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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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Colin Coward reports:-
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 [Update: Googlecached]
He tells NPR's Rachel Martin that his path to becoming a writer was a long one....
One of the chapters [in his new memoir] is actually titled ... "Forgiveness is Remembering to Forgive Again." And I learned that because there would be so many moments, you know so many life moments that would happen and ... I wish my father was there for me to pick up the phone and talk to him. A year and a half after that moment, after us reconnecting, he passed away. ... There was a lot of regret, which would lead back to those moments of anger. And there was guilt and there was sadness. And, you know, there were just these things that would reconjure in my mind. And it wasn't until I wrote this poem that I was able to exercise that forgiveness on a regular basis.
Read (or better listen to) it all.
"We must say, as clearly as possible, that same-sex unions, even when sanctioned by the state, are not marriages," the statement, titled "The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage," says. "Christians who wish to remain faithful to the Scriptures and Christian tradition cannot embrace this falsification of reality, irrespective of its status in law."
At least two additional Southern Baptists -- Rick Warren and Daniel Akin -- have endorsed the statement, which is slated to appear in the March 2015 issue of First Things, the journal's editor Russell Reno told Baptist Press. A list of approximately 30 Christian leaders to endorse the statement may include other Southern Baptists when it is finalized, Reno said.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals Roman Catholic * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Sacramental Theology
Changes have been made to the Reverend Philip North's ceremony because of his opposition to female bishops.
The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said the arrangements were made "for prayer, not politics".
The Reverend Anne Morris, who serves the same diocese as Rev North, replaced her sermon with the protest over the changes, at St Oswalds in Knuzden.
Read it all.
Contrary to the Editorial Board’s portrayal of sin, the tradition Christian teaching is not that certain people are “inferior” or “second-class” because of sin.
According to most Christian traditions, all humans are subject to inherited sin, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” as St. Paul writes. What is true of Cochran and equally true of each of his subordinates is that they are sinners in need of God’s grace. St. Paul, one of the greatest figures in Christianity, gave the most powerful example of this by referring to himself as the “chief of sinners.” People, all people, are sinners, people who commit “vile,” “vulgar,” and “inappropriate” sins. This is reflected in Cochran’s book, where he actually includes having multiple sexual partners and sex outside of marriage as sins that are also vile, vulgar, and inappropriate. “Lustfulness” and “anything tending to foster sexual sin and lust” are condemned too, which undoubtedly includes every member of the Atlanta Fire Department, at one time or another. We are all sinners.
And yet what is equally true is that we are each made in the Image of God...
Read it all.
And the 40-year-old told jubilant supporters the "Troika" of the country's lenders "is finished".
He was speaking after the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who heads the conservative New Democracy party, conceded defeat to Mr Tsipras.
Partial election results suggest Syriza has secured 36.5% of the vote, compared to 27.7% for the New Democracy party.
Read it all from Sky news.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization * Economics, Politics Economy Credit Markets Currency Markets Euro European Central Bank Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Greece * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
99% of people are stupid. Luckily, I’m part of the other 2%— Bill Murray (@BiIIMurray) January 25, 2015
This is a tough read, and not exactly one we read on Christmas.
•and yet another sign that the Good Old Days concept is elusive....
Read it all.
FAW : And a compulsion too, he makes clear, to being receptive to a mystery he does not fully understand.
COCKBURN: I don’t see how you can have a relationship with God that doesn’t involve a state of receptivity. And a receptivity to lots of stuff because God does show up in all kinds of odd ways. That there’s all kinds of different ways that that relationship can be made manifest and it requires a state of receptivity to know that that’s what’s happening.
FAW: He has a different perspective now, he says, than in that earlier "Christian songwriter" phase. But what is not different for Bruce Cockburn is his status as a seeker.
Read or watch it all.
Earlier on Sunday they captured the north-eastern town of Monguno.
The BBC's Will Ross in Lagos says that with the insurgents gaining ground, Maiduguri is increasingly at risk.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
When the vultures swooped in for feeding recently at the Center for Birds of Prey, the crested caracara dropped down, too.
Staff and visitors were wowed. The once-a-week “vulture restaurant” feeding exhibit can draw any number of raptors — hawks, eagles and the like. But the crested caracara is normally found in places like Mexico. It isn’t been seen in the United States much north of the Everglades.
Read it all and you really must see the picture.
"Kids grow up and, of course, they want to bring their dog," said Whittaker, one of 18 riders and their dogs featured in "Sit. Stay. Ride: America's Sidecar Dogs," a Kickstarter-funded documentary. "When the kids are gone, all you've got left is the dog."
Read and watch it all.
The collapse of CAPA, sources within the Gafcon movement tell Anglican Ink, is merely a sign of the wider collapse of the Anglican Communion. On 22 Jan 2015, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya released a copy of a letter prepared at the December Gafcon primates meeting in Nairobi for Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi. He stated that as “no reply has been received, the letter is now being made public in order to avoid misunderstanding.”
The public rebuke of Archbishop Ntahoturi by the Gafcon primates is unprecedented in African church history, but was not unexpected. In his Advent letter to Gafcon, Archbishop Wabukala called Africa’s bishops to order. Archbisho Ntahoturi’s failure to heed the warnings coming out of Nairobi prompted the public release of his rebuke.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * International News & Commentary Africa * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Back then, the North Charleston campus was a 400-acre stretch with a few buildings, gravel roads and not much else. In the middle of nowhere.
“It’s a lot prettier now,” Brewer says, grinning.
The school was born 50 years ago this year after a group of Christian men saw a need for a Christian college south of the Baptist-heavy Upstate.
Read it all.
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 - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * International News & Commentary Africa Ethiopia
Now, for the first time in more than 150 years, the Hunley’s bare skin is visible. And its iron hull doesn’t look that much older than, say, the Cold War-era sub Clamagore.
In fact, the results of the Hunley’s deconcretion so far are picture-perfect, which means the sub looks exactly as artist Conrad Wise Chapman depicted it in an 1863 painting.
Read it all.
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, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Downton Abbey is set in the early decades of the twentieth century. Though by season four King George V is on the throne, the era is still classically Edwardian. And the era associated with King Edward VII is the era of the great turn in British society. The early decades of the twentieth century witnessed a great transformation in England and within the British Empire. The stable hierarchies of Downton Abbey grew increasingly unstable. Britain, which had been overwhelmingly a rural nation until the last decade of the nineteenth century, became increasingly urban. A transformation in morals changed the very character of the nation, and underlying it all was a great surge of secularization that set the stage for the emergence of the radically secular nation that Britain has become.
Viewers should note the almost complete absence of Christianity from the storyline. The village vicar is an occasional presence, and church ceremonies have briefly been portrayed. But Christianity as a belief system and a living faith is absent—as is the institutional presence of the Church of England.
Political life is also largely absent, addressed mainly as it directly affects the Crawleys and their estate. This amounts to a second great omission.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Movies & Television Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Earlier this week, a friend dropped off her son’s registration packet with me to hold on to for registration day, since she will be out of town. I asked her how this whole registration thing will go down.
She told me that moms start lining up at 9 a.m. My eyes glazed over. Now I’m starting the registration process again. I am not a stay-at-home-mom, I’m an agent.
Of course, it could be worse. I could be paying for both school AND an admissions coach, who helps parents navigate getting into the best preschools in Manhattan, which cost upwards of $40K in tuition.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
“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.
With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV
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.
“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.
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-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
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)
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.
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.”
Read it all.
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 - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Theology
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 Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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