Episcopal Clergy:  Is This Any Longer a Church One Wants To Join?

Posted by The_Elves

A Plea to the Leaders of the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church (TEC) is experiencing a precipitous decline in Sunday morning attendance. Without addressing some of its institutional pathologies, TEC will render itself evermore irrelevant. Yet the current proposals to restructure the church ignore its basic problems. [1]

The present practices, or likely outcomes in the very near future, of TEC raise a number of questions. Here is a sample:

● A proposed modification of the Book of Common Prayer Marriage Rite wherein the rubrics are malleable and the Biblical and canonical warrants [2] are ignored or abandoned;
● The BCP definition of marriage is subverted without constitutional procedure; [3]
● Tens of millions of dollars, perhaps over $40 million, have been spent on litigation without any budget line accountability; [4]
● The rewriting of the Title IV canon gives the Presiding Bishop metropolitical authority vis-à-vis fellow Bishops, against the Constitution's plain sense; [5]
● Bishops are disciplined for filing an amicus brief while other bishops and leaders file them with impunity with SCOTUS; [6]
● Bishops are declared to have renounced their Orders without ever doing so in the manner called for by canon; [7]
● The ‘National Church,’ when it is urged by GC to move its offices, simply ignores the recommendation; [8] and
● Mandatory Diocesan giving is called for without any constitutional authority; [9]

This list is incomplete, but it is sufficient to indicate the state of lawlessness into which the church has moved , and to pose the questions: Is TEC any longer a church of constitutional and canonical order? Is this Church acting decently and in order? How can there be a hope of restoring a level of trust across differences of theological conviction when the good order that this Church constitutionally and canonically expects is simply ignored? [10]

† If the BCP is to be changed, let it be done in accordance with the rules established to do that.
† If money is being spent on litigation, let there be a public accounting of that.
† If the Presiding Bishop is to be given new authorities, let the Constitution be altered in the manner required.
† If it is not proper to file an amicus brief in one case, then it is not proper to file one in another case.
† If Bishops are declared to have renounced their Orders, let it happen in the manner called for by the Constitution and Canons.
† If we are uncertain, we cannot provide assurance to the members of the church and those who are seeking a church home?

It seems that these are reasonable and fair requests to put before the leaders of this church as they prepare to meet in General Convention this summer.

The Rev’d Dr. Chuck Alley, Richmond, Virginia
The Rev’d Frank Fuller, Corpus Christi, Texas
The Rev’d John Newton, St. Paul, Minnesota
The Rev’d Paul Minor, Belmont, Massachusetts
The Rev’d Cheryl Minor, Belmont, Massachusetts
The Rev’d Dr. Ephraim Radner, Diocese of Colorado, Professor at Wycliffe, Toronto
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Chris Seitz, Dallas, Texas
The Rev’d John Sheehan, Aldie, Virginia
The Rev’d Dr. Philip Turner , Austin, Texas
The Rev’d Stockton Williams, Kerrville, Texas

_______________________________________________
[1] The Task Force For Reimagining the Episcopal Church has produced a long report that is simply silent about theological conflict and its sources, that has so drained the church; or the litigation of the past decade or more, that has drained resources and the structural issues around this; or the need to reconcile with Evangelical members and ex-members, whose loss and alienation has so limited the church’s outreach.
[2] E.g., Genesis 1-2, Matthew 19, Ephesians 5; BCP pp. 422, 423, 861; Canon I.18.Sec. 2(b)
[3] The first proposed resolution by the Convention’s Marriage Taskforce seeks a change in canon that renders the actual language and context of the BCP’s marriage service both semantically incoherent and without authority.
[4] Figures are hard to come by. A reputable, even if partisan, incomplete list of lawsuits can be found at http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.ca/2015/02/annual-litigation-survey-for-episcopal.html; Haley’s estimate is over $40 million, carefully detailed at http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.ca/2014/02/how-much-has-ecusa-spent-on-lawsuits.html.
[5] A full analysis of these changes, which was never properly rebutted, is given at http://www.anglicancommunioninstitute.com/2010/09/title-iv-revisions-unmasked/.
[6] The recent example is found at http://freemarry.3cdn.net/75b9529745f68b3d38_6xm6b3xfz.pdf; earlier, of course, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-4th-circuit/1355788.html.
[7] See http://www.episcopalcafe.com/confusion_about_bishop_scriven_and_renunciation/; http://www.anglicancommunioninstitute.com/2009/01/is-the-renunciation-of-orders-routine/; An interesting commentary on the novel approach, can be found in the blog of AKM Adams, and in the comments.
[8] See http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2012/07/06/deputies-vote-to-sell-the-church-center-headquarters-in-new-york/; yet other resolutions enacted are treated as law.
[9] Cf. The TREC proposed Resolution A002.
[10] Bishop Sisk of New York: “Where then does that leave us? We are left with a situation in which the mind of this recent Convention appears to be to allow such services. However, The Constitution and The Book of Common Prayer still say something else .... It is my interpretation that the actions of this 2012 General Convention permit, perhaps even encourage, those of us who live in jurisdictions such as New York, to act on that conviction” (bold added). See http://www.livingchurch.org/full-marriage-equality

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Polity & Canons

9 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:59 am

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A Breath of Fresh Air; 224th South Carolina Diocesan Convention Emphasizes Moving Forward

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“A breath of fresh air,” was how the Rev. Louise Weld, Associate Rector at St. James, Charleston, described the 224th annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, which was held in Charleston, March 13-14, 2015. “I felt like there was a big emphasis on evangelism and sharing your story,” said Weld, “in the Bishop’s address, in presentations, in video clips. There was a new thrust - a breath of fresh air. We’ve moved on and are about the Lord’s work!...”


The convention welcomed two new mission congregations, which have joined the Diocese since our last convention: Resurrection, North Charleston, led by the Rev. Matthew McCormick and St. James, Blackville led by the Rev. Russell Reed, assisted by Deacon Tom Cuny.

Eight new clergy have joined the Diocese since the last convention: the Rev. Gary Beson, the Rev. Rags Coxe the Rev. Tom Cuny , the Rev. Stephen Davis, the Rev. Donnie McDaniel, the Rev. Luke Rasmussen, the Rev. Russell Read and the Rev. Jamie Sosnowski.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* South Carolina* Theology

3 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 5:15 am

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Bishop Lawrence Mark Lawrence’s Address to the 224th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I still remember a letter I received as a young rector. The letter concluded with, “Always remember, Fr. Mark, the Church primarily exists to serve the needs of its long-time members.” Even in the relatively more churched-culture of the late 1980s it struck me as shocking statement. Former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, wrote in the 1930s that the Church is the only institution in the world that exists to serve the needs of those who are not yet its members. But there is something more foundational than the recent debates about Missional vs Attractional. The Church by its very nature is missional. It is not that the Church one day decided to have a resolution, brought it forward and voted to be missional. It was the Risen Jesus Christ, whose mission we continue, who commands us—“As the Father has sent me so I am sending you.” The only thing left to ask is to whom, and where, and how He would have us go!

Missionalisation on a diocesan level also means to intentionally create a culture within the diocese that cultivates a missional approach to ministry and life. Cultures, as it has been observed, cultivate. To initiate outward thrust in congregational life and witness; to celebrate that which goes out in creative ways to where people gather rather than hunker down in Christian circles; to interact with the unchurch, unreached, uninterested is the challenge we face in today. It is to recognize that Jesus often crossed boundaries in his ministry and once he crossed boundaries he made contact, cultivated curiosity and then touched the place of need in the other person’s life which they hardly knew they had or could even whisper to others. It is, among other things, to take pre-evangelism, as well as evangelism, seriously. What is pre-evangelism? It is conveyed well by what an agnostic said upon the death of Pope John XXIII: “Pope John has made my unbelief uncomfortable.” Missionalization is to have such an aroma of Christ that when we go into the world meeting others we graciously make the agnostic and religiously unaffiliated uncomfortable in their unbelief.

Missionalisation also means for us to practice Big Picture thinking. As your bishop I have been mindful of the need to look at the big picture within the emerging Anglican world. Through the 2008 Lambeth Conference; the Global South gatherings in Singapore or elsewhere; the various GAFCON conferences; and from bishops or primates who have come to us from abroad to sojourn a few days or weeks in the Diocese of South Carolina the challenges and opportunities have been kept before me. Certainly the Anglican Communion Development Committee (ACD) has been a diocesan committee which has strategically looked at the larger world seeking to address what we could do to help shape the Anglican scene in the 21st Century. I am heartened that some of our larger parishes, such as St. Helena’s, Beaufort and St. Michael’s Charleston (which has a vital missional thrust through its Global Impact Celebration) are now seeking input from the ACD Committee as they rethink their missional relationships around the world.

Nevertheless I am often troubled by a recurring personal concern regarding the Big Picture....

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

4 Comments Posted March 14, 2015 at 7:59 pm

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A.S. Haley—Annual Litigation Survey for the Episcopal Church (USA) 2015

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is a fact well known to certain Episcopalians—both those who have left the Episcopal Church (USA) and those who have remained—that ECUSA and its dioceses have followed a pattern of suing any church that chooses to leave for another Anglican jurisdiction. But the full extent of the litigation that has ensued is not well known at all, either in the wider Church, or among the provinces of the Anglican Communion.

