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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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Global South Welcomes Diocese of South Carolina
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus
As you will recall the 223rd Diocesan Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina meeting at Christ Church in Mt. Pleasant on March 14-15, 2014 unanimously accepted the offer of the Global South Primates Steering Committee for Provisional Primatial Oversight.
Now this morning we receive with gratitude this letter from the Global South Primatial Steering Committee. It is their acceptance of our request for this gracious relationship. I trust you will be heartened as I have been by their welcome of us “… as an active and faithful member within the Global South of the Anglican Communion, until such time as a permanent primatial affiliation can be found.” It is my joy to share it with you.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Right Reverend Mark Joseph Lawrence
XIV Bishop of South Carolina
Read it all
Filed under: * South Carolina
21 August 2014
Announcement regarding the Diocese of South Carolina
My dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Global South of the Anglican Communion welcomes the unanimous request of The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, XIV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina to “accept the offer of the newly created Global South Primatial Oversight Council for pastoral oversight of our ministry as a diocese during the temporary period of our discernment of our final provincial affiliation.”
The decision of the Diocese of South Carolina was made in response to the meeting of the Global South Primates Steering Committee in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014 . A recommendation from that meeting stated that, “we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.”
Recognizing the faithfulness of Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina, and in appreciation for their contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the Global South welcomes them as an active and faithful member within the Global South of the Anglican Communion, until such time as a permanent primatial affiliation can be found.
Yours in Christ,
+ Mouneer Egypt
The Most Revd Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Primate of Jerusalem & the Middle East
Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
Chairman, Global South Primates Steering Committee
+ Ian Mauritius
The Most Revd Ian Ernest
Primate of the Indian Ocean
Bishop of Mauritius Hon. General Secretary, Global South Primates Steering Committee
 The full statement of the Global South Primates Steering Committee held in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014 may be found on the Global South Anglican website
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina Global South Churches & Primates * South Carolina
The short prayer service includes: A responsive reading from Psalm 83; An Opening Prayer; Time for personal or corporate prayer (with optional prayers provided) and a Closing Prayer.
The optional suggested prayers include prayers: For Our Enemies, For Muslims, Against Evil, Against Jihad, For Those Martyred, For the Church Catholic
You can find Archbishop Foley's exhortation here
The prayer resource is available as a PDF file or as Word Doc. Please pray and please share this widely! The elves
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Spirituality/Prayer * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq Syria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations Religious Freedom / Persecution * Resources & Links
Yes, the world news is grim, but Proverbs 17:22 reminds us "A cheerful heart is good medicine", so please take a few minutes to share something that's made you laugh in recent days:
- a good (clean) joke you've heard;
- a limerick;
- a funny video or picture;
- an amusing story
Read it all
Here's an excerpt.
What do you want to come from this?
Jeremy: I think the perspective that we hope others will gain from this is that in suffering there is hope, namely Jesus himself. Often we are tempted to think “why me” when suffering comes about and unless we see it in the larger picture of God’s glory and the unfolding and revealing of his character and nature to the world we will miss the joy that it is to be part of God’s great story.
In suffering there is hope, namely Jesus himself.
Brian: I think I would like those who look into our lives through this time to see Christ and see He alone in our refuge in trying times. This “strong tower” comes in the form of prayer, Scripture, and the Holy Sprint providing comfort and peace in our hearts in the darkest moments. Through this peace we are able to worship and glorify him no matter the outcome.
Esther: I want people to see Christ lifted high and to see that God’s plans for each of our lives is always for our good and His glory. God is Sovereign, he is Holy and he is good- all the time, no matter what the circumstances in our lives are- we can trust him to lovingly walk us through the dark and scary times as well as the joyful times of our lives.
How has this affected her faith?
Brian: In conversations with Mom I’ve picked up a sense that she has a deeper understanding on Christ sufficiency in all circumstances. He really is able to give peace and comfort when we have no where else to turn.
