Posted by The_Elves

A Communique from the GAFCON Primates Council

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. ~ Isaiah 61:11

This week, from 13th to 17th April 2015, we have met in London for prayer and fellowship in order to help chart the future of global Anglicanism. We are uniting faithful Anglicans, growing in momentum, structured for the future, and committed to the Anglican Communion.

Uniting Faithful Anglicans: GAFCON 2018

We are excited to announce that the next GAFCON conference will be in 2018. This global gathering now serves a critical function in the life of the Anglican Communion as it is an effective instrument of unity which is capable of gathering the majority of the world’s Anglicans.

Delegations representing every continent and all orders of the church (lay and ordained) will again be invited to share in this powerful time of fellowship, worship, and teaching. An organising committee comprising global delegates and local representatives of the likely location has been formed. A further announcement will be made when the details of the venue have been confirmed.

Growing Momentum: Newest Province and Fellowships

We were encouraged to hear reports from some of the newest GAFCON provinces and fellowships.

Province

At the beginning of our meeting, Archbishop Foley Beach of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America was unanimously elected to the GAFCON Primates Council. Archbishop Beach shared about the remarkable growth being experienced in North America, evidenced by the planting of 483 new congregations since 2009.

Fellowships

We celebrated the recent launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Australia (FCA AU), the newest GAFCON fellowship, led by the Venerable Richard Condie, Archdeacon of Melbourne. Over 450 participants attended the inaugural conference in March 2015 and this fellowship is now well positioned to contend for the faith in the years to come.

FCA UK & Ireland, formed at our initiative, continues to welcome and provide support for faithful Anglicans in the British Isles. We are particularly concerned about the Church of England and the drift of many from the Biblical faith. We do not regard the recent use of a Church of England building for a Muslim service as a minor aberration. These actions betray the gospel and discourage Christians who live among Muslims, especially those experiencing persecution.

We support Bishop John Ellison in resisting the unjust and uncharitable charges brought against him by the Bishop of Salisbury, and in view of the Great Commission, we note the sad irony that this former missionary bishop to South America now finds it necessary to defend himself for supporting missionary activity in his own country. We continue to encourage and support the efforts of those working to restore the Church of England’s commitment to Biblical truth. Equally, we authenticate and support the work of those Anglicans who are boldly spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and whose circumstances require operating outside the old, institutional structures.

We remain confident in the great good of gospel ministry, and we see what happens when actions impacting the Communion are taken without the priorities of the faith once delivered.

Wherever they are and whatever their circumstances, GAFCON continues to unite faithful Anglicans under a common confession of Christ’s Lordship and a desire to make disciples.

Read it all.

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

April 17, 2015 at 10:29 am - 7 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Finally, TEC press releases have included, with some frequency, statements by legal counsel for TECSC claiming its willingness to discuss “settlement options”. This is disingenuous nonsense. We should remember the following at a minimum:

• We were in the middle of what we hoped could be “settlement” discussions when TEC attempted to remove Bp. Lawrence in 2012.

• In the 90+ instances of litigation that TEC has instigated around the country, none has concluded with a settlement -- just the opposite. When parishes in the Diocese of Virginia wishing to leave TEC actually reached an agreement with their bishop, that deal was scuttled by the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, who announced there was “a new sheriff in town”. Offers of settlement in other places have been likewise rejected. And even when the case has been definitively settled by the local courts, as in Illinois, TEC has refused to cease litigation, to the point of sanctions being imposed by the courts there.

• The fact is that TEC’s legal counsel was told as far back as 2013 that the Diocese would consider any proposals submitted to our counsel in writing. There have been none.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryMediaReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 16, 2015 at 4:22 pm - 3 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Yesterday]... April 15, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court agreed to take the appeal of Judge Goodstein's February 3rd ruling in favor of the Diocese of South Carolina and its parishes. We are grateful that the South Carolina Supreme Court acted so promptly to take jurisdiction of this case, just as it did when requested during the attempted procedural delays prior to the trial. The more quickly the case is resolved, the more beneficial it will be for all parties, allowing us to get about the work of ministry without the incessant distraction of courtroom proceedings.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

April 16, 2015 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Listen to it all, carefully from a conference organised in Toronto in 2013.

