin to “face demons”, says Mr Nworah of the International Committee for the Red Cross.

He stresses that far too few from among the more than 2m Nigerians who fled their homes as the Islamist extremist group raped, kidnapped and murdered its way across the region have access to this type of support.

About half of those who endured the war are probably suffering from trauma and its side effects such as depression, say mental health specialists. If this problem is left untreated it will “threaten the future of the country,” says Lateef Sheikh, medical director of a psychiatric hospital in the northern city of Kaduna, where some survivors have been treated.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Until three weeks ago, many of Abu Osama's customers were Islamic State militants who brought their wives and children to his pharmacy on the eastern edge of Mosul for injections and treatment.

Now, most of them are Iraqi security forces who recaptured the Gogjali neighborhood earlier this month and are pushing further into the city, which has been under Islamic State control for more than two years.

As the militants retreat, civilians are adjusting to a new reality in their wake and a clearer picture is emerging of what they did to survive the punishments and deprivation of Islamic State rule.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a Peace Corps volunteer, Ginny Fonner worked in a rural village in Zambia, a southern African country with a severe shortage of doctors. While there, a short-term mission group visited. Their goal: distribute medicines to fight intestinal worms.

“It’s a great goal. Worms are a big problem,” she said during a recent global health symposium at the Medical University of South Carolina. “So they spent day after day going to schools, distributing treatments, feeling really good about it."

Except for one thing.

"They had no idea that the previous week the local government had done the exact same thing with the exact same children."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & CultureTravel

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Posted November 27, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following a bruising presidential election, some Americans are afraid of the future. Others feel that the tumult of the campaign was necessary to disrupt business as usual. Multitudes feel that the country has lost its way, while just as many believe that the nation has finally found its footing. No doubt millions of people have witnessed these divisions at their own Thanksgiving feasts.

Many of us in the religious world wonder: How can we bridge this chasm and unify our body politic? How does the country close the fault line that divides the U.S. in half? Is it possible to stand for what we believe is right while still being civil toward the friends, family and neighbors who supported the “wrong” candidate? The way forward lies not in politics, but in something that binds us together as human beings: the simple act of giving to others.

Giving has long been invoked as a healing counterpoint to the darker sides of human nature. Tzedakah—the Jewish concept of donating at least 10% of one’s income to charity—comes from the Hebrew word for justice, or righteousness. Generosity is also at the heart of Christianity, and it is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 27, 2016 at 11:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Patriarch of Antioch was in London... [this past Thursday] for the consecration of Britain’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was the guest of honour at the service, which was attended by a number of senior Anglicans from the Church of England, including the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres; the Bishop at Lambeth, Nigel Stock; and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, the former ecumenical secretary at Lambeth Palace.

The new cathedral of St Thomas is the former Saint Saviour’s Church in Acton, west London – formerly a chapel for deaf Christians operated by the Royal Association for the Deaf.

The joyous service was marked with sadness as the congregation and a succession of speakers reflected on life for Christians in the homelands of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Syria and Iraq.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

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Posted November 27, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anti-racist activism could be an excellent opportunity for Lutheran and Anglican congregations to engage in grass-roots ecumenical action, says Pat Lovell, representative to Council of General Synod (CoGS) from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

“We have this close relationship, we have power together, and I’d like to see us do more work together at the grassroots,” Lovell told CoGs in a November 19 partner’s reflection, noting that while both churches are involved in initiatives around responsible resource development, homelessness and poverty, there has been less co-operation on anti-racism.

Lovell said the recent defacement of a synagogue, a church and a mosque in Ottawa, is a reminder that racism and anti-Semitism remain problems in Canada.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesLutheran

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Posted November 27, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Islamic State is being crushed, its fighters are in retreat and the caliphate it sought to build in the image of a bygone glory is crumbling.

The biggest losers, however, are not the militants, who will fulfill their dreams of death or slink into the desert to regroup, but the millions of ordinary Sunnis whose lives have been ravaged by their murderous rampage.

No religious or ethnic group was left unscathed by the Islamic State’s sweep through Iraq and Syria. Shiites, Kurds, Christians and the tiny Yazidi minority have all been victims of a campaign of atrocities, and they now are fighting and dying in the battles to defeat the militants.

But the vast majority of the territory overrun by the Islamic State was historically populated by Sunni Arabs, adherents of the branch of Islam that the group claims to champion and whose interests the militants profess to represent. The vast majority of the 4.2 million Iraqis who have been displaced from their homes by the Islamic State’s war are Sunnis. And as the offensives get underway to capture Mosul, Iraq’s biggest Sunni city, and Raqqa, the group’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria, more Sunni towns and villages are being demolished, and more Sunni livelihoods are being destroyed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraqSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 26, 2016 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1947, when Ronald Knox moved in to the Manor House at Mells to stay, it seemed as if St Jerome had taken up residence. “All that is needed,” wrote Daphne Pollen, a frequent visitor, “is a lion.”

For Ronald Knox had just completed his single-handed translation of the Bible, in idiomatic if poised English. His character, given to melancholy, had considerably less asperity than St Jerome’s. He was hypersensitive to causing trouble. “When would K least hate for me to arrive?” he asked of the head of his new household.

This was Katharine Asquith, the widow of the prime minister’s son Raymond, killed in the Great War. To her had come Mells, a medieval house set off by a lovely 16th-century church and ancient Somerset village. She had with some sacrifice embraced Catholicism, struck by the way faith had sustained her friend Hilaire Belloc after his wife’s death.

Read it all from the Telegraph (regiistration or subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsGlobal South Churches & PrimatesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the summer of 2015, armed American drones over eastern Syria stalked Junaid Hussain, an influential hacker and recruiter for the Islamic State.

For weeks, Mr. Hussain was careful to keep his young stepson by his side, and the drones held their fire. But late one night, Mr. Hussain left an internet cafe alone, and minutes later a Hellfire missile killed him as he walked between two buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

Mr. Hussain, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, England, was a leader of a band of English-speaking computer specialists who had given a far-reaching megaphone to Islamic State propaganda and exhorted online followers to carry out attacks in the West. One by one, American and allied forces have killed the most important of roughly a dozen members of the cell, which the F.B.I. calls “the Legion,” as part of a secretive campaign that has largely silenced a powerful voice that led to a surge of counterterrorism activity across the United States in 2015 as young men and women came under the influence of its propaganda.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

London’s Westminster Abbey will be lit up in red tonight in an act of solidarity with people around the world who are persecuted for their faith. It is one of a number of religious buildings that are joining the #RedWednesday campaign by the Roman Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). As part of the campaign, one of London’s iconic red busses is taking part in a faith-buildings tour today, to spread the “Stand up for Faith and Freedom message”.

