Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A colleague of mine who had two young adult children would often talk to me about their escapades. I’ll never forget how he referred to the two using distinctly different language. Of his son, he always used the passionately emphasized phrase, “my son,” without fail. Of his daughter, who had been somewhat of a disappointment to him, he loosely and almost apologetically called her, “our daughter,” as though he would’ve preferred to attribute her entirely to his wife, rather than claim her as his own.

In these genealogies in 1 Chronicles, God is counting those returned exiles (chapter 9) as the heirs of the spiritual promises that he made to their ancestors. By listing their names and tribes and parentage, God is claiming them as his own, even after their time of pronounced disobedience. God is saying, essentially, “you, too, are my people.”

For us, when we feel cut off from relationship with God and his people (now the church), whether because of blatant sin, spiritual apathy, or a dullness of belief, we need to hear again that we are spiritual descendants in a long line of believers. We are heirs of the promises of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, “for all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

God claims us as his own, saying to us, “you, too, through Jesus, are my people.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 23, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The two ministers were foes before they ever met, partisans in a war they did not start, but partisans nonetheless.

For four years, they did not speak.

But in the spring of 2011, the Rev. Tory Baucum drove 100 miles south to Richmond to introduce himself to the Rev. Shannon Johnston. And now the friendship that resulted, nurtured over Guinness in the bar of Richmond’s storied Jefferson Hotel, at dinner with their wives and during many difficult conversations, is being hailed as one of the most unexpected and intriguing developments in a bitter feud that has split the Episcopal Church in the decade since the denomination elected an openly gay bishop.

Mr. Johnston is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia — the most populous Episcopal diocese in the United States — and a supporter of same-sex marriage who has blessed same-sex couples. Mr. Baucum is the rector of an unusually vibrant parish, Truro Church in Fairfax, which left the Episcopal Church over the election of... [a same-sex partnered bishop], the final straw in a long-running dispute over theological orthodoxy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Virginia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

7 Comments
Posted April 22, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I believe the story. With my head, looking at the evidence and thinking logically as a person who was a research physicist for twenty-five years, I believe it. And after listening to the testimony of people – from beggars to kings -- through all the ages who had concluded that the story is true, I believe it. And at the innermost levels of my heart, where the deepest truths reside but are not easily put into words, I believe it is true.

And that is why I know that I will see my mother again someday. It’s not just wishful thinking, some little tale I’ve fooled myself with because I can’t face the cold hard facts of life. Yes, I will see Della Mae, and I am convinced that it will be a day of great victory and joy. St. Paul says that it will be like putting on a crown, and St. John says that it will be a time when every tear will be wiped away from my eyes. That’s what will happen someday to me. But what Jesus did affects me right here today also -- I know that this Jesus who overcame death and the grave has promised not to leave me here twisting in the wind. He is with me every day, through his Spirit, to guide me, comfort me, embolden me, and use me for his glory and to serve his people, right here, right now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* TheologyChristologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yet, there was one large omission that set all other truth dangerously at risk: the omission of holy rest. The refusal to be silent. The obsessive avoidance of emptiness. The denial of any experience and any people in the least bit suggestive of godforsakenness.

It was far more than an annual ignorance on Holy Saturday; it was religiously fueled, weekly arrogance. Not only was the Good Friday crucifixion bridged to the Easter resurrection by this day furious with energy and lucrative with reward, but all the gospel truths were likewise set as either introductions or conclusions to the human action that displayed our prowess and our virtue every week of the year. God was background to our business. Every gospel truth was maintained intact and all the human energy was wholly admirable, but the rhythms were all wrong, the proportions wildly skewed. Desolation—and with it companionship with the desolate, from first-century Semites to twentieth-century Indians—was all but wiped from consciousness.

But there came a point at which I was convinced that it was critically important to pay more attention to what God does than what I do; to find daily, weekly, yearly rhythms that would get that awareness into my bones. Holy Saturday for a start. And then, times to visit people in despair, and learn their names, and wait for resurrection.

Embedded in my memory now is this most poignant irony: those seven or eight Indians, with the Thunderbird empties lying around, drunk in the alley behind the Pastime Baron Saturday afternoon, while we Scandinavian Christians worked diligently late into the night, oblivious to the holiness of the day. The Indians were in despair, religious despair, something very much like the Holy Saturday despair narrated in the Gospels. Their way of life had come to nothing, the only buffalo left to them engraved on nickels, a couple of which one of their squaws had paid out that morning for four bony ham hocks. The early sacredness of their lives was a wasteland; and they, godforsaken as they supposed, drugged their despair with Thunderbird and buried their dead visions and dreams in the alley behind the Pastime, ignorant of the God at work beneath their emptiness.

Take the time to read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyChristologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Anglican hospital chaplain has become what is believed to be the first member of the clergy in Britain to have a gay marriage.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton is a chaplain at Lincoln Hospital and has Permission to Officiate and leads occasional services in Nottinghamshire.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The Drop Box" - Documentary Trailer from Arbella Studios on Vimeo.



Worth every second of the three minutes of your time it takes to watch--touching, heart-rending, and encouraging--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaSouth Korea* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The final evening of Jack Chen’s life was indistinguishable from many others. The sophomore returned home from school, ate dinner with his mother and retired to his room. His mother asked him to turn out his light at midnight.

Inside his bedroom, anguish gnawed at him, a darkness invisible to friends and family: He maintained a 4.3 grade-point average at one of the area’s top high schools, was a captain of the junior varsity football team and had never tried drugs or alcohol.

But that hidden pain drove Jack from his Fairfax Station home early the next morning — Wednesday, Feb. 26. The 15-year-old, who pestered his father to quit smoking and wear his safety belt, walked to nearby tracks and stepped between the rails as a commuter train approached.

His death is one of six apparent suicides at Fairfax’s W.T. Woodson High School during the past three years, including another student found dead the next day. The toll has left the school community reeling and prompted an urgent question: Why would so many teens from a single suburban school take their lives?

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicinePsychologySuicideTeens / YouthViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jeff Bauman knows the exact moment his life was changed forever. It was the moment he looked Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the face.

“He just seemed out of place,” said Bauman in his most recent interview with Brian Williams. “Everybody there was having fun, you know, clapping, taking pictures, and he was just standing there with a backpack ... he just looked really odd. So I looked at him and I stared at him.”

And then, in an instant: a flash, and what sounded like a pop, and he was lying flat on his back.

Watch and/or read it all from NBC.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is the Rev'd Mark Abrey, vicar of St. Nicholas' Church, Chadlington, Oxfordshire. He seems to be a quiet and unassuming sort of minister, so you won't find much written about him anywhere. Indeed, it took His Grace the best part of an hour to unearth a photograph. The Rev'd Mark happens to be David Cameron's local vicar in his constituency. And this is what the Prime Minister said of him at Wednesday's Downing Street Easter reception:

..it’s lovely to have here tonight the vicar from St Mary Abbots school, Gillean Craig, and also the vicar who looks after me spiritually in the constituency, Mark Abrey in Chadlington, who, when I often – anyone asks me about the pastoral care that many vicars carry out across the country, I remember 5 years ago when we had to mourn the loss and bury my son Ivan, I can’t think of anyone who was more loving or thoughtful or kind than Mark. And of course, Ivan would have been 12 yesterday, which has had me pause to think about that.

Now, Mr Cameron said an awful lot more in his speech, which spanned politics, religion, the law of Christ, the Big Society and Dyno-Rod. And you may read all of that for yourselves and make up your own minds what you think about it. But His Grace is going to dwell on this single sentence of tribute to a single Church of England vicar, for this speech was extempore - not carefully crafted by some Downing Street hireling. And, clearly coming from the heart, it reveals rather more about the Prime Minister's spirituality and appreciation of the Church of England's ministry than anything he has previously disclosed.

Read it all from Archbishop Cranmer's blog.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Enio Aguero had never been to Oso before late last month. But he recognized the faces.

“Faces of hopelessness, trying to find out why or how this could happen,” said the 53-year-old chaplain from Northern Virginia, a veteran of disaster relief in Moore, Okla., where a tornado last May obliterated entire subdivisions and killed 24 people.

“When a disaster like this happens, it touches the deepest part of our being. At one minute, there was everything; a minute later, there was nothing,” said Aguero, a chaplain coordinator for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. “There’s no way we can make sense of this, except that God is in control.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureRural/Town Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyPastoral TheologyTheodicy

0 Comments
Posted April 10, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Florida megachurch pastor Bob Coy has resigned from his 20,000-member Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale congregation over a “moral failing.”

A statement on the church’s website reported the news: ”On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985.”

A call to Coy on Sunday (April 6) was not returned. But it appears extramarital affairs may have been one reason.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 8, 2014 at 11:07 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A service to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide will take place on Monday 7 April at 7.30 p.m. in St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast. The speaker will be the Presbyterian Moderator, The Rt Revd Dr Rob Craig.

