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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 believe the story. With my head, looking at the evidence and thinking logically as a person who was a research physicist for twenty-five years, I believe it. And after listening to the testimony of people – from beggars to kings -- through all the ages who had concluded that the story is true, I believe it. And at the innermost levels of my heart, where the deepest truths reside but are not easily put into words, I believe it is true.
And that is why I know that I will see my mother again someday. It’s not just wishful thinking, some little tale I’ve fooled myself with because I can’t face the cold hard facts of life. Yes, I will see Della Mae, and I am convinced that it will be a day of great victory and joy. St. Paul says that it will be like putting on a crown, and St. John says that it will be a time when every tear will be wiped away from my eyes. That’s what will happen someday to me. But what Jesus did affects me right here today also -- I know that this Jesus who overcame death and the grave has promised not to leave me here twisting in the wind. He is with me every day, through his Spirit, to guide me, comfort me, embolden me, and use me for his glory and to serve his people, right here, right now.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Theology Christology Eschatology Pastoral Theology
Jesus dies. His lifeless body is taken down from the cross. Painters and sculptors have strained their every nerve to portray the sorrow of Mary holding her lifeless son in her arms, as mothers today in Baghdad hold with the same anguish the bodies of their children. On Holy Saturday, or Easter Eve, God is dead, entering into the nothingness of human dying. The source of all being, the One who framed the vastness and the microscopic patterning of the Universe, the delicacy of petals and the scent of thyme, the musician’s melodies and the lover’s heart, is one with us in our mortality. In Jesus, God knows our dying from the inside.
--–The Rt. Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Rowell, (recently retired) Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Theology Anthropology Christology Eschatology Soteriology
Tragically neglected, Holy Saturday remains a central part of the three most Holy Days of the Christian year. It is called the Triduum...
Filed under: * By Kendall * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Epiphany Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Theology Anthropology Christology Eschatology
HOW life and death in Thee
Thou hadst a virgin womb
A Joseph did betroth
–Richard Crashaw (1613-1649)
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Poetry & Literature * Theology Anthropology Christology
…Suddenly all of them standing around the gallows know it: he is gone. Immeasurable emptiness (not solitude) streams forth from the hanging body. Nothing but this fantastic emptiness is any longer at work here. The world with its shape has perished; it tore like a curtain from top to bottom, without making a sound. It fainted away, turned to dust, burst like a bubble. There is nothing more but nothingness itself.
The world is dead.
Love is dead.
God is dead.
Everything that was, was a dream dreamt by no one. The present is all past. The future is nothing. The hand has disappeared from the clock’s face. No more struggle between love and hate, between life and death. Both have been equalized, and love’s emptying out has become the emptiness of hell. One has penetrated the other perfectly. The nadir has reached the zenith: nirvana.
Was that lightning?
Was the form of a Heart visible in the boundless void for a flash as the sky was rent, drifting in the whirlwind through the worldless chaos, driven like a leaf?
Or was it winged, propelled and directed by its own invisible wings, standing as lone survivor between the soulless heavens and the perished earth?
Chaos. Beyond heaven and hell. Shapeless nothingness behind the bounds of creation.
Is that God?
God died on the Cross.
Is that death?
No dead are to be seen.
Is it the end?
Nothing that ends is any longer there.
Is it the beginning?
The beginning of what? In the beginning was the Word. What kind of word? What incomprehensible, formless, meaningless word? But look: What is this light glimmer that wavers and begins to take form in the endless void? It has neither content nor contour.
A nameless thing, more solitary than God, it emerges out of pure emptiness. It is no one. It is anterior to everything. Is it the beginning? It is small and undefined as a drop. Perhaps it is water. But it does not flow. It is not water. It is thicker, more opaque, more viscous than water. It is also not blood, for blood is red, blood is alive, blood has a loud human speech. This is neither water nor blood. It is older than both, a chaotic drop.
Slowly, slowly, unbelievably slowly the drop begins to quicken. We do not know whether this movement is infinite fatigue at death’s extremity or the first beginning - of what?
Quiet, quiet! Hold the breath of your thoughts! It’s still much too early in the day to think of hope. The seed is still much too weak to start whispering about love. But look there: it is indeed moving, a weak, viscous flow. It’s still much too early to speak of a wellspring.
It trickles, lost in the chaos, directionless, without gravity. But more copiously now. A wellspring in the chaos. It leaps out of pure nothingness, it leaps out of itself.
