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Needed: New Approaches for Britain PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 June 2008 16:47

Written by Joe Waters

Godspy has an interesting opinion piece by Austen Ivereigh up now about the “Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill” that recently passed the House of Commons.

Though the passage of this bill is certainly a setback for the pro-life movement in Britain, it should also serve as a call to a greater practical commitment to life in British society, particularly through the dedicated involvement of lay people willing to respect and affirm life through their own actions and initiatives. The policy statements of the bishops and the minority of committed pro-lifers in the Commons failed to stop the progress of this bill. Perhaps, now it is time for Christians in Britain (and indeed throughout Europe and America) to step back and return to basics, and seek to change the laws and culture “from the bottom up” like William Wilberforce did in the 18th and 19th centuries when he embarked upon another sort of campaign in defense of human life. There are some excellent opportunities here for lay people to work effectively in the public square on these issues, but we must first recognize that our commitment to life extends beyond the voting booth, policy statements, and Marches for Life.

More initiatives from the grassroots that seek to promote respect for life, especially through crisis pregnancy centers, care for babies with disabilities or terminal illnesses, the care of the poor and sick whose lives are considered “worthless” by the culture, and other efforts to dissuade women from abortion and convince the public of the immorality of abortion by boundlessly loving mothers and children will go a long way in turning the tide of popular opinion just as the human faces of slaves and the exemplary witness of committed Christians did nearly 200 years ago. Without a doubt, this bill is a huge defeat for the pro-life movement on the public policy front, but it opens up tremendous opportunities for new, innovative initiatives in Britain and should encourage those of us who live elsewhere to a renewed commitment to work on behalf of life.

Whatever is Truly Christian PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 12:26
As those of you who have read ID for a while know, we periodically get mystery visits from commenters who drop in to accuse me of importing categories, ideas, or practices from my Protestant past and in so doing, distorting the faith. Some of these commenters have made it clear that they don’t consider Protestants to be real Christians and that we have nothing at all to learn from them.

There was a similar conversation over at Dr. Philip Blosser’s blog last fall in which a commenter was asserting that Peter Kreeft, Cardinal Avery Dulles, and Louis Boyer were all converts whose ecclesiology showed the contaminating influence of their Protestant pasts.

At which point Dr. Blosser, a champion of the Traditional Mass, asked a most pertinent question:

Let’s get to the point: Here’s a Catholic teaching and tradition. I would like you to comment on it. It says:

“… Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments from our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brethren. It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood. For God is always wonderful in His works and worthy of all praise.”

But wait. That’s not all:

“Nor should we forget that anything wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren can be a help to our own edification. Whatever is truly Christian is never contrary to what genuinely belongs to the faith; indeed, it can always bring a deeper realization of the mystery of Christ and the Church.”
Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio) (1964), I, 4.

Dr. Blosser's question:

What do you think Mother Church is teaching us here? Which “truly Christian endowments” and “riches of Christ and virtuous works” among our separated brethren do you think could be described as “genuinely [belonging] to the faith,” “wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren” and, moreover, could be considered as “a help to our own edification” as Catholics, bringing us to “a deeper realization of the mystery of Christ and the Church?”

Dr. Blosser notes: “first, that the Decree is not even discussing Catholic converts here, but non-Catholic Christians; and, second, that the Decree is not stating merely that certain endowments and works of non-Catholic Christians are compatible with Catholic teaching or belong to “our common heritage, but that they may serve to edify Catholics.

As Dr. Blosser added: “Your comments, please.”

And I will add: lets keep to the topic. What about your experience of non-Catholic Christians has inspired you, challenged you, edified you, or has brought you to a deeper realization of the mystery of Christ and the Church?

If you believe, contrary to the Church's teaching that the term “non-Catholic Christian” is an oxymoron, and that they have nothing that we could benefit from, this is not the conversation for you. The usual rules around here apply.
Benedict's New Encyclical PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 09:32
What is particularly interesting in this brief news piece from the Cutting Edge News about the new Encyclical ( tentatively entitled Caritas in Veritate (Charity/Love in the Truth) is the public acknowledgement of the team helping the Pope write it:

In his encyclical, the cardinal said, “[Pope Benedict] does not want to repeat obvious truths of Catholic social teaching," but will apply Church teachings to contemporary problems. “I am thinking of globalization and other problems, like the food crisis and climate change," Cardinal Bertone said.

