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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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We are deeply grieved again by the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) Resolution to change the definition of marriage in their church canons in their current ongoing General Convention.
By this action, TEC has chosen by its own will and actions in clear knowledge to depart from the Anglican Communion’s standard teaching on human sexuality according to Lambeth Resolution 1:10. This TEC Resolution is another example of such unilateral decisions that are taken without giving the least consideration to the possible consequences on other provinces and the Anglican Communion as a whole, the ecumenical partnerships, the mission of the church worldwide, and the interfaith relations. This Resolution clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God’s plan for creation as He created humankind as man and woman to complement each other physically and emotionally.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Executive Council Global South Churches & Primates * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The partnership and encouragement that GAFCON offers as a global fellowship is therefore going to be needed more than ever as we commit to the re-evangelization of the West and develop new wineskins for the task. So let me give the last words of this letter to an extract from Archbishop Jensen’s address:
“…liberal Christianity has little appeal to non-believers. The ancient world did not heed Christian idol worshippers: it was won over by those who preached and lived the biblical gospel with passion. It was the difference which made a difference; the difference with real content. It was the message that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he rules through the Scriptures, the word of God. The ancient Christians out-lived, out-thought and out-loved their contemporaries. They did not do this by doubting the faith or changing it to suit the times. They did it by confessing the truth, even to death.”
Read it all
On the eve of a General Convention that will consider several important proposals to change the definition of marriage in the Church’s doctrine, discipline and worship, much attention is directed, perhaps belatedly, to the question of good order. Several bishops generally sympathetic to the idea of same sex marriage have expressed concerns that the way in which that innovation is now being proposed violates “good order.” Rejecting this charge, the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, also sympathetic to same sex marriage, has offered an amendment to the marriage canon that it claims will promote rather than undermine “good order.”
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.
- Statement from the Diocese of South Carolina on Today’s Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges Ruling (June 26, 2015)
- President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Statement on Marriage+ the Supreme Court Case (June 26, 2015)
- Prominent Evangelicals issue “Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage” Statement (June 26, 2015)
- Washington Post Article on the US Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision (June 26, 2015)
- Supreme Court Ruling in (June 26, 2015)
Top of the pile
+ Statement from the Archbishop of York (June 23, 2015)
+ [ACI] Mark McCall: Good Order And The Re-Definition of Marriage (June 22, 2015)
+ Sunday’s Sermon from Emanuel AME Church in Charleston SC (June 21, 2015 )
+ WOW—A Steven Curtis Chapman song for Charleston South Carolina (June 20, 2015)
+ Dylann Roof Bond Hearing. Victims Address Charleston Shooter In Court With Forgiveness (June 19, 2015)
+ A Call to Prayer from the Bishops in South Carolina (June 19, 2015)
+ Bishop Mark Lawrence Calls for Prayer in Wake of Mass Shooting; Services Today (June 18, 2015)
+ Please Pray—Horrific Charleston SC Shooting Incident kills 9 at AME Church (June 18, 2015)
+ Diocese of South Carolina Files Reply Brief with the South Carolina Supreme Court (June 16, 2015)
Fred Hiltz could be hoping that the outcome of the debate will align with the Biblical understanding of marriage or, to say it another way, with God’s will for a Christian marriage. Instead, he hopes that there will not be too much squabbling.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz said he is aware that there is anxiety among Anglicans about how the 2016 General Synod will deal with a motion amending the marriage canon (church law) to allow the marriage of same-sex couples....It’s hard to take the prayer “know the leading of the Holy Spirit” seriously, since the “conscience clause” (not that anyone takes that particularly seriously since those that exercise it will be ridiculed, ostracised and eventually driven out) anticipates disunity, something that would not be present if the delegates were more interested in being informed by the Holy Spirit than in using him as rubber stamp for their own opinions.
Hiltz expressed hope that the debates that will precede any decision will be conducted with respect and patience.
He is praying, he added, that people will “know the leading of the Holy Spirit” and that there will be “grace in the midst of what will be a very difficult and challenging conversation.”
