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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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The Belgian Senate voted today 50-17 to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further.
The vote today in the full Senate comes after a Senate committee voted 13-4 to allow minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. There is still a chance to stop the bill in the House of Representatives, though pro-life campaigners fear it will become law.
“Currently the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there is significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”
Read it all from Lifesite Newsand compare it (including the headline) to the New York Times story there.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Asked by The Earl of Glasgow
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to legislate to provide terminally ill patients with the legal right to decide when, where and how they should die, if necessary with the assistance of others....
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, two quotations. John Donne:
“No man is an island”.
and the Book of Job:
“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”.
Life is a gift. None of us decided to be born; we came from a relationship between two people, from a culture, from a context, from a spiritual hinterland, and any life is part of that flow. As it flows on, it seeks for more and more. Modern economics, and the market, encourage us to see ourselves as autonomous individuals. The noble Earl just talked about making an individual choice. None of us is an individual in that sense: we are part of a web of relationships, and that web holds us in suffering as well as in the imminence of death. T. S. Eliot said, “In our endings are our beginnings”....
Read it all (the question begins at "2 p.m." on the lefthand margin in boldface.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Grant, O Almighty God, that as thy blessed Son Jesus Christ at his first advent came to seek and to save that which was lost, so at his second and glorious appearing he may find in us the fruits of the redemption which he wrought; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God world without end.
--The Scottish Prayer Book
Yet strangely enough, my idols are not strange to me.
They call to me. Personally. They appeal to me from my past. They make their persuasive case for why I need them so badly and how much they can do for me. They try to convince me that we can all get along here in one place together, that I can share space with both them and my Christian devotion at the same time, and that God will understand.
So my idols are much more personal than a piece of stone or a block of wood. Anything from my past or present that shapes my identity or fills my thoughts with something other than God, especially on a regular, ongoing, irresistible basis, is an idol. Idolatry does not count the cost of worshipping anything but God. And although few of us could ever imagine worshipping a picture of ourselves, the reality is--we are either worshipping God or some form of ourselves. When we are driven by physical and emotional appetites rather than being led by the Spirit of God, we are worshipping the idol of ourselves. Paul spoke as a prophet on fire to the Colossian Christians: "Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry" (Col. 3:5).
Read it all from Ed Stetzer.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Members of the Church of England (Anglicans) trace their Christian roots back to the early Church. The basis of the faith of the Church of England is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (the Bible) and the teachings of the early Church Fathers. The Church of England is part of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide family of churches with more than 70 million adherents in 38 Provinces spreading across 161 countries. Although these churches are autonomous, they are also uniquely unified through their history, their theology, their worship and their relationship to the ancient See of Canterbury, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Longtime U2 musician and veteran activist Bono, who spent a lot of time with Nelson Mandela, speaks about his friend.
Watch it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Music Race/Race Relations * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
Make us, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, watchful and heedful in awaiting the coming of thy Son Christ our Lord; that when he shall come and knock, he shall find us not sleeping in sin, but awake and rejoicing in his praises; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Read it all.
the bishops may also want to consider the significant omissions of fact in the PR's revision of Anglican history since 1998:
that the issue dominated the 1998 Conference because of the threatened actions of the North American churches;
that Resolution I.10 was approved by a vast majority of bishops and continues to be held as normative by virtually all the churches of the Global South;
that the primary ground of the resolution was fidelity to Scripture, and several additional resolutions affirmed this point;
that the North American churches followed through on their threat with the consecration of Gene Robinson despite repeated warnings from various Instruments; and the more "collegial" atmosphere at Lambeth 2008 was purchased at the expense of 280 bishops being absent from Lambeth 2008.
It is astonishing that the PR in fact lacks any reference to The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.
The Church of England's bishops may wish to consider these omissions of fact, and, by contrast, the recitation of the actual history of the failure of the Instruments of Communion to discipline the North American churches that repeatedly breached Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) in the last 15 years - a recitation which can be found in the October 26 Nairobi Communique and in other communications from Global South Anglican leaders.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
On Sunday 1 December, St George's Anglican Church in Berlin celebrated the 10th anniversary of the restoration of regular services in central Berlin (Mitte).
The first St George’s in the city was built in 1885 under the patronage of the Crown Princess of Germany, Victoria (eldest daughter of Queen Victoria) who was married to the future Kaiser Friedrich III. It was the only Anglican Church in Germany to remain open during World War I, as the Kaiser was the Church’s Patron. It was closed in the Second World War and hit by allied bombing 24 Nov 1943 and the remains were pulled down by the East Berlin authorities. After World War II, new St George's, a garrison Church, was built in the British sector. In 1994 the new St George’s became a civilian congregation of the Diocese.
Read it all and check out the pictures as well.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Europe Germany
Guernsey will not be "forced" into any relationship change with the Anglican Church, the island's Dean has said.
It follows questions raised over the relationship between Jersey and the Diocese of Winchester after a review of how an abuse complaint was handled.
Guernsey's Anglican Dean the Very Reverend Canon Paul Mellor, said it was not clear if any changes would be made.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Local dignitaries including cabinet minister and MP for Twickenham Vince Cable MP and Richmond Mayor Meena Bond came together for a special service to mark the 150th anniversary of the consecration of St James's Church, Hampton Hill.
The service, presided over by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, also brought together representatives from Hampton Hill Junior School and the school choir the mark the special occasion.
Read it all and enjoy the picture.
Rather than focusing on zombies as campy characters in B-movies, our sermon series reimagined zombies in a more symbolic way. Zombies became the bad ideas that have popped up at various misguided moments in the church’s history and, for whatever reason, can’t seem to die off. They keep coming back and, in some cases, exert a kind of stranglehold on the life of Christians and the ministry of the church.
And the way we fight off these zombies is with better ideas — with good, solid theology that reflects the grace of God, the compassion of Jesus and life of the Spirit.
