Saturday, 30 April 2011

Have-a-go hero told he might be charged after tackling yob

John Harvey bravely intervened after a gang of 12 yobs started vandalising a cricket club where he works in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and grabbed the main culprit.

The groundsman at Linden Park Cricket Club called police as he held the teenager telling cops he had caught the yob in the act and they should send an officer to arrest the teen.

But as the 47-year-old was desperately trying to keep hold of the teen as the other yobs - armed with sticks surrounded him - the police operator warned him he could be charged with assault.

Mr Harvey said: "I expected to be thoroughly supported by the police as a civilian and not rebuked.

"I was expecting a response car immediately. I had restrained someone in the act of vandalism and she said 'I must warn you, you are leaving yourself open to an assault charge'." Read more

Thursday, 28 April 2011

University campuses are 'hotbeds of Islamic extremism'

Islamic fundamentalism is being allowed to flourish at universities, endangering national security, MPs and peers said yesterday.

Academics are turning a blind eye to radicals because they do not want to spy on students, a report claimed.

Despite "damning evidence" of a serious problem, little progress had been made in tackling the unsustainable situation, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homeland Security said.

They urged the Government to tackle the issue on campuses with "utmost urgency".

Such extremism "endangers our security at home and has international implications that are serious enough to threaten our alliance relationships", said the group, which includes the former home secretary Lord Reid. Read more

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Bishop of Chelmsford's Easter Morning sermon

[...] Perhaps Mary was able to stand and wait at the tomb, because she had also stood and waited at the cross. When the others had gone, she remained.

Can we do the same? Can we look long at the cross of Christ; can we linger at the tomb. For if we do, beauty, truth, hope is ours; even this: a share in the resurrection of Christ.

So look again. Do you see? Blood and water flow from Christ’s wounded heart? And from the scars of his passion flowers grow, the green shoots of something new.

It happened in a garden. It happened in spring, when flowers are blooming. Mary Magdalene stood in the garden on the dawning of the first Easter day and she beheld the Risen Christ. It can be so for us today, this Easter. No, Mary didn’t recognise him at first. But when he spoke her name she knew him.

Do you believe that Christ calls your name today? That he loves you? That he is looking for you? That he has a purpose for your life? Read more

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Atheist Ricky Gervais – A Better Christian than Christians?

Are atheists better Christians than Christians are today? Famous comedian and English actor Ricky Gervais likes to think so.

Posting a holiday message for Easter entitled “Why I’m A Good Christian” in The Wall Street Journal, Gervais, a professing atheist, revealed that he is a “good Christian” compared to a lot of Christians.

To prove his point, he outlined the Ten Commandments and analyzed how he faired against each law. Giving himself a 10 out of 10 – passing all counts of murder, idolatry, and blasphemy – Gervais considered his perfect score “not bad for an atheist.”

The thrust of his message, however, was not focused on his own tallied “goodness,” but rather the lack of goodness in Christians today. Read more

Friday, 22 April 2011

Hope and change? A national gloom descends over Obama’s America

[...] Coming on the heels of two other major polls which show declining support for the president and mounting unhappiness with his handling of the economy, this latest New York Times poll will make the White House exceptionally nervous. There are renewed fears across America that economic growth is once again stalling, dragging down job creation and consumer confidence, and resulting in a 13 percent jump this month in the number of Americans who feel the economy is worsening. A national gloom has descended over Obama’s America, with potentially far reaching consequences for the 2012 elections, a contest that will largely be decided by debates over the economy. Hope and change is in the air, but not quite of the kind the Obama presidency envisioned. Read more

There's no such thing as 'big society' – just many small ones, under steeples

[...] As neighbourhood facilities such as the post office, the shop, the pub, the surgery, the police house, the branch library and the village school disappear, it is ironic that the one ubiquitous beacon of local community in a secular society is one that has stood since the middle ages, the church steeple. Its architecture may seem archaic, even alien. It might stand guard over a bleak cavern of a nave, filled much of the time with bats and ghosts. Its churchyard might be a gaunt, unusable waste, defying property developer and diocesan treasurer alike. But there it stands, a majestic, incontrovertible, everlasting fact – 10,000 Anglican churches alone are listed and untouchable.

