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.

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

January 22, 2015 at 5:59 am - 9 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hundreds of Ethiopians made a pilgrimage to Liverpool to mark a 2,000-year-old festival.

Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church descended on Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral to honour the Timkat tradition.

The festival celebrates Jesus’s baptism in the River Jordan with a 24-hour spectacular of singing, chanting and prayer.

One of the highlights of the celebration is the parading of the Tabot – replicas of the tablet of stone on which the 10 commandments were inscribed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* International News & CommentaryAfricaEthiopia

January 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Relations between American military trainers and specialists advising the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram are so strained that the Pentagon often bypasses the Nigerians altogether, choosing to work instead with security officials in the neighboring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger, according to defense officials and diplomats.

Major rifts like these between the Nigerian and American militaries have been hampering the fight against Boko Haram militants as they charge through northern Nigeria, razing villages, abducting children and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.

Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to travel to Nigeria on Sunday to meet with the candidates in Nigeria’s presidential elections, and the Pentagon says that the Nigerian Army is still an important ally in the region — vital to checking Boko Haram before it transforms into a larger, and possibly more transnational, threat.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan promised to restore peace to the country’s northeast on his re-election campaign trail, a day after suspected Boko Haram militants raided a village, killing 15 people.

“I am promising the whole of you that we shall surely end this insurgency,” Jonathan said at Murtala Ramat Square in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri. “We will surely stop Boko Haram and return Borno to the path of peace.”

About three miles (4.8 kilometers) from Maiduguri, suspected Boko Haram militants raided the village of Kambari on Friday, killing the village leader, at least two children and 12 others, said a vigilante leader Hassan Ibrahim by phone from Maiduguri. Jonathan, who is seeking re-election next month, didn’t mention the attack.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

January 24, 2015 at 1:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves


With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Commentary

January 24, 2015 at 11:36 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q. In the wake of the attacks in Paris, do you think Islam is a religion of peace?
Continue reading the main story

A. It’s an incredibly complex question, and as Christians we have to recognize the slightly thin moral ground, the slightly thin moral standing, that we have. We only have to go back to the Balkans 20 years ago and Srebrenica to find Christians killing 7,000 Muslim men. So there’s an element of, Let’s not be too quick to stand in a glass house and throw stones.

However, there is within many faiths, traditions, at the moment, a stream that says: “We need to change things, we need to change them quickly, and the way to do that is through violence.”

There are aspects of Islamic practice and tradition at the moment that involve them in violence, as there are, incidentally, in Christian practice. The answer to that is not to condemn a whole religious tradition with one simple sentence, but nor is it to pretend it’s not happening.

Read it all.

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

January 24, 2015 at 10:00 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* General InterestPhotos/Photography* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* South Carolina* TheologyApologetics

January 24, 2015 at 9:40 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shannon Maureen Conley, a young Colorado woman who tried to join the Islamic State terrorist group, was sentenced to 48 months in prison Friday by a federal judge determined to send a warning to anyone who was similarly inclined.

“This is not a serious offense but an extremely serious offense. I need to send a message,” U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore said as he pronounced the sentence the prosecution had requested. The 48 months will be followed by three years of supervised release.

Conley, 19, pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and, in exchange for a lighter sentence, had agreed to help authorities identify and prosecute those trying to recruit others into terrorist groups. The maximum sentence she faced was five years in prison and a $250,000 fineRead it all.

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January 24, 2015 at 9:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Boko Haram is about more than disenfranchisement and a quest for identity.

Its mission is to establish Islamic law — or at least Boko Haram’s version of it — over Nigeria. It is driven by a religious fundamentalism that sanctions the deliberate destruction of churches and the slaughter of worshipers.

On Christmas Day it targets churches. There’s nothing secular about Boko Haram.