An Unoffficial Transcript follows:

I will be speaking as Josiah, not as an archbishop or bishop. I will speak in my own capacity as a member and a child of the Anglican Communion. I am saying this because before the last Primates Meeting [Dublin], I wrote an article urging all primates to make the attempt to be there, and someone in England quickly alerted the Church Times editor to say: ‘Oh, he’s not an archbishop, so don’t take him seriously. Please take me seriously because: I am a child of this Communion; my parents served this Communion until the Lord called them home; and I have been a bishop now for 23 years. So I speak as Josiah.

My topic is ‘Why the Instruments still matter.’ Bottom line - yes, I believe they still matter, and the Primate of Egypt and the Middle East essentially gone into my farm, he has done some work, but honestly my sisters and brothers we are all very passionate about this Communion, and my own recommendations are going to be even more radical than that of the Archbishop, because he is a Primate, I am not.

Read more...

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

April 6, 2015 at 4:03 am - 9 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

April 2, 2015 at 7:36 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Most Revd Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon has been appointed to be the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Dr Idowu-Fearon currently serves as Bishop of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) where he has earned a global reputation in the Church for his expertise in Christian-Muslim relations.

He was selected out of an initial field of applicants from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Since 1998 the Most Revd Dr Idowu-Fearon has been Bishop of Kaduna, and he is the current Director of the Kaduna Anglican Study Centre. Before that he served as Bishop of Sokoto, Warden at St Francis of Assisi Theological College in Wusasa, and Provost of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kaduna.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Church of Nigeria

April 2, 2015 at 5:00 am - 133 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves


With thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV

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

April 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mario Draghi said the euro area was better equipped than it had been in the past to deal with a new Greek crisis but warned of “uncharted waters” if the situation were to deteriorate badly.

The European Central Bank president called for the resumption of detailed discussions aimed at resolving the country’s debt woes and urged the Greek authorities to bring forward proposals that ensured fairness, growth, fiscal stability, financial stability.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGreece* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 18, 2015 at 4:15 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because of the work I do in the area of third-party assisted reproductive medicine, I have Google alerts set for “egg donation,” “sperm donation,” and “surrogacy.” Often the daily digest reads like the lineup for a week of reality-TV programming. Stories break with headlines that boggle the mind: “Mother tells of giving birth to her gay son’s baby,” or the recent court decision that a “dead reservist’s parents may use his [frozen] sperm, against widow’s wishes” so they can have grandchildren. Or this dreadful decision from Australia’s foreign minister, who said “Department of Foreign Affairs correct to allow couple to abandon unwanted Indian surrogacy twin” because the couple claims they cannot afford to keep both of the babies.

More recently, news broke of 65-year-old Annegret Raunigk, who lives in Berlin and is pregnant with quadruplets via egg and sperm donation. Because egg donation is illegal in Germany, Raunigk left the country to conceive the babies. If the pregnancy is successful — that is, if it results in live births — she will be the oldest woman to give birth to quadruplets. The current holder of this claim to fame is Merryl Fudel of San Diego, who was a five-time divorcee and 55 years old at the time she gave birth to quadruplets in 1998....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During an era under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, when Catholicism was trying to swim against an increasingly secular tide in the Western world, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago was the American prelate trusted by those two popes, almost above all others, to spearhead that project in the United States.

George, who stepped down in November 2014, died at 10:45 a.m. Friday at his residence in Chicago of a cancer that originated in his bladder but spread to other parts of his body, rendering treatment ineffective. He was 78.

