Posted by Kendall Harmon

I can’t tell what Stackhouse intends with the sentence just before the parenthesis. Is he implying that if Marsh had ruminated a bit more, he might have concluded that a pursuit of friendship as intense as Bonhoeffer’s must have been fueled by sexual desire (thus lending credence to the idea that Bonhoeffer was gay, albeit celibate)? Or is Stackhouse rather suggesting that more interrogation on Marsh’s part would have shown our suspicion of Bonhoeffer’s being gay to be a post-gay-rights-era preoccupation, all too ready to classify people as either “gay” or “straight” and not attuned enough to the complexity, even for “straight” people, of desire in simple friendship? As I say, I can’t tell, but I’d like to continue the conversation.

In any case, as I’m nearing the end of working on my friendship book, I can say that reading Bonhoeffer and Bethge’s correspondence was one of the richest experiences I had in the course of my research. Other than Pavel Florensky’s The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, I doubt there was a book that taught me more about friendship than Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison. What struck me in reading it, perhaps in contrast to Marsh and Stackhouse’s views, was how unwieldy our categories are—either “homosexual” or “just friends”—when it comes to classifying a relationship as profound as Bonhoeffer and Bethge’s was.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted April 23, 2014 at 10:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Celebrations “from the archaic to the eccentric” are planned across England as David Cameron says St George’s Day has been overlooked for too long.

Celebrations will include a feast in Trafalgar Square, bell ringing at churches across the country and an annual “asparagus run” in Worcestershire to welcome in the harvest.

The day has also been commemorated with a Google Doodle, an animation showing George on horseback ready to fight the dragon.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted April 23, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ethiopia was cut off for centuries from the wider Christian world by the Islamic conquests to its north. During that time, its church flourished in isolation, untouched by and ignorant of the theological disputes dividing Europe. That means its traditions provide insight into an older, perhaps purer and certainly more mystical form of Christianity – one that dates back 1,600 years and therefore, in its unaltered forms, bears witness to a liturgy practised only a relatively brief period after the time of Jesus Christ.

To better understand this, I had come to Lalibela, Ethiopia's self-proclaimed "New Jerusalem". Here, I thought, I could engage with the religion and its beliefs. What I had not expected was that I would also get to see one of the world's most impressive – and most affecting – architectural marvels.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* International News & CommentaryAfricaEthiopia* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

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Posted April 22, 2014 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Birth. Life. Death. Rebirth. So goes the biblical story of Christ, the essence of life as Christians view it and even the Holy City's own history.

It's also the story of a parish born into tribulation, a little country church that endured to prosper through seasons of indigo, rice and slavery only to face death after the Civil War. And then rise again.

Commonly known as Old St. Andrew's Parish, family names of Drayton, Middleton, Heyward, Pinckney and Rivers buttress its three centuries of stories....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* South Carolina

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Posted April 21, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

While the patient earth lies waking,
Till the morning shall be breaking,
Shuddering 'neath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

And when sunrise smites the mountains,
Pouring light from heavenly fountains,
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say,
Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

Up and down our lives obedient
Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,
Till those garden lives shall be
Fair with duties done for Thee;
And our thankful spirits say,
Christ arose on Easter-Day.

--Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted April 21, 2014 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Question 45: What does the "resurrection" of Christ profit us?

Answer: First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection.

Footnotes: [For "first"] 1 Cor.15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: Rom.4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1 Pet.1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [for "secondly'] Rom.6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Col.3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col.3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Eph.2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Eph.2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [for "lastly"] 1 Cor.15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 1 Cor.15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 1 Cor.15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. Rom.8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 21, 2014 at 4:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If I had a Son in Court, or married a daughter into a plentifull Fortune, I were satisfied for that son or that daughter. Shall I not be so, when the King of Heaven hath taken that sone to himselfe, and married himselfe to that daughter, for ever? I spend none of my Faith, I exercise none of my Hope, in this, that I shall have my dead raised to life againe. This is the faith that sustains me, when I lose by the death of others, and we, are now all in one Church, and at the resurrection, shall be all in one Quire.

–John Donne (1572-1631) [my emphasis]

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take the time to listen to it all from the Oxford Philomusica.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterLiturgy, Music, Worship* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 20, 2014 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“[Hans Urs von] Balthasar’s theology of Holy Saturday is probably one of his most intriguing contributions since he interprets it as moving beyond the active self-surrender of Good Friday into the absolute helplessness of sin and the abandonment and lostness of death.

In the Old Testament one of the greatest threats of God’s wrath was His threat of abandonment, to leave His people desolate, to be utterly rejected of God. It is this that Jesus experienced upon the Cross and in His descent into the lifeless passivity and God-forsakenness of the grave. By His free entrance into the helplessness of sin, Christ was reduced to what Balthasar calls a “cadaver-obedience” revealing and experience the full horror of sin.

As Peter himself preached at Pentecost (Acts 2:23-24; 32-33):

‘[Jesus] being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you, by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death; who God raised up, having abolished the birth pangs of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it…This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He pour out this which you now see and hear.’

We ought to pause and note the passivity that is expressed here. Christ experienced what God was doing through Him by His purpose and foreknowledge. Jesus was truly dead and fully encompassed within and held by the pains of death and needed God to abolish them. He was freed from death by God, not simply by God’s whim, but because for God it was impossible that death should hold Christ. Christ Himself receives the Holy Spirit from the Father in order that He might pour out that Spirit. Balthasar writes:
‘Jesus was truly dead, because he really became a man as we are, a son of Adam, and therefore, despite what one can sometimes read in certain theological works, he did not use the so-called “brief” time of his death for all manner of “activities” in the world beyond. In the same way that, upon earth, he was in solidarity with the living, so, in the tomb, he is in solidarity with the dead…Each human being lies in his own tomb. And with this condition Jesus is in complete solidarity.’

According to Balthasar, this death was also the experience, for a time, of utter God-forsakenness—that is hell. Hell, then, is a Christological concept which is defined in terms of Christ’s experience on the Cross. This is also the assurance that we never need fear rejection by the Father if we are in Christ, since Christ has experienced hell in our place.

–S. Joel Garver on Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) [emphasis mine]

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If we really want prayer, we'll have to give it time. We must slow down to a human tempo and we'll begin to have time to listen. And as soon as we listen to what's going on, things will begin to take shape by themselves....The best way to pray is: Stop. Let prayer pray within you, whether you know it or not.

--Thoms Merton (1915--1968)

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

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Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tragically neglected, Holy Saturday remains a central part of the three most Holy Days of the Christian year. It is called the Triduum...

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 19, 2014 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The single argument in its favor seems to be that it has been around so long," [Wayne] Grudem, a professor at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona, writes in his Systematic Theology, a popular textbook in evangelical colleges. "But an old mistake is still a mistake."

Grudem, like [John] Piper, has said that he skips the phrase about Jesus' descent when reciting the Apostles' Creed.

But the harrowing of hell remains a central tenet of Eastern Orthodox Christians, who place an icon depicting the descent at the front of their churches as Saturday night becomes Easter Sunday. It remains there, venerated and often kissed, for 40 days.

"The icon that represents Easter for us is not the empty cross or tomb," said Peter Bouteneff, a theology professor at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y. "It's Christ's descent into Hades."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekLiturgy, Music, Worship* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Bernard was so terror-stricken by Christ’s sufferings that he said: I imagined I was secure and I knew nothing of the eternal judgment passed upon me in heaven, until I saw the eternal Son of God took mercy upon me, stepped forward and offered himself on my behalf in the same judgment. Ah, it does not become me still to play and remain secure when such earnestness is behind those sufferings. Hence he commanded the women: “Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.” Lk 23, 28; and gives in the 31st verse the reason: “For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” As if to say: Learn from my martyrdom what you have merited and how you should be rewarded. For here it is true that a little dog was slain in order to terrorize a big one. Likewise the prophet also said: “All generations shall lament and bewail themselves more than him”; it is not said they shall lament him, but themselves rather than him. Likewise were also the apostles terror-stricken in Acts 2, 37, as mentioned before, so that they said to the apostles: “0, brethren, what shall we do?” So the church also sings: I will diligently meditate thereon, and thus my soul in me will exhaust itself.