The Revd Canon Jerome Munyangaju, Rector of Killyleagh, who – along with the Dean of St Anne’s, the Very Revd John Mann – will also participate in the service, said in advance of it: ‘This year, the 7th of April marks the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. This 20th anniversary is an important occasion on which we remember over a million lives brutally lost in just 100 days. Their cries should have been answered, yet the international community, aware of the desperate situation, chose not to intervene. The country and its people have scarring memories of the violent killings, pain and trauma. Kwibuka (remembering) of our past helps toward the healing of our future....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of IrelandChurch of Rwanda* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaRwandaEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bye-bye, “Bishop Bling.” So long, “Pastor Perks.” The so-called “Francis effect” may be real, at least when it comes to clerical housing, and could be coming to a church near you.

Pope Francis famously eschewed the trappings of the papal office, including deluxe digs in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, and the pressure of his example seems to be making itself felt.

Last week, the pontiff accepted the resignation of the most ostentatious offender, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg in Germany, aka “Bishop Bling” who spent a cool $43 million on a swank new residence and office complex while cutting staff.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 2, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A big-hearted restaurant owner known as "Momma" leads a group in Arlington, Washington called the Soup Ladies who for 10 years have been dishing up meals for first responders. They are feeding hot meals to search and rescue workers at the site of a tragic mudslide roughly 70 miles away in Oso.

Watch the whole thing from NBC.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsDieting/Food/NutritionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 3:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Local people facing homelessness soon will be able to earn money by selling a news magazine with content about challenges they face and various social justice issues.

Founder Paul Gangarosa put up his own money and time to create The Lowcountry Herald, a monthly news magazine whose first 16-page issue should be published this week.

"I saw through the Great Recession how easy it is for anyone to become homeless," says Gangarosa, an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston who teaches public health. He also saw the concept of so-called street newspapers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaPovertyUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The response to your Facebook post has been staggering. Was it written on the fly or what?

In the last month, there were four instances where I was subtly or not subtly moved along. I was having lunch with a mother younger than I am who was recently bereaved. Her loss was 14 months ago. I said, "Before the one-year mark was up, did you have people telling you, hinting or saying to you that you should move on?" I asked other people who had lost children. I was hearing the same story. It just made me mad. I jotted off that Facebook post and have been completely astounded by the response—3,780,000 views and more than 10,000 comments.

Aren't most of the comments supportive?

Somebody wrote, "I want to print words around my neck that say, 'Please just read Kay Warren's Facebook post.'"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyMental IllnessReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the church has been caring for the sick, both physically and mentally for 2,000 years longer than any government or agency. Most people are unaware that it was the Church that invented the idea of hospitals. For centuries the Church has been a refuge for the outcast, those on the margins, and anyone enduring societal stigma and shame.

Finally, studies have shown that when families or individuals experience the chaos caused by mental illness, the first place they typically call in a crisis is not a doctor, a law office, the school, or the police, but rather they call or go see their priest or pastor. Anyone who’s served as a receptionist for a church knows that they often are required to do triage in mental illness cases. Why is that? Because people instinctively know that churches are called by God to be places of refuge, comfort, guidance, and practical help for those who suffer.

It’s time to stand with those who are suffering.Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyMental IllnessReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Labour MP is to challenge the Church of England to say whether it would defrock a priest for marrying a same-sex partner.

Ben Bradshaw has accused the Church of "trying to have its cake and eat it" by accepting same-sex marriage for its members, but not for its clergy.

The ex-cabinet minister said priests needed to know where they stood.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted March 27, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The starting point and the guide for this journey is the one given to us by Pope Francis: “the beauty of the family and of marriage, the grandeur of a reality that is both simple and profound, a combination of joy, hope, burdens and suffering, just like the rest of life.” We will seek to deepen our understanding of the theology of the family and of the pastoral care that we must exercise in today’s world.” “All this we will do,” confirmed Pope Francis, “in depth and without tripping into that ‘casuistry’ that would inevitably diminish the value of our work.” The Holy Father emphasized that in today’s world the family is looked down on and treated badly and that what we are called on to do is make known how beautiful, and true and good it is to create a family, to be a family in today’s world, and how the world, and the future of all human kind, cannot do without the family. Our task is to show the world God’s shining plan for families, to help married couples live out that plan with joy, and to be there for them with a shepherd’s care that is wise, brave and full of love” (Pope Francis’ Opening Discourse to the Special Consistory on the Family, February twentieth, 2014)

This is what we will do as we look toward the Meeting in Philadelphia: we will be there for all the families of the world with a shepherd’s care that is “wise,” and “brave” and “full of love.” Wisdom in understanding what families face today, bravery in taking on today’s many and complex problems; and love in helping to resolve those problems in the light of the Gospel of the Family and of Life. We will deal with many issues in our wise, brave and loving work together: theology of the family, married spirituality and holiness, ecclesiology and pastoral care for families, the family in contemporary culture, immigration and the family, the family and ecumenism.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Picture the scene: the Bishop's post is being opened, and among the invitations, job applications, and clerical outfitters' catalogues are three troubling pieces of correspondence.

The first is from the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, informing the Bishop that an ordinand in training, who is in the process of looking for a title post in the diocese, has entered into a same-sex marriage.

The second is a letter of complaint from a group of parishioners that the Vicar of X has just used the form of service for prayer and dedication after a civil marriage from Common Worship: Pastoral Services to bless a same-sex marriage in church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why Osteenification? Because Joel Osteen is the prime provocateur of a seductive brand of American Christianity that reduces God to a means to our ends. A message that beckons multitudes to the table of the Master, not for the love of the Master but for what is on the table. He is the de facto high priest of a new brand of Christianity perfectly suited for a feel-good generation. And while a host of pretenders (including Prince) follow in his train, Osteen is clearly the biggest of the bunch—according to People magazine, “twice as big as the nearest competitor.” And his claim to America’s largest church is just a small part of the story. With one billion impressions per month on Facebook and Twitter, Osteen is the hip new personification of God-talk in America.

But here’s the problem. Behind Osteenian self-affirmations—“I am anointed,” “I am prosperous,” “My God is a ‘supersizing God’”—there lies a darker hue. Behind the smile is a robust emphasis on all that is negative. If you are healthy and wealthy, words created that reality. However, if you find yourself in dire financial straits, contract cancer, or, God forbid, die an early death, your words are the prime suspect. Says Osteen, “We’re going to get exactly what we’re saying. And this can be good or it can be bad” (Discover the Champion in You, May 3, 2004). In evidence, he cites one illustration after the other. One in particular caught my attention: the story of a “kind and friendly” worker at the church. He died at an early age, contends Osteen, “being snared by the words of his mouth” (I Declare [FaithWords, 2012], viii–ix).

This illustration serves to underscore a predictable trend; a trend now pandemic in American Christianity. Osteen and company simply use the Scriptures to communicate whatever they want. Again and again, Scripture is tortured in the process of deluding the faithful. As even the most cursory reading of Proverbs 6 makes plain, being “snared by the words of your mouth” has nothing to do with negatively professing death into one’s own life and everything to do with a divine warning against making rash pledges.

Read it all (with thanks to Timothy Dalrymple at Patheos for this guest post).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMediaPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many of us love the busyness, energy, and creative dynamism of a robust church. Many of us love the program direction and even the management. And yet all of us pastors must summon an uncommon discipline if we are to reflect the priority and importance of preaching.

It can be done. [Joseph] Sittler [wrote in his essay “The Maceration of the Minister”]:
It [the congregation] is likely to accept, support and be deeply molded by the understanding of Office and calling which is projected by its minister’s actual behavior. It will come to assess as central what he, in his actual performance of ministry and use of his time, makes central.
The preacher, Sittler concluded, must order her or his time around study, reflection, and sermon preparation.

--Christian Century, March 19, 2014 edition, page 3

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We’re beginning the season of ‘giving up’ things – a tradition of Lent. So what to give up? For us Christians, it is about self-denial, yes, and making time for deeper prayer and repentance too.

But Lent isn’t simply about giving up something for a while, just to start it again when Easter arrives. We certainly shouldn’t be giving up good service to our neighbours, though we may wish to postpone excessive meetings about that work.

We certainly don’t give up meeting together to worship and study God’s Word. Repentance is about ‘doing sorry’ – turning away from wrong (sin) and in Lent we can take extra time to think about whether we’re living as God would have us live – or, as the first of our themes puts it, discovering the heart of God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* TheologyChristologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let’s not fool ourselves. A lot of what gets called ministry is motivated by guilt. Peter was not reconciled to Jesus yet. So his efforts out on the lake that morning were driven by a desire to prove something, to compensate for a weakness in himself that he didn’t want to face. Peter was avoiding having that all important conversation with Jesus that thankfully he eventually did have. It is that conversation that will bring Peter back to his beginnings. Through that conversation he will relearn what we all need to learn that even if we’ve been Christians for a while, we never cease being sinners saved by Grace.