Stephanie: I had a wonderful conversation with my mother-in-law one day while she was laying in the bed at Emory University—looking at her through glass. She said:
"Steph, I have asked myself many, many times in my life, Is Jesus enough? I wasn't always sure how I could really answer that. When I was being put on that plane to come to the US, I knew I was leaving my home where all my things would be destroyed. I was saying goodbye to David, not knowing if I would see him again. I was getting on that plane unsure if I would be alive when I got to the US to see all of you. It was that moment when I cried out and knew, 'Jesus, you have to be enough. Jesus, you are all I have - you are enough.'"
Oh how perspective changes—He really is enough!
It's worth reading the whole article.
1) Summer Open Thread: What Book or Books are You Reading right Now?
2) Summer Open Thread #2: Your Chance to be a Guest Blogger
3) Summer Open Thread #3: Recollecting Favorite Sermons
Links to some of the other entries that have been recently featured / stickied at the top of the blog:
**Index of All Recent Entries about Diocese of SC Litigation**
The Sunday on T19 thread with links to great sermons, prayers, etc.
Churches in West Africa call for prayer as Ebola virus spreads
The Gafcon Chairman’s August Pastoral Letter
You can use the "featured (sticky)" category link to find more posts that have been featured in recent weeks. Additional featured entries continue below - click on the read more link..
The YouTube link is here.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained
Dr. Brantly's press conference is excellent - It's wonderful to hear his testimony to God's faithfulness.
A video of his press conference and an accompanying short article are here.
Update: NBC News has a written transcript of Dr. Brantly's statement.
“I do, Mom, I feel them,” and I thought about this for a second. Maybe it was others’ prayers strengthening me, keeping me afloat.
The official made a motion. I started to say goodbye. Mom started to cry. “Mom, I’m strong. I’m OK. I should be home by Katie’s graduation,” which was a month away.
“We love you, Jim!” she said. Then I hung up.
I replayed that call hundreds of times in my head — my mother’s voice, the names of my friends, her knowledge of our situation, her absolute belief in the power of prayer. She told me my friends had gathered to do anything they could to help. I knew I wasn’t alone.
My last night in Tripoli, I had my first Internet connection in 44 days and was able to listen to a speech Tom Durkin gave for me at the Marquette vigil. To a church full of friends, alums, priests, students and faculty, I watched the best speech a brother could give for another. It felt like a best man speech and a eulogy in one. It showed tremendous heart and was just a glimpse of the efforts and prayers people were pouring forth. If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.
Read it all
Officials would not say exactly when the operation took place but said it was not in the last couple of weeks.
Obama authorized the mission "earlier this summer," Lisa Monaco, Obama's top counterterrorism aide, said in a separate statement. "The President authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody," she said.
British anti-terrorist police began an investigation of the video, in which Foley's killer spoke with a London accent.
Possibly a British national, the killer is just one of hundreds of European Muslims drawn to join Islamic State, who authorities say pose a security threat to U.S. and European interests if they return home from the Middle East.
Syria has been the most dangerous country for journalists for more than two years. At least 69 other journalists have been killed covering the conflict there and more than 80 journalists have been kidnapped in Syria.
The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that about 20 journalists are currently missing in Syria. Many of them are believed to be held by Islamic State.
Read it all
Such violations as are currently taking place are crimes against humanity that must be both stopped and punished. The culture of impunity within which these dehumanising atrocities have been committed needs to be challenged most vigorously. Given that Iraq is not a state party to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Government must now work towards a United Nations Security Council resolution that refers this matter to the ICC for investigation and, where necessary, prosecution. The international community must send a clear signal to those who are committing such atrocities that they will be held accountable for their actions.
These violations are, however, sadly part of a global pattern of increased hostility in society towards freedom of religion or belief, together with government restrictions of them. Governments, international institutions and non-governmental organisations need to recognise this wider crisis and commit the necessary time, energy and resources to ensure greater respect for this fundamental freedom and forestall further tragedies.
Read it all and note the signatories
The photo is courtesy of Selimah Harmon; you can out more about Camp Saint Christopher there.
