Posted by The_Elves

Thanks to commenters David Keller and David Handy for suggesting this topic:
David Keller writes:

"I was looking for something in an office cabinet yesterday and found a picture of the Vestry of Christ Church Greenville, SC in 2002. Of the 14 vestry members, 4 are left at CC. Five are at St. Paul’s Anglican, my church, including the Junior Warden in that picture and the next Junior Warden. The Senior Warden is at a PCA Church, but his daughter is on the vestry at St. Paul’s and he visits St Paul’s regularly. Two are at “mega” (very orthodox) independent churches. One is now a Methodist. One is deceased"

What has happened for you and those you know in the last decade or so? What general lessons are there from this time, and how has God used it?

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 31, 2015 at 12:48 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Thanks to commenters Pageantmaster and profpk for this topic:
"With twitter, facebook and other social media providing instant albeit short interactions, are weblogs approaching their sell by date?"

"In response to Pageantmaster’s comment, yes I believe blogs are fading as a useful means of communication, even though I have been following TitusOneNine for years and have filched leads from it to post on my Facebook group, Anglican Evangelicals. No one reads my blog, An Anglican Witness, anymore, whereas we are approving new members of the Facebook group daily. I was very pleased when Kendall joined the group."

Is the day of the weblog over? Will it go the way of the VHS video recorder? Do weblogs still perform a useful function?

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

August 29, 2015 at 9:22 am - 13 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

With thanks to Underground Pewster for suggesting this topic
Losing your religion? What resources may help renewal during spiritual slow downs and do you have any experience of using them?

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 28, 2015 at 9:04 am - 5 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

It is late Summer, the living is easy, and the Elves are feeling lazy. Can you help them out with ideas for an open thread or post? Have you seen something you would like to draw others attention to?
Do you have any suggestions?

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet

August 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm - 9 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina; The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a South Carolina Corporate Body; All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.; Christ St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Christ the King, Waccamaw; Church of The Cross, Inc. And Church of the Cross Declaration of Trust; Church of The Holy Comforter; Church of the Redeemer; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Saint Luke's Church, Hilton Head; St. Matthews Church; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church; St. David's Church; St. James' Church, James Island, S.C.; St. John's Episcopal Church of Florence, S.C.; St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Inc.; St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Bennettsville, Inc.;

Read more...

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* Theology

August 12, 2015 at 6:12 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude reports on his conversations with David Porter - from 'A Conversation with Colin Coward 18th April 2015' at St Brides, Liverpool
OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.

I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.

Read more...

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

July 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm - 9 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

April 28, 2015 at 7:35 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves


Filed under: * Culture-WatchMusic

August 31, 2015 at 6:53 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Overall, the picture is grim indeed. Out of 5.5 million female accounts, roughly zero percent had ever shown any kind of activity at all, after the day they were created.

The men’s accounts tell a story of lively engagement with the site, with over 20 million men hopefully looking at their inboxes, and over 10 million of them initiating chats. The women’s accounts show so little activity that they might as well not be there....

Either way, we’re left with data that suggests Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there.

Read it all (used from the pulpit in yesterday's sermon by yours truly and yes, emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologySexualityWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

August 31, 2015 at 4:08 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

An interview with Bishop John the day after his 15th anniversary as the Bishop of Tasmania and the day after he announced his resignation

Listen to it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia

August 31, 2015 at 2:28 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The upcoming hearing of the appeal by TEC and its local agents against the first instance decision in favor of the Diocese of South Carolina is due to start on September 23rd. T19 will be posting prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team as well as for the Court, judges and all involved as the hearing date approaches and encourages intercession for the people of God and His mission in South Carolina during this time.
1 Chronicles 27:25 (AMP)
Over the king’s treasuries was Azmaveth son of Adiel; and over the treasuries in the country, cities, villages, and towers or forts was Jonathan son of Uzziah;

Azmaveth–strong as death
Adiel–the witness of the Lord
Jonathan–Yahweh has given
Uzziah–Yahweh has helped


Our Father in heaven,
Your witness, Your help, Your gifts are the treasures of the Diocese of South Carolina.
We thank You for the bounty of Your treasuries.
You are the Lord of life, our Creator, and You overcome death.
Be present to the Diocese of South Carolina during the ongoing litigation, we pray.
Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

