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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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In his play, A Man for all Seasons, Robert Bolt presents a scene between Thomas More and his son-in-law, William Roper. Roper says to More that he would cut through all the law of England to get to the Devil. More responds, “and after you have cut through all the laws and the Devil turns around and there is nothing between you and him, what then son Roper, what then?” Bolt’s point is germane. After we have cut through the restraints of the Constitution to gain an end, what then? Where is our protection from grotesque abuses of power and all their bitter fruits?
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[Andrew Symes] on Shared Conversations: “Not enough conservatives; theology too liberal” (May 4, 2015)
Martin Davie: Grace and Disagreement - [Justin Welby’s Shared Conversations on Sexual Immorality] (May 1, 2015)
[Andrew Symes] Shared Conversations begin; an evangelical Bishop steps back (April 29, 2015)
[Bishop Bill Atwood] Some Commentary on the GAFCON Communique (April 29, 2015)
[Cranmer] Westminster Abbey acknowledges Mohammed in succession of prophets (April 28, 2015)
[George Conger] Border-crossing charges filed against British Bishop (Apr 27, 2015)
Bishop John Ellison Interviewed in 2009 and 2010 (Apr 24, 2015)
Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Anglican cathedral in Cairo (Apr 23, 2015)
(AM) James Paice—Anglican unity and diversity: centrifugal or centripetal? (Apr 23, 2015)
Anglican Unscripted Episode 173 - GAFCON in the News (Apr 23, 2015)
A BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme on the Gafcon Primates Council meeting w/ Archbp Peter Jensen (Apr 21, 2015)
ATV Interviews Archbishop Jensen (Apr 20, 2015)
GAFCON Primates Communique (Apr 17, 2015)
Andrew Symes: Sexuality is irrelevant to Christian witness, says Archbishop (Apr 08, 2015)
Anglican Unscripted 171: The End of the ACC? (Apr 8, 2015)
Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon: The Instruments of Unity and the Way Forward [+Transcript] (Apr 06, 2015)
The GAFCON Chairman’s Easter Pastoral Letter (April 6, 2015)
Nigerian bishop to be the Anglican Communion’s next Secretary General (April 2, 2015)
Episcopal Church Polity
[ACI] What Then Shall We Do? A Note on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church, (April 30, 2015)
AS Haley: When Is a Church Not a Church? When It’s a Debt Collector (April 29, 2015)
ACI: Misrepresenting ACI’s Concerns About The Constitutionality of [New] Liturgical Material (Apr 21, 2015)
[ACI] The Episcopal Church and the New Episcopal Church (Apr 20, 2015)
Episcopal Clergy: Is This Any Longer a Church One Wants To Join? (March 24, 2015)
A.S. Haley—Annual Litigation Survey for the Episcopal Church (USA) 2015 (Feb 24, 2015)
Leaders from the Diocese of South Carolina and ACNA Meet at St. Christopher (April 30, 2015 )
(Diocese of South Carolina) Motion for Rehearing Denied; Ruling Not Based on Merits of Case (April 30, 2015)
Canon Jim Lewis—A South Carolina Legal Update as Supreme Court to hear the case (Apr 16, 2015)
South Carolina Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Diocese of SC decision by new TEC Diocese (Apr 16, 2015)
Listen. Ask. Listen carefully to the concerns of the ones you are praying for. If possible, ask them how they would like you to pray for them. They may not have an answer. Or the answer may surprise you. But starting by listening and asking is a way to honor and support those in need.
Pray with the Psalms. Whether in the hospital bed or at a prayer service, the most powerful and comforting prayers offered to me were from the Psalms. They don't cover up the loss—they bring anger and grief before God. "My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread." And yet they bring all of this in petition before the faithful God of the covenant. "Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me on the day of my distress" (Ps. 102:4, 1-2).
Present your petitions in light of the Lord's Prayer and Gethsemane. We are to bring our requests before God, in light of Jesus' command and promise to answer our prayers...
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It's easy to lay the blame squarely at the feet of our politicians. Sometimes this is justified. When David Cameron's government announced that he would be bringing in same-sex marriage legislation despite failing to mention it in the Conservative manifesto and then took no notice of a 600,000-strong petition calling for marriage to remain distinctively between a man and a woman, it's not surprising that many Christians with strongly held beliefs felt utterly let down and rejected.
However, too often the ultimate reason that politicians fail to keep their promises is due to the attitude of the electorate..
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What disciplines will help us as Christians identify our cultural "blinders" and diligently assess and engage Biblically with our culture, and be faithful disciples in our times?
Please share any books or resources you've found helpful in "knowing and responding to the times."
