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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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+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 24th
+ The Nature of Christian Service – Bishop Rennis Ponniah
Grace and peace to you at Pentecost as we rejoice in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God.
This is my first pastoral letter since the meeting of the GAFCON Primates Council last month and I continue to thank God for the gracious leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit. We reaffirmed our commitment to see biblical truth restored to the heart of the life of the Communion and agreed a range of measures to develop our work with communications and theological education being given priority. All this we seek to do in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.
One of the great lessons of the East African Revival was that a genuine movement of the Spirit will impress on our hearts that the Scriptures really are the inspired and authoritative Word of God. We cannot separate the Spirit from the Spirit-inspired Scriptures. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to enable Christians to grow in biblical holiness and to equip them with gifts to build up the church in a hostile world. It is therefore a tragedy when Christian leaders whose minds have been captured by the spirit of the age commend the values of the world to the Church and claim they are led by the Spirit of God.
This is the challenge we face. On the day of Pentecost, Peter’s preaching makes clear that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those who repent, but the continuing crisis of the Anglican Communion has come about through a failure to call to repentance those who are systematically grieving the Holy Spirit by claiming that what Scripture calls sexual immorality is in fact new truth revealed by the Spirit.
Since GAFCON began in 2008 with our historic gathering in Jerusalem, the place of Pentecost, I have been convinced that we are caught up in a transforming movement of the Spirit of God. Despite our lack of institutional resources, this movement has grown and the Holy Spirit is using us to gather the Anglican Communion in a unique and unprecedented way...
Read it all
“I'm here with you with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury," said Bishop Zavala. He told those gathered that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was with the Global South Primates "Steering Committee" in a meeting in Cairo, Egypt in 2014 when "we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to some dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion" said Bishop Zavala.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Identity Global South Churches & Primates * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Ordained * International News & Commentary South America Chile * South Carolina * Theology
Here are the links to posts that have been recently featured at the top of the blog or on topical issues.
+ South Carolina: Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala Meets with South Carolina Diocesan Council (May 22, 2015)
+ Episcopal Church Polity: ACI: Misrepresenting ACI’s Concerns About The Constitutionality of [New] Liturgical Material (Apr 21, 2015)
+ Episcopal Church Polity: [ACI] The Episcopal Church and the New Episcopal Church (Apr 20, 2015)
+ Anglican Communion: [Andrew Symes] on Shared Conversations: “Not enough conservatives; theology too liberal” (May 4, 2015)
+ Anglican Communion: Martin Davie: Grace and Disagreement - [Justin Welby’s Shared Conversations on Sexual Immorality] (May 1, 2015)
+ Episcopal Church Polity: [ACI] What Then Shall We Do? A Note on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church (April 30, 2015)
See also Bishop John Ellison Interviewed in 2009 and 2010
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion
‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak’ (Acts 2.4). At Pentecost, we celebrate the gift God gives us of being able to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ in the various languages of the whole human world. The Gospel is not the property of any one group, any one culture or history, but is what God intends for the salvation of all who will listen and respond.
St Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is also what God gives us so that we can call God ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom. 8.15, Gal. 4.6). The Spirit is given not only so that we can speak to the world about God but so that we can speak to God in the words of his own beloved Son. The Good News we share is not just a story about Jesus but the possibility of living in and through the life of Jesus and praying his prayer to the Father.
And so the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of ‘communion’ or fellowship (II Cor. 13.13). The Spirit allows us to recognise each other as part of the Body of Christ because we can hear in each other the voice of Jesus praying to the Father. We know, in the Spirit, that we who are baptised into Jesus Christ share one life; so that all the diversity of gifting and service in the Church can be seen as the work of one Spirit (I Cor. 12.4). In the Holy Eucharist, this unity in and through the self-offering of Jesus is reaffirmed and renewed as we pray for the Spirit to transform both the bread and wine and ‘ourselves, our souls and bodies’.
When the Church is living by the Spirit, what the world will see is a community of people who joyfully and gratefully hear the prayer of Jesus being offered in each other’s words and lives, and are able to recognise the one Christ working through human diversity. And if the world sees this, the Church is a true sign of hope in a world of bitter conflict and rivalry.
"Since God has put His work into your weak hands, look not for long ease here: You must feel the full weight of your calling: a weak man with a strong God."--Lady Culross to John Livingston of the Scottish Covenanters as cited in Ruth Bell Graham, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them: Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait (Grand Rapdis: Baker, 2008), p.110, and used by yours truly in this morning's Pentecost sermon
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Pentecost * International News & Commentary England / UK --Scotland * Theology Anthropology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
May we ourselves hear what the poets hear, and with such sounds echo the treasure of God in our world. A good feast to you.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Pentecost * Culture-Watch Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture * Theology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
you breathe in us
on all that is inadequate and fragile.
You make living water spring even
from our hurts themselves. And
through you, the valley of tears
becomes a place of wellsprings.