No less than Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said so himself. Claiming credit for a massacre that took place in the northeastern Nigerian town of Baga — in which hundreds were shot on sight or dragged from their homes and killed — Shekau said in a YouTube video, according to the Associated Press: “We are the ones who fought the people of Baga, and we have killed them with such a killing as he [Allah] commanded us in his book.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 24, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

January 24, 2015 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who art Spirit, and wiliest to be worshipped in spirit and in truth: Grant to us that, loving thee in all things and above all things, we may please thee by our prayers and by our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

January 24, 2015 at 6:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

--Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

January 24, 2015 at 6:08 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves


Filed under: * Culture-WatchMusic

January 23, 2015 at 8:13 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And at the heart of the Genesis story of the creation of human beings is the essential nature of the human being, both male and female, existing to know God intimately and to walk intimately with God. There is an equality of worship, in adoration of the presence of God; there is an equality of revelling and feasting in fellowship with God in the Garden. Equality is a gift in creation, it is the foundation of equality before the law, equality of voice in the public square, equality in righteousness. Walter Brueggemann makes a similar point in his commentary on Isaiah 59. The post exilic community in Israel is deeply flawed not by its lack of worship, of which there is plenty, but by its inequalities in justice, in voice, in inclusion of all who accept Torah, regardless of wealth and status.

The first point to make is thus that inequality contrasts with the basic equality that exists before God. That may well not make it wrong, but as I will come back to when looking at the issues of the use of power, it raises a significant question mark. Is it possible, where there is gross inequality, for equality in worship and fellowship to be maintained?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 23, 2015 at 12:24 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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January 23, 2015 at 11:36 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dean of the Catholic University of America’s School of Business and Economics recently approached me with an idea: A research and educational program focused on the compatibility of capitalism and Catholicism. On Thursday the university announced a $3 million grant to fund this vision.

It makes perfect sense that CUA would want to teach this topic to business leaders. Free markets have liberated more people from poverty than any other force in history. But they must also be buttressed by moral principles, such as those taught in the Catholic Church.

The notion of such compatibility is troubling for some. In 2013, the Charles Koch Foundation pledged grants at CUA’s request for similar studies exploring principled entrepreneurship, which prompted condemnation from a number of Catholic “social justice” groups. Catholic “activists” sent the university a letter alleging that free-market positions “are in direct conflict with traditional Catholic values.”

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Filed under: * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 23, 2015 at 11:09 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Not surprisingly, a mild sense of panic leaks out of all the reports. I imagined Archbishops standing in the road shouting: "The car is stuck in a ditch! Quick! Grab the tools nearest to hand and get it out!" But, the more I read, the more I worried that the hard questions that needed to be asked had been sidelined: why the vehicle fell into the ditch; whether it needed a different engine and new running gear; and whether it was going in the right direction in the first place.

The failure to get to grips with the terrain is particularly apparent. It is said of the society of which the Church is part that it is a "secularised, materialistic culture, often experienced as a desert for the soul", "built on the . . . presumption that I get to make my life up". This is a troublingly paranoid and unevidenced projection, and it urgently needs to be married to the existing research on cultural values, social change, and the reasons for church decline which could inform it.

As for the nature of the Church, and the priorities for its recovery, it is simply assumed that the improvement depends on more and better clergy; that only congregations can fund it (with a fillip from the Commissioners); and that being a Christian is a matter of "discipleship".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Theology

January 23, 2015 at 8:00 am - 7 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

January 23, 2015 at 7:35 am - 8 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Also, as Ian Dowbiggin showed in “A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America” (2003), physician-assisted suicide was periodically championed in the 20th century yet rejected time after time by American voters when its practical harms were comprehended. As recently as 2012, Massachusetts voters defeated an initiative to legalize assisted suicide.

There are two essential harms from the practice. First: Once doctors agree to assist a person’s suicide, ultimately they find it difficult to reject anyone who seeks their services. The killing of patients by doctors spreads to encompass many treatable but mentally troubled individuals, as seen today in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.

