Fr Stephen Smuts

Archive for November 3rd, 2012

Still

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Because we haven’t had any music on the blog in quite some time:



Be blessed and keep the faith.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 3, 2012 at 21:44

How Some Archaeological Discoveries Come About

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As easily as a dog falling into a hole!

Ancient wine presses have been found in Jerusalem – and will soon be part of a new park – thanks to a resident of Ramot who walked his dog several years ago. The dog fell into a hole and had to be rescued. It later turned out that there are more holes in the vicinity, and that a meaningful archaeological discovery had been made.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat recently inaugurated the designated park, which is planned to become an open Biblical tourist park. The park, which will occupy 30,250 square meters, is located north of Jerusalem Park and northwest of Mitzpe Naftoakh nature park,

Among the discoveries at the location are wine presses from the days of the First Temple, as well as pottery shards and two bronze coins from the Second Temple times. Massive digging at the location has been carried out by the authorities with the participation of local residents and school children.

A full reconstruction of the wine presses is planned, under the supervision of renowned archaeologist Amichai Mazar.

HT

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 3, 2012 at 17:49

Protestant and Non-Liturgical Clergy Discriminated Against?

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As Chaplains in the US Navy:

A federal appeals court has reinstated a long-running lawsuit by a group of current and former military chaplains who claimed the U.S. Navy discriminated against them and so-called non-liturgical Protestant clergy members, including Baptists and Evangelicals.

The chaplains, who filed their original case in 1999, claimed clergy of their religious orders were recommended for promotion by naval selection boards at a significantly lower level than Catholic or liturgical Protestants, meaning their services follow a more standardized ritual.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Friday revived their lawsuit and ordered that additional hearings be conducted to determine if they were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims. A lower court denied the chaplain’s motion for an injunction against the existing naval process, citing a lack of standing and a likelihood that the case wouldn’t succeed.

“To be sure, plaintiffs here never allege that the challenged policies directly authorize discrimination against or require disparate treatment of non-liturgical Protestants. Instead, they assert that these policies facilitate or exacerbate discrimination by chaplains serving on selection boards,” Judge David S. Tatel wrote. “We take the Navy’s point that the asserted causal link between the policies and the alleged discrimination is more attenuated here than in a case where the challenged policies directly authorize the allegedly illegal conduct.”

He went on,

That said, we conclude that plaintiffs’ allegation that the challenged policies will likely result in discrimination is sufficiently non-speculative to support standing. For one thing, chaplains inclined to vote on the basis of their religious preferences may be more likely to do so under the cover of secret ballots. Moreover, it goes without saying that the small size of selection boards gives potentially biased chaplains more influence over the outcome of the proceedings.

Arthur Schulcz Sr., a lawyer representing 65 chaplains and two endorsing agencies, said the existing procedures allow one member of a selection board to vote in secret and veto a promotion. That’s particularly troublesome when the chief of chaplains or his deputy are allowed to serve on those board, Mr. Schulcz said.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure you have a level playing field,” Mr. Schulcz said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, which argued on behalf of the Navy, declined to comment.

I’ve often felt some similarities between the liturgy, and regimental aspects within the military, at least as it is in so-called ‘High-Churches’, those who place a strong emphasis on formality, ritual and the correct execution of movements. I could see why Clergy who are not ‘sloppy’ (for lack of a better word) would function better in the military.

That said and the above news noted, it’s interesting to factor in that the current Chief of Chaplains of the United States Navy is Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd, a Presbyterian. And then there is also this piece from the Navy Chaplain Corps Reform website (the people who brought the above lawsuit):

You will notice than since 1980 there have been three Roman Catholics and four Lutherans in this position.

You will also notice that there was not one Chief of Chaplains from an evangelical denomination until 2006. The early history of the Chaplain Corps was dominated by mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics.

In 1995, Chaplain Larry Ellis did a study of fifteen keys leadership billets in the Chaplain Corps. He looked at the denominations of those who filled those billets from 1980 to 1995. He found that 54% of those billets had been filled by liturgical Protestants, 34% by Roman Catholics and only 12% by nonliturgical Protestants.

That word. Reform.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 3, 2012 at 15:40

Another Syrian Orthodox Church Destroyed

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Appalling!

Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE received an overwhelming email from Archbishop Eustathius Matta Roham (Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Jazirah & Euphrates) which speaks about the destruction of the St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church in Dair Al-Zor, which is located on the Euphrates River. It was destroyed by dynamites on Saturday, 27 October 2012.

Archbishop was reported that there was an explosion near the church, but never had an idea how much damage was done to it. Later a picture published on Facebook.

It was early this summer when our Christian community left Dair Al-Zor, because of the heavy fighting in their town. Many of them were displaced in Hassake, where is the center of the Archdiocese. The community in Dair Al-Zor worked hard for ten years (1994-2004) to build a new church and Al-wahda Private School. The criminals destroyed all this wonderful work in less than one minute.

The Archbishop Eustathius Matta Roham request prayers, good will and action to stop destroying God’s creation.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 3, 2012 at 15:04

The New ESV Bible.org

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The latest version of the ESVBible.org is out.

We are pleased to announce that a redesigned ESVBible.org is now ready for public beta testing. It features a clean, minimal design, improved navigation, mobile web compatibility, and a new platform that sets the stage for future integration with mobile apps.

The new ESVBible.org is now available to all users. If you don’t already have an ESVBible.org account, it’s quick and easy to set one up.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 3, 2012 at 13:03

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Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Row Over Water Bill

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And their bank account blocked:

Standoff over unpaid water bill could result in closure of revered church believed to be site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial.

The Guardian:

One of the most venerated sites in the Christian faith, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, buried and resurrected, is facing a financial crisis over an unpaid water bill in a row that could result in its closure.

The church, which attracts more than 1 million pilgrims each year, has been issued with a 9m shekel (£1.5m) water bill, backdated 15 years to when the supply was taken over by a new company, Hagihon.

As a result of the church’s failure to pay, Hagihon has secured the freezing of the bank account of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, which is jointly responsible for the church’s administration.

The standoff was confirmed by the spokesman for Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, following a report in the Israeli paper Maariv. “It is completely true,” Issa Musaleh told the Guardian. “They have frozen our account. This is a flagrant act against the church.”

According to Maariv, the move has resulted in standing orders being rejected and cheques bouncing. Services which have been affected include telephones, internet and electricity, as well as companies supplying food.

“The church is completely paralysed. We can’t pay for toilet paper. Nothing. Hagihon has declared war on us,” a Patriarchate official told Maariv…

Read on here.

Thousands of Christian pilgrims and tourists jostle each day inside the gloomily lit spaces beneath the church’s dome. Despite the chaotic queues for the most revered sites within the church and the cacophony of chanting priests, tour guides and camera-clicking tourists, for many it is a deeply emotional and spiritual experience.

The original church was built on the site of Jesus’s crucifixion, which was then outside the city walls, in the fourth century.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 3, 2012 at 12:48

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