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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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I read that by some estimates, every day in the United States, nine churches shut their doors forever. On January 26, 2014, my church—the Reformed Church in Plano (RCP)—was one of them.
After hearing the news late last year, I cried during every worship service for six weeks straight. The music, a prayer, a line during the sermon, or a simple look around would trigger me, and the memories and tears would flow.
I wasn't the only one. After-church hugs and chats lingered a bit longer each Sunday, as everyone comforted and supported one another.
"I still can't believe this is happening," someone would say. "Can't we figure out a way to save our church?" said another. "I'm sorry, but I really think that (fill in person or circumstance here) is a lot to blame for this," several people remarked. "What are we going to do? Where are we going to go?"
Read it all.
(If you EVER get a chance to get near New York and see this play DO NOT MISS IT! We saw it last year and rolled in the aisles--KSH).
Jefferson Mays, leading man of "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder", has died 1,000 times on stage -- faster than any lead actor in Broadway history. His fellow actors marked that deadly landmark outside the stage door at the Walter Kerr Theatre on West 48th Street.
Watch it all.
The legislation of assisted suicide has moved a significant step closer after the Government made clear that it would not stand in the way of a change in the law.
Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs and peers – including Coalition ministers – will be given a free vote on a Bill that would enable doctors to help terminally ill patients to die, The Telegraph can disclose.
The proposed legislation will come before Parliament in the next few months.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Despite — or perhaps because of — their long, shared and often tortured history, there is a curious fondness between some Britons and some South Africans. Two events this week, far-flung and disparate, illustrated some of the ambiguities, too.
Indeed, it almost seemed as if South Africa’s Jekyll-and-Hyde soul was weaving itself anew into the relationship, offering the conflicting visages that make any definition of Africa’s 20-year-old “rainbow nation” so elusive, particularly in a land that has, in turn, been its invader, its overlord and its champion.
Here, in the soaring, august confines of Westminster Abbey, 2,000 congregants, including Prince Harry and Prime Minster David Cameron, assembled Tuesday for a memorial service to Nelson Mandela, who died in December. It fused liturgical solemnity and Anglican pomp with the light and sound of a Soweto gospel choir, feting the inclusive Mandela legacy in rousing renditions of both nations’ anthems, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” and “God Save the Queen.”
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Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and prayers today for our community. Our prayers are with the family of Deacon Terry Star. Deacon Terry left this earth for the glories of heaven on March 4. His death was unexpected, caused by a heart attack that likely happened suddenly and peacefully in the night or early morning hours of March 4.
Read it all and enjoy the pictures.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Executive Council * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
In 1955 Bishop Benitez enrolled in St Luke's School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee to study for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church. He was ordained in the Diocese of Florida in 1958 and assigned to St James Episcopal Church, Lake City, Florida. For two years (1961-62) he served as Canon Pastor of St John's Cathedral, Jacksonville, Florida, before being called as Rector of Grace Church, Ocala, Florida.
His years in Ocala were challenging ones in the life of the Church. The tensions of the civil rights movement caused Bishop Benitez to receive threats and hate messages as he stood up boldly against segregation. His parish school was the first in the area to be integrated, a step taken well before the public school system did the same. Still, he was held in such wide respect that when the public system's teachers later went on strike, he was asked by both sides to act as mediator of the dispute.
In 1968 he was called as Rector to Christ Church, San Antonio. There he introduced the exciting renewal program "Faith Alive!", which soon spread successfully throughout Texas and beyond. During his time there, he was elected to serve first on the Board of Trustees and then the Board of Regents of The University of the South, Sewanee, TN. He was called to the Church of St John the Divine in Houston in 1974, where he continued to implement popular forms of Christian renewal and evangelism. He served as chair of the diocesan programs of Christian Stewardship in both the Diocese of Texas and West Texas. Both dioceses elected him several terms as clerical deputy (representative) to the Episcopal Church's General Convention.
He was elected sixth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and was consecrated on September 13, 1980 in Houston. For fifteen years he loved the privilege and responsibility of leading one of the strongest dioceses in the nation. One of his greatest joys was to continue the long example by which Texas presented more people of all ages for confirmation than any other diocese in the Episcopal Church. His first years as bishop coincided with the massive national capital campaign known as Venture in Mission in which the Episcopal Church raised funds for missionary efforts at home and abroad. The Diocese of Texas led all dioceses in total funds raised.
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The Rt. Rev. Maurice M. "Ben" Benitez, 6th Bishop of Texas, died Thursday, February 27 in Austin, TX. Please keep Bishop Benitez's daughters, Jennifer Shand, Leslie Benitez, and Deborah Smith, and their families in your prayers.
Two funeral services for Bishop Benitez will be held on Monday, March 3 at 3 p.m. at St. Luke's on the Lake, Austin (5600 Ranch Road 620 North), and on Thursday, March 6 at 12 p.m. at St. John the Divine, Houston (2450 River Oaks Blvd).
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It was early in the spring about 15 years ago—a day of pale sunlight and trees just beginning to bud. I was a young police reporter, driving to a scene I didn’t want to see. A man, the police dispatcher’s broadcast said, had accidentally backed his pickup truck over his baby granddaughter in the driveway of the family home. It was a fatality.
As I parked among police cars and TV news cruisers, I saw a stocky, white-haired man in cotton work clothes standing near a pickup. Cameras were trained on him, and reporters were sticking microphones in his face. Looking totally bewildered,he was trying to answer their questions. Mostly he was only moving his lips, blinking, and choking up.
After a while, the reporters gave up and followed the police into the small white house. I can still picture that devastated old man looking down at the place in the driveway where the child had been. Beside the house was a freshly spaded flower bed and nearby a pile of dark, rich earth.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Violence * International News & Commentary Middle East Syria * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Solidarity with the persecuted Church is an obligation of Christian faith. Reflecting on how well each of us has lived that obligation is a worthy point on which to examine one’s conscience during Lent. And that brings me to a suggestion: Revive the ancient tradition of daily readings from the Roman Martyrology this coming Lent by spending 10 minutes a day reading John Allen’s new book, The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution (Image).
The longtime Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and CNN’s senior Vatican analyst, Allen has recently moved to the Boston Globe as associate editor, where he (and we) will see if talent and resources can combine to deepen a mainstream media outlet’s coverage of all things Catholic, both in print and on the Web. Meanwhile, Allen will continue the Roman work that has made him the best Anglophone Vatican reporter ever—work that has given him a unique perspective on the world Church, and indeed on world Christianity. His extensive experience across the globe, and his contacts with everyone who’s anyone in the field of international religious freedom issues, makes him an ideal witness to what he calls, without exaggeration, a global war on Christian believers.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Books Globalization Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary Middle East * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches * Theology Christology Ecclesiology Eschatology
In 2004, The New Yorker magazine quoted the screenwriter Dennis Klein as saying that Mr. Ramis rescued comedies from “their smooth, polite perfection” by offering a new, rough-hewn originality. The writer of the article, Tad Friend, compared Mr. Ramis’s impact on comedy to that of Elvis Presley on rock and Eminem on rap.
“More than anyone else,” Paul Weingarten wrote in The Chicago Tribune Magazine in 1983, “Harold Ramis has shaped this generation’s ideas of what is funny.”
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Roman Catholics in Ottawa are no longer permitted to deliver eulogies during funeral Masses, the local archbishop has decreed.
The Feb. 2 decree from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast reminds the faithful that Catholics gather at funerals “not to praise the deceased, but to pray for them.”