–Martin Luther (1483-1536)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The story of the salvation of the dying thief is a standing instance of the power of Christ to save, and of his abundant willingness to receive all that come to him, in whatever plight they may be. I cannot regard this act of grace as a solitary instance, any more than the salvation of Zacchaeus, the restoration of Peter, or the call of Saul, the persecutor. Every conversion is, in a sense, singular: no two are exactly alike, and yet any one conversion is a type of others. The case of the dying thief is much more similar to our conversion than it is dissimilar; in point of fact, his case may be regarded as typical, rather than as an extraordinary incident. So I shall use it at this time. May the Holy Spirit speak through it to the encouragement of those who are ready to despair!

Remember, beloved friends, that our Lord Jesus, at the time he saved this malefactor, was at his lowest. His glory had been ebbing out in Gethsemane, and before Caiaphas, and Herod, and Pilate; but it had now reached the utmost low-water mark.

Stripped of his garments, and nailed to the cross, our Lord was mocked by a ribald crowd, and was dying in agony: then was he “numbered with the transgressors,” and made as the offscouring of all things. Yet, while in that condition, he achieved this marvellous deed of grace. Behold the wonder wrought by the Saviour when emptied of all his glory, and hanged up a spectacle of shame upon the brink of death! How certain is it it that he can do great wonders of mercy now, seeing that he has returned unto his glory, and sitteth upon the throne of light! “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” If a dying Saviour saved the thief, my argument is, that he can do even more now that he liveth and reigneth. All power is given unto him in heaven and in earth; can anything at this present time surpass the power of his grace?

It is not only the weakness of our Lord which makes the salvation of the penitent thief memorable; it is the fact that the dying malefactor saw it before his very eyes. Can you put yourself into his place, and suppose yourself to be looking upon one who hangs in agony upon a cross? Could you readily believe him to be the Lord of glory, who would soon come to his kingdom? That was no mean faith which, at such a moment, could believe in Jesus as Lord and King. If the apostle Paul were here, and wanted to add a New Testament chapter to the eleventh of Hebrews, he might certainly commence his instances of remarkable faith with this thief, who believed in a crucified, derided, and dying Christ, and cried to him as to one whose kingdom would surely come. The thief’s faith was the more remarkable because he was himself in great pain, and bound to die. It is not easy to exercise confidence when you are tortured with deadly anguish. Our own rest of mind has at times been greatly hindered by pain of body. When we are the subjects of acute suffering it is not easy to exhibit that faith which we fancy we possess at other times. This man, suffering as he did, and seeing the Saviour in so sad a state, nevertheless believed unto life eternal. Herein was such faith as is seldom seen.

Recollect, also, that he was surrounded by scoffers. It is easy to swim with the current, and hard to go against the stream. This man heard the priests, in their pride, ridicule the Lord, and the great multitude of the common people, with one consent, joined in the scorning; his comrade caught the spirit of the hour, and mocked also, and perhaps he did the same for a while; but through the grace of God he was changed, and believed in the Lord Jesus in the teeth of all the scorn. His faith was not affected by his surroundings; but he, dying thief as he was, made sure his confidence. Like a jutting rock, standing out in the midst of a torrent, he declared the innocence of the Christ whom others blasphemed. His faith is worthy of our imitation in its fruits. He had no member that was free except his tongue, and he used that member wisely to rebuke his brother malefactor, and defend his Lord. His faith brought forth a brave testimony and a bold confession. I am not going to praise the thief, or his faith, but to extol the glory of that grace divine which gave the thief such faith, and then freely saved him by its means. I am anxious to show how glorious is the Saviour—that Saviour to the uttermost, who, at such a time, could save such a man, and give him so great a faith, and so perfectly and speedily prepare him for eternal bliss. Behold the power of that divine Spirit who could produce such faith on soil so unlikely, and in a climate so unpropitious.

–From a sermon of C.H. Spurgeon preached on April 7, 1889

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In recent years Luther's teaching on the atonement has been a subject of strong dispute. Some (mostly the Swedish interpreters) have stressed the ideas of "conflict" and "victory" in Luther's discussions of atonement, arguing for a discontinuity between the Reformer's own thinking and the "substitutionary" theory of later Protestant orthodoxy. Others have insisted that at this point Luther's teaching differs in no essentials from that of his successors. One is well advised to tread carefully on entering the field of controversy; nevertheless, I make bold to submit that the interpretation of atonement in both Luther and Calvin can be understood as turning on the central and pivotal conception of a "happy exchange," in which the believer's sins are laid upon Christ and Christ's own innocence is communicated to the believer. From this center, we may say, the Reformers' thinking moves outwards to the various other soteriological concepts, including the two about which modern opinion is chiefly divided, namely, "victory" and "substitution." First and foremost, the Christian is one who has been united with Christ so intimately that an exchange of qualities has somehow taken place.

Of course, this understanding of Luther's thought would not settle present-day controversies, for it is not incompatible with either of the two main rival theories, nor even with a combination of both. Neither is it incompatible with Calvin's threefold scheme of "Prophet, Priest, and King" (a scheme of which, in any case, he makes very little use), since Christ does not exercise these offices in any "private capacity," but rather communicates their benefits to believers. Perhaps we may say that the notion of "exchange" belongs to the presuppositions of atonement, as the Reformers understood it, whilst the detailed outworking of the doctrine demands the use of further categories.

That the notion is indeed fundamental to the Reformers' thinking could be demonstrated by many passages from the works of both.

Luther speaks explicitly of this "happy exchange" (fröhlich Wechsel) in the German version of the Treatise on Christian Liberty. The soul and Christ are united like bride and bridegroom. They become one flesh, and everything they possess is shared in common. "What Christ has is the property of the believing soul, what the soul has becomes the property of Christ." A similar passage occurs in the Larger Commentary on Galatians (though worded differently in Rörer's MS.): "So, making a happy exchange with us (feliciter commutans nobiscum) he [Christ] took upon him our sinful person, and gave us his own innocent and victorious person." These passages can readily be matched in Calvin's Institutes: "Who could do this [i.e., win salvation for men], unless the Son of God should become also the Son of Man, and so receive what is ours as to transfer to us what is his?" And again: "He was not unwilling to take upon him what was properly ours, that he might in turn (vicissim) extend to us what was properly his." The same pattern of thought recurs in both the Reformers when they speak of the Lord's Supper; as, for instance, in Luther's Treatise on the Blessed Sacrament, and the fourth book of Calvin's Institutes. What exactly it is that is "exchanged" is made perfectly clear in each of these passages: namely, Christ's righteousness is exchanged for the believer's sin.

--Brian A. Gerrish

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp'd my wild career:
I saw One hanging on a Tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fix'd His languid eyes on me.
As near His Cross I stood.

Sure never till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:
It seem'd to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke:
My conscience felt and own'd the guilt,
And plunged me in despair:
I saw my sins His Blood had spilt,
And help'd to nail Him there.

Alas! I knew not what I did!
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain!

A second look He gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou may'st live."

Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief, and mournful joy,
My spirit now if fill'd,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I kill'd!

--John Newton (1725-1807)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyChristology

2 Comments
Posted April 18, 2014 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Philosophers have measured mountains,
Fathomed the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walked with a staff to heaven, and traced fountains:
But there are two vast, spacious things
The which to measure it doth more behoove:
Yet few there are that sound them: Sin and Love.

Who would know Sin, let him repair
Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man so wrung with pains that all his hair,
His skin, his garments bloody be.
Sin is that press and vice, that forceth pain
To hunt his cruel food through every vein.

Who knows not Love, let him assay
And taste that juice, which on the cross a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.

--George Herbert (1593-1633)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistoryMusicReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O all ye, who pass by, whose eyes and mind
To worldly things are sharp, but to me blind;
To me, who took eyes that I might you find:
Was ever grief like mine?

The Princes of my people make a head
Against their Maker: they do wish me dead,
Who cannot wish, except I give them bread:
Was ever grief like mine?

Without me each one, who doth now me brave,
Had to this day been an Egyptian slave.
They use that power against me, which I gave:
Was ever grief like mine?

Take the time for careful prayer, rumination and meditation over it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It so happened that in this man Jesus God himself came into the world, which he had created and against all odds still loved. He took human nature upon himself and became man, like the rest of us, in order to put an end to the world's fight against him and also against itself, and to replace man's disorder by God's design. In Jesus God hallowed his name, made his kingdom come, his will done on earth as it is in heaven, as we say in the Lord's Prayer. In him he made manifest his glory and, amazingly enough, he made it manifest for our salvation. To accomplish this, he not only bandaged, but healed the wounds of the world he helped mankind not only in part and temporarily but radically and for good in the person of his beloved Son; he delivered us from evil and took us to his heart as his children Thereby we are all permitted to live, and to live eternally.