Il Giornale's Andrea Tornielli reported last week that the committee working with the Pope on the encyclical includes the Pope's recently-named successor as archbishop of Munich and Freising, Reinhard Marx, a specialist in Catholic social teaching; the top two officials of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino and Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi; and Stefano Zamagni, a lay Italian economist.

It makes perfect sense and is very much in keeping with the Church's understanding of the laity that the Pope should call upon the competence of lay experts when considering the application of Catholic social teaching in such areas. We know that there were significant lay contributions to the drafts of some Second Vatican Council documents, for instance. But I've not seen this sort of collaboration acknowledged in advance so clearly before.
"No Go" Areas in Britain for Christian Evangelists? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 09:28
And yet another sign of our times. From the Telegraph again.

A police community support officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham.

The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a "hate crime" and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned. The incident will fuel fears that "no-go areas" for Christians are emerging in British towns and cities, as the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, claimed in The Sunday Telegraph this year.

Arthur Cunningham, 48, and Joseph Abraham, 65, both full-time evangelical ministers, have launched legal action against West Midlands Police, claiming the officer infringed their right to profess their religion.

Mr Abraham said: "I couldn't believe this was happening in Britain. The Bishop of Rochester was criticised by the Church of England recently when he said there were no-go areas in Britain but he was right; there are certainly no-go areas for Christians who want to share the gospel."

Last night, Christian campaigners described the officer's behaviour as "deeply alarming".

The preachers, both ministers in Birmingham, were handing out leaflets on Alum Rock Road in February when they started talking to four Asian youths.

A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs. They said when the officer realised they were American, although both have lived in Britain for many years, he launched a tirade against President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Cunningham said: "I told him that this had nothing to do with the gospel we were preaching but he became very aggressive. "He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station." The preacher refused to give the PCSO his address because he felt the officer's manner was "threatening and intimidating".

The ministers claim he also advised them not to return to the area.

As he walked away, the PCSO said: "You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned".

West Midlands Police, who refused to apologise, said the incident had been "fully investigated" and the officer would be given training in understanding hate crime and communication.

The One Ring? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 09:18
I am being besieged with quirky but noteworthy bits of information. Via the Telegraph.

The National Trust of Britain is urging people to visit 50 hidden gems among the thousands of wonderful houses, gardens, and historic and cultural sites administered by the Trust. For the literati among us. Some descriptions are particularly intriguing. Be sure to read to the end.

Writers' homes

Coleridge Cottage Somerset
Here Samuel Taylor Coleridge roamed the countryside with Wordsworth, and wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan and This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison among others. The house survived years of use as 'Moore's Coleridge Cottage Inn', but still boasts several personal mementos, and the adjacent garden, with its Lime Tree Bower. 01278 732662

Coleridge Cottage Somerset
Here Samuel Taylor Coleridge roamed the countryside with Wordsworth, and wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan and This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison among others. The house survived years of use as 'Moore's Coleridge Cottage Inn', but still boasts several personal mementos, and the adjacent garden, with its Lime Tree Bower. 01278 732662

Bateman's East Sussex
Rudyard Kipling's attractive Jacobean home is preserved as he left it in 1936, crammed with oriental paraphernalia. Highlights include the original illustrations for The Jungle Book, and Kipling's Phantom I Rolls-Royce. 01435 882302

Hardy's Cottage Dorset
Thomas Hardy lived here until he was 34, writing Far from the Madding Crowd and Under the Greenwood Tree under its thatched roof. 01305 262366

Max Gate Dorset
Hardy designed this house in 1885. His father and brother built it while he wrote The Mayor of Casterbridge, and he lived here until his death, enjoying the success of Jude the Obscure and Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and entertaining Kipling, Woolf and Shaw among others. 01305 262538

Greenway Devon
Home to Agatha Christie and her husband. Mr and Mrs Max Mallowan, as they were known locally, fell in love with the sea views and exquisite gardens, buying Greenway in 1938. They kept diaries on the variety of flora and foliage at their cherished holiday home. Christie's family remained there until 2000, when it was given to the Trust. 01803 842382

Hill Top Cumbria
Beatrix Potter gave this 17th-century cottage to the National Trust, providing that everything was preserved just as she had left it. She created some of her best-loved characters here, such as Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck. 015394 36269

The Vyne Hampshire
The 16th-century house's treasures include a 5th-century gold ring. Decades after the ring was found, a Roman tablet was uncovered referring to this distinctive ring, cursing the person who had stolen it. J.R.R. Tolkien was advising on excavations at the temple; this ring is said to have inspired his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Death Threats Received by California Based Iranian Mission PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 08:59
A California-based evangelical outreach to Iranians is receiving death threats.

