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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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But I need to say, and can hardly say it enough, undergirding it all—felt at times in palpable ways—the prayers and intercessions from tens of thousands of the saints within the diocese and around the world upholding us in prayer. Some of these intercessors came to the courtroom to pray while testimonies and cross-examinations were taking place. Others of you prayed from home, perhaps on a lunch break, or while driving to and from your work place. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Read it all.
Latest news Diocese of SC and on Facebook and Twitter
July 6: A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Mark Lawrence Regarding the Upcoming Trial
July 26: South Carolina Diocesan Trial Day 14—Drama Ends with the Testimony of Bishop Mark Lawrence
July 26: An AP Article on the South Carolina Episcopal Court Case as it Wound up this week
July 26: New TEC Diocese in SC offers More Reports from the trial in Dorchester County
July 25: Diocese of South Carolina Trial—Jeremy Bonner gives an account of Yesterday’s proceedings
July 24: Trial Day 13: Expert in Religious History Allen Guelzo Testifies TEC Holds No Control Over Dioceses
July 24: Diocese of SC Day 12: TEC Uses Bishop vonRosenberg to Claim Dioceses Can’t Leave
July 23: Diocese of SC Trial Day 11-TEC Spends Day Making Arguments Judge Rules Irrelevant
More articles follow by clicking on the "read more" link below...
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Polity & Canons * Admin Featured (Sticky) * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina
When asked if he had planned to lead the diocese out of TEC, he said, “Absolutely not.” He explained that no one had ever asked him to lead the diocese out and said it only decided to leave after TEC had taken steps to remove him as bishop – violating its own process for doing that.
The bishop also contradicted testimony from earlier in the week, in which TEC witnesses claimed that the denomination has supreme authority over its dioceses and congregations. The bishop said that he shared the opinion of 14 other bishops that TEC has no actual authority over its member dioceses.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina * Theology
 A review of the evidence presented in this case, including testimony from Dr. Mullin, the Church's own witness, does not clearly demonstrate the existence of a hierarchical relationship between the Diocese and the Church. Indeed, the Church's authority is not readily ascertainable without an impermissible investigation into matters of polity. Moreover, the central matter underlying the parties' dispute is: "who owns the disputed property." Determining whether the Diocese could leave the Church or identifying the leaders of the continuing diocese is unnecessary for purposes of answering that question. Again, such determinations would necessarily involve an extensive inquiry into church polity. With regard to the issue of the disputed property, however, we agree with the trial court it can be resolved by applying neutral principles of law.
 An examination of the evidence reveals nothing to demonstrate an express trust, an implied trust, or any other interest vested in the Church. As stated, neither the deed nor the Discretionary Agency Agreement provides for an express trust in favor of the Church. Further, our review of the Diocese's constitution and canons does not suggest diocesan assets were ever impliedly held in trust for the Church. After Jones, the Church adopted a trust canon (Title I.7.4, referred to by the parties as the Dennis Canon). That canon provides parish property is held in trust for the Diocese and Church and restricts a parish's ability to dispose of its property. However, it appears undisputed the Church's canons do not contain similar language with respect to diocesan property being held in favor of the Church. In addition, Bonner testified the Dennis Canon does not apply to property owned by a diocese. Our review of the record reveals nothing to suggest the opposite conclusion. Accordingly, the trial court's findings in this regard are not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
 In sum, the evidence presented demonstrates title to the funds and real property lies with the Diocese. Following our review of the record, we cannot say the trial court's findings were arbitrary, unreasonable, or not otherwise based on the evidence. Nor can we say the opposite conclusion is clearly apparent in this case. As a result, the court did not err in finding in favor of the Diocese. We commend the trial court for its detailed order, which we found quite helpful in reviewing this matter.
 For the reasons stated, we affirm the trial court's judgment and deny the Church's motion to substitute party.
 Affirmed; motion denied.
Read it all [pdf] [h/t Stand Firm]
Note: An article with important background to today's decision is here.
UPDATE: Don't miss Allan Haley's analysis of this decision at Anglican Curmudgeon
You can find all CoE posts using the Church of England category link.