After setting off from Westminster Cathedral – the seat of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales – the bus will call at the Imam Khoei Islamic Centre, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood, and Westminster Abbey before returning to the Cathedral where a gathering and service will be held.

The Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Ignatius Aphrem II, has travelled from Damascus for the event, which will also be attended by Dr Sarah Bernstein, director-general of the Jerusalem Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations in Israel, and Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri Ameer, head-imam of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational & Cultural Centre in Ireland.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



From there:
Red Wednesday is an occasion for people to stand in solidarity with the millions who are targeted for their beliefs and are living in fear. It takes place on the Feast of the Pope and Martyr, St Clement, and a growing number of parishes, schools and groups around the country are pledging their support for the day of witness.

The buildings taking part in the Red Wednesday witness include Catholic, Church of England and Free Churches which are being lit up in red – most notably Westminster and Brentwood Cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue at St John’s Wood, as well as Stonyhurst and the Palace of Westminster. “We are also inviting everyone, and especially schools, groups, and university students to wear red – as a symbol of the suffering today of people of faith,” says the event’s coordinator Patricia Hatton. “Priests too can get involved by wearing red vestments to celebrate the Feast of St Clement.”



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s very difficult to understand the things that impel people to some of the dreadful actions that we have seen over the last few years unless you have some sense of religious literacy. You may reject and condemn it – that’s fine – but you still need to understand what they’re talking about.

And in order to understand, religious people in Europe must regain the ability to share our religious vocabulary with the rest of the continent. If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult – probably impossible – to overcome it. A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that.

This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is ‘nothing to do with Islam’, or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism. Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...yet the “sky is not falling” because her story, like Elizabeth Gilbert’s before her, is hardly new. The gospel of self-fulfillment has been centuries in the making. As Charles Taylor explains in his dense, scholarly A Secular Age, the new invention of the modern age is a self-sufficing humanism that “accept[s] no final goals beyond human flourishing, nor any allegiance to anything else beyond this flourishing. Of no previous society was this true.” In other words, happiness is our only duty today, self-betrayal our only sin. It’s not simply that the lines of morality have blurred in modern times, making truth relative. It’s not even that religious belief has waned. Rather, the good life has been radically redefined according to the benefit of the individual while the former measures of flourishing—God’s glory, society’s health, the family’s well-being—have been displaced. We’re all on the throne now.

Melton is as modern as she boasts—even if her effusive references to “love” and “joy” are reassuringly offered to confirm that her choices are in everyone’s best interest. From the public announcements both of her divorce and her new dating relationship, she wants us to understand this: The greatest gift any of us gives to the world is our true self. Let’s not look to anyone else for permission or feel any obligation for explanation. Humans flourish as they obey their desires.

But the seismic nature of Melton’s recent revelation and the aftershocks felt by her adoring fans suggests that the sky might be falling in some new way. Because while the self-fulfillment narrative isn’t new, here’s what is: how easily and insidiously it gets baptized as a Christian story. Melton hasn’t simply said: I should be happy. She has emphatically said: God should be equally and unequivocally committed to my happiness as I am.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyAnthropologyApologeticsEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 21, 2016 at 5:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US city of Bloomington in Indiana has renamed Good Friday and Columbus Day as "Spring Holiday" and "Fall Holiday" to be more "inclusive".
Mayor John Hamilton said the move would "better reflect cultural sensitivity in the workplace", local media said.
Bloomington is a traditionally liberal city. Its county gave Hillary Clinton 58.6% in the presidential election.
But the move sparked a backlash on social media, with opponents condemning it as an act of political correctness.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMulticulturalism, pluralismPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 21, 2016 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I mean, is it the case that liberals believe that artistic performances — theater, music, and so forth — must be limited only to people who share their moral and political views? If I were worried that the Trump administration was going to be hostile to minorities and gays, I would have gone out of my way to make Mike Pence feel welcome at Hamilton, and hoped and prayed that the power of art moved his heart and changed his mind. But that’s not how the audience saw it. They wanted to show Pence that he is not part of their community, and the cast took it upon itself to attempt to catechize Pence at the end of the show. (And people say Evangelical movies are bad because they can’t let the art speak for itself, they have to underline the moral and put an altar call at the end!).

Let’s think about it in religious terms. If you were a pastor or member of a church congregation, and a Notorious Sinner came to services one Sunday, would you boo him as he took his seat in a pew? Do you think that would make him more or less likely to value the congregation and accept the message from the sermon? And if you were the pastor, would you think it helpful to single the Notorious Sinner out among the congregation, and tell him, in a bless-your-heart way, that you hope he got the point of the sermon (him being a bad man and all)? You should not be surprised if the Notorious Sinner left with his heart hardened to the religion and that congregation. Any good that might have been done toward converting him to the congregation’s and the pastor’s way of belief would almost certainly not come to fruition.

Look, I’m not saying that churches should downplay or throw aside their sacred beliefs to be seeker-friendly. Sure, congregations should treat visitors with respect, but the church exists to fulfill a particular purpose, to carry out a specific mission. Its behavior must be consonant with that mission. Nevertheless, a church that repudiates hospitality to guests, and thereby chooses to be a museum of the holy, violates its purpose, and diminishes its power to change the world.

So, do liberals want theaters (and campuses) to be museums of the holy, where the already converted commune with each other? Does one have to be baptized into the mystery cult of liberalism before one is allowed in the door? Because that’s the message from last night’s display at the Richard Rodgers Theater. And if this kind of thing keeps up — Trump will do nothing to stop it, because it benefits him and his tribe — America will lose one more gathering place for all of its people.