Read it all
Most of all, Daniel had great faith in a great God – and he prayed like it. Daniel was wholeheartedly devoted to prayer. He prayed and gave thanks regularly throughout every day and he did so without regard to what others might think or do. Indeed, his primary response to hostile legal changes – changes specifically designed to use his faithfulness to God as a weapon against him – was simply to pray to God, just as he had always done.
“Now when Daniel knew that the document [requiring that all people, on penalty of death, worship an idol of the present ruler] was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.” (Daniel 6:10) (italics added).But Daniel not only prayed regularly, he engaged in deep, prolonged, fervent, humble intercessory prayer, repenting of his people’s sins and imploring God’s grace and mercy upon them..
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O Lord, rebuke me not in thine indignation: neither chasten me in thy displeasure.
Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak: O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed.
My soul also is sore troubled: but, Lord, how long wilt thou punish me?
Turn thee, O Lord, and deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercy's sake. Amen. [BCP 1662]
We invite bishops and any Episcopalians who share these commitments to join us in this statement, and to affirm with us our love for our Lord Jesus Christ, our commitment to The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion, and our dissent from these actions.
Read it all [pdf]
The 24-year-old woman, named only as ‘Laura’, told doctors she had suffered from depression since she was a child and wished to end her life, local newspaper De Morgen reported.
Laura, who entered a psychiatric facility when she was 21, told the publication: “life, that’s not for me.”
"Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful," she told the newspaper.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Psychology Young Adults * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The former bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, explained to the bishops in Salt Lake City the accommodation meant that a conservative priest in a liberal diocese would incur no penalty if he refused to perform a same-sex marriage. The priest would, however, have to pass a couple seeking to be married on to another church or priest to perform the ceremony.
Priests in dioceses where the bishop forbid same-sex marriages may not solemnize gay marriages. A priest who did so would be liable for punishment for disobeying the bishop. A diocese that does not perform gay marriages must pass the couple on to another part of the church that permits gay marriage.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention TEC Bishops TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
And so this week, Mr Collier and his two wives, Victoria and Christine, entered a courthouse in Billings, Montana, and sought an application to legalise the trio’s polygamous union,
“Right now we're waiting for an answer," Mr Collier told The Independent. “I have two wives because I love two women and I want my second wife to have the same legal rights and protection as my first.”
He added: "Most people are not us. I am not trying to define what marriage means for anybody else - I am trying to define what marriage means for us."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General Supreme Court * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
It shows us that tolerance is over. I’m not breaking new ground here–but this must be said. Tolerance is dead. Oppenheimer’s piece ran all of two days after the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage. He wants to crush those who dare to stand against the fullest possible acceptance of what Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield has called “samesexuality.” Sexuality liberated from any constraints is now a full-blown worldview. This is paganism, 21st-century version. The body is all; sex is all.
The hippies now wear steel-toed boots. The earlier “free love” movement was all about doing what you want–live and let live. Today’s version of this pagan impulse is militaristic–live and you better approve. There’s a menace, a fury, in this cultural momentum. There will be no tolerance. There will be no dissent. Churches and organizations that stand bravely against the rushing tide of the late stages of the sexual revolution will be crushed.
It shows us that churches and organizations doing much good are imperiled.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Economy Taxes The U.S. Government Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
With thanks to George Conger and Allan Haley at Anglican TV
14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?
15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?
16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?
17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?
18. How would you define marriage?
19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?
20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Half of me can identify with the anti-religious instinct because, while I’m a Christian seeking space within a secular society, I am also a sceptic about Islam. I’m fearful that, without Christianity’s clear narrative — ending as the New Testament does with the example of Jesus — Islam is a religion that’s too easy for the likes of Seifeddine Rezgui to misinterpret. Most Muslims, of course, hate the heinous crime he committed in their name — but, regardless of what we might think about Islam, thinking the worst is not really a practical option. Nearly three million Britons are Muslims; 1.6 billion of our global neighbours see Allah as the one true God. The challenge must be to understand them and help them to reform their religion — not to drive them and it underground.
I want less vacuous talk of fairness, tolerance and generosity from our politicians. Let’s start getting specific about what we mean by “British values”. Freedom of religion should be a cornerstone of western belief and it must stand as a contrast to the many Islamic states where apostasy is punishable by death.