Second: When a “right to die” becomes settled law, soon the right translates into a duty. That was the message sent by Oregon, which legalized assisted suicide in 1994, when the state-sponsored health plan in 2008 denied recommended but costly cancer treatments and offered instead to pay for less-expensive suicide drugs.

Read it all from Paul McHugh.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 23, 2015 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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January 23, 2015 at 6:00 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria’s campaign against Islamist Boko Haram insurgents is being hampered by “cowards” in its armed forces, its presidential security adviser said in a rare public sign of high-level unhappiness with the effort.

In its bloody uprising to carve out a breakaway Islamic caliphate, Boko Haram has seized much of Nigeria’s northeast and poses an existential threat to Africa’s most populous state and biggest energy producer, as well as at least three of its neighbors.

Boko Haram claimed a Jan. 3 attack on the town of Baga that killed scores, possibly hundreds, of civilians and left the extremists in control of the headquarters of a regional multinational force, including troops from Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

January 23, 2015 at 5:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

January 23, 2015 at 5:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Courage...is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry.... If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.

----Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

January 23, 2015 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While much will be made in the coming months of France’s intelligence failures, the West’s inability to appreciate the role that women play in terror should come under the highest scrutiny. Take the role of women in the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. While the group oppresses many women, many also flock to its ranks. Roughly 10 percent of its Western recruits are female, often lured by their peers through social media and instant messaging. The percentage is much higher in France: An estimated 63 of the 350 French nationals believed to be with the group are women, or just under 20 percent.

This story is both a new one and an old one. Women have long been involved in terror of all stripes, from female neo-Nazis in Europe to Chechen “black widow” suicide bombers.

Indeed, despite stereotypes about their domesticity and passivity — the idea that they must always be under men’s influence or tricked into joining — women are drawn to groups like the Islamic State by many of the same forces as men: adventure, inequality, alienation and the pull of the cause.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 23, 2015 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O everlasting God, who didst reveal truth to thy servant Phillips Brooks, and didst so form and mold his mind and heart that he was able to mediate that truth with grace and power: Grant, we pray, that all whom thou dost call to preach the Gospel may steep themselves in thy word, and conform their lives to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

January 23, 2015 at 4:41 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Teach us, O gracious Lord, to begin our works with fear, to go on with obedience, and to finish them in love, and then to wait patiently in hope, and with cheerful confidence to look up to thee, whose promises are faithful and rewards infinite; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

January 23, 2015 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, "Thou art my God." My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!

--Psalm 31:15-16

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

January 23, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

A new study of more than 9,000 British people in their forties, published today by UCL Institute of Education (IOE), shows that 60 per cent of the women but only 35 per cent of the men believe in life after death.

More than half (54%) of the men surveyed said they were atheists or agnostics, compared to only a third (34%) of the women.

The survey involved members of the 1970 British Cohort Study, whose lives are being followed by the IOE’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies. The study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Almost half of those surveyed did not identify with any religion. Most of the remainder said they had a Christian background. A small number of respondents described themselves as Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim or Sikh.

Professor David Voas, who analysed the survey responses, commented: “Among believers, women are also much more likely to be definite than men, and among non-believers, men are much more likely to be definite than women.” For example, not only are men twice as likely as women to say that God does not exist, but male atheists are far more likely than female atheists to say that they definitely do not believe in live after death (63% versus 36%).
.......
“Some things are clear, however,” he says. “One is that a substantial proportion of teenagers who reported that religion was an important part of their lives at age 16 became relatively unreligious adults. There is some movement in the opposite direction, but not nearly enough to compensate for the losses to religion.”

Professor Voas also points to the very high level of belief in both God and life after death among Muslims. Almost nine in ten (88%) of the small number of Muslims in this survey – only 82 were interviewed – said they knew God really exists and had no doubts about it.

