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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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My favorite childhood vacation was to Gettysburg. My dad was a Civil War buff, later a re-enactor, and it was the last trip we took my grandmother, his mother, with us. We visited family I’d never met before on the way there, I made a friend at the pool when we all went there evenings who was visiting from the strange and exotic land of New England, I ate shoo-fly pie. And from Jennie Wade to Armistead’s last ride, I learned something of the story and the sacrifice in why this place was meaningful and how all these monuments came to be there. I was barely Boy Scout age, burdened with three younger siblings and responsibility I barely fulfilled in watching out for them at Devil’s Den and on Little Round Top, but it became the beaux-ideal of what a real vacation feels like to me ever since. The summer of ‘73 gave me a taste of family and history and mystery that I first began to respond to in my own right, not simply as a child along for the ride.
Filed under: * General Interest
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina; The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a South Carolina Corporate Body; All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.; Christ St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Christ the King, Waccamaw; Church of The Cross, Inc. And Church of the Cross Declaration of Trust; Church of The Holy Comforter; Church of the Redeemer; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Saint Luke's Church, Hilton Head; St. Matthews Church; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church; St. David's Church; St. James' Church, James Island, S.C.; St. John's Episcopal Church of Florence, S.C.; St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Inc.; St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Bennettsville, Inc.;
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Parishes TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * South Carolina * Theology
OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.
I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.
Please remember Bishop John Ellison in your prayers: [George Conger] Border-crossing charges filed against British Bishop
Here are the links to posts that have been recently featured at the top of the blog or on topical issues.
+ GAFCON Chairman’s July - August Pastoral Letter (August 6, 2015)
+ CofE - Porter: Shared Conversations will lead to CofE Synod Same Sex Legislation Change in February 2017 (July 28, 2015)
+ TEC Same Sex Marriage Rites - [ACI] The New Episcopal Church: What Hath General Convention 2015 Wrought? (July 27, 2015)
+ TEC Conflicts - Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth: Judgment concludes trial-court phase (July 25, 2015)
+ TEC Conflicts - A S Haley: Final Judgment in Fort Worth Case (July 25, 2015)
+ Statement from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans (July 17, 2015)
+ Talks from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans - Fort Worth July 13th to 17th (July 14, 2015)
+ CofE General Synod 10th to 13th July 2015 Links (July 10, 2015)
+ Reform Statement on the Archbishop of York (July 9, 2015)
+ Reply Brief Filed by Diocese of South Carolina in SC Supreme Court (July 6, 2015)
“It’s very striking that the liberal elite will happily tell everyone that it does not matter if you marry or not, yet nearly 90 per cent, even today, get married if they have children,” Harry Benson, research director at the Marriage Foundation, said on Tuesday.
“They talk a good liberal story, but act in very conservative ways for themselves. . . These modern-day Pharisees tell us how to live our lives, but live their own lives in a completely different way.”
The report from the Marriage Foundation, The Marriage Gap, looks at mothers with children under the age of five. In 2012, 87 per cent of mothers with an annual household income of above £45,000 were married.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sociology * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
A resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Parchin file, which includes a demand for fresh IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran's July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers.
The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said:
"Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building" appeared to have been built.
The changes were first observed last month, a senior diplomat familiar with the Iran file said.
The IAEA says any activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since U.N. inspectors last visited in 2005 could jeopardize its ability to verify Western intelligence suggesting Tehran carried out tests there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations more than a decade ago. Iran has dismissed the intelligence as "fabricated".
Read it all and for the earlier Associated Press report see AP Exclusive: UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site and follow up here
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O, how wonderful is Thy goodness, for it is unlike all other good things. I desire to come to Thee; and all that I have need of on the way I desire from Thee, and chiefly that without which I can not come to Thee. If Thou forsake me, I perish; yet I know that Thou wilt not forsake me unless I forsake Thee; nor will I forsake Thee, for Thou art the highest good. There is none who rightly seeketh Thee that doth not find Thee. He alone seeketh Thee aright whom Thou teachest aright to seek Thee, and how he should seek Thee. O, good Father, free me entirely from the error in which I have hitherto wandered, and yet wander; and teach me the way in which no foe can encounter me before I come to Thee. If I love naught above Thee, I beseech Thee that I may find Thee; and if I desire any thing beyond measure and wrongly, deliver me from it. Make me worthy to behold Thee.--Saint Augustine's Soliloquies, Book I
The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important books in the world and has only been lent once, in 1990 – also to the British Museum – when both collections shared the same building.