“Do you love me, Peter?” What a painful question that was. “You know that I love you, Lord.” “Feed my lambs.” Peter had to go back over his three denials of the Master and relive the agony of them. Three times Jesus asked him: Peter, do you love me? Peter do you love me? Peter do you love me? Only when Peter grasped that Jesus still accepted him, despite his huge failure, could his shame be absolved, and could he move on.

A failure to get this can affect whole churches....

Read it all or there is an audio link here if you want that instead.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No-fault divorce changed the American culture of marriage. So did the sexual revolution. Now proponents of gay rights are redefining marriage at an even more fundamental level. What’s to be done? As a post-biblical vision of sex, gender, and marriage gains the upper hand in our society, should our religious institutions get out of marriage? Should priests, pastors, and rabbis renounce their roles as deputies of state authority in marriage? Or should we sustain the close links between religious and civil marriage?

To help us think more clearly about these issues, we asked eight writers to respond to the following question: With the legal affirmation of same-sex marriage in some states, should churches, synagogues, and mosques stop performing civil marriages?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis have given their backing to a ground-breaking ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

The agreement to help eradicate an injustice affecting up to 29million people was co-signed on March 17th by the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo and Mr Andrew Forrest, the founder of the large international philanthropic anti-slavery organisation from Perth, Western Australia "Walk Free".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Priests are odd. They are meant to look at the same world as everyone else, but from a particular slant, so as to pick up things others might otherwise forget. To be sure, every single person in this room is called by God to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Priests are supposed to do so for the community as a whole. Priests are called to see God’s hand, his call, his gift, his warning, in the lives of the people he has given us to care for. The artists of whom I spoke saw things that seem ordinary. But they could see more there. They saw the work of the God who crouched down to where we live in Jesus Christ, and lifted who we are up to heaven in his resurrection. It is part of priests’ job to see ordinary and extraordinary things in these, the people God has put into their care, and to tell them so. In this, priesthood is a kind of artistry.

There is a tradition in the spirituality of Anglicanism of what one contemporary author has called “Easter in ordinary.” In the same vein, the Anglican poet George Herbert speaks in this way of committing the most ordinary acts to God:

All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
which with this tincture, “for thy sake,”
will not grow bright and clean.

As a priest, the things you are looking at are not odd, nor in reality is seeing things in the light of what is most real, most true. But to the world, to the way the world teaches us to see things, it seems odd. The things that shine with the light of the Holy Spirit, someone facing death with courage, someone raised up from addiction, someone challenging a wrong in a costly way, these seem like little things. The outsider looks at the Church in its flaws and humanity and sees things as lowly as pavement, as passing as waste. But it is not to be so with you. To accomplish this, you, like those artists, have to keep your eyes on things most do not look much at: prayer, the Scripture, the inner significance of ordinary things, the spiritual weight of suffering.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The meeting in Jerusalem this week was called in a sense of urgency that a false gospel has so paralysed the Anglican Communion that this crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the compromising of the integrity of the church’s worldwide mission. The primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ.

It is our hope that this Statement on the Global Anglican Future will be received with comfort and joy by many Anglicans around the world who have been distressed about the direction of the Communion. We believe the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations.
--From the final text on which i will be giving a presentation later today

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Global South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON I 2008Instruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 9:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those who are waiting for a full reversal of church prohibitions, the dismissal of the Ogletree complaint is not enough.

Dorothee Benz of Methodists in New Directions, an advocacy group that has provided direct support to the retired pastor, commended McLee’s “very bold step” to find “a new way out of this problem,” and said the time for complacency is over....

“I’m heartened, but we’re not there,” said Lyn Ellis, co-coordinator of Affirmation, a long-time advocacy group. “Justice can’t be served if this can happen again.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Good News thanks the complainants, the Revs. Randall Paige and Roy Jacobsen, for their courageous attempt to maintain the church’s faithfulness to its doctrine and Discipline. They set an example for all of us to follow in their willingness to stand up publicly for biblical teaching. We cannot predict the future course of events, but when some parts of the church declare by their words and actions that they will no longer live by our agreed-upon way of discipleship, it puts the long-term viability of The United Methodist Church as a united body in grave jeopardy. - See more at: http://goodnewsmag.org/2014/03/good-news-statement-regarding-the-ogletree-case/#sthash.c3vf0lpZ.dpuf

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I am disturbed that this settlement appears to represent a determination on the part of the New York Annual Conference leaders that they will no longer enforce or uphold the Discipline on this matter. While dialog and deep listening are good, they are no substitute for living up to the vows of obedience we took as United Methodist clergy, even when we disagree with the provisions we are asked to obey. Bishop McLee’s commitment to have no more trials for those accused of performing same-sex services means that numerous complaints that are in process will be held in abeyance, and further complaints will be discouraged.

The impact of this settlement today will be that faithful United Methodists who support the church’s teachings will feel ignored and will face their own crisis of conscience, as to whether they can continue to support a church that will not abide by its own rules. In addition, clergy in the New York Annual Conference and other like-minded annual conferences, are now given a green light to disobey the Discipline and perform same-sex services at will, without any consequences. Far from avoiding schism, today’s settlement increases the probability that schism will take place. For all these reasons, I cannot support this settlement.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The head bishop of the United Methodist Church in New York on Monday committed to ending church trials in his region for ministers who perform same sex-marriages, essentially freeing them to conduct a ceremony still prohibited under his denomination’s laws.

As the first sitting United Methodist bishop to publicly make such a pledge, Bishop Martin D. McLee instantly became a leading figure in a decades-old movement within the United Methodist Church, the country’s second-largest Protestant denomination, to extend equal recognition and rights to gay and lesbian members. Though Bishop McLee said that he hoped his approach would heal the church’s deep divisions over homosexuality, more conservative Methodists warned that his actions would push the denomination closer to an irrevocable split.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was impossible not to notice a linebacker who would take a shower, dry off, wrap a towel around his waist, pick up his Bible, and ask those of us in the locker room, "Do you know Jesus?" I would think, Do you know you are half-naked?

I asked the veterans on the team about him. They said, "Don't pay attention to him. That's the Naked Preacher...."

As the Naked Preacher preached, God's love crushed me. I had achieved the American dream, only to realize it could not empower me to love my wife or forgive my father. My fame and money could not erase my sin, shame, guilt, fear, and insecurity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSports* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 13, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Netherlands people with early dementia are already being visited by mobile euthanasia units. In Belgium the law allows euthanasia only when, technically, “the patient is in a medically futile condition of constant unbearable suffering”. Wesley J. Smith, of the US-based Centre for Bioethics and Culture, has listed examples of ways in which the law has been interpreted much more expansively.
It has, for example, permitted the euthanasia of a transsexual left distraught by the results of a botched sex change operation and elderly couples who prefer joint and early death to living alone. Belgian doctors encourage each other to look out for suicidal patients whose organs can be harvested. In one PowerPoint presentation it was noted that patients with neuro-muscular diseases were good potential donors because, unlike cancer sufferers, they have “high-quality organs”.
And don’t think that Britain will be any different. We can’t regulate the banks or the police properly and assisted dying laws would soon become lethal tools in the hands of activist judges, greedy relatives and financially stretched health services. Look at our abortion laws. Introduced to end the horror of back-street terminations, they’re now used to end late-term pregnancies because of a cleft lip or a club foot.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Franck Darmon is only 35, but he already knows where his bones will lie. Not in his native France, but in Israel.

“When you compare a cemetery in Israel — with the blue sky, the sun and all the white tombstones — to a cemetery in France with the gray surroundings, it’s very distressing,” Darmon said. “The soul doesn’t have the same type of rest.”

Darmon is not the only French Jew reaching this conclusion, and not just because of the weather. France may have Europe’s largest Jewish population, but many don’t want to stay here for eternity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeFranceMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 was designed to deal with a range of disciplinary issues concerning the clergy in the Church of England – but to the exclusion of matters of doctrine or ritual.

The 1963 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure (one of whose chief architects was the late +Eric Kemp) retained the jurisdiction inherited from the Victorian era, and ultimately from the middle ages, expressly as a criminal jurisdiction, modelled on the former Assize Courts.

This meant among other things that the procedures of the consistory court when sitting under the EJM were those of a criminal trial, that prosecutors had to achieve a criminal standard of proof – beyond all reasonable doubt – in persuading the court to convict – and that the court’s sentences were effectively criminal convictions for what in some cases were relatively trivial offences. Its proceedings were open to the public and to the media.

The CDM was designed to be a civil tribunal and to operate without the full glare of publicity brought by EJM proceedings. The world’s press turned up for the trial of the Dean of Lincoln, Brandon Jackson, and the false evidence against him was published on the front pages of national newspapers. He was acquitted.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sad reality is that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Although it is reported that only one bishop voted against the guidance, it is also being claimed that a significant number, even a majority, are not personally happy with it. The reactions to the guidance make clear just how extensive the divisions are in the wider church and thus how difficult the environment for the facilitated conversations is going to be. They also perhaps highlight two areas where the conversations need to focus their attention but which were largely unaddressed by the Pilling Report:

(1) What doctrine of marriage should the Church have and how should it then bear faithful witness to that in ordering its own life and in mission in a wider society which recognises same-sex marriage? and

(2) What is to be done, what new church structures may be needed, so that those who find themselves unable to accept the conclusions on the doctrine of marriage and its practical implications can faithfully bear witness to their understanding of marriage without undermining the mind of the majority or condemning the Church of England to continuing destructive conflict over this issue?