During our six-week series, we exhumed and battled all kinds of zombies. One Sunday morning, we focused on belief. As Christians, does it matter what we believe? Most would answer in the affirmative. But are there times in the church’s life when Christian faith has become only about believing certain things to be true? Absolutely. Many de-churched folks can trace their journeys out of their congregations to the day that they stopped believing all of the fantastical things they were being asked to believe.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist * Theology Christology
Father Jerry Sherbourne, an active-duty U.S. Army Chaplain, and former Anglican priest, was ordained a Catholic priest Sunday, December 8, 2013 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the imposition of hands, Archbishop Broglio ordained him during a 10:00 a.m. Mass.
Father Sherbourne is now a Catholic priest, incardinated in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a special Church jurisdiction established by Pope Benedict XVI for Anglicans entering full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining distinctive elements of their theological, spiritual, and liturgical patrimony.
In preparation for his transition from Anglican to Catholic, Father Sherbourne underwent a two-year formation program approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See, a process that included his ordination as a transitional Catholic deacon.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Military / Armed Forces * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Rolihlahla Mandela was nine years old when a teacher at the primary Methodist school where he was studying in Qunu, South Africa, gave him an English name - Nelson - in accordance with the custom to give all school children Christian names.
This was common practice in South Africa and in other parts of the continent, where a person could often be given an English name that foreigners would find easier to pronounce.
Rolihlahla is not a common name in South Africa.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
O Lord God, heavenly Father, who through thy Son hast revealed to us that heaven and earth shall pass away: We beseech thee to keep us steadfast in thy Word and in true faith; graciously guard us from all sin and preserve us amid all temptations, so that our hearts may not be overcharged with the cares of this life, but at all times in watchfulness and prayer we may await the return of thy Son and joyfully cherish the expectation of our eternal salvation; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
--United Lutheran Church, U.S.A.
"We found out today that Isaac took his life," says the email sent by Darling Murray, a coordinator at Summit Church in Orlando. "We are obviously deeply deeply devastated and saddened beyond words by this news. The tears keep coming and coming as we mourn. We are praying for his family and this congregation as we walk through this together."
Officials of Northland, a Church Distributed, said they are still awaiting the police report on Isaac Hunter's death, but the church confirmed his death in a statement posted on the Northland website.
"By now you may have heard that Pastor Joel and Becky's son Isaac Hunter died today. All of us are grieving for the Hunter family, and we will deeply miss Isaac. Words cannot express the sorrow we're feeling," said the statement by Vernon Rainwater, a Northland pastor. "We love this family and are so grateful for the impact they have had on each of our lives. I have loved Isaac since he was a child, and I know this ... Isaac loved Jesus. And we are assured of his continuing relationship with Christ now in heaven."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Suicide Young Adults * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
What strikes the analyst of the “War on Christmas” stories, or at least what struck me, was the difference in tone by sets of writers or broadcasters on both, or all, sides of the “culture wars”—there’s that “war" image again—as they dealt with the events, personalities, and trends. The Mandela stories did justice to the flaws of the imperfect human who led causes for freedom in South Africa and inspired strugglers globally, but almost all were written in respectful, humane tones. After all, the Mandela effect is one of reconciliation, even though it was born of conflicts past, whose after-stories linger.
In contrast, both, and all, sides in “The War on Christmas” stories were disrespectful, never empathic. Their authors gave no sign that they could understand why those on the other side were stirred to battle, and they gave every sign that they regarded their side in the argument as totally right in their self-chosen Total War.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa America/U.S.A.
...the launch by the Church of England of a phone app that gives the prayers and Bible readings of the day might short-circuit the arcana of religious practice. You could say your prayers with the help of your smartphone on the top deck of a bus.
Or it could be doubly alienating: a barrier for those who don’t know what worshippers get up to at Evensong, to whom Mag and Nunc sound like the names of glove-puppets, and a parallel wall excluding those who don’t really know what an app is. There are such folk.
I’ve just test-driven the ordinary online content provided (free) on the Church of England website by clicking on the link “Join us in Daily Prayer”....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer * Culture-Watch Psychology Science & Technology * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology
Britain’s most senior judges are preparing to make a landmark ruling over attempts to introduce a ”right to die” under human rights legislation.
A full panel of nine Supreme Court Justices, headed by Lord Neuberger, the court’s President, is to be convened next week to hear the culmination of three separate legal challenges to the current ban on assisted suicide.
The three cases have been put into one “super-case” to allow a sweeping judgment on the current state of the law in England and Wales.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Almighty God, source of justice beyond human knowledge: We offer thanks that thou didst inspire Karl Barth to resist tyranny and exalt thy saving grace, without which we cannot apprehend thy will. Teach us, like him, to live by faith, and even in chaotic and perilous times to perceive the light of thy eternal glory, Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, throughout all ages. Amen.
Eternal God, who rulest the world from everlasting to everlasting: Speak to our hearts when men faint for fear, and the love of many grows cold, and there is distress of nations upon earth. Keep us resolute and steadfast in the things that cannot be shaken; and make us to lift up our eyes and behold, beyond the things that are seen and temporal, the things that are unseen and eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Despite rampant commercialization, the holiday season also has become a lifeline for nonprofits. One-third of all giving now takes place during the last three months of each year. About 18 percent of all giving to nonprofits last year occurred in December alone.
So far, it looks like that giving spirit will soar higher this year.
The Blackbaud Index, which measures charitable giving trends, announced last week that giving nationwide grew 2.3 percent for the three months ending October 2013 compared to the same time in 2012. Online giving increased almost 10 percent.
Read it all from the Faith and Values section of the local paper.
Pope Francis said the church must pay attention to the 'sense of the faithful' ('sensus fidelium') when exercising its teaching authority, but never confuse that sense with popular opinion on matters of faith.
The pope made his comments Dec. 6, in an address to members of the International Theological Commission, a Vatican advisory body.
Read it all.
Listen to it all if you so desire.
Growing up in Greece, Vasileios Marinis encountered world-famous religious images on the walls of a thousand-year-old monastery not far from home.
The still-active monastery, called Hosios Loukas, is an acclaimed example of Middle Byzantine architecture. As a youth, Marinis learned to behold the building’s artful objects—mosaics, murals, icons—not as museum pieces frozen in time but as windows on eternity, declarations of faith that enlisted color, paint, fabric, wood and stone. These taught him to look, to see. Dreams of becoming an art historian—a byzantinist—were born.
