Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1877/78-1960) wended his way into my doctoral research in 1999. Ian Markham commenced his study of Nursi in 2002. Of the relatively short list of English-language scholarly books about Nursi, several contain an essay by one or both of us. Markham, however, has gone steps farther than I. He included a chapter on Nursi in his Theology of Engagement (Blackwell, 2003); and significantly, of the English-language scholarly books on Nursi, Markham’s name is on the front cover of three, including the two texts under review here.

Who is Nursi? A Kurdish-Turkish scholar and spiritual leader, his public career overlapped two world wars, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey’s subsequent efforts to establish a different kind of government and national identity. His disciples — an extensive global community — see him as an Islamic restorationist, a God-sent reviver of the religion for the 20th century and beyond. Hence, they often refer to him by the honorific Bediuzzaman, that is, Wonder of the Age. His disciples are ardent students of his legacy, having produced more than 5,000 pages of thematically organized Qur’an commentary, practical spiritual guidance, and correspondence, most of which is published as the multi-volume Risale-i Nur (Epistles of Light). Nursi’s biography is compelling; but wading into his Risale can be daunting. He has his modern-day detractors, the government of Russia among them. Ian Markham’s Nursi projects offer guidance toward understanding and appreciation of Bediuzzaman.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted March 4, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The case was called The Episcopal Church v. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and the Supreme Court denied Petition for certiorari. Note carefully the numerous links provided, including, for example, Brief the amici curiae of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the new Episcopal Church Diocese in South Carolina.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 4, 2015 at 5:30 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

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Found here (right hand side at the top under the "News").

Update--email from the Diocese:
Court rules for Fort Worth Diocese and Corporation...Late this afternoon, Judge Chupp released his ruling in our case. We praise God for His faithfulness. Bishop Iker will have a full statement tomorrow.
Partial Summary granted with exception on claims to do with All Saints Episcopal Fort Worth.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted March 2, 2015 at 6:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The General Convention of 1789 met at Philadelphia on July 8, with the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina represented by clerical and lay deputies. For the first time in the history of the American Church a bishop--William White of Pennsylvania--was present at a General Convention. Bishop Seabury, smarting under some question as to the validity of his consecration by Scotch bishops, was absent, as was also Provoost, Bishop of New York "detained by indisposition." There was no representation from the dioceses of New England. By this time the need for the unity of the church was pressing and the convention was adjourned till September "for the purpose of settling articles of union, discipline, uniformity of worship, and general government among all the churches in the United States."

When the adjourned Convention met, Bishop Seabury was present together with deputies from Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, this being the first time the New England churches were represented in General Convention. Certain modifications were made in the Constitution to meet the views of New England, and on October 2 it was finally adopted. The Convention then separated into two houses--the House of Bishops and the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies.

The way was now open to proceed to the adoption of a Book of Common Prayer for the American Church. Immediately a difference of opinion manifested itself. The Bishops held that the English Prayer Book was still the Liturgy of the American Church and that "it should be taken as the book in which some alterations were contemplated." On the other hand, the Deputies took the position "that there were no forms of prayer, no offices and no rubrics until they should be formed by the Convention now assembled." Hence they appointed committees to "prepare" the various offices.

The revision covered a period of thirteen days....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship--Book of Common Prayer* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted March 2, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This year is an ignominious anniversary for Mainline Protestantism, commemorating a half century of continuous decline since their membership peaks in the early 1960s. Fifty years ago one of every six Americans belonged to the Seven Sisters of Mainline Protestantism. Today it’s one of every 16 and plunging. Membership has dropped from 30 million to 20 million during a time when Americas population has nearly doubled. And it did so despite Gallup Poll’s insistence that overall church attendance has remained essentially the same for about the last 80 years.

In our current post denominational age, many question why this decline matters. Who cares about the Mainline except the dwindling and increasingly aged members who remain? After all, haven’t evangelical churches, especially nondenominationals, plus Catholicism, more than filled the void? Wasn’t it time for the Mainline to leave the stage, having more than played its part in American and Christian history across 4 centuries? And in the end, didn’t they deserve their own demise?

The answers are yes and no.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranMethodistPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ* Theology

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Posted March 2, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, whose servant Chad, for the peace of the Church, relinquished cheerfully the honors that had been thrust upon him, only to be rewarded with equal responsibility: Keep us, we pray thee, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to give place to others, (in honor preferring one another,) that the cause of Christ may be advanced; in the name of him who washed his disciples' feet, even the same thy Son 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 2, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oh King of grief! (a title strange, yet true,
To thee of all kings only due)
Oh King of wounds! how shall I grieve for thee,
Who in all grief preventest me?
Shall I weep blood? why thou has wept such store
That all thy body was one door.
Shall I be scourged, flouted, boxed, sold?
'Tis but to tell the tale is told.
'My God, my God, why dost thou part from me? '
Was such a grief as cannot be.

But how then shall I imitate thee, and
Copy thy fair, though bloody hand?
Surely I will revenge me on thy love,
And try who shall victorious prove.
If thou dost give me wealth, I will restore
All back unto thee by the poor.
If thou dost give me honour, men shall see,
The honour doth belong to thee.
I will not marry; or, if she be mine,
She and her children shall be thine.
My bosom friend, if he blaspheme thy name,
I will tear thence his love and fame.
One half of me being gone, the rest I give
Unto some Chapel, die or live.
As for thy passion - But of that anon,
When with the other I have done.
For thy predestination I'll contrive,
That three years hence, if I survive,
I'll build a spittle, or mend common ways,
But mend mine own without delays.
Then I will use the works of thy creation,
As if I us'd them but for fashion.
The world and I will quarrel; and the year
Shall not perceive, that I am here.
My music shall find thee, and ev'ry string
Shall have his attribute to sing;
That all together may accord in thee,
And prove one God, one harmony.
If thou shalt give me wit, it shall appear;
If thou hast giv'n it me, 'tis here.
Nay, I will read thy book, and never move
Till I have found therein thy love;
Thy art of love, which I'll turn back on thee,
O my dear Saviour, Victory!
Then for thy passion - I will do for that -
Alas, my God, I know not what.

--George Herbert (1593-1633)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our God and King, who didst call thy servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in thy temple: Give unto us the grace, we beseech thee, joyfully to perform the tasks thou givest us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for thy sake; 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 HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Neuhaus sympathized with [many so-called 'conservatives'] grievances—over abortion and gay rights, challenges to school prayer and to Christian displays in public, and the coarsening of American culture. But he rejected their solution because the groups, he wrote, saw no reason “to engage the Christian message in conversation with public and universal discourse outside the circle of true believers.” Neuhaus instead affirmed the core premise of Enlightenment political thought: the differentiation of public authority into separate, autonomous spheres that valued individual rights.

He argued that the strongest support for these rights came from the Judeo-Christian tradition’s foundational conviction: We are made in the image of God. Demanding absolute obedience to political dictates, whether in the name of God or something else, would undo centuries of political progress, and goes against God’s own gift of free will to every human person.

And so he rejected the Christian right’s political project of establishing an explicitly Christian America. He further reasoned that if the right’s only argument for how Christians could contribute to American public life was through exclusively religious dictates, then it made sense that secular elites were pushing back so strongly.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 27, 2015 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.

John Keble (1792-1866)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted February 27, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...ECUSA argued, Bishop Lawrence should have been prevented, by the doctrine of "judicial estoppel," from so changing course and citing All Saints as a precedent to Judge Goodstein. Instead, they contended, he was required to stick to the same old arguments his predecessor had made before the South Carolina Supreme Court's 2009 ruling.

Except -- their argument overlooked one small but highly significant detail: as a decision by the State's highest court, All Saints Waccamaw is binding on all churches similarly situated -- including specifically, the Episcopal Church which had lost its argument to that Court -- and on all lower courts in South Carolina.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The motion had to be filed before an appeal can move forward.

“Their policy of using legal action to drain the finances of dissident congregations is not working. It only deflects denomination resources from projects to promote the faith and speeds the downward spiral of the Episcopal Church,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of South Carolina, whose parishes left the national church in 2012.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, “Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp!” No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, “Have respect to thy old age,” and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as], “Swear by the fortune of Cæsar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists.” But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, “Away with the Atheists.” Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, “Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;” Polycarp declared, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?”