Read it all and Pt I is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The young man, weighed down by luggage and despair, was a first-time flier on his way to a funeral in Detroit. His father’s.

He was unaware that most airlines no longer haul checked bags free, and he was short on money. So workers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport did what they often do when passengers encounter a problem: They sent him to the chapel.

The Interfaith Airport Chaplaincy, in the atrium next to a steak-and-brew restaurant, offers more than a two-item menu of spiritual guidance and comfort. It is the concierge for the disconnected. Maj. Larry Cowper of the Salvation Army and the Rev. Donna Mote of the Episcopal Church lent the traveler a sympathetic ear. Then Ms. Mote accompanied him back to the check-in, pulled out the chaplaincy credit card and covered the fee.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureTravel* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I read that by some estimates, every day in the United States, nine churches shut their doors forever. On January 26, 2014, my church—the Reformed Church in Plano (RCP)—was one of them.

After hearing the news late last year, I cried during every worship service for six weeks straight. The music, a prayer, a line during the sermon, or a simple look around would trigger me, and the memories and tears would flow.

I wasn't the only one. After-church hugs and chats lingered a bit longer each Sunday, as everyone comforted and supported one another.

"I still can't believe this is happening," someone would say. "Can't we figure out a way to save our church?" said another. "I'm sorry, but I really think that (fill in person or circumstance here) is a lot to blame for this," several people remarked. "What are we going to do? Where are we going to go?"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the first anniversary of the Newtown shootings, Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican from Upper St. Clair, rose in the House to propose a bill in response to this tragedy and others like it. As the only clinical psychologist in Congress, and in a party that has resisted gun control efforts, his suggestion may seem to some beside the point. That would be a mistake.

The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, the result of a yearlong investigation by a House subcommittee led by Mr. Murphy, is a serious attempt to reduce gun violence by another means.

Although Mr. Murphy’s HR 3717 may not fix every defect in the mental health system, it is a bold, sweeping attempt at reform. It comes at a time when governments have cut their mental-health budgets for community care, leaving the nation’s prison system the last hope for many with mental illness (up to an estimated 50 percent of inmates have a mental illness).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyMental IllnessViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of Representatives* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Divorce is not God's will or desire for us. Even where divorce is allowed, it is not commanded, and then it is still a tragedy. Divorce leaves behind devastation and victims in its wake.

That God himself is a divorcee, despite his faultless covenant faithfulness, calls us to a more nuanced understanding of marriage and divorce. In our own marriages, God calls us to follow his example of covenant faithfulness, and has demonstrated how much grace and forgiveness is needed to maintain a relationship in the face of human sinfulness. God's example give us a framework to talk meaningfully about commitment and grace, and yet also to say that in situations of hard-hearted and deliberate covenant violation, divorce was allowed as God's way of officially declaring a broken covenant "broken."

We find wisdom when we view hot topics within the larger framework of Scripture. A discussion on purity should not just be about whether a person is a virgin when they marry (even if they've done "everything but"), but about how they steward their sexuality throughout their lives. Similarly, the litmus test for covenant faithfulness in marriage should not just be about whether or not someone got divorced (even if they did "everything but"), but about how we steward our marriages and make daily attempts to model God's faithfulness to our spouses.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 1, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The seven of us sit in a room in a maximum-security prison. I come and go weekly; they will be there for the rest of their lives. They tell me about their faith. One man has a calloused bump on his forehead, the result of his salat, bowing down to God, pressing his head into his rug, into the concrete floor of his cell: a dedication to prayer. “Allah found me in my cell,” he says. The other men nod their heads, even though they are not Muslims; they are Christians of various traditions: Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness. Yet each knows what it feels like for his God to find him in prison, regardless of profound differences in theological language and faith practices. When I’m with them, I’m within a religious pluralism unknown to me outside of prison.
In Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison, Joshua Dubler explores this phenomenon of religious pluralism within U.S. prisons by spending time with the various faith communities that congregate in the chapel at the maximum-security prison in Graterford, Pennsylvania. From the chapel, Dubler tracks the religious practices of the faithful among the 3,500 men confined inside Graterford’s walls. His book is a tapestry of scenes from worship services, small group discussions, and conversations with imprisoned men who open their spiritual lives to him. A Roman Catholic chaplain describes his visitation of the forgotten men on death row as a “ministry of presence”: “to have somebody drop in . . . to show them that they’re remembered.” A correctional officer engages in “Christian apologetics” while policing the chapel. A Muslim prisoner named Baraka’s discussions and debates enlighten the author’s observations of incarcerated life.

Dubler shows up at Graterford as a budding ethnographer and becomes a man captured by friendships—by relationships mediated through religious encounters in prison. “How truly bizarre that this awful place,” he reflects, “should afford such profound pleasure to those who feel called to enter into it and partake in its overflowing meaningfulness.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Prime Minister David Cameron enters into tortuous negotiations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the future shape of Europe; and as Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson threatens to resign over certain secret assurances given to Irish Republican terrorists classified as "On The Run"; and as the Ukraine descends into a bloody civil war about historic matters of ethnicity, identity, religion, and whether or not Russia is more Christian and free than the EU; and as Syria (remember that?) pours out a vast sea of destitute and diseased humanity, where Christians are beheaded and mothers die in childbirth; spare a thought for Church of England as it continues to agonise over the House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is trying to move on (with an ecumenical focus on social action projects), but the Bishop of Oxford has written a letter to his clergy in which he pours out his anguish and sorrow over the House of Bishops' statement, and explains his personal torment and the torture deep within his soul over the limbo caused by the statement. For Bishop John, civil partnership is not and can never be the same thing as marriage, and he has long trodden a narrow path which has pleased neither wing of the sexuality divide. It is not so much a question of sheep and goats, as which pasture is most conducive for spiritual grazing and where the theological grass is greener. But the inadequacy, ambiguity, obfuscation and internal contradictions contained in the Bishops' Dog's Breakfast Pastoral Guidance would do Sir Humphrey proud. For some, it comes as a great relief; for others, it is cruel and absurd. God reveals Himself in His Word, which requires exegesis, interpretation and a grasp of its fundamental Sitz im Leben. But the Bishops cloak Him in shadowy puzzlement and shroud the Word in smog. Doing theology in this context is nigh impossible.

This guidance permits the Church of England to begin the facilitated conversations that were advocated in the Pilling Report. There is no predetermined outcome, but the distrust and suspicion on both sides clouds understanding, makes prayer a profound spiritual struggle, and fellowship a depressing hassle.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The elements of Benedict's "hermeneutic of reform" are nothing new in the life of the Church. Both Yves Congar in the 1960s and John Henry Newman in the late 1800s made exactly the same arguments for genuine reform: the application of a principle of internal ressourcement is the only way to a true expression of catholicity. Here I quote from Congar and Newman respectively:
"There are only two possible ways of bringing about renewal or updating. You can either make the new element that you want to put forward normative, or you can take as normative the existing reality that needs to be updated or renewed ... You will end up with either a mechanical updating in danger of becoming both a novelty and a schismatic reform, on the one hand, or a genuine renewal (a true development) that is a reform in and of the Church, on the other hand."

"Those [developments] which do but contradict and reverse the course of doctrine which has been developed before them, and out of which they spring, are certainly corrupt; for a corruption is a development in that very stage in which it ceases to illustrate, and begins to disturb, the acquisitions gained in its previous history."
It is no mere coincidence that both Newman and Congar are universally recognised as being two of the great "prophets" who shaped the reforming agenda taken up by the Second Vatican Council.

Any analysis of the reception of the Council in the life of the Church today, any contemporary call for reform in the life of the Church precipitated by current events and times, and any reform proposed by Pope Francis, would do well to keep in mind the elements by which genuine ecclesial reform will happen. As a theological friend from outside of the Catholic tradition has recently put it, "No one who has not learned to be traditional can dare to innovate."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Please take the time to read them in order (from bottom to top). An excerpt follows:
My experience at both Trinity and Nashotah House has led me to conclude:

1. You can be an Anglican seminary outside the control of the Episcopal Church and still survive.
2. You cannot be a seminary in the Episcopal Church and remain orthodox.

In witness to that, I point to the following news I received today: Bishop Iker Resigns in Protest From Nashotah House Board (because Bp. Salmon has invited Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach in Nashotah House's Chapel), an event that is shocking and tragic to many alumni.

Just as my "getting the House in Trouble" by reaching out to the AMiA and the ACNA and starting a congregation in the seminary chapel may have been the low point (as some would reckon it) of my deanship, the scandal of inviting Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach in the seminary chapel will probably go down as the low point of Bp. Salmon's deanship. I can only say that I would put the low point of my deanship up against the low point of Bp. Salmon's deanship any day. (I would also gladly compare the high points of my deanship with the high points of his.)