“It is quite phenomenal they they are able to lend it to us,” said Elisabeth O’Connell, assistant keeper in the British Museum’s department of ancient Egypt and Sudan. “We are absolutely thrilled.”
The codex dates back to the 4th century AD. Handwritten in Greek, not long after the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, it contains the earliest complete manuscript of the New Testament.
Read it all and there is more about the British Library New Testament here and the full reunited text can be seen here
Basit said he had expected the number of visitors to drop because of the hot weather, but he was wrong.
Asked about the security measures in the area around the church, Basit said that he is in constant contact with the security services and that there are always leaders from the Ministry of Interior in the church. “There is a security checkpoint in front of the church, and on Friday [Aug. 14], the celebrations were surrounded by major security measures, given the concurrence of the second anniversary of the raid on the two protests that were held in al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya Square,” he explained.
Basit said that the church relies on its own personnel to keep order inside the church and to inspect visitors at the electronic entrance gates.
He added that those most concerned with the safety of visitors during the Virgin Mary holiday are the area's Muslim residents, who financially benefit from the high turnout that brings business to local stores. Therefore, these people help security forces with the protection of the church. Security forces are deployed 24 hours a day during the festivities that last two weeks, said Basit.
Read it all
The delegation made a pilgrimage to the monastery of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius on Monday, August 24th before beginning meetings with Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations on Tuesday, August 25th. Later in the day, the conversations continued when the delegation was officially received by Patriarch Kirill at his residence.
During the communist era, the Russian Orthodox Church suffered decades of severe persecution. This week the Anglican delegation saw a transformed religious landscape in which Christian symbols now dominate Red Square and Moscow, and new churches are being planted across the country (on average 1,000 per year for the last 27 years).
Both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church in North America expressed a desire to see the growth and deepening of relationships between Orthodoxy and faithful, global Anglicanism. Archbishop Beach delivered a letter of greeting from Archbishop Wabukala, the Archbishop and Primate of Kenya, and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON).
As the realignment of Anglicanism continues to unfold, Archbishop Beach gave thanks for the common ground that the faithful of both churches are finding on the practical moral issues that confront our societies:...
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Metropolitan Hilarion told the guests about the activities of the Department for External Church Relations, paying special attention to inter-Christian contacts of the Russian Orthodox Church and her relationships with the Protestant world. As the DECR chairman noted, the process of liberalizing moral teaching is going in a number of Protestant Churches today. The Moscow Patriarchate breaks off communion with such Churches.
The participants in the meeting discussed the issues, pressing for the Anglican Communion today, including the issue of admitting women to ‘episcopal’ orders, which has become a topic of heated debate after the General Synod of the Church of England made the respective decision in 2014, as well as the problem, closely related to the previous one, of preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion, whose spiritual centre is the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The guests shared with Metropolitan Hilarion their vision of the abovementioned issues, reaffirming the ACNA’s commitment to the Gospel moral principles and doctrines, traditional for Anglicans.
The participants in the meeting expressed their satisfaction over the fruitful cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church in North America in academic sphere.
Read it all
The delegation included Archbishop Foley Beach, head of the Anglican Church in North America; Bishop Ray Sutton, chairman of ACNA’s Ecumenical Relations Committee; Bishops Kevin Allen and Keith Ackerman; and Rev. Canon Andrew Gross, head of ACNA’s Communications and Media Relations Service.
Greeting the delegation of the Anglican Church in North America, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted the difficulty of the situation in which this denomination had been established six years ago. “At the time your Church was undergoing a very difficult period in her history, which required from believers fortitude and the ability to resist great temptations,” His Holiness said.
“It is my firm belief that in the course of her history, the Church faces challenges which she must overcome with all her courage,” he continued, “There are two models of behavior of the Church and Christians. The first one implies obedience to secular power and those mighty forces that influence the development of society. The second one implies the ability to tell the truth and show commitment to Christ’s glad tidings.”