“It was an astounding building,” recalls Marinis, assistant professor of Christian art and architecture at Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music.
Read it all.
I found a divinity school…[where] we didn’t come to the Bible until about two weeks before commencement….[and as a result of my theological education]…during the first years of my ministry what I knew about God kept me from God….
[Later when I was reading I learned that] Rembrandt had a powerful painting on… [the subject of the raising of Lazarus in John 11], and it was quite obvious that Lazarus was not being raised in spirit only. The reanimated and bandaged corpse was realistically coming to life. Then I happened to turn to the back of the painting to see what the critic said of it. Critics have done much harm, but the words of that critic left there helped me into the Lord's bright blessing: “Rembrandt did everything he could think of to intensify the miracles of Christ.” I had intended to dampen their effect, but Rembrandt did everything he could think of to enhance them, to give them glory. For some reason those words of that unknown critic did me in. From then on, I too tried to do everything I could think of to intensify the effect of the miracles. When I turned that page, I changed sides….I had never raised my voice in.. [the] Presbyterian pulpit [in the parish where I served] before, but that day, since John said Jesus shouted, I shouted… [the words “Lazarus, Come out!”] as loudly as I could. And for the first time in my life someone asked me for a copy of my sermon.
--David Redding, Jesus Makes Me Laugh (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), pp.14-18, my emphasis
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Presbyterian * Theology Christology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
O God of hope, fill us, we beseech thee, with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of thy Holy Spirit, and show forth our thankfulness to thee in trustful and courageous lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
While at Taizé, I felt called by God to choose the unique experience of spending the week in silence. This meant that I would join a small group of other pilgrims staying in the quiet and quaint village of Taizé in a house near the main grounds. The accommodations were simple and comfortable, providing a private room to be fully immersed in the gift of silence.
Spending a week in silence may not immediately sound like the kind of experience to put at the top of your bucket list. Yet this experience was so formational, I would not hesitate to do it again. It was initially challenging to allow my mind to become quiet and my spirit to settle, but after the first few days, my rhythm became one of great joy in silence. I would spend the morning reading scripture and in the afternoon, I would take time for personal prayer, enjoy a holy nap, and walk through the beautiful French countryside. While the days themselves seemed to pass slowly, the week went by very quickly.
Besides the inspiring prayer services, a poignant part of my week was sitting at the table and sharing meals with my fellow pilgrims. We gathered for meals in a beautiful common room that overlooked the hills of Burgundy. As each meal began, the aroma of freshly peeled tangerines filled the room. The only spoken words that broke the silent fellowship were the Taizé prayers we sang before eating. Each face around the table was of a different nationality—French, German, American, and others. As we served each other in the sacred silence, the real blessing was that we spoke the common language of service to one another. In these moments at mealtime, it was as if I were joining Jesus and the disciples at the table of servanthood.
Read it all.
Aside from a pastor's personal weaknesses, what cultural forces make it harder for pastors to stay true in their calls?
We have a cultural tendency to elevate leaders. Maybe it's because they have an extraordinary education or a title or a position. Maybe it is because they have had a great deal of success in the growth of their church, or as an author or speaker. Whatever the reason, we're creating minigods in our minds and hearts. That creates expectations in leaders, and expectations are the foundations for disappointment.
What does that look like in a local church?
Maybe the pastor receives disproportionately large gifts compared to what's given to associates or other staff. Or the senior pastor is seen as the person that we all go to. It's people saying, "The pastor sat at my table," or, "The pastor was over at my house." As if the pastor is a movie star or sports figure.
I don't know how many times in Peacemakers' work, after coming in to help a church, I've heard elders say, "I wanted to say something, but I thought, Who am I?" We elevate pastors to a place where we feel they know so much more than we do, so we don't hold them accountable to some fundamental issues.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology
Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba wrote a prayer:
"Go forth, revolutionary and loving soul, on your journey out of this world, in the name of God, who created you, suffered with you and liberated you. Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is good, noble and honourable for God’s people.
"We will continue where you have left off, the Lord being our helper. We now turn to you, Lord, in this hour of darkness, sadness, pain and death, in tears and mourning. We wail, yet we believe that you will console us, that you will give us the strength to hold in our hearts and minds, and the courage to enact in our lives, the values Madiba fought and stood for....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of South Africa * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Prison/Prison Ministry * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
Leaders: what kind of culture are you fostering in your ministry? In a world ever more primed for speed and convenience, should the church lean into the trend or cling to more grounded values? Engage this piece from Craig Detweiler, and respond in the comments.
Jeff Bezos is a brilliant man and a remarkable marketer. He realizes that in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death, the role of technologist-in-chief is up for grabs. And while Google is offering us Glass and Facebook and Twitter are aggregating our friends and followers, Amazon is appealing to a different felt need—for speed. By turning 60 Minutes into a platform to announce “drone delivery,” Bezos shifted the news cycle towards Amazon on the same day that Christians have traditionally initiated Advent. While people of faith were shifting into a season of waiting and anticipation, Amazon offered the promise of “Prime Air” that could go above and beyond UPS or Federal Express to deliver our choices in an even faster, more convenient manner—via octocopters.
It doesn’t really matter when this innovation will arrive. By getting us talking and thinking about the virtues of Amazon’s delivery methods, Bezos enjoyed a miraculous public relations coup.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Maybe it's the waning light and earlier evenings as we head into winter. Or the book I just read on the effects of environmental toxins on fetal development and breast milk quality. Or the upcoming anniversary of the Newtown shootings. Whatever the reasons, as we enter Advent, I am increasingly aware of the darkness of this world into which I am bringing my child, due any day now.
It's a deeply disturbing realization. Welcome, little one, to a place where kids are shot in schools and on street corners, wars rage, and corporate interests often trump the common good. The things I see and hear about every day rattle my heart with worry.
Growing up with an overprotective mother, I told myself would never be that fearful and worried about my own children. Now, I realize it is only natural....
Read it all.