Contrary to popular belief, eulogies “are not part of the Catholic funeral rites, particularly in the context of a funeral liturgy within Mass,” the decree stated. Many Catholics, it pointed out, do not know this.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Listen to it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Theology
Last year, one of the worst songs in the entire Eurovision contest was the entry from Belgium. It was called "Love Kills." The refrain of the song was:
Waiting for the bitter pill
Give me something I can feel
'Cause love kills over and over
Love kills over and over
Whatever this means exactly, it's a radical inversion of the normal juxtaposition of love with life and generativity. Other countries offered the usual assortment of Eurovision styles - some heavy metal, some punk, a few soft ballads - but the Belgian entry stood out as something very dark and creepy, a culture of death pop song.
Poor King Philippe is now in a position of having to decide what to do about the fact that his government has voted in favour of euthanasia for children. Many hope that he will follow the precedent of his saintly uncle, King Baudouin, who in 1990 abdicated for a day rather than have his name on pro-abortion legislation. At the time, King Baudouin rhetorically asked: Is it right that I am the only Belgian citizen to be forced to act against his conscience in such a crucial area? Is the freedom of conscience sacred for everyone except for the king?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Dr [John] Haas says that because of the current demographic trend the world population is aging and it is not being quickly replaced: “I think it is a very apt topic – these are grave social problems in most Western countries with an aging population, all kinds of ethical questions arise with regard to their treatment – end of life decisions have to be made”. “It can be “a very difficult time of life but it can also be a very beautiful time of life depending on how we go in to it” he said.
Commenting on the emphasis Pope Francis puts on the importance and value of the elderly, Dr. Haas says Francis has a profound impact on the way people think by virtue of his personality which leads them to “sit up and pay more attention”. He also says that Francis’ emerging “theology of compassion and of accompaniment” is fundamental in the way society treats its elderly. “I think that this call will really resonate with the faithful” he said.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Life Ethics Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Justified, one of television’s best shows, engages with the rather alien subculture of snake-handling in a way that contrasts favorably to the gloating I saw over the death of Pastor Coots. We can mock such people for their willful ignorance of the science of human origins or the textual criticism of the original form of Mark, but we can also appreciate that this same stubborn faith is one that says all people are created in the image of God.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Rural/Town Life * General Interest Animals
In Uganda, during the eight years in the 1970's when Idi Amin and his men slaughtered probably half a million Ugandans, "We live today and are gone tomorrow" was the common phrase.
We learned that living in danger, when the Lord Jesus is the focus of your life, can be liberating. For one thing, you are no longer imprisoned by your own security, because there is none. So the important security that people sought was to be anchored in God.
As we testified to the safe place we had in Jesus, many people who had been pagan, or were on the fringes of Christianity, flocked to the church or to individuals, asking earnestly, "How do you prepare yourself for death?" Churches all over the country were packed both with members and seekers. This was no comfort to President Amin, who was making wild promises to Libya and other Arab nations that Uganda would soon be a Muslim country. (It is actually 80 per cent Christian)....
It became clear to us through the Scriptures that our resistance was to be that of overcoming evil with good. This included refusing to cooperate with anything that dehumanizes people, but we reaffirmed that we can never be involved in using force or weapons.
...we knew, of course, that the accusation against our beloved brother, Archbishop Janani Luwum, that he was hiding weapons for an armed rebellion, was untrue, a frame-up to justify his murder.
The archbishop's arrest, and the news of his death, was a blow from the Enemy calculated to send us reeling. That was on February 16, 1977. The truth of the matter is that it boomeranged on Idi Amin himself. Through it he lost respect in the world and, as we see it now, it was the beginning of the end for him.
For us, the effect can best be expressed in the words of the little lady who came to arrange flowers, as she walked through the cathedral with several despondent bishops who were preparing for Archbishop Luwum's Memorial Service. She said, "This is going to put us twenty times forward, isn't it?" And as a matter of fact, it did.
More than four thousand people walked, unintimidated, past Idi Amin's guards to pack St. Paul's Cathedral in Kampala on February 20. They repeatedly sang the "Martyr's Song," which had been sung by the young Ugandan martyrs in 1885. Those young lads had only recently come to know the Lord, but they loved Him so much that they could refuse the evil thing demanded of them by King Mwanga. They died in the flames singing, "Oh that I had wings such as angels have, I would fly away and be with the Lord." They were given wings, and the singing of those thousands at the Memorial Service had wings too.
--Festo Kivengere, Revolutionary Love, Chapter Nine
[See here for further information, and, through the wonders of the modern world, you may also find a copy online there].
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda
In the first hours and days that followed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death from an apparent overdose of heroin, there was an outpouring of grief on Facebook, on Twitter and in columns by recovering addicts and alcoholics like the journalist Seth Mnookin and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin about their own struggles with sobriety and the rarely distant fear of relapsing back into the throes of active addiction.
There was also a palpably visceral reaction in the meeting rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, where, according to some in attendance, many discussions since last Sunday quickly turned from the death of a great actor to the precariousness of sobriety, and the fears of many sober people that they could easily slip back into their old ways, no matter how many years they have been clean.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Alcoholism Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine Men Middle Age Movies & Television Psychology Theatre/Drama/Plays * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The outpouring of grief all around the country, but especially in the environs of New York City where "Phil" lived and worked, has been extraordinary and has, perhaps, taken some observers by surprise. The acute pain of my own grief has not abated for days; indeed, it has grown. I loved this actor beyond all others. There was a core of sensitivity and empathy at the heart of everything he did, even when playing the most unattractive characters. I was collecting his films, but in a desultory way, assuming that there was no particular urgency. Like many others who knew his work but not his personal story, I had no idea of the struggle he'd had. The idea that there will be no more performances is almost unbearable. He wasn't just a "character actor," though he certainly played a lot of characters; he had a range that, the more I think about it, was Shakespearean in its humanity. I can't even name a favorite performance; it was true of him across the board (or boards). I was looking forward to whatever he did next; now we can only play his old movies and suffer our loss. Now we will never see him play King Lear, a dismal thought that has occurred to several theatre critics who have lamented in print.
James Lipton, dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City, widely known as the creator and host of Inside the Actors Studio on Bravo, was interviewed by CNN (I think it was). I don't remember ever seeing a scheduled television appearance at the time of a death that was so ferociously in the moment, not studied, not thought out ahead of time, just pure rage and grief. He seemed to be gripping the table (he may not have been, but it seemed that way) as he almost spat out his fury at "god-damned drugs." He was liberal on most things, he said, but when it came to drugs he felt nothing but implacable opposition and hatred. It was good to hear that. We don't hear it often enough. I remember when Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning after years of drug abuse. Someone said, "She made bad choices." As if a person in the throes of addiction has a choice! This isn't about choices or "free will." This is about the bondage of the will by demonic powers.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Movies & Television Theatre/Drama/Plays Urban/City Life and Issues * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
O God our Father, who art the source of strength to all thy saints, and who didst bring the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of life eternal: Grant that we, being encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith that we profess, even unto death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
A Christian family in Algeria has been refused permission to bury their son in the local public cemetery because he was not a Muslim.
“The leaders of the mosque demanded that I would have to follow Islamic burial rites if I was to bury my son in the cemetery,” said the father of 24-year-old Lahlou Naraoui, a University student.
Naraoui’s family, who live in Chemini in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria, said they could not follow the Muslim leaders’ demands and instead chose to bury their son on private land.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government * International News & Commentary Africa Algeria * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
Church of Uganda Archbishop, Stanley Ntagali, on Tuesday launched a fundraising drive for the construction of the Anglican Martyrs shrine at Namugongo.
