Posted by The_Elves

A Plea to the Leaders of the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church (TEC) is experiencing a precipitous decline in Sunday morning attendance. Without addressing some of its institutional pathologies, TEC will render itself evermore irrelevant. Yet the current proposals to restructure the church ignore its basic problems. [1]

The present practices, or likely outcomes in the very near future, of TEC raise a number of questions. Here is a sample:

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Polity & Canons

March 24, 2015 at 11:59 am - 9 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“A breath of fresh air,” was how the Rev. Louise Weld, Associate Rector at St. James, Charleston, described the 224th annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, which was held in Charleston, March 13-14, 2015. “I felt like there was a big emphasis on evangelism and sharing your story,” said Weld, “in the Bishop’s address, in presentations, in video clips. There was a new thrust - a breath of fresh air. We’ve moved on and are about the Lord’s work!...”

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* South Carolina* Theology

March 23, 2015 at 5:15 am - 3 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I still remember a letter I received as a young rector. The letter concluded with, “Always remember, Fr. Mark, the Church primarily exists to serve the needs of its long-time members.” Even in the relatively more churched-culture of the late 1980s it struck me as shocking statement. Former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, wrote in the 1930s that the Church is the only institution in the world that exists to serve the needs of those who are not yet its members. But there is something more foundational than the recent debates about Missional vs Attractional. The Church by its very nature is missional. It is not that the Church one day decided to have a resolution, brought it forward and voted to be missional. It was the Risen Jesus Christ, whose mission we continue, who commands us—“As the Father has sent me so I am sending you.” The only thing left to ask is to whom, and where, and how He would have us go!

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

March 14, 2015 at 7:59 pm - 4 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is a fact well known to certain Episcopalians—both those who have left the Episcopal Church (USA) and those who have remained—that ECUSA and its dioceses have followed a pattern of suing any church that chooses to leave for another Anglican jurisdiction. But the full extent of the litigation that has ensued is not well known at all, either in the wider Church, or among the provinces of the Anglican Communion.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

February 24, 2015 at 7:01 am - 39 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Expanding its efforts to create a culture of lifelong learning, the Diocese of Montreal has embarked upon a new three-year continuing education program.

The program, which began Jan. 1, 2015 and runs until Dec. 31, 2017, asks clergy to complete 60 hours of continuing education over a three-year period, as required by Bishop Barry Clarke for each licensed clergyperson in the diocese.

Using a list of competencies for ordination prepared in 2013 by the Primate’s Commission on Theological Education and Formation for Presbyteral Ministry, clergy members identify which competencies they want to work on, prepare supporting documentation and keep track of their self-registered courses in a log.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

March 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So very many of the 'assured results of modern scholarship' have rested ultimately upon comfortable and rarely interrogated Enlightenment prejudices. To the mentality of the last two-and-a-half centuries, it has seemed obvious that 'primitive' simplicity must have been transformed, in a simple linear process, into greater complexity. Rousseau's Noble Savage, dated into mythical human pre-history, must necessarily predate the Bourbon Court! That such a methodological presupposition still survives among 'liberal' Christian academics is, it seems to me, another example of the failure of many such writers to keep up with advances in the secular study of the ancient world. Here is a passage, written in 1998 by Peter Parsons, Regius Professor (now emeritus) of Greek in this University and a very great papyrologist. He is surveying the large number of 'new' Classical texts which the sands of Egypt had yielded in the couple of decades before he wrote. (It is worth adding that discoveries since 1998 have done nothing to weaken his argument.)

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistory* TheologyAnthropology

March 29, 2015 at 3:22 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Modestine Brody is sure that her service over the past two decades is not a choice but a calling by Jesus Christ.

Since Brody was a young girl, the Christian ministry has been important in her life. She also had a knack for helping others.

Brody now serves as the executive director of Resurrection Outreach Ministries, which was started in 2001 by her and her now-deceased husband, Pastor Louis Brody.

The ministry initially consisted of a church, but now it includes the addition of Resurrection Restoration Center for the Homeless.

Read it all from the Florence Morning News.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPoverty* South Carolina

March 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Who (or what) is God?

Does prayer work?

Is there an afterlife?

Can you be spiritual and not religious?

These are just some of the questions TODAY is asking this week in the series "Do You Believe?" An in-depth look at faith and spirituality, this series will examine the many ways spirituality can be communicated and displayed, and feature real-life stories of survival and how faith played a role.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

March 29, 2015 at 2:30 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African-Americans, has broken its fellowship with Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) following its recent vote to approve same-sex marriage.

