Posted by The_Elves

To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

January 2015

‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ Romans 12:2
My dear brothers and sisters,

As I send this first pastoral letter of 2015, receive greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever!

As we begin a new year, we thank God that through Christ he has rescued us from futile ways and taken us up into his eternal purposes. Our new life in Christ brings a fresh dimension to even the most ordinary work because it is now done for God and his glory. What marks out a disciple of Jesus Christ is that this is a person who has not just had a conversion experience, but a person whose whole way of thinking has been radically changed.

One of the great challenges for African Christianity is for the many who identify as ‘born again’ to become mature disciples of Christ. This is especially necessary given the challenge of what Pope Francis last week described as ‘ideological colonisation’, which is the practice of tying aid and development resources to the promotion of alien understandings of gender, the family and sexual behaviour.

Money is a very powerful tool and manipulation can happen with varying degrees of subtlety. Such practices must be challenged, but the best defence is for ordinary Christians to have renewed minds that are profoundly shaped by the Bible. When each local church is able to see itself as a colony of heaven, its members will be much more resistant to being colonised by non-Christian ideologies.

In this respect, the Churches of Africa need the GAFCON movement’s emphasis on restoring the Communion’s commitment to biblical truth just as much as the Churches of the West. We are committed to equipping the Anglican Communion as a whole to survive and thrive in the face of many twenty-first century challenges, of which ‘ideological colonisation’ is just one, and to do this we are building global partnerships and support networks.

So I am very encouraged that connections made at GAFCON 2013 continue to bear fruit. For instance, a few weeks ago, a team from Australia participated in a youth convention in the Church of Uganda’s West Ankole Diocese with over 10,000 attending and next month a mission team from All Saints Cathedral here in Nairobi will be flying to Chicago as part of a reciprocal mission partnership with the Anglican Church in North America’s ‘Greenhouse’ church planting initiative.

We shall also be strengthening the work of our global fellowship with the launch of the Australian Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in March and an expanded GAFCON Primates Meeting in London the following month.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON II 2013

January 26, 2015 at 11:34 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

UPDATE: This post is now sticky - full text from the original link may now be found in the comments below, or via Googlecache or Googlecache pdf thanks to readers

Colin Coward reports:-
Members of the LGBTI Anglican Coalition met with David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday. David was generous with his time and we were there for over an hour and a half.

David began by outlining the history which has brought us to where we are from the much more optimistic beginnings nearly a year ago.

It began with the Pilling Report which was struggling to land (as he put it) at the time he was appointed. The Pilling group was an ill-conceived exercise in the first place, ill-conceived in part because formulated by a male only group initially. It was marked by a lack of coherence and incompetence in the Church.

David expressed the hope that things are changing and that we are getting to a more emotionally and relationally intelligent place. I suspect all of us present were profoundly reassured to hear this.
.......
The College of Bishops trial the process
Moving on to the College of Bishops meeting in September when the Shared Conversation process was trialled, David said it didn’t work as hoped because the culture of good facilitation met the culture of the College of Bishops and some of the old school bishops refused to play ball. Good process hit the dysfunctional nature of the Church of England.

The Church of England is the primary problem Province for the Anglican Communion because the other Provinces no longer really know what the Church of England is.

The bishops only allowed a day and a half for the process and ran out of time. Now the regional Conversations will involve 2 nights away to ensure proper process. The intention is to have equal numbers of laity and clergy and men and women, with 20% under 30 and a minimum of two who are openly LGBT or I, together representing the known views around the diocese.
........
Planning for fracture
The intention is to change the tone of the conversation and take some of the toxicity out of it, acknowledging that there is no agreement between, say, us and Reform. David assumes there will be a fracture and when it happens, it will be small and done with profound sadness, with a measure of grace, disagreeing well. The Conversations are a process in which it is hoped to find grace in each other where there are profound disagreements. Maybe 80% of the C of E will hold together with fractures at either end of the spectrum.
........
Where do we go from here?
A regional advisory group is being formed, composed of one representative, probably a bishop or senior. Part of the purpose of this group seems to be to reassure the rump of bishops who still don’t want to engage with the process.
.......
David believes the General Synod can’t put off a debate and vote on the core issues affecting the place of LGBTI people in the Church of England beyond the February 2017 meeting. This for me was the most significant new piece information I gained on Tuesday. David does not control the timetable or agenda of General Synod but he does have direct authority from the Archbishop of Canterbury, so this ambition may well be realised...