In this school, where there is no electricity and temperatures often top 90 degrees, dozens of students in neat wool uniforms are sliding their fingers across touch screens, reading a lesson on their Amazon Kindle e-reader. The students, who range in age from 14 to 20, are cheerful, welcoming and quick to share the genres of books they like to read in both Swahili and English. Their school is one of 28 participating in a program with Worldreader, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that provides modern technology -- usually Kindles -- to improve literacy in the most impoverished parts of the world.
By expanding access to education in areas where books are a scarce resource, the Worldreader team is trying to break the cycle of poverty, one electronic page at a time.
Read it all.
From here with thanks and the audio may be listened to here
Here is the YouTube link should you need it.
UPDATE: There is an excerpt of a letter from Archbishop Beach at the ACNA website which explains a bit more about these appointments.
Yet for all that is traditional in her conception of Satan, O'Connor is concerned not to make him obvious, lest he be easily dismissed as a bogeyman. In fact, her demons disguise themselves in thoroughly Freudian and Jungian terms. Freud regarded Satan as nothing other than a symbol, albeit a powerful one, of repressed erotic desires or else of neuroses lying deep within the unconscious, often negatively projected "onto individuals or groups that we identify as enemies or potential enemies." In the work of Jung, Freud's student, Lucifer represents the massive destructive energy resident in the universe as it stands over against the equally enormous constructive powers that Jung links to the divine. Yet for Jung, Lucifer's name still applies: He is the light-bearer whose demonic negativity dwells in a mandala-like complementarity with divine positivity. Only as good incorporates evil into itself, Jung teaches, can higher wisdom and wholeness be attained.
It is noteworthy that, when I ask students to identify the voice that speaks inwardly to young Francis Marion Tarwater from the very beginning of the novel, they respond in Jungian and Freudian ways. They almost always answer that this "stranger" who gradually becomes Tarwater's "friend" is the boy's sub-conscious mind, his inward self, his alter ego. Such obtuseness is as predictable as it is inexcusable. Yet it plays perfectly into O'Connor's fictional purposes. Far from being an artistic failure, her ploy enables her readers, at least potentially, to experience Francis Marion Tarwater's own terrible awakening to the true identity of his inner voice.
Read it all.
This is our temptation in all areas of life: to look for the quick fix, to look for the one or the few great moments that will accomplish more than the hundreds or thousands of smaller moments. “Anthony Trollope, the nineteenth-century writer who managed to be a prolific novelist while also revolutionizing the British postal system, observed, ‘A small daily task, if it be daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules’. Over the long run, the unglamorous habit of frequency fosters both productivity and creativity.”
The spasmodic Hercules: this is how many of us behave. We behave as if one moment of great activity can overcome a thousand moments of inactivity, as if one moment of taking hold of opportunity will overcome all those moments wasted. The unglamorous habit of frequency is what makes up so much of life’s progress. Yet we are constantly tempted to put our hope in the brief and the glamorous.
Read the full blog entry at Challies.com
--Attributed to the Thought of Saint Jerome
Iraq and IS
I am conscious of the speed at which events are moving in Iraq and Syria, and write recognising the complexity and interconnectedness of the challenges faced by the international community in responding to the crises in Syria and Iraq.
However, in common with many bishops and other correspondents here in the UK, I remain very concerned about the Government’s response to several issues. I write with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury to put these questions to you.
1. It appears that, in common with the United States and other partners, the UK is responding to events in a reactive way, and it is difficult to discern the strategic intentions behind this approach. Please can you tell me what is the overall strategy that holds together the UK Government’s response to both the humanitarian situation and what IS is actually doing in Syria and Iraq? Behind this question is the serious concern that we do not seem to have a coherent or comprehensive approach to Islamist extremism as it is developing across the globe. Islamic State, Boko Haram and other groups represent particular manifestations of a global phenomenon, and it is not clear what our broader global strategy is – particularly insofar as the military, political, economic and humanitarian demands interconnect. The Church internationally must be a primary partner in addressing this complexity.