(Otherwise -- one would think -- it would never have been deemed to be conduct to be rewarded by this honorary degree, rather than this one.)

Your Curmudgeon proposes to do what he can to rectify this situation, by publishing an annual update on this site of the current status of all past and present cases in which ECUSA or any of its dioceses has been or is involved, from 2000 to date. Feel free to link to this post, to email links to it to other Episcopalians, and to send it to your Bishop -- and feel free to post any updates or corrections in the comments. In another update to be posted as General Convention approaches, I will publish a revised total for all of the money spent by ECUSA and its Dioceses to date on prosecuting all of these lawsuits (and, in the case of the second group below, defending them).

The lawsuits initiated by ECUSA and its dioceses to date are first listed below. They far outnumber, as you can see, the second list of the eight cases begun by a diocese or parish against the Episcopal Church (or a diocese). The listing endeavors to be as complete as I can make it. The first 83 cases, generally grouped by the State in which they each originated, are the legal actions filed since 2000....

Take the time to read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

39 Comments Posted February 24, 2015 at 7:01 am

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Churchwarden sacrifices his life to save congregation during Taliban attack

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an act of extraordinary heroism, a parish warden stopped an Islamist terrorist from detonating a bomb during Sunday worship at Christ Church Youhanabad near Lahore, Pakistan. Fifteen people were murdered during twin attacks on Christ Church and the neighboring St John’s Catholic Church on 15 March 2015, but the heroism of Zahid Yousaf Goga (pictured with his wife, Akash and three children) prevented further bloodshed.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments Posted March 29, 2015 at 4:40 am

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A Prayer for Palm Sunday (I)

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Christ, the King of glory, who didst enter the holy city in meekness to be made perfect through the suffering of death: Give us grace, we beseech thee, in all our life here to take up our cross daily and follow thee, that hereafter we may rejoice with thee in thy heavenly kingdom; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.

--Church of South India

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekSpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted March 29, 2015 at 4:20 am

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!

--Psalm 24:7-10

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted March 29, 2015 at 4:00 am

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Archbishop Justin Welby to spend Holy Week in Canterbury

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 4:30 pm

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(C of E) Explode stereotypes and challenge perceptions - new RE teacher recruitment

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a statement released today Church of England's Chief Education Officer Revd Nigel Genders has expressed support for the launch of a new RE teacher recruitment campaign, Beyond the Ordinary is aimed at encouraging new RE teachers who can now access re-instated Government bursary funding.

"I'm delighted to support the Beyond the Ordinary campaign, which highlights the benefits of a career in RE teaching, a career that is far from ordinary. As an RE teacher you'll address topics that go way beyond the everyday, challenging perceptions and exploding stereotypes. You'll embark on a career that will continue to evolve and inspire you as well as the young people you teach. And the government is offering financial incentives to cover training costs, so now is a great time to explore more about this wonderful vocation. You can find out more and direct anyone who is looking for more information about training to be a RE teacher to http://www.teachre.co.uk/beyondtheordinary."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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WCC General Secretary inviting special prayers for Peace in the Middle East Tomorrow

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In all of these tragedies, the religious and ethnic minorities continue to be the most vulnerable communities. Among them are the Christians, our sisters and brothers in the Lord. They face the present danger of extermination or exile from their own region, a catastrophic assault on Christian life and witness in those lands. Many churches and Christians around the world have offered signs of solidarity and sympathy through prayer vigils, humanitarian assistance and advocacy for just peace. Despite these efforts, so many still feel powerless and incapable of making any impact and change. Yet we know that we worship a God of hope, in whom there is always cross, always resurrection. As Christians we are called to live in the hope Christ gives us and make this our witness in times of deep pain and strife.

During this Lenten season, the World Council of Churches invites its member churches and Christians worldwide to offer special prayers on Sunday, March 29 for all people affected by these wars. We ask these prayers especially for the countries of Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt, where the indigenous Christian presence and witness have been continuous since the incarnation of our Lord, and from where the Good News has spread all over the world.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther Churches

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

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Anglican Future Conference: A David Ould Interview with Anglican Church Historian Ashley Null

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s 40 great minutes. I loved this conversation, I hope you will too as you learn along with me from our friend about the heart of Anglican theology.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Theology

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm

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The Address by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala at the Launch of FCA Australia

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Firstly, in the developing world, and I speak especially of my own continent of Africa, we have great need for partnership with you in discipleship training at all levels, especially as we see the secular challenges to Christian faith and life you are so familiar with now impacting Africa through a globalized media, particularly in its rapidly growing cities. We also need to stand alongside and speak out for those believers who are suffering so terribly at the hands of Islamic radicals and there is always the need for humanitarian and development initiatives by which we demonstrate the love of God to those in extreme material need.

Secondly, in the developed world, we need your partnership as we seek to stand with and strengthen Churches to maintain a faithful and winsome Christian witness in societies where their Christian heritage has become little more than an ornament. In North America, the cultural captivity of the established Anglican Churches became so bad that a fundamental realignment was necessary and we thank God for the emergence and growth of the GAFCON sponsored Anglican Church of North America.

Now we are seeing the same struggle developing in the Church of England, the Mother Church of the Communion itself, and the most recent sign of this is the crisis developing after a parish church in central London was made available for a Muslim prayer service earlier this month. The vicar not only joined in, but also covered up the cross and other Christian symbols in the church. Here we have a warning that controversies about gender and sexuality reflect a deeper problem. Now we are seeing the core Christian commitment to the uniqueness of Jesus as Lord and Saviour is being called into question.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of AustraliaAnglican Church of KenyaGlobal South Churches & Primates

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 11:30 am

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(Telegraph) Christopher Howse—Mozarabic chant in deepest Suffolk

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I found myself in St Edmundsbury Cathedral last week just before they were to sing Evensong. So I stayed, and I’m glad I did.

Apart from anything else, a good way to appreciate a building is to see it put to the use it was designed for. As the church of St James, it was completed at the beginning of the 16th century by John Wastell, the designer of Bell Harry, the great tower of Canterbury Cathedral. As the cathedral of the diocese centred on Bury St Edmunds, it was not finished until 2005.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 11:01 am

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Earlier this week—Archbishop Welby asks government about Nigeria’s presidential election

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the prospects for a free and fair Presidential election in Nigeria in 2015, and (2) progress made by the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission towards minimising the possibility of electoral fraud. [HL5761]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The British Government is closely following developments ahead of Nigeria’s presidential and gubernatorial elections on 28 March and 11 April respectively. This vote will set Nigeria’s course for the next five years and beyond and as Africa’s largest democracy its impact will be felt well beyond its borders. It is vital the elections go ahead without any further delay on 28 March.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 10:30 am

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(RNS) Nigerian Christians may back a Muslim candidate in upcoming presidential elections

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Under the shadow of Boko Haram violence, Nigerians head to the polls Saturday (March 28) to elect a president and a deputy in a vote observers say is critical for the country’s stability and economic progress.

In a twist that might have been difficult to predict, many Christians in Nigeria’s north are backing a Muslim candidate to lead their country away from the brink of violence and chaos.

Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north and the leader of the All Progressives Congress party, is challenging the leadership of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south who heads the ruling People’s Democratic Party.

Some Nigerians fear that another term for Jonathan would mean institutionalization of corruption and emergence of more Muslim extremist groups in addition to Boko Haram. And they are willing to pin their hopes on a Muslim candidate.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 10:14 am

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(CT) George Yancey—What Christianophobia Looks Like in America

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Laws that disparately impact Christians can protect others from Christian attempts to take over society. If these laws are couched in terms of religious neutrality—like the “all comers” policies for student organizations—then those with Christianophobia can endorse them without worry about being stigmatized as bigoted. (There is a similar phenomenon noted in race/ethnicity scholarship. Public policy measures that seem racially neutral can work to the disadvantage of people of color. Restrictive immigration policies are theoretically racially neutral, but disproportionally affect Hispanic Americans.)

This helps to crystallize the current conflict in our society between conservative Christians and those with hatred towards them. Christians face economically, educationally, and socially powerful individuals who seek to drive them from the public square. Many with Christianophobia are convinced that conservative Christians will drag our society back into the Dark Ages and must be stopped with any measure that cannot be defined as overt religious bigotry.

An important challenge Christians have is to convince such individuals that they have the same rights to influence the public square as anyone else. Learning how to communicate, and hopefully find ways to co-exist, with them will help determine whether there will be a persistent cultural conflict or if a truce is possible.

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

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 10:00 am

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(FP) David Rothkopf—How have we arrived at the most dangerous moment in history of the Middle East?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just because the Middle East’s descent into chaos is hardly the fault of the Obama administration, that doesn’t mean its policies in the region are not an egregious failure.