"According to International Antioch Ministries (IAM), callers from Iran are threatening their workers with disfigurement, injury and death.

Farzaneh, an IAM telephone counselor taking phone calls from Iran during IAM’s daily broadcasts into Iran, was threatened by someone who identified himself as Heydar Amiri:

“One day you will see that the building of this church will collapse on all of you, we know your address very well and know where you are located. We do not let you continue your programs like this anymore. Shedding your blood in Islam has a reward for me.”

Bahnoosh, another telephone counselor, relayed this threat:

“One day a bomb will go off in your church and will make you all vanish, because you are all blasphemers.”

IAM believes that these terrorist threats are being fueled by the success of IAM’s satellite broadcasts into Iran. As a result of these broadcasts, according to IAM, the number of Muslims embracing Christianity in Iran is growing dramatically.

The You tube video below includes recording of one such call with translation, the text of other death threats, and then the story of an Iranian woman's freedom from drugs (with English translation)

IAM is part of 24-hour satellite TV broadcasts into Iran that have been a catalyst for bringing many Iranian Muslims to Christ. IAM plants churches, trains Iranian-speaking Christian leaders for ministry and provides humanitarian support to Iranians worldwide. IAM's California-based church plant, The Iranian Christian Church, is the largest MBB (Muslim Background Believer) church in the USA.

Dr. Hormoz Shariat, president of IAM and senior pastor of The Iranian Christian Church said, “Our broadcasts are a benefit to the people of Iran. During our daily two-hour, live, call-in TV broadcasts, we often receive callers from Iran who have severe personal problems and we offer them comfort, healing and hope. Some are suffering from drug addiction, depression, contemplating suicide or are trapped in a life of prostitution all of which are epidemic in Iran. Every day, we get calls from Iran from people who report that their lives have been changed, they have been set free from addictions, and their families have been restored. We are making a positive difference in Iran and are saving lives.

“We are very careful to show respect to Islam and to Mohammad. So we are doubly concerned about these threats since we have done nothing to merit these terror tactics in all our broadcasts except to hold up Jesus, which all Muslims honor. These terror threats will only increase our resolve to continue and expand our good work in our beloved Iran.”

Papal Prayer Intentions for June PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 08:56
Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for June:

His general prayer intention for June is "That all Christians may cultivate a deep and personal friendship with Christ, in order to be able to communicate the strength of His love to every person they meet."

And his mission intention is "That the International Eucharistic Congress of Quebec in Canada may lead to an ever greater understanding that the Eucharist is the heart of the Church and the source of evangelization."
Endless Supplies of Hot Air Around Here PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 08:43
On the signs of summer here is the sight of multiple hot air balloons rising in the early morning light, catching the air currents off the Rockies.

This morning, much excitement as a balloon cruised right over the house, not more than 30 feet above us and looked like it was going to land in the park behind. At the last moment, the pilot managed to rise again and when last seen, looked like he was about to land in even more inhospitable territory a bit east of us.

Got some pictures but don't know how good they were since camera was facing into the sun.

If they were any good, I'll post them later.
World Youth Day According to Starbucks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 08:30
Interesting little World Youth Day vignette from an Aussie applying for work at Starbucks in Sydney:

***Coming up soon in Sydney is World Youth Day, which is supposed to bring more people to Sydney than the Olympics. At the two Starbucks I spoke with, they were discussing how the stores were going into 9 man deployment and how someone with US experience would be perfect.

Hords of Seattle seduced, latte swilling Yankee Catholics descending . . . giving rise to scenarios like this:

I'll have a triple grande sugar free cinnamon dulce latte half-half with whip - and 30,000 Americanos to go, please. Yes. This will be on my credit card.
Blogger is Up! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 08:28
Hurrah! I can finally get on. Blogger was down and just when I had a number of tasty bits to blog. More in a bit.
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