Ntagali announced the fundraising drive during at a news conference at the Church of Uganda headquarters in Kampala.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda * Theology Anthropology Eschatology
While heroin use is still low compared to marijuana, law enforcement officials and drug treatment experts say heroin has made a comeback after a decade-long outbreak of narcotic painkiller abuse. The prescription pain pills, such as OxyContin, are opioids that produce a potent high similar to heroin if abused.
"We're seeing a resurgence of heroin," says Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "It cuts across all demographic groups. We used to think of a heroin as an inner city problem, but it's now a problem we're seeing across the nation among all populations and all ages."
As authorities crack down on clinics that prescribe pain pills by the thousands and pharmaceutical companies change their formulas so the pills are more difficult to abuse, opiate addicts are turning to cheaper and more-plentiful heroin. An 80 mg OxyContin pill can sell for up to $100, while a five-dose-a-day heroin habit costs less than $60, according to federal law enforcement officials.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire * Economics, Politics Economy * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
From cowboys in the pew to a convoy of cranes accompanying the coffin, funerals are no longer necessarily the black-clad sombre affairs of the past.
People are becoming more creative with their final plans, according to the National Association of Funeral Directors, which reports a growing number of bizarre requests. Unusual planned ceremonies include Morris dancers, a Wild West themed funeral and a company director wanting to be buried next to his beloved golf course.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism
The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman hurts like few recent celebrity passings I can think of. Well, like one of them: the death last summer of James Gandolfini. Both Hoffman and Gandolfini were fantastic actors, the sort of faces who'd make you say, "Hmm, maybe I'll have to see that," when they popped up in trailers. Both doted on their young children, and it stings to think about them right now.
But Gandolfini, for all his greatness, will forever be linked to one role. He spent eight years playing Tony Soprano, and that was after a couple years of typecasting as Italian-American Tough Guy No. 6. If you comb through social media today, you see movie fans tearing up over Hoffman and rarely focusing on any one role. The man could play psychopathic toughs (Mission Impossible III), frustrated artists (Synecdoche, New York), sociopathic intellectuals (The Master), gay intellectuals (Capote), gay spazes (Boogie Nights) slobs (Along Came Polly), and jerks (Hard Eight).
Read it all.
Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent drug overdose inside his New York apartment on Sunday, police said, adding that two glassine envelopes containing what police suspected to be heroin were found near his body.
Five empty glassine envelopes were found in the trash, police added.
The “Capote” actor, 46, was discovered by a business associate shortly after 11:30 a.m. Eastern time in his Greenwich Village apartment. Hoffman was found in his bathroom with a hypodermic needle stuck in his left arm, police said.
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The Anglican Church Archbishop Eliud Wabukala has strongly opposed the bill that aims at taxing the bereaved family saying it will drop the country’s economy.
“As Anglican Church we oppose the bill with strong terms, in the place first if somebody has lost a relative he or she gets affected psychologically and even financially, taxing such a person is killing him,” Archbishop Wabukala said.
He said county governments should come out and help its people by giving out loans and any other necessary support for the growth of business and farming as a way of increasing revenue collection instead of overburdening poor families who have lost their beloved ones.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance Taxes Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Seeger — with his a lanky frame, banjo and full white beard — was an iconic figure in folk music. He performed with the great minstrel Woody Guthrie in his younger days and marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters in his 90s, leaning on two canes. He wrote or co-wrote "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine." He lent his voice against Hitler and nuclear power. A cheerful warrior, he typically delivered his broadsides with an affable air and his banjo strapped on.
"Be wary of great leaders," he told The Associated Press two days after a 2011 Manhattan Occupy march. "Hope that there are many, many small leaders."
With The Weavers, a quartet organized in 1948, Seeger helped set the stage for a national folk revival. The group - Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman - churned out hit recordings of "Goodnight Irene," "Tzena, Tzena" and "On Top of Old Smokey."
Seeger also was credited with popularizing "We Shall Overcome," which he printed in his publication "People's Song," in 1948. He later said his only contribution to the anthem of the civil rights movement was changing the second word from "will" to "shall," which he said "opens up the mouth better."
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It is with a great sense of sadness that the Anglican Archbishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia ask for prayer after the death of a Fijian teenager on holiday in New Zealand.
Deepika Kumar had been in Wellington since December and she was due to return to Fiji this week. The 18 year old was attending the Parachute Festival. She was in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital after being found in the pool of a motel in Hamilton on Saturday.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Teens / Youth
"Many people ask me, several times a week... if I ever contemplate (assisted suicide). It makes one feel like I should be contemplating it for the sake of the health service, for my family watching what I'm going through. I'm afraid that it will extend into the social conscience that people will almost expect assisted dying.... a (new) law will pressurise people."
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium The Netherlands * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Anglican Communion is reeling at the sudden death of the the Primate of The Church of the Province of West Africa yesterday (Tuesday).
Archbishop Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson, 59, was also Metropolitan Archbishop of the Internal province of West Africa, and Bishop of Gambia. A popular figure both home and abroad, he died in Fajara while playing tennis - one of his favourite pastimes.
The Provincial Secretary Canon Anthony Eiwuley said he had received confirmation of the Archbishop's death from the family. He added that, in time, he planned to open a book of condolence to receive messages on behalf of the Province and the family.
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Embrace the Journey was developed because Anglicans for Life recognized this growing segment of our population and their unique need for ministry and advocacy. Parishioners also need to hear what Scripture teaches about aging, dying, and death. This Adult-Ed Curriculum educates the people in the pews about the role of heaven in their faith walk and provides assurance of heaven as their home for eternity.
Anglicans for Life also produced Embrace the Journey because the term “end-of-life” for the elderly and terminally ill means something very different in today’s culture than it did 20 years ago. Treating vulnerable people as second class citizens is not something we fear may happen, it is happening. And with it comes a growing disregard for the value of life, especially in the ‘golden years.’ Hastening of death via assisted suicide, the growing number of cases of emotional, physical, and financial abuse and the increasing fear of being a burden puts the elderly at risk. The Curriculum seeks to make people aware of these issues to help them be pro-active in preventing them from happening to loved ones or themselves.
The Embrace the Journey Curriculum includes video presentations by Anglicans for Life President Georgette Forney and interviews with Anglican bishops, parish priests, and experts in “end-of-life” issues...
Check it out.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Education Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Obviously no one against abortion likes Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion on demand the law of the land, and has led to fifty-five million legal abortions in the forty-one years since.
But listen to a few lines from those who call themselves “pro-choice.” Harry Blackmun, the Supreme Court justice who actually wrote it, called the court’s decision to even hear Roe a “serious mistake.” And before joining the court, current Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Roe was not “measured” because it “invited no dialogue with legislators.”
In his new book, “Abuse of Discretion,” Clark Forsythe digs into the nuts and bolts of the decision like no book I’ve ever encountered. Forsythe, the former president and current senior counsel of Americans United for Life, is well versed in the ugly causes and even uglier consequences of Roe v. Wade, and he joined me to talk about it on the current edition of “BreakPoint This Week.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine History Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Men Psychology Science & Technology Violence Women * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Per the ACO twitterfeed.
We can...make a direct comparison to the experience of other countries. For instance, Belgium legalised the practice in 2002. In 2003, the official figures show that 235 Belgians were euthanised, but since then the numbers have grown every year and now stand at around 1,400. Next door in the Netherlands, the number of cases has doubled over the past decade — and now accounts for about 1 in 30 deaths. Crucially, these don’t just include people with terminal illnesses. Definitions of unbearable suffering now extend to mental and emotional distress. Psychiatric patients are among those helped to die by Dutch physicians.
