Holy iPhone

We all are inspired by the holidays to reconnect with our faith. Well, I heard a piece on NPR that said that technology is making it that much easier. They called it Religion 2.0.

Technology is producing a new form of religious interaction that pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders are embracing. There are over two dozen Bible apps for smart phones. And beyond Scripture, people are using gadgets for devotional purposes to enrich their lives.

You can listen to the three minute story or read the transcript at: http://tiny.cc/Holy_iPhone

Advertisements

Go Terps! UM President Keeps Commencement Prayer

The University of Maryland, College Park will retain its tradition of offering a prayer before its commencement exercises, university President C.D. Mote Jr. said Thursday. His decision to maintain the two-minute prayer and moment of silence runs counter to a recommendation this week from the University Senate, which voted 32-14 to stop it. The Senate is composed of students, faculty and staff, and advises Mote on major issues. Senators had said the prayer was noninclusive and not appropriate for a public institution. But in a statement, Mote said, “For many people, a prayer of gratitude and a moment of reflection are an important part of our commencement tradition.” A prayer has been a long-standing part of the university’s graduation; a moment of silence was added in 2007.

Washington Post Story:  Invocation at U-MD Graduation to Continue

Say a Little Prayer: Religious People Less Anxious

Research from the University of Toronto found that those who believe in God have less anxiety and stress than those who are not as religious.

To test the theory, the university’s assistant professor of psychology Michael Inzlicht conducted two studies in which he hooked participants up to electrodes to test their brain activity.

The result indicated believers and non-believers have significant differences in their brains.

According to Inzlicht, the religious participants had a lot less activity going on in the portion of the brain that signals when attention or control is needed because a person is producing anxiety.

“You could think of this part of the brain like a cortical alarm bell that rings when an individual has just made a mistake or experiences uncertainty,” Inzlicht said, who teaches and conducts research at the University of Toronto Scarborough. “We found that religious people or even people who simply believe in the existence of God show significantly less brain activity in relation to their own errors. They’re much less anxious and feel less stressed when they have made an error.”

Inzlicht’s report appears online in the journal Psychological Science.

Her Silent Prayer

Within the United States, one out of every four American women will experience violence by an intimate partner sometime during her lifetime. One out of every six women will be raped during her lifetime.


Domestic violence is both a national and a worldwide crisis. According to a 2000 UNICEF study, 20-50% of the female population of the world will become the victims of domestic violence.

African-American women experience more domestic violence than White women in the age group of 20-24. However, Black and White women experience the same level of victimization in all other age categories.

R&B singer Chris Brown was charged with assaulting his pop-star girlfriend Rihanna here Thursday as gruesome details about the alleged attack emerged for the first time. Read full story: http://tinyurl.com/cuqjxb

bluetears

Her Silent Prayer


I stand and wipe the tears from my eyes

No one knows, no one to realize

The home I live in is not safe

The bruises are hid and not on my face…

The pain inside, I hide so well

No friends for me, no one to tell…

With family away and will never see

For I keep the secret deep inside of me…

Hiding the pain and living a lie

Never complain and try not to cry…

A part of me dies with each new mark

I’m so afraid as I stand in the dark…

No longer can I take the pain

I am not the one to blame….

This love hurts and should not be

God please send an angel for me…

© Copy rite- Mattie (Deaton) Herald 2001

Winner of the “Editors Choice Award” 2001

Book: A Sublime Remembrance” (ISBN: 0-7951-5065-2)

A Prayer to Mark World Aids Day

Lord, make me an instrument of peace:  

What concrete steps can we take to promote peace and reconciliation in situations of conflict, violence and sexual exploitation to help reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS and promote a culture of peace and reconciliation?

Where there is hatred, let me sow love:  

How can we create welcoming communities of faith for persons living with HIV/AIDS and those affected by AIDS and eliminate all instances of discrimination and social stigma?

Where there is injury, pardon:  

Do we hold those who are living with HIV/AIDS as evil, immoral persons?   How can we set them free and allow them to discover the face of God in their current situations?

Where there is division, unity:  

Do our fears and prejudices lead us to commit acts of violence against our sisters and brothers living with HIV/AIDS?