The situation in the region is unprecedented. For the first time since the World Wars, virtually every country from Libya to Afghanistan is involved in a military conflict. (Oman seems to be the exception.) The degree of chaos, uncertainty, and complexity among the twisted and often contradictory alliances and enmities is mind-boggling. America and its allies are fighting alongside Iran to combat the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria but in Yemen, the United States and many of those same regional partners are collaborating to push back Iranian-backed Houthi forces. Israel and Saudi Arabia are closely aligned in their concerns about Iran while historical divisions between the two remain great. Iran supports Bashar al-Assad in Syria; the United States and Western allies deplore his policies but tolerate his presence while some of the rebel forces we are supporting in the fight against the Islamic State in that country seek his (long overdue) removal. The United States wants the states of the region to stand up for their own interests — just not in Libya or when they don’t get America’s permission first.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

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The Local Community’s once a Year Flowertown Festival Happening this Weekend

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pete and Evelyn Richards’ children and grandchildren would like them to slow down, but for the Jeffersonville, Ga., couple, it’s not spring unless they sell their wares at Summerville’s Flowertown Festival.

“Our family thinks we should retire but we would miss it too much, so as long as the Lord lets us work, we’ll continue,” said Evelyn Richards.

The couple, both in their 80s, is among more than 200 crafters who display their work each year at the Summerville Family YMCA’s event. They make flowers and other tchotchkes from seashells found on the beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Read it all and check out the 26 photos available there.

Filed under: * South Carolina

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 8:00 am

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BBC Live Coverage—Nigeria votes

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Key Points

Millions of Nigerians voting in closely fought poll
President Goodluck Jonathan faces Gen Muhammadu Buhari
Jonathan is Christian southerner, Buhari a Muslim northerner
Delays due to problems with biometric voter cards

Follow it and pray for the election today.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 7:30 am

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An Unbelievably Cute Mammal With Teddy Bear Face Rediscovered—the Lli Pika

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * General InterestAnimalsPhotos/Photography

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 7:15 am

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(NYT) Nigeria Votes in Sharply Contested Presidential Election

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The most sharply contested election in Nigeria’s post-independence history wound down to a tense conclusion on Saturday amid fears that a polarized electorate would clash regardless of the outcome in a country split on religious, ethnic and sectional lines.

There appeared to be little middle ground between partisans of the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south hated in the north for mismanaging a bloody Islamist insurgency at steep cost, and his challenger, Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, a northerner and a belated democratic convert whose Muslim faith and authoritarian past are feared in the south.

Voters on Saturday morning crowded around registration stations here in the north’s largest city, a packed metropolis of more than five million, as hitches in the process added to the tension. Election officials were more than two hours late in some places, and malfunctioning electronic registration machines — a new system designed to limit endemic fraud — stymied voters in others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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#NigeriaDecides; Picture of 117 Year Old Grandpa Getting Accredited In Gombe Today

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is just a wonderful picture.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* General InterestPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments Posted March 28, 2015 at 6:45 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from E.B. Pusey

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lift up our souls, O Lord, to the pure, serene light of thy presence; that there we may breathe freely, there repose in thy love, there may be at rest from ourselves, and from thence return, arrayed in thy peace, to do and bear what shall please thee; for thy holy name’s sake.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentSpirituality/Prayer

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From the Morning Scripture Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

--Jeremiah 31:27-34

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Bishop Mike Hill—“The Church of England”... stands “at a critical moment in history”

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the challenge to be a Church with a mission to the nation grows more complex as society and communities change, and the size, strength and make-up of our churches also change.

50 years ago churches largely reflected the demographics of their context; today they are markedly different. Put simply, churches have not successfully retained young people as they move into adulthood.

Numbers attending Church of England services have declined at an average rate of 1% a year in recent decades. In any given week, less than 2% of the overall population attend our churches. In some areas, particularly outer estates and the inner city, this is less than 1%. The age profile of our membership is now significantly older than that of the population.

As I said in my Synod address in December, the harsh truth is that there is a massive cultural gap between what we do in our churches and the subcultures amongst whom we dwell.

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

3 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm

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(NPR) As Nigeria Votes, The Specter Of Boko Haram Hangs Over The Election

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the past six years, Boko Haram has terrorized the northeast region and burned down entire communities, killing thousands of people and abducting many more, including more than 200 missing schoolgirls.

The people driven from their homes are posing a challenge for Nigeria's electoral commission. The U.N. Secretary General's special representative for West Africa and high representative for Nigeria, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, says displaced people must be allowed to vote.

"These elections must be inclusive," Chambas says. "I got the assurance of the electoral commissioner that all efforts would be made to ensure that Nigerians internally displaced, as a result of Boko Haram terrorist activity, are not denied their franchise."

Nigeria is also grappling with a new biometric, voter ID card-reading system, which had hiccups during dry runs ahead of Saturday's vote.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm

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(First Things) Peter Leithart—Islam, Denominations, and Global Christianity

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Philip Jenkins's contribution to The Globalization of Christianity (edited by Gordon Heath and Steven Studebaker) offers sobering and exciting news by turns.

On the sobering side, he describes the statistical stagnation of Christianity, and compares it to the spread of Islam. For the past century, Christianity has held steady at 1/3 of the human population. It's grown, of course, but it has not grown as a proportion of the world's population.

Islam has. “In 1900, the 200 to 220 million Muslims then living comprised some 12 or 13 percent of humanity, compared to 22.5 percent today, and a projected figure of 27.3 percent by 2050. Put another way, Christians in 1900 outnumbered Muslims by 2.8 to 1. Today that figure is 1.3 to 1, and by 2050 it should be 1.3 to 1. Put another way, there are four times as many Christians alive as there were in 1900; but over the same period, Muslims have grown at least seven-fold” (21).

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* Theology

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm

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(Church Times) Changes in training prompt resignation and protest letter

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In her letter, Dr [Sarah] Coakley writes that she agrees "wholeheartedly with all the goals and aspirations" of the report, which envisions a 50 per cent increase in ordinations by 2020.

But she goes on to warn that devolution to the dioceses will be "profoundly undermining of all these good goals. . . Indeed, since there is no theology of ministry articulated in the report itself, one can hardly expect one to emerge in the course of individual bishops making decisions about 'flexible pathways', or taking on over-50s candidates without a BAP.

"Further, as the report itself acknowledges (but does not resolve), a huge set of problems can be envisaged about how to deploy clergy around the country in places of greatest need or effective pastoral abandonment, given the new plan for the financial support of clergy training."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm

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The Economist on Robert Putnam’s new book—Class and family in America: Minding the nurture gap

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Stunningly, Mr Putnam finds that family background is a better predictor of whether or not a child will graduate from university than 8th-grade test scores. Kids in the richest quarter with low test scores are as likely to make it through college as kids in the poorest quarter with high scores....

There are no obvious villains in this story. Mr Murray suggested that the educated classes preach the values they practise by urging the poor to get married before they have children. But the record of those who tell other people how to arrange their love lives is hardly encouraging. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama preached the virtues of responsible fatherhood, to no obvious effect.

Mr Putnam sees “no clear path to reviving marriage” among the poor. Instead, he suggests a grab-bag of policies to help poor kids reach their potential, such as raising subsidies for poor families, teaching them better parenting skills, improving nursery care and making after-school baseball clubs free. He urges all 50 states to experiment to find out what works. A problem this complex has no simple solution.

Read it all.



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

1 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 11:05 am

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(WSJ) Georgette Bennett—An Unusual Religious Alliance to Aid Refugees

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last month I visited the Syrian refugee camp in Jordan known as Za’atari. With 80,000 occupants, the camp would be the fourth-largest city in Jordan. It occupies a vast desert plain, filled with endless rows of tents that are gradually being replaced with rows of metal-sided caravans. Za’atari is a dreary place, but it is teeming with resilient people.

Residents of camps like Za’atari make up only 20% of the nearly four million refugees who have fled Syria. The rest live in cities, where they are often unregistered and therefore ineligible for services. These refugees tend to live in squalor and are vulnerable to exploitation. Nearly 80% of the refugees are women and children. These figures don’t include the 12.2 million within Syria who are either internally displaced or in urgent need of help.

About 200,000 people have been killed in Syria, many after torture. A photographer, who documented these horrors for the regime but defected, smuggled his photos out of Syria; they were passed on to me by a Syrian non-governmental organization. These emaciated, disfigured corpses could be skeletal Jewish inmates photographed during the liberation of Dachau, but they aren’t. They are Syrian Muslims and Christians—and this is happening now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslamJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 8:00 am

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NZ Bible Society publishes a waterproof New Testament to commemorate WWI

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The NZ Bible Society has published a commemorative Defence Force New Testament to mark the centennial of WWI.

1500 of the newly minted New Testaments (with Proverbs and Psalms) will be gifted to the NZ Defence Force in an official ceremony next month.

Defence Force Chief, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, says in his foreword to the edition,

"This commemorative edition of the New Testament reminds us of this sacrifice made by New Zealanders 100 years ago, and of the book that brought so many of them peace and comfort as they fought."

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

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(Anglican Ink) Bishop of Christchurch resigns from New Zealand Same-sex marriage study group

Posted by Kendall Harmon

'...Bishop Matthews wrote she had informed the chairman of the commission Bruce Gray QC and Archbishop Philip Richardson “I am aware that this matter in the Diocese of Christchurch is causing a high level of angst on all sides. I decided I would be unable to minister effectively in this Diocese and also have membership on the Way Forward Working Group as time progressed. My resignation was a matter of maintaining my integrity and is in no way a judgment on the work that the Way Forward Working Group is attempting to achieve for the next General Synod.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and PolynesiaSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 6:15 am

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(Local Paper) Coastal South Carolina remains a national hot spot for population growth

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the brisk pace of population growth and development along South Carolina’s coast seems unusual, that’s not your imagination.

