Mary took action

I'm so glad Mary didn't wait for the formulation of a Doctrine of the Incarnation before she said 'Yes' to God."
- Ed Bacon,
rector of All Saints, Pasadena, CA
as quoted on Telling Secrets

Security or opportunity?

Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death.
- James F. Byrnes
as quoted on Bailey's Buddy

Ecumenical News International News Highlights

First woman to lead Church of Norway bishops
Oslo (ENI 21.10.10). The (Lutheran) Church of Norway has for the first time elected a woman as its presiding bishop, although her tenure is for an interim period, the Norwegian News Agency (NTB) reports. Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien of Borg is to succeed Bishop Olav Skjaevesland of Agder, who has held the post since 2006, the bishops' conference in Norway said. Byfuglien's term will end in mid-2011, as the Church of Norway then will have its first permanent presiding bishop based in the country's ancient ecclesiastical capital of Nidaros or Trondheim as it is known now.
US Catholics approve baptism accord with Reformed churches
Baltimore, Maryland (ENInews/RNS 19.11.10). The U.S. Roman Catholic bishops on has approved a mutual agreement with four Reformed Protestant denominations to recognize each other's baptisms as valid, a pact that was six years in the making. Gathered here for their annual autumn meeting, the bishops voted 204-11 to approve the baptism agreement with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, and the United Church of Christ, Religion News Service reports. Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, chairman of the ecumenical and interfaith committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the agreement a "milestone on the ecumenical journey."

Schoolboy Howler

In the middle of the 18th-century, all the morons moved to Utah.

The Missing Gravy Ladle

John invited his mother over for dinner. During the meal, his mother couldn't help noticing how handsome John's roommate was. She had long been suspicious of Johns' sexual orientation and this only made her more curious.
Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between John and the roommate than met the eye.
Reading his mom's thoughts, John volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Mark and I are just roommates."
About a week later, Mark came to John and said, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don't suppose she took it, do you?"
John said, "Well, I doubt it, but I'll write her a letter just to be sure." So he sat down and wrote:
"Dear Mother, I'm not saying you 'did' take a gravy ladle from my house, and I'm not saying you 'did not' take a gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner."
Several days later, John received a letter from his mother which read:
"Dear Son, I'm not saying that you 'do' sleep with Mark, and I'm not saying that you 'do not' sleep with Mark. But the fact remains that if he was sleeping in his own bed, he would have found the gravy ladle by now. Love, Mom."

God's strength and weakness

The cross is a symbol reminding the world that God is at God’s strongest when God seems to be at God’s weakest.
- Choan-Seng Song
Taiwanese theologian
as quoted on God's Politics

Let the snowploughs through!

On a bitterly cold winter's morning a husband and wife in Sunderland were listening to the radio during breakfast. They heard the announcer say, "We are going to have 8 to 10 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the even-numbered side of the street, so the snowploughs can get through".
So the wife went out and moved her car as instructed.

A week later while they are eating breakfast again, the radio announcer said, "We are expecting 10 to 12 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the odd-numbered side of the street, so the snowploughs can get through".
The wife went out and moved her car again.

The next week they are again having breakfast when the radio announcer says, "We are expecting 12 to 14 inches of snow today. You must park......." Then the electric power went out. The wife was very upset, and with a worried look on her face she said, "I don't know what to do. Which side of the street do I need to park on so the snowploughs can get through?"
To which the husband replied "Why don't you just leave the bloody car in the garage this time?"

Thanks to MadPriest! 

Schoolboy Howler

As he walked through his room he heard the sound of heavy breeding.

The value of Christianity

What is the value of a Christianity in which Jesus is worshipped as Lord, but Christian discipleship — "the way of Jesus" — is regarded as largely irrelevant to life in the modern world?
- René Padilla
Argentine Baptist theologian
as quoted on God's Politics

YLE: No Evidence of Homophobia Within the Finnish Defence Forces

Homosexual members of the armed forces in Finland do not face discrimination, according to the Defence Command of the Finnish Defence Forces.
The Defence Command further stated that the armed forces operated as a sub-section of Finnish society, and that homosexuals existed in the army just as they did anywhere else. It stated that no form of homophobic discrimination was permitted within the defence forces.
The Defence Command office was clear that no questions are asked about a person's sexuality either on joining the defence forces or at any point during a person's time within the service. It said that no complaints had been received from members of the armed forces about homophobic discrimination.
Seta, The Finnish NGO which works to protect the rights of sexual minorities, stated that they had received no complaints about homophobia within the Finnish Defence Forces, but commented that no study has yet been carried out on the issue.

YLE 3.12.10

Politics and economics as Christian duties

The Switzerland-based news agency Ecumenical News International recently published a couple of pieces that show that we as Christians have a responsibility for more than just the salvation of souls. As these Asian church leaders show, we must also take a stand in fields like politics and economics, in order to battle injustice, poverty, and over-exploitation of natural resources.
Thank you, Rev. Tabo-oy and Ms. Chhungi, for your inspiring example!

Privatisation deters poor's access to water, say Asian church leaders
Manila (ENInews 1.12.10). More and more poor people in Asia are being deprived of what was once seen as a free "God-given resource", as water has become a paid-for asset controlled by private companies in recent years, say Asian church leaders. "Now considered as a commercial commodity rather than as heritage and a natural resource that should be protected, water … is now being increasingly controlled by private corporations," said the Rev David Tabo-oy, evangelism officer of the Episcopal (Anglican) Church of the Philippines.Tabo-oy was reflecting on "Water as a gift from God and as a human right" during the second day of a 28 November to 3 December consultation on "communities' rights to water and sanitation in Asia" held in Manila.

Wrong reading of Bible story 'legitimises' earth's exploitation
Manila (ENInews 3.12.10). Asian Christian leaders have challenged what they describe as a distorted interpretation of the Bible's Genesis story about God telling Adam and Eve to "subdue" the earth and to "have dominion" over other living species and non-living resources on the planet. "The misinterpretation, which has been blamed on Christians, has helped legitimise the wanton profit-oriented exploitation of the planet and its resources," said Hrangthan Chhungi of the Presbyterian Church of India. She said that the more appropriate translation from Hebrew, the language in which Genesis is written, is "to over-see and take care, rather than to subdue and have dominion".

Previously published on my political blog.

That's bad!

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on 280 Interstate. Please be careful!"
"It's not just one car," said Herman. "It's hundreds of them!"
Thanks to Wounded Bird!