He had been on home care since April 3 after being hospitalized for hydration and pain management issues, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Widely acknowledged as the most intellectually gifted senior US prelate of his generation, George was once dubbed the “American Ratzinger.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

United, who began the day eight points behind, dominated the opening period, but their only chance of note saw Wayne Rooney shoot narrowly wide.

Hazard then showed why he is favourite for the PFA Player of the Year prize, netting his 18th goal of the season on the counter-attack following Oscar's fine flick.

The strike, seven minutes before half-time, shifted the momentum of the contest in Chelsea's favour.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

April 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South African President Jacob Zuma has visited a refugee camp in the port of Durban after a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence.

Mr Zuma told those who had fled the violence that it went against South African values and he would bring it to an end.

But he was jeered by some in the crowd who accused him of acting too slowly.

At least six people have died in xenophobic attacks in Durban, with violence spreading to other areas.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 18, 2015 at 1:05 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen it all, especially appropriate given the remembrance of Oklahoma City this week.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistory* TheologyTheology: Scripture

April 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those who survived the Oklahoma City bombing, this is a tough milestone, but it's also a moment to honor their resilience.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentTerrorism* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

April 18, 2015 at 12:18 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

April 18, 2015 at 12:01 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So why did the early Christians use the word resurrection to describe what they believed had happened to Jesus? The large package of heaven-sent renewal expected by many Jews, including the general resurrection, had not occurred. Pilate, Caiphas, and Herod were still ruling. Injustice, misery, oppression, and death were still features of life for Jews and everyone else. Nor were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and the prophets alive again. From that point of view, “the resurrection” expected by Jesus’ contemporaries had obviously not occurred.

And yet they said that it had—and proceeded to built a new worldview, a significant variation from within contemporary Judaism, on this belief. “The resurrection,” as something that has already happened that must now determine life, faith, prayer, and thought, dominates a good deal of the New Testament: the early Christians really did believe that they were living in the “age to come” for which Israel had longed, the time of forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Spirit, when the Gentiles would be brought in to worship the one God of Israel. The “present age” was still continuing, but the “age to come” had been inaugurated.

We see the same pattern if we ask the vital question: why did the early church believe and declare that Jesus was the messiah? Other would-be messiahs executed by the authorities were thereby forever discredited: a messiah was supposed to lead Israel to liberation from the pagans and to rebuild the temple, not die in pagan hands, leaving the temple still in the grip of Israel’s oppressive pseudoaristocrats. Other groups whose messiah was killed faced a choice: either find a new messiah, or give up the revolution. We have evidence of both patterns. Declaring that God had raised one’s messiah from the dead was not an option. First-century Jews do not seem to have had time or mental energy to indulge in that peculiar twentieth-century phenomenon, cognitive dissonance, believing that something is still true when events have in fact disproved it. Life was too short and hard for fantasy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

April 18, 2015 at 11:28 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Studying the cultural history of contemporary worship music means I listen to a lot of albums. Arriving at the dissertation stage of my doctoral studies has required listening to 40 years’ worth of music from one of the most significant movements in modern church life—the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. It’s a lot of music. And trust me, there’s a lot of ugly.

But because I also serve as a worship director at a local church, listening to contemporary worship music is not just a scholarly exercise—it is also serious pastoral business. My people need solid spiritual food from their church music. They need songs that will sculpt their theological imagination and give voice to their praises, prayers, and confessions. The good news is that both as a researcher and as a worship leader, I have found many artists worth hearing.

To find these artists, I had to go beyond the Top 25 song list from the ubiquitous Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). Today hundreds of talented songwriters are crafting excellent music that will never land on the CCLI charts. Their craft is just as good as that of the heavyweights, and their songs are more musically and theologically diverse. Consider three that represent the breadth and range you’ll find beyond the charts: Liz Vice, Miranda Dodson, and Cardiphonia.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchMusicReligion & Culture

April 18, 2015 at 9:30 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gafcon’s General Secretary, the Most Rev Peter Jensen, the former Archbishop of Sydney, said the new churches would help “renew” Anglicanism in England from outside the established church.

