Elizabeth Keaton reminds religious leaders and people of faith what rape is and the best way for the Church to respond.
Elizabeth Keaton reminds religious leaders and people of faith what rape is and the best way for the Church to respond.
Carl McColman, writing at Patheos discusses the upcoming elevation of Hildegard of Bingen as a "doctor of the church."
A Cub Scout group can no longer meet at St. Luke's Church according to a story in the East Greenwich Patch:
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church told Cub Scout Pack 4 last week it can no longer use church facilities because of the Boy Scouts of America’s reaffirmation earlier this summer of its exclusion of gay men and boys.
The Huffington Post reports that Churches in Washington state have been reminded that collecting money for a political cause is not permissible. This November will see a ballot measure concerning gay marriage. A Roman Catholic bishops has asked his parishes to have a special collection on behalf of an organization opposed to the state's equality law.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu called Sunday for Tony Blair and George Bush to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for their role in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq
Lawrence Edmonds is out to win a bet. When challenged that he could not lick all the Cathedrals in Great Britain, he has risen to the task.
No. We are not making this up. (Well, we don't think we are....it is on the internet, after all.)
The Huffington Post reports:
The founder of the Unification Church, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon has died. AP reports:
An election day idea for churches from the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut e-newsletter:
UPDATE 9/4: details for services for Louise
There are no words to express the depths of our gratitude for your words
of support and love for us and in tribute to Louise's extraordinary
life. We will celebrate her life with a service at All Saints Church in
Pasadena on Saturday, September 8th at 11am with a reception to follow.
We carried an item on Saturday about Desmond Tutu's contention that former President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for their role in the war in Iraq. Tutu has also written an op-ed essay for the Guardian in which he says:
Labor Day seems a good time to remind ourselves how many lives were lost in the fight for safe work places, reasonable working hours and collective bargaining rights. People who now have streets named after them were beaten bloody, and survived assassination attempts. It is increasingly fashionable, especially in the church, to believe that our country's problems might be solved if people of good will "on both sides" of the issue would forsake partisanship and seek common ground. It is difficult to speak against this position. Reasonable compromise is essential in a democracy. Yet the history of the U. S. labor movement (like the history of the civil rights, women's rights and LGBT rights movements) suggests that those who enjoy privilege and power do not easily part with it, and that there is nothing civil or bipartisan about their conduct when they are forced to do so.
Bishop Alan Wilson has done it again. Late last month he checked in with a piece called "How to Change Your Vicar", an insightful meditation on priest-parish conflict. "How To Change Your Vicar: Part Two" makes the seemingly simple point that one can't remove a priest from a parish because the priest isn't doing things that priests can't be expected to do. Wilson writes:
Bella English of The Boston Globe has written a lovely story about a camp for transgender children.
Susan Nienaber of Alban Institute addresses the positives and negatives of email and church communications:
It is more than a little ironic that you are reading an e-mail message that is about to warn you of the dangers of e-mail, but here goes:
Derek Penwell, at [D]mergent writes on the emerging generations and what he calls the "Jesus gap" - the disconnect between Jesus a generally portrayed in US culture and Jesus of the Gospels:
Andrew Brown, in The Guardian, looks at the bigger picture when parents refuse medical treatment for their children and the children die. Although Brown is referring to African spirituality - this is common to many spiritual traditions in the US and elsewhere.:
Jena Nardella has been asked to offer the benediction at the Democratic National Convention tonight. From the Chairman of the Board of Blood Water Mission:
Hilda L. Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor, writes about her predecessor Frances Perkins, now a "saint" in the Episcopal Church and job clubs in the Washington Post:
Rachel Held Evans writes about being a feminist in her blog item, "Confessions of an accidental feminist":
Jena Nardella's benediction at the Democratic National Convention.
Sam Portaro writes on the uneasy relationship between politics and religion on the CREDO Spiritual Blog, but also points out that the relationship should not be ignored.
Sister Simone Campbell will speak Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention. According to CNN she refused to have her speech edited by the party:
National Catholic Reporter has offered a translation of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini's final interview that was published in Italian two weeks before his death at the age of 85.