As the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church noted, the second model always implies martyrdom. “There is nothing new in it. The Lord said that we should follow the narrow path leading to the Heavenly Kingdom. A wide and nice path will not lead us there,” he said, “Here, in Russia, we realized it in the hard times of persecutions of our Church. We also could choose one of the models of behavior, and I thank God for granting fortitude to our predecessors who followed the only right path and never fell away from the Apostolic faith and the Tradition we received through the Apostles and holy fathers.”
“For a moment it seemed that the Church had no future here, for the majority of people would not associate the future of our country with Christianity,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill continued. “Yet, the Lord changed the course of history in several days, and those who had been regarded as outcasts and retrogrades, turned out to be heroes courageously defending their beliefs.”
The participants in the meeting discussed the processes going on in the Anglican Communion in recent years, as well as prospects of Orthodox-Anglican dialogue. Archbishop Foley Beach told about a positive experience of bilateral dialogue between the Anglican Church in North America and the Orthodox Church in America.
Also discussed at the meeting were practical aspects of cooperation between the Anglican Church in North America and the Russian Orthodox Church.
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He said, “The story of the Chibok girls is a bad story, bad story in the sense that the parents are not happy, the government is not happy and the public is baffled. From what the president is saying, you can sense that he is not happy about the inability of government to bring the girls back. But here we are, some have said that the Chibok girls have been married off, some said they have been distributed to various places, that they are not together as a group, or they have been used as suicide bombers. We don’t know exactly. It complicates the situation. We are hoping that the military will be able to do more. All those areas that they have captured and rescued people, where are the Chibok girls? We have not really solved the problem. We have not reached them”.
Appeal to government…
“We appeal to government to seek a more advanced way of doing it in terms of technology which can help us locate their whereabouts. As it is now, the soldiers have searched the Sambisa Forest and have not been able to see them. It will continue to be a festering sore in our lives if we are unable to find these girls. We plead with our government, the US, EU, UN and anybody who can help us to come out and help us find the girls”.
500 Days: It Is Sad That Abducted Girls’ Whereabouts Unknown – Hosea-Abana
In the words of the chairman, Chibok Community in Abuja, Tsambido Hosea-Abana, it is sad that abducted girls’ whereabouts are still unknown after 500 days.
He said, “We are feeling very bad. It is not only that the girls were abducted, the pitable thing is that we do not even know their whereabouts. We were accusing the past administration of not doing something visible. We were hoping that by now, we are under three months of the new administration, this administration would have established that these girls are in a particular place and they are working on ways to bring them out”.
The feelings of the Chibok girls…
We don’t know where they are, so we feel so sad. Even the parents at home, if you want to talk to them, some of them decide not to talk because of sadness and annoyance.
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When the King of Syria was making war against Israel, he sent a great army of horses and chariots against Elisha. His troops surrounded the city where the prophet was. The Prophet’s servant, seeing the surrounding enemy troops, was in despair and asked, “Alas, my master, what shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15)
“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.” (2 Kings 16:16-18)
In fact, the odds were not against the Prophet, Elisha, his servant, and the people of Israel. Though it certainly seemed so, it was not so. The forces of heaven far outweighed the approaching evil army. Though Elisha knew it, it was only when the servant’s eyes were opened that he was able to see it. Looking with temporal eyes he saw a hopeless situation. Looking with spiritual warfare eyes, we can see how God is in the midst of us, even when we are in trouble.
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[Tripp] Jeffords has a passion for biblical discipleship.
“I want everything we do to be according to the Holy Scriptures and what they teach,” he said. “Scripture should be our guidebook for life; instruct the church and direct the faithful on how to live. I believe a lot of the troubles in the church have been because we haven’t been disciples of the scriptures and haven’t allowed them to direct our hearts and lives. When we do that, and listen to Jesus through the scriptures and through our prayer lives, everybody is blessed.”
Jeffords will be formally welcomed as rector during a Sept. 24 service of institution, officiated by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * South Carolina * Theology Christology Soteriology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)
The move has been six years in a making, following a request made by the Seventh-day Adventists, a Protestant denomination, Italian daily La Repubblica said. The original plan was to inaugurate the square in time for the 500th anniversary of Luther’s historic trip to Rome in 2010. City officials were not able to discuss the process behind naming the square or the reason for the holdup.