“I think we will have churches in place which will be regarded by most of the Anglican Communion as Anglican but not be Church of England Churches,” he explained.

“At the present moment we are looking at a handful, depending on how it goes – that might be it but who can tell?

“Things have happened in the last decade which have been truly astonishing, we are looking at a totally new age from the point of view of the cultural milieu around us.

“Christians are having to work things out which worked out for millennia.

"This might be the beginning of something as big as Wesley.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Global South Churches & Primates* TheologyChristologyEcclesiology

April 18, 2015 at 9:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Dakota's Episcopalians are working to mend what one priest calls “historical trauma” between the church and Native Americans.

“It can hurt, but it’s very important,” said the Rev. Paul Sneve who facilitates efforts to mend the wounds of the past. “The more we talk about it, that’s how we begin to heal our historical trauma.”

Twice a year, the former rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Rapid City leads a workshop on the history of the Dakota and Lakota people and the impact of assimilation on their culture, traditions and spirituality. Episcopalian clergy, parishioners and others attend the two-day Dakota Experience, which was recently held in Rapid City.

“We discuss the good and the bad in our history,” Sneve said.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 18, 2015 at 8:29 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Police in Australia say they have foiled an Islamic State-inspired plot to carry out an attack at a World War One centenary event.

Police arrested five teenage suspects, charging one 18-year-old with conspiring to commit a terrorist act.

The men were planning to target police at an Anzac memorial event in Melbourne next week, police said.

About 200 police officers took part in the counter-terrorism operation in the city early on Saturday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 18, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and a life to proclaim thee; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

April 18, 2015 at 7:28 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

April 18, 2015 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dan Price was about a mile into a Sunday hike on scenic Mt. Si when he knew what he had to do to change his life — and the lives of others.

His hiking partner and close friend had just been notified that her rent was going up. She had no idea how she would afford the extra couple hundred dollars a month on her salary as the hardworking manager of a luxury spa in pricey Puget Sound.

That's when it hit him. Many of his own employees at Gravity Payments had similar money problems. He was making $1million a year, and the lowest-paid of his workers was averaging about $35,000.

So he decided he would cut his pay, first to $50,000, rising to $70,000 by the end of 2017.
CEO raises workers' minimum pay to $70,000 a year

Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, reportedly stunned his employees with the announcement that workers' minimum wage would rise over the next few years to $70,000.

That would make his compensation mirror his company's lowest-paid employees — after he gave them generous raises.

Read it all and take the time to see this brief video report so you can see the worker's reactions.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySacramental Theology

April 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We take you to Buffalo, New York where a growing grassroots movement has begun among large—and often empty—urban churches across the country. Old and struggling houses of worship have adopted the popular flash mob idea to encourage larger numbers of people to show up at a specific church and attend Mass on a given Sunday. Using social media to organize participants, the goal of a Mass mob is to fill empty pews and collection plates, inspire parishioners to return to church, and support significant sacred sites and houses of worship that have helped define their cities. But some say Mass mobs are not enough of a long-term solution to the many problems historic old city churches face

Read or watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

April 17, 2015 at 3:15 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The baby boom generation is set to leave one last burden to its children and grandchildren – a wave of funeral debt.

The cost of paying for rising numbers of deaths as the unprecedented numbers of post-World War Two babies come to the end of their lives may be too much for many families, a report said.

It predicted that numbers of deaths in Britain, which have been falling for 40 years, will start to go up and increase by 20 per cent over the next two decades.

At the same time the price of a funeral is rising fast, thanks to higher costs for cremation, rising undertakers’ bills as funeral firms are faced with bad debts, and the increasing fees demanded by churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

April 17, 2015 at 2:10 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even worse for Democrats, the Saez paper found that “information about inequality also makes respondents trust government less,” decreasing “by nearly twenty percent the share of respondents who ‘trust government’ most of the time:”

Hence, emphasizing the severity of a social or economic problem appears to undercut respondents’ willingness to trust the government to fix it — the existence of the problem could act as evidence of the government’s limited capacity to improve outcomes.