Read it all [Update: Googlecached or Googlecache pdf]

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby

January 23, 2015 at 7:35 am - 32 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Posted January 22, 2015
A Consultation of GAFCON Primates and Bishops of Africa was held in Nairobi on 3rd & 4th December 2014 to consider a response to the ‘Transformation Through Friendship’ communiqué released from New York on 28th October, signed by five African Primates, including the Chairman of CAPA (the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa), Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Read more...

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON II 2013

January 22, 2015 at 5:59 am - 14 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is not much information on life in territories Boko Haram controls. Unlike ISIS, Boko Haram does not overtly intend to establish governance structures or provide public services. The administration of a heavily populated metropole like Maiduguri might be beyond Boko Haram’s capacity. Rather than occupying Maiduguri, Boko Haram might conduct a series of bloody raids targeting the federal facilities, military, and police. It would not be surprising if Boko Haram tries to take control of the airport and airbase.

Borno and the northeast generally support the political opposition instead of the governing power. A credible presumption is that most Nigerians in the northeast would support Mohammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) against incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However given Boko Haram’s presence, it is unclear whether many in Borno will actually be able to cast ballots. Indeed, a large scale Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri, with the loss or destruction of the airport and the airbase, would be a major blow to the Nigerian government and could have consequences for the February 14 elections. It would also reinforce the widespread view among Nigerians outside the northeast that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is failing to provide for the security of its citizens, a view that increases support for Buhari in parts of Nigeria that have previously not supported him.

In this pre-election period, Boko Haram has been a political football between the PDP and the APC. Boko Haram’s perspective appears to be ‘a plague on both your houses.’ It may have tried to assassinate Buhari and the Shehu of Borno, and it has also threatened death to Jonathan many times.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 30, 2015 at 4:28 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Obama's domestic agenda, which he announced in his State of the Union address this month, has a lot to like: health care, maternity leave, affordable college. But there was one thing he got wrong. As part of his promise to educate American children for an increasingly competitive world, he vowed to “protect a free and open Internet” and “extend its reach to every classroom and every community.”

More technology in the classroom has long been a policy-making panacea. But mounting evidence shows that showering students, especially those from struggling families, with networked devices will not shrink the class divide in education. If anything, it will widen it.

In the early 2000s, the Duke University economists Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd tracked the academic progress of nearly one million disadvantaged middle-school students against the dates they were given networked computers. The researchers assessed the students’ math and reading skills annually for five years, and recorded how they spent their time. The news was not good....

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January 30, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

SIR – Professor Sally Sheldon and a group of academics object to an attempt by parliamentarians to stop the selective abortion of girls (Letters, January 28).
This issue is one that the Telegraph exposed. It is about the abortion of girls purely on the ground of their sex – the first form of violence against women and girls.
The academics’ letter shows beautifully the need to clarify the law. For too long, confused interpretations of the 1967 Abortion Act have passed unchallenged. Professor Sheldon herself has written elsewhere that the idea that sex-selective abortion is illegal is “far from clear”. We cannot sit idly by as a preference for sons results in selective abortion of daughters.
The letter claims that action will require ethnic profiling. This was not true for female genital mutilation – a predominantly cultural practice – and need not be true for sex-selective abortion....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 30, 2015 at 3:00 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I read the Sun's front page article by Doug Donovan regarding Church of the Ascension ("Small church fights Episcopal diocese over land," Jan. 24) with special interest because just about five years ago a group of some 30 of us left the Episcopal Church and founded our own then small Orthodox Anglican congregation, Church of the Resurrection, in Timonium. Ironically, the writer who wrote an article for The Sun about our experience nearly made the same mistake your Mr. Donovan made here some five years later.

At that time, the writer assumed that we left because of the consecration of a... bishop [in a same-sex partnership]. We were pretty clear with that writer that we left for reasons much greater than one bishop. We left because the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church had left us with its swing to modify, even deny, much of the story of salvation through Jesus Christ. The writer, to her credit, presented our rationale relatively fairly.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

January 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Looking down at the scrolling desert below it is hard not to be discouraged by the chaos of Somalia, and the violence in South Sudan. Even worse, any evening news broadcast will show hot spots of terror and militancy from Morocco to Afghanistan, and then beyond touching even the capitals of many nations where once Christendom reigned. Does this mean that Islam is overwhelming Christianity? I do not believe so.