2. The focus by both politicians and media on the plight of the Yezidis has been notable and admirable. However, there has been increasing silence about the plight of tens of thousands of Christians who have been displaced, driven from cities and homelands, and who face a bleak future. Despite appalling persecution, they seem to have fallen from consciousness, and I wonder why. Does your Government have a coherent response to the plight of these huge numbers of Christians whose plight appears to be less regarded than that of others? Or are we simply reacting to the loudest media voice at any particular time?
Read it all
These criticisms are spot on. But I’m surprised that the C of E has had the brass neck to make them.
Read it all
Tragically, until last Thursday's announcement of humanitarian aid, the President's silence on this issue has been deafening, too...
Read it all
It comes as new figures revealed Anglican churchgoers in Cornwall currently donate 20% less than those in any other diocese in England.
People in the county give about £5.80 per week, compared with a national average of £8.40.
The Bishop of St Germans said unless urgent action was taken, such a level of debt was unsustainable.
Read it all
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made the comments during a visit to Auckland last week, saying the city should not "be boring" and should look to England's Coventry Cathedral as something to aspire to.
Coventry Cathedral had incorporated the ruins of the city's old cathedrals when they were destroyed by time and war.
Great Christchurch Buildings Trust member and retired reverend Graeme Brady said he was always moved by the old ruins, but the rest of the cathedral had dated very quickly.
It was a shame Coventry's authorities had "completely wiped out" all of the city's old buildings and replaced them with a "concrete mess".
Read it all
Lord my God, ·defend [vindicate] me with your justice.
Our Father in heaven,
We are fallen creatures and see through a glass darkly. We lack understanding and are much to be pitied. Have mercy on us all.
Both the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina believe their cause to be just.
Your justice is perfect in all its ways. Your justice is informed by knowledge that is too great for us. Your justice is true.
As Her Honor Judge Diane Goodstein considers the outcome of this trial, we humbly ask that You clothe her with a mantle of manifold understanding and wisdom, justice and mercy. May Your name be glorified. Amen.
Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here
It takes a certain critical mass of citizens, living certain habits of mind and heart, to make democracy and the free economy work properly. The formation of those habits is an essential task of the free associations of civil society, and the Church plays a critical role in shaping the moral understandings that animate those free associations. “History” continues because the task of forming the virtuous citizens that make freedom work never ends.
Read it all.
Available Now: Sunday Services, Talks and Resources
+ St Paul in Athens - Michael Green [Acts 17:16-34]
+ The Sons of Zebedee: Two Galilean Fishermen - Richard Bauckham - Video [mp4] or Audio [mp3] h/t Peter Carrell
+ The Uniqueness of Christ in a Multi-Faith World - Ravi Zacharias
+ My Journey to Christ - Nabeel Qureshi
+ What is the Hope for Humanity? - NT Wright and Ross Douthat
+ Prayers for Iraq - Lent and Beyond
+ Prayers for South Carolina - Lent and Beyond
[The live broadcast from St Helena's, Beaufort will be available to listen to next Sunday at 10:15 am Eastern Time [3:15 pm London Time] here]
The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m., starting Saturday night.
“This is a test,” Nixon said at a news conference, saying “the eyes of the world” are watching to see how the city handles the aftermath of the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, 18.
The announcement comes after community activists had taken to the streets and social media Saturday in hopes of preventing another night of looting and violence in Ferguson after at least three businesses fell victim to a predawn rampage by young men who targeted local stores as others tried desperately to stop them.
Read it all and join us in praying for all invovled.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Marriage & Family Race/Race Relations Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government State Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
1) Share memories of a sermon that greatly influenced your life - what was the text, who was the preacher, what year was it?
2) Who are the best preachers you've ever heard give sermons? What made their sermons or teachings memorable and excellent?
3) Are there links to good sermons available online that you would recommend?
Four months after Boko Haram shocked the world by abducting nearly 300 girls from a rural school, fighters shouting “God is great” snatched dozens more young people from another village in recent days, according to officials, local journalists and Nigerian news media.