So, in an inner life
with neither beginning nor end,
your continual presence
makes new freshenss break through
--Brother Roger of Taizé (1915-2005) as cited in Prayers Encircling the World: An International Anthology (London: SPCK, 1998), page 71
--Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles
--Saint Nerses of Clajes (4th century Persian Bishop and Martyr)
Stephen Pickard ends his book with reflections on the current state of the church in what were once presumed to be Christian cultures. It is no secret that the church has rapidly lost its standing in those cultures, leading, at least according to Pickard, to two equally disastrous strategies. One alternative Pickard characterizes as the "fast-asleep church," which he associates with churches that continue to rely on the general presumption that religion is a "good thing" so nothing about the church needs to change. The other strategy he characterizes as the "frenetic church," which he describes as the attempt to force new life into a dying church by meeting consumer demand. He doubts either response to the loss of the church's status will be successful. Each in their own way fail to rely on the Holy Spirit.
Pickard proposes an alternative understanding he calls "the slow church." We are a culture of speed, but Pickard draws on the example of monasticism to argue that the work of the Spirit is work for the long haul. It is the work of Holy Saturday in which patience and perseverance are made possible and required. Pickard refuses any suggestion that a slow church is a church that no longer has passion for justice and change, but the change sought is not that of solutions that do not last. Rather, it is the kind of church that makes possible companionship in a world based on isolation. The Spirit rests on our bodies making us capable of friendship.
I call attention to Pickard's account of what it would mean for the church to be a slow church, because I am confident that is pointing the church to where the Spirit is leading us.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
In London, Wesley’s Chapel on City Road — the “Mother Church of World Methodism” — will be holding a day of commemorations, including prayers round his tomb, while in chapels and churches across the country a host of special services will be taking place.
An Anglican clergyman, John Wesley had lived a devout life — visiting prisoners, studying the Bible, praying, living simply and even travelling to America to be a missionary — but on May 24 something happened that changed him. That evening he went (“unwillingly” as he admitted in his journal) to a meeting of Christians on Aldersgate Street, near St Paul’s Cathedral, where someone read aloud Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans, describing the change God works in the heart through faith in Christ.
Wesley recorded in his journal how, as he listened, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
Read it all (subscription required).
Linda Parker’s wide-ranging book, Shellshocked Prophets: Former Anglican Army Chaplains in Interwar Britain, tells the story of this brave band of Anglican clergyman — who were awarded around 250 Military Crosses between them — and then helped to transform the church. “Given the changes that occurred in the Church of England institutionally, liturgically and in its attitudes to a rapidly changing society, it is important that the role of former chaplains should be examined and their significance analysed,” says Dr Parker, herself the daughter of a former Territorial Army chaplain.
A harbinger of social change in the church was the Industrial Christian Fellowship founded by the Rev Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, MC,in 1919 to encourage Christians to relate their faith to their working lives. As chief “missioner”, Studdert Kennedy travelled the country evangelising in factories, mines and canteens, and gathered about him a team of other ex-war chaplains.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Books History Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
It was Riley who helped persuade the late composer Gian Carlo Menotti to establish the performing arts festival in Charleston as a companion to the composer’s Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.
Riley has opened every festival now for 39 years. Friday’s was his last because Riley, who has served as mayor longer than anyone else in Charleston’s 345-year history, retires at the end of the year. This year’s festival continues through June 7.
“There is nothing like the Spoleto Festival USA in the world, and for everyone who participates, when the festival is over, they are changed,” Riley told the hundreds gathered in front of Charleston City Hal
Read it all.
A new survey by Pew Research Center finds that 41 percent of Americans think there will be no Social Security benefits for them when they retire and nearly a third expect reduced levels of benefits. (Tweet This)
Some of those fears may be overblown. "People who think they will get zero benefits from Social Security are wrong and they should look at the facts," said Andy Landis, a former claims representative for the Social Security Administration (SSA) and author of "Social Security: The Inside Story."
There are concerns that benefits may be reduced, however.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance The U.S. Government Budget Social Security Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
In word as well as action, tone as well as content, public as well as in private, he moved the heart of reconciliation away from the political arena.
He took it to a place where the facing of pain, resentment, anguish and agonies (to use his own words) are put at the very centre of leaving our grandchildren “a legacy of lasting peace, forgiveness and friendship” (again, his own words).
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The lawsuit reprises some of the allegations made in a federal lawsuit last year on behalf of 1,300 former players against the NFL. That complaint was filed in May, 2014 and dismissed in December by Judge William Alsup of the U.S. Northern District in California. Alsup wrote that the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association was the appropriate forum to resolve such claims. That decision is being appealed.
The new lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. Northern District of Maryland. It names each NFL team individually as a defendant and lists 13 plaintiffs, including Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Renfro of the Dallas Cowboys and Etopia Evans, the widow of Charles Evans, a running back who played eight years with the Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens and retired after the 2000 season. Evans died of heart failure in October 2008 at age 41.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Sports * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Donegal, against some expectations, has approved the amendment to the Constitution by a small margin. Donegal South West has been the closest so far, with 50.1 per cent voting Yes, representing a margin of just 33 votes.