Prayers for the Church of England
Carol Service from New College, Oxford
Choral Evensong from Lichfield Cathedral
Advent Daily Devotional from Trinity School for Ministry
Advent with Lent and Beyond
Lent and Beyond Advent 2013 Index [New]
The live broadcast of Holy Eucharist from St Helena's, Beaufort, SC [pictured] today has ended but the service will be available to listen to each Sunday at 10:15 am Eastern Time [3:15 pm London Time] here
Sermons are available here
Almighty God, who hast revealed thyself to us in Jesus Christ thy Son, and given thy Word and Spirit to testify of him: We bless thee for the men of faith whom thou didst inspire to write the holy Scriptures; for the labours of all who have preserved, copied, and translated them; for the wisdom given to those who have interpreted them; and for that measure of light and understanding thou hast granted unto us; and we pray that, learning what is thy will, we may ever obey thee and live to thy glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Watch it all (Hat tip: RH).
When, after 27 years, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, the world marveled at his generous spirit, even temperament, genteel manners, disarming wit, ready smile and lack of bitterness.
Admirable as they were, those saintly virtues don’t begin to explain his political genius. Mandela was also cunning, iron-willed, bull-headed, contemptuous — and more embittered than he let on. He needed all of his traits — soft and hard — to engineer a political miracle: persuading a sitting government to negotiate its own abdication by yielding power to the very people it had ruthlessly oppressed.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
What's the most indelible time of all the personal time-- and you had some intense personal time with him? Is there any one you can separate out?
Watch it all to hear Bill Clinton's answer (just under 2 3/4 minutes).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Mr Powell said that Mr Mandela was a guide to him when he became the first black US secretary of state:
What I liked telling people was I was the first secretary of state who happened to be black, and I put that descriptor behind the title. We have to get beyond these labels depending upon your gender or your colour or your background. I'm proud of being black, and I'm proud of being an immigrant of British subjects, but at the same time I want to be seen as an American. And I think Nelson Mandela was able to create that kind of an image within South Africa. We are not black South Africans or white South Africans, we are South Africans who happen to be black or white. We are one family, one nation, one people.
Read it all and watch the whole video clip (approximately 3 1/4 minutes).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
O God, Father of mercies, who didst so love the world that thou didst give thine only begotten Son to take our nature upon him for us men and for our salvation: Grant to us who by his first coming have been called into thy kingdom of grace, that we may always abide in him, and be found watching and ready when he shall come again to call us to thy kingdom of glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
--The Rev. Henry Stobart (1824-1895)
Nelson Mandela was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2009 ESPY's. Morgan Freeman pays tribute to Mandela's actions at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Watch it all.
One memorable grade-school performance my wife and I attended six years ago included songs about dancing penguins and prancing polar bears sung by fifth-graders dressed in white polo shirts and beige pants, interspersed with poetic student readings about snow and ice (prompting visions of isolation, hypothermia and snow blindness). Imagine a GapKids commercial directed by Ingmar Bergman.
Now, these once-festive and joyous musical events have become monochromatic affairs—both visually and artistically—devoid of any seasonal context. At last year's high-school concert, all of the student performers were dressed in black—formal yes, but also funereal. Moreover, school music directors these days, overburdened by litigation-avoidance strategies, have committed the sin (if that word is still allowed) of not just erasing religion from these concerts but of basically abandoning musicality altogether.
Much of the music is simply bad: mindless melodies and meaningless lyrics, whether saccharine and syncopated or somber and staccato. To ignore the significant body of church music composed to celebrate Christmas—from English carols to Bach cantatas to the full oratorio of Handel —borders on musical malpractice, even if it is motivated by fear of the ACLU. No matter how technically well-executed, Broadway show tunes and "Glee" versions of pop standards will never inspire hope, goodwill and renewal. Wasn't that the whole point of these annual musical celebrations?
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Children Education History Law & Legal Issues Music Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has presided over the blessing of a same-sex union, according to an Arlington clergywoman.
Mother Leslie J. Hague, rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Arlington was joined in “holy union” with her partner, Katie Casteel, at Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring on November 23. The afternoon blessing ceremony followed Hague and Casteel’s civil marriage in nearby Washington, DC exactly one year before. Same-sex marriages are not recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
--Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626)
Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, Hitler — these were the names that, for much of the world, defined the first half of the 20th century, the most destructive era in history.
Gandhi, King, Mandela — these, it could be argued, are the figures who will live longest in the public consciousness as we look back on the postwar world: leaders who had no real armies to speak of and who wielded little power in office but who helped create a new ethic through the power of their ideas and the example of their lives.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Prison/Prison Ministry Race/Race Relations * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
You may watch the announcement by Jacob Zuma here.
The Wall Street Journal now has an interactive obituary complete with some of his most memorable quotes, tweets and video there
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
Bishop Moses Deng Bol of Wau Diocese warned members of his diocese not to be fooled by the conmen in Yei--in the south of the country.
"How stupid then to think that you can pay for faith or sell it like market goods," he wrote in the Diocesan newsletter. "Let us be clear – salvation is a free gift that no amount of money can buy."
Bishop Deng Bol said the reports of such examples of "Prosperity Gospel" made him angry and said he was unable to stay silent about such behaviour. He added that paying for prayers was "contrary to the way God wants us to behave."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Episcopal Church of the Sudan * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Sudan --South Sudan * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Listen to it all (just under 24 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education * Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
A long-retired first grade teacher who died a couple of years ago in Simsbury, Connecticut, lived very simply and wasn’t aware of how many riches she had – not until her lawyer discovered she was actually quite wealthy. NBC’s Harry Smith reports that she gave it away to the institutions that mattered to her the most in the community.
There are two videos and they are both well worth your time: The first may be foundhereand the second there.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Education Rural/Town Life * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son, by Richard Lischer. Lischer, a theologian at Duke Divinity School, acknowledges that “a father has no business writing a book about his son’s death.” But as the review in the Century noted, this honest but disciplined narrative “looks beyond one man’s death to the death we all will face” and manages to be “personal without self-absorption, profoundly emotional without sentimentality.” It is a moving testimony to a father’s love and to Adam Lischer’s life, and especially to Adam’s way of meeting death at the age of 33, supported by the prayers and rituals of the church—which is a memorable witness for every reader.