--The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp, Chapter IX.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals

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Posted February 23, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, the maker of heaven and earth, who didst give to thy venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Saviour, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, after his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; 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 February 23, 2015 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is the truly revolutionary nature of the Gospel they [The Anglican reformers] found in Scripture. The red thread that runs throughout Cranmer's writings is this simple truth: the glory of God is to love the unworthy. For the early English Protestants, nothing established that principle as clearly as God's decision not to base salvation on personal merit....

--Ashley Null, Divine Allurement: Cranmer's Comfortable Words (Latimer Trust: 2014), p.8; quoted by yours truly in this morning's sermon

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted February 22, 2015 at 3:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...speaking of the gospel, notice the narrative shape of the creed. It tells the gospel story! Beginning with the one true God—who is self-sufficient and needful of nothing—creating the universe. It then goes on to detail the incarnation of God in flesh, giving us the historical detail of Christ’s birth and life and death. Then it moves on to the next plot point in the grand tale of redemption: the resurrection; then the ascension. And this is why the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the triune Godhead, equal in deity and one in substance with the Father and the Son, doesn’t appear until the latter portion of the creed. Confession of the Spirit coincides narratively with the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost after the ascension of Christ.

The Spirit empowers the gospel of Christ then to build the church, unite the saints in their spirits, and save the lost. Finally, the creed ends with the new beginning, the “end of days” part of the Bible’s gospel story, when the dead in Christ are raised incorruptible and the Lord’s return ushers in the eternal joy of the new heavens and the new earth. This is what “the life everlasting” corresponds to, in great keeping with the biblical forecast of Jesus’ renewing all things, not simply our receiving a ticket to heaven when we die.

When we read the creed in this way, then—as doxological confession and as proclamation of the gospel storyline of the Scriptures—we help ourselves see the powerful depth and beauty in the old familiar lines.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyChristologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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Posted February 22, 2015 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oral arguments on each side’s motion for partial summary judgement were heard this morning in a two-hour hearing before the Hon. John Chupp, and a ruling is expected from him soon. The judge asked for each side to submit proposed orders to him on Monday, Feb. 23. He will likely select one of them to sign, subject to any alterations he may wish to make.
In the course of the hearing before several dozen clergy and lay people, Judge Chupp asked each side, “What are you asking me for today?” The Plaintiffs argued for a “simple solution” acknowledging that the property is held in trust for the Diocese and Congregations by those individuals recognized by The Episcopal Church.

The Diocese and Corporation countered that, under neutral principles of law as mandated for the trial court to follow, the Dennis Canon has been found by the Texas Supreme Court to have been revoked, leaving the property in trust for the parishes and missions in fellowship with the Diocese, and only those individual defendants before the court are the duly-elected officers of the Diocese and the Corporation.

Judge Chupp posed a number of questions to the Plaintiffs during their presentation, and the discussion was frequently animated. Near the conclusion of the hearing he indicated a philosophical preference for local self-determination, asking, “Why do we need to have a ‘big government’ solution to this where a New York church says [what is best]?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 21, 2015 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For some fifteen or twenty years I have tried to read a sermon, or portion of a sermon, of Augustine every morning for spiritual reading. I had never read most of his sermons before, but now that I have, I have discovered a different Augustine from the one I had known and from the one known to people who are familiar only with his great works, the Confessions, the City of God, and the Trinity.

As I discovered the Augustine reflected in his preaching, I began to take notes of passages that particularly struck me either for personal reasons or because of their significance for my theological work, especially in ecclesiology. (It is an occupational hazard for theologians that almost anything they read, even for spiritual reading, can quickly become grist for the theological mill.) I have several files of such excerpts in my computer, and it was on them that I drew for the first series of Lenten excerpts. They did not follow any particular order, and neither will the ones presented this year. They are passages that interest me for their theological, spiritual, or psychological insights, or for the nice balance Augustine achieved between the objective and subjective dimensions of the Christian life, or for their vivid language, not least of all for the literary conceits that I learned to love when studying John Donne and other metaphysical poets (snap quiz: What are the two ways in which Christ may be compared to a camel?), or for reasons having to do with the unplumbed condition of my psyche, or simply because I was having fun.

Scholars estimate that Augustine preached some 8,000 times over his decades as bishop of Hippo, less than a tenth of which have survived. (That’s why there was such excitement when in 1989 thirty sermons, most of them completely unknown before, were discovered in a medieval manuscript.) Most of the sermons were preached at one or another type of gathering of the Church, mostly in Hippo, the others in Carthage and elsewhere in north Africa; a few of them were dictated by Augustine to complete his commentaries on the Psalms and on St. John’s Gospel. The sermons preached were taken down in shorthand by stenographers in his congregation and later written out in longhand and preserved in Augustine’s library. Augustine hoped to include his sermons and letters in the work of “reconsiderations” that he carried through for most of his published works, but controversy and death prevented him from doing so.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our subject this morning, then, will be, both in the condemnation and in the punishment of every sinner, God will be justified: and he will be made most openly clear, from the two facts of the sinner's own confession, and God himself having been an eye-witness of the deed. And as for the severity of it, there shall be no doubt upon the mind of any man who shall receive it, for God shall prove to him in his own soul, that damnation is nothing more nor less than the legitimate reward of sin.

There are two kinds of condemnation: the one is the condemnation of the elect, which takes place in their hearts and consciences, when they have the sentence of death in themselves, that they should not trust in themselves—a condemnation which is invariably followed by peace with God, because after that there is no further condemnation, for they are then in Christ Jesus, and they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The second condemnation is that of the finally impenitent, who, when they die, are most righteously and justly condemned by God for the sins they have committed—a condemnation not followed by pardon, as in the present case, but followed by inevitable damnation from the presence of God. On both these condemnations we will discourse this morning. God is clear when he speaks, and he is just when he condemns, whether it be the condemnation which he passes on Christian hearts, or the condemnation which he pronounces from his throne, when the wicked are dragged before him to receive their final doom.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 3:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: I don’t remember reading about Ash Wednesday in the Bible. Where did the practice come from?

A: That’s true; there is no mention of Ash Wednesday in the Bible. But there is a tradition of donning ashes as a sign of penitence that predates Jesus. In the Old Testament, Job repents “in dust and ashes,” and there are other associations of ashes and repentance in Esther, Samuel, Isaiah and Jeremiah. By the 10th century, the monk Aelfric tied the practice, which dates to the eighth century, to the period before Easter, writing, “Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent that we strew ashes upon our heads to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten fast.” By the 11th century, the practice was widespread throughout the church — until Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, threw the practice out in the 16th century because it was not biblically based. There’s no Lent in the Bible, either, though many Christians see it as an imitation of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and battling with Satan in the desert.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm [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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The idea of national repentance seems at first sight to provide such an edifying contrast to that national self-righteousness of which England is so often accused and with which she entered (or is said to have entered) the last war, that a Christian naturally turns to it with hope. Young Christians especially-last-year undergraduates and first-year curates- are turning to it in large numbers. They are ready to believe that England bears part of the guilt for the present war, and ready to admit their own share in the guilt of England. What that share is, I do not find it easy to determine. Most of these young men were children, and none of them had a vote or the experience which would enable them to use a vote wisely, when England made many of those decisions to which the present disorders could plausibly be traced. Are they, perhaps, repenting what they have in no sense done?

If they are, it might be supposed that their error is very harmless: men fail so often to repent their real sins that the occasional repentance of an imaginary sin might appear almost desirable. But what actually happens (I have watched it happening) to the youthful national penitent is a little more complicated than that. England is not a natural agent, but a civil society. When we speak of England's actions we mean the actions of the British government. The young man who is called upon to repent of England's foreign policy is really being called upon to repent the acts of his neighbor; for a foreign secretary or a cabinet minister is certainly a neighbor. And repentance presupposes condemnation. The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the congenial one of bewailing-but, first, of denouncing-the conduct of others.

--C.S. Lewis, "Dangers of national repentance"

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* TheologyAnthropology

1 Comments
Posted February 18, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Armed with a Bible and a cross, a Ugandan Anglican archbishop took a bold step 38 years ago when he demanded that dictator Idi Amin put an end to extrajudicial killings, political repression, corruption and ethnic persecution.

Archbishop Janani Luwum paid with his life; he was assassinated on Feb. 16, 1977, his body placed in mangled car wreck in a staged accident. Reports suggest Amin ordered the cleric’s death.