The Yes vote in Dublin was particularly pronounced. Dublin Midwest reported a Yes vote of 70.9 per cent and Dublin Southwest returned 71.3 per cent, in line with an overall 70 per cent positive vote anticipated in the capital. As the result emerged thousands of people gathered, against convention, in the courtyard of Dublin Castle signalling widespread jubilation.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Pity the preacher then, who, as well as the regular Sunday gig, is drafted in for school assemblies, the Women’s Institute and the odd Rotary dinner.
The vicar is charged with delivering something memorable, neither too long nor too short, and not just once in a while, but week in week out. For me, the Sunday sermon looms large enough to make many a Saturday night sleepless. As I step nervously up the pulpit steps I worry that my waffling will leave them uninspired or, worse still, asleep. But while preaching is culturally alien to many, and being “preached at” unappealing to most, it is similar to something we are more used to seeing: standup comedy.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Theatre/Drama/Plays * General Interest Humor / Trivia * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
By the time of this year’s procession, however, the Rev. Frank Toia could not take more than a few steps. He was bound to his home with recurrent pneumonia, tethered to an oxygen tank and a feeding tube. As he turned 78, he decided to use his home as a hospice and await the end.
When Mr. Laver came over, he brought a book written by his rabbi. He and Mr. Toia turned to several verses from Psalm 25, which the rabbi had selected for that particular day. The passage began with the poet asking God, “May we be shown the paths to travel,” and those words drove straight to a fading minister’s heart.
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The ceremony was arranged following a decree approved by Pope Francis on the 3rd of February in which he declared the Salvadoran Archbishop a martyr.
Like many of his fellow countrymen Romero was a victim of violence and was shot at while celebrating mass on the 24th of March 1980.
Read it all.
Directed and produced by Liz Garbus (HBO’s Emmy®-nominated “Bobby Fischer Against the World”) and produced by actor Steve Buscemi (Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”), A GOOD JOB: STORIES OF THE FDNY explores life in one of the most demanding and innovative fire departments in the world.
Read it all.
When I worked on my first book at home, my bedroom was above my father’s study, and I would often hear, not crazy scientist’s laughter, but the sort of laughter where the shoulders are shaking, coming from below. And I continue that tradition. I do find that not only the comic scenes make you laugh but anything that works well. Really, laughter is the successful serendipity of the whole business.
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The 50-year-old bishop, who is the first native Kadazan chosen to lead the 90,000-strong Anglican community in the state, said this when asked about the church’s policies and what to expect during his tenure.
“We are totally against the so-called same-sex marriage. We will not allow it in the church,” said the father of four who was installed as the sixth Anglican bishop in Sabah on Tuesday.
Some Anglican churches in European countries have accepted gay marriages and even performed the ceremony in their churches.
Bishop Melter said while other Anglican dioceses and provinces decided to ordain women to the priesthood, South-East Asia had not taken the step yet.
“We are not ready for such a move.
“We are also not sure whether we will be open to the idea any time soon,” he said.
Bishop Melter was appointed bishop of the diocese on Feb 20, replacing the late Bishop Albert Vun who passed away on July 15 last year.
Read it all
"We are here to know you, to be with you, to say with our presence that we, in the Global South, are with you and want to do the best we can for you so you can continue being part of the Anglican Communion," said Bishop Zavala.
As one of 40 primates of the 80 million member worldwide Anglican Communion, Bishop Zavala will be in South Carolina specifically to encourage and support fellow Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, and the clergy and lay people of the Diocese of South Carolina.
“We’re grateful for the strong support we’ve received from Anglicans around the world and are especially thankful for this time we’ll have with Bishop Zavala,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, XIV Bishop of South Carolina. “The Global South Primates have assured us of their prayers and their stand with us.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Global South Churches & Primates * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Ordained * International News & Commentary South America Chile * South Carolina
In the marriage referendum people may vote Yes or No to the proposal to include a new clause about marriage in the Constitution.
This new clause provides that two people may marry each other regardless of their sex.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Church/State Matters Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The sudden advance of the militants into the UN heritage site in central Syria resulted in the rout of a national army, the exodus of refugees and a fresh pulse of regional alarm at the resilience of the self-styled caliphate force.
The UN said one-third of Palmyra’s 200,000-strong population had fled. And Isis militants used social media to show themselves posing amid ancient columns in Palmyra on Thursday. Other images displayed a more familiar theme: the summary slaughter of local men whose blood drenched the road.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq Syria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Most Rev Justin Welby said churches, mosques, temples synagogues and other religious organisations had stepped in “in a most extraordinary way” over the past seven years.
He was speaking as a detailed national “audit” of faith groups was published calculating that their members give more than £3 billion worth of time a year on volunteer social action projects.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
The Faith Action Audit reveals something different. It shows the breadth of commitment across the country, the depth of commitment, and above all the strength of experience and good practice. Thanks to Cinnamon [Network] and other bodies like it, this is not mere do-goodery. It is seeking to find best practice and put it into action in the most professional way that can be imagined.
We’ve heard some of the figures, but just a reminder: the faith sector collectively is delivering, according to the audit – I’ll round it – 220,000 social action projects, from which 47 million people benefit.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Art Music Theatre/Drama/Plays * Economics, Politics Economy Politics in General City Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Europe Italy * South Carolina
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