August 31, 2015 at 12:35 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..Most people in middle England seem to like the idea of God but can’t believe in the God of the Bible; they like peace and gentleness, prayer not preaching, concerts and carols in beautiful buildings but not dogma or worship; they like being in a club but not an army or a school. According to this churchwarden, catering for these needs, rather than preaching the Gospel so people encounter Christ, repent and believe, is what most churches should aim for in terms of mission strategy. This idea is similar to those of influential sociologist Linda Woodhead, who is often quoted as saying that the Church of England should reflect the religious and cultural views of the majority (for example here).

How many clergy and even Bishops share this idea of mission, proposed in a lead article in the Church Times, as creating communities of hurting doubters, attracted to a romanticized Jesus but distrustful of the Bible, and turned off by stories of healing, change and church growth? It might sound nice for a vicar’s message to be “I have doubts about God but I really care about you – let me sit with you and search with you”, but a) does that conform to ordination commitments? b) is it Christian? and c) will it reach the nation for Christ?

In response, a Confessing Church needs to say that authentic Christianity, and therefore the only hope for Church and nation, is the opposite of these sentiments. Instead of glorifying doubt about God and exalting our own ability to seek the truth, we should surely doubt ourselves, and trust in revealed Truth even if we can’t articulate immediate answers to the thorny theological problems? Instead of being embarrassed and diffident about what we believe, agreeing with those who say “how could God allow…?” and “our view of God is like that of the blind men touching an elephant”*, shouldn’t Christians be saying that the way we manage life with our own weaknesses and the world’s suffering is only through confident faith in Christ’s work in the past, present and future?

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

August 31, 2015 at 12:29 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..the case of 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, the former on-air reporter at WDBJ-7, who gunned down his one-time colleagues, the “dark side of instant sharing,” as Wired described the tragedy, appears to have as much to do with an old school desire to “make it” on mainstream media than it does the scourge of social that some have blamed in the hours since the tragedy. Overlooked in the disgust over the Virginia gunman’s video posts of the shooting is the fact that both Twitter and Facebook suspended Flanagan’s account soon after he shared his video. CBS Evening News, along with several mainstream news sites, however, broadcast the footage. While CBS was the only network that made the decision to show Flanagan’s video, CNN was one of several cable channels to broadcast the on-air footage taken by the slain cameraman most of the day — which was, in all likelihood, Flanagan’s intent.

Contrast this with members of the Islamic State and other terrorists who have used social media to distribute shocking materials of bloodthirsty acts in order to gain notoriety and followers. Supporters of Islamic State have as many as 90,000 accounts on Twitter. The group is so good at harnessing social media that the United States’ counter-strategy pales in comparison. In a June memo obtained by the New York Times, State Department official Richard Stengel described Islamic State’s social media dominance: “When it comes to the external message, our narrative is being trumped by ISIL’s.”

Yet for members of Islamic State, social media is the most meaningful outlet for building their base.

Read it all

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

August 31, 2015 at 12:23 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Church of England Pensions Board ("the Board") today announced that it has issued £100 million of bonds, giving it access to long-term finance to purchase additional retirement properties, which will secure the future of clergy housing in retirement.

The bonds are repayable in tranches between 2038 and 2048 and were issued through a special purpose vehicle, CHARM Finance plc. £70 million of the bonds were placed immediately, and the remaining £30 million retained to provide quick access to the capital markets if required in the future.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

August 31, 2015 at 12:17 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

In Canada, now a major oil producer from Alberta’s tar sands, polls are jumping about nervously, as Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper seemed up in April, then down in July. Harper has been in power since 2006, so “regime fatigue” is judged to be a large factor in the public’s ambivalence toward him. The fall in the price of the commodity that accounts for a quarter of the country’s export revenue and nearly 10 percent of its GDP is not his fault — but it’s happened on his watch. This will only aggravate the fatigue. Elections are in October; a credible critique of Harper’s economic policy at a time of falling revenues could tip it for the opposition.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t have to face an election soon — he just won one. But like other leaders from oil-producing nations, he does have to cope with a price slump in the commodity, which comprises 80 percent of the government’s revenue. It has meant civil servants in most states are owed months of pay; capital projects have been frozen; and an already restive and divided country shows more signs of revolt.