This is by no means only the fault of the left.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureTheatre/Drama/Plays* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted November 21, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our God is not big, like Mister Zeus, perched upon his throne on Mount Olympus, and bending his attentive brows to behold the deeds of men, making sure that they are just, unless he happens to be distracted by his nagging wife Hera or by an especially lissome shepherdess momentarily alone and vulnerable in the fields. Such bigness is trivial, even contemptible. Our God is the immortal, invisible, God only wise: and he would not be the infinite God were he not infinitely present within each of the tiniest things he has made. The smallest of all the seeds is as great as all the universe, because God dwells within it, and not a piece of him, either; all of the heavenly hosts are there, singing and praising him forever.

Of course Chesterton is thinking of that smallest of all of Jesus' parables. "The kingdom of God may be likened unto a mustard seed," says Jesus, "which is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows it becomes the greatest of the shrubs, and the birds of the air build their nests in its branches." We are apt to think that the parable has to do with the lowly beginnings of the Kingdom, beginnings that are then swallowed up in greatness and never seen again.

Read it all from Touchstone.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 20, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Love Your Neighbour is a movement, that anyone can be involved in, as an individual or as a group. #LoveYourNeighbour posters will be available to display in windows and noticeboards for community groups, schools, places of worship, charities or businesses. We hope that the message #LoveYourNeighbour will spread across the area, and look forward to seeing posters everywhere, with many stories of Acts of Kindness in the days and weeks ahead.

Middlesbrough welcomes large numbers of refugees and people seeking asylum into our communities. We want each person to feel that they belong and that we are all neighbours, but the beauty of ‘Love Your Neighbour’ is that it can include everybody. We aim to inspire everyone to care for others, whether that is an older person living in your street, someone who is going through a difficult time, or someone who has arrived fleeing from war. Simple acts of kindness can make a huge difference and build stronger, more caring communities.

People in Middlesbrough will be asked to pledge to an act of kindness as part of the launch of Love Your Neighbour, to help make our communities stronger, safer and happier places to live. Everyone will be encouraged to share stories of these acts of kindness on social media using #LoveYourNeighbour and #LYNboro. We want the town to be full of good news stories, showing how much we ‘Love our Neighbour.’

Read it all from the Church of England Communications Blog.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthPastoral Care* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 20, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture

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Posted November 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Abu Sayyaf, once written off as one of the global jihadist movement’s also-rans, is gaining strength in the southern Philippines by chasing down high-value victims at sea and ransoming them off for millions of dollars.

After a relative lull for most of a decade, kidnappings have surged to more than 20 annually since 2014, when the group’s main leader Isnilon Hapilon swore allegiance to Islamic State.

That rebranding—and the accompanying brutality, including beheadings—has generated international headlines and raised fears that the island-dotted region could re-emerge as a hub for Islamist terrorists, as it was for al Qaeda in the 1990s.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTravelViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPhilippines* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Respected new research published this week from Wilfrid Laurier University claims to have discovered that the ‘secret ingredient’ for church growth is clergy and congregations committed to the historic truths of the Christian faith as a revealed religion, while a liberal approach to belief is consistently a predictor of decline (see Guardian Online 17th November).

This should be a great encouragement to us in the Church of England as we recognize that our core business is to bring the truth of the gospel to the nation – and is a conclusion that confirms what we see on the ground where there is a confidence in the Bible as the Word of God.

It is also a conclusion that matches the Church of England’s clear theological identity. She identifies herself as apostolic - in other words faithful to the teaching of Jesus as given through the Apostles. According to Canon A5 this teaching is ‘grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.’

So while for some this new research merely confirms the obvious, it is likely to be a major upset for those who hold to the comfortable notion that theology doesn’t much matter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Eventually, through word-of-mouth—which often turned out to be more hopeful than accurate, adds co-author Flatt—the researchers found their examples. They surveyed clergy and—a step ignored by earlier studies—2,255 lay attendees.

Answers in accord with traditional Christian orthodoxy—basic articles of faith (the ancient Creeds), the authority of Scripture, God’s visible working in the world today, the exclusivity of Christianity (Jesus as the door to eternal life), the importance of daily prayer—were tightly bound to growing life in individual churches. As well, conservative churches had a lower mean age among attendees (53 to 63), emphasis on youth groups, the presence of young families, wide participation by congregants (not only on Sunday mornings) and a commitment to evangelism.

The lessons absorbed at growing churches are not confined there, but are being spread as ministers transfer to new churches. In recent years, two priests have left St. Paul’s Anglican to head up their own, already-established churches in Toronto, where attendance has climbed by 23-50 per cent since 2013.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Though her atheism never wavered, Rand’s feelings toward religion weren’t simplistic. She admired the brilliance and impact of historical religious thinkers like Aquinas and respected religious freedom, even drafting a speech for Barry Goldwater that included ample references to God. And one account, if true, suggests that Rand understood the powerful appeal of spirituality during times of grief.

Steve Mariotti—an education entrepreneur whose grandfather, Lowell B. Mason, had been Rand’s friend—spoke with Rand as she was grieving the loss of her husband, Frank O’Connor. Hoping to comfort her, Mr. Mariotti suggested that she would see Frank again in a spiritual sense. He told me in a recent interview that Rand replied, “I hope you are right. Maybe you are. . . . I will find out soon enough.” Mr. Mariotti jokingly responded to let him know, prompting a laugh that lifted her mood.

More important, militant atheism doesn’t spring from the pages of Rand’s fiction. If she truly believed that religion was such a threat, where are the religious villains in her novels? Corrupt priests or hypocritical churchgoers are nowhere to be found. It’s possible to read “Atlas Shrugged,” “We the Living,” “The Fountainhead” and “Anthem,” cover-to-cover and have little idea what Rand thought about religion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPhilosophyReligion & Culture

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Posted November 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An American bishop and a Christian peer have avoided being attacked by Islamist militants by minutes.

Baroness Cox and Bishop Stewart Ruch were in Nigeria's Jos State on Monday 14th November to meet people affected by Islamic insurgency.

Boko Haram has left thousands of people dead in attacks on mainly Christian areas.

The pair were part of a group of church and charity leaders on a fact finding mission.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted November 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When David Uth, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando, heard of the shooting, he contacted several local pastors, telling them, “We have to minister to this community. This is a broken place now.”