What do you think about the flap over including mention of God and Jerusalem in the DNC platform? From the Los Angeles Times:
The Huffington Post is running a series spotlighting problems that are not being discussed by either political party this election season. As part of this project, Jim Wallis notes that we're looking at the highest rates of poverty this country has seen in 50 years:
The credibility of Catholic bishops on the issue of sexual abuse is "shredded," according to Bishop R. Daniel Conlin,who serves as chairman of the bishops' Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. While he personally believes the Catholic hierarchy has adopted a new "entirely different spirit of openness and accountability," no one seems to be buying into that view, he notes. From USA Today:
Bravo to the Rev. Susan McCann and others in Kansas City fighting a difficult battle to cap interest rates on onerous payday loans.
J. Bartlett Lee, writing on his blog The Theological Wanderings of a Street Pastor, reminds us that no amount of cleverness or pluck will grow your church. First, your church will have to die.
A study by Fuller Youth Institute shows that directly confronting doubt and fundemental questions of faith is essential for effective ministry to young people.
Forbes magazine asks a Jesuit priest, a techie, and a stock analyst if investing in Apple might support an immoral corporation.
Updated 1:51 p. m. Monday Sept 10 The Diocese of Massachusetts has released a statement, which includes the following:
The diocese is cooperating fully with the investigation and is making arrangements for pastoral care for the congregations where Paul LaCharite had affiliations. The Episcopal Church's canonical disciplinary process was initiated upon receipt of the news from the District Attorney's Office.
Updated (9:48 a. m.) with a statement from the Anglican Communion Office that calls the "Anglican presidency" element of the story into question:
Why did Kansas City's Bishop Robert Finn, convicted in criminal court Thursday of failing to report child abuse, work so hard to ignore the sins of pedophile priest Shawn Ratigan? According to testimony, he had wanted “to save Father Ratigan’s priesthood.” One tragic downside to allowing only celibate men to serve as Catholic priests is that it greatly reduces the pool of available priests. I can't begin to stretch my imagination around protecting the priesthood of someone like Fr. Ratigan, but that does seem to be the driving motivation of many church leaders who choose to ignore not just civil law, but what is now canon law of the Catholic church in cases of child sexual abuse.
Faith in the Five Boroughs documents the variety of faiths and their expressions in New York City. Videos explore the diversity.
Dave Walker, popular cartoonist and commentator of all things church-y and quirky, is taking a break from his weekly cartoons in the Church Times.
Carly and Sean Rowe welcomed a new baby girl in to their family last night. Carly is director of Christian Education at St Mark's Erie, and Sean is the bishop of NW Pennsylvania. Lauren was born in the 5th anniversary of her Dad's consecration as bishop. GoErie published a reflection by Bishop Rowe this week on the politics of fear and division and Christianity:
Thinking Anglicans reports: WATCH (Women and the Church) responds to the Church of England House of Bishops Standing Committee:
Thanking our contributors, Lowell Grisham, Linda Ryan, Maria Evans, Bill Carroll, Ian McAlister, and Molly Wolf, who keep Speaking to the Soul filled with thoughtful reflections every day and highlighting today's edition for your evening meditation, read the reflection and watch:
The Rev. William Lamar, managing director of leadership education at the Duke University Divinity School wonders why Christians talks so much about sexual issues without paying closer attention to the rich, varied and challenging Biblical texts dealing with sex and sexual violence. Writing at the Huffington Post he says:
The Rev Alex Dyer has some thoughts about the kinds of thinking that the Episcopal Church needs to cultivate as it contemplates restructuring. Writing for Episcopal News Service, he says:
We almost never publicize conferences on the Cafe, but this one deals with a subject that is particularly close to my heart.
Missional Development Conference
Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Diane Winston challenges polling data which suggests that voters are paying less attention to a candidates religion that they used to. She says:
Writing for Christian Century, Carol Howard Merritt takes a long look at both the strengths and limitations of social media in promoting social change. She says:
Wendy Dackson writing at Layanglicana reflects on the anniversary of 9/11. Used with permission:
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Liturgy for Ash Wednesday)
DC Comics has introduced a new super hero according to Religion News Service:
The Christian Century explores the question of football and morality of violence:
BBC reports that social services in the UK have called for resignation of Bishop Benn.