The findings of the Saez group are consistent with Luttig’s. Taken together, they suggest that even if Democrats win the presidency and the Senate in 2016, largely on the basis of favorable demographic trends, the party will confront serious hurdles if it attempts to deliver material support to working men and women and the very poor. Redistribution is in trouble, and that is likely to tie American politics in knots for many years to come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 17, 2015 at 11:04 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some religious leaders have been quick to bless the “framework agreement” with Iran that emerged from deliberations earlier this month in Switzerland over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. That was a mistake.

Christian pastors and lobbyists representing various factions of Mennonites, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists and other denominations took out a full-page ad in Roll Call this week to “welcome and support” a deal they say “offers the best path to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state.” The letter cited Matthew 5:9—“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”—as one Biblical motive for endorsing the framework. It also ticked off reasons why it was “better than alternatives” like “yet another U.S. war with a Muslim country.”

Pope Francis lent his imprimatur to the framework during his Easter blessing, and in an April 13 letter to Congress the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops went so far as to oppose congressional review. The bishops wrote: “Our Committee continues to oppose Congressional efforts that seek to undermine the negotiation process or make a responsible multiparty agreement more difficult to achieve and implement.” Bishops also reminded Congress not to “take any actions, such as passing legislation to impose new or conditional sanctions on Iran.”

The mullahs don’t seem moved by the display of Christian charity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIran* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 17, 2015 at 7:59 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

April 17, 2015 at 7:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Armen Keteyian: Describe your emotional state at that point in time.

Mike Pressler: Really pissed. Really shocked that they would have this party first and foremost. But anyway, I asked each one of 'em to their face, one at a time. The astonishment on their face. And when you know your people, I knew exactly from their reaction to the allegations this was absolutely untrue.

The problem was, few others did. This is how the late Ed Bradley described the media storm surrounding the Duke rape case here on "60 Minutes":

The district attorney, Mike Nifong, took to the airwaves giving dozens of interviews, expressing - with absolute certainty - that Duke lacrosse players had committed a horrific crime.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMediaMenSexualitySportsViolenceWomenYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 17, 2015 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On bringing back certain moral vocabulary

There are certain words that have been passed down through the generations that we've sort of left behind. And some of them have quasi-religious connotations, but I don't think they need to. Those are words like grace — the idea that we're loved more than we deserve — redemption and sin. We now use the word sin in the context of fattening desserts, but it used to be central in the vocabulary, whether you're religious or not; an awareness that we all sin and we all have the same sins — selfishness, self-centeredness. And I think rediscovering that word is an important task because without that you're just too egotistical. You don't realize how broken we all are at some level.

On how writing and researching the book changed his religious life

I'm a believer. I don't talk about my religious life in public in part because it's so shifting and green and vulnerable. And so I've spent a lot of time in this book — and if you care about morality and inner life and character, you spend your time reading a lot of theology because over the last hundreds of years it was theologians who were writing about this. Whether you're a believer or not, I think these books are very helpful. It's amazing to read [The Confessions of St. Augustine, about] a guy who got successful as a rhetorician but felt hollow inside; a guy who had a mom, Monica, who was the helicopter mom to beat all helicopter moms, and how he dealt with the conflict with such a demanding mother. And so I read a lot of theology — whether it's C.S. Lewis or Joseph Soloveitchik, a rabbi — and it's produced a lot of religious upsurge in my heart. But it's also fragile and green [and] I don't really talk about it because I don't want to trample the fresh grass.