In Bp. Salmon's first interview as Dean and President, Doug LeBlanc reported:
Salmon said he plans to strengthen relationships, both among seminary faculty and staff and between the seminary and bishops of the Episcopal Church. (Emphasis added.)
Well, now we see where that has led, don't we? Salmon is further quoted as saying,
"The name of leadership is relationships - people connecting with each other and working together," he said. "Our broken relationships in the Church are a testimony against the Gospel."
No, Bishop, the heterodoxy of the Episcopal Church, in general, and of Katharine Jefferts Schori, in particular, are a testimony against the Gospel. We are called to separate ourselves from false teachers; and a shepherd, whether of a diocese, a parish, or a seminary, is called to protect his flock from wolves. In the words of the ordination vows Bishop Salmon took: “Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to do the same?” To lead a seminary like Nashotah House in these days, and to fail to keep that ordination vow, is to see your seminary turn into another Seabury-Western, or General, or worse.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

48 Comments
Posted February 26, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Chris Young will become a pioneer in the Diocese of Davenport this summer when he is ordained to the Catholic priesthood by Bishop Martin J. Amos.

Young, 53, is a married, former Episcopal priest, and Pope Francis has given Bishop Amos permission to ordain for the diocese him under a 1980 pastoral provision admitting former Episcopal priests who have become Catholic into the Catholic priesthood.

Under the provision, more than 100 men have been ordained to the Catholic priesthood in U.S. dioceses since 1983.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the cafeteria, through the door on the left, a 17-year-old boy who went by the inititals “TJ” was shooting to kill. He’d put 10 rounds in his gun and six letters across his shirt. “Killer,” it said.

Frank Hall: I saw a young man firing into a crowd. I just stood up, shoved my table out of the way and started after him.

It’s tough even now for Frank Hall to speak of it. But with the support of his wife, he told us what happened when he charged at the boy with the gun.

Frank Hall: He raises his weapon at me, I jumped behind a Pepsi machine, I hear another fire.

That bullet missed Hall, so he kept chasing the student down the corridor.

Yes, I know, you are busy--but this is a must not miss. Really. Read (or better watch) it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilySportsTeens / YouthViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Celebrating Mass with the newest members of the College of the Cardinals one day after their elevation, Pope Francis urged them to regard their new role not as one of worldly honor but of humble service and sacrifice.

"A cardinal enters the church of Rome, not a royal court," the pope said in his homily Feb. 23, during morning Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. "May all of us avoid, and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism and preferences."

"May our language be that of the Gospel: 'yes when we mean yes; no when we mean no,'" he said. "May our attitudes be those of the beatitudes and our way be that of holiness."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Church in Burundi has joined the government and other aid agencies in the country in providing aid to victims of the flood disaster that hit the country’s capital Bujumbura about two weeks ago.

A member of the church’s communications team Nasasagare Guy, told ACNS in an interview today: “The church here is still dealing with emergency situation. We’re responding to the needs of the victims by providing food and clothing donated by Christians in our church.”

On the night of February 9, Bujumbura experienced what the locals felt were some of the “heaviest thunderstorms and rainfall in contemporary history.” Over 150 people were reported dead and hundreds were injured after the torrential rains washed whole hillsides away.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Burundi* Culture-Watch* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.* International News & CommentaryAfricaBurundi* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 22, 2014 at 12:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches in Central African Republic are caring for thousands of Muslims who have been trapped in a cycle of revenge attacks, perpetrated by a pro-Christian militia.

Since December, Anti-Balaka militias have been emptying Muslim quarters and avenging earlier attacks by the Seleka, an Islamist militia. The Seleka rampaged through the country in early 2013, terrorizing Christians and ransacking churches, hospitals and shops.

Now that the Muslim president Michel Djotodia has stepped down, Seleka is being forced to withdraw from its strongholds, as the center of power shifts, amid a mass exodus and displacement of Muslims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaCentral African Republic* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seen here as well as provided via email through multiple sources:
"BISHOP IKER HAS RESIGNED AS A TRUSTEE on the Nashotah House Board, where he has served for the past 21 years. This action was taken in protest of the Dean's invitation to the Presiding Bishop of TEC to be a guest preacher in the seminary's chapel. Citing the lawsuits initiated by her against this Diocese, Bishop Iker notified the Board that he "could not be associated with an institution that honors her." Similarly, Bishop Wantland has sent notification that he "will not take part in any functions at Nashotah" nor continue "to give financial support to the House as long as the present administration remains." He is an honorary member of the Board (without vote) and a life member of the Alumni Association."


I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education


Posted February 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Jervis] Zimmerman paints a compelling portrait of a hard-working but combative parish priest, quick to take offense, and often at the storm center of controversy. Prescott was subjected to four successive heresy trials in Massachusetts between 1850 and 1852. Again, he was put on trial in Pennsylvania for his ritual practices at St. Clement’s in 1880. At the same time, his relations with Fr. Benson, superior of the SSJE, deteriorated; Benson secured Prescott’s resignation from St. Clement’s in 1880 and released him from his life vows in 1882. Prescott served a variety of parishes in his 53 years of ordained ministry, but often stayed no more than two or three years in one place. His longest tenure was as rector of the African-American parish of St. Luke in New Haven, where he served seven years until his retirement in 1900.

Always professing his loyalty to the Episcopal Church, in times of controversy Prescott also insisted on his rights according to the canons. At least twice he resigned as rector because of what he saw as vestry violations of his canonical prerogatives. When bishops tried to suppress his ritual practices, he argued that such practices were nowhere forbidden by the church’s formularies and that his duty was to defend his parish’s rights against infringement by low-church bishops, who tended to argue that what was not explicitly authorized was forbidden. In other words, Prescott consistently resisted rule by the personal whim of those in positions of ecclesiastical authority. Tellingly, his fundamental disagreement with Benson arose from the latter’s refusal to provide a written constitution for the SSJE despite earlier promises to do so.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fourteen percent of adults between the ages of 24 and 34 -- those in the post-college years when most young adults are trying to establish independence -- report living at home with their parents. By contrast, roughly half of 18- to 23-year-olds, many of whom are still finishing their education, are currently living at home.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 14, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bruce] Longenecker's careful analysis of the ambiguities surrounding Paul's commitment to the care of the poor is not meant to challenge the general presumption that Paul and the early church in general did not assume that Christians had an obligation to care for the poor. Indeed, he argues that, though economic assistance to the poor was not exhaustive of the good news of Jesus, neither was it peripheral to that good news. "Care for the poor was thought by Paul to be a necessary hallmark of the corporate life of Jesus followers who lived in conformity with the good news of the early Jesus movement."

I call attention to Longenecker's account of the commitment to the poor by the early followers of Jesus to remind us of the commonplace presumption by Christians that we are a people of charity. We are supposed to care for those less well off. Almsgiving is constitutive of what it means to be a Christian. Yet how Christians have cared for those who have less has recently come under severe criticism. I want to explore that critique and hopefully provide a constructive response.

One of the reasons I am intent to address questions surrounding what it means to remember the poor - or, in other terms, why charity is at the heart of Christian living - is I do not think I have adequately dealt with the challenge that Christians must be a community of the poor that cares for the poor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchPoverty* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 11, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At some point before 35-year-old Jesse Ryan Loskarn hanged himself in his parents’ home outside Baltimore, he wrote a painful letter soaked in shame and self-loathing in which he attempted to explain the unexplainable.

The former chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) had lived a secret life, hiding memories of child abuse and his addiction to child pornography. Even as U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents used a battering ram to enter his house, it appeared that he was trying to hide an external hard drive - containing hundreds of videos - on a ledge outside a window.

“Everyone wants to know why,” he wrote, in a Jan. 23 letter posted online by Gay Loskarn, his mother.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesPornographyPsychologySuicideScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 10, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some of the language here not the best, be advised, but the content really is solid--KSH.

What was so painful about Amy [Winehouse]'s death is that I know that there is something I could have done. I could have passed on to her the solution that was freely given to me. Don't pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn't easy: it requires incredible support and fastidious structuring. Not to mention that the whole infrastructure of abstinence based recovery is shrouded in necessary secrecy. There are support fellowships that are easy to find and open to anyone who needs them but they eschew promotion of any kind in order to preserve the purity of their purpose, which is for people with alcoholism and addiction to help one another stay clean and sober.

Without these fellowships I would take drugs. Because, even now, the condition persists. Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcoholismDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 10, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There’s a strong possibility the fusillade from the UN panel may backfire, however, by blurring the cause of child protection with the culture wars over sexual mores.

In several sections of its report, the committee joins its critique on abuse with blunt advice to Rome to jettison Church teaching on matters such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. At one stage the panel even recommends repealing a codicil of Church law that imposes automatic excommunication for participating in an abortion.