Where the heart and soul of the Christian faith is embraced, there is life aplenty. It is where the people forget, and like the Jews of Jerusalem may well have to be carried off to Babylon in order to begin to remember again. Even in the places where there are brutal regimes and a spiritual desert, the river of God still flows and its life overwhelms the death of empty messages.

In some places, the church is attempting to modify its charter from the Lord Jesus and seeks to present another message. Sadly, it is neither respected or effective. What is effective is fidelity and the Power of the Cross.

Those from Christian origins who stray make a mistake in thinking that there is not a problem. Another mistake is assuming that there is nothing we can do about the struggle. Those grave errors are compounded when the Church fails to tap into the life that God offers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Commentary* Culture-WatchGlobalization* Theology

January 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ethics of becoming a parent and the ethics of being a parent seem to have a different character and different rules. For example, what counts as selflessness in the latter may be criticised as selfish in the former. Thus, on the model of the ethics of war, we may separate the ethics of parenthood into two phases, which might be parodied as jus ad parenthood and jus in parenthood.

The critique of parenthood as selfish relies on a strong distinction between becoming and being a parent, so that a parent's own selfless dedication to their children cannot count in their favour. The charge is that the decision to become a parent is a selfish one because it effectively hijacks society's sense of justice towards the needs of children once created to socialise the costs of a private and therefore necessarily self-interested lifestyle choice.

My concern in this article has been to reject the strong distinction between the ethics of becoming and the ethics of being a parent, and hence the claim that parenthood is selfish.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 30, 2015 at 1:16 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most Americans who know about the deadly attack on the Paris headquarters of the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine say it’s OK that the weekly featured cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center shows 76 percent of Americans know of the Jan. 7 attack, and among this group 60 percent of Americans support the magazine’s right to publish these controversial images, while 28 percent disapprove.

However, one in four Americans overall offered no opinion because, they said, they had not heard about the violent attack where 10 artists and writers and two policemen were murdered.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMediaReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

January 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Christianity has taken many twists and turns in its history, so has Islam, and so might it again, only this time moving toward the more open posture of most contemporary Western Christians. The Christian experience should caution us against assuming there is something intrinsic to Islam that mandates that Islamic societies be anti-modern. In fact, in the 16th through 20th centuries, liberal ideas were imported into Muslim societies with remarkable success, and harmonized with Islam, especially in the Ottoman Empire. Less happily, at critical moments in Islamic history, reactionary interpretations—or misinterpretations—of the Quran and Shariah triumphed over others.

Fortunately, some Muslims have begun to reinterpret ancient traditions in light of modernity and begun their own, albeit often-quiet reformations, distressed by the authoritarian elements smuggled into their tradition. They are intent on synthesizing—as have so many branches of Judaism and Christianity—features of their religious traditions with democratic ideas. Such reformations have been institutionalized successfully in several countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Turkey and Tunisia.

We can only hope that, with the quickening pace of historical change in modernity, Islam can adjust more rapidly than Christendom, so that a broad-minded form of the religion will prevail. Muslims will have to recognize what the West, through many centuries of hard experience and reflection, has learned: that religious texts arose in a particular context and must be reinterpreted in the new context of modernity; that pluralism within one’s own tradition and the tolerance of other faiths must be appreciated anew; and, finally, that the coercive imposition of faith will generate only nominal or hypocritical, not authentic, conversions.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 30, 2015 at 11:20 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Victims’ advocates on Thursday applauded Gov. Nikki Haley’s creation of a domestic violence task force that aims to change a culture in South Carolina that has enabled abusers and led to the deaths of hundreds of women.

Haley said the task force would focus on cultural issues contributing to the state being among the deadliest in the nation for women at the hands of husbands and partners while the Legislature continues its efforts to toughen penalties for batterers.

“Everybody in South Carolina knows about domestic violence, but nobody talks about it — they whisper,” Haley said during the announcement at the Statehouse. “That’s what we’re going to change in South Carolina.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMenViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 30, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I really enjoyed these--see how many you can guess before looking and then go and read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

January 30, 2015 at 7:00 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sharp divisions over sexuality mean that as many as 20 per cent of the Church of England may become disaffected, it emerged last week.