Read it all (or better) listen to it all (Hat tip: CM).
link is fixed

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 17, 2015 at 6:25 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was never hard to see the influence of Methodism, born as a reaction to the complacency and privilege of 18th-century Anglicanism, on Mrs Thatcher. She believed in thrift and hard work, and liked the advice of John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, to earn, save and only then give as much as possible. The acts of generosity listed in the New Testament, from the Good Samaritan’s to that of the woman who anointed Christ’s feet, were possible only because the donors had money, she noted.

But in other ways, Mrs Thatcher moved away from Methodism, and it moved away from her. As she ascended firmly to the upper middle class, she began attending Anglican church. Conspicuous consumption and debt-fuelled growth, often seen as legacies of the Thatcher era, could hardly be further from Methodist values. And in her native east Midlands, Methodist communities and ministers were active in defending coalminers during the strike which she defeated. Methodism has influenced Britain’s centre-left far more than its political right.

In explaining her denominational switch, Mrs Thatcher said that Methodism was “a marvellous evangelical faith” with great music—but “you sometimes feel the need for a slightly more formal service” as well as for more formal theology. In her religious origins, she was informed by a passion that was foreign to the English establishment. But as that puritan passion propelled her into high office, its sharp edges were blunted. The Ritz hotel is an unlikely place for a Methodist woman from the Midlands to end her days.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

April 17, 2015 at 6:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So when Jesus says ‘No-one comes to the Father except through me’ he doesn’t mean ‘No-one can be saved except by being a card-carrying Christian’, but rather ‘No-one comes to God except by the Logos that is in them’ – that is, by following the reason and conscience that belong to everyone.

We should recognise that God can work through other faiths and philosophies too. St Paul recognised that we are all the children of God, ‘in whom we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17.28).

That is not to say that all religions are the same. The unique claim of Christianity is that in Jesus God was actually born and died as one of us.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

April 17, 2015 at 5:30 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When a Latin American theologian reads Luke, what themes get noticed that others might underplay?

When you read Luke with poor people who have no hope, or with people hiding from dictators and death patrols, you see things you might not see otherwise. The most important underappreciated theme is what’s often called “the great reversal.” This is the idea, from Luke 13, that when the kingdom of God arrives, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

Or take Mary’s song (the Magnificat) from Luke’s first chapter (vv. 46–55). It talks about God filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich away empty. Traditional readings of this passage aren’t necessarily wrong, but they can neglect the themes of wealth and poverty. We need a variety of perspectives, including the poor’s, to get at the full meaning.

What are American evangelicals most apt to overlook?

Compared to the other gospel writers, Luke takes care to emphasize the word salvation. We tend to overlook the economic, political, and social implications of this salvation. Luke helps us to see what it looks like for the poor.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoverty* International News & CommentaryLatin America & Caribbean* TheologyTheology: Scripture

April 17, 2015 at 5:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A rector in Chester diocese, the Revd Dr Mark Hart, has challenged the measures of church growth which are at the heart of the Church of England's "Reform and Renewal" programme.

Dr Hart, Rector of Plemstall and Guilden Sutton, trained as a mathematician and engineer. He completed a paper last Saturday, From Delusion to Reality, which looks critically at From Anecdote to Evidence, the 2014 report that examines evidence for which factors cause churches to grow.

The findings in From Anecdote to Evidence are being used as the basis for a re-orientation of central church funding, under plans put forward by the task groups.... The report Resourcing the Future proposes that half the funds should go to projects that show "significant growth po-tential". Another report, Intergenerational Equity, proposes spending Church Commissioners' capital - £100 million has been mentioned - to support diocesan growth plans.

In other words, Dr Hart says, "an awful lot is hanging on this single piece of research."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

April 17, 2015 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Saint Mary Magdalene had a reason for undying gratitude. So had Saint Peter. So had the other disciples. The life with Him before the Crucifixion had given them new selves and a new world. Then came the dismay and the darkness. Then came the joy and the light. He was the joy and the light. He had come back. They were glad when they saw Him. This is the whole story of the first Easter.