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O Lord, who didst call thy servant Clement of Alexandria from the errors of ancient philosophy that he might learn and teach the saving Gospel of Christ: Turn thy Church from the conceits of worldly wisdom and, by the Spirit of truth, guide it into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O Lord God, who never failest both to hear and to answer the prayer that is sincere: Let not our hearts be upon the world when our hands are lifted up to pray, nor our prayers end upon our lips, but go forth with power to work thy will in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
You can imagine how my heart raced. I was told that the amount exceeded $500,000 – an unheard of sum in those days. (It actually ended up being well above that – but read on.) There was just one hitch: The man had insisted in his will that the money go only for the seminary education... [under conditions we could not honor].
Still, I didn’t want to let go of an obvious windfall. When the board finally met, they debated the pros and cons, and I made the case for it as best I could. But quietly, I did have my misgivings. When one of our trustees, a bishop, said, “This has the smell of sulphur about it,” I realized the die was cast: We could not accept the gift.
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In their introduction to the Annual Report, Church Army Chair and Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, and Church Army Chief Executive, Mark Russell, said: "During this year under review, one of our main focuses has been the implementation of our DARE strategy which we launched in 2011; doing evangelism, advocating evangelism, resourcing evangelism and enabling evangelism. Therefore, our staff and evangelists have been working hard as they’ve endeavoured to convert this strategy into operational reality - particularly in relation to encouraging and challenging the wider church in evangelism.
"Yet, it is the individual lives changed that speak best of Church Army's impact during 2012/2013. It is their names and faces, along with the statistics and finances, which will give you a real insight into our work. People like Jenny, from The Amber Project in Cardiff, who has struggled during her teenage years with self-harm but thanks to our support has found hope. Or Dot who lives on the deprived Flaxley Road housing estate in Selby and has come to faith through our Centre of Mission....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
The law convicts us of sin. It shows us that we are, all of us, judged; that we are, all of us, found wanting.
But the law also convicts us by a second device. Law paints the lines on the savage playing field of our sin: what the law condemns, it first describes. Rules encapsulate sport: without ever having played a round or been on the ice, you know from their rulebooks the respective natures of golf and hockey.
Thus, our readings for today, readings from which the contemporary reader is apt to flee.
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Dear Father,—Do not be grieved at the slanderous libel in this week's Express. Of course, it is all a lie, without an atom of foundation; and while the whole of London is talking of me, and thousands are unable to get near the door, the opinion of a penny-a-liner is of little consequence.
I beseech you not to write: but if you can see Mr. Harvey, or some official, it might do good. A full reply on all points will appear next week.
I only fear for you; I do not like you to be grieved. For myself I WILL REJOICE; the devil is roused, the Church is awakening, and I am now counted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake... Good ballast, father, good ballast; but, oh! remember what I have said before, and do not check me.
Last night, I could not sleep till morning light, but now my Master has cheered me; and I "hail reproach, and welcome shame." Love to you all, especially to my dearest mother. I mean to come home April 16th. So amen.
Your affectionate son, C. H. Spurgeon.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
...it is also important to recognise how much the themes of the Narnia books are interwoven with what he was thinking and writing in other contexts around the same time, and with material he had already published in the 1940s — as well as the fact that the first seeds of the actual Narnia narrative seem to have been sown as early as 1939. For example: his 1946 book, The Great Divorce, foreshadows many of the ideas in the Narnia stories — most particularly a theme that Lewis insists on more and more as his work develops, the impossibility of forcing any person to accept love and the monumental and excruciating difficulty of receiving love when you are wedded to a certain picture of yourself. It is this theme that emerges most clearly in his last (and greatest) imaginative work, the 1956 novel, Till We Have Faces. These issues are very much the issues that Lewis is trying to work out in a variety of imaginative idioms from the early 1940s onwards — the problems of self-deception above all, the lure of self-dramatising, the pain and challenge of encounter with divine truthfulness. What Narnia seeks to do, very ambitiously, is to translate these into terms that children can understand. And as to why Lewis decided to address such an audience, there is probably no very decisive answer except that he had a high view of children’s literature, a passion for myth and fantasy and a plain desire to communicate as widely as possible.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Books Children Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Sunday Worship, available on Apple’s iPhone and iPad, offers full Bible readings for the main Sunday service, together with prayers, based on the Common Worship liturgies launched at the start of the millennium.
This follows two other apps published to support congregations in their prayer. An app for daily prayer reflections is already available and has been downloaded more than 50,000 times. There is also The Lectionary, which contains Bible readings for every service along with full details of feast days throughout the year and has been downloaded 9,000 times. The busiest day for downloads last year was the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday, in February when there were 416 downloads.
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Confirm our minds, O Lord, in the mysteries of the true faith, set forth with power by thy servant John of Damscus; that we, with him, confessing Jesus to be true God and true Man, and singing the praises of the risen Lord, may, by the power of the resurrection, attain to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for evermore.
Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after thee, and in an affectionate walking with thee, every day of our lives; that when thou comest, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God for ever and ever.
--Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
Oh brother. More lazy stereotypes about celibates. Bill Keller’s op-ed today in The New York Times “Sex and the Single Priest” (ha ha) says that pretty much all celibate priests are lonely and that celibacy “surely played some role” in the sexual abuse crisis. By his own admission, Mr. Keller hasn’t been an active member of the church since around high school. But that’s not the problem with his piece: former Catholics have written perceptively about the church. The problem is that Keller’s article is based largely on the opinions of two priests who left the priesthood and a sister who left her order, and his own speculation about what the celibate life must be like. That’s like writing a piece on marriage and speaking only to divorced men and women. “Yeah,” some of them might say, “married life stinks.”
