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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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Manchester United blew open the Premier League title race by slumping to a surprise 1-0 loss at lowly Wigan on Wednesday, allowing second-place Manchester City to close the gap to five points with a 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Shaun Maloney scored the winner in the 50th minute at the DW Stadium, leaving United five points clear at the top after second-place Manchester City beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0.
"You wish the lead was better but considering where we were a few months ago, you have to take it,'' United manager Alex Ferguson said. "I said both teams would drop points.''
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Bettany Hughes, an expert in ancient history, was quoted recently in London’s Daily Telegraph as saying that Christianity “was originally a faith where the female of the species held sway. To oppose the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England is to deny the central role women played in the faith’s founding.” She added: “Who knows whether God is a girl, but mankind has turned to the female of the species for good ideas.”
It is not clear from the report whether Ms. Hughes was speaking as a Christian or as an expert in ancient history, but it doesn’t really matter, for she is wrong on both counts. In fact, though, her remarks can be connected loosely with two very old Christian heresies, Marcionism and Montanism, which seem to have undergone something of a revival among trendy religion pundits.
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...when the family courts get involved in resolving disputes between contracting parents, they are being asked to give parental rights to someone who is not related to the child, either by blood or adoption. Let us call this person a “non-parent.” In response to these cases, the courts are defining a new category of parenthood. The “de facto parent” category usually involves multi-part tests to determine whether the non-parent should be counted as a parent. The court then inquires into issues such as how much care the non-parent provided and whether the child called her “Mommy.” The state decides that a person not related to a child, by either birth or adoption, can count as a parent. A perfectly fit mother can be compelled to allow her former lover access to her child, against her own wishes.
Think about it. The concepts of “mother” and “father” are natural, pre-political concepts, immediately intelligible to the human race. Up until now, the state has seen its role as simply recording this natural reality. But now parenthood is becoming the creation of the state. This is what “contract parenting” will come to mean: the state taking over parenthood and recreating it for its own purposes. Do you seriously think this can possibly be a “libertarian” or minimum-government move? I do not think that it can.
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Virginia is the epicenter of the Episcopal schism. Heathsville is one of seven churches — including two of the largest and most historic in the country — that broke away from the denomination in 2006. Now that they've lost their lawsuit, they all have to find new homes.
Church of the Apostles is one of the seven breakaway churches. At its home in Fairfax, a half-dozen men wrestle with a 360-pound cross, panting as they remove it from its moorings in the sanctuary. Parishioner Wayne Marsh says the cross is going into storage and the church is being shuttered.
"It's sad and heartbreaking, and it's a tremendous loss," he says, "but God has just given me a peace to understand this is his will and we're going forward with it, not knowing exactly where we're going."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Departing Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, says the focus on the evolving nature of journalism is causing the disconnect between readers and reporters, according to the school's press release.
"News organizations are rightly worried about creating smart business plans and developing cutting-edge technology," Winston said. "But they're overlooking their most basic resource: knowledgeable reporters."
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(I am taking the liberty of putting this on in full text since this is soon to be lost to posterity, I am sorry to say. Please remember that I intensely dislike the terminology of "open" baptism [or ""open" communion] because it confuses the practice being advocated by some in TEC with something altogether different; this is why I plead for what some TEC reappraisers advocate to be described as "communion of the unbaptized" --KSH).
Seminary ruined my ministry. By this I do not mean what we tired old priests often mean by this statement. I am referring here very specifically to the understanding of Holy Baptism that was beat into my head. Actually, it wasn’t beat into my head at all. I drank it in and embraced it in the heart. I was taught and have ever since believed that Baptism is the foundational sacrament of the Church and therefore must be attended to by as much prayer and catechetical preparation as is possible. The key influences here were my liturgics professor, Fr Louis Weil; the Lutheran theologian, Robert W. Jenson; but most especially the writings of the Catholic liturgist, Fr Aidan Kavanagh. Later on William Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas would come along to reinforce what I had already learned, that we no longer live in a Christian culture and therefore can no longer rely on the culture to transmit to our children the beliefs, values, and practices of Christian faith. The Church must become what it once was–a disciplined community.
Ecclesial discipline begins with the sacrament of Holy Baptism, the gateway into the community of faith. If we do not practice discipline at this point, we cannot effectively foster discipline later down the road. Baptism is not a right. It is a privilege and gift that the Church is authorized to administer under very specific conditions.