The latest Census Bureau estimates show that few metropolitan areas in the nation are growing so quickly.

Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Charleston were the three fastest-growing metro areas on the Atlantic Coast in 2014, as they were in 2013.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentCensus/Census DataPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

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The National Peace Committee calls for credible, peaceful polls in Nigeria this weekend

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections, headed by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar, yesterday met behind closed-doors with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.

Members of the committee in attendance included the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, Primate Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, among others.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 5:45 am

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(Church Times) Richard III goes to his grave watched by thousands

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most of the music for compline was by English composers, all immaculately sung as plainsong by the senior trebles and adults of the cathedral choir. The centrepiece of the service was Herbert Howells's motet, "Take him, earth, for cherishing", based on a poem by the Roman Christian poet Prudentius, and composed for John F. Kennedy's memorial service.

The RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, preached a sermon that emphasised the brutality of medieval wars and the tumultuous life and times of Richard III, a "child of war", a "refugee in Europe", whose reign was marked by unrest and who remained a controversial figure in the continual re-assessment of the Tudor period, "when saints can become bones and bones can become saints".

Baptism did not give holiness of life but gave it enduring shape, he reflected, describing the king as "a man of prayer, of anxious devotions". The Franciscans, Cardinal Nichols believed, would have buried Richard with prayer, even though that burial - which followed the ignominious parading of his naked and violently wounded body through the streets after the battle - had been hasty. He ended with the prayer that Richard "be embraced in God's merciful love".

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

4 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 5:28 am

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The Economist on Mike Smith’s new book “Boko Haram: Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War”

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Much has been written about extremist groups such as IS and al-Qaeda, which directly threaten Westerners at home or abroad. But little is understood about Boko Haram, its leaders and its beliefs. This is partly because it has made little effort to explain itself to the wider world, unlike jihadists such as IS who reach out to potential recruits using social media, and partly because journalists are unable to enter territory it controls safely. Moreover, its limited regional focus means that most Western intelligence agencies have viewed it as posing little international threat.

This book by Mike Smith, a journalist, sheds light both on its crackpot ideas—Yusuf insisted that the world was flat and that rain was made by God—and on the deep contradictions faced by people who propose to return to a sixth-century lifestyle. When asked why he had computer equipment and hospital facilities at his home, Yusuf replied, “These are technological products. Western education is different. Western education is westernisation.”

Yusuf’s successor, Abubakar Shekau, is a particularly enigmatic figure who is known largely through the brief videos his group has released. In one he justifies selling into slavery the schoolgirls kidnapped in Chibok: “Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell.” Each time Nigerian forces claim to have killed him, new videos emerge, though security officials question whether the same person appears in all the grainy images.

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

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 5:15 am

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Charles Henry Brent for his Feast Day—Bp Mark Lawrence’s address on him in 2008

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1899 a relatively obscure priest working in a City Mission in the slums of South Boston was compiling a book on prayer from articles he had written for the Saint Andrew’s Cross, a magazine of the recently established lay order of the Protestant Episcopal Church known as the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Seven years before, this celibate priest had left the Order of the Cowley Father’s whose House was just across the Charles River in Cambridge. Although he left the order over a dispute between his superior, Fr. A. C. A. Hall and the Order’s Father Superior in England, the young priest never left the inward embrace of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience—even less did he leave behind the spiritual disciplines of the religious life he had learned so well under Fr. Hall’s steady hand. Somewhere between his pastoral and social work among the sordidness and squalor of the South End—replete with red light district, street waifs, immigrants and vagrants— and his late night vigils of intercessory prayer or early mornings spent in meditation, not to mention the full round of parish duties, he found the time to write. In the final chapter of his little book, With God in the World, he wrote words that now appear as strangely prescient for his own life: “Men—we are not thinking of butterflies—cannot exist without difficulty. To be shorn of it means death, because inspiration is bound up with it, and inspiration is the breath of God, without the constant influx of which man ceases to be a living soul. Responsibility is the sacrament of inspiration. . . . The fault of most modern prophets is not that they present too high an ideal, but an ideal that is sketched with a faltering hand; the appeal to self-sacrifice is too timid and imprecise, the challenge to courage is too low-voiced, with the result that the tide of inspiration ebbs and flows.” He was to parse this belief taking root in his soul, with the phrase “the inspiration of responsibility”. Within two short years he would have the opportunity to test these words with his life.

His name was Charles Henry Brent, born the son of an Anglican clergyman from New Castle, Ontario in 1862. How Charles Brent, a Canadian by birth, came to be a priest in of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and under the episcopacy of the renowned Phillips Brooks, and later, the almost equally celebrated Bishop William Lawrence, is itself an interesting story we haven’t time to explore. Suffice to say that God seemed to be grooming through the seemingly quixotic twists and turns of providence a bishop not merely for the church or for one nation, but for the world—a man, of whom it could be said, he was Everybody’s Bishop.

You may find Part One there and Part Two here. Take the time to read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Henry Brent

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heavenly Father, whose Son did pray that we all might be one: deliver us, we beseech thee, from arrogance and prejudice, and give us wisdom and forbearance, that, following thy servant Charles Henry Brent, we may be united in one family with all who confess the Name of thy Son Jesus Christ: who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissionsSpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted March 27, 2015 at 4:41 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God of patience and consolation, grant we beseech thee that with free hearts we may love and serve thee and our brethren; and, having thus the mind of Christ, may begin heaven on earth, and exercise ourselves therein till that day when heaven, where love abideth, shall seem no strange habitation to us; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentSpirituality/Prayer

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From the Morning Scripture Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream, for it is a lie which they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart....

--Jeremiah 29:4-13

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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From the Do not Take Yourself too Seriously Deprtment—THIN MINTS

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/Nutrition* General InterestHumor / Trivia

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 6:14 pm

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Why so many empty church pews? Here’s what money, sex, divorce and TV are doing to American Relgn

Posted by Kendall Harmon

America’s churches are in trouble, and they are in trouble in communities that arguably need them the most.

One of the tragic tales told by Harvard scholar Robert Putnam in his important new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” is that America’s churches have grown weakest in some of the communities that need them most: poor and working-class communities across the country. The way he puts it, our nation’s churches, synagogues and mosques give children a sense of meaning, belonging and purpose — in a word, hope — that allows them to steer clear of trouble, from drugs to delinquency, and toward a bright and better future, warmer family relationships and significantly higher odds of attending college.

The tragedy is that even though religious involvement “makes a bigger difference in the lives of poor kids than rich kids,” Putnam writes, involvement is dropping off fastest among children from the least privileged background, as the figure below indicates.

Read it all from Brad Wilcox in the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSexualitySociology* Theology

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm

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Anglican Future Conference: A David Ould Interview with Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (courtesy of Stand Firm).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of AustraliaAnglican Church of Kenya

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 3:18 pm

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(Research on Religion Podcast) Jim Papandrea on Christianity’s 7 Revolutions

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What difference does a religious tradition make? If it is Christianity, Prof. Jim Papandrea of the Garrett-Evangelical Seminary at Northwestern University says it matters a great deal. Jim returns to our show for the third time (hat trick) and discusses his new book Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again, coauthored with Mike Aquilina. The general thrust of the book is that Christian theology introduced to the world (at least) seven new ways to envision human society, starting with the individual person and proceeding up through the state....

Our conversation ends with some reflection on Christianity in the “post-Christian era.” Jim qualifies that term by noting that there have been moments in history that have looked dire for the demise of the Christian faith, but he raises concern about a secular ethos that may be returning our culture towards the mindset of the pre-Christian era. We ruminate about the role that violent sport and reality TV (a form of entertainment that relishes in humiliation) and what role Christianity can play in addressing the contemporary culture. Jim ends on an optimistic note by asserting that Christianity is always primed for a revival and that by joining together across denominational lines, Christianity can remain highly relevant in the world.

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Theology

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 11:20 am

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(BBC) Nigeria election: Kano’s Christian exodus

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An exodus from the mainly Christian quarter of Kano, the commercial centre of northern Nigeria, is taking place ahead of elections this weekend, because of fears of violence.

The main bus station in the Sabon Gari suburb is chaotic as thousands of people cram onto coaches heading to the east or west of the country.

"Kano is now closing for business because of the fear of the unknown," says the chairman of the bus station.

They are anxious to avoid a repeat of the communal violence that followed the vote in 2011 when those from different ethnic or religious groups were singled out for attack.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 10:22 am

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(Economist) The pushback against ISIS

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anti-IS Sunnis think they should be armed again, as they were when the Americans fought al-Qaeda in Iraq, IS’s predecessor. But nobody is willing to give them weapons. “We wanted a national army,” says Ghazi Faisal al-Kuaud, a tribesman fighting alongside the government in Ramadi. “Instead they formed the Shia equivalent of IS.”

And Shia distrust of the Sunnis grows at a pace that matches that of the losses from its militias. Overlooking Najaf’s sprawling tombs, gravediggers talk of the brisk business they are doing burying militiamen. “I’ve never had it so busy,” says one. “Not even after 2003 or 2006 [the height of Iraq’s civil war].” The Sunnis “never accepted losing power from the time of Imam Ali, so why would they now?” asks Haider, a Shia shop owner. “Wherever you find Sunnis and you give them weapons, you will find IS,” says Bashar, a militiaman. Many Shias feel that the fight against IS justifies them in excluding Sunnis from government and the security apparatus.