The turmoil is felt by countries throughout the Middle East — by those desperately reliant on oil revenue (Iraq, Syria and Libya) and those with vast riches (Saudi Arabia).

And yet the Russian Federation, and Scotland buck this trend. Their leaders are the Teflon Kids of the oil slump: Hit by sliding prices but not public scorn.

Read it all

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources

August 31, 2015 at 12:07 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seminary students have a reputation for taking theology seriously. But would they relocate from, say, New York City to Mississippi for a better doctrinal fit?

“Seminarians are not relocating to go to seminary,” said Ligon Duncan, president of the Jackson, Mississippi–based Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). “Many are choosing to attend regional institutions with which they have less theological affinity in order to stay in the same city.”

That’s one key reason why RTS has formed a new partnership with Redeemer City to City, a church-planting network founded in 2001 by Tim Keller. Now RTS students based in New York won’t have to choose between a local school and a Reformed one. (It also has six other extension campuses.)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

August 31, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What does this mean for conservative Christians? Keller uses the analogy of an umbrella:

So what’s happening is the roof has come off for the devout. The devout had a kind of a shelter, an umbrella. You couldn’t be all that caustic toward traditional classic Christian teaching and truth. I spoke on Friday morning to the American Bible Society’s board. American Bible Society does a lot of polling about the Bible. The use of the Bible, reading the Bible, attitudes toward the Bible. They said that actually the number of people who are devout Bible readers is not changing that much.

What is changing is for the first time in history a growing group of people who think the Bible is bad, it’s dangerous, it’s regressive, it’s a bad cultural force, that was just never there. It was very tiny. And that’s because the middle ground has shifted, so it is more identified with the more secular, the less religious, and it’s less identified now with the more devout.

Later, he explains what the loss of this umbrella means for the devout:

The roof came off. That is, you had the devout, you had the secular, and you had that middle ground that made it hard to speak disrespectfully of traditional values. That middle ground now has not so much gone secular, but they more identified with this side. They are identified with expressive individualism, and so they don’t want to tell anybody how to live their lives.

And so what that means now of course is that the devout suddenly realize that they are out there, that the umbrella is gone, and they are taking a lot of flak for their views, just public flak.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

August 31, 2015 at 7:00 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Terrorism is a multifaceted problem, so the solutions should address the political, economic, social and religious layers. Approaches that reduce the problem to religion do a disservice to at-risk youth and the world at large. The international community would do well to realize that Muslims are the primary victims of terrorism—both literally and symbolically—and they can help marginalize terrorists and prevent recruitment. That’s why governments should avoid statements and actions that result in the alienation of Muslims.

Violent extremism has no religion; there will always be people who manipulate faith texts. Just as Christians do not endorse Quran burnings or the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, and Buddhists do not endorse atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, mainstream Muslims do not endorse violence.

Muslims have historically added much to the flourishing of human civilization. Our greatest contributions were made in eras when the faith cherished mutual respect, freedom and justice. It may be immensely difficult to restore the blotted image of Islam, but Muslims can be beacons of peace and tranquility in their societies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

August 31, 2015 at 6:26 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Can the Christian community flourish in a post-Christian context? This is the main question behind a landmark study of the state of faith and effective ministry in Scotland—the first of its kind for Barna Group outside of North America.

Despite levels of secularization that are much higher than in the U.S., the research findings from Scotland will likely strike American readers as familiar: increasing numbers of non-religious adults, declining church attendance numbers and fewer people engaged with the Bible. What is happening? And how can the trends revealed by the research help church leaders in America and beyond do more effective ministry in their own post-Christian context?

The yearlong research effort, commissioned by the Maclellan Foundation, examines the current state of the Christian faith in Scotland and identifies ministry approaches that seem to be working in this particular post-Christian context. While some of the trends revealed in the new report, Transforming Scotland, may paint an uncomfortable picture for church leaders, the research also shows surprising “countertrends” that refute traditional expectations of secularization, including best practices among growing churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland

August 31, 2015 at 5:38 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

August 31, 2015 at 5:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even after pitching his first career no-hitter, Jake Arrieta wasn't too big to wear his PJs.