The lesson from the Low Countries is that if we legalise euthanasia then step by step it becomes normalised. Definitions will be stretched, restrictions will be reinterpreted and safeguards will be lowered.
Unfortunately there really are greedy people who‘ll hint to vulnerable relatives that they’re becoming a burden but the greater danger is this: What was once unthinkable will become just one of many medical options — and probably the cheapest.
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In the past three weeks, Charlton Fisher went from wanting to die to wanting desperately to live.
From his bed at Forbes Hospice, Mr. Fisher, a maintenance worker from Jamaica whose heart is nearly nonfunctional, made a dying wish -- to see his wife, Marion, and daughters, Ashley, 11, and Asha-kay, 3, one last time.
The anticipation of their visit from Jamaica and Saturday night's reunion has revived Mr. Fisher. Where on Dec. 31, his first day in hospice care, his skin was gray and he was unable to stand up or talk without sacrificing too much energy, on Sunday he was walking around, slow and weak, but improved.
That's not the typical trajectory of a hospice patient.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary Caribbean Jamaica
On the euthanasia front, legalization of assisting suicide is under consideration in New Jersey, while the Minnesota Supreme Court is set to hear an important related case.
In New Jersey, the so-called “Death With Dignity Act,” A3328, has been voted out of committee and awaits floor consideration. Along with its companion Senate Bill, S2259, it could be considered by the legislature at any time until the end of the year.
Minnesota is facing a different problem. In Minnesota, the “Final Exit Network” has been in legal trouble because of its roll in several suicides. The Final Exit Network is a network of volunteer activists that assist in people’s suicides using counseling, guidance, and information on suicide techniques.
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On 20 April 2012, Tom Mortier, a chemistry lecturer, got a message to call a Brussels hospital. His mother was dead. Godelieva De Troyer was 64 and had been suffering from depression. She had sent her son an email three months before she died telling him she had asked for euthanasia, but he did not think doctors would allow it.
He is enraged. He does not accept the argument that his mother had a "right to die".
"From my perspective this is not a law for patients, it's a law for doctors so they won't be prosecuted," Mortier says. "Performing euthanasia is unethical. It's killing your patients, and now they're promoting it as the ultimate form of love. What have we become here in Belgium? I don't understand it…"
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Christianity is the largest and most widely spread faith in the world, with 2.2 billion followers, or 32 percent of the world population, according to a survey by the U.S.-based Pew Forum on religion and Public Life.
It faces restrictions and hostility in 111 countries, ahead of the 90 countries limiting or harassing the second-largest faith, Islam, another Pew survey has reported.
Michel Varton, head of Open Doors France, told journalists in Strasbourg that failing states with civil wars or persistent internal tensions were often the most dangerous for Christians.
"In Syria, another war is thriving in the shadow of the civil war -- the war against the church," he said while presenting the Open Doors report there.
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A 13-year-old California girl is at the center of the latest national debate about end-of-life care. Jahi McMath was pronounced brain-dead in December following complications related to a tonsillectomy to treat sleep apnea. A legal battle between McMath’s family and Children’s Hospital Oakland ensued, forcing the hospital to keep the girl on a ventilator. On Sunday, citing a court order, the hospital released McMath to her family (via the Alameda County coroner).
In another case, in Texas, Marlise Machado Muñoz collapsed in November and now has no brain activity. Her husband wants her taken off life support, citing her wishes, but Muñoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed and Texas law requires expectant mothers to be kept alive.
The two situations highlight the complicated nature of end-of-life questions. A recent Pew Research Center survey explores Americans’ views on the topic, ranging from the morality of suicide to personal preferences for end-of-life care. Here are some of the key findings...
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Nearly 300 of us gathered yesterday (Saturday 4th January) at St John’s Church, Somersham on the Cambridgeshire fen-edge to give thanks for the life of the Revd John Galbraith Graham MBE, better known world-wide as “Araucaria”, the premier crossword-setter in the English language. John had asked me to look after the service, and I am most grateful to everyone who lent a hand in arranging, speaking, making music, providing refreshments, and everything else that helped make it a very special occasion. A number of people asked for the text of my homily, so I now reproduce it here.
I’ve always enjoyed crosswords, as many of you here today do, and like so many others I’ve turned to Araucaria to put a smile on my face, though (tell it not in Gath, or at least in Libertarian company such as this) I also wrestle the Listener to the ground each week in what is probably a futile attempt to prove that my little grey cells are in still in functioning order.
So imagine the extra wide smile on my face when I discovered five years ago that the said Araucaria was no other than the Revd John Galbraith Graham whose name was hiding innocently and without fanfare in the list of retired clergy of my new diocese, and who was despite his advancing years making a valuable contribution to the ministry here in Somersham.
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The sad story of Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old girl in Oakland, Calif., who went into cardiac arrest after complications from a tonsillectomy last month and was declared brain dead on Dec. 12, has brought public attention to the difficult moral, legal and spiritual questions that all families face when a loved one is dying. A judge has ordered that after Jan. 7, Children's Hospital can take Jahi off life support.
To Nailah Winkfield, Jahi's mother, the insistence by doctors that her child has already died clashes with her belief that, in God's eyes, as long as her child's heart is beating, Jahi is still alive. As family members search for another facility to care for her, they have also pursued a legal battle to stop doctors from removing the ventilator that keeps her breathing. The family argues that the hospital's decision to declare Jahi dead is a violation of Ms. Winkfield's religious freedom.
Determining when a patient has died is just one of the controversies surrounding end-of-life medical care....
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As the tinsel is packed away and the echoes of Christmas carols fade, Christians around the world observe the Feast of Holy Innocents or “Childermas.” On this day, the faithful will read the Biblical story of King Herod’s massacre of children in an attempt to murder the infant Jesus. These infant innocents are considered the first Christian martyrs.
In medieval England, Christians commemorated the day by whipping their children in bed in the morning. The custom survived into the 17th century, but thankfully has fallen away. Today, the December 28 is marked as an occasion of childhood merrymaking.
Very few American Christians actively observe this holiday in the 21st Century. But we have plenty of reasons to grieve this Innocent’s Day as people who believe in the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb...
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We remember this day, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by the order of King Herod. Receive, we beseech thee, into the arms of thy mercy all innocent victims; and by thy great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish thy rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
When we started production on this Op-Doc video, we never imagined the impact one person could have on his homeland, or the extent to which we would witness that impact and legacy.
People from all areas of Ireland and all walks of life would offer to help with our filmmaking in any way they could. “For Seamus,” they’d say, “I’d do anything.”
Read it all and watch the whole short op-doc, as it is killed.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Poetry & Literature * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland
As interments of veterans and their dependents climb to a record level, the Department of Veterans Affairs is rushing to add burial space at the fastest rate since the Civil War.
The project is adding thousands of burial sites and vault spaces across the country. But a Nevada congresswoman is pressing the VA to add more national cemeteries, especially in Western states that now have few cemeteries but whose senior populations are growing.
"The prestige of being buried in a national cemetery is something every veteran is entitled to," said Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, who has been prodding the VA to open more such cemeteries in places like Nevada. It is among about a dozen U.S. states that lack a federally funded and operated national cemetery, and rely mostly on veterans' cemeteries run by states or Native American tribal governments.