Where there is darkness (untruth), light (truth):  

Can we preach and speak about HIV/AIDS openly, exploring its origins, its impact, and the fears we have about it?   Can we begin to speak the truth in the light, in our parish communities, our religious houses, and everywhere?

Where there is doubt, true faith:  

Can we reach out to one another, particularly our brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS, in a way that restores faith in God?   Can we draw upon the power of resurrection to remove all fears, fears of contagion that lead us to reject or withdraw our love and support from persons living with HIV/AIDS?

Where there is despair, hope:  

How are we fostering communities of hospitality, receptivity, and healing where our brothers and sisters can find ‘home’, a place of welcoming and love.

Where there is sadness, new joy:  

Do we recognize the power and grace in our brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS?   Do we allow ourselves to be ‘evangelized’ and transformed by the witness of our sisters and brothers living with HIV/AIDS?

 

 

Prayer for World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day. On that day and on the Sundays nearest it, people and churches around the world will be praying in response to the AIDS pandemic.No region is unaffected; no person is untouched. Here, too, while AIDS is less visible and less prevalent than it is in some countries, many among us are living with, or affected by HIV and AIDS, and need prayers, love and support.

Dear God, we ask you to walk with us in our HIV and AIDS filled world.

We pray expecting Your presence among us!

Be with all who live with the effects of this disease.Be with those who wait to die because they have no access to medication.
Be with children who received HIV as a legacy from their parents.Be with orphans and families who have lost loved ones.
Be with countries who have millions of citizens with HIV/AIDS.
Be with all who are stigmatised and ignored because they have HIV or AIDS.Be with politicians and corporate executives who control access to affordable medications.
Be with researchers and scientists who work to find a cure.
Be with healthcare workers and caregivers who comfort and encourage.
Be with all who have lost hope because of HIV and AIDS.

Lord, we hear the angel’s song of peace!

Fill the hearts of people around the world with good will so that together we can work for justice and healing for all who suffer from HIV and AIDS.Amen.

The prayer above comes from the Diakonia Council of Churches, based in Durban, South Africa (www.diakonia.org.za) who have kindly given permission for its reproduction.

Dying Young, Violently and Black

I have posted twice on the death of professional football player Sean Taylor. But I feel compelled to discuss it once again, from a slightly different perspective.

One of my favorite columnists Michael Wilbon is being lambasted in the blogosphere for his column titled “Dying Young, Black”. His colleague at the Washington Post, Leonard Shapiro is getting his share also for “Taylor’s Death Is Tragic but Not Surprising”.

Both Wilbon and Shapiro are my age, in fact Wilbon and I were college chums. While these two “old school” journalists’ columns may have been tactless and untimely, they are clear expressions of the frustration so many of us “old school” folks feel.

We find ourselves in a time when young men, especially young black men, glorify and glamorize violence. They “embrace it, claim it, and refuse to divorce themselves from it,” regardless of their success or new circumstances. It appears throughout our culture via music, TV and language, and manifests itself in real lives and deaths:

Black Americans accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005 but were the victims of about 15 percent of all of the nonfatal violent crime and about 49 percent of all homicides, according too the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Blacks were victims of an estimated 805,000 nonfatal violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault) and of about 8,000 homicides during 2005.

When I learned that Taylor had been shot and critically wounded, I discussed it with my 14 year old who is a big fan, then offered and posted a prayer for Taylor and his family. As I watched the coverage after his death I heard quotes like, “A ridiculous and unnecessary tragedy” and “This is the worst imaginable tragedy,”

All true, but what about…

  • 240 homicides in Miami-Dade County last year, 46 of whom were teenagers or younger
  • 170 killings in the District of Columbia in 2007
  • a 102 per 100,000 Population Homicide Rate for Black Males 18-24 (by comparison, it is 12.2 for white males of the same age)

All of those statistics are some mother’s child. While I am sure the outpouring of grief and shock in response to Taylor’s death is heartfelt and sincere, I am also confident that were it not for his prowess on the football field, Taylor’s passing would probably have been just another head counted in the growing tally of dead young black men.