For First Baptist, that meant serving the Hispanic community. The church’s Spanish-ministry pastor, , assessed needs and looked for ways to demonstrate the love of Christ. The church became aware of two young men critically wounded in the attack who were in intensive care and would soon lose their condo because they could not work.

“We contacted them and told them not to worry,” said Uth. “We told them we were going to cover their rent until they were able to get back on their feet.”

First Baptist also offered their facilities free of charge to victims’ families who wanted to hold funerals for their loved ones.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 17, 2016 at 11:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted November 17, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new academic study into growth and decline in the Anglican Communion will be marked by a day conference and the publication of a new book. Edited by the Revd Dr David Goodhew, director of ministerial practice at Cranmer Hall, part of St John's College at Durham University, Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion – 1980 to the Present, is described by publishers Routledge as “the first study of [the Anglican Communion’s] dramatic growth and decline in the years since 1980.”

Prepared by an international team of researchers based across five continents, the study provides a global overview of Anglicanism alongside twelve detailed case studies of Anglican churches in Australia, Congo, England, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, South America, South India, South Korea, and the US.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchBooksGlobalizationReligion & Culture

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Posted November 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indonesia’s most prominent Christian politician is to be prosecuted for blasphemy in a victory for conservative Islam in the world’s biggest Muslim nation.

Police named Basuki Tjahja Purnama, the governor of Jakarta, as a criminal suspect, following huge and deadly protests against him in the capital this month. The prosecution of Mr Basuki, who is also unusual among Indonesian politicians in being ethnically Chinese, brings into the open old and sometimes violent divisions between the Muslim majority and practitioners of other religions.

In September, while campaigning for next year’s election to the Jakarta governorship, Mr Basuki joked about political opponents who had cited Koranic verses in arguing that a Christian should not hold high office. He said that they had “deceived” their audience, a statement which has been taken up by his antagonists as a blasphemous commentary on the Koran by a “kafir”, or non-Muslim.

Read it all (requires subscription)

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndonesia* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

England could face a severe shortage of senior teachers by 2022 if action is not taken to encourage a new generation of leaders, new research shows. So the C of E Foundation for Educational Leadership could not be launching at a more prescient time.

Our mission is to build a national movement of inspirational leaders equipped to transform education, so that it fosters wisdom, hope, community and dignity, to enable children to flourish and experience life in all its fullness, regardless of their background or starting point.

We are doing this by building networks, bringing together people from schools to support, challenge and inspire each other; rigorous leadership development programmes to equip those leaders to realise our vision, and robust research to provide an evidence base on the outcomes for children’s spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and social development.

As a former vice-principal of a large secondary school in Nottingham, I know how important mutual support is for teachers to grow in confidence. I now lead the networks programme for the Foundation. Last week we held our first Regional Peer Support Network meetings for the South East and South West regions. These pilot groups are drawing together school leaders to work together to support one another as leaders, as they seek to ensure that their school’s ethos enhances its outcomes. The gatherings have been full of energy, life, hope and vision, and above all a commitment that we are stronger together.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some evangelical leaders around the globe worry that the recent US presidential election has damaged Christian moral witness, and will fuel discord abroad.

In a conference call Tuesday, a week after Donald Trump’s win, more than 70 ministry presidents, pastors, and scholars spoke with concern as they discussed the ramifications of the American election on the global church.

The call was organized by Doug Birdsall, a former top leader of the Lausanne Movement and the American Bible Society, as part of his new Civilitas Group. Participants included evangelical representatives from Asia, Europe, and South America, as well as a diverse span of US church leaders.

“One of the things that America was stood for in the past was moral leadership and character. Over the past few decades, it has slowly dissipated,” said Hwa Yung, longtime bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. “In this election you have produced two candidates, both of whom are deeply flawed in character. The question people around the world are asking is, ‘Is this what America is today?’ The election has done great damage to your moral standing in the eyes of the world.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Six Anglo-Saxon graves believed to be the oldest ever found in Britain have been discovered on a waterlogged site in a river valley in Norfolk, alongside 81 coffins made from hollowed oak trunks.

Archaeologists think the startlingly well-preserved plank-lined graves were part of the burial ground of an early Christian community, dating from between the 7th and 9th centuries. Tree ring dating is being carried out to establish a more precise age.

Finding timber graves of this age is extremely rare, due to wood’s tendency to leave little more than a decayed smudge in the earth.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the label “evangelical” became an especially blurred category both because of the media and because of some evangelical voices. Over the course of the campaign, the press increasingly referred to evangelicals as politically conservative, and predominantly white Christians. For some evangelicals, abortion and future Supreme Court appointments were of primary concern, placed over and against concerns for women, people of color, Muslims, and LGBT persons. This polarization, even among evangelicals, led some to conclude that evangelicals on both sides were increasingly and inextricably bound to and complicit with scandalizing words and actions that degrade people and contradict and betray the gospel of Jesus Christ. At times, these associations have not just been attributed by the press, but clearly and repeatedly captured through evangelicals’ own witness. The reported influence of the evangelical vote in the post-election surveys only intensified this view.

For some who have identified themselves as evangelical, these distorted entanglements now compel them to abandon the term, to adamantly reject further identification with evangelical and with groups associated with it. Only by distancing themselves from the now pervasive and destructive associations with evangelical do they feel they can reclaim or maintain their identity and integrity as followers of Jesus. For these, anything less than this seems like a meaningless and impossible semantic position.

As President and President Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary, we lament and reject the disgrace that hateful words and actions by some evangelicals have heaped specifically upon people of color, immigrants, women, Muslims, and LGBT persons in our nation, as we uphold the dignity of all persons made in the image of God. We grieve and condemn the racism and fear, rejection and hatred that have been expressed and associated with our Lord. Such realities do not in any way reflect the fruit of God’s Spirit and instead evoke the sorrow of God’s heart and of our own.

To whatever degree and in whatever ways Fuller Theological Seminary has contributed or currently contributes to the shame and abuse now associated with the word evangelical, we call ourselves, our board of trustees, our faculty, our staff, our students, our alumni, and our friends to repentance and transformation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today at Lambeth Palace ‘In Good Faith’, a new Christian-Jewish dialogue project, was launched. This is a joint initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations, Ephraim Mirvis. Modelled on their own well rooted friendship, this partnership programme will ensure Priests and Rabbis based in close geographical proximity will be encouraged to explore mutual concerns and opportunities for shared action together, initially for the next year.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis explained their vision and hope for the programme and its place within their respective understandings of the role of faith in society.