Maybe it would have been helpful to look at some actual data. Sure, there is some loneliness in the priesthood--and there are problems in married life too. But the picture that Mr. Keller paints is ridiculous. In the latest survey on priests from the Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate in 2009, 95 percent report they would “definitely or probably choose priesthood again,” up from 79 percent in 1970. Wow.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Media Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Young people are being given a taste of life behind the dog collar with the launch of the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme (CEMES), run by the Ministry Division.
The scheme, which began with a pilot phase...this September in four dioceses, is a one year programme of theological teaching, practical experience and personal development for young people aged 18-30 who are considering future ministry in the church. The scheme was set up to encourage more young people to consider being involved in ministry and focus on the nine criteria used in the selection of clergy.
The scheme is currently being run in the dioceses of Sodor and Man, Newcastle, Peterborough and the Stepney area of London. Ministry Division are working with 15 more dioceses interested in the scheme, with a view to provide a CEMES programme in every diocese.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
...I was a pastor’s kid, so eyes were always on me, even then. I sat in the first pew of the church, and I had to wear a suit every Sunday, because my parents wanted me to be this role model that I didn’t always want to be. I preferred going to punk-rock shows in small venues in New Jersey, where we grew up, wearing my jean jacket and all my band pins. That’s how I fell in love with music, how I became obsessed with it. I’d stand there, watching the singer running around the stage, owning the crowd. I didn’t even notice whatever else was happening onstage. All I could see was the singer.
But I had certain obligations at that age. If I ever didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, or when I was trying to figure out what religion I wanted to be, or trying to understand spirituality, I would always have to deal with knowing that people were looking up to me. We eventually left our church, Assembly of God, when I was 14. A scandal had erupted involving stolen money, and it caused a big rift in the church. After that the concept of church really upset me for a long time. I mean, I believe in God, and that’s a personal relationship that I have, but I’m not religious in any way.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Music Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * Theology
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Loving God, who didst call Francis Xavier to lead many in India and Japan to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer: Bring us to the new life of glory promised to all who follow in the Way; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Lord, who hast taught us in thy holy Word that the night is far spent and the day is at hand: Awaken us from all sloth and slumber, that we may live as sons of light and of the day, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation; for his sake who died for us and rose again, even our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Supreme Court has rejected a final bid to preserve the quake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral.
This means the Diocese of Christchurch is free to demolish the Cathedral and to move ahead with plans for a replacement.
The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) earlier contested a Court of Appeal decision that demolition of the landmark could go ahead.
The Court of Appeal had upheld a High Court decision clearing the way for demolition to continue after the lawfulness of a decision to bring it down to a safe level was challenged by the GCBT.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Urban/City Life and Issues * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
The evening after receiving [his editor's negative] verdict [on a submission he made], Mr. Hijuelos and his girlfriend at the time, Lori Carlson, sat together in their living room in Upper Manhattan, depression suffusing the air. Finally, Mr. Hijuelos told Ms. Carlson, “O.K., I’m really going to the heart of Christmas then.”
Mr. Hijuelos headed into his home office the next morning and started to work. Some of his writing days ended with his elbows bloody from hours of toiling at the desk. Ultimately, however, he produced what is surely one of the most fully achieved novels about religion, “Mr. Ives’ Christmas.”
It is, in distillate, the Book of Job transposed to Morningside Heights in the late 20th century. The title character, Edward Ives, is a commercial artist possessed of what he calls “a small, if imperfect, spiritual gift.” That gift finds expression in part through Mr. Ives’s son, Robert, who aspires to enter the priesthood.
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At the end of...[the party], though, after most of the guests had gone home, my sister had gone to sleep after marathoning all then-7 of the Harry Potter films the night before and my folks were busy chatting with my aunt and uncle, I headed to the stack of my new books and, almost at random, chose one of the titles from my American Literature survey course: Mr. Ives’ Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos.
I read the book in most of 2 days, instantly captivated by the story of a man, himself an orphan, trying to put his life back together after the murder of his aspiring priest son, and thinking back over the story of his own life as a honorary member of New York’s Cuban community of the 40s and ’50s, despite not really being Cuban himself; a simple story, Hijuelos captured it in poetic, delicate writing that painting broad, vibrant brushstrokes in your head.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Books Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Caribbean Cuba
And here is where Lewis had a breakthrough. He understood that the story recounted in the Gospels—rather than the outworking of that story in the Epistles—was the essence of Christianity. Christianity was a "true myth" (myth here meaning a story about ultimate things, not a falsehood), whereas pagan myths were "men's myths." In paganism, God expressed himself in a general way through the images that humans created in order to make sense of the world. But the story of Christ is "God's myth." God's myth is the story of God revealing himself through a real, historical life of a particular man, in a particular time, in a particular place—Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, crucified under Pontius Pilate outside Jerusalem, circa A.D. 33.
Pagan stories were meaningful but not true. The Christ story is both meaningful and true. Christianity is the true myth, the "myth become fact," as Lewis would come to call it.
A couple of weeks after his conversation with Tolkien and Dyson, Lewis became certain that Christianity was true. But it's important to note: Before he could accept the truth of Christianity, he had to clear an imaginative hurdle. His "organ of meaning" had to be satisfied. Rational assent to Christianity cannot occur unless there is meaningful content to which the higher faculty of reason may assent. Reason can't operatewithout imagination.
And in this, Lewis, who called himself a "dinosaur" in his inaugural lecture at Cambridge, is in many ways closer to our postmodern contemporaries than he was to his own.
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It’s tempting to remember Lewis only as the self-assured defender of Christianity who never met an argument he couldn't demolish. His death 50 years ago, on November 22, 1963, was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has since become a patron saint of American evangelicals.
But the actual man whom friends called “Jack” had a “horrible” personal life, thought he had failed as a defender of Christianity and spent so much time in pubs that his publishers initially struggled selling him to a religious audience, scholars say.