The Presbyterian General Assembly, the top legislative body of the PCUSA, voted last June to revise the constitutional language defining marriage. This arbitrary change of Holy Scripture is a flagrantly pretentious and illegitimate maneuver by a body that has no authority whatsoever to alter holy text.

Rev. Anthony Evans, NBCI President noted:

"NBCI and its membership base are simply standing on the Word of God within the mind of Christ. We urge our brother and sisters of the PCUSA to repent and be restored to fellowship."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterianSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

March 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What the actual name of the play is, Dawn Staley won’t say. But after Sunday, the head coach of South Carolina’s women’s basketball program may start calling it something else.

Mitch.

It would be a fitting tribute to the weekend Tiffany Mitchell enjoyed in the Greensboro Regional of the women’s NCAA Tournament. Two days after her basket in the final seconds lifted the Gamecocks past North Carolina in the Sweet 16, Mitchell scored seven straight points in the last two minutes Sunday to lead USC to its first Final Four. Mitchell’s layup, 3-pointer, and two free throws down the stretch carried top-seeded South Carolina to an 80-74 victory over No. 2 seed Florida State, and made school history in the process.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchSportsWomenYoung Adults* South Carolina

March 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, the Episcopal Church needs a strong voice within its deliberations that will continue to champion a classical understanding of doctrine and a disciplined approach to the alteration of the church’s discipline. That is, we need advocates who are willing and able to teach the doctrines of the creeds and to champion authentic Christian discipleship rooted in the sacraments and spirituality that have been handed over to us. The church’s discipline—those things that are not doctrine but around which the church orders its common life—needs to be carefully thought through and alterations to it should be backed by solid theology and connections into our core doctrine. A catholic movement within the Episcopal Church ought to be able to make this case with credibility and conviction. It shoud have a clear sense of why we do what we do and be able to speak sensible with those who disagree and those who are undecided.

Second, there are many in the councils of the church who are quick to dismiss anything coming from an “Anglo-Catholic” source as inherently problematic because of an assumption of bias and irrelevance. Almost every time I opened my mouth in meetings or offered a proposal, there were those on my committee who would immediately suggest that my recommendation was somehow anti-women and anti-lay. As a layman married to a female priest, I found this bizarre! Or, alternatively, that what I proposed was of no interest to the broader church because it only addressed the needs of a shrinking “boutique” spirituality that had no connection or application to modern church life. They had slotted me into a mental pigeonhole and, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, were ready to dismiss me beause of biases they assumed I held (but didn’t).

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

March 29, 2015 at 1:10 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Warrens held their first Bible study on Jan. 25, 1980, in their Laguna Hills home near Moulton Parkway and Via Iglesia.

That same day, Kay Warren’s grandmother died. The couple wondered if they should cancel the church launch. They didn’t.

The first public service took place weeks later, on April 6, 1980, at Laguna Hills High School. There were 205 in attendance.

“It was confirmation that this was really going to work,” Kay Warren said.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

March 29, 2015 at 11:26 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As on this day we keep the special memory of our Redeemer’s entry into the city, so grant, O Lord, that now and ever he may triumph in our hearts. Let the King of grace and glory enter in, and let us lay ourselves and all we are in full and joyful homage before him; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Handley Moule

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

March 29, 2015 at 6:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...That's where the second question comes in, a personal question. If the Palm Sunday street theatre means what Jesus meant, it challenges all his followers, then and now. The crowds may have been fickle, but they were not mistaken. The two on the road to Emmaus had hoped he would redeem Israel, and they were hoping for the right thing - God's kingdom on earth as in heaven, a this-worldly reign of justice and peace - but they had not glimpsed the means by which Jesus would bring it about. Right story, wrong king.

Sooner or later, this happens to all of us. We start out following Jesus because we think we know the story, we know what sort of king we want him to be - and then things go badly wrong, he doesn't give us what we wanted, and we are tempted to wonder if we've been standing on the wrong side of town, watching the wrong procession.

Jesus warned us this would happen: we all have to live through a Holy Week, a Gethsemane, a Good Friday of one sort or another. That happens in personal life, in vocational life, as well as in public life.