It happened through this man on the cross that God cancelled out and swept away all our human wickedness, our pride, our anxiety, our greed and our false pretences, whereby we had continually offended him and made life difficult, if not impossible, for ourselves and for others. He crossed out what had made our life fundamentally terrifying, dark and distressing - the life of health and of sickness, of happiness and of unhappiness, of the highborn and of the lowborn, of the rich and of the poor, of the free and of the captive. He did away with it. It is no longer part of us, it is behind us. In Jesus God made the day break after the long night and spring come after the long winter.

All these things happened in that one man. In Jesus, God took upon himself the full load of evil; he made our wickedness his own; he gave himself in his dear Son to be defamed as a criminal, to be accused, condemned, delivered from life unto death, as though he himself, the Holy God, had done all the evil we human beings did and do. In giving himself in Jesus Christ, he reconciled the world unto himself; he saved us and made us free to live in his everlasting kingdom; he removed the burden and took it upon himself He the innocent took the place of us the guilty. He the mighty took the place of us the weak. He the living One took the place of us the dying.

This, my dear friends, is the invisible event that took place in the suffering and death of the man hanging on the middle cross on Golgotha. This is reconciliation: his damnation our liberation, his defeat our victory, his mortal pain the beginning of our joy, his death the birth of our life. We do well to remember that this is what those who put him to death really accomplished. They did not know what they did. These deluded men and women accomplished by their evil will and deed that good which God had willed and done with the world and for the world, including the crowd of Jerusalem.

--Karl Barth (1886-1968) from a sermon in 1957

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O My chief good,
How shall I measure out thy bloud?
How shall I count what thee befell,
And each grief tell?

Shall I thy woes
Number according to thy foes?
Or, since one starre show’d thy first breath,
Shall all thy death?

Or shall each leaf,
Which falls in Autumn, score a grief?
Or can not leaves, but fruit, be signe
Of the true vine?

hen let each houre
Of my whole life one grief devoure;
That thy distresse through all may runne,
And be my sunne.

Or rather let
My severall sinnes their sorrows get;
That as each beast his cure doth know,
Each sinne may so.

Since bloud is fittest, Lord, to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloudie fight;
My heart hath store, write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sinne:

That when sinne spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes,
All come to lodge there, sinne may say,
No room for me, and flie away.

Sinne being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sinne take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.

--George Herbert (1593-1633)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th’ intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl’d by it.
Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul’s form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.

Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul’s, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg’d and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God’s partner here, and furnish’d thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom’d us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They’re present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look’st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang’st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I’ll turn my face.

–John Donne (1572-1631)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ancient and saintly fathers and theologians have contrasted the living wood with dead and have allegorized that contrast this way: From the living wood came sin and death; from the dead wood, righteousness and life. They conclude: do not eat from that living tree, or you will die, but eat of the dead tree; otherwise you will remain in death.

You do indeed desire to eat and enjoy [the fruit] of some tree. I will direct you to a tree so full you can never eat it bare. But just as it was difficult to stay away from that living tree, so it is difficult to enjoy eating from the dead tree. The first was the image of life, delight, and goodness, while the other is the image of death, suffering and sorrow because one tree is living, the other dead. There is in man's heart the deeply rooted desire to seek life where there is certain death and to flee from death where one has the sure source of life.

--Martin Luther, "That a Christian Should Bear his Cross With Patience," 1530

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This coming Aug. 3 will mark the golden anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s “Passover,” to adopt the biblical image John Paul II used to describe the Christian journey through death to eternal life. In the 50 years since lupus erythematosus claimed her at age 39, O’Connor’s literary genius has been widely celebrated. Then, with the 1979 publication of The Habit of Being, her collected letters, another facet of Miss O’Connor’s genius came into focus: Mary Flannery O’Connor was an exceptionally gifted apologist, an explicator of Catholic faith who combined remarkable insight into the mysteries of the Creed with deep and unsentimental piety, unblinking realism about the Church in its human aspect, puckish humor—and a mordant appreciation of the soul-withering acids of modern secularism.

Miss O’Connor’s sense that ours is an age of nihilism—an age suffering from by a crabbed sourness about the mystery of being itself—makes her an especially apt apologist for today...

[She believed the world's]...darkness is rendered darker still by late modernity’s refusal to recognize its own deepest need. For as Miss O’Connor put it in a 1957 lecture, “Redemption is meaningless unless there is cause for it in the actual life we live, and for the last few centuries there has been operating in our culture the secular belief that there is no such cause.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Culture-WatchPoetry & LiteratureReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyApologetics

1 Comments
Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The comments by Matthew Henry that caught Wesley’s attention were:
“We have, every one of us, a charge to keep, an eternal God to glorify, an immortal soul to provide for, needful duties to be done, our generation to serve; and it must be our daily care to keep this charge, for it is the charge of the Lord our Master” (The Matthew Henry Commentary, p. 121).
CH-1) A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
Who gave His Son my soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

CH-2) To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfil:
O may it all my powers engage
To do my master’s will!

Many things have changed, on this side of the cross. There is no longer a Levitical tribe of priests, or one central tabernacle (or temple) as Israel had. And because of the great sacrifice of Christ, God’s Lamb (Jn. 1:29), we no need to offer animal sacrifices. They were simply a foreshadowing of Calvary.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* TheologyChristology

3 Comments
Posted April 15, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
O may it all my powers engage
To do my master’s will!

Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall for ever die.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekLiturgy, Music, Worship* Theology

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Posted April 15, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His son: 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyChristologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first suffering of Christ we must experience is the call sundering our ties to this world. This is the death of the old human being in the encounter with Jesus Christ. Whoever enters discipleship enters Jesus' death, and puts his or her own life into death; this has been so from the beginning. The cross is not the horrible end of a pious, happy life, but stands rather at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Every call of Christ leads to death. Whether with the first disciples we leave home and occupation in order to follow him, or whether with Luther we leave the monastery to enter a secular profession, in either case the one death awaits us, namely death in Jesus Christ, the dying away of our old form of being human in Jesus' call.

….Those who are not prepared to take up the cross, those who are not prepared to give their life to suffering and rejection by others, lose community with Christ and are not disciples. But those who lose their life in discipleship, in bearing the cross, will find it again in discipleship itself, in the community of the cross with Christ. The opposite of discipleship is to be ashamed of Christ, of the cross, and to take offense at the cross. Discipleship is commitment to the suffering Christ.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Meditations on the Cross (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1998 [trans Douglas Stott]), pp. 14,16

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyChristology

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Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryAdult Education

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1803, in a house overlooking Plymouth harbor, a 14-year-old boy lay dangerously ill. Before this time, he'd never given much time to serious thought about the course his life would take. But during his year-long convalescence, he began to reflect on the possibility of future fame. Would he be a statesman, an orator, or a poet? An eminent minister of a large, wealthy church? Where did true greatness lie? He was shocked out of his reverie—and very nearly out of his bed—by a mysterious voice that uttered the words "Not unto us, not unto us, but to Thy name be the glory."

Adoniram Judson would remember that startling revelation for the rest of his life. With his strong academic training, keen intellect, and linguistic abilities, he might well have become a prominent theologian, scholar, or politician in 19th-century America. But his profound desire to do the will of God led him down a very different path.

"The motto for every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be 'Devoted for Life.'"
Adoniram Judson

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Eternal God, we offer thanks for the ministry of Adoniram Judson, who out of love for thee and thy people translated the Scriptures into Burmese. Move us, inspired by his example, to support the presentation of thy Good News in every language, for the glory of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAsiaMyanmar/Burma

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Selwyn's prodigious energy and all-round accomplishments impressed both Maori (whose language he had begun to learn on the passage out) and settler. His first visitation tour began only 10 days after his arrival at the Bay of Islands. It took six months, covering about 2,300 miles, one third of which he walked, travelling the balance by ship, horseback, boat and canoe. He became a competent mariner, mastered the art of navigation, and in his small schooner, the Undine, undertook coastal passages in ill-charted waters, as well as ocean voyages to Melanesia. One sailor commented that 'to see the Bishop handle a boat was almost enough to make a man a Christian'. However, he was much more than the legendary muscular Christian. He was a high-principled idealist as well as a far-sighted man of action, a combination which was experienced by some as inflexibility rather than resolution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions

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Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant George Augustus Selwyn, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of New Zealand and Melanesia, and to lay a firm foundation for the growth of thy Church in many nations. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land evangelists and heralds of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Where did this all begin? September, 1981, at St Peter’s Toton outside Nottingham Kris and I and kids wandered into the neighborhood Anglican church, loved both Curate John and Elisabeth Corrie, and we began our lifetime appreciation and formative influence of The Book of Common Prayer, and you may have detected my own interest in prayer books through my small book Praying with the Church. So there’s nothing at all close to any kind of major shift in our life to become Anglicans — we have sustained an Anglican connection for three decades.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

3 Comments
Posted April 10, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Recently we celebrated] Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s birthday. Since my book on him was published...[in 2010], fascination with the young German pastor continues to grow. The interest is so great I’ve recently been asked to do a ten-city Bonhoeffer tour.