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@pastorbrady: God's peace and healing to the family of Claire Davis. #arapahoehigh Our hearts are broken at news of her death.” Lord, help.
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Belgium’s Catholic bishops have criticised a parliamentary vote paving the way for sick children and dementia patients to choose euthanasia.
“The voices of religious leaders have plainly not been listened to,” said Jesuit Father Tommy Scholtes, bishops’ conference spokesman.
“While everyone wants a gentle death, public opinion appears unaware that euthanasia is a technical act that ends life abruptly. This is why we reject it and believe palliative care offers a better solution,” he told the Catholic News Service.
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Not only did the British Columbia Court of Appeal rule recently to uphold the Criminal Code section banning assisted suicide and euthanasia, key parts of the majority decision echoed the actual words of pro-life intervenors in the case.
“To see the court reflect very closely the language we introduced in our oral arguments concerning the Charter values of the sanctity and dignity of human life is incredibly satisfying,” says Evangelical Fellowship of Canada legal counsel Faye Sonier.
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With news bulletins popping up on my phone and airport TV monitors reporting the breaking news, I called my office and we decided to send a Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains who had years of fire, police and emergency management experience to assess the need for emotional and spiritual care.
As God would have it, these specially-trained chaplains were already in the New Jersey and New York region as part of our response to Hurricane Sandy.
As the chaplains arrived just a few hours later at a police checkpoint near the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the police immediately invited the chaplains in and directed them to the Incident Command Center to offer support to the first responders who were first on the scene at the school.
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The actor Peter O'Toole who found stardom in David Lean's masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia, has died aged 81, his family has annouced.
The acclaimed leading man who overcame stomach cancer in the 1970s passed away at the Wellington hospital in London following a long illness.
His daughter Kate O'Toole said: "His family are very appreciative and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts."
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We are seeing a predictable upsurge in the activities of the “assisted dying” lobby in the run-up to the Supreme Court’s hearing of three appeals next week. What is being called “assisted dying” is a complex subject and it is very easy, amid all the argument and counter-argument, to lose sight of what the central question is. It is not whether “assisted dying” is compassionate. Compassion is common currency to both sides of the debate. It is whether we should license it by law.
In plain language, “assisted dying” means licensing doctors to supply lethal drugs to terminally ill patients to enable them to commit suicide. Assisting suicide is against the criminal law, and with good reason: the prohibition is there to protect vulnerable people. As a society, we go to considerable lengths to prevent suicide, and doctors have an important role to play in this. Yet some are suggesting that this process should be put into reverse for terminally ill people and that doctors should be licensed to facilitate their suicide.
Campaigners throw up their hands at the word “suicide”. Giving lethal drugs to someone who is terminally ill isn’t assisting suicide, they say, but assisting dying. Similarly, Lord Falconer’s Private Member’s Bill, now before the House of Lords, describes the lethal drugs that it wants doctors to be able to supply to terminally ill patients as “medicines”. Such euphemisms may make the idea of changing the law more palatable, but they obstruct reasoned debate.
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The Belgian Senate voted today 50-17 to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further.
The vote today in the full Senate comes after a Senate committee voted 13-4 to allow minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. There is still a chance to stop the bill in the House of Representatives, though pro-life campaigners fear it will become law.
“Currently the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there is significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”
Read it all from Lifesite Newsand compare it (including the headline) to the New York Times story there.
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Asked by The Earl of Glasgow
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to legislate to provide terminally ill patients with the legal right to decide when, where and how they should die, if necessary with the assistance of others....
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, two quotations. John Donne:
“No man is an island”.
and the Book of Job:
“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”.
Life is a gift. None of us decided to be born; we came from a relationship between two people, from a culture, from a context, from a spiritual hinterland, and any life is part of that flow. As it flows on, it seeks for more and more. Modern economics, and the market, encourage us to see ourselves as autonomous individuals. The noble Earl just talked about making an individual choice. None of us is an individual in that sense: we are part of a web of relationships, and that web holds us in suffering as well as in the imminence of death. T. S. Eliot said, “In our endings are our beginnings”....
Read it all (the question begins at "2 p.m." on the lefthand margin in boldface.
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Longtime U2 musician and veteran activist Bono, who spent a lot of time with Nelson Mandela, speaks about his friend.
Watch it all.
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Rolihlahla Mandela was nine years old when a teacher at the primary Methodist school where he was studying in Qunu, South Africa, gave him an English name - Nelson - in accordance with the custom to give all school children Christian names.
This was common practice in South Africa and in other parts of the continent, where a person could often be given an English name that foreigners would find easier to pronounce.
Rolihlahla is not a common name in South Africa.
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"We found out today that Isaac took his life," says the email sent by Darling Murray, a coordinator at Summit Church in Orlando. "We are obviously deeply deeply devastated and saddened beyond words by this news. The tears keep coming and coming as we mourn. We are praying for his family and this congregation as we walk through this together."
Officials of Northland, a Church Distributed, said they are still awaiting the police report on Isaac Hunter's death, but the church confirmed his death in a statement posted on the Northland website.
"By now you may have heard that Pastor Joel and Becky's son Isaac Hunter died today. All of us are grieving for the Hunter family, and we will deeply miss Isaac. Words cannot express the sorrow we're feeling," said the statement by Vernon Rainwater, a Northland pastor. "We love this family and are so grateful for the impact they have had on each of our lives. I have loved Isaac since he was a child, and I know this ... Isaac loved Jesus. And we are assured of his continuing relationship with Christ now in heaven."
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Suicide Young Adults * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
Britain’s most senior judges are preparing to make a landmark ruling over attempts to introduce a ”right to die” under human rights legislation.
A full panel of nine Supreme Court Justices, headed by Lord Neuberger, the court’s President, is to be convened next week to hear the culmination of three separate legal challenges to the current ban on assisted suicide.
The three cases have been put into one “super-case” to allow a sweeping judgment on the current state of the law in England and Wales.
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Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba wrote a prayer:
"Go forth, revolutionary and loving soul, on your journey out of this world, in the name of God, who created you, suffered with you and liberated you. Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is good, noble and honourable for God’s people.
"We will continue where you have left off, the Lord being our helper. We now turn to you, Lord, in this hour of darkness, sadness, pain and death, in tears and mourning. We wail, yet we believe that you will console us, that you will give us the strength to hold in our hearts and minds, and the courage to enact in our lives, the values Madiba fought and stood for....
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Watch it all (Hat tip: RH).
When, after 27 years, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, the world marveled at his generous spirit, even temperament, genteel manners, disarming wit, ready smile and lack of bitterness.
Admirable as they were, those saintly virtues don’t begin to explain his political genius. Mandela was also cunning, iron-willed, bull-headed, contemptuous — and more embittered than he let on. He needed all of his traits — soft and hard — to engineer a political miracle: persuading a sitting government to negotiate its own abdication by yielding power to the very people it had ruthlessly oppressed.
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What's the most indelible time of all the personal time-- and you had some intense personal time with him? Is there any one you can separate out?
Watch it all to hear Bill Clinton's answer (just under 2 3/4 minutes).
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Mr Powell said that Mr Mandela was a guide to him when he became the first black US secretary of state:
What I liked telling people was I was the first secretary of state who happened to be black, and I put that descriptor behind the title. We have to get beyond these labels depending upon your gender or your colour or your background. I'm proud of being black, and I'm proud of being an immigrant of British subjects, but at the same time I want to be seen as an American. And I think Nelson Mandela was able to create that kind of an image within South Africa. We are not black South Africans or white South Africans, we are South Africans who happen to be black or white. We are one family, one nation, one people.