After Easter they literally walked in newness of life. They were manifestly new persons. They left their former lives on one side of the Cross. They took up new lives on the other side of the Cross. The former things had passed away. All things had become new. The former sins dropped away. Our Lord never mentioned them. Their former weaknesses were not remembered. They were transformed by the power of the Resurrection. Our Lord trusted them with responsibilities and duties in His Kingdom. They never doubted nor hesitated. They believed in their forgiveness. They accepted their transformation. They were frankly happy. They were wonderfully peaceful. They belonged to Our Lord and they knew it. The power of His resurrection made spiritual giants of them all. So they went from strength to strength through the Great Forty Days of Eastertide. So they were prepared for Ascensiontide. When the day of Pentecost came, they were ready for it.

Our Lord expects us to do what they did. We can do it. We are His disciples. We have our share in the power of His resurrection. We need have no fear of being presumptious in this matter, because we are trusting Him, not ourselves. We trust in the power of His resurrection to make us new creatures. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Read it all and before you do see if you can guess the author.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

April 17, 2015 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O gracious Lord, Who as at this time, didst raise Thy Son Jesus Christ with power from the grave, raise us up, we beseech Thee, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; Revive our faith, and make us followers of Him Who hath taken away the “sin of the world; Who by His death hath destroyed death, and by His rising to life again hath restored to us everlasting life.” Hear us, O merciful Father, we pray Thee, for the sake of our risen Saviour, to Whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

April 17, 2015 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved....Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore

Psalm 16: 7-8;11

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

April 17, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s tax day and Rachel Held Evans’ latest book has just emerged, Searching for Sunday (Nelson Books, 269 pages, $16.99 pb). In some ways this book has appeared at just the appropriate moment, because in some ways it is like a refund check from the IRS, much anticipated, and a big help. In some ways however, the book is simply taxing, burdened down with a false sense of righteous outrage about an issue Rachel should have given more thought and prayer to before choosing to start firing away against the Evangelical womb from which she has emerged. This is not to say that she isn’t right that a large portion of the church has wrongly stigmatized and singled out gay and lesbian people, and wrongly treated them as if they were somehow worse sinners than the rest of us. We have often done that. Hypocrisy stinks, and Rachel is right to stress this point. I will speak about what she says on the issue of same sex relationships and marriage later in the review, but I want first to say a few things about this book which I really like.

First of all Rachel is indeed a genuine Christian person, genuinely wrestling with deep issues....

Read more...

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

April 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Committee meets at least twice. Its discussions are kept confidential.

The first meeting is aimed at members getting to know one another and for the committee to elect a deputy chair. At a future meeting, the national Appointment Secretaries attend to clarify the process and answer any questions members of the Committee might have.

At this meeting the Committee elects the six members to serve on the CNC of which at least three must be lay people. Only one member of the Bishop’s senior staff team may be elected. After the meeting, the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary briefs the diocesan CNC representatives on the next steps.

The description of the Diocese and the Statement of Needs prepared by the Vacancy in See Committee are considered by the Crown Nominations Committee (CNC) together with feedback from the Appointment Secretaries on the consultation process and information about the needs of the national church. The CNC normally meets twice, and on the second occasion interviews potential candidates.

Read it all and note the timescale.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

April 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of my favourite books is Frederick Buechner’s Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale.

The chapter on Comedy is especially good, I think. And especially needed. Both church-life and the world of theological study are far too po-faced.

As my contribution to injecting a little humour into this situation, I thought I would do a quick survey of C.S. Lewis’s shining wit.

Lewis once wrote: ‘The English take their “sense of humour” so seriously that a deficiency in this sense is almost the only deficiency at which they feel shame.’ It must be remembered, of course, that C.S. Lewis was Irish. If he’d had the great good fortune to be born English (as I, I humbly admit, did) he would have realised how grievous a thing it is to be humour-impaired.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* General InterestHumor / Trivia

April 16, 2015 at 1:06 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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