I remember years ago hearing an apocryphal story of Catholic missionaries to Indonesia who would beat drums and make a lot of noise in a village, so that its inhabitants would come out of their huts to see what was going on–at which point they would be met by the missionaries, water buckets in hand: “Ego te baptizo …”
When may the Church baptize? The Scriptures are clear. The Church may baptize an individual when that individual has responded to the gospel in faith and repentance. The Church does not baptize everyone indiscriminately. Faith and conversion are necessary conditions. In the second and third centuries, we see the Church developing a catechumenal process to prepare adult converts for baptism. This process would often last one to three years, concluding with examination by the bishop and sacramental initiation at the Great Vigil of Easter. Kavanagh describes this catechumenal process not so much as intellectual instruction but as “conversion therapy.” He notes that the early Church was not interested in indiscriminately baptizing the multitudes. It wanted to make Christians.
Tertullian had already observed that Christians are not born but made. Augustine and his colleagues over a century later would have agreed, perhaps extending the epigram to say that they do not just wander in off the streets either. They are honed down by the teaching and discipline of the catechumenate until their metal is tough, resilient, sharp, and glowing. The “enlightenment” of baptism was not a flickering flame but a burst of God’s glory in those whose capacities to receive it had been expanded to their utmost. And although things were different since the pagan Celsus had written archly in 168 that “if all men wanted to be Christian, the Christians would no longer want them,” being prepared in the fifth century to absorb a whole society did not mean that the churches would do so indiscriminately. The fathers’ catechetical homilies suggest that they still needed more Christians less than they needed better ones, even as they wished and worked for the conversion of all.What about the baptism of children? They are the exception, not the norm. We risk the baptism of children only because their parents are practicing Christians and have demonstrated that they will raise their children within the household of faith, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. If their parents are not practicing Christians, then the Church has no authority whatsoever to baptize their children, no matter what the grandparents want!
And so this young priest took this understanding of Baptism and catechumenate out into the world. No other issue has caused me more trouble than this in my ministry of twenty-four years! Indeed, it is probably safe to say that it destroyed my ministry in one parish and has caused me nothing but grief in my present parish. How I wish I could in good conscience offer “open baptism.” Disciplined baptismal policy always offends, no matter how gently and graciously it is articulated. No one wants to hear that there are conditions and requirements that must be fulfilled if baptism is to be administered with sacramental and spiritual integrity. No one wants to hear that the faith and commitment of the parents necessarily and rightly affects the Church’s decision to baptize a baby. No one wants to hear the word no.
So when I read about “open baptism” I am filled with both envy and anger. I am envious, because these priests are able to avoid all of the grief and problems of trying to communicate to nonbelieving parents they must begin to take their baptismal vows seriously if they wish their children to be baptized into the Church. The open baptism policy makes everything so easy. There are no conditions to be imposed. No requirements are insisted upon. Difficult conversations are avoided. We just toss the water and say the magic words and everyone is happy. Oh if only I could in conscience offer open baptism. How nice it would be for me and everyone else if I could just adopt a no-conflict, no-grief, no-aggravation policy like St Bart’s in Poway, California:
We are an open and affirming church. No classes are required and no judgments are passed at St. Bartholomew’s. If you wish to be baptized and become Jesus Christ’s own forever, just ask and you can be.But as I said, I was ruined in seminary. When I read a baptismal policy like the above, I become angry. These open baptism priests are prostituting the gospel. Baptism is not a spiritual tonic that we dispense to everyone who asks for it. Baptism is conversion, the renunciation of evil, and the embrace of love, self-denial, and the way of the cross. It’s all so cozy for these open baptism pastors and their congregations. No judgments are made. No discipline is imposed. No one has to say “no.” Baptism becomes a nice little ceremony of cultural affirmation. Everyone is blessed. Everyone feels good. But the identity and mission of the Church is sold out for a bowl of pottage.
(Please note that for now you can find the original post there. You may be interested to read the comments--KSH)
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Sacramental Theology Baptism
(If you are interested, you may read a bit more about the author here--KSH.)
Dr Rowan Williams has served as head of the Anglican Communion for ten years and the world has changed markedly in that time, and not for the better. Within the UK there have been profound changes in society: the complex responses to 9/11; the rise of exaggerated political correctness; the financial crisis; an increasingly confused and vague national spirituality; and a continuing numerical decline and division within the Anglican Church. In the light of this, I suggest that the new Archbishop needs to have the following qualities[:]
1) He should be a man who knows God’s priorities....2) He should be a man of conviction, a man confident in the Christian faith as revealed by Scripture and taught by the Church over centuries....3) He should be a man who can connect, and is able to express himself in words that can be understood....He should be a man who will confront the culture....5) He should be a man of discernment, not simply intelligence or wisdom but that combination of God-given grace and human intellect that allows someone to detect problems and identify opportunities...6) He should be a man of courage. It is a long-standing rule that anyone who goes out and preaches the good news of Jesus will face opposition. As far as I’m aware the last Archbishop of Canterbury to be martyred was Thomas Cranmer, who went to the stake in 1556 but these are frankly dark days for the church in the West.Read it all from the April 8, 2012, Church of England Newspaper on page E3 (requires subscription).