He threw the second no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 10 days, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 victory Sunday night.

Arrieta was lights-out on the mound, striking out a season-high 12. He was ready for lights out afterward, slipping into one-piece pajamas decorated with moustaches for the overnight flight home.

Fitting, since Arrieta had thought about throwing a no-hitter since he was a kid. His grandfather witnessed one of Nolan Ryan's no-hitters in Texas.

Read it all from ESPN.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports

August 31, 2015 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everliving God, who didst call thy servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and endued them with loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

August 31, 2015 at 4:39 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My God, my Father and Preserver, who of thy goodness hast watched over me during the past night, and brought me to this day, grant also that I may spend it wholly in the worship and service of thy most holy deity. Let me not think, or say, or do a single thing which tends not to thy service and submission to thy will, that thus all my actions may aim at thy glory and the salvation of my brethren, while they are taught by my example to serve thee. And as thou art giving light to this world for the purposes of external life by the rays of the sun, so enlighten my mind by the effulgence of thy Spirit, that he may guide me in the way of thy righteousness. To whatever purpose I apply my mind, may the end which I ever propose to myself be thy honour and service. May I expect all happiness from thy grace and goodness only. Let me not attempt any thing whatever that is not pleasing to thee.

Grant also, that while I labour for the maintenance of this life, and care for the things which pertain to food and raiment, I may raise my mind above them to the blessed and heavenly life which thou hast promised to thy children. Be pleased also, in manifesting thyself to me as the protector of my soul as well as my body, to strengthen and fortify me against all the assaults of the devil, and deliver me from all the dangers which continually beset us in this life. But seeing it is a small thing to have begun, unless I also persevere, I therefore entreat of thee, O Lord, not only to be my guide and director for this day, but to keep me under thy protection to the very end of life, that thus my whole course may be performed under thy superintendence. As I ought to make progress, do thou add daily more and more to the gifts of thy grace until I wholly adhere to thy Son Jesus Christ, whom we justly regard as the true Sun, shining constantly in our minds. In order to my obtaining of thee these great and manifold blessings, forget, and out of thy infinite mercy, forgive my offences, as thou hast promised that thou wilt do to those who call upon thee in sincerity.

(Ps. 143:8.)—Grant that I may hear thy voice in the morning since I have hoped in thee. Show me the way in which I should walk, since I have lifted up my soul unto thee. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord, I have fled unto thee. Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God. Let thy good Spirit conduct me to the land of uprightness.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

August 31, 2015 at 4:17 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

--Psalm 25:1-4

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

August 31, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

August 30, 2015 at 5:27 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

As a researcher, I felt compelled to empirically test my observations about faith and disaster resilience. I began collecting data for my first Katrina study 2 months after the storm. Even now, on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I’m still studying faith and disaster resilience among Katrina survivors. Following are some of the empirical lessons I’ve learned along the way with my colleagues and students...

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHurricane Katrina

August 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who in Christ Jesus hast fulfilled to the sons of men thy ancient word of promise: Grant us grace to lay hold upon that promise by a living faith, that we may receive thy gift of righteousness, and at the last may enter upon our eternal inheritance; through the merits of the same thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

August 30, 2015 at 4:22 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Read more...

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Yesterday marked]... 60 years since Chicago teenager Emmett Till was killed at age 14 for apparently whistling at a white woman in Mississippi.

Civil rights activists, relatives of the black teen and other families "victimized by racial violence" -- including the family of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown -- have invited the public to unite for a commemorative weekend in Chicago to remember Till and to continue the legacy of Till's mother, Mamie Till Mobley.

"As I travel across the country supporting families who have lost their loved ones through hate crimes, I realized that Mamie lived her life fighting for our youth and fighting for Emmett’s legacy,” Till's cousin Airicka Gordon Taylor, said in a news release. "This is why we have decided to host the Commemoration. This moment is for Mamie and all that she sacrificed. This is for Emmett, the sacrificial lamb whose death changed the course of the Civil Rights Movement."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

August 29, 2015 at 4:15 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it. Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the "virtues." In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are "good," it does not matter being a fool. But that is a misunderstanding. In the first place, most children show plenty of "prudence" about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly. In the second place, as St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only "as harmless as doves," but also "as wise as serpents." He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. The proper motto is not "Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever," but "Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can." God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world.
----C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (my emphasis)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

August 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

August 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The floodwaters retreated. Homes were rebuilt. New Orleans rebounded with Mardi Gras, jazz festivals and even a Super Bowl in 2013.