“A high proportion (71%) of those who described themselves as ‘evangelical’ -- Baptists and certain other Christians were included in this category – also had no doubts about God’s existence,” he said. “However, only 33 per cent of those who identified themselves as Roman Catholics had no doubts. And the figure for those affiliated with ‘mainline’ Christian denominations -- Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and United Reformed Church – was even smaller. Only 16 per cent of them said they had no doubts that God exists.”

Read it all and the full paper may be found here [pdf file]

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

January 22, 2015 at 11:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived in New York yesterday for a series of events on economic inequality and the common good convened by Trinity Church Wall Street

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

January 22, 2015 at 8:21 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* South Carolina* TheologyTheology: Scripture

January 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...demonstrators descended on to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for an annual march coinciding with a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

Demonstrators at the 42nd annual March for Life on Thursday carried signs ranging from ones that said "Defend Life" and "I am a voice for the voiceless" to "Thank God my mom's prolife." The march is held annually on the same day that in 1973 that the Supreme Court announced its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, a decision that created a constitutional right to abortion.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu has today issued the following statement:

With great joy and thanksgiving the Church of England will, in the next two weeks, see the consecration of two fine priests, The Revd Libby Lane, and The Revd Philip North as bishops, respectively, of Stockport, in the Diocese of Chester, and of Burnley, in the Diocese of Blackburn. Nothing should be allowed to constrain our joy, our prayers and our thanksgiving, on either occasion.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu

January 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the video...TIME foreign correspondent Simon Shuster discusses how French colonialism and immigration policies throughout Europe helped fuel migration from the Muslim world.

Read and watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

January 22, 2015 at 3:19 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The proposals are presented in a report written by Lord Green, a former British trade minister and HSBC chairman, and prepared with outside help from Christopher McLaverty, a former talent leadership chief at BP, an oil supermajor. As much as £2m ($3m) has been set aside to enact the “talent management programme”, which will provide 150 bishops with the means to study at INSEAD’s campus in Fontainebleau, France, over the next two years. The aim is that clergy, who often come into a high-profile post within the church with little training, are given more adequate preparation for their role, including the ability to build and manage a high-functioning support team. “Simply arriving at moments of appointment and then looking to see who might or might not, by a process of amounting to chance, have suitable preparation and gifting, is to abandon all responsibility,” Mr Welby wrote in support of the Green report.

Sending bishops to business school will kickstart a “culture change for the leadership of the church”, the report says. But it admits that the preponderance of phrases such as “talent pool” and “alumni network” peppered throughout the paper may put off more staunch theologians. Yet that hasn’t stopped the language of business breaching the pious institution. In an appendix of Lord Green’s report, the net promoter score (NPS), a loyalty metric developed by Bain & Company, a consultancy, is presented with a straight face as a hypothetical way of evaluating the benefit of the mini-MBA. With a fictionalised NPS of +75 (on a scale of -100 to +100), the church appears to be confident its plans will be well-received.
'
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchEducation* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

January 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm - 4 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A handful of other congregations, including All Saints Anglican Church in Charlotte, NC, Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, NC and Saint John’s Anglican Church of Americus, GA have also announced building plans. This summer All Saints’ Anglican Church in Springfield, MO and All Saints’ Anglican Church in Peachtree City, GA, completed and consecrated new church buildings.

The churches range from a modest colonial-revival brick building in the case of Restoration to a 30,000-square-foot gothic structure built for the congregation of St. Peter’s.

In addition to making the churches more visible in their communities and accommodating growth in the size of congregations, the new structures are allowing for new programs and events. St. Peter’s is partnering with Trinity School for Ministry to offer theological education far from the seminary’s Ambridge, Pennsylvania campus. Other congregations plan to use their news space for conferences, or to begin hosting programs such as Vacation Bible School which were impractical or not possible in leased spaces.