The state that IS wanted to build looks more unlikely than ever to become a lasting reality, and that is good. The ruined territory on which it hoped to build, though, may end up even more damaged than it was at the outset.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 8:00 am

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(Christian Today) New Bishop of Gloucester Rachel Treweek: ‘The Church is in a very exciting time’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archdeacon Treweek said: "Lots of people have spoken about it as if it is about saving the Church of England."

But it is not about this, she insists.

"It is about us gaining more confidence with what God is doing in growing His kingdom. I do not start from a place of a failing institution. For me it is not about starting from a place of fear and anxiety, but starting in a place of hope and confidence. I do feel hugely excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. The Church is in a very exciting time."

Passionate about faith and about the message Jesus had for society at large, she is not frightened either to discuss politics from an overtly-Christian, though not party political view. She will be the first woman bishop to sit with the 26 diocesans in the House of Lords, giving her voice additional significance and making her a woman to watch as well as listen to on the part of both secular and religious leaders.

Read it all and the official announcement is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

1 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 7:45 am

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(Bloomberg) Boko Haram Kills at Least 1,000 in 2015, Human Rights Watch Says

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Each week that passes we learn of more brutal Boko Haram abuses against civilians,” Mausi Segun, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement. “The Nigerian government needs to make protecting civilians a priority in military operations against Boko Haram.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 7:30 am

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(NYT) Farhad Manjoo—Debunking the Latest Predictions of Facebook’s Demise

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The notion that Facebook and other social networks will suffer most deeply when the bubble bursts sounds plausible because it rehashes the last tech boom and bust, when advertising revenue run-ups at huge web portals (remember those?) turned out to be funded mainly by venture capital investments. In 2001, revenue at Yahoo — the largest portal, and something like the Facebook of its time — plummeted by almost $400 million when start-ups stopped spending during the bust. Yahoo has never recovered its former glory. Could Facebook face the same fate?

Probably not — or not yet, at least. On closer inspection, the theory that Facebook’s growth depends on unsustainable venture capital is mostly overblown, another strain of Facebook Second Guessing Syndrome. It’s a story that misses important facts about Facebook’s advertising business. For one thing, as Facebook’s executives have repeatedly pointed out, ads from app companies make up a small percentage of the company’s overall business. Most of the social network’s revenue comes from video ads and ads for large brands.
Continue reading the main story

The theory also misses two other points. Not all these ads are coming from unproved start-ups. And the ads are set to be adopted more widely because they actually work.

According to several app makers and observers of the industry, the ads are tremendously effective at leading paying customers to new apps. It’s the effort to reach these paying customers — and not venture funding — that is often the reason for all the money pouring into ads for apps.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Episcopal Church Takes Fight With Historic Diocese Over $500M Property to SC Supreme Court

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church and its allies in South Carolina have filed an appeal with the state's highest court in its legal battle over a breakaway diocese's $500 million property.

After being denied a motion to rehear by a lower court, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina announced Tuesday that they are filing an appeal against the Diocese of South Carolina....

"Their policy of using legal action to drain the finances of dissident congregations is not working," stated [Canon] Lewis.

"It only deflects denomination resources from projects to promote the faith and speeds the downward spiral of The Episcopal Church."

Read it all from the Christian Post.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 6:30 am

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(Reuters) Vatican to give homeless private VIP tour of Sistine Chapel

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Pope Francis's latest gesture towards Rome's homeless, the Vatican said on Tuesday homeless people will get a special private tour of its museums and the Sistine Chapel.

About 150 homeless people who frequent the Vatican area - where Pope Francis has already set up facilities for them to have showers - will make the visit on Thursday afternoon, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeItaly* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 6:15 am

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More Food for Thought from (one time rector of Calvary, Pittsburgh) Samuel Shoemaker

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have no respect for a surgeon who goes in but does not cut deeply enough to cure nor a patient who backs out of an operation because it may hurt; yet people can go through their whole lives attending church, listening to searching exposures of human sin, without ever taking it to themselves, or meeting anyone with skill and concern enough to lay the challenge right in their own laps.
--Experiment of Faith (New York: Harper&Row, 1957), p.22 (emphasis mine)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 6:00 am

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(Time) Ian Bremmer—the 7 Challenges of Globalization

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What happens as the world becomes even more interconnected…and even more leaderless?

Some argue that globalization is grinding to a screeching halt. In a world of increased conflict and turmoil, where major powers jockey for influence, financial sanctions have become a go-to weapon and even the Internet threatens to splinter, then surely the cross-border flow of money, ideas, information, goods and services will begin to slow—or even reverse.

Others argue that globalization is really just Americanization by other means. After all, the United States still dominates the international financial system. Information hurtling through cyberspace promotes the democratization of information, because it creates demand for still more information and forces autocrats to care more about public opinion. As developing countries develop, aren’t they becoming more like America?

Not anymore.

Read it all and note the link to the full report provided.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 5:45 am

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Matthew Kirkpatrick—What does the C of E have to offer the next generation?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is doubtless crucial for the Church of England to reconsider its form and presentation, but it cannot do this until it has established what its essential core actually is, and made every effort to communicate and inspire the next generation to its identity. Unfortunately, many of the panellists remained so unified on their desire for radical change, that the real debate about what this core might actually be rarely reared its head. So is there something about the church’s liturgy and worship, its structure and communion, its history and heritage that remains important? If so, is the radical task not to discard these in the name of modernisation, but to excite those to whom they appear foreign? Several times during the proceedings, the discrepancy between the beliefs and opinions of the clergy and those of the laity were noted—evidence again of a church that is lost to its academics and fatally disjointed from its people. But is the radical task, therefore, to give the church up to the people, or to inspire those same people about the riches, dynamism, and truthfulness of the doctrines and Scriptures that lie behind it?

As the church considers its future, one thing is certain: it must not fight for its own survival. Perhaps it will have the strength to realise that there is, actually, nothing distinctive about it that truly needs preserving amongst the denominations, and will show the greatest sacrifice for others by facilitating its own demise. Or, perhaps, it will understand that there is something about the Church of England as the Church of England that is important—something that is not worth fighting for in itself, but which is so crucial to its illuminating truth, so essential to its gospel message, and so intuitive to its mission, that it becomes the foundation of its fighting “for others.” But have we given up on this task? Doubtless reform is needed. But what is the core on which it must be founded? Are we so clear on our own ideas of what needs changing that we can no longer see what doesn’t? Perhaps we still need to ask: What does the Church of England offer the next generation?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 5:15 am

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(RNS) Church of England adds a second woman bishop in space of three months

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England appointed its second woman bishop on Wednesday (March 25), only two months after it consecrated its first.

Alison White, 58, will become the next suffragan bishop of Hull, following closely on the heels of Bishop Libby Lane, who was consecrated in January as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester. A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan or diocesan bishop.

White is married to the assistant bishop of Newcastle, Frank White.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 5:00 am

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(Wash Post) FBI adapts to face terrorism threats but still faces challenges, report finds

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The FBI improved its ability to fight terrorism in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but a new report says the bureau still faces significant challenges as it strengthens its intelligence capabilities to deal with nimble enemies.

The finding was part of an exhaustive review requested by Congress to evaluate the FBI’s response to the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations in 2004 and determine if the domestic law enforcement agency was moving quickly enough to deal with fast-moving threats.

The lengthy report, “The FBI: Protecting the Homeland in the 21st Century,” is perhaps the most detailed, public examination of the FBI’s post-9/11 capabilities, highlighting the successes and limitations of the traditional crime-fighting bureau.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 4:40 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Roman Breviary

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by the lowliness of thy Son hast raised a fallen world: Grant to thy faithful people perpetual gladness; and as thou hast delivered them from eternal death, so do thou make them partakers of everlasting joys; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentSpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 4:20 am

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother's breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

--Psalm 131

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted March 26, 2015 at 4:00 am

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(NYT) Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A senior military official involved in the investigation described “very smooth, very cool” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.

“The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”

He said, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

While the audio seemed to give some insight into the circumstances leading up to the Germanwings crash, it also left many questions unanswered.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchScience & TechnologyTravel* International News & CommentaryEurope

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 7:23 pm

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Exploring the Thought of Gifted Writer Anthony Doerr

Posted by Kendall Harmon

AW: So much has been written about World War II and the Holocaust, yet you’ve come up with something entirely fresh and different. Take us through how and why you decided to focus on two adolescents, Marie-Laure and Werner, each saddled with their own hardships, coming of age in France and Germany during that time.

AD: Someone told me once that if you took all the pages of all the books written about WWII and dropped them on Germany, it’d cover the whole country! Who knows if that’s actually true, but I was acutely aware that there was a lot of writing about WWII already out there — much of it breathtakingly good, and written by people for whom the war was memory, not history. So for most of the 10 years I worked on All the Light, I was terrified that I’d settle into a pattern of narrative that had lost some of its power because it had been already done.

