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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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Second, if the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina had the right to withdraw from ECUSA, as now finally adjudged in the Illinois courts, then it has the right to keep its marks and trade names -- and ECUSA (and by extension ECSC, since the latter claims to be one of ECUSA's dioceses) are both now barred from arguing to the contrary.
Judge Houck thought he was doing Bishop vonRosenberg a favor by declining to accept jurisdiction of his suit. Now that he is required to revisit that decision, however, he might just proceed (in due course, after appropriate motions and briefing) to the merits, and add his own adverse decision to the ones in the State courts of Illinois, Texas and South Carolina. ECUSA has asked for a decision, and now it will get one (but not for several more months).
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis - Anglican: Commentary Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * South Carolina * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
We thank our readers for your patience in recent weeks while this problem was being solved.
The present practices, or likely outcomes in the very near future, of TEC raise a number of questions. Here is a sample:
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina * Theology
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
So the first question for us might be this: ‘Will we let Jesus wash us? Will we humble ourselves before him, and let him minster to us?’ And then there is his deeply uncomfortable new commandment: ‘Love one another, as I have loved you. If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.’ Which leads me to ask: ‘whose feet have I washed lately?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week * Theology Christology
Fifty-four percent of respondents to a Marist Poll survey, commissioned by Catholic News Agency, support or strongly support First Amendment religious liberty protections or exemptions for faith-based organizations and individuals, “even when it conflicts with government law.”
About 65 percent of Marist Poll respondents opposed or strongly opposed penalties or fines for individuals who refuse to provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples “even if their refusal is based on their religious beliefs.” Only 31 percent supported or strongly supported such penalties.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
“The original federal RFRA was misguided and a leap from prior First Amendment doctrine,” she wrote on her blog about the Indiana law, “but it was nothing like this new iteration in the conservative states.”
Lawmakers tinkering with the RFRA language in recent years have turned it into a political minefield, says J. Brent Walker, executive director for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, which has supported RFRA laws since the 1990s. The 1993 version protected believers against the government. Some newer state versions also protect corporations, and can be used in civil lawsuits between individuals.
Walker says now it’s time to take a break, since RFRA’s reputation has taken such a hit.
Read it all.
Instead, the argument seems to be that the federal act’s concrete case-by-case approach is wrong. The opponents seem to be saying there is no valid tension between religious pluralism and equality. Claims of religious liberty are covers for anti-gay bigotry.
This deviation seems unwise both as a matter of pragmatics and as a matter of principle. In the first place, if there is no attempt to balance religious liberty and civil rights, the cause of gay rights will be associated with coercion, not liberation. Some people have lost their jobs for expressing opposition to gay marriage. There are too many stories like the Oregon bakery that may have to pay a $150,000 fine because it preferred not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. A movement that stands for tolerance does not want to be on the side of a government that compels a photographer who is an evangelical Christian to shoot a same-sex wedding that he would rather avoid.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Economy The U.S. Government Politics in General State Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Media * South Carolina * Theology
Raised as an Anglican, Stovall found little comfort in that tradition after her divorce as a young woman. The Unification Church, she said, held many answers to the theological questions that troubled her. “God,” she said, “was taking a role in my life.”
That view was a common thread in the evening’s tapestry.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Women * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Presbyterian Other Faiths Buddhism
The next big thing in the CofE... pic.twitter.com/3jYGFWNQdS— Pete Broadbent (@petespurs) April 1, 2015
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life * General Interest Humor / Trivia * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Noted blogger and conservative Anglican theologian The Rev. Canon Kendall S. Harmon, who runs the highly-trafficked weblog TitusOneNine, announced today that he is giving up blogging. Dr. Harmon, an Oxford-educated theologian, explained the sudden change as an inevitable move that was long overdue.
“No matter how you look at it, the Anglican blogosphere has been an abject failure,” Harmon said in a telephone interview from his home in Summerville, South Carolina. “What has it done? Has it exposed the spiritual depravity of the Episcopal Church’s leadership? No. Has it been a key source of information for tens of thousands of Anglicans in America, who up to now depended entirely on the mainstream media and diocesan newsletters? Please! Has it brought together orthodox Episcopalians from all over the country, and helped position them for a renewal of Anglicanism in North America? Yeah…” he huffed, “Right.”
Some of Harmon’s colleagues were stunned at his announcement. “I just saw him at a Starbucks in Plano a few days ago,” said The Rev. Canon David Roseberry. “He had his laptop open and his cel phone to his ear. After I got my skinny venti mocha latte, I shouted his name several times. At one point I banged on the counter really loud to get his attention. He didn’t even look up. I know he heard me, because he raised his hand and made some gesture, like he was waving toward the door. But he was fixated on the screen, pounding the keyboard like a man possessed. He was truly in his element.”
