19 May 2024

9 - 15 May

New Communion network wants Anglican schools to flourish – The Melbourne Anglican  

A new global network hopes to revive the beating heart of the Anglican Church in schools. 

Through this, organisers want to create flourishing Anglican communities across the world. 

They said the Anglican Communion Schools Network aimed to enable principals, chaplains and governors to pray, collaborate and share various ideas and challenges with each other. 

Australian representative the Reverend Peter Laurence said it would encourage them to better promote the principles and values of Anglicanism, including worship and inclusion, among their school students. 

Negotiations between Israel and Hamas are bound to fail if parties ignore the religious dimensions of the conflict – ABC News 

The 7 October attacks orchestrated by the Palestinian organisation Hamas — which targeted Israeli citizens and continues to forcibly hold hostages — ignited a deadly retaliatory response from Israel. 

The air strikes on and ground invasion of Gaza has caused nearly two million Palestinians to flee southward toward the Rafah border with Egypt, even as the Israeli army controls the flow of food, medical supplies, fuel, water, and humanitarian aid to the citizens of Gaza. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labelled the Gaza invasion “Operation Swords of Iron”, promising the Israeli public to fulfill the mission of eradicating Hamas as an organisation. 

Through all this, one key question remains. Are traditional modes of negotiation effective if it ignores the religious framework at play? 

Catholic archbishop’s denouncement of ‘transgender lobby’, legal abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, heavily criticised – ABC News 

A letter to the parents of Catholic school students in Tasmania detailing a list of grievances by the archbishop, including that the church “cannot stand as we experience our freedoms being taken from us”, has been criticised by politicians and LGBTIQA+ advocates. 

The letter, titled “We are Salt to the Earth” and dated May 2, was first sent to Guilford Young College students last week, but has since been forwarded to at least four other Catholic schools in the state. 

Archbishop Julian Porteous takes aim at “radicalised transgender lobby” groups, legal abortion access, voluntary assisted dying and euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and more. 

Why the pacific islands are 90 percent Christian – Christianity Today 

Christian overseas missionaries were more successful in Oceania—the region spanning the Pacific Islands, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand—than anywhere else in the world. 

In particular, people in the Pacific Islands (which include Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga, and more) were receptive to the gospel because “their ancestors’ strong beliefs in a divine presence and in the afterlife made them very open to Christian faith,” wrote Jacqueline Ryle, a contributor to the 2021 reference volume Christianity in Oceania. 

Tongan Australian theologian Katalina Tahaafe-Williams says her research reveals the same: The growth of Christianity in the region was not because of white Europeans but rather due to Indigenous missionaries who translated Christianity in a way that made sense to locals. 

Christianity is changing in South Africa as Pentecostal and indigenous churches grow – what’s behind the trend – The Conversation  

Studies show that South Africa is one of only three countries in the world where religious participation has increased in recent years. The other two countries are Italy and the US. 

The 2022 Census data show that South Africa’s Christian adherence has once again increased. However, the kinds of Christianity that are growing, and those that are declining, tell us some interesting things about the religious, cultural, social and political sentiments of South Africans. 

Only 2.9% of the population claimed to have no religious views at all – this means that 96.1% of South Africans profess or practise some form of faith. Even though COVID-19 restrictions meant a 31% undercount in the 2022 census, the trends are clear. 

For Mormon missionaries, some ‘big, big changes’ – The New York Times 

Andres Gonzalez, 19, stands on the balcony of his Los Angeles apartment, his hands in his suit pockets. It is his first week as a missionary, but today, instead of approaching people on the street, he is shooting a video that he will later post to social media. 

After about a dozen takes, he is successful. “Hello! If you would like to learn more about Jesus Christ,” he says to the camera in Spanish, “contact me.” 

Mr. Gonzalez is the image of the modern missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has changed many of its practices — from how missionaries preach to how they dress. 

India’s election enters fourth phase as rhetoric over religion, inequality sharpens – Reuters 

India voted on Monday in the fourth phase of a seven-week long general election, as campaign rhetoric became more strident over economic disparities and religious divisions. 

The world’s most populous nation began voting on 19 April in a seven-phase election in which nearly one billion people are eligible to vote, with ballots set to be counted on 4 June. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a rare, third straight term in a contest which pits his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party against an alliance of more than two dozen opposition parties, including main rival Congress. 

How faith drives bidder for Telegraph who wields growing influence on Tories – The Guardian 

What links Russell Brand’s baptism in the Thames with Sir Paul Marshall, a co-owner of GB News and potential purchaser of the Telegraph? Both have found salvation through the strand of evangelical Christianity promoted by one incredibly influential church in central London. 

Marshall, a hedge fund boss, is not yet a household name. Yet he is on his way to building a media empire and accumulating political power to rival Rupert Murdoch’s. 

First he launched the website UnHerd, aimed at Westminster opinion-formers, then he helped fund the populist rightwing news channel GB News, and in the coming weeks he will launch a bid to buy the Daily Telegraph. 

Lifestory: Jesuit scientist who bridged faith and science recounted in PBS documentary – Sight Magazine 

In the history of the Catholic Church, too many innovative thinkers were persecuted before they were accepted and then embraced by the church. 

The list includes St Thomas Aquinas (whose books were burned by the bishop of Paris), St Ignatius Loyola (who was investigated by the Spanish Inquisition) and St Mary MacKillop (an Australian nun who was excommunicated by her bishop for uncovering and reporting clergy child sex abuse). 

It’s not surprising, then, that a French Jesuit scientist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who tried to bridge the gap between faith and science, got himself in trouble with church officials and his Jesuit superiors in the 20th century. Only after his death was he recognised as the inspired genius that he was. 

Should we be optimistic about technology? – The Gospel Coalition 

“I’ve heard it said that an optimist invents a hot air balloon, a pessimist a parachute. But don’t parachutes sometimes fail?” writes Stephen Driscoll, an employee at the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students.  

When it comes to technology, Christian tech optimists have a positive view, emphasising that God made humanity to create. Christian tech pessimists on the other hand have a negative view, emphasising sin, noting that technology was created in rebellion against God. 

A common question comes to light in this debate. Who is right?  

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