Read it all and watch the whole video clip (approximately 3 1/4 minutes).
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Nelson Mandela was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2009 ESPY's. Morgan Freeman pays tribute to Mandela's actions at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, Hitler — these were the names that, for much of the world, defined the first half of the 20th century, the most destructive era in history.
Gandhi, King, Mandela — these, it could be argued, are the figures who will live longest in the public consciousness as we look back on the postwar world: leaders who had no real armies to speak of and who wielded little power in office but who helped create a new ethic through the power of their ideas and the example of their lives.
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You may watch the announcement by Jacob Zuma here.
The Wall Street Journal now has an interactive obituary complete with some of his most memorable quotes, tweets and video there
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At the end of...[the party], though, after most of the guests had gone home, my sister had gone to sleep after marathoning all then-7 of the Harry Potter films the night before and my folks were busy chatting with my aunt and uncle, I headed to the stack of my new books and, almost at random, chose one of the titles from my American Literature survey course: Mr. Ives’ Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos.
I read the book in most of 2 days, instantly captivated by the story of a man, himself an orphan, trying to put his life back together after the murder of his aspiring priest son, and thinking back over the story of his own life as a honorary member of New York’s Cuban community of the 40s and ’50s, despite not really being Cuban himself; a simple story, Hijuelos captured it in poetic, delicate writing that painting broad, vibrant brushstrokes in your head.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Books Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Caribbean Cuba
Perhaps the significance of Kennedy is ultimately found in his tragic and untimely death and that is why November 22 has been singled out in his memory, eclipsing Lewis' death. But it seems to me that Lewis' significance is found in his life and work. JFK's importance is found in what could have been had he lived (and perhaps a little too romanticized in the process), as well as the continued controversy generated by conspiracy theorists as to how many assassins were involved that day. But I think Lewis' importance is found in not what might have been, but in what he contributed prior to his death, challenging us to rethink our view of the world and the significance of a "mere Christianity" in which an orthodox understanding of Jesus was essential, while poking at that mere Jesus with some new and different questions.
November 22 seems to have been dedicated to JFK by default because of his untimely death. Lewis continues to be read and discussed and pondered in an ever-continuing stream of new books, in coffee shops and pubs and taverns and at conferences. The significance of Lewis' contribution cannot be limited to one day a year....
Lewis' death may get no attention, but his life and work cannot be eclipsed.
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On November 14, R&E invited students and tutors from New York Avenue Presbyterian Church’s after-school tutoring program, Community Club, to recite the Gettysburg Address in honor of its 150th anniversary. The club meets at the church every week and provides dinner, academic tutoring, and mentorship to DC students ranging in age from 5 to 18. New York Avenue Presbyterian is also the church where President Lincoln rented a pew and sometimes attended services. The Gettysburg Address, described by historians as “the sacred scripture of the Civil War’s innermost spiritual meaning,” was delivered at Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.
Watch and listen to it all.
One day near the middle of the last century a minister in a prison camp in Germany conducted a service for the other prisoners. One of those prisoners, an English officer who survived, wrote these words:
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer always seemed to me to spread an atmosphere of happiness and joy over the least incident, and profound gratitude for the mere fact that he was alive… He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near… On Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer conducted a little service of worship and spoke to us in a way that went to the heart of all of us. He found just the right words to express the spirit of our imprisonment, and the thoughts and resolutions it had brought us. He had hardly ended his last prayer when the door opened and two civilians entered. They said, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us.” That had only one meaning for all prisoners–the gallows. We said good-bye to him. He took me aside: “This is the end; but for me it is the beginning of life.” The next day he was hanged in Flossenburg.”I read it every year on this day and every year it (still) brings me to tears--KSH.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * International News & Commentary Europe Germany * Theology Eschatology Pastoral Theology
Fifty years after his death...I fear that much of the Kennedy mythos is an obstacle to the flowering of Catholic witness in America—and indeed to a proper understanding of modern American history.
The myth of Camelot, for example, misses the truth about the assassination: that John F. Kennedy was a casualty of the Cold War, murdered by a dedicated communist. “Camelot” also demeaned the liberal anti-communist internationalism that Kennedy embodied; that deprecation eventually led Kennedy’s party into the wilderness of neo-isolationist irresponsibility from which it has yet to emerge.
Then there is the mythology surrounding Kennedy’s 1960 speech on church-and-state, delivered to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association....
Finally, there is the phenomenon that might be called the Kennedy Catholic: a public official who wears his or her Catholicism as a kind of ethnic marker, an inherited trait, but whose thinking about public policy is rarely if ever shaped by Catholic social doctrine or settled Catholic moral conviction.
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Aldous Huxley never attracted [the] kind of attention [that C.S. Lewis did]. And yet there are good reasons for regarding him as the more visionary of the two. For one of the ironies of history is that visions of our networked future can be bracketed by the imaginative nightmares of Huxley and his fellow Etonian George Orwell. Orwell feared that we would be destroyed by the things we fear – the state surveillance apparatus so vividly evoked in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Huxley's nightmare, set out in Brave New World, his great dystopian novel, was that we would be undone by the things that delight us.
Huxley was a child of England's intellectual aristocracy. His grandfather was Thomas Henry Huxley, the Victorian biologist who was the most effective evangelist for Darwin's theory of evolution. (He was colloquially known as "Darwin's Bulldog".) His mother was Matthew Arnold's niece. His brother, Julian and half-brother Andrew both became distinguished biologists. In the circumstances it's not surprising that Aldous turned out to be a writer who ranged far beyond the usual preoccupations of literary folk – into history, philosophy, science, politics, mysticism and psychic exploration. His biographer wrote: "He offered as his personal motto the legend hung around the neck of a ragged scarecrow of a man in a painting by Goya: Aún aprendo. I am still learning." He was, in that sense, a modern Voltaire.
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At the dedication of a memorial [pictured in the link] to C S Lewis in Poets’ Corner yesterday, the Westminster Abbey choir sang one of his poems, “Love’s as Warm as Tears” (to a setting by Paul Mealor, who wrote the music for Ubi Caritas at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011).
Lewis was not a great poet, if a more accomplished one than Adam Fox, whose memorial is visible across the south transept. Lewis had plotted to have Fox, a clerical fellow of Magdalen, elected Professor of Poetry in 1938, even though the candidate himself was well aware of his limitations as a poet or academic. (He admired Plato and wrote a long poem called Old King Coel, published by the Oxford University Press.)
The success of Lewis’s scheme probably lost him any professorship at Oxford, but he was turning in any case against academic politics (as reflected in his novel That Hideous Strength)....
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For 50 years, Dallas has done its best to avoid coming to terms with the one event that made it famous: the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. That’s because, for the self-styled “Big D,” grappling with the assassination means reckoning with its own legacy as the “city of hate,” the city that willed the death of the president.
It will miss yet another opportunity this year. On Nov. 22 the city, anticipating an international spotlight, will host an official commemoration ceremony. Dallas being Dallas, it will be quite the show: a jet flyover, a performance from the Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club and remarks from the historian David McCullough on Kennedy’s legacy.
But once again, spectacle is likely to trump substance: not one word will be said at this event about what exactly the city was in 1963, when the president arrived in what he called, just moments before his death, “nut country.”
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Fifty years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the nation seems to be experiencing a kind of fairy tale about itself, alternately bright and dark.