Social care chiefs do not believe children's safety is assured within services provided by the Diocese of Chichester, letters have revealed.
(We will continue to update this story, but at the bottom of the page)
There are reports circulating that the attack on the American consulate in Libya may have been planned ahead a time, and used the backlash from the film as cover for the operation.
Jessica Testa of BuzzFeed offers images of a peaceful demonstration from Benghazi, the Libyan city where a U.S. ambassador was killed in a consulate attack Tuesday.
Baby boomer Tom Ehrich believes many in his generation are "addicted to control" and should rightfully cede power to the younger set. This is true in political life, and also in our churches, he writes:
The Rev. Janet Appleby has drafted an amendment that has received overwhelming support in the House of Bishops regarding the issue of women bishops in the Church of England.
Leaders of "The Circle of Protection," a broad coalition of church groups concerned about poverty issues, asked Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to create videos explaining their plans to protect the most vulnerable in American society. The candidates' videos were presented yesterday at the National Press Club. Check out their responses here.
Astronaut Michael Collins, who remained in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, led prayers during Armstrong's memorial service at Washington National Cathedral Thursday. He thanked God “for your servant Neil Armstrong, who with courage and humility first set foot upon the moon. Following his example, save us from arrogance, lest we forget that our achievements are grounded in you; and by the grace of your Holy Spirit, protect our travels beyond the reaches of the earth, that we may glory ever more in the wonder of your creation.”
In her homily, Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said that most people assumed that Armstrong’s "burning-bush" moment was the two-and-a-half hours he spent on the moon.
However, she said, Armstrong tended to downplay that experience and worked “for the survival of the only planet we human beings call home.”
The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria is appealing to the government to confront the violent Muslim extremist group Boko Haram. Okoh's rhetoric is significantly more temperate than that of his predecessor Peter Akinola, but he makes it clear that religious violence may spin out of control in his country.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to be discouraged by the hatred and violence that exists, but instead resolve to do something tangible to promote religious tolerance in their own communities.
She spoke at an an Eid ul-Fitr reception, marking the end of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. The speech was in response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in the Middle East, and the deaths of four diplomats in Libya.
A group of 70 clergy and laity within the United Methodist Church has accused retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert of encouraging disobedience to the denomination’s stance on homosexuality. The bishop is a veteran of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and shared a jail cell with Martin Luther King.
The Religious Institute has begun a campaign to obtain thousands of religious leaders’ endorsements of family planning and to make universal access available to all women.
The group is asking for clergy to endorse their new "Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Family Planning," which is "a multifaith call for religious leaders to support family planning from a faith-based perspective."
Women at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Mesa, AZ, have spent the past seven months painstakingly painting and writing in calligraphy the pages of Genesis in an ambitious "scriptorium" project led by parishioner and medieval-art enthusiast Lee Kitts.
Just as the people of Joplin, Missouri, came together after a 2010 tornado ripped through their community, the town's congregrations have rallied around the Islamic Society of Joplin after their mosque was burned to the ground by an arsonist.
The Washington Post tells the story:
Lisa Miller, who writes a weekly column for The Washington Post, says she looks forward with "foreboding" to the Jewish High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah begins tomorrow at sundown.
Catholics for Marriage Equality in Minnesota is producing some simple, moving videos that make the against a proposed amendment to their state's constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.
Dishonesty is complex. Dan Ariely explains why people cheat. With an excursion into the confessional.
Dana Massing of the Erie Times News profiles the choir of the Cathedral of St. Paul.
Voices, young and old, raised in song, give glory to God.
"Hallelujah," they sing. "Praise the Lord."
The official poverty rate in the U.S. has barely budged in 45 years. But that official measure doesn't look at consumption, it looks at income, and as a result it ignores the Robin Hood effect of government anti-poverty programs. This isn't a new criticism, but new research takes it aboard and finds that the programs begun during the Great Society have had a profound effect. Measured by consumption, we are winning the war on poverty.
Brian McLaren spoke with Guy Raz of NPR's All Things Considered last night about his new book, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?.
An couple of excerpts from the story:
The governing body of the Church in Wales met over the weekend to begin considering a topic that will be familiar to Episcopalians: restructuring. The Welsh seem to be approaching restructuring in a more comprehensive way than we Episcopalians have discussed doing to date.