We live in a society that has been formed, in some measure, by Christian ethics. Here, it’s easy for Christians to assent to Christian teaching and embrace certain practices common to Christianity, and yet still make decisions from a framework that is more influenced by a rival conception of time, because it remains hidden from view.
“Bible Believers” Living Out of Other Stories:
This is a source of continual frustration among pastors.
- We get discouraged when many of the people in our congregations, people who are faithful in attending church and who claim to have personal times of Bible reading, seem to be okay with the fact that their kids aren’t as religiously oriented as they are, as if it’s expected for kids to drop out of church for awhile and hopefully come back (but at least they made a decision for Christ at camp one summer!).
- We get discouraged when we see people put Bible verses on their Facebook page right next to a post about a television show they’re watching, a show drenched in the ethos of the Sexual Revolution and all the lies that come with it.
- We mourn the loss of people who are as kind as can be to us while they’re walking out the door to visit another church that has better services and programs for their kids. We thought they were committed to our church, but they were really just committed to their preferences.
A Question for Our Generation
As cultural currents move faster and we see rapids and waterfalls ahead and wonder what the future holds, one of the questions we must ask is this:
What kind of discipleship is necessary to fortify the faith of believers so that we understand what time it is, we rightly interpret our cultural moment, and see through the false and damaging views of history and the future that are in our world?
That is the question I posed in my workshop at TGC this year: Discipleship in the Age of Richard Dawkins, Lady Gaga, and Amazon.com: Grounding Believers in the Scriptural Storyline that Counters Rival Eschatologies. The audio from the talk is now available here.
What are the disciplines we need as we read our times? Oliver O’Donovan again:
To see the marks of our time as the products of our past; to notice the danger civilisation poses to itself, not only the danger of barbarian reaction; to attend especially not to those features which strike our contemporaries as controversial, but to those which would have astonished an onlooker from the past but which seem to us too obvious to question. There is another reason, strictly theological. To be alert to the signs of the times is a Gospel requirement, laid upon us as upon Jesus’ first hearers.
Read the blog entry here. You can listen to the audio here..
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education * Culture-Watch * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Resources & Links Resources: Audio-Visual * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Director of Reform, Susie Leafe said, “The members of Reform are all too aware that this is an immense undertaking and we will be in prayer for Rod as he seeks to establish the necessary working arrangements to allow conservative evangelicals to flourish throughout the country.”
Read it all and the official announcement is here and the blurb from the Church of England is here and Lambeth Palace here
The protesters had earlier submitted a memorandum against the Bishop Stephen J Vattappara who is also the vicar of the Anglican Church, alleged that the priest closed the doors of the church at around 9.30 in the morning when they came to offer prayers. They said the bishop had ousted some of the committee members who wanted the financial records of the church publicised last month. He then posted new committee members without conducting any election for the same, they alleged, adding that the priest was receiving funds even from foreign countries, but was not ready to show the accounts to the diocese. Instead, he was acting vengefully against those raising questions against him, they said.
Read it all
"We have reached a place where it seemed the next and most appropriate step was to meet with leaders of the ACNA to share our common interests and questions as this diocese continues the work of discernment."
Lewis also told CP that while no date has been set for a convention vote on affiliation, the diocese stands on good terms with ACNA and other conservative Anglican groups.
"Our mutual respect and appreciation for each other is considerable, with many in the room having relationships that go back for years," said Lewis.
"Our conversations were wide ranging and provided much needed clarity for all of us. Those are conversations that will certainly continue in the future."
Read it all
Today is a very sad day for the Anglican Church in Nepal and for our Diocese as we mourn the death of 78 Anglican members in the district of Dhading (this number will rise, as many are still buried under rubble). The report we have just received also stated that in the fourteen villages of the Dhading district, thirteen Anglican church buildings have been destroyed, 30,000 villagers have been displaced, with more than 5,000 families affected. They are without shelter, food and aid. Many are having to brave the cold wet nights of the monsoon season. Some villagers have woken up to find their young children dead from exposure to the extreme cold.
The people in the mountains are cut off from aid and supplies due to severe damage to roads and mountain tracks. We thank God for brave souls like young Pastor Beg who, despite the dangers, have been trekking the mountains the last 4 days to check on the well-being of his Tamang people
Read it all
“I am getting reports of entire Christian families being wiped out in Kathmandu and outside,” Simon Pandey, chairman of the National Christian Fellowship of Nepal, told CT in an interview from his concrete house in a Lalitpur suburb.
If the quake had occurred half an hour earlier, he noted, the casualties in churches would have been much higher. (Many Hindus died during worship services also.)
Of Nepal’s Christians—which comprise just over one percent of the country’s 30-million population—Protestants were disproportionately affected by the disaster, a Catholic leader told CT.