The difficulty for the church, and especially the Church of England, is to find some synthesis between often furiously opposing views on the future of these buildings. Antagonism is not confined to atheists, to whom churches can anyway be places of beauty, but within the faith community itself. To many Christians, old buildings are irrelevant to belief – a distraction, an expense and a historical encumbrance, summed up in the evangelical catchphrase, "The church is not a church". I have lost count of the number of vicars, churchwardens, guidebooks and notices all vigorously asserting "this church is not a museum".

Anglican churches are museums, and should be proud of the fact. They are not just buildings devoted, in some sense of the phrase, to the muses of learning and the arts. They are also places for the display and enjoyment of the relics of a community's past and present. The church is where the rituals of life and death take place, where the dead in war and peace are remembered, where family is respected and recorded. Read more

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Banished for his Christian beliefs: Now electrician who had a cross in his van is thrown out of depot

The electrician making a stand over his Christian beliefs was yesterday thrown out of his workplace of 15 years for displaying a cross to mark Easter.

Colin Atkinson was told he had ‘violated’ his contract by revealing he had been disciplined for having the symbol on the dashboard of his company van.

Senior managers told the 64-year-old grandfather he could no longer work at the depot because he had ‘upset his workmates’. He has been moved to another depot but fears he will be sacked in days.

Despite Wakefield District Housing’s ‘anti-Christian’ rules, Mr Atkinson’s boss, Denis Doody, is allowed to display a poster of communist revolutionary Che Guevara in his office.

Read more

Andres Serrano's Piss Christ destroyed by Christian protestors

When New York artist Andres Serrano plunged a plastic crucifix into a glass of his own urine and photographed it in 1987 under the title Piss Christ, he said he was making a statement on the misuse of religion.

Controversy has followed the work ever since, but reached an unprecedented peak on Palm Sunday when it was attacked with hammers and destroyed after an "anti-blasphemy" campaign by French Catholic fundamentalists in the southern city of Avignon.

The violent slashing of the picture, and another Serrano photograph of a meditating nun, has plunged secular France into soul-searching about Christian fundamentalism and Nicolas Sarkozy's use of religious populism in his bid for re-election next year. Read more

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Muslim Council: women cannot debate wearing veil

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that not covering the face is a "shortcoming" and suggested that any Muslims who advocate being uncovered could be guilty of rejecting Islam.

In a statement published on its website the MCB, warns: "We advise all Muslims to exercise extreme caution on this issue, since denying any part of Islam may lead to disbelief.

"Not practising something enjoined by Allah and his Messenger… is a shortcoming. Denying it is much more serious." Read more

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Rob Bell and Love Wins, Article by Simon Vibert

[...] Unhelpful advanced publicity
The short video promotional focused on a response he records in chapter one of the book: “Gandhi’s in hell.  Really? … Has God created millions of people over tens of thousands of years who are going to spend eternity in anguish?”  Surely this served no other purpose than to stir up an unholy ferment ahead of publication.
 Unhelpful reactions
Following the initial publicity some initial comments, including from high profile speakers, were quite sharp.  I do not think that it helps to respond in this hasty way before the book was published and available for careful review.
Better was the debate between John Stott and David Edwards in Essentials which is a great model of how to disagree agreeably! See also chapter 6 of their book for extended discussion on Judgement and Hell.
Ultimately an unhelpful book
Bell begins with a key question:
Have billions of people been created only to spend eternity in conscious punishment and torment, suffering infinitely for the finite sins they committed in the few years they spent on earth?
 I think the Bible seems to say: quite probably; Bell thinks no.  Surely the point is God never made me the Judge!
 Of course we do not know the answer to every question.  But some things are very clear: God will judge the wicked and the only way to be saved is through faith in the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross.  James 3 instruction to teachers sounds a sharp warning, Bell!

Read more

Diocese of Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant

[The Episcopal News, Los Angeles] -- Thanking the Anglican Communion for “taking this time of discernment” to develop the proposed Anglican Covenant, elected representatives of the Diocese of Los Angeles have issued a response declining to endorse the document.

"We cannot endorse a covenant that, for the first time in the history of The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion, will pave the way toward emphasizing perceived negative differences instead of our continuing positive and abundant commonality," states the response, signed jointly by the diocese’s bishops and General Convention deputation. Read more