“Modernising” is being respected and catered for nowadays in every aspect and institution of British life. All those old discriminatory practices by stuffy old institutions are being done away. Women priests have abounded and proliferated mightily since that enlightened vote in Synod approved them in 1992. And, in his last speech as Archbishop of Canterbury, [...]
For sale and asking $31 million dollars for a book of Psalms to fund the future ministry and life of Old South Boston Church, USA, a church that appears to be selling its traditional and rare, historic items to fund ministry. One assumes this means social ministry, even so much as aiding the poor. This work is described by the Church in this manner of social Gospel work. So it discerns for itself, and prays will be—with the money from the sale of the book. And other help from God.
The Bay Psalm Book (The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre) is the first fruit of the American press. The first book printed in British North America, it was also the first book entirely written in the Colonies…
Phil Stern is Board Chairman of Old South Boston … Gathered in 1669, Old South Church is steward of storied events and great personages. We opposed the ‘witch’ trials, published the first anti-slavery tract, baptized Benjamin Franklin, hosted the meetings that led to the Boston Tea Party and opened our sanctuary as a recruiting station for the Union Army. Taking our cue from Moses’ “Let my people go!” we have through the centuries championed abolition, civil and human rights, affordable housing, free speech, LGBT rights and equal marriage. We host and author forums on the weighty issues of the day with the purpose of tending to a bruised and battered world with hearts and minds informed and inspired by Christian witness. We take the Bible far too seriously to read it literally. Today we are a diverse and thriving Christian community offering multiple worship services, opportunities for education, Christian formation, direct service and justice advocacy.
So says the Church website, and one can easily say this is an historic American Church in Boston noted for successful works of prophecy of historic dimension.
The first book printed in British North America, it was also the first book entirely written in the Colonies. It was printed in Cambridge, MA in 1640, just twenty years after the landing at Plymouth. Of the first printing of 1,700 copies only eleven copies are known to have survived. Old South owns two. (The discovery of a twelfth complete copy was one of the plot points in David Baldacci’s 2006 novel, The Collectors.)
Phil Stern says of selling the Book of Psalms talking to this Religion Writer in a telephone interview regarding its offering for sale by Sotheby’s, New York City: There are churches that do things out of desperation. Many churches make their decisions way too late, when they are in decline. Old South is growing; it is a strong church. It is an effective church in our community.
“Most religious people in Britain are in favour of assisted suicide,” reports the BBC. This information is supplied by an organisation called the Westminster Faith Debates which claims to have discovered that 82% of religious people – except Baptists, Muslims and Hindus – think that people “have the right to choose when to die” and [...]
Most will agree the Jesuit Roman Catholic Order has been at odds with the Vatican for decades. Never has there been a Jesuit Pope. Now there is and his name is Pope Francis, 79 years old and a former South American Cardinal in one of the most difficult Diocese in South America. In this reflection and comment in opinion on the New Pope that is cast as an American view with its perspective by two Yale Divinity School Professors, this piece is their American statement.
The first viewpoint noted is by Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity and Professor of History at Yale. Born in Gambia and descended from an ancient African royal family and a naturalized U.S. citizen, he is described in the Yale Divinity School publication as a convert to Christianity. The biography was written by Ray Waddle, who is Editor of the school’s, Reflections magazine.
Sanneh was raised in a scholarly, aristocratic Islamic family in Gambia. He knew of Jesus from the Qur’an, but he had no intention of taking interest in Christianity, much less of embracing it. The community expectation was for him to become a Muslim leader and mentor. But as a teenager, his encounters with the story of Jesus took an unexpected turn. He became captivated with Jesus’ plight as described in the Qur’an, then anguished about this godly prophet’s earthly ordeal. It turned into an intellectual and moral struggle for him.
“Jesus was obviously so good, and that made me wonder why he was so hated and rejected. Why should these terrible things happen to him? That bothered me. I decided it could only make sense if God had not abandoned him. The question tormented me: I could not abandon Jesus, or, at the time, Islam either. Jesus’ enemies had enmity toward God. Maybe I too shared such enmity toward God, in which case I needed God’s forgiveness as much as Jesus’ enemies did. All of these things transfixed me on the figure of Jesus,” said Sanneh, who converted to Christianity while still a teenager.