Archbishop Justin said: “It is in the everyday conversations, the grassroots initiatives and the building of local bridges between Christians and Jews, our synagogues and churches, that we will see real change and the hope for a divided world and nation….. I am so grateful to you for signalling hope when the temptation is to succumb to world-weary cynicism, pessimism, defeatism and even despair.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Up through the 1960s, members and institutions of the Protestant mainline dominated American public life. To be sure, this dominance was not without serious issues—most notably, the exclusion of “Catholics, Jews, blacks, and atheists from nearly every position of influence in American life.” The significant demographic changes brought about by post-war immigration did nothing but exacerbate this problem.

Through these developments, influential mainline thinkers such as Harvey Cox and Paul Tillich responded by abandoning Christian particularism. Gleason writes:

They focused on the church’s social obligations, which they emphasized at the expense of the exclusivity and particularity of traditional doctrinal claims. In one famous formulation, Tillich argued that Christianity was just one of many ways to touch “the ground of being.” Symbols, religious and otherwise, all inadequately represented their ineffable subjects, but they also pointed beyond themselves to this ground of being, which Tillich called God. If Tillich was right, then mainline Protestants had no reason to distrust people of other faiths. Perhaps their beliefs were not so different after all.

This liberal thought was disseminated to millions of congregants by mainline Protestant clergy. They taught the values of “individualism, tolerance, pluralism, and emancipation from tradition”—and, in so doing, played a pivotal role in creating the culture in which we now live.

By virtue of their very “success,” however, mainline churches became a “vanishing mediator.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranMethodistPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ* Theology

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




As of 2014, there were roughly 245 million adults in the United States, including 173 million Christians and 56 million people without a religious affiliation. These are big numbers that, along with many others in the religious demographic pie, can at times make it difficult to fully understand the American religious landscape.

But what if we looked at this big picture a little differently? What if we imagined the United States as a small town, population 100, instead of a continent-spanning nation with hundreds of millions of people? Doing so presents an interesting thought experiment because it allows us to see basic data about the U.S. and its people in a fresh, simple and illuminating way.

The following five charts use data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study to create a religious demographic profile of the U.S. if the country were made up of exactly 100 adults.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther Faiths

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in light of the enormous social costs of being a Christian in the first three centuries, why did anyone become a Christian? Why did Christianity grow so exponentially? What did Christianity offer that was so much greater than the costs? Hurtado and others have pointed out three things.

First, Christians were called into a unique “social project” that both offended and attracted people. Christians forbade both abortion and the practice of “infant exposure,” in which unwanted infants were simply thrown out. Christians were a sexual counter-culture in that they abstained from any sex outside of heterosexual marriage. This was in the midst of a culture that thought that, especially for married men, sex with prostitutes, slaves, and children was perfectly fine.

Also, Christians were unusually generous with their money, particularly to the poor and needy, and not just to their own family and racial group. Another striking difference was that Christian communities were multi-ethnic, since their common identity in Christ was more fundamental than their racial identities, and therefore created a multi-ethnic diversity, which was unprecedented for a religion. Finally, Christians believed in non-retaliation, forgiving their enemies, even those who were killing them.

Second, Christianity offered a direct, personal, love relationship with the Creator God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted November 14, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has appointed Jonathan Petre as Head of Media at Lambeth Palace. Mr Petre is currently the Religion and Education Correspondent on the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

This is a new role which will oversee day to day contact with the media and provide the Archbishop with regular advice and guidance. The Archbishop’s Communications team at Lambeth, led by Director of Communications Ailsa Anderson, remains a total of three people.

Mr Petre started his journalism career on the Catholic Herald and Daily Telegraph, covering politics, education and the Royal Family. He was also News Editor at the Sunday Telegraph, managing a team of more than 20 journalists.

He has been with the Mail on Sunday for eight years and will take up his new role at the end of January.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Did you notice something about the quotes? The Trump supporters spoke in less strident, more conciliatory terms. The opponents still seem to be working out the bile of the rhetoric from the campaign.

This reveals a weakness of the pure aggregation approach. Some of the more extreme reactions fairly cried out for follow-up questions.

For Harris, one might ask if one party did all the demonization. It was Hillary, not Trump, who said half of the other side was a "basket of deplorables" … "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic." Sure, she walked back from that, but only after a backlash of criticism.

For Campolo, Hatmaker and the Muslim Advocates, it would be interesting to ask: "What do you fear? What could Trump do that would pass scrutiny by Congress and the courts?"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted November 9, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What can we do now? We can, first of all, maintain a prophetic clarity that is willing to call to repentance everything that is unjust and anti-Christ, whether that is the abortion culture, the divorce culture, or the racism/nativism culture. We can be the people who tell the truth, whether it helps or hurts our so-called “allies” or our so-called “enemies.”

Moreover, no matter what the racial and ethnic divisions in America, we can be churches that demonstrate and embody the reconciliation of the kingdom of God. After all, we are not just part of a coalition but part of a Body — a Body that is white and black and Latino and Asian, male and female, rich and poor. We are party of a Body joined to a Head who is an Aramaic-speaking Middle Easterner.

What affects black and Hispanic and Asian Christians ought to affect white Christians. And the sorts of poverty and social unraveling among the white working class ought to affect black and Hispanic and Asian Christians. We belong to each other because we belong to Christ.

The most important lesson we should learn is that the church must stand against the way politics has become a religion, and religion has become politics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

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Posted November 9, 2016 at 5:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

African-Americans have long been among the country’s most fervent Christians, from the choir to the pulpit to the affirming voices from every “amen corner.”

Their deep faith saw them through the trials of slavery and then a century of Jim Crow repression. Finally, it emboldened them to leave the sanctuary of their churches and join the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a quest, his “dream,” for their full freedom and equality.

Just when and how their ancestors broke with traditional African spirit practices and adopted Christianity has never been fully resolved. Now archaeologists in Maryland have announced the discovery of an intact set of objects that they interpret as religious symbols — traditional ones from Africa, mixed with what they believe to be a biblical image: a representation of Ezekiel’s Wheel.

