Saturday, 29 August 2009

Episcopal church's last rites in Englewood fueled by gay divide

Ed: Just one sad example amongst many.

After a farewell service on Sunday, St. George's Episcopal Church will close its doors just short of its 100th anniversary — the latest parish to disintegrate in part because of the ordination of gay and lesbian priests.

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado will officially deconsecrate the Englewood church, more recently called Holy Apostles, after its short-lived merger with another struggling congregation failed to save it.

"St. George's has been a church in turmoil for decades," said Rosamond Long, a 35-year member of the church. "We managed to get it back on its feet every time. This time, we're not going to be able to do it."

The remaining 30 or so congregants will scatter among other churches.

Even though these traditional, loyal and older Episcopalians did not object to the church's growing acceptance of openly gay clergy, they say, their former priest did.

The Rev. Roger Bower, who came to the church about two years ago along with members of the Church of the Holy Spirit, a startup congregation, left St. George's at the end of June.

By then, most of the new, younger congregants he had brought with him already had drifted away, family by family, alienated by a January announcement by Episcopal Bishop Robert O'Neill that the Colorado diocese would end its moratorium against ordaining partnered gay and lesbian persons.

The older and more staid St. George's members accepted O'Neill's pastoral innovations — but the younger Holy Spirit families, which had a very contemporary worship style, did not. Read more
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Thursday, 27 August 2009

Prominent Evangelical keeps Ramadan

Ed: According to Wikipedia, "Brian D. McLaren is a prominent, controversial voice in the emergent church movement. He was recognized as one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America" in 2005,[1] and is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Maryland."

According to Brian McClaren's own website,

[...] This year, I, along with a few Christian friends (and perhaps others currently unknown to us will want to join in) will be joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21. We are not doing so in order to become Muslims: we are deeply committed Christians. But as Christians, we want to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them. Just as Jesus, a devout Jew, overcame religious prejudice and learned from a Syrophonecian woman and was inspired by her faith two thousand years ago (Matthew 15:21 ff, Mark 7:24 ff), we seek to learn from our Muslim sisters and brothers today. Read more

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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Peter Singer: Architect of the Culture of Death

[...] Humans and non-human animals are fundamentally sufferers. They possess consciousness that gives them the capacity to suffer or to enjoy life, to be miserable or to be happy. This incontrovertible fact gives Singer a basis, ironically, for a new form of discrimination that is more invidious than the ones he roundly condemns. Singer identifies the suffering/enjoying status of all animals with their quality of life. It follows from this precept, then, that those who suffer more than others have less quality-of-life, and those who do not possess an insufficiently developed consciousness fall below the plane of personhood. He argues, for example, that where a baby has Down syndrome, and in other instances of "life that has begun very badly," parents should be free to kill the child within 28 days after birth. Here he is in fundamental agreement with Michael Tooley, a philosopher he admires, who states that "new-born humans are neither persons nor quasi-persons, and their destruction is in no way intrinsically wrong." Tooley believes that killing infants becomes wrong when they acquire "morally significant properties," an event he believes occurs about three months after their birth.

According to Singer, some humans are non-persons, while some non-human animals are persons. The key is not nature or species membership, but consciousness. A pre-conscious human cannot suffer as much as a conscious horse. In dealing with animals, we care only about their quality of life. We put a horse that has broken its leg out of its misery as quickly as possible. This merciful act spares the animal an untold amount of needless suffering. If we look upon human animals in the same fashion, our opposition to killing those who are suffering will begin to dissolve. The "quality-of-life" ethic has a tangible correlative when it relates to suffering; the "sanctity-of-life" seemingly relates to a mere vapor. Read more
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