I imagine many of you heard or preached sermons yesterday about Jesus' invitation to pick up one's cross and follow him. Whenever I listen to this passage from Mark's gospel, I am reminded how dangerous it is. I think about all of the times that I picked up the wrong cross, and what it cost me to do so. I think about all of the people who theologize their victimization by assuming that being beaten or cheated or deprived of basic human needs is their "cross to bear." Applied to the wrong situations, the theology of the cross is an invitation to pointless human suffering.
A year ago today, Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park began protests over unjust power and financial structures. Subsequent, substantial coverage for their protests began to follow from there.
The Los Angeles Times uncovers a pattern of not reporting molesters and helping them cover their track:
Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.
Vicki Garvey, Canon for Christian Formation for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago speaks on compassion on the program "30 Good Minutes" from Chicago PBS. This was part of a program featuring:
The New York Times reports on a service where texting in encouraged:
A new text recently discovered seems to indicate that Jesus referred to himself as having a wife. From a Harvard Divinity School press release:
Episcopal Women's History Project has published snapshots of women in the Episcopal Church in various eras from 1655 to 2005:
Buzzfeed offered this story:
A Chicago advocacy group says that the restaurant Chick-fil-A has promised to back away from funding socially conservative groups that have pressed to limit marriage to one man and one woman.
Believe it or not, it is the 10th anniversary of "Talk Like a Pirate Day"!
The Diocese of Delaware is driving off into a new evangelism field...
Fr. James Martin, SJ, says it wouldn't bother him to learn that Jesus had a wife, but he doesn't think it's likely. From the NY Times:
I do find this week's news about the discovery of a tiny piece of ancient papyrus on which is written a reference to Jesus' wife fascinating. I especially enjoyed this piece by the Guardian's religion writer Stephen Bates about the academic debate on all this. He writes:
Literary journalist Daniel Swift has a new book coming out next month, "Shakespeare's Common Prayers: The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age." In a column at the Huffington Post this week, he writes, "The Book of Common Prayer is one of the hidden ingredients of Shakespeare's plays: it is a skeleton beneath the skin of the best-known literary works of our or any time."
A study released today by the Pew Forum shows that religious intolerance is on the rise globally, and that a majority of the world's population live in countries with "high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion," a 5 percent increase percent over the previous year. The Guardian reports:
The Crown Nominations Commission begins their work of choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury next week. Andrew Brown, writing in the Guardian, summarizes the process including a run-down of possible candidates and what's ahead for the next Archbishop.
On Sept. 16, the Rev. Carl Southerland was installed as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, North Carolina, becoming the first Moravian pastor of an Episcopal parish since the two denominations inaugurated a full-communion relationship in 2011.
The Most Rev. Emil A. Wcela, a retired Roman Catholic bishop, says women should be ordained to the diaconate--and, no, this is not a slippery slope.
Writing in America, he says:
The long rise in Americans’ life spans has reversed itself for white people who lack high school diplomas, an increasingly troubled group that has lost four years of life expectancy since 1990.
The New York Times reports:
In 2008, polls showed that more regular-churchgoers voted for John McCain over Barack Obama. It appears that in this cycle, more church-goers are leaning towards Obama and away from Mitt Romney. Is the God-gap closing?
Mark Silk, writing for the Religion News Service, thinks so.
The Planning Board of Albany, New York, has sided with neighbors who objected to the application of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church to tear down their deteriorating and vacant rectory to make way for a prayer garden and parking lot.
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly presents a Pilgrimage of Remembrance and Healing
There have been several items on how boomers need to get out of the way for the next generations. Here is a reflection by Chris Glaser on being a "Has Been." Although I still like one of our essayists, Linda Ryan's comment, "We're dying as fast as we can!":
When technology means you can be working 24/7, how do we find the right balance of work and life? Some companies are instituting a "no e-mail after work hours" policy.