No one had found this combination of religious artifacts before, said Mark P. Leone, a University of Maryland archaeologist who led the discovery team. “Christianity had not erased traditional African spirit practices,” he concluded. ”It had merged with them to form a potent blend that still thrives today.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 8, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Found here:
General Orders, May 15, 1776–

The Continental Congress having ordered Friday the 17th. Instant to be observed as a day of “fasting, of humiliation, of prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please him to pardon all our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the arms of the United Colonies, and finally, establish the peace and freedom of America, upon a solid and lasting foundation”–The General commands all officers, and soldiers, to pay strict obedience to the Orders of the Continental Congress, and by their unfeigned, and pious observance of their religious duties, incline the Lord, and Giver of Victory, to prosper our arms.

Jehovah Sabaoth,
You are indeed the Giver of Victory. Prosper the arms of Your angelic hosts to establish the peace and freedom of America, upon a solid and lasting foundation. Amen.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* Theology

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Posted November 8, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

John Onwuchekwa, Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia:
Guiding Principles: Corporate prayer takes up a significant time of our corporate gathering—usually 15-20 minutes total, split between four prayers. So we don’t pray for our leaders merely around election cycles, but all the time.

Praying for our leaders routinely and regularly helps to remind our church that we’re appealing to someone who’s actually in control. This regularity especially helps mitigate the fears of people who tend to be consumed with politics under the sun, reminding us that our hope for change here on the earth ultimately lies beyond the sun, not under it.

We keep an eye toward unity in the church. Politics tends to divide—especially when you have a diverse church. As we pray, we’re reminded that the biggest obstacle to the church fulfilling its purpose in the world is disunity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Theology

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Posted November 8, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, we can do better ourselves and we can work to make the world better. How we live matters. Public policy matters. Our political and economic choices change other people’s lives. The poor depend upon our making good choices. We can’t bail out. We cannot say “a pox on all your houses” (the Mennonite option) and drop out.

Second, the world will still be a painful place no matter what political choices we make. People don’t stop being sinful even if a nation elects the best politician with the best policies, and no nation ever does that. People will always suffer. The workers and the poor will still suffer the exploitation Leo condemned. No political achievement is ever unmixed with evil. No achievement lasts. Power tends to corrupt.

The answer is Christ and his Church. Leo wrote at the end of Rerum Novarum: “Since religion alone can destroy the evil at its root . . . the primary thing needed is to return to real Christianity.” Treat politics seriously, but don’t expect it to save the world. Someone else will do that.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For over a century, the best response to Plato’s critique of democracy has been John Dewey’s claim that precious and fragile democratic experiments must put a premium on democratic statecraft (public accountability, protection of rights and liberties, as well as personal responsibility, embedded in a fair rule of law) and especially on democratic soulcraft (integrity, empathy, and a mature sense of history). For Plato, democratic regimes collapse owing to the slavish souls of citizens driven by hedonism and narcissism, mendacity and venality. Dewey replies that this kind of spiritual blackout can be overcome by robust democratic education and courageous exemplars grounded in the spread of critical intelligence, moral compassion, and historical humility. The 2016 election presents a dangerous question as to whether Dewey’s challenge to Plato’s critique can be met.

Yet Clinton is not a strong agent for Dewey’s response. There is no doubt that if she becomes the first woman president of the United States — though I prefer Jill Stein, of the Green Party — Clinton will be smart, even brilliant, in office. But like her predecessor, Barack Obama, she promotes the same neoliberal policies that increase inequality and racial polarization that will produce the next Trump. More important, she embraces Trump-like figures abroad, be they in Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Israel, or Syria — figures of ugly xenophobia and militaristic policies. The same self-righteous neoliberal soulcraft of smartness, dollars, and bombs lands us even deeper in our spiritual blackout. Instead we need a democratic soulcraft of wisdom, justice, and peace — the dreams of courageous freedom fighters like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, Edward Said, and Dorothy Day. These dreams now lie dormant at this bleak moment, but spiritual and democratic awakenings are afoot among the ripe ones, especially those in the younger generation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 7, 2016 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySacramental TheologyBaptismTheology: Scripture


Posted November 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First of all, Graham moved from biblical inerrancy and literalism to a more dynamic sense of biblical infallibility. The Bible was authoritative not because it was historically or scientifically accurate in every detail, but because it did what it promised to do: infallibly bring people to faith in Christ. Graham believed in the Bible’s factual accuracy, but that was not the main point. The Bible held authority because it worked.

The second change focused on the the new birth. In the early days Graham called for something like a “ready-set-go” conversion experience. Stand up, walk to the front, sign a decision card, join a church, and then witness to your new-found faith. But over time Graham saw that people could show their commitment in other ways. He allowed that many people, including his wife, Ruth, never experienced a single moment of decision. They just grew up “saved” and never saw themselves otherwise. And he knew too that many inquirers were coming back to Christ after their first love had grown cold.

Graham’s notion of the spiritual and moral results that should be the fruit of new birth also evolved. His primary emphasis always fell on individual conversion. But he also came to see the need for intentionally working for social reform, sometimes through legislation. Converted hearts did not automatically produce converted hands.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted November 7, 2016 at 9:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This year’s presidential election may well be the most divisive in U.S. history, pitting liberals and conservatives against one another perhaps more bitterly than ever before, and the two major-party candidates seem in many ways to reflect cultural ills and political corruption that have been brewing for decades. On both the right and the left, countless citizens appear to believe that one candidate or the other will bring about the “end of America.” Conservatives argue that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will, among other things, transform the Supreme Court into a progressive super-legislature to impose its anti-democratic will for a generation. Meanwhile, liberals maintain that Republican nominee Donald Trump will deport millions of minorities and exacerbate existing racial tension to the detriment of less-privileged Americans.

It is easy to allow the evident failures of our political system — culminating in the simultaneous nomination of perhaps the two most dishonest, corrupt presidential nominees in U.S. history — to consume our focus and destroy our confidence in the future of our country. But as these seemingly endless debates absorb our attention and ongoing rancor pollutes our national dialogue, millions of people around the world face genocide, and they fear for their lives and those of their children.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastEgyptIraqSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 7, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the first time in 500 years, pilgrims can get a glimpse of Jesus’s tomb — though for some, it is not worth queueing for an hour to see it.