The Gallipoli Campaign by the Allied forces began on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915, (and would continue for over 8 months until 9 January 1916). Five days after it began, the Gazette edition for Friday 30 April 1915 was published. Its by now weekly column “The War Week by Week” (narrating the latest news on the war) carried an interesting analysis of the operation to attack German and Ottoman naval vessels at sea, and land British and French troops on both sides of the Dardanelles Straits (of vital strategic importance as the main sea route into the Russian Empire).
Wow-just wow. Read it all and follow the links.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Ireland * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Media Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland
And whether you find this view, this analogy, persuasive or you don’t, it has a lot of possible further implications. Because in the annals of American history, both Jim Crow and the means we used to destroy it are, well, legally and culturally extraordinary. So if our current situation with same-sex marriage and religious conservatives really is analogous, there is no obvious reason why we’ve reached any kind stopping point once the florists and bakers have been appropriately fined or closed down.
Hence the following seven questions about future steps, which I’ll pose specifically to Epps and generally to the Indiana law’s many liberal critics. Some are rooted in real-life examples and possibilities; some are much more (I think) unlikely. But I’m still quite interested in whether people would support them if they were to become plausible options a little ways down the road.
Read it all and there is a WSJ editorial on it there.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The 72-year-old former general campaigned against the political establishment, courted the youth vote, and won an election broadly considered free and fair.
Mr. Buhari’s upset of an incumbent Nigerian president, said Philippe de Pontet, the Washington-based Africa head for Eurasia Group, a research and risk-consulting firm, is “arguably the most consequential political event in Africa in the last decade.”
Read it all.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
Read it all and see what you make of the list.
“For some this announcement may come as a surprise,” he said in the letter. But, he added, without elaborating, that for others “as much as I may regret it—it will not be entirely unwelcome news.”
In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Njegovan said there was no connection between his decision to retire and the diocesan lawsuit currently underway involving his son, Noah Njegovan. Bishop Njegovan’s episcopacy has faced challenges in the last two years since his son was charged with fraud for his alleged use of a diocesan business credit card for personal expenses during his time as diocesan archdeacon from 2009 to 2012. Although the Crown withdrew its charges against Noah Njegovan in 2014, the diocese subsequently launched a $350,000 civil lawsuit against him, claiming damages of $250,000 for fraud, breach of trust, breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, and $100,000 for punitive and exemplary damages. The bishop has refrained from involvement or comment on the case, citing his personal relationship with his son.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada
Results are not yet official, but Buhari has claimed victory, and according to media reports, Jonathan has called his rival and conceded defeat.
The election marks the first time since Nigeria’s 1999 transition from military rule that the People’s Democratic Party has lost the country’s presidency and the first time an incumbent has been ousted from the office.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Men and women of faith in these societies are well-off, compared to many others. At the same time, though, their world is unmistakably darker and more punitive than it used to be. Let us show empathy and solidarity with all people who need it. Repeating the cardinal’s watchword, mercy, we hope that moral and political and intellectual leaders of all persuasions hear it too.
For there is no mercy in putting butchers and bakers and candlestick makers in the legal dock for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs—but that’s what the new intolerance does. There is no mercy in stalking and threatening Christian pastors for being Christian pastors, or in casting out social scientists who turn up unwanted facts, or in telling a flight attendant she can’t wear a crucifix, or in persecuting organizations that do charitable work—but the new intolerance does these things, too. There’s no mercy in yelling slurs at anyone who points out that the sexual revolution has been flooding the public square with problems for a long time now and that, in fact, some people out there are drowning—but slurs are the new intolerance’s stock in trade. Above all, there is no mercy in slandering people by saying that religious believers “hate” certain people when in fact they do not; or that they are “phobes” of one stripe or another when in fact they are not. This, too, happens all over public space these days, with practically no pushback from anyone. This, too, is the new intolerance at work.
Read it all.
When General Convention shows up here just over 3 months from now, many of the volunteers and dispensers of hospitality will be our sisters and brothers from that tradition. Will we recognize their welcome as a product of the same root, or will we assume that they come from a different and unrecognizable species?
Complexity defines human beings and their relationships, which just might convince us of the otherness of God. Difference is part of God’s creativity, from the riotous diversity of the species of creation to the inner chaos of most human beings. Paul names it when he says he wants to do the right thing, but he does something else instead. Nevertheless, when people stay connected to that one rootstock, God can usually be found to bring something new and holy out of the mess.
Branches that seem radically different grow on the same tree and the same vine, even though we love to hate the ones who are not like us. We often in the church focus our attention on differences in reproductive customs and norms – yet both the grape vine and the olive tree has multiple ways to be generative. Flowers can be fertilized by pollen from the same plant or another one. The fruit and seeds that result are eaten by birds and animals and left to grow far from the original plant, yet they are still related. The vine also generates new branches from its rootstock or from distant parts of its branches. But all those kinds of vines and branches are related, however they come about.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Mormons * Theology
There is no excuse for refusing to serve a lesbian couple at a restaurant and to my knowledge no state RFRA has ever been used to justify such discrimination. But if we favor liberty for all Americans (and not just for those who agree with us), we should be wary of using the coercive powers of government to compel our fellow citizens to participate in rites that violate their religious beliefs. We would not force a Jewish baker to make sacramental bread for a Catholic Mass. Why would we force a fundamentalist baker to make a cake for a gay wedding?