I have to ask myself: Why are so many people intrigued by Bonhoeffer? The answer, I believe, is that the message of Bonhoeffer's life is hugely relevant today—especially when it comes to the growing threats against religious freedom.

...were he alive today and living in America, costly grace for him would likely mean preaching what the Word of God teaches about human sexuality--even when activists and their allies in government try to suppress his work and attack his church. Costly grace would mean standing against churches that mix radical new doctrines about marriage with Christian truth. Costly grace would mean standing up to a government attempting to force him to buy health insurance that violates his beliefs—even if it led to his arrest.

And costly grace would, I believe, lead him to sign the Manhattan Declaration in defense of human life, marriage, and religious liberty, just as he signed the Barmen Declaration, which I quote at length in my book.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

1 Comments
Posted April 9, 2014 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bonheoffer’s life and death belong to the annals of Christian martyrdom…his life and death have given us great hope for the future. He has set a model for a new type of true leadership inspired by the gospel, daily ready for martyrdom and imbued by a new spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty. The victory which he has won for us all, a conquest never to be undone, of love, light and liberty.

--Gerhard Leibholz (1901-1982), Bonhoeffer’s brother in law

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Precisely because of our attitude to the state, the conversation here must be completely honest, for the sake of Jesus Christ and the ecumenical cause. We must make it clear—fearful as it is—that the time is very near when we shall have to decide between National Socialism and Christianity. It may be fearfully hard and difficult for us all, but we must get right to the root of things, with open Christian speaking and no diplomacy. And in prayer together we will find the way. I feel that a resolution ought to be framed—all evasion is useless. And if the World Alliance in Germany is then dissolved—well and good, at least we will have borne witness that we were at fault. Better that than to go on vegetating in this untruthful way. Only complete truth and truthfulness will help us now.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer as quoted in No Rusty Swords, my emphasis

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

PRESENTER: Should Bonhoeffer be regarded as a Protestant Saint?

ARCHBISHOP: What makes it an interesting question is that he himself says in one of his very last letters to survive, that he doesn't want to be a saint; he wants to be a believer. In other words he doesn't want to be some kind of, as he might put it, detached holy person. He wants to show what faith means in every day life. So I think in the wider sense, yes he's a saint; he's a person who seeks to lead an integrated life, loyal to God, showing God's life in the world. A saint in the conventional sense? Well, he wouldn't have wanted to be seen in that way.

--Archbishop Rowan Williams on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, speaking in 2006

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a final letter to Rienhold Niebuhr before departing America for Germany in 1939

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeGermany* Theology

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His son: 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gracious God, the Beyond in the midst of our life, who gavest grace to thy servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer to know and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, and to bear the cost of following him: Grant that we, strengthened by his teaching and example, may receive thy word and embrace its call with an undivided heart; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany

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Posted April 9, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Whether a lesson be mastered in obedience to conscience, or from a dread of punishment, from filial affection, or determination to beat a rival, is a question of little moment, I grant, in reference to the stock of knowledge acquired, but of incalculable consequence when asked in reference to the bearing upon moral character. The zeal to make scholars, should, in the minds of Christians at least, be tempered by the knowledge that it may repress a zeal for better things. The head should not be furnished at the expense of the heart. Surely, at most, it is exchanging fine gold for silver, when the culture of gracious affections and holy principle is neglected for any attainments of intellect, however brilliant or varied. What Christian parent, would wish his son to be a linguist or a mathematician, of the richest acquirements or the deepest science, if he must become so by a process, in which the improvement of his religious capabilities would be surrendered, or his mind accustomed to motives not recognised in the pure and self-denying discipline of the Gospel. Not that such discipline is unfriendly to intellectual superiority; on the contrary, the incentives to attain it, will be enduring, and consequently efficient, in proportion to their purity. The highest allurements to the cultivation of our rational nature, are peculiar to Christianity. Hence, literature and science have won their highest honors in the productions of minds most deeply imbued with its spirit. The effect, however, of exclusively Christian discipline in a seminary of learning, when fairly stated, is not so much to produce one or two prodigies, as to increase the average quantum of industry; to raise the standard of proficiency among the many of moderate abilities, rather than to multiply the opportunities of distinction for the gifted few.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchChildrenEducation* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted April 8, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of justice and truth, let not thy Church close its eyes to the plight of the poor and neglected, the homeless and destitute, the old and the sick, the lonely and those who have none to care for them. Give us that vision and compassion with which thou didst so richly endow William Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayers, that we may labor tirelessly to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues

0 Comments
Posted April 8, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Book of Common Prayer is nearly 500 years old. Does it still make a difference for how we worship today?

I suppose that would depend on who you mean by "we"—there are millions of Christians worshipping in ways unaffected by the BCP, except insofar as they share common roots in Jewish and early Christian worship. But the reach of the BCP is more extensive than one might think. It has relatively direct connections to Methodist and Lutheran worship. And the liturgical scholarship that, in the early 20th century, went into possible revisions of the Church of England's 1662 book eventually made its way not only into modern Anglican prayer books but even had an influence on liturgical developments in the Roman Catholic Church, especially when vernacular Masses were approved at Vatican II.

And then, of course, the BCP's rite for Holy Matrimony has spread throughout the English-speaking world. I was once a groomsman in a Unitarian wedding that used it—though with all Trinitarian references gently excised.

So all in all, the BCP's influence on Christian worship is kind of a big deal.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship--Book of Common PrayerSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Unfortunately, brethren, we do not like to acknowledge our transgressions. It would seem natural and easy for a person to know his own self, his own soul and his shortcomings. This, however, is actually not so. We are ready to attend to anything but a deeper understanding of ourselves, an investigation of our sins. We examine various things with curiosity, we attentively study friends and strangers, but when faced with solitude without extraneous preoccupation even for a short while, we immediately become bored and attempt to seek amusement. For example, do we spend much time examining our own conscience even before confession? Perhaps a few minutes, and once a year at that. Casting a cursory glance at our soul, correcting some of its more glaring faults, we immediately cover it over with the veil of oblivion until next year, until our next uncomfortable exercise in boredom.

Yet we love to observe the sins of others. Not considering the beam in our own eye, we take notice of the mote in our brother’s eye. (Matt. 7. 3) Speaking idly to our neighbor’s detriment, mocking and criticizing him are not even often considered sins but rather an innocent and amusing pastime. As if our own sins were so few! As if we had been appointed to judge others!

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

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Posted April 7, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Early in the 20th century, some Orthodox leaders were willing to accept the "validity of Anglican orders," meaning they believed that Anglican clergy were truly priests and bishops in the ancient, traditional meanings of those words.

"It fell apart. It fell apart on the Anglican side, with the affirmation more of a Protestant identity than a Catholic identity," said Jonah, at the inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, held in Bedford, Texas.

"We need to pick up where they left off. The question has been: Does that Anglican church, which came so close to being declared by the other Orthodox churches a fellow Orthodox church, does that still exist?"

A voice in the crowd shouted, "It does!"