It is inspiring, but also deflating, to see and hear again (and again) the handsome, vigorous president, the youngest ever elected to the office, as he beckons the country forth to the future, to the “New Frontier,” and its promise of conquest: putting a man on the moon, defeating sharply defined evils — totalitarianism, poverty, racial injustice.
This, we have been reminded, was the dream Kennedy nourished, and much of it died with him, when the sharp cracks of rifle fire broke out as his motorcade rolled through the sunstruck streets of Dallas. With this horrific, irrational deed, a curse was laid upon the land, and the people fell from grace.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
50 years ago today, John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley all died. Simply remarkable--KSH.
At a time of national debate over health care costs and insurance, a Pew Research Center survey on end-of-life decisions finds most Americans say there are some circumstances in which doctors and nurses should allow a patient to die. At the same time, however, a growing minority says that medical professionals should do everything possible to save a patient’s life in all circumstances.
When asked about end-of-life decisions for other people, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say there are at least some situations in which a patient should be allowed to die, while nearly a third (31%) say that medical professionals always should do everything possible to save a patient’s life. Over the last quarter-century, the balance of opinion has moved modestly away from the majority position on this issue. While still a minority, the share of the public that says doctors and nurses should do everything possible to save a patient’s life has gone up 9 percentage points since 2005 and 16 points since 1990.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Alcohol/Drinking Health & Medicine Life Ethics Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
[The only] other scientists who have received two Nobels are John Bardeen for physics (1956 and 1972), Marie Curie for physics (1903) and chemistry (1911), and Linus Pauling for chemistry (1954) and peace (1962)....
In a 2001 interview, Dr. Sanger spoke about the challenge of winning two Nobel Prizes.
“It’s much more difficult to get the first prize than to get the second one,” he said, “because if you’ve already got a prize, then you can get facilities for work, and you can get collaborators, and everything is much easier.”
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Filmmaker Ken Burns, author David McCullough, actors Sam Waterston, Matthew Broderick, Stephen Lang, and Medal of Honor recipient Paul W. Bucha recite one of the most famous speeches in American history.
Musical Score by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams....
You may find the video here.
Listen to it all--still amazing, still so important; KSH (Hat tip: Jeff Miller).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Military / Armed Forces * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Already, in the hours since the death of Doris Lessing was announced, many people will have watched a widely circulated video, filmed on her doorstep in 2007. In it, she has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the news of which is relayed to her by reporters who greet her as she alights from a London taxi. “Oh Christ,” she says in apparent irritation, and puts down her shopping bags. Watching, you think she must have heard it wrong. But no. Pausing to check whether she or her companion have left anything behind in the cab, she turns to the assembled camera crews and sighs. “I’m sure you’d like some uplifting remarks of some kind,” she says.
Bids for popularity were not Doris Lessing’s thing. Of course, in many ways that made her more appealing. You might call her misunderstood, or reappropriated, or simply taken to heart — in any case she was popular in ways she never meant to be. Take her best known work, The Golden Notebook, which Margaret Drabble described as “a novel of shocking power and blistering honesty”. I
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Harold Jellicoe Percival died aged 99 without close friends or relatives at hand at a nursing home, where staff worried no one would be at his funeral to mark his passing.
But after a public appeal in The Gazette and on social networks for the Second World War veteran, roads were blocked with traffic and the crematorium unable to hold the numbers of mourners at his funeral, poignantly beginning at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
As millions marked Armistice Day across the world, members of the public, old soldiers and serving servicemen and women, stood in silence for the arrival of Mr Percival’s funeral cortege at the crematorium in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, in keeping with the Ode of Remembrance, “We will remember them”.
Read it all from the Blackpool Gazette (and the video is very moving).
Remembrance Day is one of the most important days we have on our national calendar – a time, as the leaves fall and take us into winter, to reflect back on the men and women who have given it all for their country, community, family and friends.
It’s a tribute to a simple truth in life: Ordinary men and women are what make a difference in the world, in big and small ways.
Read it all.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.
P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:
It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done." The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene." Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Military / Armed Forces Poetry & Literature * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * Theology Eschatology
“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”
-- On many memorials to the dead in war worldwide, as for example that for the British 2nd Division at Kohima, India; there is a debate about its precise origins in terms of who first penned the lines
The first day of the British royals' visit to Mumbai was marked by gaiety, the second by solemnity. On Sunday, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attended Remembrance Day service for martyred soldiers at the Anglican Afghan Church in Colaba.
The prince's mother Queen Elizabeth is the supreme governor of the Church of England which is Anglican.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary Asia India England / UK
Shady dealing in militaria is nothing new, but the internet – in particular, special interest forums and the lawless so-called "darknet" – have opened up what used to be a tiny pursuit to a worldwide market, increasing demand.
In particular, with the centenary of the First World War coming up, its relics are rapidly rising in value. If you know where to look, you can find posts on websites hawking some of the most dangerous pieces – everything from poison gas canisters to live hand grenades – which the dealers handle with incredibly blasé contempt.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion Ibadan Diocese of the Anglican Cathedral of St James The Great, Oke-Bola, Ibadan, on Thursday, finally bade farewell to late Tejumade Durosomo Alakija in a commendation service held at the cathedral.
The commendation service was dominated by various hymns and special numbers. It began with the hallelujah hymn at the commencement of the service with other songs including; ‘Who are these like stars appearing’, ‘Forever with the Lord,’ before the recessional hymn - We speak of The Realms. In addition, there were special renditions from various societies which the deceased was either a member, patroness or had benefitted one way or the other from....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria
A tumblr entitled “Selfies at Funerals” is the latest variation on the theme of spiritual entropy facing the modern world. The tumblr consists of self portraits of pretty youngsters making goofy expressions or showing off how flattering their dress or hair cut makes them look on the way to or after a funeral.
The phenomenon of “the funeral selfie” is inevitable in a culture entirely adverse to pain and terrified of dying. We would much prefer to make a silly face and strike a pose then to contemplate the fact we will inevitably die. As the Atlantic observed, what formerly inspired reflection and mourning now inspires a goofy grin or a suggestive pose. When death confronted Macbeth he pondered perhaps that life is nothing more than “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” We are content to shout “YOLO! LMFAO!” and pose for a quick photo to show off how good our hair looks for the funeral. To see a loved one as a corpse and realize that we too shall be just as dead is too much for modern man’s constitution; he is too used to taking every available short cut with the aid of modern science and technology. The idea that pain, suffering and death are things we must come to grips with in order to be fully human is entirely foreign to our sensibilities.
As a result, we tend to gloss over death whenever possible when it rears its head in our lives.
Read it all.
Retired Anglican bishop John-David Schofield, who in 2007 as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin led a movement out of the U.S. Episcopal Church over debate about same-sex marriages and the consecration of a partnered gay priest, died early Tuesday. He was 75.
Current Anglican Bishop Eric Menees said on the diocese's website that Schofield died peacefully at home sitting in his favorite green chair and was found Tuesday morning by friends.
Read it all and the message from Bishop Menees.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals
My father, who died earlier this year at the ripe old age of 90, had a life that was as varied as it was long.
He served in the Italian campaign in the Second World War, then became an Anglican clergyman, a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and subsequently dean of St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong. For 21 years he was principal of Morley College, an institute of adult education, in London, and finally director of a large charitable foundation. In his retirement he returned to his first love, church history, completing a project on Restoration church courts that he had put aside 30 years previously and ending his career with seven entries on Restoration Anglican divines for the Dictionary of National Biography, which was published in his 81st year. (“Not my period” he would always declare stoutly when asked a question about a historical event that fell outside the late 17th century, although in fact he wrote what is still a standard history of the movement for Christian unity.)