For as long as I can remember, the culture wars have been poisoning our politics, turning Democrats and Republicans into mortal enemies and transforming arenas that used to be blithely bipartisan into battlegrounds between good and evil. Now our battles over "family values" are threatening to kill religious liberty. And liberals do not much seem to care.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
This journey has not been comfortable for anyone. The friends of Jesus protest undying allegiance one minute, then run away the next. They want some of what they think will be the glory, only to melt when the heat is turned up. In other words, they turn out not to be as big or strong as they had thought themselves to be. Peter, the man who would deny even knowing Jesus when confronted by a young girl in the garden, takes his name from Petros – the rock – yet he turns out to be more porous limestone than impenetrable granite.
Now, for Christians this is no big deal. Almost every service in an Anglican Church begins with us all putting our hands up and admitting – publicly and corporately – that we have messed up. Yet, this isn't some group therapy session – nor is it any sort of bah humbug nonsense. Rather, it's a recognition of what every human being knows: we fail and we fall. And there's no point pretending otherwise. It isn't about being maudlin; it's about facing the truth about ourselves as people, then moving on with resolve, but without illusion.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology
The online document, aimed at individual and group study, includes a short summary of each section of the Pastoral Letter and offers questions for consideration and conversation.
Read it all and follow the link to the guide.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
This national upheaval, coming after clashes over similar measures in other states, seems to pit civil rights against religious freedom. In recent years, nearly half the states have followed a federal law in setting strong protections for religious practices. The measures insist that courts find a compelling government interest before imposing a burdensome rule on a person in the exercise of his or her faith.
Whether religious-liberty laws end up violating other rights and interests largely remains to be seen. In at least two cases so far, state courts have ruled they cannot trump anti-discrimination regulations. Yet the rhetoric on both sides about potential harm can often be overhyped and overgeneralized. Each case must be judged on its merits with a calm eye for accommodation and context.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Media Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Binge drinking is characterised by periods of heavy drinking followed by abstinence. It generally results in short-term acute impairment and is believed to contribute to a substantial proportion of alcohol-related deaths and injuries. Overall, ONS statistics would suggest a falling trend in the number of people who binge drink but it is still a sizeable problem – with four in ten young adults consuming up to eight units on at least one day in the week before being interviewed by the ONS.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Alcohol/Drinking Health & Medicine * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
These, he said, would help resolve the current challenges the country was facing and clear the path for its development.
At the Ebenezer Methodist Church, Siwdo, the celebration coincided with the launch of the Church's annual Harvest.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Province of West Africa * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Ghana
Thus, the Times of 1993 noted:
President Clinton hailed the new law at the signing ceremony, saying that it held government "to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone's free exercise of religion."Read it all.
J. Brent Walker, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs called the new law "the most significant piece of legislation dealing with our religious liberty in a generation."
His sentiments were echoed by many other members of an unusual coalition of liberal, conservative and religious groups that had pressed for the new law. The coalition included the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Council of Churches, the American Jewish Congress, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Mormon Church, the Traditional Values Coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Do we know who she is?” Mr. Myers mumbles.
“Yeah, we know who she is, Paul,” Mr. Iero says reassuringly.
His days are long. Prepping food in the morning for Mr. Myers. Grocery shopping after work. The 30-minute drive home in the dark.
“It’s just a horrible, horrible disease,” Mr. Iero says. When someone dies, “you lose that someone but then you go on. You have some closure. With Alzheimer’s it’s just an ongoing reminder of what you lost.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology Science & Technology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.
(D) 2014 EMM reimbursements received were $ 13,322,419; while
(E) 2014 EMM expenditures amounted to $ 16,811,183; for a net
(F) Annual EMM operating deficit of $ 3,488,763, which more than wipes out (C) above, and leaves
(G) A net operating loss for 2014 of $ 1,092,161 !!
In other words, the Episcopal Church is in the hole to the tune of over a million dollars for calendar 2014.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Queen will hand out Maundy money to 89 men and 89 women, the first time the service has been held in Sheffield.
Maundy Thursday recognises the service of elderly people to their community and their church.
Dr Croft said it had been a "huge amount of work for several months - in secret".
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
Religious people have often assumed that God could be enlisted to the service of their particular cause, project, nation, or culture. But as Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.’
The followers of the one who rode into Jerusalem that day are called to a grander allegiance than that of tribe or nation – we must seek the ‘Kingdom of God and his righteousness.’ Transcending loyalties of blood and statehood, we are enlisted for God’s agenda of justice, peace, and the common life of friendship. This is the way of love. In the face of this we must, as another book title once put it, ‘Give up our small ambitions.’
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week * Culture-Watch Globalization Religion & Culture * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
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