For more on Assisted Dying, check out the life ethics category or the ethics/moral theology category..
For more on women bishops, use the CoE bishops category
Links below are from the period July 7 - July 21. Some earlier stories of note may be found in our July 8: Other recent featured entries post.
At the session that took place on the 14th of July 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England made a decision allowing women to serve as bishops. The Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations is authorized to make the following statement in this regard:
The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.
Watch it all from NBC.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches
25 July 2014
We are currently witnessing an unacceptable widespread implementation of extremist religious ideology that threatens the lives of all Iraqi’s who do not fit within its ever-narrowing perspective. While this situation stands to eradicate centuries of co-existence and culture in the region it also threatens to significantly and negatively impact these communities for generations to come. If left unchallenged, it is not Iraq alone that is at risk, but the potential is intensified for the replication of this ideology as a viable and legitimate model for others across the Middle East.
As the situation escalates, little is being said in the worldwide community, and I am therefore appreciative of the recent comment by The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, and its Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, expressing its concern over the current situation in Mosul. Comments such as this have the potential to positively influence these and similar situations by challenging what is being taught, and presenting an alternative religious understanding.
We continue to pray and advocate for all whose God-given right to freedom is denied, hoping that acceptance and respect for all is realised in these affected communities, and that grace, healing and strength will be given to those who continue to suffer great atrocities and the loss of precious human life.
Read it all
Terri Conley, a professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Michigan who studies polyamory, has analyzed a sample of 1,700 monogamous individuals, 150 swingers, 170 people in open relationships, and 300 polyamorous individuals for a forthcoming study. She said that while people in “open relationships” tend to have lower sexual satisfaction than their monogamous peers, people who described themselves as “polyamorous” tended to have equal or higher levels of sexual satisfaction.
What’s more, polyamorous people don’t seem to be plagued by monogamous-style romantic envy. Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist at Champlain College in Vermont has found that polyamorous people tend to experience less overall jealousy, even in situations that would drive monogamous couples to Othello-levels of suspicion. "It turns out that, hey, people are not reacting with jealousy when their partner is flirting with someone else," Holmes told LiveScience.
Sheff agreed. “I would say they have lower-than-average jealousy,” she said. “People who are very jealous generally don’t do polyamory at all.”
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
“Someone once said that what you look for is way more telling than information about yourself – this is something Google and other search engines understood a long time ago,” says Luciano Floridi, the Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute.
“Future generations will be able to trace our interests as a society just by looking at what we were looking for. Even if we don’t find the information, it doesn’t matter. Who we are, how we represent ourselves, how the world feeding back a mirror image of ourselves shapes our idea of ourselves – this is as old as philosophy, but today has a completely new twist. The online and offline are becoming more and more blurred, and that feeds back into our self-perception.” (If that sounds pseudy, then think of the example of a recruiter Googling someone who’s applied for a job: does the person on Twitter better represent who they really are, or the person on their best behaviour in the interview room?)
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Health & Medicine Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK
That’s how I feel when I look on in bemused fascination at members of my own family’s religious devotion despite their never-ending series of trials in this life. As a callow, arrogant youth I would try the Marx line out on them, only to be dismissed. And rightly so, because back then I was merely trying to provoke them.
Today, the conversation is different. I respect their beliefs because I can see the solace they have brought them, whilst absolutely rejecting any attempts to continue to force those beliefs upon others, or to marry them to the state.
The need for complete dis-establishment of church and state not only in this country, but in all countries, appears so obvious in the face of the many inequalities that accompany “establishment” that it is mystifying that in the 21 Century that there can be any argument against it. But then, what do I know? Apparently, my heart is closed.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Church/State Matters Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
In mid-July, an Episcopal priest in Arizona and a nun in Texas were among the first to receive invitations to provide pastoral care at detention facilities, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been overwhelmed and hard pressed to develop visitation protocol.
According to Bishop Kirk Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, children detained in the Tucson area got a pastoral visit in mid-July from the Rev. John Smith, rector of the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Tucson. Bishop Smith said the rector brought along his guitar.