“American publishers worried about offending their more puritanical readers because it seemed impossible to get a dust jacket picture of Jack without a pint or a cigarette,” says Michael Tomko, a literature professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy Servant Channing, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of Asia. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst warn us to prepare for the day when thou shalt come to be our judge: Mercifully grant that being awake from the sleep of sin, we may always be watching and intent upon the work thou hast given us to do; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
--W. E. Scudamore
Perhaps the significance of Kennedy is ultimately found in his tragic and untimely death and that is why November 22 has been singled out in his memory, eclipsing Lewis' death. But it seems to me that Lewis' significance is found in his life and work. JFK's importance is found in what could have been had he lived (and perhaps a little too romanticized in the process), as well as the continued controversy generated by conspiracy theorists as to how many assassins were involved that day. But I think Lewis' importance is found in not what might have been, but in what he contributed prior to his death, challenging us to rethink our view of the world and the significance of a "mere Christianity" in which an orthodox understanding of Jesus was essential, while poking at that mere Jesus with some new and different questions.
November 22 seems to have been dedicated to JFK by default because of his untimely death. Lewis continues to be read and discussed and pondered in an ever-continuing stream of new books, in coffee shops and pubs and taverns and at conferences. The significance of Lewis' contribution cannot be limited to one day a year....
Lewis' death may get no attention, but his life and work cannot be eclipsed.
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On November 14, R&E invited students and tutors from New York Avenue Presbyterian Church’s after-school tutoring program, Community Club, to recite the Gettysburg Address in honor of its 150th anniversary. The club meets at the church every week and provides dinner, academic tutoring, and mentorship to DC students ranging in age from 5 to 18. New York Avenue Presbyterian is also the church where President Lincoln rented a pew and sometimes attended services. The Gettysburg Address, described by historians as “the sacred scripture of the Civil War’s innermost spiritual meaning,” was delivered at Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.
Watch and listen to it all.
The female American priest chosen as the new bishop for the Vancouver-area Anglican diocese says she attracts people to her church who have been “wounded” by other Christian traditions.
Rev. Melissa Skelton, who leads St. Paul's Episcopal parish in Seattle, Washington, was elected a bishop in Canada on the third ballot at a vote held Saturday at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in downtown Vancouver.
Skelton will replace retired Anglican bishop Michael Ingham, who was at the centre of a storm within the 60-million-member worldwide Anglican communion when he became the first Anglican bishop to formally support the blessing of same-sex couples.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada
The former Crystal Cathedral will close to the public as it undergoes a transformation from a space built as a television studio as much as a sanctuary into the spiritual home for the Orange County Catholic community of more than 1.2 million people.
Beginning Sunday, the newly named Christ Cathedral will be closed for construction as crews launch a $29 million effort to restore the more than 75,000-square-foot space.
The Diocese of Orange has been working with liturgical consultants and architects to modify the church built in the vision of the Rev. Robert Schuller into one that meets the requirements of a Catholic cathedral.
"The beauty and inspiration evoked by the cathedral grounds and its architecture are only surpassed by the extraordinary communities of faith that now call this campus home," Bishop Kevin Vann said in a statement. "The cathedral will be an international center of faith and evangelization, a vessel for the love of God, a beacon of faith, a home for neighbor and traveler, and a sanctuary for the human spirit."
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Almighty and everlasting God, who orderest all things in heaven and on earth: We give thee thanks and praise that thou didst make all ages a preparation for the coming of thy Son, our blessed Redeemer. Prepare us for the coming of him whom thou dost send, and grant that of his fullness we may all receive; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
...in this article, I want us to suspend the popular perception of this acerbic idiom and replace it with a sunnier interpretation. I want us to consider how something as simple and carefree as a half-hour trek through nature can reap tremendous benefits for body, mind and soul.
This positive spin on a negative phrase carries encouraging news, especially for those who sometimes shudder at the thought of a fast-paced kickboxing class at 6 a.m. after a sleepless night with a sick child, or who just can’t seem to motivate themselves to hit the weights in a packed and noisy gym after a stressful day at the office. With just a little bit of time and a trusty pair of tennis shoes, we can literally walk our bad moods, bad habits and worries all away!
Today, I’m advising you—lovingly—to take a hike, and here are my top five reasons why....
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I’m a university professor. I have no tolerance for this kind of nonsense. I’ve failed students for less flagrant plagiarism. So, it’s my duty, as a member of my professing profession, to give Driscoll an “F.”
Mark Driscoll, you have failed.
I’ve dealt with a number of plagiarists, and it seems to me that plagiarism stems from two issues. I’ll let you decide which problem Driscoll suffers from, because there obviously is a problem.
1. Laziness. Writing is hard work, so some writers don’t want to do it right. Laziness also leads to procrastination. Getting behind schedule causes writers to cut corners and plagiarize.
2. Ignorance. I don’t mean ignorance of the conventions of proper citation. Everyone knows not to steal other people’s words. I mean ignorance of the topic.
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Just as the lines between games and war are fluid, the opposite is also sometimes the case. In his 1938 book Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga draws attention to 2 Samuel 2:14, when Abner challenges Joab to combat by announcing, “Let the young men now arise and play before us.” The ensuing battle confirms for Huizinga that “Play is battle and battle is play.”
Huizinga insists, however, that both the player and the warrior live by a code of honor, one shaped by “courage,” “tenacity” and access to “spiritual powers.” In other words, these are not lawless misanthropes. Advocates of the “muscular Christian” movement of the mid-19th century made similar distinctions as they acclaimed the high virtues of athletics. British author Thomas Hughes depicted the mindless “muscle man” as someone who exploits his body and succumbs to his “fierce and brutal passions.” The “muscular Christian,” on the other hand,
has hold of the old chivalrous and Christian belief, that a man’s body is given him to be trained and brought into subjection, and then used for the protection of the weak, the advancement of all righteous causes, and the subduing of the earth.
With this in mind, we might conclude that the Incognito affair unveils not the problems of a “warrior culture” but rather an absence of it.
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Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Almighty and everlasting God, who dost enkindle the flame of thy love in the hearts of the Saints; Grant to us, thy humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in their triumphs, we may profit by their examples; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
--The Pastor’s Prayerbook
We note that the Pilling Report has been released and we recognize the substantial amount of work that has gone into the consultation and writing of the report.