In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina smashed the shoreline of the Gulf Coast, the images of despair grew distant.

But for the people who lost everything, they never went away.

In the immediate aftermath of the destruction, survivors opened up to NBC News about their loss, grief and rage.

We reconnected with those same survivors recently — and learned how the storm, even a decade later, still shapes their lives.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHurricane Katrina

August 29, 2015 at 1:57 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

A prominent priest in the Diocese of Menevia has announced he is leaving the Catholic Church for the Anglican Communion.

Fr Ceirion Gilbert was a parish priest at Briton Ferry in Neath, director of youth services, chaplain to two secondary schools, secretary to the bishop’s council and in charge of the diocese’s online and social media presence. He is also a fluent Welsh speaker. He has now, however, announced he is to be received into the Church in Wales on 12 October and will continue ordained ministry in the Diocese of Llandaff.

In the letter below he explains why he decided to leave the Catholic Church.
...the church is wherever and whenever in a life or in the life of a community Christ is proclaimed as Lord, and the Paschal Mystery of sacrificial and hence life-nurturing Love proclaimed, not so much in rite and liturgy but in reality and life. The question that will be asked of us before the Gates of he Kingdom of heaven will not be what particular brand of Christianity we belonged to but, surely, the one question that takes different forms in the Gospel stories but remains essentially the same: "Have you loved? Have you been a person of compassion, solidarity, of healing and hope, as you were able, in the places and with the people whose stories touched your own?" Love one another, as I have loved you. Ecumenism is not about doing everything we can do so that "they ( non-Catholics) come back to us" (an interpretation that, sadly, seems still to be in practice that of the Catholic Hierarchy) but is rather about dismantling the unnecessary and obstructive barriers of dogma and definition, history and tradition that have decimated our common home and prevent us from seeing the clarity of that simple but immense and profound truth. We are all disciples, walking in our own ways, in our own time, with our own baggage, and yes with our own styles and differences of expression and language - but together following him, the crucified and risen one. Where he leads us, not where we think we should be going.

And it is him, his words and his life that have led me to that other "truth" that I find defines my life and my choices - and this decision, as well. What is the Church - and ministry and priesthood and liturgy and sacrament- really "for"?

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Wales

August 29, 2015 at 9:50 am - 3 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

This is a piece of driftwood that my family found on the beach in Cornwall where we used to go for our holidays. In our family, like every other family, sometimes we had rows and ructions with the kids as they were growing up. As a child growing up in Yorkshire, a word used in the playground was “Barlow”, said in order to take time out and call a truce.

So this is our family Barlow stick, and whenever there was a row in the family, someone would pick up the stick and say “Barlow” so we would all have to stop whatever we were doing and sit down and talk to each other.

In every house I’ve lived in, and I have moved quite a lot, our Barlow stick sits in front of the fire in the main room. The kids have all left home now and we haven’t had to use it for a long time but it serves as a reminder that you don’t always have to be locked or stuck in conflict. You can stop at any point and this free gift from the beach reminds us that you can live a life that’s marked by peace as long as there is some way you can stop, and that’s what our Barlow stick is for…

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 29, 2015 at 7:16 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..In a society which genuinely prizes freedom and equality, the chief principle of debate and argument must be persuasion rather than coercion. Just as I claim the right to put my point of view – respectfully and without interruption or abuse – so I must be willing to uphold the right of my opponent to the same courtesies. Shouting louder and hurling abuse is no substitute for careful argument and reasoned conclusions. Threatening those who disagree with you with legal or economic sanctions might eventually force them into silence but at what cost to democracy and free speech?

Across the world this debate has been accompanied by the application of a range of strategies to silence dissent. As one of the US Supreme Court justices remarked in the recent judgment on same-sex marriage, there is an emerging new orthodoxy which is relentless in its persecution of those who disagree. The idea of conscientious objection is dismissed with the cavalier suggestion that no one of good conscience or in their right mind could possibly object to what is being proposed.