Arkansas fired football Coach Bobby Petrino on Tuesday, saying he engaged in reckless behavior that included hiring his mistress and then intentionally misleading his bosses about their relationship and her presence at the motorcycle accident that ultimately cost him his job.
"He made the decision to mislead the public, [and it] adversely affected the university and the football program," Athletic Director Jeff Long said at an evening news conference, choking up at one point as he discussed telling players the news. There was a "pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior to deceive me."
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This year's Easter service at the Tabernacle Church of God in La Follette, Tenn., will include many of the holiday's traditional rituals, like Holy Communion and footwashing. There will also be some startling novelties.
"It will be filled with shouting, dancing, speaking in tongues, serpent handling and fire handling," said its 21-year-old pastor, Andrew Hamblin. "We'll celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a good old time."
Since he opened its doors last fall, Mr. Hamblin's small Pentecostal church, 39 miles north of Knoxville, has grown to almost 50 members, most of them in their 20s. Part of his strategy for expansion has been to use Facebook to publicize the daredevil spiritual exploits of his congregation.
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Four of the Episcopal Church’s key property dispute cases have moved to the state and U.S. Supreme Courts for review.
Briefings have been filed in the Episcopal v. Anglican Dioceses of Fort Worth cases in the Texas Supreme Court, while the breakaway congregations in Northern Virginia have asked the Virginia Supreme Court to review the lower court’s ruling giving the diocese custody of the parish properties.
The breakaway congregations in Christ Church v. Diocese of Georgia and Bishop Seabury Church v. Diocese of Connecticut have filed writs of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has also been asked to review a third property dispute, Timberridge Presbyterian Church v. the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, that addresses the same legal issues.
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Commemorations of the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago will put the spotlight on a young Irish priest whose photographs are some of the only surviving images of life onboard the liner on its first and last voyage.
Jesuit Father Frank Browne, 1880-1960, became a prominent documentary photographer and a much-decorated chaplain in the British army in World War I.
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...the most significant new departure, contained in the appendix of the book, concerns cremation. Msgr. Lameri explained that the issue of cremation had been placed in an appendix to highlight the fact that the Church, "although she does not oppose the cremation of bodies, when not done 'in odium fidei', continues to maintain that the burial of the dead is more appropriate, that it expresses faith in the resurrection of the flesh, nourishes the piety of the faithful and favours the recollection and prayer of relatives and friends".
In exceptional cases the rites normally celebrated at the cemetery chapel or the tomb may be celebrated at the cremation site, and it is recommended that the coffin be accompanied to that site. One particularity important aspect is that "cremation is considered as concluded when the urn is deposited in the cemetery". This is because, although the law does allow ashes to be scattered in the open or conserved in places other than a cemetery, "such practices ... raise considerable doubts as to their coherence to Christian faith, especially when they conceal pantheist or naturalistic beliefs".
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Witches have been breaking into churches and graveyards to perform black magic rituals, a leading Church in Wales cleric has revealed.
Bishop of Monmouth Dominic Walker said the incidents coincided with a resurgence in witchcraft in recent years, with the number of occult groups performing both wicca – or white magic – and black magic on the rise.
And while not a frequent occurrence, Bishop Walker said he had been called on several occasions during his nine-year ministry to help people escape these “satanic groups”.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Wales * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK --Wales * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * Theology Pastoral Theology
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Politics in General * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
In the service lay a story of black Christians and white Jews who once shared a kind of promised land, a peacefully integrated section of Indianapolis called Southside. Its decades of harmony were a rebuke to the Southern-style racial divisions that characterized Indiana for much of the 20th century, from the Ku Klux Klan’s heyday in the interwar years to George Wallace’s popularity with the state’s voters in the 1960s.
Upward mobility, Interstate 70 and the construction of a football stadium hollowed out the neighborhood starting in the late 1960s, scattering its residents and severing bonds of commerce and friendship. But in the last four years, an anthropology professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Susan B. Hyatt, has set about finding former Southsiders and restoring those ties through social events and reciprocal worship services at South Calvary and the Etz Chaim Sephardic synagogue.
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We give thee thanks, O heavenly Father, who hast delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of thy Son; grant, we pray thee, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us to joys eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries round about. His lightnings lighten the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.
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