As the Church prepares to begin its "shared conversations", a formal process aimed at reconciling Anglicans with differing views on sexuality, it is being acknowledged that the fundamental nature of the division, rooted in different understandings of scripture, identity, and obedience, is likely to prove too much for those at both ends of the spectrum to agree to differ.

The difficulty appears to have been acknowledged by David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury's director for reconciliation, according to a Changing Attitude blog published last week.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

January 30, 2015 at 6:01 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BBC has been accused to treating religion as the “fag end” of its priorities at a time of massive global upheaval after announcing it is to scrap its high-profile position of head of religion to cut costs.

Aaqil Ahmed, the first Muslim to hold the post, and one of the most outspoken BBC executives, has been told his role in commissioning programmes is to be axed as part of a shake-up.

Religion is to make an unlikely alliance with science, business issues and history under the oversight of a new head of “factual” programming.

The Church of England has voiced alarm at the move, arguing that Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris illustrates starkly how it is impossible to understand world events without a grasp of religious motivation.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 30, 2015 at 5:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With the great benefit of having heard all the talks that came before him, Prof. McGrath was able to tailor his remarks to the themes of the other speakers, while at the same time illuminating those points with his own insights drawn from C.S. Lewis' many writings. He sketched his main theme by asking and then answering his own question as he imagined Lewis would: "What can we do to change the story that dominates our culture? Tell a better story -- capture the imagination."

As a starting point for understanding the age we live in, he recommended philosopher Charles Taylor's definitive work, A Secular Age (2007). There Taylor carefully traces the "shift in master narratives" which has taken place since the 1500's: then it was difficult not to believe in God, while today people find it difficult to believe in God.

Taylor draws a sharp distinction between natural and supernatural. While the latter used to be regarded as not impossible, the concept was undermined beginning with the modern philosophies of Descartes and Spinoza, which were amplified by the post-moderns Heidegger and Wittgenstein. But post-modernism asks us to accept things which cannot be proved, based wholly on assumptions. (Philosophy, like theology, is fiduciary in that it asks us to trust the philosophy that is expressed. Yet philosophy will not accept or trust in the existence of God, which likewise cannot be proved.)

C.S. Lewis, said McGrath, is neither modern nor post-modern. He bridges both camps -- he mingles reason with imagination. And this insight will help us break the power of today's master narratives ("metanarratives") over the popular imagination.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchPoetry & LiteraturePsychology* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyApologeticsChristologyTheology: Scripture

January 30, 2015 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (and please note there is a download option--in the upper right corner at the very top).

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

January 30, 2015 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, in whom is no darkness at all: Grant us thy light perpetually, and when we cannot see the way before us, may we continue to put our trust in thee; that so, being guided and guarded by thy love, we may be kept from falling, this day and all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

January 30, 2015 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thus says the LORD:
"Where is your mother's bill of divorce,
with which I put her away?
Or which of my creditors is it
to whom I have sold you?
Behold, for your iniquities you were sold,
and for your transgressions your mother was put away.
Why, when I came, was there no man?
When I called, was there no one to answer?
Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a desert;
their fish stink for lack of water,
and die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with blackness,
and make sackcloth their covering."
The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him that is weary.
Morning by morning he wakens,
he wakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I turned not backward.

Read more...

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

January 30, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sure, anti-Christian bigots will sometimes act like intolerant thugs, demanding that a Brendan Eich be fired, or calling for a conservative Christian college to conform to ideological liberalism in every respect. But when that happens, critics (like me) will denounce the bigots, drawing on resources from within the liberal tradition to defend the principle of tolerance for every American, secular and devout, against the illiberal do-gooders who prefer moral purity (as they define it) to freedom.

But that’s not good enough for Hanby, Weigel, and Dreher. They are in mourning for Christianity’s loss of cultural hegemony in the United States.

I’d like to suggest that they should get over it — that, rightly understood, Christianity can be most fully itself when it relinquishes political and cultural rule, when it ceases to identify itself so closely with any particular political order.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 29, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dartmouth College, a school with a notoriously rowdy and widespread Greek culture, is taking action to curb misconduct on the Hanover, N.H., campus by banning hard liquor.

On Thursday, school President Philip Hanlon announced that starting March 30, all students, regardless of age, will be prohibited from possessing hard alcohol on campus. The school’s Greek societies have also been warned that they need to improve their behavior or risk being banned.

