Suicide leaves scars, not the stain of sin (Commentary) – The Presbyterian Outlook

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and every September I hear that suicide is the unforgivable sin. As a minister and theologian, I understand the rationale.

It goes something like this: Sin is doing something that offends God. It is the pride of trying to be God. And murder is a sin. Because that’s what it says in the Ten Commandments. And because only God can determine life and death. So murder is taking on God’s role. It is a sin. And suicide is an unforgivable sin because if you murder yourself, you aren’t alive to repent of it later.

More generous Christians are willing to admit that all sins are forgiven by Jesus’ work of salvation. In this thinking, suicide is a forgivable sin, but still a sin.

This fear of condemnation may cause many suicidal individuals to pause, stop and choose another path. Because religious fear trumps psychic fear.

But more often, this teaching brings pain to those of us who survive people who commit suicide. It makes us despondent, angry and faithless about a God who won’t forgive our loved ones. Or worse, it makes us judge our family member or friend more harshly in death.

Source: – The Presbyterian Outlook

Archbishop of Canterbury: traditional Victorian family values ‘a myth’

Most Rev Justin Welby has told Christians that they have to face up to modern day society where divorce and same-sex couples are the norm.

He was speaking at a Mothers’ Union sermon and told those gathered that traditional family values are a ‘myth’.

He said: “It is so important to remember that the golden age mythology of stable Victorian values was just that, mythology.

“Family life was under great pressure, especially in the poorest parts of the country.

“Mary Sumner acted out of concern for a terrible situation, in which children were not nurtured, women were at risk, households were not stable and the church was not doing very much about it, other than preaching.”

He said that new family structures are normal and here to stay “whether we agree or not.”

Source: Archbishop of Canterbury: traditional Victorian family values ‘a myth’

Community Rallies to Support Fr. Warren Hall | Bondings 2.0

Catholics and other members of the Hoboken, New Jersey, community gathered to support Fr. Warren Hall, a gay Catholic priest who was recently suspended from ministry by Newark Archbishop John Myers.

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A local clergywoman speaking at the rally

According to NJ.com, parishioners, LGBT community members and other locals gathered in a rally organized by Hoboken Pride and Jersey City Pride to show their support for Fr. Hall. The rally took place at Stevens Park in Hoboken, New Jersey.

In 2015, Hall was assigned by Myers to be a parochial vicar at both St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church in Weehawken, New Jersey, and Saints Peter and Paul Church in Hoboken, after he was dismissed from his position as the Director of Campus Ministry at Seton Hall University for supporting the NOH8 campaign. Onereporter said that the suspension from priestly ministry came after Hall openly supported unofficial LGBT events at the World Youth Day last July, as well as PFLAG New Jersey, Gays Against Guns and New Ways Ministry.

Source:  Bondings 2.0

Pope says welcoming refugees keeps us safe from terrorism

Pope Francis has encouraged Europeans to welcome refugees, calling authentic hospitality “our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.”

Francis Saturday spoke to alumni of Jesuit schools in Europe who were in Rome for a conference on refugees.

The pope said: “I encourage you to welcome refugees into your homes and communities, so that their first experience of Europe is not the traumatic experience of sleeping cold on the streets, but one of warm welcome.”

He said each refugee “has a name, a face and a story, as well as an inalienable right to live in peace and to aspire to a better future” for their children.

“At this place and time in history, there is great need for men and women who hear the cry of the poor and respond with mercy and generosity,” the pope told a group of Jesuit alumni Sept. 17.

Source: Crux

What a gay Christian rocker’s woes tell us about American Christianity | Religion News Service

LGBT Christians finally have a seat at the table. At the turn of the 21st Century, “gay Christian” was considered by many believers to be an oxymoron. Even LGBT people who were committed to celibacy were often shunned. At many churches, if you were gay, you were gone. But much has changed across America and among the faithful.

It’s clear that we have now moved beyond the point where LGBT people are persona non grata in most Christian communities. Many prominent conservative congregations now welcome LGBT people to attend, worship, and even serve. Some Christian conferences have made space on their stages for LGBT people, and a handful of conferences have arisen specifically for gay Christians. Christian publishers have started publishing books by gay Christians and pro-LGBT advocates, and many Christian musicians are pushing for LGBT inclusion in their industry. Christianpastors, theologians, ethicistsleaders, and even the longtime editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, David Neff, have become open and affirming. So LGBT Christians finally have a seat at the table.

Source: Religion News Service

Alberta’s Catholic Schools Receive Poor Grades on LGBT Policies | Bondings 2.0

Catholic school districts in Alberta received poor grades for their LGBT policies, according to a new report from the organization “Public Interest Alberta.”

Professor Kristopher Wells authored the report, “Making the Grade,” after conducting an analysis of the LGBT policies for four school districts. Wells, who directs the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, studied the Grand Prairie Catholic Schools and the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools as part of the report. The Edmonton Journalreported further:

Source:  Bondings 2.0

Parish Welcomes Lesbian Couple Back to Music Ministry with Inclusive Mass | Bondings 2.0

Catholics in Ireland welcomed a lesbian couple back to their parish after a right-wing parishioner pressured the couple to leave last year.

Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan had resigned as choir leaders for St. Michael’s Church in Athy, County Kildare. Last week, they returned to the parish and resumed their roles with overwhelming support from the local community. The couple was interviewed by radio station KFM and said they received public support that “overwhelmed and humbled” them. O’Donnell told The Journal:

“We will never be able to sufficiently thank you, the people of our congregation, the people of our town Athy, for your love, your support and your prayers. Buoyed by all of this support, we as a choir will be returning to sing at 6pm Mass in Athy tomorrow evening. . .It is our wish that the focus should now turn to the love of God and his mercy.”

Source: Parish Welcomes Lesbian Couple Back to Music Ministry with Inclusive Mass | Bondings 2.0