Read it all
Rose appreciated the opportunity for people on opposites sides of the theological and ethical divides to really get to know each other and hear each other. However she has serious concerns about the process as well. Firstly, the Conversations appear light on theology:
“There wasn’t enough time to get into the nitty gritty of the Biblical texts, or to dig into the ‘issues behind the issues’: our approaches to scripture, what is sin, what is truth, what is salvation.”
Secondly, there was an assumption that ‘good disagreement’ was the right outcome: “We hadn’t answered the question of exactly what we were disagreeing on; or whether that disagreement was something we could live with, or something which was so definitive that a split had to happen.”
Thirdly, there was theological bias: “the process was geared towards those of a more liberal standpoint – those who were more likely to agree that the church could coexist with different theologies.”
Lastly, “there weren’t enough conservatives”. Rose herself was assumed to be conservative as she identifies as evangelical. “It’s not his [the Bishop’s] fault I happen to be…a flag-waving, rainbow-wearing lesbian.”
Here is a report from someone who could embody more and more the future of the C of E as envisioned by its current leaders: young, talented and committed to Christ, but coming to radically different conclusions about Christ’s teachings and his demands in ways that align more with the grain of contemporary culture and one’s own self understanding and identity. If even she finds the process of the Shared Conversations too skewed away from a historic, conservative understanding of faith, this is yet more evidence of what Dr Martin Davie has called “a deeply flawed process supported by deeply flawed resources. They are in fact an object lesson of how a church should not go about handling a serious theological issue.”
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It seems to me that there is a growing fog over the moral landscape of the world. On the one hand, many nations (& the Church sadly following suit in some instances) are entertaining revisionist views on moral issues. On the other hand, another type of fogginess is caused by the thick cloud of dust and ashes as bombs and gunfire explode between warring groups in several parts of the world. Yet, God in His mercy will break through the present engulfing darkness. His shining brightness will usher in a panel of light where man is restored in his true humanness as he learns to love & fear the living God. How will the Lord's brightness come shining upon the world's moral & spiritual landscape? Primarily in and through His people (Mic 4:1-3; Is 60: 1-3).
Notwithstanding the present tide of dark, destructive and depressing forces, I believe we are headed towards the day of Christ's unsurpassable brightness (Acts 26:13)...
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Filed under: * By Kendall Harmon Family * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Education Marriage & Family Young Adults * Theology
Our generation doesn’t have relationships anymore. Nobody to call their own. Just casual. Nobody knows whether their own feelings are real.
She tells the interviewer that there’s lots of making out and sex, but nobody wants to be emotionally vulnerable to anybody else. The interviewer says that none of this is new, that men and women forever have had a hard time being emotionally confident as they’re trying to work their way through romance. Now, however, it’s possible to “live in your fear,” he says. What has changed?
“Technology,” she said. She explained that you can avoid direct, sustained talking to real people by using technology.
Read it all.
In today’s world, Small explained, “when the headlines are too often about the animosity between the religions, I hope to help us build bridges across these conflicts.” He attempts to do this through talks, blog posts and his fiction writing, where he feels he can reach a different audience in a nonconventional way.
Specifically, the suspense/thriller author of “visionary fiction” will attempt to answer “Why do we have so many religions? What can we learn from this knowledge? Why do we need interfaith dialogue? What are the key teachings from Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism?”
Read it all.
The survivors said that when they were initially captured, the militants had killed men and older boys in front of their families before taking women and children into the forest.
Some were forced into marriage.
They said the Islamists never let them out of their sight - not even when they went to the toilet.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Violence Women Young Adults * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Q: You say Anglicanism is similar to Catholicism, with many shared beliefs, but the split between the Vatican and the Church of England is longstanding, deep and wide. How did you come to cross it?
A: Yes, of course, otherwise, logically, why would I have bothered? … My father was Jewish, I was raised in a very secular home, sort of semi-culturally Jewish, but no religion. I became a Christian in 1984 and I’ve never wavered. I was received into the Catholic Church in 1985 when I was 26. I’d been interested in Christianity since I was a teenager, actually, and I think I just kept on crawling further and further. It was sort of two feet forward and one foot back the whole time. There was a certain inevitability about it. There was no bunker experience, there were no bullets flying over my head. I think I’d achieved quite a bit early. I’d always wanted to be in literary London, and have books published, and I had all that by about age 24. They were very bad books, but they were published. I was in literary London and there was a certain emptiness.
Read it all from the National Post.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Books Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology
Birth rates for U.S. women in their 20s dropped more than 15% between 2007 and 2012, just before and after the recession, the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan policy research group, said in a new analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention released Tuesday.