The Washington Post reports:
In the Comment is Free section of The Guardian's website, Theo Hobson has a few things to say about Francis Spofford' new book Unapologetic. He writes of Christian faith:
Like so many of you, I woke up this morning wanting to discuss the age-old question of why God allows there to be evil in the world. (I'm right about this, aren't I? I mean, the Emmys are so last night.) Anyway, unlike most people, I had the advantage of reading "The Problem of Evil" by Sister Bernadette Reis at Busted Halo. She writes:
Writing in Religion Disptaches, Elizabeth Drescher analyzes the commentary surrounding The Gospel of Jesus Wife and concludes:
Apparently Chick-fil-A has pulled a fast one. Here's the story from the Advocate:
Online bettors think the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, will likely be chosen to succeed the Most Rev. Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Clinton Global Initiative has announced that the Rt Rev Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda is among the recipients of annual Global Citizen Awards.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith lost his 19-year-old brother to a motorcycle accident Saturday night.
Smith, the oldest of seven siblings, was a primary caregiver as their mother worked to support the family.
He shared a sad but powerful post on Twitter the next morning:
The Rev. Paul Gordon Chandler is interviewed from Cairo by Episcopal News Service:
Well known Christian speaker, Brian McLaren presided at his son's wedding this weekend as reported in Christianity Today:
Derek Flood, the author of a new book on the death of Jesus, talks about the meaning of that death in the Huffington Post:
Matt Marino, Episcopal Priest and Director of Youth and Young Adults for the Diocese of Arizona writes the blog post: "What so uncool about cool churches?"
Press coverage of the process of choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury
Lauren Markoe of Religion News Service is among the commentators who believe that President Barack Obama yesterday laid out a kind of Obama Doctrine on Religion and Religious Freedom in his speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations. It's five key points, she writes, are
Episcopal priest Micah Jackson writes a blog called The Ministry of Health. The blog focuses on "the transformative journey of health and wellness", especially pertaining to the church and clergy. Jackson writes:
Harvard Divinity professor Karen King says she is "open to questions about authenticity" regarding the papyrus fragment she presented at a conference last week that raised questions about the marital status of Jesus.
Same-sex marriage is “a conservative proposal” consistent with basic Christian teaching and the Christian life, Bishop Greg Rickel argues in a statement to be released in Seattle this afternoon.
Responding to Patrick Hall's Daily Episcopalian post about "Starbucks parents" who drop their kids off for Sunday School and then skip church themselves, Melissa Holloway offers a compelling piece about the unwelcoming nature of too many of our churches:
The Middle East is not the only place where the collision of media and religion can result in violence. Americans have their own history of conflict, often violent, over depictions of God, Christ and the saints in art and film.
There will be no white smoke, and we know that the selection has to go to the Queen via the Prime Minister, but sometime today (or perhaps this weekend) we expect to hear who the next Archbishop of Canterbury will be. Giles Frasier prays that the next Archbishop will be given the gift of controversy. And here is a game you can play while you wait.
Stanley Hauerwas says that the struggle within Anglicanism is a struggle over our basic calling: are we a centralized church that enforces uniformity or a local church bound together in Catholic unity?
The body responsible for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to agree who should be the successor to Dr Rowan Williams.
The Booming blog at the nytimes.com invites readers to tells stories of welcome at their places of worship.
In a world where movie theaters are hard to fill, studios are looking for a hero. Could their savior be found...in the Bible?
A slew of Bible-themed films are on the way which could make for the biggest era of Bible-based epics since the 1950s.
The New York Times reports that theologian and author of The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability, Nancy Eiesland has died: (see comments for error on date)
Ecumenical News International (ENI) reports that a professor at Japan Lutheran College is planning a Noh drama for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation:
ABU DHABI [United Arab Emirates] // The first Anglican priest [deacon] to be ordained in the country made history on two fronts yesterday - she was also among the first women to be ordained in the Arabian Gulf.
Religion Clause reports on the ruling on challenges to the Affordable Care Act mandate to provide contraceptive coverage. The judge knocked down at least three popular arguments against contraceptive coverage
The British press is full of stories about the reported failure of the Crown Nominating Commission to choose a successor for Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury at its recent three day meeting.
Episcopalians are raising their voices on behalf of marriage equality in several states where that issue is on the ballot. In New Jersey, Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark took direct issue with his Roman Catholic counterpart Archbishop John Myers in today's Newark Star Ledger.
Andrew Brown of The Guardian says the Anglican Communion's sexuality wars are ending and the liberals have won. He writes: