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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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"I was looking for something in an office cabinet yesterday and found a picture of the Vestry of Christ Church Greenville, SC in 2002. Of the 14 vestry members, 4 are left at CC. Five are at St. Paul’s Anglican, my church, including the Junior Warden in that picture and the next Junior Warden. The Senior Warden is at a PCA Church, but his daughter is on the vestry at St. Paul’s and he visits St Paul’s regularly. Two are at “mega” (very orthodox) independent churches. One is now a Methodist. One is deceased"
What has happened for you and those you know in the last decade or so? What general lessons are there from this time, and how has God used it?
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
"In response to Pageantmaster’s comment, yes I believe blogs are fading as a useful means of communication, even though I have been following TitusOneNine for years and have filched leads from it to post on my Facebook group, Anglican Evangelicals. No one reads my blog, An Anglican Witness, anymore, whereas we are approving new members of the Facebook group daily. I was very pleased when Kendall joined the group."
Is the day of the weblog over? Will it go the way of the VHS video recorder? Do weblogs still perform a useful function?
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina; The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a South Carolina Corporate Body; All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.; Christ St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Christ the King, Waccamaw; Church of The Cross, Inc. And Church of the Cross Declaration of Trust; Church of The Holy Comforter; Church of the Redeemer; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Saint Luke's Church, Hilton Head; St. Matthews Church; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church; St. David's Church; St. James' Church, James Island, S.C.; St. John's Episcopal Church of Florence, S.C.; St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Inc.; St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Bennettsville, Inc.;
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Parishes TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * South Carolina * Theology
OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.
I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.
Please remember Bishop John Ellison in your prayers: [George Conger] Border-crossing charges filed against British Bishop
Here are the links to posts that have been recently featured at the top of the blog or on topical issues.
+ GAFCON Chairman’s July - August Pastoral Letter (August 6, 2015)
+ CofE - Porter: Shared Conversations will lead to CofE Synod Same Sex Legislation Change in February 2017 (July 28, 2015)
+ TEC Same Sex Marriage Rites - [ACI] The New Episcopal Church: What Hath General Convention 2015 Wrought? (July 27, 2015)
+ TEC Conflicts - Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth: Judgment concludes trial-court phase (July 25, 2015)
+ TEC Conflicts - A S Haley: Final Judgment in Fort Worth Case (July 25, 2015)
+ Statement from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans (July 17, 2015)
+ Talks from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans - Fort Worth July 13th to 17th (July 14, 2015)
+ CofE General Synod 10th to 13th July 2015 Links (July 10, 2015)
+ Reform Statement on the Archbishop of York (July 9, 2015)
+ Reply Brief Filed by Diocese of South Carolina in SC Supreme Court (July 6, 2015)
The first is the de-Christianising of England, where the number of Christians is dropping. This affects the Catholic Church as it does the others, yet not all are falling at the same rate. The most acute crisis is in the Church of England, where recent independent statistics show membership fell from 40 per cent of the population in 1983 to 17 per cent in 2014, a drop of 58 per cent.
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has argued that the writing is now on the wall, and the Church of England is only a generation away from total extinction. Unless something truly radical happens to reverse decades of decline, the Church of England and its many charms will have disappeared before 2050. (The numbers look similarly bleak for the Church of Scotland, whose membership dropped from 36 per cent of the population in 2001 to 18 per cent in 2013.)
The death of the Church of England will be immensely significant. For the first time since the reign of King Henry VIII, the Catholic Church will again be the largest Christian denomination in England.
The second big theme will be the general trend in global religion. Although Christianity is waning in Europe, religious adherence (including to Christianity) is increasing globally, which will make the world in 2115 a more religious place.
Behind this trend, the big story is Islam, which is the world’s fastest growing religion. Today, there are 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. By 2100 the positions will have reversed, with Islam overtaking Christianity to become the single largest religion on the planet.
The life of an English Catholic in 2115 will be significantly affected by the consequences of these two trends. These are my predictions...
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At the time of the review, Wycliffe Hall had 50 Church of England ordinands engaged in training. Another 81 students are members of the Hall, comprising a mix of independent part-time students, independent undergraduates and postgraduates.
Revd Dr Simon Vibert, Acting Principal of Wycliffe Hall commented, "Wycliffe welcomes the very positive report from the review team and looks forward to continuing to improve the formation and training offered at the Hall."