Among Hispanic 20-somethings, the birth rate dropped 26%. Non-Hispanic blacks? 14%. By contrast, non-Hispanic white 20-somethings saw an 11% decline.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine History Marriage & Family Psychology Sociology Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, which includes 53 churches in the eastern part of the state, officiated at the service. The Rev. John Foster III, a deacon at St. Bartholomew’s, who is also an associate professor of English at Coker College, assisted. A number of clergy from across the diocese participated in the service.
“It was a beautiful service,” Oldland said. “The choir had worked on a song, ‘In This Very Room,’ which had been performed at both my ordination to the diaconate and my ordination to the priesthood. It was very special. And Marcus Kaiser did a beautiful job with the sermon.”
Read it all.
It has nothing to do with Eton College, nor even the Bullingdon Club - both far more commonly-cited lightning rods for resentments about class, privilege and the fast track to power.
Instead, the surest ticket to the top - for Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem politicians alike - is surely a degree in politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
1. Why Should We Vote? - Vaughan Roberts - St Ebbes Audio [Genesis 1:26-31 & 1 Peter 2:11-17]
2. The Uniqueness of Christ - Andrew Wingfield Digby - St Andrew's Oxford Audio [Acts 4:5-12 & John 10:11-18]
3. The Place of Unity - Dr Peter Walker - TSM Audio
4. My Lord and My God - Archbishop Glenn Davies
5. The Sunday Readings - Rev Stephen Trott
6. Preaching Ideas and Commentary - Rev Peter Carrell
7. The New Testament in a year with Rev Andrew Goddard
8. The bells of York Minster - BBC Radio 4
Once the US’ most reliable ally, the UK is now seen as a distant player in the crisis over the Ukraine and the euro, has introduced swingeing cuts to its military and recently rebuffed Washington by joining a China-led bank.
On top of that, the Obama administration is waking up to the prospect that the next government in London could be even more inward-looking as it grapples with Britain’s membership of the European Union and strong support for Scottish independence.
US officials say they still value close intelligence and military ties with the UK, but at times sound almost dismissive about the current British government’s reluctance to play a bigger role in the world.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary Asia Malaysia * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Pentecostal Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
All Saints Parish Church in Churwell will celebrate its final service on May 10, bringing to an end 114 years worth of history.
The church is one of many being shut down by the Church of England across the country, as it grapples with the challenges of dwindling attendances to traditional Sunday services.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 3rd
+ The Uniqueness of Christ - Andrew Wingfield Digby [Acts 4:5-12 & John 10:11-18]
+ The Place of Unity - Dr Peter Walker
+ Choral Evensong from Exeter Cathedral
+ 3rd Sunday in Easter Confirmation Sermon at Christ St Paul's - Bishop Mark Lawrence
+ My Lord and My God [John 20] - Archbishop Glenn Davies at St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore on April 13th
The previous post, Sunday on T19 is here
The princess, whose name has yet to be announced, slept in her mother's arms during her first public appearance outside St Mary's Hospital, in London.
The princess - who is fourth in line to the throne - was delivered at 08:34 BST on Saturday after a short labour.
Read it all and enjoy the pictures.
It surely must befuddle those on the inside track of our transforming culture—just as we seem to be learning what true progress is, we rebuild the shaming scaffolds of our Puritan forefathers. Can we not have a culture that embraces the moral equivalence of all forms of sexual expression, the existential (read: non-transcendent) nature of love, and the casting off of ancient beliefs about God and the universe, while simultaneously widening the margins of civic life to include all kinds of beliefs, even those that discomfort us? Cannot we live out the promises of the Sexual Revolution while saving a place in our midst for those who opt out?
No, we cannot. The reason is simple: A broken American conscience cannot be trusted. Compassion is a class that secularism doesn’t offer. Exchanging the Puritanism of Arthur Dimmesdale for the Puritanism of Alfred Kinsey is not progress. Cultural elites may say we are becoming a better people because we break with human history on the meaning of marriage or the dignity of human life, but a glance outside suggests otherwise.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking History Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
It is hard to know what is most incorrect about this cliché of “the wrathful, Old Testament Jehovah,” or most offensive. A century of Bible scholarship has made it absolutely clear that virtually everything Jesus preached can be found in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, including many sayings and pronouncements that seem most radical and innovative. Any attempt to separate Jesus from his Jewish roots – or the New Testament from the Old – is utterly misguided, and doomed to fail. The whole vision of God as loving and forgiving derives from the Old Testament, as is clear to anyone who has ever opened its pages. If you think of the Old Testament God as merely “wrathful,” your knowledge of the text is very slight.
Read it all.
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