Not only are those bits of advice deeply unlikely to be adopted, they may actually strengthen the hand of those still in denial in the Church on the abuse scandals by allowing them to style the UN report as all-too-familiar secular criticism driven by politics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVIPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 6, 2014 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Don’t let all the suits and ties fool you. Almost everyone at Year Up has faced almost unimaginable hardship in getting here. Poverty, drugs, foster care, men's and women's shelters—you name it.

Gerald Chertavian: We are going into a professional skills course.

This all out corporate training blitz is the brainchild of Gerald Chertavian -- a Wall Street veteran who believes that he’s discovered an untapped source of talent among the poorest in the country.

Gerald Chertavian: A majority of the young adults growing up in isolated poverty, in our inner cities, want opportunity, want to be challenged, want to be held to higher expectations, and are motivated to actually get a good job. They haven't had any exposure as to how do you do that.

Read it all or watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyUrban/City Life and IssuesYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As time passed, she underwent numerous surgeries. She wore diapers until she was 13. And she endured great pain - pain caused by her body and the pain of feeling different, abnormal, somehow wrong.

A word darkened over her life, forming a seemingly permanent label: disabled.

For so long, too long, she heard people's comments. And she believed them.

However, she also grew up in the small town of Boone, N.C., with good friends and a loving family, including a fraternal twin sister. Together, they instilled a strong Christian faith in her.

Read it all from the local paper..

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* South Carolina* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 4, 2014 at 9:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 26 bishops come from the following Member Churches: Australia; Canada; Central Africa; South India; England; Ireland; Kenya; Korea; Lusitanian Church; Melanesia; Myanmar; Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia; Nigeria; Scotland; Southern Cone/South America; Sudan; West Africa;and the West Indies.

Several of bishops spoke of the course as having a profound impact on them and their ministry. Bishop of Korea's Busan Diocese Onesimus Park said that, while he knew intellectually that Korea was part of the worldwide Anglican community, the visit had made this knowledge real.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Mr. [David] Dyson announced his retirement in 2011, a committee was formed to find someone to fill in during the arduous process — involving exhaustive surveys and self-examination — of finding a permanent pastor. The Session, 15 people elected by the congregation, chose Ms. Mason-Browne and gave her the standard contract for a one-year term. It was later renewed for a year.

Many saw parallels between the pastors. “Both have big personalities,” Joy Bell, a member since 1997, said. “Both are well read, well educated and demonstrate what Christianity should be about.”

But when her contract came up again at the end of 2013, the Session declined to renew it. With that, the number of black female pastors, like Ms. Mason-Browne, leading Presbyterian congregations in New York City dropped to five, though minorities are close to half of church members citywide. Nationally, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is 90 percent white.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 3, 2014 at 11:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[In this next video report]...one brother competes and the other is cheering him on, that could be said of a lot of olympic athletes, but for Alex Bilodeau who won a gold medal in Canada yea years past it is all about the remarkable bond we first learned about in the last winter games; Bob Costas has more.

Watch it all--fantastic and heartwarming.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologySports* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The remarkable thing about this confession is, it's true. It's not a moment of great self-esteem, or at which the lost son remembers how inherently worthy he is. By rights, he has no rights. And yet, what does he discover? Well, it is true that he receives no joy from his elder brother. But that is because the Father is irritatingly insistent on showering his tender mercy upon the returning son.

Many Christian churches open their services by inviting the congregation to confess its sins. It might seem as if this a dour reminder of our inadequacies and failings, and a rather grim thing to be doing on a Sunday, when you could be enjoying a late breakfast. But the Christian can confess with confidence - not simply because he or she will find in God a righteous judge, but because "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." To confess your sin is to express confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the one in whom God displayed both his justice and his mercy. And it is a gloriously counter-cultural testimony to the "admit nothing" world.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, after being asked about laws there penalising gay people.

The letter said homosexual people were loved and valued by God and should not be victimised or diminished.

Nigeria and Uganda have both passed legislation targeting people with same-sex attraction.

The letter is also addressed to all primates (heads of national Churches) in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican PrimatesArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologySexuality* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaUgandaEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 30, 2014 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oostburg's pastor, the Rev. Brian Jacobson, said he feels a sense of hopefulness about the process.

"It feels like a genuine attempt — in Christian language — to make room for the spirit," Jacobson said. "It feels to me like this could be a way forward that would honor both sides."

First Presbyterian is seeking to affiliate with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, a theologically conservative denomination that formed after the 2011 vote.

Since then, about 260 congregations have left the 2.8 million-member Presbyterian Church USA, said the Rev. Gradye Parsons, who serves as the stated clerk of the church's general assembly in Louisville. Similar schisms have erupted in the Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterianSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted January 29, 2014 at 3:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ignatius offers a fascinating insight into the heart of a true man of God given over to His will. It is tempting to want to leap from his example and vision of episcopacy to its practice within our own Church at this time, but such a leap needs great care. A bishop in the first decade of the second century cannot fairly be compared even to one of 250 years later let alone in the Church of today. The three-fold ministry was still in an early stage of its development. Even though Lightfoot has cogently argued that a case can be made for regarding episcopacy as being of Apostolic direction, and therefore possessing Divine sanction, long years of evolution and growth lay before it. At this stage too the Church across the Roman Empire faced the daily possibility of considerable persecution and martyrdom. That demanded a particular kind of shepherding and witness.

On the other hand a bishop at the beginning of the third millennium might profitably and properly ask (or be asked) whether endless committees and synods are really the way in which their lives are to be laid down for their flock? An institution requires administration, but in the New Testament list of charisms, administrators are quite low in the order of priorities, and of its pastors at this time the Church has other, more pressing, needs. Rather than imposing upon an already disheartened clergy systems of appraisal (mostly copied from secular models of management) it would be good for parish priests to experience bishops as those who were around so much that they could afford regularly to ‘drop in’ and just be with them. It is hard to expect the parish clergy to make visiting a priority if their fathers in God do not set an example.

In some dioceses the more obviously pastoral role has sometimes been exercised by a suffragan but as more and more diocesan bishops, at least within the Church of England, are being selected from the ranks of the suffragans the temptation is for those who are ambitious to prove their worth more as potential managers than those given to the ‘Word of God and prayer’ (Acts 6.2). If the communities within which the bishops are to exercise their ministry of unity and care are too large for them to do their work has not the time come to press for smaller dioceses and for bishops to strip themselves of the remnants of the grandeur their office once held and be found, above all, with their clergy and amongst the people, drawing them together into the unity for which Christ gave himself?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 29, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Justin hails religious delegation’s ‘friendship and cooperation’ against backdrop of escalating violence in the Central African Republic

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed a high-level delegation of religious leaders from the Central African Republic to Lambeth Palace yesterday to hear about the current crisis in their country, in which one million people have fled their homes.

Archbishop Justin received the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Imam Omar Kabine Layama, who along with the Revd Nicolas Guérékoyamé Gbangou, President of the Alliance of Evangelicals of Central African Republic (CAR), have recently been touring their country to battle sectarian narratives and promote peace and tolerance.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaCentral African Republic* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 28, 2014 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Zac Gossage, 6, lost his hair to chemotherapy treatments for leukemia, he cried to his mother that he didn't want to go to school.

Luckily, he has a friend in 7-year-old Vincent Butterfield.

When Vincent's first grade teacher told their class at Central Elementary School in Union, Mo. that Zac had leukemia, Vincent told his dad he wanted to shave his head.

Read it all and if you have time the video is wonderful. Also, another link for the video if necessary may be found there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 28, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Anglo-Catholic priest was bullied out of his parish after challenging a cadre of “very right-wing” church- goers over a culture of binge-drinking, according to a report.

Father Simon Tibbs, 41, had been in charge of St Faith’s church in Great Crosby, Merseyside — which includes the former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie among its past parishioners — for just nine months when he was allegedly forced out last September.

An investigation into his departure found yesterday that he had offended an “inner circle” of the congregation by trying to drive through a ban on excessive drinking by worshippers who were treating the church like a “social club”.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAlcohol/Drinking* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

5 Comments
Posted January 24, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishops will have the power to demand that a priest undergoes a safeguarding risk-assessment under legislative changes proposed by the Archbishops' Council last week. Priests who fail to comply "without good cause" will be guilty of misconduct under the Clergy Discipline Measure.

The proposal is one of 12, published on Monday of last week, which will be debated by the General Synod next month. They have been produced in response to the report of the Archbishop's Chichester Visitation, which called for an "urgent" review of the Church's safeguarding legislation.

The report that lists the proposals states that commissioning risk-assessments would be "the exception, rather than the norm", and that bishops would need to give reasons to justify the direction. Priests would have the right to seek a review by the President of Tribunals of the diocesan bishop's direction.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 24, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have signed the Time to Change pledge to end the stigma attached to mental illness. I encourage you to join this campaign in the UK, or similar campaigns where you live. Like many of you, I have been close to a number of people who have struggled with poor mental health. I became my late father’s carer in the last years of his life. It was only then that I recognised how we had colluded as a family in not knowing about his mental state for years. He was relatively well supported; but this did not prevent his early death as a result of the physical consequences of his struggle with life.

Research reveals that nine out of ten people in Britain who live with some form of mental illness are stigmatised. As if the illness were not enough to cope with, they are penalised in the workplace and over welfare benefits. They are shunned and laughed at. Worse still, moral blame is still applied to those living with persistent mental illness. We are frightened of it because it is so close to us and any one of us call fall prone to it in some form. It is also scary that, while there can be periods of recovery in any illness, the condition itself may well be chronic and incurable.

Understandably, we all dread that prospect for ourselves or for our loved ones; but it does not follow that we should blame sufferers for reminding us of their need. The media do not help. Of course, it is a tragedy if a psychotic person becomes dangerous and does serious harm to another person. The way that this is often reported suggests that people with mental health needs are likely to be dangerous. The sad truth is that most of those who suffer psychosis, or clinical depression or severe bi-polar illness are only likely to be a danger to themselves as they feel they can no longer endure the isolation and pain.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyMental IllnessReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 18, 2014 at 8:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rowan Williams has spoken out against the trend of expensive "fantastical" weddings which he claims is threatening the future of marriages.

Speaking at a debate entitled "Marriage: Love or Law" in London, the former Archbishop of Canterbury said that the "marketisation of marriage" must be curtailed.

He labelled the idea of "the perfect relationship crystallised in the perfect wedding day" as a farce, suggesting that it was nothing more than the product of "immense economic advertising investment in this massively fantastical experience ... after which, of course, nothing is ever quite so good again".

"This is an aspect I think of the short-term, unimaginative, emotionally unintelligent climate that sometimes we seem forced to inhabit," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is therefore a stark contrast when we compare parents’ dedication to getting their children into a good college with their dedication to getting their children into a good marriage. One cannot help but suspect from the lackadaisical approach of middle class parents to their progeny, that they do not consider marriage very important at all. Of course, this attitude is expected for those who have unfortunately come to believe that marriage is an outdated and irrelevant custom. However, it is not at all reasonable for those social conservative parents who still find marriage important—those who (rightly) profess it to be the most fundamental building block of society and (rightly) wish to defend it against various contemporary perversions of the institution.

Even conservative defenders of marriage lack intentionality when it comes to the marital prospects of their own children. It’s not as though they’re ignorant of how to handle important things because they also deeply involve themselves in goals like securing a college education. It is simply that they do not treat marriage with their actions the way they treat it with their rhetoric. They complain about institutions when they redefine marriage. They complain about the media when they demean or devalue marriage in various ways. Nevertheless, when it comes to that segment of society in which they have the most influence—their own family—they often do not seem to make the “college” kind of effort to cultivate a desire for marriage, to prepare their sons to be good husbands, to prepare their daughters to be good wives, or to help them find a good spouse.

Consider, as one small example of this, the virtue of chastity—a disposition to prepare and direct our sexuality towards marriage—and contrast it with the far more popular term among social conservatives: “abstinence.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An award-winning pastor and the congregation he leads at the Flora-Bama lounge have left the United Methodist denomination, he confirmed Wednesday.

The Rev. Jeremy Mount, who received the Harry Denman Evangelism Award in June at the United Methodists’ annual meeting in Mobile, turned in his credentials in mid-December, he said. He is the third well-known pastor to leave the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 2013.

“We’ve always loved the local churches we’ve been a part of,” said Mount, who was discipleship pastor at Perdido Bay UMC and led Worship on the Water as a ministry of the church. “We have had a harder time dealing with the larger structure of the denomination.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Three below zero on a Minnesota morning, and the Rev. Oliver White stomps the snow off his boots as he enters the stucco edifice of Clark Memorial United Church of Christ to lead worship. He peels off an overcoat to reveal the kente-cloth vestments his wife made for him, which match the kufi hat he wears.

On this Sunday midway between Christmas and New Year’s Day, he sees a congregation thinned by both vacation and weather. Perhaps 50 people fill the pews, yet in their modest number resides a startling range: a lesbian couple with their son; a 98-year-old man who still shovels his own sidewalk; the black and white relatives of a biracial baby about to be baptized.

“Good morning, and let’s have the church say, ‘Amen,’ “ Mr. White, 71, begins, standing in the aisle rather than at the pulpit. Hearing the desultory response, he chides: “That was only half the church. Again?” The voices now rise, and he adds his own emphatic “Amen!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesUnited Church of ChristSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySacramental TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2014 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Throughout their married life, Greg and Renee Wood have always been the ones who take care of other people.

As Christian pastors for nearly 20 years, they tended to the spiritual - and temporal - needs of their congregation.

As parents, they raised six children of their own while also taking in dozens of abused youngsters....

...when the Woods found themselves sick, unemployed and on the brink of being evicted from their home earlier this year, asking for help didn't come easily to them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsHealth & Medicine* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was an expensive media spectacle. A United Methodist pastor had presided at the marriage ceremony of his gay son and his partner, and several years later was brought before a jury of his peers to answer for his disobedience to the laws of the United Methodist Church. As the broader society wrestled with the legality of same-sex marriage, the teachings and the means of addressing conflict in the UMC were put on display, to the satisfaction of some and the horror of others.

The question of the value of public church trials has been under the microscope in recent weeks in the wake of Frank Schaefer’s trial, conviction, and defrocking; the decision by the Council of Bishops to ask two of their own to file formal charges against Bishop Melvin Talbert for his presiding at a celebration of marriage service for two gay men in Alabama; and the increasing number of United Methodist clergy who are ignoring the UM Book of Discipline’s provisions forbidding UM clergy from participating in services celebrating the union of gay couples. There have been calls by church leaders and advocates for a moratorium on church trials related to gay marriage. And today, an advocacy group working to end “heterosexist policies and practices” in the UMC issued a statement expressing their opposition to such a moratorium, suggesting that a moratorium would allow the church to ignore same-sex concerns rather than moving to repeal what they believe are “discriminatory laws.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted January 10, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An historic church placed on the heritage ‘at-risk’ register has been awarded a £250,000 lottery grant for repairs.

The Anglican Holy Trinity Church, in Woodlands Road, Darlington, recently celebrated its 175th anniversary, but dry rot in the roof has left it in danger of serious damage.

The Grade 2* church is classed as being in a ‘very bad’ condition by the English Heritage Place of Worship At-Risk register.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 8, 2014 at 1:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Restaurateur Michael De Beyer wants to sell his fine-dining German restaurant, but at the right price, and all for a good cause.

A 19-year-old employee of De Beyer’s has been diagnosed with a ping-pong size tumor in her brain, he said. And in December, when doctors first made their diagnosis, De Beyer’s jack-of-all-trades hostess, waitress, bus-girl and kitchen aide didn’t have health insurance, he said.

De Beyer said he is willing to help any way he can, even if that includes selling the only German restaurant owned by an actual German in the Houston region, as he describes his Montgomery restaurant of 15 years, the Kaiserhof Restaurant and Wunderbar.

“I’m not able to just sit by and let it happen,” De Beyer said. “I couldn’t live with myself; I would never be happy just earning money from my restaurant knowing that she needs help.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 8, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In bringing to the General Synod a private member's motion recommending a relaxation of canon law as it pertains to clergy vestments, the Vicar of St Thomas's, Oakwood, in north London, the Revd Christopher Hobbs, is aware that "it might be better to let sleeping dogs lie."

"Bishops never make a fuss about it, but potentially they could; so it would be better if the law was changed, in my mind, to reflect reality rather than just have it there on the books," he said last week. Although it may come as news to members of some congregations, who may be more accustomed to seeing their priest in a V-neck sweater than a surplice, canon law prescribes particular choices for the correct vesture of a minister.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You see, the researcher that they're filming, a guy named Harry Harlow [in 1960], was trying to prove-- and I know this is going to sound crazy. He was trying to prove that love is an important thing that happens between parents and children.

And the reason why he felt the need to prove this point was at the time-- and again, I know this is going to sound kind of out there. The psychological establishment, pediatricians, even the federal government were all saying exactly the opposite of that to parents.

Deborah Blum: It's actually one of those things that you say, how could they have thought that? But psychology just didn't believe in love. And if you go back and you pull any of the psychology textbooks, really almost pre-1950, you don't even find it in the index because it was not a word that was used.

Read it all or better Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 2, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The beauty of the site, [Justine] Roberts explains, is how it goes on growing. More than five million people visit the site every month, almost twice as many as a year ago. While there is an endless supply of young women having babies, those who joined years ago to discuss baby-led weaning (or BLW as Mumsnetters call it) tend never to leave. The stranglehold that the well-educated, part-time mother once had on the site is also loosening.
“You will still find people who are discussing incredibly esoteric PhD subjects on Mumsnet. But you will also find endless conversations about Downton Abbey,” Roberts says.