One strategy I tried was to mimic the language of fairy tale and allegory: the boy, the girl, the ogre, the cursed gemstone, the imaginary citadel. And another was to try balance that sense of otherworldliness against a hyper-realism; to detail everything as carefully as I could. I thought maybe the juxtaposition of those two techniques might help the novel feel different, in the way a Borges or a Calvino story always feels different, even when they’re describing our world.

Eventually I had to keep telling myself the old humanist dictum: the path to the universal runs through the individual.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryEurope* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 4:32 pm

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Is there a Future for Confessional Anglicanism?  Conference audio from Sydney, Australia

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Saturday 21st March 2015, the Anglican Church League held the “Is there a Future for Confessional Anglicanism?” conference in the Chapter House of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney.

Those present considered our Anglican inheritance, our current challenges and our potential future under God.

Glenn Davies, Archbishop of Sydney; Ashley Null, authority on Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation; and Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore Theological College, were the speakers.

Read it all and listen to each talk.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Theology

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 3:31 pm

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(WSJ) Oil Stance Helps Church of England Beat Benchmarks

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the U.K.’s most visible ethical investors – the Church of England – outperformed its investing benchmarks last year thanks in part to its significant underweight position in energy stocks, a trade that benefited from the precipitous fall in oil prices.

Its fund, the CCLA, with around £5.6 billion ($8.34 billion) under management as of Feb. 2015, runs assets on behalf of the Church of England, as well as charities and local government authorities. The firm has long taken an ethical and activist stance, recently encouraging Royal Dutch Shell PLC, for example, to put forward a shareholder resolution on Climate Change at its 2015 Annual General Meeting.

Thanks to its ethical bearings, the CCLA allocated 50% less to oil and gas stocks than its benchmarks across its equity funds over 2014, and has avoided exposure to pure play coal and tar sands stocks, according to Michael Quicke, chief executive of the CCLA.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingStock MarketEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm

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Unsurprisingly and depressingly, the new TEC Diocese in South Carolina files an appeal

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 10:00 am

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(BBC) Cheshire West and Chester Council to discuss large funeral plans after traveller row

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Councillors are to discuss how best to manage large-scale funerals after one for a traveller from Cheshire attracted hundreds of mourners.

Holy Trinity Church in Blacon and Chester Crematorium were packed for the service marking 54-year-old Elton man "Pudgie" Evans's life on 30 January.

Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire Constabulary worked together to manage the funeral.

Local residents were advised beforehand and roads shut for the funeral cortege....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* Theology

2 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:00 am

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(CT) Alissa Wilkinson—Why Popular Culutre is Hooked on Heaven and Hell

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So what does our fascination with tales of the afterlife tell us? A few things, but the most important recurring theme in Entertaining Judgment is that we partake in narratives that ease anxiety about our lives. In other words, stories about the hereafter make us feel better about the here.

Tales of ghosts, for instance, “beckon us forward toward our future . . . to become the people we are called to become.” Stories from people who returned from the dead might “shine a light into the unknown and tell us something that might assuage our anxieties”; they tell us that human beings can change and grow. Vampire stories satisfy “our desire for an eternal life in which we will be perfected” and “tap into our spiritual and emotional desires to have that which is good now . . . and could only be better when we are perfected spiritual beings.”

Demons and devils may be symptoms of our failure to “take ourselves and our own evil seriously.” Angels teach us that “we are endowed with choice . . . that it is really up to us.” Tales of a heavenly realm have “helped to dry the tears of the suffering and offered the possibility of some greater meaning in our earthly lives.” Hell, too, can assuage doubts about the world’s goodness: For “every real-life spectacle that appalls or irritates—racial cleansing, chemical warfare, children kidnapped and held as sexual slaves, stop-and-go traffic—hell offers itself as a partial explanation, and as a powerful [image] that helps to explain, at least to some extent, the existence of such cruelty and suffering.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBooksMovies & TelevisionMusicReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEschatology

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 7:00 am

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(Barna) The 2015 State of Atheism in America report

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For reporting purposes at Barna, we often combine atheists and agnostics into one group, which we call skeptics....

[There]..are five demographic shifts among skeptics in the past two decades.

They are younger. Skeptics today are, on average, younger than in the past. Twenty years ago, 18 percent of skeptics were under 30 years old. Today that proportion has nearly doubled to 34 percent—nearly one-quarter of the total U.S. population (23%, compared to 17% in 1991). By the same token, the proportion of skeptics who are 65 or older has been cut in half, down to just 7 percent of the segment.

They are more educated. Today’s skeptics tend to be better educated than in the past. Two decades ago, one-third of skeptics were college graduates, but today half of the group has a college degree.

More of them are women....

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism

1 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 6:30 am

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A.S. Haley on TEC Bishops redefining Marriage—Tyranny in Vestments

Posted by Kendall Harmon

look at the "amici" who actually filed the briefs. The ones that argue against redefining marriage can be counted on the fingers of one hand. More than ninety percent of the "friendly" briefs are from people and groups who want the laws against same-sex marriages struck down.

The latter include this particular amicus brief, filed by the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of ECUSA's House of Deputies, and joined by Bishops White and Hahn of Kentucky; Bishops Gibbs, Houghland, Ray and Ousley from Michigan; Bishops Hollingsworth, Bowman, Persell, Williams, Breidenthal, Price and Rivera from Ohio; and Bishops Johnson and Young of Tennessee, along with other denominations, groups and committees. Moreover, there is a list in Appendix A to the brief of nearly 2,000 priests, many of them Episcopal, who have joined in filing the brief as well. All say that they "support equal treatment for same-sex couples with respect to civil marriage" (Brief, p. 1; emphasis added.)

Now these I have mentioned are all bishops and clergy in the Episcopal Church. What business do they have touting their religious affiliation in endorsing the redefinition of civil marriage? Moreover, look at how -- from they very first page -- they disavow and undermine the very authority of any church to define what marriage is (emphasis again added):

While Amici come from faiths that have approached issues affecting lesbian and gay people and their families in different ways over the years, they are united in the belief that, in our vastly diverse and pluralistic society, particular religious views or definitions of marriage should not be permitted to influence which couples’ marriages the state recognizes or permits.

It is not enough for ECUSA's bishops and clergy to say that the Church's traditional definition of marriage is inadequate for "our vastly diverse and pluralistic society." Not only is that definition no longer serviceable to society at large, but also it should not even be "permitted to influence" what society thinks marriage is!

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 6:15 am

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Daniel Davies—global econ. growth has slowed quite dramatically—why? Exploring Secular stagnation

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With a few short-lived and unsustainable exceptions, the story of the last 30 years appears to be one of constantly falling interest rates and disappointing growth. Central banks try to keep stimulating the economy, but investment demand never really seems to gather pace in response to their efforts. Instead, investment seems stagnant and unresponsive to policy during normal periods, but shoots up during events like the dotcom and real estate bubbles, which then burst and leave everyone worse off.

People have been puzzling over this pattern for decades, but it took a speech by Larry Summers to the IMF in 2013 to really crystallise the whole picture, and bring it into the public eye. Ever since, it’s been known by the term he gave the phenomenon: ‘secular stagnation’. But he didn’t invent it. It was first coined by Alvin Hansen in the post-Depression 30s, when technological progress seemed to have ground to a halt.

The revival of the term could be misleading on a number of levels.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEuropean Central BankHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 6:00 am

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(C of E) Canon Alison White to be next Bishop of Hull

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Her Majesty the Queen has appointed the Revd Canon Alison White, priest-in-charge of Riding Mill in the Diocese of Newcastle and Diocesan Adviser for Spirituality and Spiritual Direction, as the Bishop Suffragan of the See of Hull.

As Bishop of Hull, Alison will also have diocesan-wide responsibilities both as Ambassador for Prayer, Spiritual & Numerical Growth and Ambassador for Urban Life & Faith.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “This is a joyous day! I am delighted to be welcoming Alison as the next Bishop of Hull. Whilst she will be working with others across the Diocese of York encouraging faith in urban life, she will have particular responsibilities for the vibrant city of Hull and the glorious coastline and countryside of the East Riding. Alison is a person of real godliness and wisdom – it is fantastic that she has accepted God’s call to make Christ visible together with all of us in this Diocese of York.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 5:45 am

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(C of E) Report praises distinctive identity of St Stephen’s House, Oxford

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ministry Division of the Church of England has expressed confidence in St Stephen's House, Oxford, in an inspection report which praised the college for its "clear and distinctive identity which informs all aspects of its life".

The report published today spoke of "a community at ease and comfortable with embracing a variety of perspectives and traditions on numerous issues whilst situated clearly within a distinct theological and spiritual tradition."

St Stephen's House received 12 out of a possible 16 'confidence' outcomes, covering a range of criteria including practical and pastoral theology, teaching, and ministerial, personal and spiritual formation. The report also made 20 recommendations, noting that "the majority of these are for making good practice better rather than highlighting substantive problems."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 5:29 am

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Elves and tech folks are looking in to log in problems

Posted by The_Elves

It's become evident in recent days that a significant number of readers are having problems logging in to T19 (unable to login). The problem has even affected the elves (though we have a super-secret emergency login process which we can use as a work-around. Sadly, this emergency log in process is not available to mere mortals) wink

Research and attempts to solve the problems on the part of the elves have failed. (Sob.) So, we've notified our Tech friends. Hopefully the problem can be solved soon.