It is not the beginning of God, who eternally and mightily brings himself into existence as Life and Love and triune Bliss.
It is not the beginning of creation, which gently and in slumber slips out of the Creator’s hands.
It is a beginning without parallel, as if Life were arising from Death, as if weariness (already such weariness as no amount of sleep could ever dispel) and the uttermost decay of power were melting at creation’s outer edge, were beginning to flow, because flowing is perhaps a sign and a likeness of weariness which can no longer contain itself, because everything that is strong and solid must in the end dissolve into water. But hadn’t it - in the beginning - also been born from water? And is this wellspring in the chaos, this trickling weariness, not the beginning of a new creation?
The magic of Holy Saturday.
The chaotic fountain remains directionless. Could this be the residue of the Son’s love which, poured out to the last when every vessel cracked and the old world perished, is now making a path for itself to the Father through the glooms of nought?
Or, in spite of it all, is this love trickling on in impotence, unconsciously, laboriously, towards a new creation that does not yet even exist, a creation which is still to be lifted up and given shape? Is it a protoplasm producing itself in the beginning, the first seed of the New Heaven and the New Earth?
The spring leaps up even more plenteously. To be sure, it flows out of a wound and is like the blossom and fruit of a wound; like a tree it sprouts up from this wound. But the wound no longer causes pain. The suffering has been left far behind as the past origin and previous source of today’s wellspring.
What is poured out here is no longer a present suffering, but a suffering that has been concluded–no longer now a sacrificing love, but a love sacrificed.
Only the wound is there: gaping, the great open gate, the chaos, the nothingness out of which the wellspring leaps forth. Never again will this gate be shut. Just as the first creation arose ever anew out of sheer nothingness, so, too, this second world - still unborn, still caught up in its first rising - will have its sole origin in this wound, which is never to close again.
In the future, all shape must arise out of this gaping void, all wholeness must draw its strength from the creating wound.
High-vaulted triumphal Gate of Life! Armored in gold, armies of graces stream out of you with fiery lances. Deep-dug Fountain of Life! Wave upon wave gushes out of you inexhaustible, ever-flowing, billows of water and blood baptizing the heathen hearts, comforting the yearning souls, rushing over the deserts of guilt, enriching over-abundantly, overflowing every heart that receives it, far surpassing every desire.
–Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Theology Anthropology Christology Eschatology Soteriology Theology: Scripture
It starts with a reading from John's gospel and is deeply moving--watch it all.
The Rev David Smith from Oakfield Methodist Church, Rev Kelvin Bolton from Christ Church and Holy Trinity and Father Stephen Maloney from All Saints Church Anfield led the service and read the names of the 96 from the Book of Remembrance.
It took eight poignant minutes.
The stadium then fell silent for a minute in memory of the victims of that terrible day in Sheffield at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Religion & Culture Sports Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Read it all.
A picture of the Liverpool Town Hall flag at half mast is here.
This is the Rev'd Mark Abrey, vicar of St. Nicholas' Church, Chadlington, Oxfordshire. He seems to be a quiet and unassuming sort of minister, so you won't find much written about him anywhere. Indeed, it took His Grace the best part of an hour to unearth a photograph. The Rev'd Mark happens to be David Cameron's local vicar in his constituency. And this is what the Prime Minister said of him at Wednesday's Downing Street Easter reception:
..it’s lovely to have here tonight the vicar from St Mary Abbots school, Gillean Craig, and also the vicar who looks after me spiritually in the constituency, Mark Abrey in Chadlington, who, when I often – anyone asks me about the pastoral care that many vicars carry out across the country, I remember 5 years ago when we had to mourn the loss and bury my son Ivan, I can’t think of anyone who was more loving or thoughtful or kind than Mark. And of course, Ivan would have been 12 yesterday, which has had me pause to think about that.
Now, Mr Cameron said an awful lot more in his speech, which spanned politics, religion, the law of Christ, the Big Society and Dyno-Rod. And you may read all of that for yourselves and make up your own minds what you think about it. But His Grace is going to dwell on this single sentence of tribute to a single Church of England vicar, for this speech was extempore - not carefully crafted by some Downing Street hireling. And, clearly coming from the heart, it reveals rather more about the Prime Minister's spirituality and appreciation of the Church of England's ministry than anything he has previously disclosed.