The measures come at a time when school officials across the United States are considering ways to crack down on a culture of excessive partying found at many colleges. The White House says the behavior has led to an “epidemic” of sexual assault on school campuses.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingAlcoholismEducationLaw & Legal IssuesMenSexualityViolenceWomenYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has struck down a decision by the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society to deny graduates of British Columbia's Trinity Western University the right to practise law in the Maritime province.

The Christian university had asked the court to review the society's decision to deny accreditation to its graduates. It argued the law society overstepped its jurisdiction and failed to comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 29, 2015 at 2:35 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Ukip is an “anti-politics” movement, appealing to voters who see the old parties as socially liberal, politically correct and captured by minority interest groups. Major party membership has haemorrhaged and many people no longer believe in the messages coming from Westminster, proclaimed by baby-faced politicians who speak as if they are members of another species.

This disengagement from mainstream politics echoes the growing detachment from mainstream religious groups. White, working-class Brits have deserted the pews, which are now occupied by immigrants from India, Nigeria and the Philippines. In England’s former Catholic heartlands, such as Liverpool archdiocese, fewer than one in 10 baptised Catholics attend Mass. Nearby in Preston – the very heart of recusant Catholicism – a historic church was about to close before the Syro-Malabar faithful from India agreed to take it on.

The trend is clear: more and more British people no longer belong to our country’s great institutions and care little for our leaders, whether they are bishops or politicians. Instead, they believe in nothing and everything.

Out of this political wasteland has emerged Nigel Farage, whose chief attraction is his very unpolitical way of saying what many think and his ability to annoy the po-faced liberal establishment.
....
Nigel Farage is not especially religious, though he describes himself as an Anglican. But recently he has started talking about Britain’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage, a phrase associated with the American religious Right. Woolfe also drops the term into our conversation. For him, the party is more than just a working-class protest vote. He regards Ukip as a true “one-nation party”, with support across the country, and “a natural party for Roman Catholics like myself”.

Catholic bishops would dispute that – but not, it seems, by engaging with representatives of Ukip. If they do regard voting for the party as un-Christian, they have yet to explain precisely why. The same is true of their Anglican counterparts. Ironically, the only Church leader to have met representatives of Ukip, and debated Britain’s Christian heritage with them is the Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, a Pakistani immigrant.

Read it all

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

January 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I got an email from a reader named Mark this morning, who told me he was frustrated by the lack of decent thinking among many in the Church. He said he’s looking for a higher conversation than is generally available.

Christians, we have to take this seriously. For the past three years or so, at apologetics conferences across the country, I’ve asked numerous groups this question: “How many of you who have a real interest in apologetics, worldview, and other aspects of Christian thinking feel very alone in your church?” In every case, at least three-quarters of the people raise their hands.

That’s the loneliness of thinking Christianly. It’s wrong. In fact, in view of Christianity’s heritage, it’s downright strange.

Christianity is a thinking religion, or at least it was until the late 19th and early 20th centuries...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* TheologyApologeticsChristologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

January 29, 2015 at 11:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

... This is my 300th post on the blog, and I thought it might be a good moment to offer a few reflections. I started the blog at the time of a short sabbatical in 2009, but only wrote consistently and substantially after leaving my teaching role in theological education in June 2013. Even in these few years, a lot has changed.

Bloggers have become more influential. A small sign of this is the daily Church of England media release, which alongside newspapers reports and news items includes a number of blog posts. Bloggers' influence is particularly strong in the States, where there are a good number of serious bloggers, and some substantial discussion takes place.
....
Perhaps the most striking thing I have gained in blogging is the sense of disciplining my thoughts. It is one thing to have a view; it is quite another to put it in writing for all the world to see, read, and comment on. I have found this has fed back into my other speaking and ministry. Every time I preach or speak, I am drawing on a number of things I have written about in the blog—which I hope gives substance and plausibility to what I say, but also gives me resources to draw on and confidence in what I present. The blog has become, for me, a personal library of written resources. Perhaps it is the diary or reflective journal that I have never kept...

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social Networking

January 29, 2015 at 10:03 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a nutshell, Dr. Wright tackled head-on how the Church best handles the secular age: not by confronting it head-on, but rather, by being true to the full arc of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, it outflanks it.

He singled out two major characteristics of secularism that open it to this strategy:

First, it has revived the ancient philosophy of Epicureanism by treating God, or the gods, as very distant and indifferent to man or what happens on Earth, thus conveniently leaving man to run things on his own. The result (in secularism, as in Epicureanism before it) is to shunt God upstairs: and thereby to divide heaven from earth, religion from man -- and Jesus from His Church.