“They wanted to sing songs with him,” Bishop Smith said. “They wanted to have prayers with him. People asked him for a blessing.”
Read it all.
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”You may find the audio link here if you wish to suffer through it. Also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").
He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * By Kendall Sermons & Teachings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * South Carolina * Theology Christology Theology: Scripture
His wife, Kathryn, who had never ridden a public bus before boarding one last year to go to prison for forcibly cutting the hair of her relatives, was introduced to yoga and step classes while behind bars.
The Millers, members of an Amish breakaway sect from eastern Ohio at the center of shocking 2011 hair-cutting attacks on other Amish followers, are trying to settle back into life at home after being exposed in prison to a world their religion is focused on locking out.
Read it all.
He spoke out about the “mass cleansing” of Christians from the Iraqi city by what he called “a bed of criminals”.
“We wonder how could those criminals, this bed of criminals, cross the border from Syria into Mosul and occupy the whole city of Mosul … imposing on the population their Shariah (law) without any knowledge of the international community,” he said on Friday, referring to Islamic State fighters, formerly known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL.
“What happened is really kind of a cleansing based on religion. You have heard about what they did: proclaim — they announced publicly with street microphones, the ISIS — there’s no more room for Christians in Mosul, that they either have to convert, pay tax, or just leave. And they have been leaving now since then with absolutely nothing,” he added.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Mutuku, 47, has had to fire three people who made souvenirs at his workshop for the tourists who once crowded the alleys of the city’s Old Town to savor its spice aromas and admire its Portuguese and Islamic architecture. Now Mutuku is certain he won’t be able to fulfill the dream of his eldest daughter, Catherine Ndinya, 21, to attend college.
“I have spent three days without selling anything,” Mutuku said in a July 25 interview. “I already took a bank loan to send the others back to school this term. I don’t know what I’ll do next term.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Ukraine and Western governments believe pro-Russian rebels shot down MH17, using a missile system supplied by Russia. All 298 people on board - most of them Dutch - died on 17 July.
Moscow and the rebels have blamed Ukrainian forces for the plane crash.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization Law & Legal Issues Travel Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary Europe Russia Ukraine * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
--The Pastor's Prayerbook
The live service from St Helena's, Beaufort, SC has ended but the service will be available to listen to each Sunday at 10:15 am Eastern Time [3:15 pm London Time] here
What is the future for Iraq's Christians? - Canon Andrew White Interview
Mosul Christian: Thanks for Changing Your #WeAreN Photo - Christianity Today
Sunday Service from the Buxton Festival with Mozart’s Missa Brevis in B flat
Prayer for South Carolina
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources
A local religious leader and mayor was also abducted from the same town.
Separately, at least five people in northern Nigeria were killed in a blast - residents suspect Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks, as the army was deployed to the region.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Cameroon Nigeria
The Most Rev Justin Welby acknowledged that the vote at the General Synod earlier this month would be a “further difficulty” on the tortuous road towards eventual unity between the two churches which formally separated in the 16th Century.
But in a letter to the Pope and other global church leaders including leading orthodox patriarchs, he asked for prayers for the Church of England, telling them: “We need each other.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Women * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis * Theology
We know already that asserting one kind of belief shapes one’s willingness to commit to another. Benoit Monin, a professor of organizational behavior and psychology at Stanford, and his colleagues have found that when people do something that affirms their lack of prejudice, like disagreeing with blatant racism or expressing willingness, in a laboratory experiment, to hire a black person instead of a white one, that reasonable moral action seems to license them later to express views that seem racist. Seeing yourself as morally reasonable might allow you to make morally risky choices.
So perhaps rejecting the extreme position (I don’t believe in that) might make a less extreme, but still uncertain, commitment seem more plausible. Indeed, you can make a case that this is why heresy is so important. “What people do not believe is often more clearly articulated than what they do believe,” the sociologist Lester R. Kurtz wrote in 1983, “and it is through battles with heresies and heretics that orthodoxy is most sharply delineated.” The sociologists would explain that if this is true, it is because people unite most profoundly in opposition to a common enemy.