Professor Sanneh points out in the article titled, “Lamin Sanneh: immersed in the drama of world Christianity,” that today only 35 percent of the world’s Christian are in the United States and Europe. His specialty, world Christianity. An Interview with Professor Sanneh in Christianity Today is found here .
April 29, 2013 | Posted in Blogs
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The Future of Faith is a two-part event featuring author and scholar Diana Butler Bass and New York Times Op-Ed columnist Ross Douthat. The events will be moderated by Bob Abernethy, host of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and Lillian Daniel writer and UCC pastor. The program will begin at 3:00 p.m. The first hour will focus on “The Future of Faith: Two Views.” The second hour will will begin at 4:30 p.m. and focus on the “Future of Faith and Church Life.” About the speakers: Ross Douthat is an Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times. Previously, he was a senior editor at the Atlantic and a blogger for theatlantic.com. His most recent book is “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics” (Free Press, 2012). He is also the author of “Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class” (Hyperion, 2005) and the co-author, with Reihan Salam, of “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream” (Doubleday, 2008). He is the film critic for National Review. A native of New Haven, Conn., he now lives in Washington, D.C. Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of eight books, including Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (HarperOne, 2012). Her other books include A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story (HarperOne, 2009), nominated for a Library of Virginia literary award, and the best-selling Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith (2006). Veteran television news correspondent Bob Abernethy is the executive editor and host of RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, which he developed and created for PBS in 1997 and is now marking its 12th season on the air. The half-hour newsmagazine has been widely praised by critics and won numerous awards for its thoughtful and insightful coverage of all religions, all denominations and all expressions of spirituality in American life, as well as for balanced presentation of the profound moral issues facing the nation. Lillian Daniel is senior pastor at First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a board member for Interfaith Worker Justice, and author of When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough (Jericho Books).
April 27, 2013 | Posted in Blogs
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When I hear the word “culture” I reach for the off-switch. In her first speech as Culture Minister, Maria Miller has pledged to do all in her power to wring money out of the treasury to support “the arts.” The very title Culture Minister makes me feel queasy, with its connotations of Commissariats for the [...]
It is almost trite to say Christians enjoy a good sermon. But those who go to worship at Duke University Chapel have the pleasure and good fortune of having strong preachers with a Christian message. The new Dean of the Chapel is in this line of quality preachers, and his administrative skills are not only sound, but up to the task as the months that have passed from his entry in 2012 to this 2013 demonstrate. This Religion Writer has heard of no complaint.
This big job in what is really a large building serves the larger community around the school as well as the University. The new Dean Luke Powery is part of that line of pastors serving both communities. The interview with him done by phone, starting October, 2012 and stretching to this day in April, 2013, tells us much of his ability to pastor and his plans for the Chapel. These segments of conversation in interview were done with Dean Powery from this Religion Writer’s home office in Mill Valley, California, but 11 miles north of San Francisco, to the Dean at his office in the Chapel located in Durham, North Carolina.
One thing noted by the American Press in general of the new Dean Luke Powery is that he is an African-American. Apparently such public information still merits notice, and this is good for he is the first African-American Dean at the University. Times change. There is an African-American in charge who was chosen for his fine work as a Pastor, his administrative skills, and because of his ability to give a Sunday sermon or not.
Not only is his language contemporary in his sermons, sometimes enriching, but his very presence as Dean contemporary as a statement of the times. This Religion Writer thought his background and that he is an African-American brought not only a uniqueness to his importance, but more so, his brilliant grasp of affairs and his meaningful sermons so unique in some ways, yet contemporary and traditional in matters of substance and ways.
Many were shocked the other day when they read some words from the lesbian journalist Masha Gessen: “It’s a no-brainer that homosexual activists should have the right to marry, but I think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we [...]
Why do those who are well-rewarded for being the principal interviewers on the BBC give so many of their studio guests such an easy time? I know the criticism usually goes the other way and the likes of John Humphrys, James Naughtie and Carolyn Quinn are accused of consistent rudeness for not letting their interviewees [...]
BISHOP’S GOT TALENT! – this is my new venture into presenting hit shows for the Saturday evening gormless hour on BBC I. I’m hoping that Tim Ellis, Bishop of Grantham, will compete in the stand-up comedy section. Already he has done some very funny gigs – such as when he was one of the first ever [...]