So anti-discrimination legislation is applied – though only ever in one direction. No one complains when corporations declare they will only do business with those who support the gay agenda but there is a hue and cry when one of 10 bakers in a town refuses to bake a cake with a activist slogan on top. Worst of all, terms like "hateful", "intolerant", and "bigoted" are applied before an argument is even heard, and applied in the most aggressive, belligerent and intolerant manner. They are intended to shut down the argument before it even begins. Witness Q&A last week.

Is there a way of reframing the debate, even at this late stage, which abandons coercion for genuine persuasion? Is there any hope that those who dissent on this issue may freely continue to do so without fear of reprisal? Could we get to the point where we will do all in our power to protect the freedom of those with whom we disagree? Can we get beyond the slogans – and full marks to the person who came up with the slogan "marriage equality" – to a considered debate of the issues, the evidence and the consequences? This is the debate behind the debate and one which, for all our sakes, needs to come out into the open.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family

August 29, 2015 at 7:11 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..as part of a wider effort to reform a church led by an often corrupt and ignorant clergy, Cranmer had produced a book of twelve Homilies. Every parish in the land was required to own them, and every parish priest to preach them. The ninth of these homilies is entitled: An Exhortation Against The Fear Of Death. Cranmer outlines three reasons why men fear to die: a fear at losing worldly honours, a fear of the suffering and pain that attends dying, and the ‘chief cause’ of fear, namely, ‘the dread of the miserable state of damnation’. He then goes on,
“There is never a one of all these causes… that can make a true Christian man afraid to die, but plainly contrary, he conceives great and many causes undoubtedly grounded upon the infallible and everlasting truth of the Word of God, which moves him not only to put away the fear of bodily death, but also (for the manifold benefits and singular commodities which ensues to every faithful person by reason of the same) to wish, desire, and long heartily for it. For death shall be to him no death at all, but a very deliverance from death, from all pains, cares and sorrows, miseries, and wretchedness of this world, and the very entry into rest, and a beginning of everlasting joy… And we ought to believe that death being slain by Christ cannot keep any man that steadfastly trust in Christ under his perpetual tyranny and subjection…”
But there is a large difference between words written in the safety of an archbishop’s study, and words believed in the shadow of a looming stake! ...

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 29, 2015 at 7:01 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Inklings lived in a society that became successively less Christian-a society that more and more resemble our own-but they offer some hope for us in our own fragmented culture.
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The Inklings were men who had seen the worst the world has to offer, but who wanted to offer, in contrast, something higher, a vision of a reality we only sometimes glimpse that is as real as any horror, and more eternal. Carol Zaleski summed up the great gift of The Inklings in this way:

We read, Lewis once said, because "we seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves. . . . . We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own." All literature offers us this gift - it takes us out of ourselves - but mythopoeic literature has a particular power to make spiritual realities imaginatively plausible. That doesn't mean that religious people need or wish to live in a dream world, lulled by compensatory fantasies. Far from it! If the Inklings succeeded as writers it was because they wedded realism to hope and fantasy to reason.

The Inklings were involved in a great enterprise, and to a larger degree than they might have imagined possible, they created something lasting and important. As the book puts it, "their great hope was to restore Western culture to its religious roots, to unleash the powers of the imagination, to reenchant the world through Christian faith and pagan beauty." Because they worked largely in fantastic realms, in fantasy and science fiction and faerie, the Inklings were able to approach many real-world issues obliquely, without, as Lewis once put it, "waking the sleeping dragons of reason," to deal with faith, war, technology, and many other contemporary concerns. The Fellowship does an admirable job of capturing why the Inklings mattered--and of arguing for their ongoing relevance.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life

August 29, 2015 at 6:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of peace, who didst call John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in thy heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

August 29, 2015 at 6:35 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at the carpenter’s bench didst manifest the dignity of honest labour, and dost give to each of us our tasks to perform: Help us to do our daily work with readiness of mind and singleness of heart, not with eye-service as menpleasers, but as thy servants, labouring heartily as unto thee and not unto men, so that whatever we do, great or small, may be to the glory of thy holy name.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

August 29, 2015 at 6:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

--Psalm 20:6-9

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

August 29, 2015 at 6:05 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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