Read it all from the NY Times Op-ed.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * South Carolina * Theology Christology Theology: Scripture
Canon White, on a weekend visit to the UK where he visited churches including the Chiswick Christian Centre and The Church of the Ascension in Balham, said numbers in St George's Baghdad had decreased from 6,500 to 1,000.
Many fled to Mosul, across the river Tigris from the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh. Now they have been forced by ISIS to flee Mosul also, most escaping to Kurdistan.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Read it all.
Minutes after the opposition Congress and an independent legislator staged a walked out demanding a clarification from Co-operation Minister Deepak Dhavalikar for his Thursday's comments that India would become a Hindu nation if everyone supported Modi, Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza dropped another bombshell, saying India was always a Hindu country and that he was Christian Hindu.
"India is a Hindu country. It is Hindustan. All Indians in Hindustan are Hindus, including I, am a Christian Hindu," D'Souza, one of the seniormost minority members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa, told reporters in the assembly complex.
The 'Hindu nation' comments have found backers amongst Hindu right wing groups, but have also been the target of criticism from other politicians as well as civil society commentators on the social media.
Read it all.
Around 100 members of West Hamilton Anglican Parish left the Rifle Range Road church last week under the Rev Michael Hewat and his wife Kimberley Hewat's leadership. The departure came following months of discussion of a controversial motion passed in May by the General Synod of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia.
The motion aimed to establish a working group to recommended a process and structure which included a "yet-to-be-developed liturgy for blessing right ordered same-gender relationships".
The Hewats, supported by 95 per cent of the congregation who attended a special meeting this month, opposed the motion on the grounds that it was contrary to the teachings of the Bible.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Russia’s aggressive militarism and expansionism are a threat to more than just Ukraine; they are a threat to Europe, to the rule of law and to the values that bind Western nations. Canada will not stand idly by in the face of this threat.
That is why we have taken a strong stand, imposing a broad range of sanctions against those entities and individuals responsible for the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Since the start of the crisis in Ukraine, Canada has imposed sanctions on nearly 150 individuals and entities. Earlier this week we broadened our approach, announcing economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy.
Read it all.
Read or watch and listen to it all.
And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.
Our Father in heaven,
We lift up the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina–the parishes, the litigation teams, and the bishops. May they seek You and dedicate themselves to become households of faith, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord, a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Amen.
Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here. We are grateful to Lent and Beyond for these prayers which during this time will be weekly we understand.
The rising death toll in the Gaza Strip conflict propelled U.S. and European diplomats huddled in Paris to call for an extension of a 12-hour humanitarian truce Saturday that had afforded both sides a brief respite from the nearly three-week-old conflict.
Late Saturday, Israel approved a 24-hour extension of the truce but said it would retaliate if Hamas prevented its forces from continuing to destroy tunnel networks through which the militants have attempted to infiltrate Israel. Hamas fighters, though, resumed firing rockets and mortar rounds into Israel.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Middle East Israel The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle
In an apology published late Friday night, editor Ben Smith acknowledged that one of the site’s most prolific writers, Benny Johnson, had plagiarized the work of others 40 times in some 500 articles and posts. Johnson has been fired, Smith said.
Johnson’s plagiarism began coming to light on Wednesday after Twitter users and a blog called “Our Bad Media” began reporting instances in which he took other’s work without crediting his sources.
Read it all.
Got a promotion? Your spouse could respond actively or passively, constructively or destructively. The best would be active/constructive: “I know you’ve worked so hard for this! Let’s celebrate.” The worst would be active/destructive: “Wow, do you really think you can handle this extra responsibility?” Somewhere in between are a “[yawn] That’s nice, dear,” or worse, “Did you pick up my dry cleaning?”
Celebrating each other’s triumphs is a no-brainer for Atherton and Bert Drenth, a 58-year-old health care company owner and a 60-year-old service rep for hospital lab equipment in Guelph, Ontario. The couple agree that they have been “each other’s best cheerleaders,” throughout their marriage. When Bert gave Atherton the news, for example, that he’d landed a great new job, she told him, “All your hard work, integrity, reliability, and attention to detail really paid off. I am so proud of you.”
Read it all.
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