Our sincerest apologies to all who have been inconvenienced by this problem and for the length of time it took us to realize the extent of the problem.

Filed under: * Admin

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 5:15 am

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(Brisbane Times) Robots to replace almost half of jobs over next 20 years: expert

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Robots and computer programs could almost wipe out human workers in jobs from cooks to truck drivers, a visiting researcher has warned.

Driverless cars and even burger-flipping robots are among the technological advancements gunning for low-skilled jobs across dozens of industries.

University of Oxford Associate Professor in machine learning Michael Osborne has examined the characteristics of 702 occupations in the US, predicting 47 per cent will be overtaken by computers in the next decade or two.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 5:00 am

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A Prayer for the Feast of the Annunciation

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that we who have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

1 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 4:40 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Gelasian Sacramentary

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O thou who hast taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in thine: Help us to attain to this liberty by continual surrender unto thee; that walking in the way which thou hast prepared for us, we may find our life in doing thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 4:20 am

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, "I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry." Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me." But of Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people."

--Romans 10:14-21

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0 Comments Posted March 25, 2015 at 4:00 am

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The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge - Miserere Mei - Allegri

Posted by The_Elves



To raise the quality of playback - use the cogwheel at lower right of video

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm

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(WSJ) U.S. Auto Boom? Not for Workers

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. auto production is nearing all-time highs on the back of strong domestic demand and steady export increases. But American-made cars and trucks are increasingly loaded with parts imported from Mexico, China and other nations.

The U.S. imported a record $138 billion in car parts last year, equivalent to $12,135 of content in every American light vehicle built. That is up from $89 billion, or $10,536 per vehicle, in 2008—the first of two disastrous years for the car business. In 1990, only $31.7 billion in parts were imported.

The trend casts a cloud over the celebrated comeback of one of the nation’s bedrock industries. As the inflow of low-cost foreign parts accelerates, wages at the entry level are drifting away from the generous compensation packages that made car-factory jobs the prize of American manufacturing.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & TechnologyTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

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(NBC) Veterans Remember the Battle of Iwo Jima 70 Years Later

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. veterans gather on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the one the most iconic battles of World War II.

Watch it all.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaJapan

1 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:30 pm

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(Independent) Michael Hare Duke RIP: Admired Episcopal bishop unafraid of controversy

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Michael Geoffrey Hare Duke was born in Calcutta; his father was a Scots/Irish civil engineer who helped build the Indian railway system. He would become well-known in Lancashire for the welcome he afforded members of the Indian and Pakistani communities in the cotton towns when he was Vicar of St Mark's, Bury, from 1956-62. He would also recall the kindnesses of the Indian women who had administered to his every need as a child.

Sent home to Bradfield at the age of 12, he was much influenced by the robust Christian views of his headmaster, TD Hills, who had been a House Master at Eton. Duke recalled to me with embarrassed pleasure how he had thrilled both Hills and himself by beating his Etonian opponent in the Quadrangular boxing competition, and going on to a points victory against an even tougher opponent from Haileybury and Imperial Services College.

From Bradfield Hare Duke became a sub-lieutenant in the Navy towards the end of the Second World War. "When as a 19-year-old you have gone to your bunk every night wondering whether a U-Boat would strike your ship, you become a bit cautious of sending a huge armada to the South Atlantic."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesScottish Episcopal Church* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Theology

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

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(Guardian) Climate Change denial is immoral, says head of US Episcopal church

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:28 pm

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(NPR) How 2 Children With Leukemia Helped Transform Its Treatment

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[James] Eversull's parents were determined to help him. The family drove almost 400 miles from their home in Louisiana to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

St. Jude was named after the patron saint of lost causes for a reason.

"These children were often turned away," said Dr. Donald Pinkel about his years as a young doctor in the 1950s. He went on to become the first medical director at St. Jude. "A lot of physicians just didn't want to handle this situation — it was so sad."

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm

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(CC) Holy Terror—Philip Jenkins reviews Karen Armstrong’s new book ‘Fields of Blood’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To visualize the antireligion argument, we might think of a video showing the World Trade Center in flames to the accompaniment of John Lennon’s song “Imagine”: “Imagine no religion. . . . Nothing to kill or die for.” Movements like the one behind the so-called Islamic State demonstrate to many people that a world without God would be more peaceful, as it would be a world with fewer reasons to hate. If you are fighting for God against the devil, the argument goes, then there can be no peace short of annihilating the enemy.

Armstrong flatly rejects such easy equations. She admits that wars have often been framed in terms of faith and that none of the world’s religions can boast of clean hands in this regard. But she places the primary blame for violence on changing social and economic circumstances, which create larger and more aggressive political entities, commonly headed by warrior elites and dynasties. Armstrong sees a Darwinian pattern: lands with less determined and less confident elites are rapidly swallowed up by their harder-edged neighbors. For multiple reasons, ancient and medieval states sponsored and supported official faiths, which channeled and consecrated warrior ideals. All religions do this to varying degrees.

To oversimplify Armstrong’s argument: states happen, wars happen, and religion blesses them. Religion thus provides a rhetorical framework for warfare—but not, she argues, the motivation.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm

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David Brooks—How to Fight Anti-Semitism

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Obama administration, there are people who know that the Iranians are anti-Semitic, but they don’t know what to do with that fact and put this mental derangement on a distant shelf. They negotiate with the Iranian leaders, as if anti-Semitism was some odd quirk, instead of what it is, a core element of their mental architecture.

There are others who see anti-Semitism as another form of bigotry. But these are different evils. Most bigotry is an assertion of inferiority and speaks the language of oppression. Anti-Semitism is an assertion of impurity and speaks the language of extermination. Anti-Semitism’s logical endpoint is violence.

Groups fighting anti-Semitism sponsor educational campaigns and do a lot of consciousness-raising. I doubt these things do anything to reduce active anti-Semitism. But they can help non-anti-Semites understand the different forms of the cancer in our midst. That’s a start.

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3 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:00 am

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Church of Scientology to refute damning accusations before debut of a new HBO documentary

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The film,Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, is based on Lawrence Wright’s similarly titled book-length exposé and will premiere on March 29.

Since news emerged of the documentary, Scientologists have been trying to counter the film’s arguments which isn’t at all surprising considering Scientology’s notorious methods for dealing with its critics in the past.

The film, itself, covers one such stoush the Church had with the US Internal Revenue Service who was ready to rule that Scientology should pay tax because it isn’t a religion.

David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology, retaliated by persuading thousands of Scientologists to sue individual officials of the agency.

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

3 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:00 am

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(Time) 75% of Americans garages are so full, homeowners cant park their cars inside

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For middle-class Americans, it’s never been easier to feel consumed by consumption. Despite the recession, despite a brief interlude when savings rates shot up and credit-card debt went down, Americans arguably have more stuff now than any society in history. Children in the U.S. make up 3.1% of the world’s kid population, but U.S. families buy more than 40% of the toys purchased globally. The rise of wholesalers and warehouse supermarkets has packed our pantries and refrigerators with bulk items that often overflow into a second fridge. One-click shopping and same-day delivery have driven purchasing to another level altogether, making conspicuous consumption almost too easy.

Our stuff has taken over. Most household moves outside the U.S. weigh from 2,500 lb. to 7,500 lb. (1,110 kg to 3,400 kg). The average weight of a move in the U.S. is 8,000 lb. (3,600 kg), the weight of a fully grown hippo. An entire industry has emerged to house our extra belongings–self-storage, a $24 billion business so large that every American could fit inside its units simultaneously.

It would be one thing if all our possessions were making us happier, but the opposite seems to be occurring. At least one study shows that a home with too much stuff can actually lead to higher levels of anxiety. “These objects that we bring in the house are not inert,” says UCLA anthropologist Elinor Ochs, who led a decade-long study on hyperacquisition. “They have consequences.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:00 am

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(OC Register) Saddleback Church takes over Angel Stadium for its 35th anniversary celebration

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The church started Jan. 25, 1980, as a small Bible study in Rick and Kay Warren’s Laguna Hills condo. Today, it includes 10 campuses in Southern California and four in other countries, averaging 27,000 weekly worshippers.

As part of Saturday’s celebration, Rick Warren shared a portion of the first sermon he preached at Saddleback 35 years ago, outlining his vision for the church. The pastor – who delivered the invocation for President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 – choked up as he said he’s realized that vision and more, encouraging the crowd not to be afraid to aim high.

“I dare you to dream great dreams for God,” Warren said from the pitcher’s mound. “Whatever God asks you to do, do it, even if it’s at great risk.”

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

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:30 am

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CBS’ 60 minutes—The terrible cost ISIS in inflicting on Iraq’s Christians

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The road from St. Matthew's brings you to the front line, just six miles from the outskirts of Mosul. Every town and village between here and the occupied city is in the hands of the Islamic State. And now, we're told, for the first time in nearly 2,000 years, there are no Christians left inside Mosul.

Archbishop Nicodemus Sharaf: They take everything from us, but they cannot take the God from our hearts, they cannot.

Nicodemus Sharaf is the Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Mosul, one of about 10,000 Christians who fled the city. We found him living as a refugee in the Kurdish capital, Erbil. He said ISIS fighters were already inside Mosul when he escaped.