"Here, it does," agreed Jonah, stressing the word "here."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

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Posted April 7, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Holy God, holy and mighty, who hast called us together into one communion and fellowship: Open our eyes, we pray thee, as you opened the eyes of thy servant Tikhon, that we may see the faithfulness of others as we strive to be steadfast in the faith delivered unto us, that the world may see and know Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, be glory and praise unto ages of ages. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments
Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out--still so chilling and sobering so many years later.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMediaRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

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Posted April 4, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted April 4, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted April 4, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We thank thee, Lord God, for all the benefits thou hast given us in thy Son Jesus Christ, our most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, and for all the pains and insults he hath borne for us; and we pray that, following the example of thy saintly bishop Richard of Chichester, we may see Christ more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 3, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Expect only a short letter, for I have much to do. It is a stormy morning. Our tent, however, holds well. The trench dug round about it leads off all the water, and we are left within perfectly dry. Our little house was to have been finished,--I mean the shell up, ready for use,--by the 15th of this month; but it has been delayed many days longer; yet we hope to enter it by the middle of this week. Until three or four days since, we had no bedding or buffalo robes. We had two tents loaned to us, but we pitched only one, so we put the other at night on the ground, and slept on it. Tell our excellent neighbor, Mrs. Myers, that both the overcoat and gown, which she gave to me, have been of the greatest service to me at this time. The most of my clothing was boxed up at Nashotah, and sent by another route from that which we traveled, so that I could make no use of it at this time, when it would have been so serviceable; but the above coat was strapped to the top of one of my trunks, and the gown was in it, so I felt thankful to her for several nights of greater comfort than I should otherwise have had. For the bed was rather hard under the best of circumstances; but, after two or three nights, I could sleep as soundly as I have ever, done in the best of chambers, and now it is nothing. This is Monday morning. On Saturday Mr. Merrick accompanied me to Cottage Grove, a point that we had not yet visited. Our road lay through an uninhabited country, which yet is the condition of most of Minnesota. Only here and there is a settler, and occasionally a settlement. This, though harder for us, is better for the Church. I mean to say, dearest Kate, that the earlier the Church enters a new country, the better it will be for the Church, after a few years. But I purposed telling you about our visit to Cottage Grove. This is a settlement of about twenty farmers, within a circuit of about five miles. We had an introduction to one of the settlers, but could not learn from him that there was so much as a single Church family in the settlement. There was no school-house consequently, in the event of an appointment, we should be under the necessity of holding Divine Service in a private house, and this would be rather a favor to us than the contrary. Finding that some one of the denominations had made an appointment for the next day, we made ours by invitation for the Sunday after next at 3 P.M., intending in the morning of that day to celebrate service at Point Douglass, which is eight or ten miles to the south, at the junction of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. We hope, under GOD, to establish the Church at the Grove and other like places, although several years may elapse before we can see churches arise, and communicants surrounding their altars. There is not a church or the first sign of the Church at that point. What a triumph if the Church can be brought to thrive there! With GOD rests what shall be done, yet we must employ our unceasing efforts to bring down the blessing. We had now walked about twenty miles to the Grove. It was also nearly two o'clock. What should be done? The next day was Sunday. Finding that we could not accomplish anything more here at present, we made inquiries after an English family that we learned was somewhere hereabouts, and found them to be living within five miles, and accordingly at once directed our steps thitherwards. Our road now lay over a prairie. The sun was very warm and we were tired, but on we traveled, thirsty enough to drink up rivers, for since morning we had drunk nothing but warm brook water or rain water. At length we reached a house, and calling for water, the man brought us a nice beverage of molasses, ginger and water, excusing himself by saying that the well was out of water, and that which he and the family used was warm. We drank, you may be sure, freely and safely of this. We were now within half a mile of the Englishman's house, about the only English family as yet in Minnesota. We now quickly found our way to the log-cabin of Mr. Jackson, and the result of our visit was, that we remained under his roof the rest of the day and night, and in the morning at 10:30 o'clock held Divine Service, and preached to his family only. No appointment was made for others. Here was 4 quiet missionary visit, a seeking out in the wilderness the lost sheep of CHRIST'S flock. This old man (sixty years of age) for three years--the period that had elapsed since he left England, --had not had the opportunity of the Church's services. He was d communicant, also his wife and daughter (married). The son-in-law had only been baptized in the Church, appeared to be attached to the Church, and engaged in the services understandingly. There was also a son (eighteen years of age) and a grandchild in the house, making six members of CHRIST'S flock under this one roof.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipMissions* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Teach thy Church, O Lord, we beseech thee, to value and support pioneering and courageous missionaries, whom thou callest, as thou didst thy servant James Lloyd Breck, to preach and teach, and plant thy Church in new regions; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted April 2, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Let us reflect on]...the light the mystics see when they meditate in the night hours, picking up their pens in the morning to write down their revelations. It is the light Moses saw in the darkness on Mount Sinai, where the glory of God came wrapped in dazzling darkness. Dionysius the Areopagite called it “the unapproachable light in which God dwells.”

My guess is that this idea is as incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it as it is indisputable to those who have. No one has described it better for me than Jacques Lusseyran, a blind French resistance fighter who wrote about his experience in a memoir called And There Was Light. Lusseyran was not born blind, though his parents noticed that he was having trouble reading and fitted him with glasses while he was still quite young. Beyond that, he was an ordinary boy who did all the things that other boys do, including getting into fights at school. During one such scuffle he fell hard against the corner of his teacher’s desk, driving one arm of his glasses deep into his right eye while another part of the frame tore the retina in his left. When he woke up in the hospital he could no longer see. His right eye was gone and the left was beyond repair. At the age of seven he was completely and permanently blind.

As he wrote in a second volume, he learned from the reactions of those around him what a total disaster this was. In those days blind people were swept to the margins of society, where those who could not learn how to cane chairs or play an instrument for religious services often became beggars. Lusseyran’s doctors suggested sending him to a residential school for the blind in Paris but his parents refused, wanting their son to stay in the local public school where he could learn to function in the seeing world. His mother learned Braille with him. He learned to use a Braille typewriter. The principal of his school ordered a special desk for him that was large enough to hold his extra equipment. But the best thing his parents did for him was never to pity him. They never described him as “unfortunate.” They were not among those who spoke of the “night” into which his blindness had pushed him. Soon after his accident his father, who deeply understood the spiritual life, said, “Always tell us when you discover something.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* TheologyAnthropologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted April 1, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A major refit of Leicester Cathedral to host the bones of Richard III has been given the go-ahead.

Delayed since September, plans to move the altar, wooden screens and fit new stained glass have now been backed by the Church of England's planning panel.

But details of a redesigned tomb for the king, a major source of argument, are being kept secret while a legal case about his reinterment is ongoing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted April 1, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who hast restored our human nature to heavenly glory through the perfect obedience of our Savior Jesus Christ: Keep alive in thy Church, we beseech thee, a passion for justice and truth; that we, like thy servant Federick Denison Maurice, may work and pray for the triumph of the kingdom of thy Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 1, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When all is done, the hell of hells, the torment of torments, is the everlasting absence of God, and the everlasting impossibility of returning to his presence...to fall out of the hands of the living God, is a horror beyond our expression, beyond our imagination.... What Tophet is not Paradise, what Brimstone is not Amber, what gnashing is not a comfort, what gnawing of the worme is not a tickling, what torment is not a marriage bed to this damnation, to be secluded eternally, eternally, eternally from the sight of God?
--From a sermon to the Earl of Carlisle in 1622

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyEschatology

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I can bring it so neare; but onely the worthy hearer, and the worthy receiver, can call this Lord this Jesus, this Christ, Immanuel God with us; onely that virgin soule, devirginated in the blood of Adam but restored in the blood of the Lambe hath this Ecce, this testimony, this assurance, that God is with him; they that have this Ecce, this testimony, in a rectified conscience, are Godfathers to this child Jesus and may call him Immanuel God with us for as no man can deceive God, so God can deceive no man; God cannot live in the darke himself neither can he leave those who are his in the darke: If he be with thee he will make thee see that he is with thee and never goe out of thy sight, till he have brought thee, where thou canst never goe out of his.

--John Donne (1572-1631), Preached at St. Pauls, upon Christmas Day, in the Evening, 1624

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I don’t relish writing about the same thing over and over (especially in light of World Vision’s stunning and humble reversal of their two day-old hiring policy). Believe me, if there were never the need to talk about homosexuality again, no one would cheer louder than me. But that’s not the world we live in. So here’s one more post.

I received an email yesterday afternoon to this effect: Could someone please give a short, simple explanation as to why the issue of homosexuality is not like Christians differing on baptism or the millennium? Many Christians are willing to say homosexuality is wrong, but they’d rather not argue about it. Why not broker an “agree to disagree” compromise? Why can’t we be “together for the gospel” despite our differing views on gay marriage? Why is this issue any different?

1. Approving of homosexual behavior violates the catholicity of the church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to'another due,
Labor to'admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly'I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me,'untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you'enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

--Holy Sonnet XIV

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being: Open our eyes to see, with thy servant John Donne, that whatsoever hath any being is a mirror in which we may behold thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / HomileticsSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 4:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Waiving this question, therefore, I proceed to others, which appear to me, I own, at the present moment especially, of the very gravest practical import.

What are the symptoms, by which one may judge most fairly, whether or no a nation, as such, is becoming alienated from God and Christ?

And what are the particular duties of sincere Christians, whose lot is cast by Divine Providence in a time of such dire calamity?