At the age of 85 he was awarded the rare degree of doctor of divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a ceremony at Lambeth Palace at which Rowan Williams preached a fire-breathing sermon on the threat of secularism, little knowing that my father had long ceased to be a believer.
Read it all.
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Among those beatified on Sunday were 24 brothers of the order of St John of God. This remarkable man had begun looking after the sick and poor in Granada in 1539, and that was the task of his followers 400 years later. One of those was Feliciano Martínez, who worked at a hospital in Valencia and was know for his big-heartedness and simplicity. He had fallen off a horse once, which left him with a limp, and he gained the nickname Cojito, “Hopalong”. On October 4 1936 he was taken to the shore and shot. He was 73.
Of those beatified, 74 were Brothers of Christian Schools, as they are known in Spain for their provision of education for the poor. In Britain they are called De la Salle Brothers, after their French founder (1651-1719).
Read it all.
This is a fun list if you want to guess which you would pick and then check it out.
Even in death, the Most Rev. David Mukuba Gitari was a focus of division among his country’s political elite. Government and opposition politicians are reported to have jostled one another while attending his burial in his home district of Kirinyaga.
Gitari, the third Anglican archbishop of Kenya, died September 30 at 76. All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi overflowed October 10 as a congregation of nearly 10,000 turned out for a funeral that lasted more than three hours.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya
In his church office, pastor Chuck Smith kept a crown made of thorns and a jar full of candy. The thorns were from the Holy Land. The candy was for his grandkids. The image suggested his special appeal as a preacher: A harsh, old-school Christianity delivered with grandfatherly sweetness.
Smith, the founder of the Jesus People and the Calvary Chapel movement, and one of the most influential figures in modern American Christianity, died Thursday morning at his home in Newport Beach after a two-year battle with lung cancer, church officials said. He was 86.
"He was definitely a pioneer," said Donald E. Miller, a professor of religion at USC. "He had a transformative impact on Protestantism."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
Rising industrialization and urbanization in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries helped push the graveyard out of town, and these shifts coincided with the rise of a new reserve, in which displays of strong emotion, such as grief, were unseemly.
But during the 1950s, the landscape changed. In 1955, Geoffrey Gorer’s fascinating essay “The Pornography of Death,” argued that proscriptions around death had replaced the Victorian taboo against sex. In 1959, psychologist Herman Feifel came out with The Meaning of Death, a collection of essays often credited with singlehandedly establishing death, dying, and bereavement as legitimate areas for study. Yet neither Feifel nor Gorer made their way to American dinner tables. It was [Jessica] Mitford who got ordinary people talking. The American Way of Death made its way into soap operas, newspaper cartoons, and even the cover of Good Housekeeping. (An extract appeared in a 1964 issue alongside such articles as “Coming, a New Kind of Refrigerator” and “How Well Can Carpets Take It?”) Her take-charge, do-it-yourself message helped liberate Americans from the rigid rules and roles they were eager to cast off, as they were beginning to do in so many other areas of life.
That doesn’t mean The American Way of Death encouraged Americans to rethink their cultural relationship with death, exactly. The book is a narrowly conceived exposé, a screed against expensive funerals and the men who sell them, not an analysis of how or why funerals got that way. It’s interesting to contrast Mitford’s book with the seminal death texts of the past, such as the two in the fifteenth century that were both called The Art of Dying, or the Tibetan and Egyptian books of the dead. Those works helped individuals prepare for death by prescribing a series of attitudes and rituals designed to ensure a good death and a better afterlife. Such rituals helped people grapple with death’s great challenge to the self; they made death mean. By contrast, Mitford’s book is a Consumer Reports of death. Instead of prayers and meditations, she offers tips on the best way to get a cheap casket (just keep asking the salesman; it’s often out in the garage).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Books History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Eschatology
A group of firefighters is making sure the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy are never forgotten by building playgrounds – 26 of them – each honoring a student or teacher who lost their life.
As they help Newtown families heal, they’re also helping communities rebuild -- because each will be in an area ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The idea of a playground "was more than just a structure or a place for kids to play on,” said New Jersey firefighter Capt. Bill Lavin and founder of The Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play. “It was a symbol of hope.”
Watch the whole video report.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Education Teens / Youth Violence Young Adults * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.
David Mukuba Gitari, first Bishop of the Diocese of Mount Kenya East (1975-1997) and Archbishop of Kenya (1997-2002), died in hospital in Nairobi on 30 September, 2013 aged 76. David Gitari was one of the first post-colonial global African Christian leaders. He was born to Samuel and Jesse Mukuba in 1937. Samuel was the first person to evangelise the area where his fifth child would be bishop decades later. David as a child was too small to be allowed to enrol at school at the age of 6. He was also sent home from teachers training college at the age of 17 because he could not reach the blackboard. He was a leader in the Kenya Students Christian Fellowship and, encouraged by the late Oliver Barclay, trained in theology through IFES at Tyndale Hall, Bristol, in 1965. He became a travelling secretary for the Pan African Fellowship of Evangelical Students in East and Central Africa. In 1971 he became General Secretary of the Bible Society of Kenya. He came to prominence in Kenya in 1975 when he gave a series of six Bible expositions on the State-run Voice of Kenya radio in the five-minute “Lift up your hearts” slot before the 7am news. A leading member of Parliament, JM Kariuki had been found murdered in a thicket in the Ngong Hills. Gitari expounded Genesis 4 on Cain’s murder of Abel.
He was ‘carpeted’ by VoK and told his sermons had been disturbing. Gitari replied that the gospel of Jesus Christ is very disturbing, especially to sinners. Biblical Exposition Biblical exposition set the pattern for his preaching, proclaiming orthodox Christian faith to the whole of society and the powers that be.
Read it all from the Church of England Newspaper.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya
The death [of the] Archbishop (Emeritus) brings into focus the role of the church in community empowerment and mobilization. In the history of the Bible whenever God anointed a king, he also anointed a prophet; King Saul had Prophet Samuel while King David had Prophet Nathan. These two institutions worked hand in hand also ensuring that the leadership was held to account. Even today, God continues to call leaders into both offices. The late Archbishop Gitari was the Nathan and the Samuel of our time. He was called at a time when the government of the day needed to be put into check.
He did not hesitate to boldly criticize the government from the pulpit along with fellow clergymen such as Reverend Dr. Timothy Njoya, late Bishop Henry Okullu and late Bishop Alexander Muge. He carried the hearts of many Kenyans and was never afraid to speak his mind when the government went wrong. As such he was a true defender of democracy and a man who stood his ground on what he saw as oppressive and dictatorial leadership.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The formula never changed: demand discipline, emphasize recruiting and increase resources. It was simple, but it also worked.
At Southern Illinois, Kill & Company saved a program on the verge of being dropped. They beat Indiana on the road. Kill drove into the rural communities near Southern Illinois and persuaded fans to return, one handshake at a time. When Mike Reis, the Salukis’ veteran play-by-play announcer, spent weeks in the hospital for colon surgery, Kill visited daily. When the university offered him a raise, he spread the money among his assistants.
At Northern Illinois, Kill and his crew replaced Joe Novak and began another turnaround. In his interview, Kill told Novak and Jim Phillips, now the athletic director at Northwestern, about the seizures and said he had a handle on them. Phillips said Kill’s health did not factor “an iota” into his decision.
Even then, a Big Ten job seemed far away. What school would take that kind of chance?
Read it all (Hat tip: Elizabeth Harmon).
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