But on Monday (Feb. 16), the country celebrated the life and ministry of the late cleric with a public holiday.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni spoke at an international memorial organized by the Anglican Church of Uganda to mark Luwum’s life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaUganda* Theology

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Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali called today for Archbishop Janani Luwum Day to be declared a national holiday.

His appeal was made before more than 20,000 people gathered in Mucwini, Kitgum, to honour and celebrate the life, ministry, and martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum, the Church of Uganda’s 2nd Ugandan Archbishop.

Former President Idi Amin Dada assassinated Archbishop Janani Luwum on 16th February 1977 after arresting him on false charges. There have been local celebrations of his life and martyrdom around the country since 1977, but today’s commemoration marks the first national and international celebration. His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, was the Guest of Honour.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* Theology

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Posted February 17, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Uganda, during the eight years in the 1970's when Idi Amin and his men slaughtered probably half a million Ugandans, "We live today and are gone tomorrow" was the common phrase.

We learned that living in danger, when the Lord Jesus is the focus of your life, can be liberating. For one thing, you are no longer imprisoned by your own security, because there is none. So the important security that people sought was to be anchored in God.

As we testified to the safe place we had in Jesus, many people who had been pagan, or were on the fringes of Christianity, flocked to the church or to individuals, asking earnestly, "How do you prepare yourself for death?" Churches all over the country were packed both with members and seekers. This was no comfort to President Amin, who was making wild promises to Libya and other Arab nations that Uganda would soon be a Muslim country. (It is actually 80 per cent Christian)....

It became clear to us through the Scriptures that our resistance was to be that of overcoming evil with good. This included refusing to cooperate with anything that dehumanizes people, but we reaffirmed that we can never be involved in using force or weapons.

...we knew, of course, that the accusation against our beloved brother, Archbishop Janani Luwum, that he was hiding weapons for an armed rebellion, was untrue, a frame-up to justify his murder.

The archbishop's arrest, and the news of his death, was a blow from the Enemy calculated to send us reeling. That was on February 16, 1977. The truth of the matter is that it boomeranged on Idi Amin himself. Through it he lost respect in the world and, as we see it now, it was the beginning of the end for him.

For us, the effect can best be expressed in the words of the little lady who came to arrange flowers, as she walked through the cathedral with several despondent bishops who were preparing for Archbishop Luwum's Memorial Service. She said, "This is going to put us twenty times forward, isn't it?" And as a matter of fact, it did.

More than four thousand people walked, unintimidated, past Idi Amin's guards to pack St. Paul's Cathedral in Kampala on February 20. They repeatedly sang the "Martyr's Song," which had been sung by the young Ugandan martyrs in 1885. Those young lads had only recently come to know the Lord, but they loved Him so much that they could refuse the evil thing demanded of them by King Mwanga. They died in the flames singing, "Oh that I had wings such as angels have, I would fly away and be with the Lord." They were given wings, and the singing of those thousands at the Memorial Service had wings too.


--Festo Kivengere, Revolutionary Love, Chapter Nine

[See here for further information, and, through the wonders of the modern world, you may also find a copy online there].

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Theology

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Posted February 17, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, whose Son the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep: We give thee thanks for thy faithful shepherd, Janani Luwum, who after his Savior’s example gave up his life for the people of Uganda. Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression, but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ, who died and rose again, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Alfred Pinckney strolls the ancient graveyard at St. Philip’s Church, as he likes to do, he steps over earthen paths traveled by his ancestors who have worshipped here since the 1760s.

Beneath the church’s towering spire and a cluster of massive live oaks, elegant grave markers bear their names. Pinckney clutches to his chest memories of their lives and deaths contained in a family history book.

“All these gravestones, they have a story,” he says, gesturing to an expanse along Church Street where at least 20 of his family members are buried alongside names like John C. Calhoun. The name of another Alfred Pinckney, one of several namesakes, is engraved into a marble dedication near the sanctuary, a forever thanks to young Confederate soldiers from St. Philip’s who died....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has already announced it will appeal this decision. This was expected.

The court has affirmed what everyone knew from the start was the legal precedent in South Carolina, that congregations and the Diocese have the right to chose their religious association. While we will have more work to do to confirm this, we have every reason to be confident the South Carolina courts will continue to do so through the appeals process. We will pursue that in as speedy fashion as possible and deal with the expected delays we know TEC will attempt. Justice may be delayed by those attempts, but we believe it will come.

Finally, it should be observed that it is God’s grace that has brought us to this day. Legal counsel has affirmed repeatedly that they have experienced God’s grace at work in this litigation from start to finish. To Him be the glory and praise and it is in His Name alone that we trust (Ps. 20:7). By that grace, I trust the Diocese of South Carolina will continue “Making biblical Anglicans for a Global Age” long into the future.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read the remarks of Bishop William White, generally recognized as the leading founder of PECUSA, as I reported them in this earlier post (with my bold, again):
. . . And there appeared [at that more general meeting in October 1784] Deputies, not only from the said three States, but also from others, with the view of consulting on the exigency of the Church. The greater number of these Deputies were not vested with powers for the binding of their constituents; and therefore, although they called themselves a Convention . . . yet they were not an organized body. They did not consider themselves as such; and their only act was, the issuing of a recommendation to the churches in the several States, to unite under a few articles to be considered as fundamental.
Moreover, at pages 6-7 the motion again reverses temporal order: "The Diocese [of South Carolina] came into existence as the Diocese when TEC's Constitution was adopted in 1789." This claim is metaphysical, not legal -- if the Diocese did not have any legal existence before its authorized representatives signed ECUSA's Constitution in 1789, then how could their signatures on the Constitution have been authorized? And why did they sign as "Lay Deputies from the State of South Carolina" if the Diocese (i.e., "State") did not yet exist? (The "State of South Carolina" [in the political sense] was not the entity forming PECUSA. The word "State" was also used in an ecclesiastical sense, as the predecessor to the later word "Diocese" -- which began to be used after the State of New York split into two "Dioceses" in 1839.)

The motion goes right on inventing new facts and claiming them to be true....

Read it all.

For more recent stories & commentary on the South Carolina Circuit Court Ruling, see here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can read the motion here (182 page pdf) and the press release there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seventy years ago our nations and peoples were at war. Over three days in February allied bombers brought death and destruction on a scale and with a ferocity it is impossible to imagine. In the rage of war our hearts inevitably harden and increasingly brutal and devastating force is unleashed.

Walking together as friends requires talking together in truth. As Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf challenges us: “To remember wrongdoing untruthfully is to act unjustly.”

Much debate surrounds this most controversial raid of the allied bombing campaign. Whatever the arguments, events here seventy years ago left a deep wound and diminished all our humanity. So as a follower of Jesus I stand here among you with a profound feeling of regret and deep sorrow.

Healing such wounds requires enemies to embark on the journey to become friends, which starts with our memories of the hurt we have suffered and ends with a shared understanding of the hurt we have caused each other.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeGermany

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here Bonhoeffer answers a question raised in For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles (FLOW), particularly in the episode on “The Economy of Love.” In this episode, we ask “What is saying ‘yes’ to another person really all about?” For Bonhoeffer, saying “yes” to another person is an affirmation of God’s world and his purposes therein.

Bonhoeffer invokes the example of Jeremiah, another inspiration for the theme of exile that permeates FLOW. In Jeremiah 32 we read about how, with the Babylonian exile looming, the prophet buys a plot of land and passes along this promise: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.” Marriage is a “yes” to God’s creation, even in the midst of exile, and a “yes” to God’s purposes for the life of the world.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and everlasting God, who by the power of the Holy Spirit didst move thy servant Cyril and his brother Methodius to bring the light of the Gospel to a hostile and divided people: Overcome, we pray thee, by the love of Christ, all bitterness and contention among us, and make us one united family under the banner of the Prince of Peace; 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 February 14, 2015 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

In Wolf Hall, we become enmeshed in the English Reformation and enthralled by the figure of Thomas Cromwell, who dissolved the monasteries. Four centuries earlier, the planting of Cistercian monasteries had been envisaged by an English genius, Stephen Harding, a 12th-century monk from Sherborne, Dorset, who wrote the two-page constitution of the new monastery in Cîteaux, France. He urged the founding of further houses, with annual visitations and a General Chapter.

He was the third Abbot at Cîteaux, and also the mentor of a young novice, Bernard, who was encouraged to set up the monastery at Clairvaux and matured into a major theologian and key figure in medieval Europe. One night, the novice Bernard did not complete his private Psalms and went to bed early. His Abbot asked in the morning: “Bernard, where, I ask, did you leave your Psalms yesterday after Compline, or to whom did you entrust them?” Bernard was astonished at this mystical insight, blushed and threw himself at Harding’s feet, asking for pardon.

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

4 Comments
Posted February 13, 2015 at 12:23 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an attempt to find a peaceful alternative for those in the Islamic world who advocate violence for political and religious goals, Christians in the West shouldn’t distort the history of Christianity, or stand idly by while others do so. Letting this version of events shape perceptions of Christian history invariably means a portrait of religion as a force of darkness, while science and technology will always be beacons of sanity and light.

The narrative portraying religious conviction as antithetical to reasoned comity among people and nations is easy enough to fall into. At the national prayer breakfast last week, for instance, President Obama compared the excesses of the Crusades and the Inquisition to the terrorism of today’s radical Islam. The president went on to condemn (rightly) those who advance their religious convictions with violence.

But what he and many others miss is the conviction that Western core values come from a faith in which God enters into human history precisely to save the world from the erring reason that fails, among other things, to recognize that terrorism is an affront to God and humanity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relationsSecularism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The story started at home, with the multiple ways Graham helped shape the movement’s internal culture. For one thing, he prompted evangelicals to shift their focus from the venial sins of cussing, smoking, drinking, dancing, and premarital sex to the mortal sins of greed, lust, racism, and, above all, faithlessness. Which is to say, he prompted evangelicals to shift their focus from moral misdemeanors to moral felonies. That did not mean that he started out that way. Nor did it mean that he ever winked at the misdemeanors, or got entirely beyond preaching about them himself. But it did mean that he helped evangelicals establish a sense of scale. In a closely related move, Graham also alerted evangelicals to the difference between core and peripheral doctrines. Not every doctrinal difference was worth going to the mat for. He brought many of them to appreciate, in other words, the philosopher William James’s dictum: “The art of wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.” Or at least, gaining a mature sense of which doctrines should— and should not— qualify as a test of fellowship.

Then, too, Graham helped evangelicals see that justice for everyone, regardless of social location, was not peripheral but central to evangelicals’ affirmations and obligations. He did not always lead the way as boldly as he might have done, even by his own lights, but he was rarely very far behind the movement’s shock troops, and far ahead of the great majority of his constituents. To be sure, Graham never retreated one inch from his conviction that enduring social change started with changed hearts. But if changed hands did not follow, hearts needed to go back into the shop for more work.

The preacher helped his co-workers both deploy and regulate their entrepreneurial impulses....

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 13, 2015 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After 10 days of heated debate about human sexuality, fueled by small group discussions, private conversations and caucuses, the 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church adjourned having decided the dialogue must continue throughout the wider church. That ongoing conversation will be aided by a new pastoral study document from the House of Bishops, and other materials on sexuality that will be developed for parents and teenagers.

Developed in private meetings over three years and numerous drafts, the pastoral became the focus of both hope and anxiety in the days leading up to the convention. The secrecy of the bishops in preparing the document added to the drama, feeding speculation about its contents. Weeks before the bishops' hoped-for release date on the first day of convention, the conservative group Episcopalians United had leaked the final two drafts, further heightening the tension and earning them a sharp reprimand from Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning.

Called "Continuing the Dialogue: A Pastoral Study Document of the House of Bishops to the Church as the Church Considers Issues of Human Sexuality," or just "the pastoral" for short, the bishops' document served as a touchstone for all other discussions on sexuality. In a surprisingly congenial debate in the convention's opening day, the bishops agreed to commend the document to the wider church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

1 Comments
Posted February 12, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thoughtful U.S. travelers approach Europe with a sense of pietas. Europe is no Disneyland but the home of our fathers.

That’s the attitude I take, anyway, and never did I feel more pious, in the classical sense, than on this recent trip to Florence. Within the previous year, discovering the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri had changed my life—saved it, I would say, because it drew me out of a dark spiritual wood.

I wanted to go to Italy to see the city that nurtured the poet who had been the spiritual father of my new life, the same city that threw him out in disgrace and in so doing seeded the creation of an immortal work of literature. For me, the trip to Florence was very much a pilgrimage, as much a spiritual journey as an intellectual and cultural one.

But then, they all are. For well over half my life, I have been going to Europe at every opportunity, drawn mostly by its art, its architecture, and its culture. (And, well, its food.) It was in Europe—inside the Chartres cathedral, to be precise—that I rediscovered the Christian faith that I, as a know-it-all teenager, had rashly discarded as an ideology of either bourgeois dullards or televangelistic vulgarians.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArchitectureArtBooksHistory* International News & CommentaryEurope* Theology

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Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear Friends in Christ,

We were all greatly encouraged by the court ruling that came out of South Carolina last week, where the historic Diocese prevailed in its lawsuit against The Episcopal Church. Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein ruled that Bishop Mark Lawrence and his Diocese, under neutral principles of law, had legitimately withdrawn from TEC in 2012 and were entitled to retain all their buildings, assets, and intellectual property (name, identity, seal, etc.)

South Carolina’s Supreme Court had previously ruled that the Dennis Canon (that claims all church property is held in trust for TEC) was invalid in that State, and the Texas Supreme Court has made the same determination here in Texas. Under neutral principles of law governing property, trusts, and corporations in Texas, we believe we should prevail in the hearing before Judge Chupp on Friday, Feb. 20, here in Fort Worth.

The same conclusion was also reached recently in the appellate court system in Illinois, where the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that there is nothing in the Constitution and Canons of TEC that prevents a Diocese from withdrawing, with its property and assets. The right to associate includes the right to dissociate. The Illinois Supreme Court denied an appeal from TEC attempting to reverse that ruling. And though TEC will be making a similar appeal in the South Carolina decision, it is expected that they will reach the same result.

In coming months, we expect TEC will once again be taking their losses in Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas to the United States Supreme Court, seeking reversals. We do not believe such efforts will succeed. Needless to say, all of this is a very expensive undertaking, costing both sides millions of dollars in legal fees and court costs that instead should be going for ministry and outreach in the world.

Continue to pray for our legal team as we prepare for the summary judgment hearing on the 20th and for clarity and insight for Judge Chupp in his ruling.

Thank you all for your continued faithfulness and for your witness to the Truth.

Faithfully in Christ,

--The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth

(Found here).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
One might wish that the leadership of the Episcopal Church would come to grips with reality. The people of the Diocese of South Carolina voted by an overwhelming majority to leave the Episcopal Church. Any church bureaucracy that would try to force its will on a Diocese where the majority of people have said they no longer want to be affiliated is manifestly evil. They are just trying to suck the life out of the Diocese of South Carolina (and the other dioceses they are suing) by bleeding them dry through lawsuits. (That's just my opinion, of course. But this kind of continued pernicious evil from the Episcopal Church's leadership has been going on long enough that it just makes you wonder what it will take to finally drive a stake through the vampire's heart.)


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Prince of Wales has described the extent to which young people are becoming radicalised as "alarming" and one of the "greatest worries".

In an interview with Radio 2's The Sunday Hour, Prince Charles spoke of his hopes to "build bridges" between different faiths.

He also spoke of his "deep concern" for the suffering of Christian churches in the Middle East.

He is currently in Jordan on a six-day tour of the region.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 8, 2015 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because after so much legal wrangling, many still wonder: What does it all mean?

For one, the Diocese of South Carolina clearly can operate on its own with Lawrence, who led its departure from the national church, at the helm. Second, his diocese can keep the name and symbols, along with the parishes that left with it and the more than $500 million in church properties they inhabit, including historic colonial buildings.

“It is a judicial finding that we are who we say we are — the Diocese of South Carolina — and our names and symbols are ours alone to use,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, its canon to the ordinary.

Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein’s long-awaited ruling last week also could play a key role in similar disputes nationwide and impact other hierarchical churches that face discord in South Carolina. It comes at a time of increasing legal complexity as judges across the country decide similar cases using two very different legal principles, experts said.

And that could push the South Carolina case to the U.S. Supreme Court’s doorstep. Or at least some hope it will.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 8, 2015 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If Protestants had saints, Dietrich Bonhoeffer would be one of them. And Feb. 4, his birthday, would be his day. He was a German pastor and theologian, a prolific writer and an early opponent of Hitler. He ultimately paid for his resistance with his life, when he was executed in April 1945 by the Nazis just days before the Allied troops liberated his prison camp. He was 39 years old when he died.

My encounter with Dietrich Bonhoeffer occurred in the fall of 1989. I had the good fortune to be chosen by William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., as one of several pastors and church leaders who would spend several days with Bonhoeffer's biographer and best friend, Eberhard Bethge. Bethge’s wife, Renate, who was Bonhoeffer's niece, was also present. The Bethges kept us spellbound as they recounted how Eberhard secretly stashed all of Bonhoeffer’s letters which were smuggled out of prison. He would later publish them (Letters and Papers from Prison), as well as write a definitive biography of Bonhoeffer and translate many of his works.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 8, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishop’s throne in Exeter cathedral is a “monument of unprecedented grandeur,” wrote Nikolaus Pevsner, “the most exquisite piece of woodwork of its date in England and perhaps Europe”. Its date was 1312-25, and when finished its crocketed spire rose 53ft, like a tall hollyhock, into the roof vaults of the choir before the high altar.

There it stands today, its dark oak meeting our idea of what a masterpiece of carving should look like: expressing the medium in which it was made. The lightness and tensile strength of wood enable the central structure to appear to float in space. We know the very woods from which its oak was taken in 1313: at Chudleigh and Norton (now Newton St Cyres).

Yet, when it was finished we must picture it as of very different appearance. From fragments that remain, it is apparent that the whole structure was painted in blue, red and green, with gilding on a gesso ground.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArchitectureArt

1 Comments
Posted February 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by thy Spirit didst call Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles: Grant to thy Church, we beseech thee, such a ready will to go where thou dost send and to do what thou dost command, that under thy guidance it may welcome all who turn to thee in love and faith, and proclaim the Gospel to all nations; 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

0 Comments
Posted February 7, 2015 at 8:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than a year after the suit was filed, Circuit Judge Diane Schafer Goodstein ruled Tuesday in favor of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina and nearly 40 parishes. They were looking to keep the national Episcopal Church and the parishes that remained affiliated with it from taking local church properties, some dating back to 1680, as well as using the diocese’s seal and name.

St. Philip’s Church on Church Street and St. Michael’s Church on Broad Street in downtown Charleston were in question, among other properties.

The group left the national church in October 2012 after it tried to remove the Right Rev. Mark Lawrence as bishop. Disagreements about homosexuality and other “moral issues” also divided the church.

The 14-day trial, which took place in July in a St. George courtroom, included 59 witnesses and more than 1,200 pieces of evidence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 6, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"It's all a question of church polity," Bishop Lawrence said. "We've been on a collision course with the Episcopal Church for 20 years for issues such as trustworthiness of the holy Scriptures, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, issues of anthropology—including what is a human being—questions of marriage and who receives the sacraments. All of those things are of theological concern to us."

In 2012, the Diocese of South Carolina disassociated itself from the TEC after the TEC "improperly attempted to remove" Lawrence from his position.

"They attacked me over issues of the church," Lawrence said. "But what we're dealing with is their changes in theological positions. We're dealing with the revision of what the church teaches, the revision of church morality, polity and governance, the constitutional procedures of the church. They were taking actions contrary to the constitution of the Episcopal Church. In essence, they were running roughshod over their own constitution."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 6, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I write you at this time to repeat and emphasize several important realities,” Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, leader of TECSC, said in a pastoral letter Wednesday. “First, we believe that this action is an indication that justice has been delayed.

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we are reminded that the history of African-American witness, along with others, is that delayed justice simply calls us to persevere in our efforts. That certainly is our intention at this moment. We will persevere as we seek justice, even though the personal and financial costs will be significant. The present cause requires us to respond in this way.”

But the Rev. Jim Lewis, the Charleston-based diocese’s canon to the ordinary and a close aide to Lawrence, said he believes one man’s perseverance “may be another man’s persecution.”

“They have known from the beginning that the law in South Carolina was against them,” he said Wednesday. “But they drug us through this knothole and will persist to drag us through more knotholes.”

Read it all from the State newspaper.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted February 6, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God our Father, who art the source of strength to all thy saints, and who didst bring the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of life eternal: Grant that we, being encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith that we profess, even unto death; 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* International News & CommentaryAsiaJapan

0 Comments
Posted February 6, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the key factual findings by the Court is this:

39. Mark Lawrence was not elected Bishop of the Diocese with the intent on either his part or on that of the Diocese to lead the Diocese out of TEC. From 2009 until October 2012, his intent was to remain "intact and in TEC."

Based on this finding alone, Judge Goodstein dismissed "with prejudice" (meaning that they cannot be raised again, in any forum) ECUSA's and ECSC's counterclaims against Bishop Lawrence. Those had accused him of "conspiring" to lead his Diocese out of ECUSA, of fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty, etc., and generally of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy -- claims that his accusers had to bring twice before the Disciplinary Board before the Presiding Bishop could get what she wanted (once she changed its membership slightly).

Needless to say, Judge Goodstein made such a finding because ECUSA and ECSC never had any evidence to substantiate their charges. (Note to hostile readers, such as those from the Episcopal Forum in South Carolina, or the followers of Steve Skardon: "evidence" in a court of law is something far more than just accusations and innuendo. What you can say on your blogs is not "evidence." Until you learn this difference, you have no basis upon which to claim victory in any court.)

On the legal side, the decision is chock full of useful conclusions that can be cited and used in the Fort Worth case, and in the ongoing appeal in the San Joaquin case. For example, this is one of the best judicial discussions to date of the First Amendment rights of a diocese-member of an unincorporated church such as ECUSA
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted February 5, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

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Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The collected works of Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century preacher and one of America’s most famous theologians, are now available for download thanks to Logos Bible Software. But for those who don’t want to cough up $1,289.95 to purchase them, there’s good news: The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale Divinity School lets you view them online for free.

The colonial preacher was instrumental in America’s Great Awakening and is known for fiery sermons such as “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” The 26-volume collection, “The Works of Jonathan Edwards,” comprises more than 10,000 sermons, articles and letters that were indexed from 1953 to 2008.

“Edwards is widely recognized as one of the most important American thinkers and religious figures and as a major figure in the history of Christian thought,” said Kenneth Minkema, executive director of Yale’s Jonathan Edwards Center. “Publication of his works is important for providing resources for those, such as students, who wish to learn for the first time about his influences, thought and legacies.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted February 4, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary, applauded the ruling saying it “protects South Carolina churches from being added to the long list of properties that TEC seized, then either abandoned or sold off. The decision protects our freedom to embrace the faith Anglicans have practiced for hundreds of years — and not the new theology being imposed on TEC’s dwindling membership.”

A spokeswoman for local parishes that remain a part of The Episcopal Church declined to comment late Tuesday saying church leaders first needed time to analyze the lengthy ruling.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHurricane Katrina* South Carolina

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Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A South Carolina court has ruled that the Diocese of South Carolina and its parish churches are the owners of their property, not The Episcopal Church.

In a decision handed down Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein wrote that the diocese and its churches are "the owners of their real, personal and intellectual property."

Goodstein wrote that The Episcopal Church "has no legal, beneficial or equitable interest" in the diocese and its property.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 4, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst send thy servant Anskar as an apostle to the people of Scandinavia, and dist enable him to lay a firm foundation for their conversion, though he did not see the results of his labors: Keep thy Church from discouragement in the day of small things, knowing that when thou hast begun a good work thou wilt bring it to a faithful conclusion; 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 February 4, 2015 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ST. GEORGE, SC, Feb. 3, 2015 – In a 46 page opinion, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein, ruled that The Diocese of South Carolina, The Trustees of the Diocese and 36 parish churches successfully withdrew from The Episcopal Church in 2012 taking with them all their property, including churches, symbols and other assets. The ruling is the result of a three-week trial last summer in which over 50 witnesses testified.

The historic ruling comprehensively resolves the issues surrounding the more than $500 million in property owned by the Diocese and its parishes, which disassociated from the denomination in 2012 after TEC improperly attempted to remove Bishop Mark Lawrence as head of the Diocese.

The judge’s decision found baseless TEC’s claim that it owned the Diocese’s identity and properties. During the trial, the Diocese demonstrated that it existed long before TEC was established – and that it was one of the dioceses that founded the denomination in 1789. It also proved that every diocese is free to associate with a denomination of its choosing.

The Court found that “the Constitution and Canons of TEC have no provisions which state that a member diocese cannot voluntarily withdraw its membership.” The ruling found that had there been such a provision, it would have violated the Diocese’s “constitutionally-protected right” to freedom of association. “With the freedom to associate goes its corollary, the freedom to disassociate,” Judge Goodstein said.

The Court also found that TEC had “no express or constructive trust” in Diocese or Parish property.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The selflessness of four Army chaplains who saved others aboard a sinking ship during World War II continues to serve as an example to pursue "greater service," speakers said at a ceremony Sunday.

On Feb. 3, 1943, the U.S. Army Transport ship Dorchester, bound for Greenland, began sinking after an attack from the German submarine U-223. Four Army chaplains helped usher passengers to safety and ultimately gave up their own life jackets - and lives - to save others. In all, 230 out of 904 people aboard the Dorchester survived.

On Sunday afternoon, about 40 people honored the chaplains at the Peter Gallan American Legion Post 104. American Legion member Dennis A. Baptiste served as the master of ceremonies during the event that featured the parade of colors, the national anthem and speeches.

The event focused on the legacy of the four chaplains: Lt. George Fox, a Methodist minister; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, a rabbi; Lt. John P. Washington, a Roman Catholic priest; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, a Dutch Reformed Church minister.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesMethodistReformedRoman CatholicOther FaithsJudaism* Theology

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Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Holy God, who didst inspire the Dorchester chaplains to be models of steadfast sacrificial love in a tragic and terrifying time: Help us to follow their example, that their courageous ministry may inspire chaplains and all who serve, to recognize thy presence in the midst of peril; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

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Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Memories of a man known as "the people's bishop" are being sought on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Ian Ramsey was appointed Bishop of Durham in 1966, but died in 1972 from a heart attack.

His ashes are interred at Auckland Castle - the home of the Prince Bishops of Durham for more than 900 years.

Curators are now appealing for films, photographs and recollections to build up a "more complete picture of an extraordinary man".

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 2, 2015 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Brother QUENON: He loved being in the midst of nature, you know. The birds were his friends.

VALENTE: What do you think he did out here?

Brother QUENON: Well, read a lot and wrote. For him, praying was just to abide in the presence—the presence of the Lord.

(touring cottage): There’s the kitchen and then a bedroom. And then, a chapel was added later on.

VALENTE: Merton wrote this in his journal:

Mr. ATKINSON (reading from Merton’s journal): For myself I have only one desire and that is the desire for solitude: to disappear into God; to be submerged in His peace; to be lost in the secret of His space. I have gone to the hermitage not because I hate the world. I go to the hermitage to deepen my consciousness, to be more in communion with the world.

Read or watch it all.

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

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Posted February 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1988, Steve was called as President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (USA), a non-denominational discipleship ministry to students on college campuses across the country. Alec Hill, current President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (U.S.A.) said of his predecessor, “Steve brought pastoral care, healing and hope to an InterVarsity community that had undergone much trauma in the 1980’s. When he left in 2001, the Fellowship was healthy and the board fully engaged. He is one of the kindest and most authentic people I’ve ever known.” Steve continued to serve as an adjunct of professor of Old Testament at a number of schools such as: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Regent College, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

In 2001, Steve made the transition from the academic world to parish ministry. He became the Senior Associate Pastor at High Point Church and the Associate Pastor at the Fountain of Life Family Ministry Center, both in Madison, WI. Alex Gee, Founder & President of the Nehemiah Community Development Corporation, is a friend and partner from that time, “Steve was our founding board chairman… [and] served as a volunteer Associated Pastor at our cross-cultural, multi-class congregation. He helped me to create an in-house urban leadership training program for developing our folks. Steve’s brilliance is only eclipsed by his humility! I’m a better man because of my accountability to Steve and his love for me.”

In 2003, he was called as the Peachtree Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, while also serving as Scholar in Residence at Peachtree Presbyterian Church. In 2009, he was called as the Seminary’s ninth President.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted January 31, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How can religion help a trained nurse? You have to face life at its times of physical suffering. Sometimes those are the glorious hours of life, and you see it in all its nobility. Sometimes those are the meanest hours of life, and you see it in all its quaking cowardice. According to what you bring to the things which you must see, and try to remedy, you develop a greater faith or a greater fatalism. I am not going to blame you if you are turned to a greater fatalism by some of the things you see, like crass selfishness, and the fear of death. But I am going to say that, if you can find faith yourself, and keep it, and live by it, you will do a far more creative job with your patients, and you will get a lot more out of life.

I face every day something very like what you face. I see and talk with people who are sick in their souls, sick with fear, sick with resentment, sick with futility, sick with dishonesty about themselves. They come to me with problems I cannot solve, as they come to you with sickness you cannot heal. The first thing I have to do is to get their confidence, so that they can tell me the things that are really on their hearts. And often...then I have to reach into my own experience for something like their problem, so that they know I have faced a similar thing. And then I begin telling them what I, and others, have found as a way out. That brings us right back to Christ. Because, while I cannot answer their problems, He can. There is no joy in the world like watching Him begin to come into somebody's life through the contagion of one's own faith, and then watch them begin spiritually to get well. That is the thrill of my job, as watching them get well in health is the thrill of yours.

But my job isn't just confined to the soul, it has to take in the mind and the body. The other day I sent a friend of mine to one of this city's great-hearted psychiatrists, because I knew he could help in a way I could not. And I am constantly working with medical doctors, so that we can heal people all round. In the same way you cannot confine your healing to the body only. You know how much the mental attitude has to do with getting well, how fear, or not wanting to live, pull people down, and how wanting to live and be well, and faith, pull them up. Sometimes it seems that these attitudes are determinative in what happens to sick people. What do you feel about them? Can you do anything to help? Are they just chemical reactions? Or does the power of suggestion lie very close to faith, and is that power in the hands of everyone who sees a sick person, especially in the hands of the persons who see them most, namely, yourselves?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 31, 2015 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Holy God, we offer thanks for the vision of Samuel Shoemaker, priest and co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous; and we pray that we may follow his example to help others find salvation through knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our Savior; 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

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Christianity has taken many twists and turns in its history, so has Islam, and so might it again, only this time moving toward the more open posture of most contemporary Western Christians. The Christian experience should caution us against assuming there is something intrinsic to Islam that mandates that Islamic societies be anti-modern. In fact, in the 16th through 20th centuries, liberal ideas were imported into Muslim societies with remarkable success, and harmonized with Islam, especially in the Ottoman Empire. Less happily, at critical moments in Islamic history, reactionary interpretations—or misinterpretations—of the Quran and Shariah triumphed over others.

Fortunately, some Muslims have begun to reinterpret ancient traditions in light of modernity and begun their own, albeit often-quiet reformations, distressed by the authoritarian elements smuggled into their tradition. They are intent on synthesizing—as have so many branches of Judaism and Christianity—features of their religious traditions with democratic ideas. Such reformations have been institutionalized successfully in several countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Turkey and Tunisia.

We can only hope that, with the quickening pace of historical change in modernity, Islam can adjust more rapidly than Christendom, so that a broad-minded form of the religion will prevail. Muslims will have to recognize what the West, through many centuries of hard experience and reflection, has learned: that religious texts arose in a particular context and must be reinterpreted in the new context of modernity; that pluralism within one’s own tradition and the tolerance of other faiths must be appreciated anew; and, finally, that the coercive imposition of faith will generate only nominal or hypocritical, not authentic, conversions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted January 30, 2015 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I got an email from a reader named Mark this morning, who told me he was frustrated by the lack of decent thinking among many in the Church. He said he’s looking for a higher conversation than is generally available.

Christians, we have to take this seriously. For the past three years or so, at apologetics conferences across the country, I’ve asked numerous groups this question: “How many of you who have a real interest in apologetics, worldview, and other aspects of Christian thinking feel very alone in your church?” In every case, at least three-quarters of the people raise their hands.

That’s the loneliness of thinking Christianly. It’s wrong. In fact, in view of Christianity’s heritage, it’s downright strange.

Christianity is a thinking religion, or at least it was until the late 19th and early 20th centuries...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* TheologyApologeticsChristologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 29, 2015 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Holy God, we bless thee for the gift of thy monk and icon writer Andrei Rublev, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, provided a window into heaven for generations to come, revealing the majesty and mystery of the holy and blessed Trinity; who livest and reignest through ages of ages. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchArt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

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Posted January 29, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Authentic Christian faith does not fear reason "but seeks it out and has trust in it". Faith presupposes reason and perfects it. Nor does human reason lose anything by opening itself to the content of faith. When reason is illumined by faith, it "is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God". The Holy Father observes that St Thomas thinks that human reason, as it were, "breathes" by moving within a vast horizon open to transcendence. If, instead, "a person reduces himself to thinking only of material objects or those that can be proven, he closes himself to the great questions about life, himself and God and is impoverished". Such a person has far too summarily divorced reason from faith, rendering asunder the very dynamic of the intellect.

What does this mean for Catholic universities today? Pope Benedict answers in this way: "The Catholic university is [therefore] a vast laboratory where, in accordance with the different disciplines, ever new areas of research are developed in a stimulating confrontation between faith and reason that aims to recover the harmonious synthesis achieved by Thomas Aquinas and other great Christian thinkers". When firmly grounded in St Thomas' understanding of faith and reason, Catholic institutions of higher learning can confidently face every new challenge on the horizon, since the truths discovered by any genuine science can never contradict the one Truth, who is God himself.

Read it all from 2010.

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

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Posted January 28, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who hast enriched thy Church with the singular learning and holiness of thy servant Thomas Aquinas: Enlighten us more and more, we pray thee, by the disciplined thinking and teaching of Christian scholars, and deepen our devotion by the example of saintly lives; 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* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 28, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who didst give to thy servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people shall be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; 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

0 Comments
Posted January 27, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, here was AN ANNOUNCEMENT; "Go to the house of Saul of Tarsus; for behold, he prayeth." Without any preface, let me say, that this was the announcement of a fact which was noticed in heaven; which was joyous to the angels; which was astonishing to Ananias, and which was a novelty to Saul himself.
It was the announcement of a fact which was noticed in heaven. Poor Saul had been led to cry for mercy, and the moment he began to pray, God began to hear. Do you not notice, in reading the chapter, what attention God paid to Saul? He knew the street where he lived; "Go to the street that is called Straight." He knew the house where he resided; "inquire at the house of Judas." He knew his name; it was Saul. He knew the place where he came from; "Inquire for Saul of Tarsus." And he knew that he had prayed. "Behold, he prayeth." Oh! It is a glorious fact, that prayers are noticed in heaven. The poor broken-hearted sinner, climbing up to his chamber, bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears. Lo! That groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God, and put into the lachrymatory of heaven, to be perpetually preserved. The supplicant, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High. He may only shed one hasty tear; but "prayer is the falling of a tear." Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah's throne; for though prayers be

"The simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;"

so are they likewise the

"Sublimest strains that reach The majesty on high."

Let me dilate on this thought a moment. Prayers are noticed in heaven. Oh! I know what is the case with many of you. You think, "If I turn to God, if I seek him, surely I am so inconsiderable a being, so guilty and vile, that it cannot be imagined he would take any notice of me." My friends, harbor no such heathenish ideas.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 26, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by the preaching of thine apostle Paul hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 26, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Courage...is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry.... If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.

----Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O everlasting God, who didst reveal truth to thy servant Phillips Brooks, and didst so form and mold his mind and heart that he was able to mediate that truth with grace and power: Grant, we pray, that all whom thou dost call to preach the Gospel may steep themselves in thy word, and conform their lives to thy will; 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)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2015 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by thee, was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us, we beseech thee, to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; 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

0 Comments
Posted January 22, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

However, the dean of Duke Divinity School, Richard Hays, raised concerns about the use of the chapel for the Muslim call to prayer if it’s seen as a Christian church (given its history and iconography), rather than a neutral space on campus.

“There are serious questions...about the wisdom and propriety of allowing Duke chapel to be used for this purpose,” he said in a statement. “Despite some common beliefs and traditions, Christianity and Islam stand in significant theological tension with one another.”

Durham resident and author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove wrote that while he was “glad Duke Chapel hosts a vibrant Christian congregation,” he did not see the space as holy ground.

“The Dukes are buried in the crypt, not saints. Robert E. Lee's statue is in the entryway. Muslim prayers would not desecrate ground marked by the blood of Christian martyrs,” he wrote. “It would, instead, be an act of hospitality to hallow a messy place.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

8 Comments
Posted January 21, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the world deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; 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

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of all the silly claims sometimes made by atheists these days, surely one of the silliest is that Christianity was in no way determinative of the politics of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Just take Christopher Hitchens's claim that, on account of King's commitment to nonviolence, in "no real as opposed to nominal sense ... was he a Christian." Wherever King got his understanding of nonviolence from, argues Hitchens, it simply could not have been from Christianity because Christianity is inherently violent.

The best response that I can give to such claims is turn to that wonderfully candid account of the diverse influences that shaped King's understanding of nonviolence in his Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, and then demonstrate how his Christianity gave these influences in peculiarly Christ-like form.

King reports as a college student he was moved when he read Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience. Thoreau convinced him that anyone who passively accepts evil, even oppressed people who cooperate with an evil system, are as implicated with evil as those who perpetrate it. Accordingly, if we are to be true to our conscience and true to God, a righteous man has no alternative but to refuse to cooperate with an evil system.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst call Fabian to be a faithful pastor and servant of thy people, and to lay down his life in witness to thy Son: Grant that we, strengthened by his example and aided by his prayers, may in times of trial and persecution remain steadfast in faith and endurance, for the sake of him who laid down his life for us all, Jesus Christ our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



You can find the full text here.

I find it always is really worth the time to read and ponder it all on this day--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 19, 2015 at 7:15 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 January 19, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior 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* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 19, 2015 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1979, Larry Lewis picked up a copy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and saw a full-page ad listing the Southern Baptist Convention among denominations that affirmed the right to abortion.

"Right there beside the Unitarians and universalists was the Southern Baptist Convention," Lewis, a St. Louis pastor who went on to become president of the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board), told Baptist Press. "... That bothered me a lot."

So Lewis did something about it, proposing in 1980 the first of more than 20 pro-life resolutions adopted by the SBC over the next few decades. When Lewis became HMB president of in 1987, one of his first actions was to create the office of abortion alternatives to help churches establish crisis pregnancy centers.

Thanks to Lewis and others, newspapers do not call the SBC pro-choice anymore.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptists* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 18, 2015 at 5:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The phrase that dominates this hymn, “to the regions beyond,” is taken from the words of Paul in Second Corinthians.

Having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. But ‘he who glories, let him glory in the Lord’” (II Cor. 10:15-17).

Or, as J. B. Philips has it, “Our hope is that your growing faith will mean the expansion of our proper sphere of action, so that before long we shall be preaching the gospel in districts beyond you.”

Particularly in the Christian missionary work of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that phrase, “the regions beyond,” came to represent the goal and passion of many servants of Christ. One of these was Canadian pastor and missionary statesman Albert Simpson.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipMissions* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted January 14, 2015 at 7:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord our God, who didst raise up thy servant Hilary to be a champion of the catholic faith: Keep us steadfast in that true faith which we professed at our baptism, that we may rejoice in having thee for our Father, and may abide in thy Son, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; thou who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

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

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Posted January 13, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leading figures in Uganda today announced they will be holding a day of celebration to remember an Anglican Archbishop who was assassinated for opposing the Idi Amin regime.

At a ceremony at Namirembe Cathedral today notaries - including Uganda's Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugund, the former Prime Minister Professor Apolo Nsibambi, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali and other bishops - announced a major event to remember 20th Century martyr Archbishop Janani Luwum.

Every 16th day of February for the last 37 years a small function to commemorate the late archbishop has taken place place at Mucwini primary school where the late Archbishop rests.

Read it all from ACNS.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals

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Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst endow thy abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: Grant to thy people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of thy eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior, 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

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Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like thy servant William Laud, we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son 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 January 10, 2015 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...that this star was not of the common sort, or rather not a star at all, as it seems at least to me, but some invisible power transformed into this appearance, is in the first place evident from its very course. For there is not, there is not any star that moves by this way, but whether it be the sun you mention, or the moon, or all the other stars, we see them going from east to west; but this was wafted from north to south; for so is Palestine situated with respect to Persia.

In the second place, one may see this from the time also. For it appears not in the night, but in mid-day, while the sun is shining; and this is not within the power of a star, nay not of the moon; for the moon that so much surpasses all, when the beams of the sun appear, straightway hides herself, and vanishes away. But this by the excess of its own splendor overcame even the beams of the sun, appearing brighter than they, and in so much light shining out more illustriously.

...[Later in the narrative] it did not, remaining on high, point out the place; it not being possible for them so to ascertain it, but it came down and performed this office. For ye know that a spot of so small dimensions, being only as much as a shed would occupy, or rather as much as the body of a little infant would take up, could not possibly be marked out by a star. For by reason of its immense height, it could not sufficiently distinguish so confined a spot, and discover it to them that were desiring to see it. And this any one may see by the moon, which being so far superior to the stars, seems to all that dwell in the world, and are scattered over so great an extent of earth,—seems, I say, near to them every one. How then, tell me, did the star point out a spot so confined, just the space of a manger and shed, unless it left that height and came down, and stood over the very head of the young child? And at this the evangelist was hinting when he said, “Lo, the star went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphany* Theology

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Posted January 6, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We could honestly and accurately describe it as a mystagogy of marriage. He wants us to move from the icon to the reality. Still, he insists that we must also learn to venerate the icon. “Learn the power of the type,” he says, “so that you may learn the strength of the truth.”

It is important for us to realize that John’s mature doctrine of marriage is almost unique in ancient Christianity. His contemporaries tended to look upon marriage as an institution that was passing away, as more and more Christians turned to celibacy. The best thing Jerome could say about marriage was that it produced future celibates. In Antioch in John’s day, there were 3,000 consecrated virgins and widows in a city of perhaps 250,000, and that number does not include the celibate men in brotherhoods or the hermits who filled the nearby mountains.

Yet John glorified marriage. It pained him that Christian couples continued to practice the old, obscene pagan wedding customs. So shameful were these practices that few couples dared to invite their parish priest to attend and give a blessing.

“Is the wedding then a theater?” he told them in a sermon. “It is a sacrament, a mystery, and a model of the Church of Christ. . . . They dance at pagan ceremonies; but at ours, silence and decorum should prevail, respect and modesty. Here a great mystery is accomplished.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 5, 2015 at 3:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A stained glass window design commemorating Winston Churchill has been revealed.

It will be installed at St Martin's Church in Bladon, Oxfordshire, where the wartime prime minister is buried.

The window includes imagery of a Spitfire, a gas mask and a cat.

Robert Courts, chair of the parochial church council, described it as a "rich mixture of the Bulldog Churchill... and equally Churchill the man".

Read it all.

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

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Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christopher Smith had never heard of John Newton when, with a little time to spare and in search of some air conditioning, he browsed through the children’s section of a library in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, looking for inspiration for his church youth groups.

The police officer and religious education director had no idea that this experience of “just killing time” would be his life-changing moment, one that would lead him from small-town life in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to the Great White Way. As it turned out, he was the one who was inspired.

Reading through a book about Newton, Smith was fascinated by the story of the British slave trader, the shipwreck, his enslavement, then his religious conversion and new life as an Anglican priest and outspoken abolitionist. Smith was so captivated by the story that he had skipped the foreword and had not realized the man he was reading about had composed one of the world’s most beloved hymns, “Amazing Grace.” It was then that Smith felt the beginning of his own conversion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

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Posted January 3, 2015 at 12:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Emmanuel, God with us, who didst make thy home in every culture and community on earth: We offer thanks for the raising up of thy servant Samuel Azariah as the first indigenous bishop in India. Grant that we may be strengthened by his witness to thy love without concern for class or caste, and by his labors for the unity of the Church in India, that people of many languages and cultures might with one voice give thee glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndia

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Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is only one God, brethren, and we learn about him only from sacred Scripture. It is therefore our duty to become acquainted with what Scripture proclaims and to investigate its teachings thoroughly. We should believe them in the sense that the Father wills, thinking of the Son in the way the Father wills, and accepting the teaching he wills to give us with regard to the Holy Spirit. Sacred Scripture is God's gift to us and it should be understood in the way that he intends: we should not do violence to it by interpreting it according to our own preconceived ideas.

God was all alone and nothing existed but himself when he determined to create the world. He thought of it, willed it, spoke the word and so made it. It came into being instantaneously, exactly as he had willed. It is enough then for us to be aware of a single fact: nothing is coeternal with God. Apart from God there was simply nothing else. Yet although he was alone, he was manifold because he lacked neither reason, wisdom, power, nor counsel. All things were in him and he himself was all. At a moment of his own choosing and in a manner determined by himself, God manifested his Word, and through him he made the whole universe.

When the Word was hidden within God himself he was invisible to the created world, but God made him visible. First God gave utterance to his voice, engendering light from light, and then he sent his own mind into the world as its Lord. Visible before to God alone and not to the world, God made him visible so that the world could be saved by seeing him. This mind that entered our world was made known as the Son of God. All things came into being through him; but he alone is begotten by the Father.

The Son gave us the law and the prophets, and he filled the prophets with the Holy Spirit to compel them to speak out. Inspired by the Father's power, they were to proclaim the Father's purpose and his will.

So the Word was made manifest, as Saint John declares when, summing up all the sayings of the prophets, he announces that this is the Word through whom the whole universe was made. He says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things came into being; not one thing was created without him. And further on he adds: The world was made through him, and yet the world did not know him. He entered his own creation, and his own did not receive him.

--from St. Hippolytus’ treatise against the heresy of Noetus

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the great contributions of CMS to African Christianity was its encouragement and support of the mission of ex-slaves in West Africa, led by Samuel Ajayi Crowther and his associates.

As Yale professor Lamin Sanneh has noted, this movement brought a new world order into being, a world order achieved not through colonial power or military might but by something radically opposite. Its agents were drawn from among the world's most repressed and downtrodden who became champions of freedom, dignity and enterprising evangelical faith.

The outcome was a high-octane faith that exulted in the freedom Christ offered. The principles of anti-slavery and freedom became keynotes of a massive movement that few white people fully comprehended. At one stage Sierra Leone was sending a higher proportion of its population into missionary service than has ever been achieved anywhere.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Crowther was the apostle of Nigeria and the inspiration of much more. He worked all over but especially in the South South (for the Nigerians here) or Niger Delta, in places like Nembe (which I have been to), Brass, Bonny. It is a hard place now, one can scarcely imagine what travel and health were like then. He was a linguist, a scholar, a translator of scripture, a person of prayer. Above all he loved Jesus Christ and held nothing back in his devotion and discipleship.

Those who opposed him were caught up in their own world. British society of the nineteenth century was overwhelmingly racist, deeply hierarchical. It resisted all sense that God saw things differently. In the India of the time the East India Company, ruling the land, forbade the singing of the Magnificat at evensong, lest phrases about putting down the mighty from their seats and exalting the humble and meek might be understood too well by the populations they ruled. The idea that an African was their equal was literally, unimaginable. Of course they forgot the list of Deacons in Acts 5, including Simeon Niger in Acts 13, or Augustine from North Africa, or the Ethiopian eunuch whom Philip baptised. They lived in an age of certainty in their own superiority. In their eyes not only the gospel, but even the Empire would be at risk if they conceded.

The issue was one of power, and it is power and its handling that so often deceives us into wickedness. Whether as politicians or Bishops, in business or in the family, the aim to dominate is sin. Our model is Christ, who washed feet when he could have ruled. Crowther's consecration reading was do not dominate, and it means just what it says. Each of us must lead by humility.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is time to tell again the long-neglected story of Samuel Ajayi Crowther, writes Gareth Sturdy.

If you know the name, it probably resounds as that of a hero. Such heroes, unacknowledged in their own time and then ignored by their immediate successors, end up being the Really Important Ones. Their stature is so great that it is missed entirely up-close, gets larger the more distant you are from it, and can only been seen in its true glory from space.

If the name is unknown to you, then you are the victim of a cover-up. How else can you have missed one of the most important Africans of the modern era?

It is an opportune moment to reassess Crowther in the light of new understanding. A light that glares at the cover up and reveals a significance greater than that so far ascribed to him by even his most loyal champions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst rescue Samuel Ajayi Crowther from slavery, sent him to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to his people in Nigeria, and made him the first bishop from the people of West Africa: Grant that those who follow in his steps may reap what he has sown and find abundant help for the harvest; through him who took upon himself the form of a slave that we might be free, the same Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & Literature

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




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