Read it all and follow the link.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
The St Peter's XI — a team of Vatican priests — will play the Church of England in an exhibition match in Rome in October and they will be using Australian-made willow.
"They were beaten by the Archbishop of Canterbury's XI last year in England and I suggested that that was because they weren't using [Australian] timber," said Victorian bat-maker Ian Callen.
Mr Callen's advice was taken up by Australia's Ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy, who organised last year's inaugural match...
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I therefore invite all members of the Anglican Church of Canada to join with me on September 1 and pray in an especially intentional way for the integrity of God’s creation, and for the will and the means to confront and resolve the ecological crisis our planet is facing.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Globalization * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Kwashi made the appeal while speaking during a peaceful protest by Plateau citizens, who protested to the State House of Assembly to register their displeasure over renewed killings in the State.
The Cleric, while addressing the gathering, revealed that the Plateau State was losing citizens to attacks.
“As a pastor, I have conducted more burial-occasions by attacks than weddings and naming ceremonies since 2001.
“It’s sad to note that most victims of the attacks are armless children, some infants, women and youth; the present administration must end the killings, attention should not be concentrated only at the north east alone, people are being killed here in Plateau, Benue Nasarawa and Kaduna states.”
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It’s long been frustrating for Nigerians that their armed forces, with 200,000 active duty troops, 300,000 paramilitary personnel, a budget of $3.25 billion, and a history of successful peacekeeping operations in neighboring countries, has been either unable or unwilling to get Boko Haram under control.
The fact that most of the Chibok girls remain missing 16 months into their abduction is the single most damning symbol of that failure.
In Christian circles, the fact that Boko Haram is still operational despite the seeming mismatch with the army has bred suspicions that politicians may have encouraged inaction in order to gain votes or to terrorize their enemies, and that some military personnel may either be on the payroll of Boko Haram or sympathetic to its agenda.
In mid-August, Nigeria’s new no-nonsense president, a former army commander named Muhammadu Buhari, vowed all that would change.
Buhari promised to wipe out Boko Haram “within three months,” and especially for Christians, it’s tempting to want to believe it. Yet for many, the war that defines their attitude isn’t so much the one between the government and Boko Haram, but rather the one that pits hope against experience.
Often, that translates into skepticism vis-à-vis Buhari’s pledge.
“I think it’s just a typically empty political statement,” said Samson Tsok, who lives in the north central Nigerian state of Plateau that’s been an epicenter of Muslim/Christian clashes for the past 15 years...
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Putnam’s proposals for government transfers, better-paid teachers, and free sports teams may represent helpful stepping stones to children who are socially secure and were raised in a stable, disciplined home, as his poor classmates were. But the children of Our Kids demonstrate painfully that outside influences are too little, too late for those from broken homes.
In 1959, eight out of eight poor parents in Our Kids had been present throughout their children's lives.* In 2015, that was true of two out of twelve. Putnam does not have a plan that will help the kids whose parents have fled.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education History Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Mr Kellahan will continue his work in the parish, combined with a part-time role at Freedom for Faith. “These are critical times for the future of religious freedom in Australia,” Mr Kellahan told Southern Cross. “Debates are happening and decisions are being taken now which could influence the cultural landscape for decades to come.”
Bishop Robert Forsyth and Professor Patrick Parkinson are among the leaders of the organisation, which also has advisers from Baptist, Presbyterian, Seventh-day Adventist and Pentecostal traditions, and from the legal profession. An office in North Sydney has been established as a base but the organisation will operate nationally as well as running a website, freedomforfaith.org.au.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ago. In New Orleans, 120 people had been killed by late August, compared with 98 during the same period a year earlier. In Baltimore, homicides had hit 215, up from 138 at the same point in 2014. In Washington, the toll was 105, compared with 73 people a year ago. And in St. Louis, 136 people had been killed this year, a 60 percent rise from the 85 murders the city had by the same time last year.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Nigeria's intelligence agency says 12 members of the Islamist militant group have been arrested in Lagos since July.
It is not possible to independently verify details of the statement.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
As part of the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, a series of national surveys showed use of the drug has been growing slowly on the nation’s campuses since 2006, with 5.9 per cent saying they smoke it almost every day – the highest number since 1980.
This figure is up considerably from 2007 when 3.5 per cent admitted to the same, meaning one in every 17 university students is now smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis.
Read it all.
The men’s accounts tell a story of lively engagement with the site, with over 20 million men hopefully looking at their inboxes, and over 10 million of them initiating chats. The women’s accounts show so little activity that they might as well not be there....
Either way, we’re left with data that suggests Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there.
Read it all (used from the pulpit in yesterday's sermon by yours truly and yes, emphasis mine).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Marriage & Family Men Psychology Sexuality Women * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
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Over the king’s treasuries was Azmaveth son of Adiel; and over the treasuries in the country, cities, villages, and towers or forts was Jonathan son of Uzziah;
Azmaveth–strong as death
Adiel–the witness of the Lord
Jonathan–Yahweh has given
Uzziah–Yahweh has helped
Our Father in heaven,
Your witness, Your help, Your gifts are the treasures of the Diocese of South Carolina.
We thank You for the bounty of Your treasuries.
You are the Lord of life, our Creator, and You overcome death.
Be present to the Diocese of South Carolina during the ongoing litigation, we pray.
Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here
How many clergy and even Bishops share this idea of mission, proposed in a lead article in the Church Times, as creating communities of hurting doubters, attracted to a romanticized Jesus but distrustful of the Bible, and turned off by stories of healing, change and church growth? It might sound nice for a vicar’s message to be “I have doubts about God but I really care about you – let me sit with you and search with you”, but a) does that conform to ordination commitments? b) is it Christian? and c) will it reach the nation for Christ?
In response, a Confessing Church needs to say that authentic Christianity, and therefore the only hope for Church and nation, is the opposite of these sentiments. Instead of glorifying doubt about God and exalting our own ability to seek the truth, we should surely doubt ourselves, and trust in revealed Truth even if we can’t articulate immediate answers to the thorny theological problems? Instead of being embarrassed and diffident about what we believe, agreeing with those who say “how could God allow…?” and “our view of God is like that of the blind men touching an elephant”*, shouldn’t Christians be saying that the way we manage life with our own weaknesses and the world’s suffering is only through confident faith in Christ’s work in the past, present and future?
Read it all
Contrast this with members of the Islamic State and other terrorists who have used social media to distribute shocking materials of bloodthirsty acts in order to gain notoriety and followers. Supporters of Islamic State have as many as 90,000 accounts on Twitter. The group is so good at harnessing social media that the United States’ counter-strategy pales in comparison. In a June memo obtained by the New York Times, State Department official Richard Stengel described Islamic State’s social media dominance: “When it comes to the external message, our narrative is being trumped by ISIL’s.”
Yet for members of Islamic State, social media is the most meaningful outlet for building their base.
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The bonds are repayable in tranches between 2038 and 2048 and were issued through a special purpose vehicle, CHARM Finance plc. £70 million of the bonds were placed immediately, and the remaining £30 million retained to provide quick access to the capital markets if required in the future.
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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t have to face an election soon — he just won one. But like other leaders from oil-producing nations, he does have to cope with a price slump in the commodity, which comprises 80 percent of the government’s revenue. It has meant civil servants in most states are owed months of pay; capital projects have been frozen; and an already restive and divided country shows more signs of revolt.
The turmoil is felt by countries throughout the Middle East — by those desperately reliant on oil revenue (Iraq, Syria and Libya) and those with vast riches (Saudi Arabia).
And yet the Russian Federation, and Scotland buck this trend. Their leaders are the Teflon Kids of the oil slump: Hit by sliding prices but not public scorn.
Read it all
“Seminarians are not relocating to go to seminary,” said Ligon Duncan, president of the Jackson, Mississippi–based Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). “Many are choosing to attend regional institutions with which they have less theological affinity in order to stay in the same city.”
That’s one key reason why RTS has formed a new partnership with Redeemer City to City, a church-planting network founded in 2001 by Tim Keller. Now RTS students based in New York won’t have to choose between a local school and a Reformed one. (It also has six other extension campuses.)
Read it all.
So what’s happening is the roof has come off for the devout. The devout had a kind of a shelter, an umbrella. You couldn’t be all that caustic toward traditional classic Christian teaching and truth. I spoke on Friday morning to the American Bible Society’s board. American Bible Society does a lot of polling about the Bible. The use of the Bible, reading the Bible, attitudes toward the Bible. They said that actually the number of people who are devout Bible readers is not changing that much.
What is changing is for the first time in history a growing group of people who think the Bible is bad, it’s dangerous, it’s regressive, it’s a bad cultural force, that was just never there. It was very tiny. And that’s because the middle ground has shifted, so it is more identified with the more secular, the less religious, and it’s less identified now with the more devout.
Later, he explains what the loss of this umbrella means for the devout:
The roof came off. That is, you had the devout, you had the secular, and you had that middle ground that made it hard to speak disrespectfully of traditional values. That middle ground now has not so much gone secular, but they more identified with this side. They are identified with expressive individualism, and so they don’t want to tell anybody how to live their lives.
And so what that means now of course is that the devout suddenly realize that they are out there, that the umbrella is gone, and they are taking a lot of flak for their views, just public flak.
Read it all.
Violent extremism has no religion; there will always be people who manipulate faith texts. Just as Christians do not endorse Quran burnings or the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, and Buddhists do not endorse atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, mainstream Muslims do not endorse violence.
Muslims have historically added much to the flourishing of human civilization. Our greatest contributions were made in eras when the faith cherished mutual respect, freedom and justice. It may be immensely difficult to restore the blotted image of Islam, but Muslims can be beacons of peace and tranquility in their societies.
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Despite levels of secularization that are much higher than in the U.S., the research findings from Scotland will likely strike American readers as familiar: increasing numbers of non-religious adults, declining church attendance numbers and fewer people engaged with the Bible. What is happening? And how can the trends revealed by the research help church leaders in America and beyond do more effective ministry in their own post-Christian context?
The yearlong research effort, commissioned by the Maclellan Foundation, examines the current state of the Christian faith in Scotland and identifies ministry approaches that seem to be working in this particular post-Christian context. While some of the trends revealed in the new report, Transforming Scotland, may paint an uncomfortable picture for church leaders, the research also shows surprising “countertrends” that refute traditional expectations of secularization, including best practices among growing churches.
Read it all.
Picture: River baptisms at Church of the Holy Cross, Bluffton SC
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Media * South Carolina * Theology Sacramental Theology Baptism
He threw the second no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 10 days, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 victory Sunday night.
Arrieta was lights-out on the mound, striking out a season-high 12. He was ready for lights out afterward, slipping into one-piece pajamas decorated with moustaches for the overnight flight home.
Fitting, since Arrieta had thought about throwing a no-hitter since he was a kid. His grandfather witnessed one of Nolan Ryan's no-hitters in Texas.
Read it all from ESPN.
Grant also, that while I labour for the maintenance of this life, and care for the things which pertain to food and raiment, I may raise my mind above them to the blessed and heavenly life which thou hast promised to thy children. Be pleased also, in manifesting thyself to me as the protector of my soul as well as my body, to strengthen and fortify me against all the assaults of the devil, and deliver me from all the dangers which continually beset us in this life. But seeing it is a small thing to have begun, unless I also persevere, I therefore entreat of thee, O Lord, not only to be my guide and director for this day, but to keep me under thy protection to the very end of life, that thus my whole course may be performed under thy superintendence. As I ought to make progress, do thou add daily more and more to the gifts of thy grace until I wholly adhere to thy Son Jesus Christ, whom we justly regard as the true Sun, shining constantly in our minds. In order to my obtaining of thee these great and manifold blessings, forget, and out of thy infinite mercy, forgive my offences, as thou hast promised that thou wilt do to those who call upon thee in sincerity.
(Ps. 143:8.)—Grant that I may hear thy voice in the morning since I have hoped in thee. Show me the way in which I should walk, since I have lifted up my soul unto thee. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord, I have fled unto thee. Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God. Let thy good Spirit conduct me to the land of uprightness.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.
River baptisms at Church of the Holy Cross, Bluffton SC
+ Services, Talks and Resources for August 30th
+ Called to Embrace God’s Perspective and Power (Eph 6) - Andrew O'Dell
+ Running the way of God's commandments [Ephesians 5:15-20 and John 6:51-58] - Andrew Wingfield Digby
+ The Secrets of Long-Term Freshness: A Grace Colored Approach to Life and Ministry - Ajith Fernando
Read it all
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