This time, the target was boys and young men, who were waved into trucks at gunpoint, prompting fears that they would be hauled off and forced to fight for the militants in their war against the Nigerian state.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
--Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
Ebola is now exposing how hard it is to contain an outbreak, particularly in poor countries. Stopping Ebola should, in theory, be straightforward. There is no cure, but there are ways to treat victims that will maximise their chance of survival and help prevent transmission. Patients should be isolated and kept hydrated, their blood pressure monitored and secondary infections treated. Those who have come into contact with the infected should be watched to see if symptoms develop. If none emerge within 21 days, the person can be deemed virus-free.
But all this is labour-intensive. “You still have to have a cadre of people who at the end of the day are able to go out there,” explains Ian Lipkin of Columbia University. That depends on strong health systems or substantial international help. In this case, there was neither.
The outbreak began in three of the world’s poorest countries. Guinea spends $62 per person on health each year, compared with $3,364 in Britain. Sierra Leone has two doctors per 100,000 people, compared with 245 in America (see chart). Such health workers as are available in the countries affected by Ebola are under severe strain. About 150 have been infected and 80 have died, the WHO said on August 8th. Médecins Sans Frontières, a non-profit organisation that has 680 health workers in the region, now says that its staff “simply cannot do more”.
Read it all.
But these are not always stories of triumph. Keesee remembers the life of Gayle Williams, a nurse ministering to children in Kabul, Afghanistan, who was killed by a sniper's bullet. He tells of Ika, a Muslim-background believer from Indonesia, who was rejected by her family, kept from her children, and cut off from her community. These stories reveal that God does not always take away our pain even as he comforts us within it.
Dispatches from the Front assures us that God has raised people around the globe to bring his Word into difficult circumstances.
Read it all.
--The Pastor's Prayerbook
Spiritual health is not about climbing some moral ladder, but about what Jesus calls "purity of heart." This means that our inner life matches our outer. Remember, this was the problem of the religious leaders in Jesus' day. They were hypocrites, play-actors, doing life on stage but hollow within.
It takes time and suffering for growth to happen. This is why the poor, broken, and unclean seem to be privileged in the New Testament—they've already hit bottom. Our humiliations breed depth, grace, forgiveness, strength, courage, curiosity, and hope—all the attributes that make healthy leaders. Otherwise we'll quickly experience what happens to anyone living a lie: We'll get caught, fall, or alienate everyone we love.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
[...] Remember how we read a million library books together? I’ll never regret every page we chose over screens.
We ate three meals a day together at a table (and don’t think that doesn’t change the shape of a soul and the world). And we never pushed back our chairs until we’d had our dessert of Scripture. Life is about one thing: Coming to His table and inviting as many as you can to come with you and feast on the only Living Food. We gave you this.
And for better or worse, your Dad and I taught you how to work hard. Make it for the world’s better, son. [...]
And never forget that happiness is when His Word and your walk are in harmony. Never stop keeping company with Christ– and all the sinners, tax-collectors and cast-offs. Be an evangelist and use your words with your hands because your part of a Body and never stop loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, and loving others as yourself. Make that your creed.
It’s true, son: Be different and know everything you do matters. It’s what the Christ followers know: One man with God can change a culture. God didn’t put people in your path mostly for your convenience; He put you there for theirs. Loving the poor will make you rich, I promise.
The only life worth living is the one lost.
And no matter how loud and crazy and broken the world is, child? Let joy live loud in your soul.
Believe that you are His beloved – it’s only when you trust that He loves you that you really begin to live. Really, count a thousand blessings more – why wouldn’t you want joy? Sing to no one and everyone on the front porch in the rain and laugh so much they question your sanity. Pet the dog long.
Because really, none of us knows how long we have. Remember that a pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted… in the small moments missed. None of this here is forever grace. That’s why it’s amazing grace.
Do it often: grab a lifeline by stepping offline. You’ll see your true self when you look for your reflection in the eyes of souls not the glare of screens.
This is what you always need to know: You have nothing to prove to anyone – if you’re in Him, you are already approved.
Read the full entry here.
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