“Our new church is just the beginning of what we hope to build,” explained Fr. Andrew Rowell, associate rector of St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

January 22, 2015 at 11:19 am - 3 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Reading N. T. Wright's latest book, Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes It Good (HarperOne), is somewhat like listening to a compilation album. All the classic hits are here: "the kingdom of God is for earth now," "the gospel is the key moment in a story," "resurrection is about bodies," "something has happened," and, of course, the well-loved ballad "fundamentalists and liberals are both missing the point." For those who are new to Wright, Simply Good News will offer a helpful introduction to and summary of his work. For those who have read plenty of him already, or for those who dislike compilation albums in principle, it will probably have less to offer.

The focus of the book is admirably clear: to explain what the gospel is, and why we should think of it as good news. In eight succinct chapters, Wright explains the nature of good news (chapter one), the essence of what that good news is (chapters two and three) and is not (chapters four and five), and what it means for the way we live now (chapter six), think about God (chapter seven), and pray (chapter eight). Each of these chapters is readable and insightful, characterized by Wright's familiar mixture of rich scholarship, vivid illustration, and contemporary application.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

January 22, 2015 at 9:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’ve never been a fan of global conferences to solve problems, but when I read that the Obama administration is organizing a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18, in response to the Paris killings, I had a visceral reaction: Is there a box on my tax returns that I can check so my tax dollars won’t go to pay for this?

When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 22, 2015 at 8:00 am - 5 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Foreign ministers from 21 countries are meeting in London to discuss ways to co-ordinate their efforts to combat the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

IS controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq and the US-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes since August.

But UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond insisted much more needed to be done.

He told the BBC that the countries wanted to find ways to halt the flow of recruits to IS, cut off its funding and "tackle the underlying narrative".

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaMiddle East* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

January 22, 2015 at 7:21 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The text of the Preface regarding Confirmation is brief enough that I’ll print the text of the first three out of four paragraphs as I go, one paragraph at a time, followed by a few comments. The statement begins like this:

Anglicanism requires a public and personal profession of the Faith from every adult believer in Jesus Christ. Confirmation by a bishop is its liturgical expression. Confirmation is evident in Scripture: the Apostles prayed for, and laid their hands on those who had already been baptized (Acts 8:14-17; 19:6).

I keep toying with this first sentence in my mind. If they mean this to be an accurate description of how the majority of Anglicans think about confirmation, I think they may be correct. But if this is meant to be descriptive of Anglicanism in any historical sense, than it is certainly misleading and probably just flat out wrong. Why?

At least one implication of the practice of requiring both baptism and Confirmation before reception of Holy Communion in the English and American BCPs (until 1979) is that God administers something in Confirmation (as opposed to it being simply a ritual acknowledgement that one is now mature enough to willingly give themselves to the Christian faith). Or at least that there is a sacramental encounter with God in that moment (which, by definition, would mean that it is an encounter unique to that sacrament). Otherwise, why does the bishop pray not only for a strengthening of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, but for the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit? The petition that the candidate be defended “with thy heavenly grace” is also interesting, as it has no parallel in the baptism rites (that is, it’s not a repetition of something already requested in that ritual). In short, what the bishop petitions on behalf of the candidate are things not requested at baptism.

The rest of the ACNA statement reflects in many ways the tension that persists around this controverted rite, a tension that began in the twentieth century and endures into the twenty-first. While the adage that Confirmation is a “rite in search of a theology” is maybe a bit too cavalier, it is true that the intention of Confirmation and its relationship to baptism remain hotly contested.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)* TheologySacramental Theology

January 22, 2015 at 7:00 am - 6 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

‘Fixing our ... roads ... tremendously important’

“Education reform and infrastructure repairs are two of the most challenging economic issues we face. ... Fixing our crumbling roads system is also tremendously important as it directly impacts economic development, which leads to job creation and higher wages.”

— House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington

‘Drop in the bucket’ “It’s just a drop in the bucket to solving the problem. ... There’s many ways to do it, but this is just not going to deal with the real magnitude of the problem that we have.”

— Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeTaxesPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina

January 22, 2015 at 5:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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