The conduct of the Jews, in asking for a king, may furnish an ample illustration of the first point : the behaviour of Samuel, then and afterwards, supplies as perfect a pattern of the second, as can well be expected from human nature.

I. The case is at least possible, of a nation, having for centuries acknowledged, as an essential part of its theory of government, that, as a Christian nation, she is also a part of Christ's Church, and bound, in all her legislation and policy, by the fundamental rules of that Church—the case is, I say, conceivable, of a government and people, so constituted, deliberately throwing off the restraint, which in many respects such a principle would impose on them, nay, disavowing the principle itself ; and that, on the plea, that other states, as flourishing or more so in regard of wealth and dominion, do well enough without it. Is not this desiring, like the Jews, to have an earthly king over them, when the Lord their God is their King? Is it not saying in other words, 'We will be as the heathen, the families of the countries,' the aliens to the Church of our Redeemer?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know thy presence and obey thy will; that, following the example of thy servant John Keble, we may accomplish with integrity and courage that which thou givest us to do, and endure that which thou givest us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 29, 2014 at 6:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1899 a relatively obscure priest working in a City Mission in the slums of South Boston was compiling a book on prayer from articles he had written for the Saint Andrew’s Cross, a magazine of the recently established lay order of the Protestant Episcopal Church known as the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Seven years before, this celibate priest had left the Order of the Cowley Father’s whose House was just across the Charles River in Cambridge. Although he left the order over a dispute between his superior, Fr. A. C. A. Hall and the Order’s Father Superior in England, the young priest never left the inward embrace of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience—even less did he leave behind the spiritual disciplines of the religious life he had learned so well under Fr. Hall’s steady hand. Somewhere between his pastoral and social work among the sordidness and squalor of the South End—replete with red light district, street waifs, immigrants and vagrants— and his late night vigils of intercessory prayer or early mornings spent in meditation, not to mention the full round of parish duties, he found the time to write. In the final chapter of his little book, With God in the World, he wrote words that now appear as strangely prescient for his own life: “Men—we are not thinking of butterflies—cannot exist without difficulty. To be shorn of it means death, because inspiration is bound up with it, and inspiration is the breath of God, without the constant influx of which man ceases to be a living soul. Responsibility is the sacrament of inspiration. . . . The fault of most modern prophets is not that they present too high an ideal, but an ideal that is sketched with a faltering hand; the appeal to self-sacrifice is too timid and imprecise, the challenge to courage is too low-voiced, with the result that the tide of inspiration ebbs and flows.” He was to parse this belief taking root in his soul, with the phrase “the inspiration of responsibility”. Within two short years he would have the opportunity to test these words with his life.

His name was Charles Henry Brent, born the son of an Anglican clergyman from New Castle, Ontario in 1862. How Charles Brent, a Canadian by birth, came to be a priest in of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and under the episcopacy of the renowned Phillips Brooks, and later, the almost equally celebrated Bishop William Lawrence, is itself an interesting story we haven’t time to explore. Suffice to say that God seemed to be grooming through the seemingly quixotic twists and turns of providence a bishop not merely for the church or for one nation, but for the world—a man, of whom it could be said, he was Everybody’s Bishop.

You may find Part One there and Part Two here. Take the time to read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

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Posted March 27, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heavenly Father, whose Son did pray that we all might be one: deliver us, we beseech thee, from arrogance and prejudice, and give us wisdom and forbearance, that, following thy servant Charles Henry Brent, we may be united in one family with all who confess the Name of thy Son Jesus Christ: who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 27, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...[George] Herbert emphasises that all knowledge, from any source, is good. "There is no knowledge, but, in a skilful hand, serves either positively as it is, or else to illustrate some other knowledge". We have already seen, for example in the second of this series, that Herbert deployed imagery from every field of knowledge known in his day – science, rhetoric, philosophy, economics and so on – in his poetry. There is no hint in his work that there might be any kind of conflict between religious truth and other kinds of truth.

This is very important in my own understanding of my faith, and in how I read the Bible and everything else. God is truth. So any kind of truth cannot be something for Christians to be afraid of, whether it is the discovery of evolutionary processes, the detection of the Higgs boson, or archaeological investigations that show that a particular Old Testament story is an inaccurate portrayal of historical events. If these things are true, then God is in them, and we should be unafraid of correcting older perceptions of the truth.

Having said that parsons should esteem all knowledge, Herbert goes on to say that the Bible will, of course, be their most important source of wisdom. But the first thing he says is not that the Bible contains facts, but essential food: "There [the parson] sucks and lives." There is an echo of his earlier poem here, with its reference to sucking honey, but the force of the image here is of breastfeeding. Herbert is imagining, as the medieval mystics did before him, that he and we are like children at the breast when it comes to reading the Bible.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is the revivalist style of at least some members of the New Calvinism punctuated by constant references to Jonathan Edwards and the rise of charismatic Calvinism that has many Old School Presbyterians concerned. Piper side-stepped the main issue between the two camps: from an Old-School perspective the New Calvinism smacks of the evangelical revivalism of a D. L. Moody, or, more to the point, the baseball-player-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday (insert Mark Driscoll reference here). Sunday once called the novelist Sinclair Lewis “Satan’s cohort” in response to Lewis’s 1927 satirical novel Elmer Gantry, whose main character—a hypocritical evangelist—was modeled on Sunday’s flamboyant style.

That older coalition of Congregationalists, Baptists, and New School Presbyterians combined dispensationalism, celebrity revivalism, and fundamentalism—the very traits that Old School Presbyterians disliked then and now. It is not without some irony that Piper acknowledged the important role of Westminster Seminary while not even mentioning that it was the epicenter of Old School Presbyterianism with its anti-revivalist and cessationist stance (at the end of his lecture Piper got a laugh when he said, “you don’t even want to know my eschatology.” Indeed!).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptistsPresbyterianReformed* Theology

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Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O, how wonderful is Thy goodness, for it is unlike all other good things. I desire to come to Thee; and all that I have need of on the way I desire from Thee, and chiefly that without which I can not come to Thee. If Thou forsake me, I perish; yet I know that Thou wilt not forsake me unless I forsake Thee; nor will I forsake Thee, for Thou art the highest good. There is none who rightly seeketh Thee that doth not find Thee. He alone seeketh Thee aright whom Thou teachest aright to seek Thee, and how he should seek Thee. O, good Father, free me entirely from the error in which I have hitherto wandered, and yet wander; and teach me the way in which no foe can encounter me before I come to Thee. If I love naught above Thee, I beseech Thee that I may find Thee; and if I desire any thing beyond measure and wrongly, deliver me from it. Make me worthy to behold Thee.
--Saint Augustine's Soliloquies, Book I

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Theology

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Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A shell of a church in Liverpool struck by a bomb in World War Two could be sold, according to the city's mayor.

Talks about the future of St Luke's Church, which was destroyed by a bomb in 1941, were ongoing Joe Anderson said.

He added it would only be sold if the buyer protected it as a tribute to those who died in World War Two.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You’ll recognise the motifs on the badge from today’s 2nd lesson. ‘Take up the whole armour of God’ says Ephesians: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. The author’s appeal to his readers is vivid and urgent. ‘Be strong in the Lord…so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.’ Combative stuff. But it fits exactly into the world-view of the first and second generations of Christians. They believed themselves to be warriors of light and truth in an alien, hostile universe. And just as Christ in his descent into hell had harrowed it, ransoming his own and rescuing them from the demonic clutch of death and Satan, so now the church was called bravely to battle against evil by witnessing to the gospel’s redeeming power and by turning human lives round from the oppressions of terror and wickedness to the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Move the clock forward by six centuries, and we come to St Cuthbert whom we celebrated last week. There is a so-called ‘Celtic’ perception of our northern saint, and there is the truth. The fantasy is that he was a kind of proto-romantic who took himself off to the Inner Farne for peace, quiet, and plenty of time to contemplate ducks. The more austere truth is that he went to the Farne to fight, Bede says, to ‘seek out a remote battlefield farther away from his fellows’. For him, to be a hermit was to wrestle with evil, the demons within and those without. This warfare was not, or not principally, a private affair. It was an act of the church whereby the ever-threatening forces of chaos and disorder were kept at bay by those called, so to speak, to front-line service. The consolations of the Farne were, to quote the title of a book about desert spirituality, ‘the solace of fierce landscapes’. There is nothing perfumed or rose-hued about Cuthbert’s struggle for the good, the life-giving and the just. Like all who are valiant for truth, like the prophets and apostles, like the desert fathers and Irish monks, like Jesus himself, it cost him everything. He lived for it, and in the end he died for it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted March 24, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador, we may without fear or favor witness to thy Word who abideth, thy Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryCentral America--El Salvador* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted March 24, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and everlasting God, the source and perfection of all virtues, who didst inspire thy servant James de Koven to do what is right and to preach what is true: Grant that all ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may afford to thy faithful people, by word and example, the knowledge of thy grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 22, 2014 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the end, repentance, not love, has come to symbolise Cranmer himself, his life's work being interpreted by his last days. In the eyes of his critics, Cranmer's recantations prove that at best he was weak and vacillating. In the hearts of his admirers, however, Cranmer's last-minute renunciation of his recantations proved his true commitment to the Protestant faith. But what of Cranmer himself, how did he interpret his last days and the meaning they gave to his life? According to a contemporary account, having previously been distraught, Cranmer came to the stake with a cheerful countenance and willing mind.