Read more...

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* South Carolina* Theology

January 29, 2015 at 8:20 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scientists at a French research institute say the Ebola virus has mutated and they are studying whether it may have become more contagious.

Researchers at the Institut Pasteur are analyzing hundreds of blood samples from Guinean Ebola patients in an effort to determine if the new variation poses a higher risk of transmission, according to the BBC.

“We’ve now seen several cases that don’t have any symptoms at all, asymptomatic cases,” said human geneticist Dr. Anavaj Sakuntabhai. “These people may be the people who can spread the virus better, but we still don’t know that yet. A virus can change itself to less deadly, but more contagious and that’s something we are afraid of.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAfrica

January 29, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“It’s true, Jesus has saved us all, but not in a general fashion. All of us, each one with their name and surname. And this is our personal salvation. I am truly saved, the Lord looked at me, gave his life for me, opened this door, this new life for me and each of us can say ‘For me.’ But there’s a danger of forgetting that He saved us individually but at the same time as part of his people or community. His people. The Lord always saves his people. From the moment he calls Abraham and promises to make them his people. And the Lord saves us as part of this community. That’s why the writer of this Letter (to the Hebrews) tells us: ‘Let us be concerned for each other.’ There is no salvation solely for me. If that’s the way I understand salvation, I’m mistaken and going along the wrong path. The privatization of salvation is the wrong path.”

Pope Francis explained that there are three criteria for not privatizing salvation: ‘faith in Jesus who purifies us,’ hope that ‘stirs us to look at his promises and go forward’ and charity: namely taking care of each other, to encourage us all to practice charity and good works.’

“And when I’m in a parish, in a community -- or whatever it is – I am there, I can privatize salvation and be there only on a small social level. But in order not to privatize salvation, I need to ask myself if I speak and communicate the faith, speak and communicate hope, speak, practice and communicate charity. If within a particular community there is no communication between people and no encouragement is given to everybody to practice these three virtues, the members of that community have privatized their faith. Each of them is looking for his or her personal salvation, not the salvation of everybody, the salvation of their people. And Jesus saved all of us but as part of his people, within a Church.”

Read it all (Vatican Radio).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

January 29, 2015 at 7:45 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The contradiction in Mr. Sisi’s aim of keeping the heterosexual, conservative Muslim man at the top of Egypt’s moral hierarchy is glaring. You can’t trump the Islamists in their piety and lead a campaign against minorities like atheists and gay men even as you condemn extremist violence and show solidarity for free speech and free thinking.

This week we mark the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution. Although it has not delivered the political freedoms it called for, it did begin an unraveling of authority that has left Egypt’s self-appointed moral guardians disconcerted and scrambling. Armed with social media, more people are insisting on asking and telling — about personal belief and sexual identity. A reckoning is long overdue in a country where religion and morality have so often been bent to suit the political expedients of its rulers.

Despite the clampdown, atheists are openly challenging such hypocrisy. Social media has allowed those who “deviate” from the authoritarian template to find one another and express themselves in ways that the regime, its men of religion and its media otherwise deny them. A religious revolution has begun, but not on Mr. Sisi’s or the clerics’ terms. We all stand to gain if fathers no longer testify against sons, and families no longer feel the need to prove their loved ones are “real men.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 29, 2015 at 7:28 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Catholic archbishop of Birmingham says he wishes the Church of England’s first female bishop well in her ministry and will be remembering her in his prayers. Archbishop Bernard Longley is the Catholic co-chair of ARCIC, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. He told Vatican Radio that the consecration of Bishop Libby Lane on Monday was a “historic moment in the life of the Church of England” but noted that there has long been “the presence, the witness and the work of women” as bishops within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Reverend Libby Lane was ordained in York Minister as the new Bishop of Stockport, after the Church of England voted to adopt legislation last November to allow women bishops. Archbishop Longley said that while the ordination of women presents challenges to the Anglican-Catholic dialogue, this latest development “shouldn’t affect the way in which the dialogue is continued”.

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

January 29, 2015 at 7:00 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has posted a blog warning Christians not to tweet their disagreements. Electronic communication, he says, lacks the human touch, and in particular the kinds of modulations of tone and the face-to-face aspects of relationships which make it possible to disagree productively.