Read it all from Archbishop Cranmer's blog.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Pastoral Theology
Gracious God, the Beyond in the midst of our life, who gavest grace to thy servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer to know and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, and to bear the cost of following him: Grant that we, strengthened by his teaching and example, may receive thy word and embrace its call with an undivided heart; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit priest who became a symbol of suffering and compassion in the war-ravaged Old City district of Homs, was shot to death Monday morning by a lone gunman, according to members of his order. The killing came amid growing disputes between Syrian insurgents blockaded in the Old City — those who want to accept an amnesty from the government in exchange for laying down their arms, and those who do not.
After Syrian government forces isolated and laid siege to the rebel-held Old City for more than a year, a truce in January allowed the evacuation of 1,500 people, both civilians and fighters. But Father Frans, as he was known, insisted on remaining in the monastery where he had lived for decades, offering refuge to Muslim and Christian families alike and sharing their deprivation and trauma.
The killer’s identity and motives were not known, but the attack carried a heavy symbolic importance. Though he was European, Father Frans, 72, had come to be considered part of Syrian society and was well known in and around Homs, including among local insurgents in the Old City.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary Middle East Syria * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The American Funeral Industry is changing. In recent years, stores like Costco have begun selling caskets, jewelry made from cremation remains, even burials at sea. And now in Southern California, one of the biggest names in the funeral business, Forest Lawn Cemetery, is trying to reach people in a place where they live and breathe - the shopping mall. More from Gloria Hillard.
GLORIA HILLARD, BYLINE: Navigating the kiosk at the Glendale Galleria, shoppers are offered everything from beauty tips to hot neck wraps to vapor cigarettes before arriving at a more tranquil place located between LensCrafters and Footlocker, Forest Lawn....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology
Check it out--still so chilling and sobering so many years later.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Media Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK
The shooting was the third major gun attack at a U.S. military installation in five years, leaving the nation grappling with the prospect of yet more flag-draped funerals for troops killed on the homefront. A government contractor went on a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard in September, leaving 12 people dead. In 2009, Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan opened fire on a group of soldiers at Fort Hood preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.
Doctors at the Scott & White hospital in Temple, Tex., said Wednesday that they have treated eight of the wounded and that one more was on the way. Three of the patients were in critical condition in the ICU, and five were in serious condition. Seven of them were male, and one was female. Their injuries ranged from mild to life-threatening, a majority of them caused by single-gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen.
President Obama said he was “heartbroken that something like this might have happened again.” Speaking during a fundraising trip to Chicago, he pledged “to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Military / Armed Forces Psychology Mental Illness Stress Violence * Economics, Politics Iraq War * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
A big-hearted restaurant owner known as "Momma" leads a group in Arlington, Washington called the Soup Ladies who for 10 years have been dishing up meals for first responders. They are feeding hot meals to search and rescue workers at the site of a tragic mudslide roughly 70 miles away in Oso.
Watch the whole thing from NBC.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Charities/Non-Profit Organizations Dieting/Food/Nutrition Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government * Theology Anthropology Pastoral Theology
Jeremiah A. Denton Jr., a retired Navy rear admiral and former U.S. senator who survived nearly eight years of captivity in North Vietnamese prisons, and whose public acts of defiance and patriotism came to embody the sacrifices of American POWs in Vietnam, died March 28 at a hospice in Virginia Beach. He was 89.
The cause was complications from a heart ailment, said his son Jim Denton. Adm. Denton was a native of Alabama, where in 1980 he became the state’s first Republican to win election to the Senate since Reconstruction.
Read it all.
Before he graduates from Bowdoin College this year, Alex Doering wants to leave the greater Brunswick area better educated about a topic that is sometimes considered taboo for American families: end-of-life care.
That's why Doering, with the help of others, is organizing a two-day symposium on the topic at Bowdoin this Friday and Saturday. The free, public event will include sessions with professors, doctors and local health workers that will explore death and dying through different lenses.
The symposium will also include a performance by actress Megan Cole, best known for her work in the popular TV series "ER," in a piece called the "Wisdom of Wit," a "dramatized lecture" of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play called "Wit," that explores life "through the eyes of a 50-year-old professor of English Literature who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer," according to Cole's website.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Life Ethics Young Adults * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
...the earthquake also had quieter consequences that didn't make headlines. In the London Review of Books, Richard Lloyd Parry investigates a peculiar phenomenon revealed in the aftermath of the storm. His piece is called "Ghosts of the Tsunami."
RICHARD LLOYD PARRY: People reported neighbors - neighbors who died in the tsunami - appearing at their houses and coming and sitting down in puddles of water.