We can state at this stage that we stand with the historic, orthodox faith in its Anglican expression, under the authority of Scripture, to which the Book of Common Prayer, the Thirty Nine Articles and the Ordinal bear witness. We affirm the teaching of the Church of England that the appropriate context for a sexual relationship is only in a lifelong, faithful marriage between a man and a woman. This teaching will continue to be true, and is endorsed by the large majority of Christian churches historically and globally, as confirmed by the Nairobi Commitment of GAFCON 2013.
The summary of the Report that has been released suggests that a number of conclusions on the way forward have already been drawn, and that a programme of “facilitated conversations” will enable people with different views on sexuality to remain in the church together. The impression is given that a matter on which Scripture and tradition give clear theological and ethical direction is open to compromise by negotiation. However we would like to take time to study the document in detail before giving a full response.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
In an interview with The Christian Post, the Rev. Lewis said that the motion was "based upon false claims, bordering on the absurd," and represents "a complete reversal of the facts."
"TECSC has accused us of conspiracy to leave TEC. The reality has been our attempt to defend against continued and insidious intrusions by TEC into the life of this Diocese," said Lewis.
"Our resolutions were triggered only by their actions against us. The reality is that it was TEC's attack that brought us to this place. The Diocese wisely prepared for the assaults for which TEC has become known. This current motion is simply a continuation of that pattern."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Conflicts * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know thee, diligence to seek thee, wisdom to find thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
--Saint Thomas Aquinas
The singers are Quire Cleveland under the direction of Peter Bennett--KSH.
In The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History, Robert Tracy McKenzie takes the historical challenges posed by the Pilgrims as his starting point. I cannot recall ever reading a book quite like The First Thanksgiving. It is an entertaining retelling of a seminal moment in American history—and a remarkable reflection on how Christians should handle history in general.
American evangelicals seem to have reached a crisis point over the study of history, especially the history of the American founding. For decades, many evangelicals have turned to popular history writers who have presented America, especially of the colonial and Revolutionary era, as a straightforwardly Christian nation. In response, a respected cohort of academic evangelical historians, led by Mark Noll and George Marsden (my doctoral advisor), have concurrently mapped out a more complex view of religion's importance in American history.
While those academic evangelicals at least implicitly disagreed with parts of the "Christian America" thesis, they have struggled to compete with the popular audience won by writers such as Peter Marshall and, most controversially, David Barton. Barton's recent book, The Jefferson Lies, which presented Thomas Jefferson as embracing relatively orthodox Christian views until late in life, unleashed an unprecedented torrent of evangelical and conservative criticism, precipitating the decision by Barton's publisher, Thomas Nelson, to pull the book from distribution in 2012.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Books History Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
One day near the middle of the last century a minister in a prison camp in Germany conducted a service for the other prisoners. One of those prisoners, an English officer who survived, wrote these words:
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer always seemed to me to spread an atmosphere of happiness and joy over the least incident, and profound gratitude for the mere fact that he was alive… He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near… On Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer conducted a little service of worship and spoke to us in a way that went to the heart of all of us. He found just the right words to express the spirit of our imprisonment, and the thoughts and resolutions it had brought us. He had hardly ended his last prayer when the door opened and two civilians entered. They said, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us.” That had only one meaning for all prisoners–the gallows. We said good-bye to him. He took me aside: “This is the end; but for me it is the beginning of life.” The next day he was hanged in Flossenburg.”I read it every year on this day and every year it (still) brings me to tears--KSH.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * International News & Commentary Europe Germany * Theology Eschatology Pastoral Theology
Lyrics:Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast broken for us the bonds of sin and brought us into fellowship with God the Father.
Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast overcome death and opened to us the gates of eternal life.
Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because where two or three are gathered together in thy Name there art thou in the midst of them.
Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou ever livest to make intercession for us.
For these and all other benefits of thy mighty work, thanks be unto thee O Christ, Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end, Amen.
What about what some call the greatest mission field, which is our own secularizing or secularized culture? What do we need to do to reach this increasingly pagan society? I think we need to say to one another that it’s not so secular as it looks. I believe that these so-called secular people are engaged in a quest for at least three things. The first is transcendence. It’s interesting in a so-called secular culture how many people are looking for something beyond. I find that a great challenge to the quality of our Christian worship. Does it offer people what they are instinctively looking for, which is transcendence, the reality of God?
The second is significance. Almost everybody is looking for his or her own personal identity. Who am I, where do I come from, where am I going to, what is it all about? That is a challenge to the quality of our Christian teaching. We need to teach people who they are. They don’t know who they are. We do. They are human beings made in the image of God, although that image has been defaced.
And third is their quest for community. Everywhere, people are looking for community, for relationships of love. This is a challenge to our fellowship. I’m very fond of 1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.” The invisibility of God is a great problem to people. The question is how has God solved the problem of his own invisibility? First, Christ has made the invisible God visible. That’s John’s Gospel 1:18: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
People say that’s wonderful, but it was 2,000 years ago. So in 1 John 4:12, he begins with exactly the same formula, nobody has ever seen God. But here John goes on, “If we love one another, God abides in us.” The same invisible God who once made himself visible in Jesus now makes himself visible in the Christian community, if we love one another. And all the verbal proclamation of the gospel is of little value unless it is made by a community of love.
These three things about our humanity are on our side in our evangelism, because people are looking for the very things we have to offer them.
You may find the whole article from which it comes there. I quoted this at the early morning service sermon this past Sunday--KSH.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology
You say in The Church for the World that Christian public witness has gone awry in the United States. How so?
The main problem is that Christian presence in public life tends to be triumphalistic. The purpose of Christian witness is to point to Jesus and the reign of God he embodies, but a triumphal presence actually contradicts Jesus’ way of being in the world as depicted in the Gospels.
The triumphal character of Christian witness has contributed a good deal to how polarized our society and churches have become. Christians so thoroughly disagree about war, sexuality, ecological care, immigration and other issues that we wind up on opposing sides of the political spectrum. This is cause for great concern, because partisan politics ends up defining what is Christian; it shapes the way we think and speak about public issues.
It is possible, though, for Christians to take a stand on specific social and political matters without binding the church to partisan politics. We have biblical and theological resources to help us reframe issues and offer something new—a third way.
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