As for their politics, “screeching conservatism of Middle England” covers it no better than does “Islington, lentil-weaving, eat your own placenta”. There is no point in talking about a Mumsnet election, she says, as Mumsnetters don’t all vote one way. Yet despite such talk of diversity, Roberts spends half her life telling the media what “the community” thinks on an impressively wide range of subjects.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingBooksChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 1, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Englewood runs counter to the church culture — and its own past — in some other ways. Where the church once focused primarily on evangelism, attractive programming and high membership growth, Englewood seems more interested in getting to know people.

"A lot of times churches just think it is about getting people to be baptized and saving their souls so they can go to heaven," said Benjamin, the church secretary. "We believe the picture is so much bigger than that. It is about what God intended life to be. He intended people to have good shelters. He intended people to have the basic needs of life. He intended people to live together in harmony and share together."

That philosophy is what Smith, the editor of the church's book review, describes in a new book he has co-authored called "Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus."

Borrowing some of the language of the Slow Food movement, it proposes to resist what some have called the "McDonald's-ization of the church."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral Care* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We so often hear of the peace to be found through Jesus. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. This is a wonderful thing in our world where we so often hear of conflict. The peace Jesus offers is of God – it is a peace beyond our understanding. It is a peace of body, mind and spirit. It is a peace that we can hold on to even during troubled times. It is a peace that comes when we become aware of the presence of God in our lives....

Such peace and joy invariably come at a cost. It is not that suffering brings peace and joy; but suffering can lead to a depth of relationship with God, whom we turn to in time of trouble. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples. The gospel according to John tells us, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with doors locked ….. , Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” (John 20: 19 and 20)

Jesus’ greeting of peace is associated with him showing them his wounds. Peace invariably comes at a great cost. Despite the appalling cruelty he had experienced, Jesus was able to forgive his torturers and executioners. Indeed, he was able to plead with God for their forgiveness. Such forgiveness is exceptional. True forgiveness does not come easily, and does not even recall past wrongs – however awful these may be. I firmly believe it comes only as a gift from God. This in turn allows the peace and joy only God can give.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Province of West Africa* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 26, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the sky darkened outside Saturday, commencing the longest night of the year, the City Mission’s chapel in Washington also dimmed its lights. Faces bowed in prayer were dimly illuminated by flameless candles dotting the pews and Christmas decorations strung along the wall.

In addition to City Mission’s regular church services, the nonprofit organization held a “longest night vigil” Saturday for the winter solstice in remembrance of those who have died, and to recognize others still battling homelessness, addiction or illness.

Names were read aloud: Richard, Jack, Maggie, Papa, Pap Pap, Kenny and the list went on. Some people became emotional during the candlelit vigil as the names they had written down – of loved ones lost, or still struggling – were read from slips of paper placed in a basket.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchPoverty* TheologyPastoral Theology

3 Comments
Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As interments of veterans and their dependents climb to a record level, the Department of Veterans Affairs is rushing to add burial space at the fastest rate since the Civil War.

The project is adding thousands of burial sites and vault spaces across the country. But a Nevada congresswoman is pressing the VA to add more national cemeteries, especially in Western states that now have few cemeteries but whose senior populations are growing.

"The prestige of being buried in a national cemetery is something every veteran is entitled to," said Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, who has been prodding the VA to open more such cemeteries in places like Nevada. It is among about a dozen U.S. states that lack a federally funded and operated national cemetery, and rely mostly on veterans' cemeteries run by states or Native American tribal governments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. Government* TheologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 23, 2013 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...far from intimidating others, the trial and defrocking of Mr. Schaefer have galvanized a wave of Methodist ministers to step forward to disobey church prohibitions against marrying and ordaining openly gay people.

Members of the United Methodist Church, the nation’s third-largest Christian denomination, have been battling bitterly over homosexuality for four decades. The church now faces an increasingly determined uprising by clergy members and laypeople who have refused to cede, even after losing the most recent votes, at the Methodist convention last year, on proposals to change church teaching.

“After 40 years of playing nice and attempting a legislative solution, we will not wait any longer,” said Matt Berryman, a former Methodist pastor who said he turned in his credentials because he is gay. He now serves as the executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network, a Methodist gay rights group.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyRace/Race RelationsSexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A United Methodist minister in Pennsylvania plans to defy a church order to surrender his credentials for performing a same-sex wedding.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer says he cannot uphold the church's Book of Discipline because he finds it discriminatory. The Methodist church accepts gay and lesbian members but rejects the practice of homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching."

Read it all.



Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

9 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans' rating of the honesty and ethics of the clergy has fallen to 47%, the first time this rating has dropped below 50% since Gallup first asked about the clergy in 1977. Clergy have historically ranked near the top among professions on this measure, hitting a high rating of 67% in 1985.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"If the Lord told me I could redo two years of my life--if I could take a mulligan--I would choose the two years after Bible College. Hands down. I joke about it, but it really was the worst time. There was so much pride in my life...."

Go here, then to the table of contents, then to page 58 to read the rest.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The Rev. Simon] Tatton-Brown, who is due to retire shortly, has admitted that he was wrong to tell children that Father Christmas was not real. He also apologised for telling them how legend has it that St Nicholas, the historical figure on whom Santa Claus is based, resurrected three young boys who had been pickled in a barrel by a wicked butcher who was planning to sell them as ham.

He said that he inadvertently left behind the notes for his speech and had to extemporise.

Kerry Butler, whose daughter Kacey, 9, goes to the school, said that parents were “very upset” about Mr Tatton-Brown’s remarks.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenEducation* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Guernsey will not be "forced" into any relationship change with the Anglican Church, the island's Dean has said.

It follows questions raised over the relationship between Jersey and the Diocese of Winchester after a review of how an abuse complaint was handled.

Guernsey's Anglican Dean the Very Reverend Canon Paul Mellor, said it was not clear if any changes would be made.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 11, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baby boomers are calling for a timeout.

After decades of raising children and climbing the corporate ladder, they're weary of the same old routine. But they're so caught up in high-pressure jobs that they don't have the time and energy to figure out what to do next.

Enter the career break.

Inspired by high-school and college students who take "gap" or "bridge" years, more baby boomers are taking an extended leave from the working world. Their goal: to relax, re-energize and reflect upon what they want to do next—which often means heading down an entirely new and more fulfilling career path.

Read it all from the WSJ.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Aside from a pastor's personal weaknesses, what cultural forces make it harder for pastors to stay true in their calls?

We have a cultural tendency to elevate leaders. Maybe it's because they have an extraordinary education or a title or a position. Maybe it is because they have had a great deal of success in the growth of their church, or as an author or speaker. Whatever the reason, we're creating minigods in our minds and hearts. That creates expectations in leaders, and expectations are the foundations for disappointment.
What does that look like in a local church?

Maybe the pastor receives disproportionately large gifts compared to what's given to associates or other staff. Or the senior pastor is seen as the person that we all go to. It's people saying, "The pastor sat at my table," or, "The pastor was over at my house." As if the pastor is a movie star or sports figure.

I don't know how many times in Peacemakers' work, after coming in to help a church, I've heard elders say, "I wanted to say something, but I thought, Who am I?" We elevate pastors to a place where we feel they know so much more than we do, so we don't hold them accountable to some fundamental issues.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mexico’s deadly drugs war is not just a question of supply and demand but a symptom of the rise of Satan, according to some Catholic leaders. With the death toll at about 80,000 and counting, the number of exorcisms is rising.

Father Carlos Triana, an exorcist in Mexico City, said: “We believe that behind all these big and structural evils there is a dark agent and his name is The Demon. As much as we believe that the Devil was behind Adolf Hitler, possessing and directing him, we also believe that he [the Devil] is here behind the drug cartels.”

Exorcisms and spiritual cleansings are common in Mexico, a superstitious country where Catholicism overlaid the religious beliefs of its indigenous inhabitants, including the Aztecs.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMexico* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheodicy

0 Comments
Posted December 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in this article, I want us to suspend the popular perception of this acerbic idiom and replace it with a sunnier interpretation. I want us to consider how something as simple and carefree as a half-hour trek through nature can reap tremendous benefits for body, mind and soul.

This positive spin on a negative phrase carries encouraging news, especially for those who sometimes shudder at the thought of a fast-paced kickboxing class at 6 a.m. after a sleepless night with a sick child, or who just can’t seem to motivate themselves to hit the weights in a packed and noisy gym after a stressful day at the office. With just a little bit of time and a trusty pair of tennis shoes, we can literally walk our bad moods, bad habits and worries all away!

Today, I’m advising you—lovingly—to take a hike, and here are my top five reasons why....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’m thankful that even though I don’t have all the answers, God does. In tragedy we seek explanations, but explanations never comfort. It is God’s presence that eases our pain.

I’m thankful that this life is not all there is. It’s not the end of the story. One day God will right all wrongs, even the odds and settle all accounts. Justice will be served. Evil will not win.

I’m thankful for the hope of heaven. I won’t have to live with pain forever. In heaven, there are no broken relationships, broken minds, broken bodies, broken dreams or broken promises. The Bible tells us, “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)