MARTIN: Parry has lived in Japan for 18 years and has known it to be a mostly secular culture. In global polls, Japan ranks as one of the least religious countries in the world.
PARRY: But there's a bit more to it than that. I mean I'd got used to seeing, in the homes of friends, these little altars you find to the family ancestors. And I'd always assumed they were nothing much more than a quaint piece of interior decoration. But I realized in following this story and returning to the tsunami zone, that actually the religion of the ancestors is alive and well and very strong.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. * International News & Commentary Asia Japan
A proposed law to allow Connecticut physicians to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives has opened a debate about the nature of sin, what constitutes an invasion of privacy, even the definition of suicide.
The bill has struck a chord with people such as Sara Myers, 59 years old, of Kent, Conn., who said she supported the concept even before she was diagnosed three years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. She said she was unsure whether she would ever opt to end her life but would like the right to seek a doctor's help if she decided to do so.
"The emotional comfort of knowing that if I got to the point where I didn't want to go on—that I could do it in a loving and peaceful way and not put anybody in legal jeopardy—would just let me rest a whole lot easier," Ms. Myers told lawmakers on Monday at a legislative hearing on the bill.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
The 623rd and final burial plot was filled following a funeral in the Christian Cemetery in Salmabad at the weekend as church and community leaders wait anxiously on a promised donation of new land to come to fruition.
There is little room left to squeeze in any more deceased believers and digging up the footpaths may be the only choice. Otherwise, expats may have no alternative but to pay thousands of dinars to have the bodies of their loved ones repatriated to their home countries in Europe, Asia, Africa or the Americas.
Read it all.
Everett L. "Terry" Fullam, who served as rector of St. Paul's, Darien, Conn., famous as tall steeple parish in the mainline Protestant renewal movement, died today. He was 82.
News of his passing came as a result of Bishop Gregory Brewer, Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, who tweeted this afternoon, "Just heard that Terry Fullam passed away. A generation ago he was a hero."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) Theology: Scripture
In the Netherlands people with early dementia are already being visited by mobile euthanasia units. In Belgium the law allows euthanasia only when, technically, “the patient is in a medically futile condition of constant unbearable suffering”. Wesley J. Smith, of the US-based Centre for Bioethics and Culture, has listed examples of ways in which the law has been interpreted much more expansively.
It has, for example, permitted the euthanasia of a transsexual left distraught by the results of a botched sex change operation and elderly couples who prefer joint and early death to living alone. Belgian doctors encourage each other to look out for suicidal patients whose organs can be harvested. In one PowerPoint presentation it was noted that patients with neuro-muscular diseases were good potential donors because, unlike cancer sufferers, they have “high-quality organs”.
And don’t think that Britain will be any different. We can’t regulate the banks or the police properly and assisted dying laws would soon become lethal tools in the hands of activist judges, greedy relatives and financially stretched health services. Look at our abortion laws. Introduced to end the horror of back-street terminations, they’re now used to end late-term pregnancies because of a cleft lip or a club foot.
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Psychology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Franck Darmon is only 35, but he already knows where his bones will lie. Not in his native France, but in Israel.
“When you compare a cemetery in Israel — with the blue sky, the sun and all the white tombstones — to a cemetery in France with the gray surroundings, it’s very distressing,” Darmon said. “The soul doesn’t have the same type of rest.”
Darmon is not the only French Jew reaching this conclusion, and not just because of the weather. France may have Europe’s largest Jewish population, but many don’t want to stay here for eternity.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Europe France Middle East Israel * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Judaism * Theology Eschatology Pastoral Theology
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.”
Read it all.
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.
Read it all.
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).
Read it all.
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.
Read it all.
Read it all
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.
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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.
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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?
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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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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.
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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].
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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.
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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.
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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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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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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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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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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).
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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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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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"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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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.
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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.”
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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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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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy The U.S. Government * Theology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
@pastorbrady: God's peace and healing to the family of Claire Davis. #arapahoehigh Our hearts are broken at news of her death.” Lord, help.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Teens / Youth Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology
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.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Education Rural/Town Life Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
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."
Read it all.
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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
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.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Longtime U2 musician and veteran activist Bono, who spent a lot of time with Nelson Mandela, speaks about his friend.
Watch it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Music Race/Race Relations * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
"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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Southern Africa * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Prison/Prison Ministry * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
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).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
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.
Watch it all.
Read it all.
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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Prison/Prison Ministry Race/Race Relations * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
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
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
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.
Read it all.
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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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
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)....
Read it all.
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.
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