Fire being now put to him, he stretched out his right Hand, and thrust it into the Flame, and held it there a good space, before the Fire came to any other Part of his Body; where his Hand was seen of every Man sensibly burning, crying with a loud Voice, This Hand hath offended. As soon as the Fire got up, he was very soon Dead, never stirring or crying all the while.
His Catholic executioners surely thought Cranmer was making satisfaction to his Protestant God. Yet his doctrine of repentance would have taught him otherwise, for the God he served saved the unworthy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Theology

3 Comments
Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Merciful God, who through the work of Thomas Cranmer didst renew the worship of thy Church by restoring the language of the people, and through whose death didst reveal thy power in human weakness: Grant that by thy grace we may always worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 21, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts: to the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 4:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Thomas Ken grace and courage to bear witness to the truth before rulers and kings: Give us also thy strength that, following his example, we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By Marsden's reading, the 1960's should be understood as both an outgrowth of 1950's themes of autonomy and authenticity and, more widely, a reaction against the combination of unprincipled mushiness and clubby exclusivity that characterized consensus liberalism. The supposed end of ideology brought its opposite: a passionate decade of politics characterized by various and sometimes contradictory convictions. First came a rebellion on the Right that ranged from William F. Buckley to the John Birch Society and culminated in the nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Then came the SDS, New Left, anti-war movement, Black Panthers, and street demonstrations outside the Democratic convention in 1968.

This dynamic has been ongoing. Marsden interprets the rise of the religious right in the 1970's and 1980's as a reaction against the moral relativism implicit in consensus liberalism. In his 1970 book, Dare to Discipline, James Dobson put forward a view of principled parenting, as it were, and he did so in self-conscious opposition to the open-ended, flexible, pragmatic liberal style. Francis Schaeffer made the political dimension explicit. In A Christian Manifesto, published in 1981, he issued a rallying call for Christians to fight against relativistic secular humanism and to restore America as a Christian nation.

Little has changed. As an undergraduate I remember futile arguments about racial diversity and affirmative action. For the sake of equality we were to give preferences on the basis of race. Ok, I'd ask, how much preference? For how long? How would we know when we had a truly "diverse" student body? No answers were forthcoming, or rather lots of answers, some contradictory. Beneath, behind, and above these discussions was the conviction that, justifiable or not, diversity and affirmative action were necessities. Progressive policies had to move forward one way or another, and we could and should trust the well-meaning liberals in positions of responsibility to make good, fair judgments--even though nobody could define what "fair" meant in these circumstances. Moreover, dissent was severely punished.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksHistory* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted March 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasSpirituality/Prayer* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 19, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire or download the MP3.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisGlobal South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON I 2008* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyEschatologySoteriologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

2 Comments
Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Strengthen, O Lord, we beseech thee, the bishops of thy Church in their special calling to be teachers and ministers of the Sacraments, that they, like thy servant Cyril of Jerusalem, may effectively instruct thy people in Christian faith and practice; and that we, taught by them, may enter more fully into celebration of the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anicia Faltonia Proba (died AD 432) was a Christian Roman noblewoman. She had the distinction of knowing both St. Augustine, who was the greatest theologian of the first millennium of Christian history, as well as John Chrysostom, who was its greatest preacher. We have two letters of Augustine to Proba, and the first (Letter 130) is the only single, substantial treatment on the subject of prayer that St. Augustine ever wrote.

I had the chance to read the letter over the Christmas holidays and was impressed with its common sense and some of its unusual insights. Proba wrote Augustine because she was afraid that she wasn’t praying as she should. Augustine responded with several principles or rules for prayer.

The first rule is completely counter-intuitive. St. Augustine wrote that before anyone can turn to the question of what to pray and how to pray it, they must first be a particular kind of person. What kind is that? He writes: “You must account yourself ‘desolate’ in this world, however great the prosperity of your lot may be.” He argues that no matter how great your earthly circumstances they cannot bring us the peace, happiness, and consolation that are found in Christ. The scales must fall from our eyes and we must see that—if we don’t all our prayers will go wrong.

Second, he says, you can begin to pray....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAfrica* Theology

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everett L. "Terry" Fullam, who served as rector of St. Paul's, Darien, Conn., famous as tall steeple parish in the mainline Protestant renewal movement, died today. He was 82.

News of his passing came as a result of Bishop Gregory Brewer, Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, who tweeted this afternoon, "Just heard that Terry Fullam passed away. A generation ago he was a hero."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted March 16, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Post-Reformation England was jittery with fears of a Catholic revival. Sir Francis Walsingham, the spymaster and priest-hunter at the court of Elizabeth I, regarded Jesuits as a sinister sect involved in popish attempts to dethrone his patron-monarch. Spain’s ill-fated attack on England in 1588 intensified Walsingham’s clampdown on perceived traitors. In the paranoid post-Armada years, Jesuits and other “Romish” suspects were smoked out of hiding and publicly executed.

Historian Jessie Childs won the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography with her first book, Henry VIII’s Last Victim. Now she has written a superb account of cloak-and-dagger religious intrigue in Tudor England. God’s Traitors describes a John le Carré-like world of political double-dealing and “spiery” (as the Elizabethans called it). This was a time when moles were planted in Catholic seminaries abroad and Elizabethan diplomacy created a looking-glass war in which priest was turned against priest, informant against informant.

The brutal and insistent Protestant dogma under Elizabeth I had much in common with the anti-Protestant Inquisition in Spain. The Spanish courts of inquiry controlled by Philip II, like the Tudor courts of inquiry controlled by his arch-enemy Elizabeth I, extracted confessions by means of the rack or burning tongs. Its methods of intimidation and control were designed above all to spread fear and suspicion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooks

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Posted March 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For Dr. Houck, a believing Christian, the preponderance of these sermons got at what he considered a neglected aspect of civil rights history. As much as the movement fought for political rights, it also catalyzed a theological struggle about whether God wanted black people to be treated equally, as his children, or unequally in accordance with certain biblical passages condoning slavery.

“I saw the extent to which Christians used the Scripture to shield their own prejudices,” Dr. Houck said. “These white ministers with Ph.D.’s and enormous congregations were saying, ‘If you need a scriptural warrant to go on with your way of life, here it is.’ That was a hard one to look in the mirror on.”

So it struck him as both revelatory and redemptive to find a white minister in quite possibly the most volatile racial setting of its time — a place where townspeople routinely dismissed the reported murders as a hoax perpetrated by outside agitators to embarrass the South — willing “to stand up and call out the Klan.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

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Posted March 15, 2014 at 9:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1941, Tolkien wrote a masterful letter to his son Michael, dealing with marriage and the realities of human sexuality. The letter reflects Tolkien’s Christian worldview and his deep love for his sons, and at the same time, also acknowledges the powerful dangers inherent in unbridled sexuality.

“This is a fallen world,” Tolkien chided. “The dislocation of sex-instinct is one of the chief symptoms of the Fall. The world has been ‘going to the bad’ all down the ages. The various social forms shift, and each new mode has its special dangers: but the ‘hard spirit of concupiscence’ has walked down every street, and sat leering in every house, since Adam fell.” This acknowledgement of human sin and the inevitable results of the Fall stands in stark contrast to the humanistic optimism that was shared by so many throughout the 20th century. Even when the horrors of two world wars, the Holocaust, and various other evils chastened the century’s dawning optimism of human progress, the 20th century gave evidence of an unshakable faith in sex and its liberating power. Tolkien would have none of this.