Read it all from the London Times (subscription required) [emphasis mine].
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Tunisia America/U.S.A. England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
One church where this is already happening is the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit which has its own 25-strong security force called "The Ministers of Defence". Charles H. Ellis III is its senior pastor.
Listen to it all (a little over 3 minutes).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
“In his many publications and in his teaching in St Mellitus College, Graham has demonstrated a generous orthodoxy which combines depth with clarity. He has continually combined teaching with pastoral care for those preparing for parochial and other ministries. His whole ministry in a sense has been in support of the ‘local church’ for which he has a passion. As Area Bishop he will be able to develop this theme in his ministry as he serves the remarkably diverse Christian communities in West London.”
Graham trained for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, was a curate in Exeter, later returning to Wycliffe as a tutor in Historical Theology and eventually becoming Vice Principal. In 2005, he helped found St Paul’s Theological Centre, which is now part of St Mellitus College. Graham is the author of many articles and several books, most recently, ‘The Widening Circle – Priesthood as God’s way of Blessing the World’, published in 2014. He is married to Janet and has two grown-up children.
Read it all.
In 1999, after a joint curacy in another challenging area of inner city Nottingham, Anne and Steve moved to Derby where Anne was Chaplain at the University of Derby and Derby Cathedral for six years. Steve pursued a different path and is currently a part-time tutor with the Church Army and a half-time consultant, trainer and researcher in mission and contemporary culture.
Having moved to Manchester in 2005, Anne served as a Residentiary Canon of Manchester Cathedral and as Chaplain to the Bishop of Manchester where she says she ‘loved the city centre cathedral ministry, but also had a privileged opportunity to learn a lot about the challenges and opportunities of a complex urban diocese’.
Read it all.
Attempting to cut out a pass into the penalty area, Bassett instead sent the ball past the goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and in off the crossbar.
Bassett has been one of her team’s most reliable performers at the this World Cup but will find it hard to forget the moment that meant England would not be making history by reaching the final for the first time.
Read it all.
Greeks are supposed to vote on a referendum this weekend, but no one there or elsewhere seems sure what they will be asked, or what the consequences will be for voting yes or no.
And European leaders here and in Berlin and Paris have been saying distinct — sometimes directly contradictory — things about whether there is a bailout deal for Greece still on the table, and whether they want Greece to hold its referendum before they can renew discussions about it.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Economics, Politics Economy Credit Markets Currency Markets The Banking System/Sector Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Greece * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Whatever your take, there’s no denying that last week’s SCOTUS opinions broke our collective silence on poly rights. If Friday’s ruling was about dignity and equality, as Justice Kennedy made clear, we must continue this debate.
Read it all from Brian Pellot.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Polyamory --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General Supreme Court * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
During the afternoon session of the 7th legislative day on 30 June 2015 at the 78th General Convention meeting in Salt Lake City the House of Bishops took up three resolutions submitted for consideration by the Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music.
Without debate the bishops endorsed Resolution A067 “Revise Book of Common Prayer for Revised Common Lectionary”, which calls for the church to use the lectionary found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and not the Revised Common Lectionary for services during Holy Week.
Read it all.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Movies & Television * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Personal Finance Taxes Politics in General City Government * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The country had been declared Ebola-free more than seven weeks ago.
Both of the new cases were in Nedowein, the same village where the boy died, the ministry of information says.
Read it all.
Read it all and follow the links.
[Also]...we should challenge Oppenheimer on the way he makes his case. He dislikes Scientology. He’s fit-to-be-tied that the group was given a tax-exemption as a religion. But Scientology is quite different from the vast spectrum of American churches. Oppenheimer has used a tiny group at the margins to deny an obvious truth about the myriad groups at the center. Oppenheimer would nuke a thriving continent to vanquish an unwanted mouse.
He also notes the awkwardness of the IRS determining what is and isn’t a church. But instead of dealing with that problem, he doubles down on it, and encourages exponentially greater government involvement to regulate congregations. A most vexing solution, this. His comments on Yale and universities are in truth a screen to hide his real target: churches, particularly those “that dissent from settled public policy on matters of race or sexuality.”