But we were not mistaken. The world today, never mind the church today, urgently needs people, young and old, who will follow Jesus through Holy Week and on into the new Mystery Play which our mediaeval ancestors never imagined, the story of his kingdom of love and peace and justice coming on earth as in heaven. That is the Story; he is the King; and he's looking for recruits, young and old, for a new bit of theatre, coming to a street near you.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

March 29, 2015 at 5:45 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

March 29, 2015 at 4:56 am - 7 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an act of extraordinary heroism, a parish warden stopped an Islamist terrorist from detonating a bomb during Sunday worship at Christ Church Youhanabad near Lahore, Pakistan. Fifteen people were murdered during twin attacks on Christ Church and the neighboring St John’s Catholic Church on 15 March 2015, but the heroism of Zahid Yousaf Goga (pictured with his wife, Akash and three children) prevented further bloodshed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

March 29, 2015 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Christ, the King of glory, who didst enter the holy city in meekness to be made perfect through the suffering of death: Give us grace, we beseech thee, in all our life here to take up our cross daily and follow thee, that hereafter we may rejoice with thee in thy heavenly kingdom; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.

--Church of South India

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

March 29, 2015 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!

--Psalm 24:7-10

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

March 29, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

March 28, 2015 at 4:30 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a statement released today Church of England's Chief Education Officer Revd Nigel Genders has expressed support for the launch of a new RE teacher recruitment campaign, Beyond the Ordinary is aimed at encouraging new RE teachers who can now access re-instated Government bursary funding.

"I'm delighted to support the Beyond the Ordinary campaign, which highlights the benefits of a career in RE teaching, a career that is far from ordinary. As an RE teacher you'll address topics that go way beyond the everyday, challenging perceptions and exploding stereotypes. You'll embark on a career that will continue to evolve and inspire you as well as the young people you teach. And the government is offering financial incentives to cover training costs, so now is a great time to explore more about this wonderful vocation. You can find out more and direct anyone who is looking for more information about training to be a RE teacher to http://www.teachre.co.uk/beyondtheordinary."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture

March 28, 2015 at 3:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In all of these tragedies, the religious and ethnic minorities continue to be the most vulnerable communities. Among them are the Christians, our sisters and brothers in the Lord. They face the present danger of extermination or exile from their own region, a catastrophic assault on Christian life and witness in those lands. Many churches and Christians around the world have offered signs of solidarity and sympathy through prayer vigils, humanitarian assistance and advocacy for just peace. Despite these efforts, so many still feel powerless and incapable of making any impact and change. Yet we know that we worship a God of hope, in whom there is always cross, always resurrection. As Christians we are called to live in the hope Christ gives us and make this our witness in times of deep pain and strife.

During this Lenten season, the World Council of Churches invites its member churches and Christians worldwide to offer special prayers on Sunday, March 29 for all people affected by these wars. We ask these prayers especially for the countries of Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt, where the indigenous Christian presence and witness have been continuous since the incarnation of our Lord, and from where the Good News has spread all over the world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther Churches

March 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s 40 great minutes. I loved this conversation, I hope you will too as you learn along with me from our friend about the heart of Anglican theology.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Theology

March 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Firstly, in the developing world, and I speak especially of my own continent of Africa, we have great need for partnership with you in discipleship training at all levels, especially as we see the secular challenges to Christian faith and life you are so familiar with now impacting Africa through a globalized media, particularly in its rapidly growing cities. We also need to stand alongside and speak out for those believers who are suffering so terribly at the hands of Islamic radicals and there is always the need for humanitarian and development initiatives by which we demonstrate the love of God to those in extreme material need.

Secondly, in the developed world, we need your partnership as we seek to stand with and strengthen Churches to maintain a faithful and winsome Christian witness in societies where their Christian heritage has become little more than an ornament. In North America, the cultural captivity of the established Anglican Churches became so bad that a fundamental realignment was necessary and we thank God for the emergence and growth of the GAFCON sponsored Anglican Church of North America.

Now we are seeing the same struggle developing in the Church of England, the Mother Church of the Communion itself, and the most recent sign of this is the crisis developing after a parish church in central London was made available for a Muslim prayer service earlier this month. The vicar not only joined in, but also covered up the cross and other Christian symbols in the church. Here we have a warning that controversies about gender and sexuality reflect a deeper problem. Now we are seeing the core Christian commitment to the uniqueness of Jesus as Lord and Saviour is being called into question.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of AustraliaAnglican Church of KenyaGlobal South Churches & Primates

March 28, 2015 at 11:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I found myself in St Edmundsbury Cathedral last week just before they were to sing Evensong. So I stayed, and I’m glad I did.

Apart from anything else, a good way to appreciate a building is to see it put to the use it was designed for. As the church of St James, it was completed at the beginning of the 16th century by John Wastell, the designer of Bell Harry, the great tower of Canterbury Cathedral. As the cathedral of the diocese centred on Bury St Edmunds, it was not finished until 2005.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

March 28, 2015 at 11:01 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the prospects for a free and fair Presidential election in Nigeria in 2015, and (2) progress made by the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission towards minimising the possibility of electoral fraud. [HL5761]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The British Government is closely following developments ahead of Nigeria’s presidential and gubernatorial elections on 28 March and 11 April respectively. This vote will set Nigeria’s course for the next five years and beyond and as Africa’s largest democracy its impact will be felt well beyond its borders. It is vital the elections go ahead without any further delay on 28 March.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK

March 28, 2015 at 10:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Under the shadow of Boko Haram violence, Nigerians head to the polls Saturday (March 28) to elect a president and a deputy in a vote observers say is critical for the country’s stability and economic progress.

In a twist that might have been difficult to predict, many Christians in Nigeria’s north are backing a Muslim candidate to lead their country away from the brink of violence and chaos.

Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north and the leader of the All Progressives Congress party, is challenging the leadership of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south who heads the ruling People’s Democratic Party.

Some Nigerians fear that another term for Jonathan would mean institutionalization of corruption and emergence of more Muslim extremist groups in addition to Boko Haram. And they are willing to pin their hopes on a Muslim candidate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

March 28, 2015 at 10:14 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Laws that disparately impact Christians can protect others from Christian attempts to take over society. If these laws are couched in terms of religious neutrality—like the “all comers” policies for student organizations—then those with Christianophobia can endorse them without worry about being stigmatized as bigoted. (There is a similar phenomenon noted in race/ethnicity scholarship. Public policy measures that seem racially neutral can work to the disadvantage of people of color. Restrictive immigration policies are theoretically racially neutral, but disproportionally affect Hispanic Americans.)

This helps to crystallize the current conflict in our society between conservative Christians and those with hatred towards them. Christians face economically, educationally, and socially powerful individuals who seek to drive them from the public square. Many with Christianophobia are convinced that conservative Christians will drag our society back into the Dark Ages and must be stopped with any measure that cannot be defined as overt religious bigotry.

An important challenge Christians have is to convince such individuals that they have the same rights to influence the public square as anyone else. Learning how to communicate, and hopefully find ways to co-exist, with them will help determine whether there will be a persistent cultural conflict or if a truce is possible.

Read it all.

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

March 28, 2015 at 10:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just because the Middle East’s descent into chaos is hardly the fault of the Obama administration, that doesn’t mean its policies in the region are not an egregious failure.

The situation in the region is unprecedented. For the first time since the World Wars, virtually every country from Libya to Afghanistan is involved in a military conflict. (Oman seems to be the exception.) The degree of chaos, uncertainty, and complexity among the twisted and often contradictory alliances and enmities is mind-boggling. America and its allies are fighting alongside Iran to combat the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria but in Yemen, the United States and many of those same regional partners are collaborating to push back Iranian-backed Houthi forces. Israel and Saudi Arabia are closely aligned in their concerns about Iran while historical divisions between the two remain great. Iran supports Bashar al-Assad in Syria; the United States and Western allies deplore his policies but tolerate his presence while some of the rebel forces we are supporting in the fight against the Islamic State in that country seek his (long overdue) removal. The United States wants the states of the region to stand up for their own interests — just not in Libya or when they don’t get America’s permission first.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

March 28, 2015 at 9:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pete and Evelyn Richards’ children and grandchildren would like them to slow down, but for the Jeffersonville, Ga., couple, it’s not spring unless they sell their wares at Summerville’s Flowertown Festival.

“Our family thinks we should retire but we would miss it too much, so as long as the Lord lets us work, we’ll continue,” said Evelyn Richards.

The couple, both in their 80s, is among more than 200 crafters who display their work each year at the Summerville Family YMCA’s event. They make flowers and other tchotchkes from seashells found on the beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Read it all and check out the 26 photos available there.

Filed under: * South Carolina

March 28, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Key Points

Millions of Nigerians voting in closely fought poll
President Goodluck Jonathan faces Gen Muhammadu Buhari
Jonathan is Christian southerner, Buhari a Muslim northerner
Delays due to problems with biometric voter cards

Follow it and pray for the election today.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

March 28, 2015 at 7:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * General InterestAnimalsPhotos/Photography

March 28, 2015 at 7:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The most sharply contested election in Nigeria’s post-independence history wound down to a tense conclusion on Saturday amid fears that a polarized electorate would clash regardless of the outcome in a country split on religious, ethnic and sectional lines.

There appeared to be little middle ground between partisans of the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south hated in the north for mismanaging a bloody Islamist insurgency at steep cost, and his challenger, Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, a northerner and a belated democratic convert whose Muslim faith and authoritarian past are feared in the south.

Voters on Saturday morning crowded around registration stations here in the north’s largest city, a packed metropolis of more than five million, as hitches in the process added to the tension. Election officials were more than two hours late in some places, and malfunctioning electronic registration machines — a new system designed to limit endemic fraud — stymied voters in others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

March 28, 2015 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

March 28, 2015 at 6:45 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lift up our souls, O Lord, to the pure, serene light of thy presence; that there we may breathe freely, there repose in thy love, there may be at rest from ourselves, and from thence return, arrayed in thy peace, to do and bear what shall please thee; for thy holy name’s sake.

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

March 28, 2015 at 6:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

--Jeremiah 31:27-34

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

March 28, 2015 at 6:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the challenge to be a Church with a mission to the nation grows more complex as society and communities change, and the size, strength and make-up of our churches also change.

50 years ago churches largely reflected the demographics of their context; today they are markedly different. Put simply, churches have not successfully retained young people as they move into adulthood.

Numbers attending Church of England services have declined at an average rate of 1% a year in recent decades. In any given week, less than 2% of the overall population attend our churches. In some areas, particularly outer estates and the inner city, this is less than 1%. The age profile of our membership is now significantly older than that of the population.

As I said in my Synod address in December, the harsh truth is that there is a massive cultural gap between what we do in our churches and the subcultures amongst whom we dwell.

Read it all.

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

March 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm - 3 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the past six years, Boko Haram has terrorized the northeast region and burned down entire communities, killing thousands of people and abducting many more, including more than 200 missing schoolgirls.

The people driven from their homes are posing a challenge for Nigeria's electoral commission. The U.N. Secretary General's special representative for West Africa and high representative for Nigeria, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, says displaced people must be allowed to vote.

"These elections must be inclusive," Chambas says. "I got the assurance of the electoral commissioner that all efforts would be made to ensure that Nigerians internally displaced, as a result of Boko Haram terrorist activity, are not denied their franchise."

Nigeria is also grappling with a new biometric, voter ID card-reading system, which had hiccups during dry runs ahead of Saturday's vote.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

March 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Philip Jenkins's contribution to The Globalization of Christianity (edited by Gordon Heath and Steven Studebaker) offers sobering and exciting news by turns.

On the sobering side, he describes the statistical stagnation of Christianity, and compares it to the spread of Islam. For the past century, Christianity has held steady at 1/3 of the human population. It's grown, of course, but it has not grown as a proportion of the world's population.

Islam has. “In 1900, the 200 to 220 million Muslims then living comprised some 12 or 13 percent of humanity, compared to 22.5 percent today, and a projected figure of 27.3 percent by 2050. Put another way, Christians in 1900 outnumbered Muslims by 2.8 to 1. Today that figure is 1.3 to 1, and by 2050 it should be 1.3 to 1. Put another way, there are four times as many Christians alive as there were in 1900; but over the same period, Muslims have grown at least seven-fold” (21).

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* Theology

March 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In her letter, Dr [Sarah] Coakley writes that she agrees "wholeheartedly with all the goals and aspirations" of the report, which envisions a 50 per cent increase in ordinations by 2020.

But she goes on to warn that devolution to the dioceses will be "profoundly undermining of all these good goals. . . Indeed, since there is no theology of ministry articulated in the report itself, one can hardly expect one to emerge in the course of individual bishops making decisions about 'flexible pathways', or taking on over-50s candidates without a BAP.

"Further, as the report itself acknowledges (but does not resolve), a huge set of problems can be envisaged about how to deploy clergy around the country in places of greatest need or effective pastoral abandonment, given the new plan for the financial support of clergy training."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

March 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Stunningly, Mr Putnam finds that family background is a better predictor of whether or not a child will graduate from university than 8th-grade test scores. Kids in the richest quarter with low test scores are as likely to make it through college as kids in the poorest quarter with high scores....

There are no obvious villains in this story. Mr Murray suggested that the educated classes preach the values they practise by urging the poor to get married before they have children. But the record of those who tell other people how to arrange their love lives is hardly encouraging. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama preached the virtues of responsible fatherhood, to no obvious effect.

Mr Putnam sees “no clear path to reviving marriage” among the poor. Instead, he suggests a grab-bag of policies to help poor kids reach their potential, such as raising subsidies for poor families, teaching them better parenting skills, improving nursery care and making after-school baseball clubs free. He urges all 50 states to experiment to find out what works. A problem this complex has no simple solution.

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

March 27, 2015 at 11:05 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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