Last week, conservationists started a frantic 60-hour dig inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built on the spot where Christ’s body was supposedly taken after the crucifixion. They lifted the marble slab covering the tomb, which was last moved in the 1500s. Beneath it was another slab, this one inscribed with a cross, dating back to centuries before.

After two days of work, as a church-imposed deadline approached, workers finally found the limestone slab on which Jesus is said to have been laid after his crucifixion in AD33. They soon sealed it up again, but they carved a window to give visitors a view of the tomb’s walls.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* TheologyChristology

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Posted November 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

LAWTON: Greg Smith is associate director of research at the Pew Research Center, which has been polling voters throughout the pre-election season.

SMITH: Many of them say they’re disgusted by it, that they’re disappointed. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not engaged, in fact many of them are engaged, but by and large, people tell us they’re very unhappy with the state of this campaign.

LAWTON: Smith says the high levels of negativity can been seen in the nature of the support for the candidates.

SMITH: On both sides we’re seeing people tell us that the support for their candidate is driven as much by opposition to the other side. That’s not just true of Trump supporters, many of whom say that they are supporting Trump primarily as a matter of opposing Clinton. The same thing is true on the other side. There are many Clinton supporters who say that they’re supporting Clinton for president mainly as a matter of opposing Trump.

LAWTON: The negativity among voters often takes on a moral dimension. Many people of faith are among those raising concerns about the rhetoric that has dominated the campaign.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So is Zobrist's faith showing up in mainstream news reports on his 2016 World Series heroics?

Not a whole lot, as far as I can tell. And honestly, you probably wouldn't expect a parenthetical reference to his Christian beliefs in a game story on his big hit in the 10th inning last night.

But for journalists delving into Zobrist's heart and soul after the Cubs' first world championship in 108 years, that's an important angle to pursue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & CultureSports

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Posted November 6, 2016 at 6:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Could you cite those who influenced your interest in and decision to convert to Catholicism? What is your previous religious background?

Professor Vermeule: I was baptized and raised as an Episcopalian/Anglican; my first school was run by Anglican nuns and I later attended an historically Episcopalian boarding school. I fell away from the Episcopal Church in college, and when I returned in later life, it was a different place. There are many “small-O” orthodox Christians remaining within it, including dear friends, but they have lost control of the institution to heterodox forces.

As for influences, there were many, especially Cardinal Newman, Father Brian Dunkle, S. J., Father Kevin Grove, CSC, who generously arranged my reception at Notre Dame, a set of lay and clerical scholars and friends from Notre Dame, Harvard and other universities, friends at St. Paul Parish at Harvard, and a larger cloud of witnesses throughout the Church. But behind and above all those who helped me along the way, there stood a great Lady.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted November 5, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelist Billy Graham is “doing well” as he prepares to celebrate his 98th birthday with his family, his son said.

Franklin Graham told RNS Thursday (Nov. 3) they are planning to get him one of his favorite treats to mark the special day on Monday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 5, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 4, 2016 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the racism and anxiety that Mr Trump has exploited are, I believe, manifestations of an even deeper pathology — namely, the profound sense of unease that many Americans have about their lives. That unease often takes the form of resentment against elites, but, even more troublingly, it also funds the prejudice against minority groups and immigrants.

Resentment is another word for the unease that seems to grip good middle-class — mostly white — people who have worked hard all their lives and yet find that they are no better off than when they started. They deeply resent what they interpret as the special treatment that some receive in an effort to right the wrongs of the past.

All this is happening at the same time as the Church — at least, the mainstream Church — is struggling against a culture of consumption. Americans find that they have no good reason for going to church. The statistical decline of Christians has led some church leaders to think that our primary job is to find ways to increase church membership. At a time when Christians are seeking to say something confident and useful about “church growth”, what we communicate is superficial and simplistic. You do not need to come to church to be told that you need to be nice.

The Church has failed to help people to live in such a manner that they would want no other life than the life they have lived....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2015 a powerful book* Dr Frances Flannery, a scholar at James Madison University in Washington, analysed the nature of apocalyptic terrorism. The author looks at case studies within the environmental movement, in Japan, amongst militant Christian militia groups in the USA, and in Islam.

For me the key finding was that whereas fundamentalist attitudes with an apocalyptic, imminent end of the world approach, in some groups might lead to psychological harm or isolation for their members, it was the sense of who was responsible for bringing in the rule of God that made the difference. If the answer was that God was responsible, the group was unlikely to be violent. Once they felt that they had a responsibility to do God's work in the place of God, then extreme violence was inevitable.

In other words the issue is theological. What is the understanding of God that we have in terms of responsibility for a righteous society.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 3, 2016 at 4:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture


Posted November 3, 2016 at 3:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the summer, and after a year’s delay, Bloomsbury published That Was the Church That Was by Andrew Brown and Linda Woodhead. Woodhead is professor of sociology of religion at the University of Lancaster, and Brown has been a religious correspondent for a national newspaper for many years. So you might expect them both to know what they are talking about when it comes to the Church of England. But the review by Edward Lucas in The Times sets out how much an explanation is needed of recent decline in church attendance—and how signally this book fails to offer it:

It deserves a definitive book, explaining how a mighty, self-confident and global institution, with centuries-old roots and run by kind, intelligent and hard-working people, was shunted to the sidelines of national life in less than a generation. Andrew Brown and Linda Woodhead have failed to do that. Despite flashes of insight and some vivid writing, their book is lazy, spiteful and meandering.

I was keen to read the book for myself to see whether this withering assessment was deserved, or whether it reflected the interests and concerns of the reviewer. Sadly it was the former.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

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Posted November 3, 2016 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The communications office of the Church of England has today announced the appointment of John Bingham as Head of Media Operations. John replaces Neill Harvey Smith who moved on from the role in July of this year.

John Bingham brings substantial experience to the post with 15 years in full time journalism with much of this at a senior level. He has held his current role as Religious and Social Affairs editor for the Daily Telegraph for almost 5 years having previously worked as a Senior Reporter for the Telegraph and Chief reporter for the Press Association.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 3, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Parishes are being invited to visit AChristmasNearYou.org/upload from the 1st November and complete a simple form no later than 1st December to register their Christmas church services.

On the 1st of December http://www.AChristmasNearYou.org will be live for anyone to be able to find the nearest Christmas services to them (or search for services in a particular location). It will be able to filter by date, whether there will be carols and accessibility such as wheelchair access, sign language and parking and more. They'll also be able to find which Christmas services are serving mince pies or mulled wine! For smartphones, the website will be able to use geolocation to find where the person is and show which Christmas services are happening nearest to them.

To promote the website and accompanying Christmas social media campaign, there will be four videos on the theme of Christmas Joy. The videos star Gogglebox vicar Kate Bottley, comedian Paul Kerensa, Matt Woodcock and Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons Rose Hudson Wilkin - each talking about a moment of Christmas Joy in their lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted November 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has called on the public to join him in a vigil for the country on the steps of St George's Cathedral in Cape Town tomorrow‚ Wednesday November 2‚ from 1 to 2 pm. The theme of the vigil is "A lament for our beloved country".

It will entail 45 minutes of silence‚ followed by interfaith prayers and a commitment to ongoing prayers for South Africa for the next year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the release of her second major book—The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life (Zondervan)—Voskamp, 43, is especially mindful of the temptation to grow bigger than her roots. An extreme introvert for whom fun means curling up and reading Jonathan Edwards, Voskamp is ambivalent about the 10-city book tour she’s about to take. In conversations with her bubbly publicist, she’s trying to secure as many days at home.

“We need to break the ladders and go lower,” Voskamp tells CT on a visit to her farmhouse this summer. “That means destroying platforms and living hidden lives that have dirt underneath our fingernails, as opposed to everyone striving to get behind a microphone. . . . Numbers can be toxic to our souls.”

Even still, Voskamp has some pretty interesting numbers in her life: 7 children, ages 21 to 2; 600 acres, on which her husband, Darryl (“The Farmer” to her readers), grows corn and raises pigs; 1,000 gifts, which Voskamp made herself write down in a time when gratitude was elusive and which spawned her first book; 1 million–plus copies, which that book went on to sell; and 1 Tim Keller sermon, a different one of which Voskamp tries to read every night before bed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I'm absolutely amazed. My knees are shaking a little bit because I wasn't expecting this,” said Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic's archaeologist-in-residence. "We can't say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades."

In addition, researchers confirmed the existence of the original limestone cave walls within the 18th-century Edicule, or shrine, which encloses the tomb. A window has been cut into the southern interior wall of the shrine to expose one of the cave walls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* TheologyChristology

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An elderly Christian widow who survived two years of Islamic State rule over her northern Iraqi town said the jihadists threatened to kill her, forced her to spit on a crucifix and made her stamp on an image of the Virgin Mary.

Zarifa Badoos Daddo, 77, was reunited with her family on Sunday after Iraqi forces drove Islamic State from Qaraqosh as they advanced on Mosul, the militants’ last major urban bastion in the country. The forces found her sheltering in a house they thought was abandoned or booby-trapped with explosives.

Most residents of Qaraqosh – Iraq’s largest Christian town – had fled toward the country’s autonomous Kurdish region more than two years ago as the jihadists approached, but Daddo stayed on with another elderly woman.

Her relatives had long feared she was dead.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians are finally returning to the Church of the Immaculate Conception. In the courtyard, they find piles of shell casings and mannequin torsos riddled with bullet holes. The Islamic State fighters who held the building until just a few days ago used the space for target practice.

The cavernous interior of the church, the largest in Iraq, is charred and black. The floors are strewn with trash. Islamic State fighters destroyed the crosses and burned any religious books they could find. Now a man is searching through the rubble, salvaging scraps of manuscripts in Aramaic, the ancient language spoken by Jesus.

A small group of priests and local people gathers around the altar, and for the first time in two years, the sound of prayer fills the hall. Gunfire and shelling can still be heard not far away. A man goes up to the darkened altar and kisses it, shaking his head in disbelief at the level of destruction. One of the priests finds a few pieces of communion wafer and wraps them respectfully in paper. “This is Christ’s body, after all,” he says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Seventy-four days separated the fatal bursts of gunfire: the eight rounds a white police officer fired at Walter L. Scott, a black man in North Charleston, and then the shots that killed nine black churchgoers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church here.

And now, seven days will separate the trials of the officer, Michael T. Slager, and of Dylann S. Roof, the white supremacist accused of carrying out the church killings.

Jury selection in the state trial of Mr. Slager, who was fired after the shooting, will begin on Monday; one week later, the same process is scheduled to begin in the federal case of Mr. Roof. Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty for Mr. Roof, rebuffed his offer to plead guilty.

The proceedings — unusual in a country where, for different reasons, few police officers or mass killers stand trial — will draw renewed attention to, and more reflection within, the Charleston area, where many residents still struggle with killings that rattled the nation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans may know the basics of how Martin Luther was said to have nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517, condemning the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences, but they probably don’t realize how Luther strategically used the media of his time: books, paintings, prints and music.

This monk in a town at the edge of Germany took on the Holy Roman emperor and the pope — then the most powerful men in Europe — 500 years ago, and won, dividing the church, setting in play “one of the most successful media campaigns in history” and altering Western society and culture, said John T. McQuillen, assistant curator of printed books and bindings at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.

That message and its resonance are being celebrated at three institutions in honor of the coming 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s action and the beginning of the Reformation. Each of the shows — in Manhattan, Atlanta and Minneapolis — is unique. Featured among them are hundreds of objects: liturgical vestments; illuminated manuscripts; satirical woodcuts; one of six existing single-sheet printed copies of the 95 theses; the pulpit where Luther last preached; personal belongings, like Luther’s traveling spoon and beer stein; and items from recent archaeological excavations in Germany, including household goods and toys linked to Luther’s childhood.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryMediaReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheran* Theology

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of Scotland is to launch a webchat service to help those looking for spiritual guidance but unwilling to come to church on a Sunday.

The initiative will go live in the new year and is the Kirk's latest effort to reach beyond its traditional audience as figures show a continued trend away from organised religion.

The digital congregation will be able to book an online chat with a minister but may have to wait up to three hours for a reply. A separate 24-hour chatline to discuss religious questions has also been set up.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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