Archbishop Nicodemus Sharaf: I didn't have any time to take anything. I was told I had five minutes to go. Just I took five books that are very old.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:15 am

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A Rowan Williams sermon on the life and ministry of Oscar Romero on Archbishop Romero’s Feast Day

Posted by Kendall Harmon

nd so his question to all those who have the freedom to speak in the Church and for the Church is 'who do you really speak for?' But if we take seriously the underlying theme of his words and witness, that question is also, 'who do you really feel with?' Are you immersed in the real life of the Body, or is your life in Christ seen only as having the same sentiments as the powerful? Sentir con la Iglesia in the sense in which the mature Romero learned those words is what will teach you how to speak on behalf of the Body. And we must make no mistake about what this can entail: Romero knew that this kind of 'feeling with the Church' could only mean taking risks with and for the Body of Christ – so that, as he later put it, in words that are still shocking and sobering, it would be 'sad' if priests in such a context were not being killed alongside their flock. As of course they were in El Salvador, again and again in those nightmare years.

But he never suggests that speaking on behalf of the Body is the responsibility of a spiritual elite. He never dramatised the role of the priest so as to play down the responsibility of the people. If every priest and bishop were silenced, he said, 'each of you will have to be God's microphone. Each of you will have to be a messenger, a prophet. The Church will always exist as long as even one baptized person is alive.' Each part of the Body, because it shares the sufferings of the whole – and the hope and radiance of the whole – has authority to speak out of that common life in the crucified and risen Jesus.

So Romero's question and challenge is addressed to all of us, not only those who have the privilege of some sort of public megaphone for their voices. The Church is maintained in truth; and the whole Church has to be a community where truth is told about the abuses of power and the cries of the vulnerable. Once again, if we are serious about sentir con la Iglesia, we ask not only who we are speaking for but whose voice still needs to be heard, in the Church and in society at large. The questions here are as grave as they were thirty years ago. In Salvador itself, the methods of repression familiar in Romero's day were still common until very recently. We can at least celebrate the fact that the present head of state there has not only apologized for government collusion in Romero's murder but has also spoken boldly on behalf of those whose environment and livelihood are threatened by the rapacity of the mining companies, who are set on a new round of exploitation in Salvador and whose critics have been abducted and butchered just as so many were three decades back. The skies are not clear: our own Anglican bishop in Salvador was attacked ten days ago [in 2010] by unknown enemies; but the signs of hope are there, and the will to defend the poor and heal the wounds.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchPoverty* International News & CommentaryCentral America--El Salvador

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:00 am

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Oscar Romero

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador, we may without fear or favor witness to thy Word who abideth, thy Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryCentral America--El Salvador

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:40 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from W E Orchard

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by the example of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ hast taught us the greatness of true humility, and dost call us to watch with him in his passion: Give us grace to serve one another in all lowliness, and to enter into the fellowship of his sufferings; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentSpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:20 am

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From the Morning Scripture Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber.

--Psalm 121:1-3

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:00 am

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(ESPN) Womens Basketball Top seed South Carolina rolls on to reach NCAA Sweet 16

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Top-seeded South Carolina was determined not to get in another tight contest with feisty Syracuse. The Gamecocks will need a similar drive to reach NCAA tournament heights they haven't before.

Tiffany Mitchell and Alaina Coates each scored 14 points and South Carolina (32-2) built a big first-half lead and cruised to its third Sweet 16 in four years with a 97-68 NCAA tournament victory over Syracuse on Sunday night.

It was a vast reversal from November's Junkanoo Jam finals when the Orange led by double digits in the second half before falling 67-63. Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said her players came out with a fire and focus apparent at Saturday's practice and pre-game shoot around.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationSportsWomenYoung Adults* South Carolina

0 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 5:50 pm

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(Daily Beast) Philip Obaji Jr.—How I Escaped From Boko Haram

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was midnight when Babagana crept out of the Boko Haram hideout that had been his home for three days. Once he made his escape, he walked through the forest for hours before he found help. Like the other boys conscripted by the militants, he had been told that he would be hunted down and killed if he deserted.

“I didn’t leave with anything,” Babagana told me. “When the chance came to escape, I only had my pants on. I ran almost naked.”

Babagana was just 16 when militants invaded his town in northeastern Nigeria last May, butchering his parents as he watched, burning down his home, and forcing him to become one of thousands of Boko Haram soldiers.

Babagana still vividly recalls his involuntary induction into a world of misery. Boko Haram militants invaded the rural town of Gamboru in Borno State, burnt down houses and demanded that the local children be handed over to them. Parents who objected were killed, and a couple of children were forcefully taken.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm

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(CNN) Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Shaughnessys celebrate Christmas, Harry says, for some of the same reasons other people do: "Because it's a great time to get together, care for each other and have a party."

"And who doesn't want a tree with pretty lights in their house?" Charlotte chimes in.

Since they aren't Christian anymore, the Shaughnessys shape their own holiday traditions. One year, they stretched Christmas across a week, with celebrations leading up to December 25. "That sounds so Jewish now," Harry jokes. It was anticlimactic, Grace says. When Christmas came, they had nothing left to give, nowhere to go. The ritual was not repeated.

But the Flying Spaghetti Monster stuck.

The Church of the FSM, as "Pastafarians" call it, is a faux religion founded in 2005 to satirize creationism. It has since become a symbol for everything atheists find silly and superstitious about faith.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm

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(RNS) Kara Tippetts, a Christian voice against assisted Suicide, has died

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Kara Tippetts, 38, has died. Metastatic breast cancer took her from her pastor husband, Jason, and their four children on Sunday (March 22).

But in her last years of life, her saga of accepting suffering became, in a quietly powerful way, a cultural force for another way of choosing death with dignity, one that refused to hasten death.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 3:08 pm

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(NYT) Reformation Museum in Geneva Blends Humor and Wonder

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Finding the International Museum of the Reformation is almost as complicated as explaining the historical movement it chronicles.

You must first navigate the labyrinth of Geneva’s Old Town, down narrow, cobblestone streets and then up a long flight of stone stairs, skirting the shadows cast by a towering 13th-century cathedral. Finally you arrive at the tranquil courtyard of the Maison Mallet, the 14-room 18th-century mansion housing the museum, which opened in 2005.

From the outset, its director, Isabelle Graesslé, knew she faced a challenge. “It’s not easy to do a museum around a concept,” she said with a chuckle.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeSwitzerland

0 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 11:09 am

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Dio. of South Carolina Conference Center’s B.I. Environmental Education Ministry

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all--14,000 students--just wonderful.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* General InterestAnimals* South Carolina* Theology

1 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:00 am

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(BBC) The Jedi and the Bishop: two men from Essex, two religious outlooks

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Both Stephen Cottrell and Michael Kitchen were born in Essex, both are the sons of non-religious parents and both went on to study religion. But that is where the similarities end.

Michael Kitchen laughs and shakes his head when asked the inevitable question: do you have a light sabre?

He does not. In fact he is not particularly keen on the Star Wars films. Though he does have a robe.

Born and raised in Saffron Walden, Mr Kitchen has been a member of the Temple of the Jedi Order for seven years. His Jedi name is Akkarin and he is a member of the order's inner sanctum, the council.

Stephen Cottrell was born in Leigh-on-Sea and has been the Bishop of Chelmsford since 2010. A founding member of the College of Evangelists, he has also served on the Church of England's Mission, Renewal and Evangelism committee.

But how do their spiritual journeys compare, what do they make of each other's beliefs and does Jediism shed any light on the world of "new religions"?

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

0 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:28 am

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For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com


Robert Oscar Lopez—Synthetic Children: Why Elton John Is Wrong About Dolce & Gabbana

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I am not neutral. I agree with Dolce and Gabbana. Elton John is wrong. This is not to insult his children or take away from their humanity; nor is it to demean the character of men who love men everywhere. I am just as queer as both of these men. I have been out as bisexual since 1989 and have withstood a great deal of hostility from both the LGBT community and conservative Christians for refusing to use the label “ex-gay” to describe myself.

I also grew up with a lesbian couple without much connection to my father. In the process of writing my most recent book, Jephthah’s Daughters, I dealt with countless testimonials from children of same-sex couples all over the world. Stefano Gabbana gets us. Part of this is because his craft leads him outside of language to the ineffable world of instinct.

You can tell a child in such a home every day, “we are your fathers,” but our bodies and the rest of the visual environment around us will always reveal such words as false. The day-to-day rhythm of life, that quotidian routine that Gabbana must understand for his art but which Elton John does not have to, acts upon the language of same-sex parenting like a trickle of water wearing down a rock. With each day, in all the small gestures and emotional moments, the child puts together a picture of herself in the world and eventually realizes that the same-sex parents have created a world that is . . . what can we call it? Let’s use the language of theater critics: Contrived. Forced. Implausible.

Synthetic.

Read it all from First Things.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:00 am

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PBS ’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly—Average Mohamed

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Radical Islamic groups are using high-quality videos to recruit young Muslims in the US and Europe to join their fight. Now, a Somali Muslim immigrant in Minnesota is fighting back with his own videos—an animated series called “Average Mohamed” that counters extremist ideas about Islam.

Read or watch it all.

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

0 Comments Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:00 am

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For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com