“Social media does not show tears in the eye, a hand on the arm when saying something painful, body language that speaks of inner turmoil, deep distress – even gentle respect. It is simply there – usually forever,” he writes.

This seems at first sight ungrateful: there must be people who have turned to God because the internet made them lose their faith in humanity. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the schism in the Anglican Communion would have happened much more slowly and perhaps not at all without the help of the internet. Quite possibly the Reformation would never have caught on without the printing press, either. Nothing so promotes self-righteous outrage like the honest communication of sincerely held beliefs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 29, 2015 at 6:15 am - 5 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tone is equally difficult to achieve; electronic media has no volume control. The US President Teddy Roosevelt spoke of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Electronic media speaks loudly and carries a big stick – through it we have no other means of speaking, especially in the compressed form that is often used.

For disputes within church communities, Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel makes it quite clear that personal interaction is essential – yet all of us feel that when someone has done something wrong, we should all say so! Electronic media breaks through locked doors, and pierces people painfully. It is not for all of us to set everyone right on everything. There’s a point at which we need to leave it to those who know people to speak to them personally and quietly – in spaces where the tone is subtle and full of love. That is how people can be put back together rather than torn apart and left lying around in electronic media space.

Love often says don’t tweet. Love often says don’t write. Love often says if you must rebuke, then do so in person and with touch – with an arm around the shoulder and tears in your eyes that can be seen by the person being rebuked.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

January 29, 2015 at 6:00 am - 4 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopal leaders have asked the bishop accused in a fatal collision with a bicyclist in Baltimore last month to resign her position in the church.

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland made the request Monday in a letter to Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook.

The eight-member panel told Cook it had "agreed unanimously that you are no longer able to function effectively in the position of Bishop Suffragan given recent events.

"Therefore, we respectfully call for your immediate resignation from the position."

Read it all from the Bal;timore Sun.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingAlcoholism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 29, 2015 at 5:28 am - 3 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a recent study, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue estimated that of the 3,000 Western Europeans thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, about 500 were women. It is difficult to know for sure how many of these are British, but accounts on social media suggest they make up a significant proportion.

The report, entitled Becoming Mulan, found that the sentiment of building a new home for Muslims was the main draw for women, although some did express a willingness to fight. The title of the report quotes one girl who tweeted that she wanted to "pull a Mulan" by heading to Syria, a reference to the Chinese legend about a woman who took her father's place in the army, which inspired an animated film.

The report's co-author Ross Frenett explains why this was interesting. "We found this particularly striking because the first cultural reference she can come up with is actually a Disney movie, which is fascinating because these people are Western, but also simultaneously loathe Western society," he says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 29, 2015 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Holy God, we bless thee for the gift of thy monk and icon writer Andrei Rublev, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, provided a window into heaven for generations to come, revealing the majesty and mystery of the holy and blessed Trinity; who livest and reignest through ages of ages. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchArt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

January 29, 2015 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, our heavenly Father, who so loved the world that thou didst give thine only Son to die upon the cross: Pour thy love into our hearts, we humbly beseech thee; that we loving thee above all things, may give up ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, to thy service; for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

January 29, 2015 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so many things in vain?—if it really is in vain. Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?

Read more...

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

January 29, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria's army failed to protect Baga's civilians despite warnings that militants were going to attack, rights group Amnesty International has said.

Some reports say as many as 2,000 people died in Boko Haram's raids on the north-eastern town this month, but the government puts the toll at 150.

Amnesty quotes an unnamed senior army source as saying the Islamist militants told residents about the offensive.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be all consuming and overwhelming.

It’s not just the grief that can leave you shattered — but the admin.

You have to pick coffins, book flowers, transport, a church, hymns, an order of service, a venue, music, speeches and food (all within a budget) — and that’s just for starters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

January 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have a confession.

When I was in college, I read a book by a prominent megachurch pastor. The author told me to live like a child of God. He told me God wanted to bless me. He also mentioned that if I only believed, God would give me the nicest house in the neighborhood. That seemed to make sense.

The author explained that he once wanted the nicest house in the neighborhood, and God gave it to him. Here was a man with evidence. Not only did he have the story about the house, and other anecdotes, he also had a very nice set of white teeth (Ah, supernaturally white, I thought).

Read more...

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyAnthropology

January 28, 2015 at 3:35 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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