“The devil is endlessly ingenious, and sex is his favorite subject,” Tolkien insisted. “He is as good every bit at catching you through generous romantic or tender motives, as through baser or more animal ones.” Thus, Tolkien advised his young son, then 21, that the sexual fantasies of the 20th century were demonic lies, intended to ensnare human beings. Sex was a trap, Tolkien warned, because human beings are capable of almost infinite rationalization in terms of sexual motives. Romantic love is not sufficient as a justification for sex, Tolkien understood.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 14, 2014 at 4:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The fateful decision has brought on charges from conservatives that...[Bishop Michael Ingham] is a blasphemer who is willing to split the Anglican Church to suit his taste for social change. Since then, 15 of the Anglican Church's 38 primates, the top Anglican leaders worldwide, have denounced Bishop Ingham's action and have either suspended or entirely severed ecclesiastical relations with his diocese.

In a scornful statement, the primates -- representing 38 million Anglicans from Africa, Asia and Latin America -- wrote in June that Bishop Ingham's decision to bless same-sex unions represented ''a defining moment in which the clear choice has to be made between remaining a communion or disintegrating into a federation of churches.''

In greater Vancouver, 8 of the 80 parishes have withheld payments to Bishop Ingham's diocese and 7 of them have voted to have the conservative bishop of Yukon minister to them in what has become a virtual civil war within the diocese. ''The dispute over Bishop Ingham's decision to bless same-sex unions is dangerously close to producing a worldwide schism,'' said Stephen A. Kent, a sociologist of religion at the University of Alberta, ''reminiscent of the original Anglican schism from Catholicism in the 1500's as a reaction to issues involving marriage, divorce, blessed unions and authority.''

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of CanadaSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

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Posted March 14, 2014 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most gracious God, by the calling of thy servant James Theodore Holly thou gavest us our first bishop of African-American heritage. In his quest for life and freedom, he led thy people from bondage into a new land and established the Church in Haiti. Grant that, inspired by his testimony, we may overcome our prejudice and honor those whom thou callest from every family, language, people, and nation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryCaribbeanHaiti

1 Comments
Posted March 13, 2014 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...often the wicked so devote themselves to the practice of sin that they succeed in doing more wickedness than they would have been able to learn from the bad example of reprobate sinners. For this reason the torment of greater punishment is inflicted on them, in that they, by their own initiative, sought out greater ways of sinning, for which they are to be punished. Consequently it is well said: "According to the multitude of his devices, so shall he suffer [a citation from Job 20:18]. For he would not find out new ways of sinning unless he sought them out, and he would not seek out such things unless he were anxious to do them deliberately. Therefore, in his punishment, this excess in devising wickedness is taken into account, and he receives proportionate punishment and retribution. And even though the suffering of the damned is infinite, nevertheless they receive greater punishments who, by their own desires, sought out many new ways of sinning.

--Gregory the Great (540-604), Book of Morals 15.18.22

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyEschatology

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Posted March 12, 2014 at 4:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and merciful God, who didst raise up Gregory of Rome to be a servant of the servants of God, and didst inspire him to send missionaries to preach the Gospel to the English people: Preserve in thy Church the catholic and apostolic faith they taught, that thy people, being fruitful in every good work, may receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

1 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Glorious God, we give thanks not merely for high and holy things, but for the common things of earth which thou hast created: Wake us to love and work, that Jesus, the Lord of life, may set our hearts ablaze and that we, like Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, may recognize thee in thy people and in thy creation, serving the holy and undivided Trinity; who livest and reignest throughout all ages of ages. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 8, 2014 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God the King of saints, who didst strengthen thy servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 7, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tsarist power is long gone, and the Soviet regime that succeeded it had no time for mystical visions. Yet, as that Soviet idea perished in its turn, Russians have turned once more to the religious roots of national ideology. Post-Soviet regimes have worked intimately with the Orthodox Church, which has been happy to support strong government and to consecrate national occasions. In return, the state has helped the church rebuild Orthodox cathedrals and monasteries aplenty. For 20 years now, both state and church have even labored to reconstruct the once potent Russian presence in the holy places themselves, now of course under Israeli political control.

Why are we surprised to see this new holy Russia extend its protecting arm over the Christian-backed Ba'athist regime in Syria? Russian regimes have been staking a claim to guard that region's Christians for 250 years.

It would be pleasant to think that the U.S. and Europe are taking these religious factors into full account as they calculate their response to the present crisis in Crimea and Ukraine. Pleasant, but unlikely.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine

1 Comments
Posted March 6, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Divine Physician, your Name is blessed for the work and witness of the Mayos and the Menningers, and the revolutionary developments that they brought to the practice of medicine. As Jesus went about healing the sick as a sign of the reign of God come near, bless and guide all those inspired to the work of healing by thy Holy Spirit, that they may follow his example for the sake of thy kingdom and the health of thy people; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Ame

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine

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Posted March 6, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Confess your faults one to another" (Jas. 5:16). He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. This pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. so we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!

But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. "My son, give me thine heart" (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates sin.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

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Posted March 5, 2014 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you study any philosophical treatise of our present era you will with almost absolute certainty not encounter the concept, and much less the expression, “the truth of all things.” This is no mere accident. The generally prevailing philosophical thinking of our time has no room at all for this concept; it is, as it were, “not provided for.” It makes sense to speak of truth with regard to thoughts, ideas, statements, opinions—but not with regard to things. Our judgments regarding reality may be true (or false); but to label as “true” reality itself, the “things,” appears to be rather meaningless, mere nonsense. Things are real, not “true”!

Looking at the historical development of this situation, we find that there is much more to it than the simple fact of a certain concept or expression not being used; we find not merely the “neutral” absence, as it were, of a certain way of thinking. No, the nonuse and absence of the concept, “the truth of all things,” is rather the result of a long process of biased discrimination and suppression or, to use a less aggressive term: of elimination.
--Josef Pieper: An Anthology (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989 E.T. of the 1981 original), pp. 95-96

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchPhilosophy* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1955 Bishop Benitez enrolled in St Luke's School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee to study for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church. He was ordained in the Diocese of Florida in 1958 and assigned to St James Episcopal Church, Lake City, Florida. For two years (1961-62) he served as Canon Pastor of St John's Cathedral, Jacksonville, Florida, before being called as Rector of Grace Church, Ocala, Florida.
His years in Ocala were challenging ones in the life of the Church. The tensions of the civil rights movement caused Bishop Benitez to receive threats and hate messages as he stood up boldly against segregation. His parish school was the first in the area to be integrated, a step taken well before the public school system did the same. Still, he was held in such wide respect that when the public system's teachers later went on strike, he was asked by both sides to act as mediator of the dispute.
In 1968 he was called as Rector to Christ Church, San Antonio. There he introduced the exciting renewal program "Faith Alive!", which soon spread successfully throughout Texas and beyond. During his time there, he was elected to serve first on the Board of Trustees and then the Board of Regents of The University of the South, Sewanee, TN. He was called to the Church of St John the Divine in Houston in 1974, where he continued to implement popular forms of Christian renewal and evangelism. He served as chair of the diocesan programs of Christian Stewardship in both the Diocese of Texas and West Texas. Both dioceses elected him several terms as clerical deputy (representative) to the Episcopal Church's General Convention.
He was elected sixth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and was consecrated on September 13, 1980 in Houston. For fifteen years he loved the privilege and responsibility of leading one of the strongest dioceses in the nation. One of his greatest joys was to continue the long example by which Texas presented more people of all ages for confirmation than any other diocese in the Episcopal Church. His first years as bishop coincided with the massive national capital campaign known as Venture in Mission in which the Episcopal Church raised funds for missionary efforts at home and abroad. The Diocese of Texas led all dioceses in total funds raised.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals

6 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O holy and ever-blessed Jesus, who being the eternal Son of God and most high in the glory of the Father, didst vouchsafe in love for us sinners to be born of a pure virgin, and didst humble thyself unto death, even the death of the cross : Deepen within us, we beseech thee, a due sense of thy infinite love; that adoring and believing in thee as our Lord and Saviour, we may trust in thy infinite merits, imitate thy holy example, obey thy commands, and finally enjoy thy promises; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, one God, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist

0 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.

Mild He lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner Man:
O! to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.

--You can find the 1940 Episcopal Hymnal version here (the 5th stanza is missing). The 1982 Episcopal Hymnal only includes the first three verses (with modified language)--KSH

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship

0 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lord God, who didst inspire thy servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and didst endow them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in thy Church, we beseech thee, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known thy Christ may turn to him and be saved; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist

0 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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