Here we behold the Oppenheimer Project with unveiled face. It isn’t really about redirecting a few odd dollars and cents currently going to religious nutjobs. It’s about smashing into oblivion those who dare to resist the late stages of the sexual revolution. They no longer deserve to thrive, or perhaps even exist, in this country.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Economy Taxes The U.S. Government Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of N. and N. in Holy Matrimony. The joining of two people in a life of mutual fidelity signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and so it is worthy of being honored among all people.
As I wrote in an earlier post, critiquing the rite when it was first proposed, the bold language evinces a category mistake of the worst sort, by equating the union of two people of the same gender to the holy union between Christ and His Church. (How can they be equated? In the former, which of the two men -- or two women -- signifies Christ, and which the Church?)
The bishops approved three other rites for trial use, as well, but they are just as blasphemous in invoking the blessing of the triune God on the union/marriage of a same-sex pair.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention TEC Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Places which care for children, young people and vulnerable adults in either residential or supported care facilities can easily become targeted by people who, via grooming and addiction to psychoactive drugs, use control to lead children and vulnerable adults into other very serious kinds of abuse. I note the point that the noble Lord made that accepting the amendment would put this offence on the same footing as that of supplying drugs outside a school, which the Bill already makes an aggravating factor.
My colleague the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bristol told me that last year, in his own city of Bristol, 13 men were convicted of a string of sexual offences involving sexual abuse, trafficking, rape and prostitution of teenage girls as young as 13 years old. Their tactics were clear: in return for drugs and alcohol, young girls were forced to perform sexual acts with older men. Much more could be said but I want to support these amendments because, as I say, they would help this vulnerable group to receive additional protection.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
We cannot be silent, and we cannot join the moral revolution that stands in direct opposition to what we believe the Creator has designed, given, and intended for us. We cannot be silent, and we cannot fail to contend for marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
In one sense, everything has changed. And yet, nothing has changed. The cultural and legal landscape has changed, as we believe this will lead to very real harms to our neighbors. But our Christian responsibility has not changed. We are charged to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and to speak the truth in love. We are also commanded to uphold the truth about marriage in our own lives, in our own marriages, in our own families, and in our own churches.
We are called to be the people of the truth, even when the truth is not popular and even when the truth is denied by the culture around us.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Economy The U.S. Government Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
One year later, the ministry continues with these important changes to report.
The venue has changed. This Christian ministry, through the help of committed friends, acquired a building on the edge of campus and became a member of the Consortium of Christian Study Centers. The meetings that once took place in the college chapel, the college dining halls, and in buildings reserved for Christians to practice religious faith now take place in a converted living room at the Joseph and Alice McKeen Christian Study Center, named after the first President of Bowdoin College and his first lady.
The challenge to incarnational and invitational ministry has changed. The InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Bowdoin College previously operated primarily from a base on campus and only secondarily retreated to points beyond. Those priorities have been reversed by force of circumstance, and the ministry now operates primarily from its newly acquired space on the edge of campus.
Read it all from First Things.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Education Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Young Adults * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Second-half goals from Carli Lloyd and Kelley O'Hara were enough see the U.S. through to the final, where they will meet the winner of Wednesday's clash between England and defending champions Japan.
Read it all.
The martyr, when faced even by a death of bodily anguish and horror, finds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulant and tonic. There is a vivid excitement, a thrill and fervor, which may carry through any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hour of eternal glory and rest.
But to live,—to wear on, day after day, of mean, bitter, low, harassing servitude, every nerve dampened and depressed, every power of feeling gradually smothered,—this long and wasting heart-martyrdom, this slow, daily bleeding away of the inward life, drop by drop, hour after hour,—this is the true searching test of what there may be in man or woman.
When Tom stood face to face with his persecutor, and heard his threats, and thought in his very soul that his hour was come, his heart swelled bravely in him, and he thought he could bear torture and fire, bear anything, with the vision of Jesus and heaven but just a step beyond; but, when he was gone, and the present excitement passed off, came back the pain of his bruised and weary limbs,—came back the sense of his utterly degraded, hopeless, forlorn estate; and the day passed wearily enough.
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