Despite Luther being thrown out of the Catholic Church during his lifetime, the Vatican reacted positively to news of the square’s upcoming inauguration. “It’s a decision taken by Rome city hall which is favorable to Catholics in that it’s in line with the path of dialogue started with the ecumenical council,” said the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, deputy director of the Vatican press office, referring to a gathering of churchmen to rule on faith matters.
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"Yesterday, I spent an hour and half installing a new cat door so Philo the Cat could come and go as he pleases. This is his reaction."
--1 Kings 3:5-10
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources * General Interest Photos/Photography
Though fragmentary, all small joys celebrate goods in our lives that are and remain wonderful, at times no more than tender plants in the cracks of our otherwise heavily cemented and gray lives. And in all true joys we yearn for, and perhaps also faintly experience, a world in which all things and all manner of things shall be well.
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Filed under: * Religion News & Commentary
Lincoln makes a daring escape with a beautiful fellow resident named Jordan Two-Delta (played by Scarlett Johansson). Relentlessly pursued by the forces of the sinister institute that once housed them, Lincoln and Jordan engage in a race for their lives to literally meet their makers and to let them know that their "insurance policies" are actually human beings who are being killed for their organs and body parts.
What compelled my attention was the similarity between this work of science fiction and the recent revelations of Planned Parenthood's involvement in harvesting fetal organs and body parts. As in The Island, Planned Parenthood perpetuates the myth that those from whom the tissue and organs are harvested aren't actual human beings.
Read it all [warning: graphic]
The protesters, from Christian group Love Makes A Way, had been holding prayer vigils at Senator David Bushby's office since just after midday.
They called on the senator to withdraw his support for the mandatory detention of children and refused to leave when his office closed at 5:00pm.
They were then arrested and charged with trespass before being granted bail.
Among the protesters were leaders from Anglican, Baptist and Uniting Churches and the Salvation Army.
In a statement released prior to the protest said the protesters included Reverend Richard Humphrey, who is Dean of St David's Anglican Cathedral, David Reeve, who is chairperson of Presbytery of Tasmania, Uniting Church, and Captain Craig Farrell, who is territorial youth secretary of The Salvation Army Southern Territory.
Last year, the group staged similar protests in Launceston and Perth, Western Australia, when they staged sit-ins at the offices of Andrew Nikolic and Julie Bishop respectively.
The eight ministers involved in the Perth sit-in were charged with trespass and given spent sentences.
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About 160 people met at the church's synod in Wellington this month, where the possibility of changing the flag was raised and discussed.
Options for a new flag have recently been narrowed down to a long list of 40 designs.
...the church unanimously voted to support keeping the current flag, arguing it best reflected the country's journey and sense of history.
Wellington Bishop Muru Walters said that after the vote all delegates stood up and sung the national anthem before performing the haka.
"It was spontaneous and it was really thunderous. There was a passion for what was being passed."
The former Maori All Black said that he had never seen such a haka at a gathering of the governing council.
The reason the church voted against a flag change was about tradition, Muru said.
"Why change the flag after all these years? It has been part of our journey and our history and our understanding of ourselves. It's a huge change and an unnecessary one.
"When you watch the haka there are some who think it is outdated and England is trying to make the All Blacks get rid of it, but it is what the All Blacks have done for years. It's a tradition we need to keep."
If the country was going to fight to keep the haka, then keeping the flag was part of that struggle, he said.
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The threat emanates from a classic question: what is the proper relationship between church and state? The tension is as old as recorded history. It appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh and throughout Greek mythology. Some societies, from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to Japan’s chrysanthemum throne, imbued their rulers with divinity. In Christendom, western kings answered to the pope while eastern churches supported the emperor. In Islam, the caliph held titles of both temporal and spiritual authority. England maintains an established church still today, while France severed its formal ties to Catholicism more than a century ago. In Jewish tradition, the Second Temple period was replete with conflicts between royals and priests—hence the rabbinic reluctance to embrace the Hasmoneans, priestly usurpers to the throne whose victories are celebrated annually by today’s Jews at Ḥanukkah. In modern-day Israel, selected areas of civil governance have been relegated entirely to religious authorities.
The U.S. Constitution, steeped in classical liberalism, attempted a novel—and ingenious—resolution. It combined the absence of an official, “established” religion with the individual’s freedom to choose and follow his faith.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Education History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism
--1 Kings 2:1-4
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