Posted by Kendall Harmon

... I finally embarked on a book about my great-grandfather.

I knew that if I hoped to understand what drew him into ministry in Japan, I needed to learn more about Christianity. So, for the first time, I began to read the Bible in a meaningful way, under the guidance of two devout relatives. A long-suppressed inner flame burned brighter as I read and contemplated the Scriptures. Several verses in particular spoke to me.

In Luke 17:20–21, when Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God is coming, he replies: “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed; nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And in John 14:9, Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”

For the first time, I felt I understood the true meaning of faith, as hope in things unseen. I understood, too, how Jesus taught us what it means to be God’s people, loving one another as we love ourselves. Only through love can we help bring God’s kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAsiaJapan* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

(Christ/St. Paul's Church Yonges Island SC; photo by Jacob Borrett)


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our God is not big, like Mister Zeus, perched upon his throne on Mount Olympus, and bending his attentive brows to behold the deeds of men, making sure that they are just, unless he happens to be distracted by his nagging wife Hera or by an especially lissome shepherdess momentarily alone and vulnerable in the fields. Such bigness is trivial, even contemptible. Our God is the immortal, invisible, God only wise: and he would not be the infinite God were he not infinitely present within each of the tiniest things he has made. The smallest of all the seeds is as great as all the universe, because God dwells within it, and not a piece of him, either; all of the heavenly hosts are there, singing and praising him forever.

Of course Chesterton is thinking of that smallest of all of Jesus' parables. "The kingdom of God may be likened unto a mustard seed," says Jesus, "which is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows it becomes the greatest of the shrubs, and the birds of the air build their nests in its branches." We are apt to think that the parable has to do with the lowly beginnings of the Kingdom, beginnings that are then swallowed up in greatness and never seen again.

Read it all from Touchstone.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 20, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly here or download it there.


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

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Posted November 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Feast of Christ the King, along with the encyclical letter Quas Primas, is a modern form of an ancient Christian assertion that there is “another King” than the myriad lesser kings seated on thrones or behind government desks. The early Christians were accused of acting against the official laws of the land, “against the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king, Jesus” (Acts 17.7). And though ancient Christians were certainly the target of large amounts of unjust slander, in this instance the accusation was absolutely true. After all, the Apostle Paul preached the Kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus from within Caesar’s household. Explicit in such an activity is the uniquely Christian notion that there is a greater empire than that of the Romans, with a mightier king than that of Caesar. The secular powers of this world cannot long stand such assertions, which is most certainly one of the reasons the Apostle Paul’s head was removed from his neck.

In his magnificent New Testament and the People of God, N.T. Wright notes that one group feeling existentially threatened by another is often the precursor to persecution. In the case of early Christianity, he wrote:
Mere belief—acceptance of certain propositional statements­—is not enough to elicit such violence. People believe all sorts of odd things and are tolerated. When, however, belief is regarded as an index of subversion, everything changes. The fact of widespread persecution, regarded by both pagans and Christians as the normal state of affairs within a century of the beginnings of Christianity, is powerful evidence of the sort of thing that Christianity was, and was perceived to be. It was a new family, a ‘third race’, neither Jew nor Gentile but ‘in Christ’. Its very existence threatened the foundational assumptions of pagan society.
Wright’s point is that the early Christian confession of the Lordship of Christ, along with the beliefs and ethics entailed therein, appeared so threatening to the ancient world’s foundational convictions, that the only option was to wipe Christianity out. In light of this it’s worth asking: are modern confessions of the Lordship of Christ as threatening to this secular age as the early church was to the ancient world? I wonder.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical Seasons* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 20, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Respected new research published this week from Wilfrid Laurier University claims to have discovered that the ‘secret ingredient’ for church growth is clergy and congregations committed to the historic truths of the Christian faith as a revealed religion, while a liberal approach to belief is consistently a predictor of decline (see Guardian Online 17th November).

This should be a great encouragement to us in the Church of England as we recognize that our core business is to bring the truth of the gospel to the nation – and is a conclusion that confirms what we see on the ground where there is a confidence in the Bible as the Word of God.

It is also a conclusion that matches the Church of England’s clear theological identity. She identifies herself as apostolic - in other words faithful to the teaching of Jesus as given through the Apostles. According to Canon A5 this teaching is ‘grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.’

So while for some this new research merely confirms the obvious, it is likely to be a major upset for those who hold to the comfortable notion that theology doesn’t much matter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in light of the enormous social costs of being a Christian in the first three centuries, why did anyone become a Christian? Why did Christianity grow so exponentially? What did Christianity offer that was so much greater than the costs? Hurtado and others have pointed out three things.

First, Christians were called into a unique “social project” that both offended and attracted people. Christians forbade both abortion and the practice of “infant exposure,” in which unwanted infants were simply thrown out. Christians were a sexual counter-culture in that they abstained from any sex outside of heterosexual marriage. This was in the midst of a culture that thought that, especially for married men, sex with prostitutes, slaves, and children was perfectly fine.

Also, Christians were unusually generous with their money, particularly to the poor and needy, and not just to their own family and racial group. Another striking difference was that Christian communities were multi-ethnic, since their common identity in Christ was more fundamental than their racial identities, and therefore created a multi-ethnic diversity, which was unprecedented for a religion. Finally, Christians believed in non-retaliation, forgiving their enemies, even those who were killing them.

Second, Christianity offered a direct, personal, love relationship with the Creator God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted November 14, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly here or download it there.

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

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Posted November 14, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the first time in 500 years, pilgrims can get a glimpse of Jesus’s tomb — though for some, it is not worth queueing for an hour to see it.

Last week, conservationists started a frantic 60-hour dig inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built on the spot where Christ’s body was supposedly taken after the crucifixion. They lifted the marble slab covering the tomb, which was last moved in the 1500s. Beneath it was another slab, this one inscribed with a cross, dating back to centuries before.

After two days of work, as a church-imposed deadline approached, workers finally found the limestone slab on which Jesus is said to have been laid after his crucifixion in AD33. They soon sealed it up again, but they carved a window to give visitors a view of the tomb’s walls.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* TheologyChristology

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Posted November 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Church Dogmatics, Karl Barth defines “human religion” this way: “the realm of attempts by man to justify and sanctify himself before a wilfully…devised image of God.”[6] The position I’m staking out is that in today’s context, it is more crucial than ever to make a sufficiently sharp distinction between self-justification and self-sanctification, on the one hand, and on the other, the utterly gratuitous, prevenient action of God in justifying humanity by the self-offering of his Son. I’m choosing those two words carefully: gratuitous in its original, primary meaning of “given freely, without regard to merit” and prevenient, meaning “to go before,” as in prevenient grace which precedes anything we can do to earn or deserve it.

So what is the antidote to the situation we find ourselves in, where voices within the church are calling for the reinstatement of Pelagius as a Christian teacher and model? Where “Celtic” services on Sunday evenings, with candles and chants and eclectic liturgies, attract far more millennials than Sunday morning worship? Where so often, sermons are little more than assorted more-or-less-religious reflections having little to do with the actual biblical text? Where the high Christology of the Creeds and Councils has become a Jesus-ology, based on his inclusive table fellowship? What is the antidote?

In one of my old files I came across an interview with the pre-eminent Anglican missionary bishop and historian Stephen Neill. He said, “Biblical preaching is practically unknown these days.” This is in the 1970s! He continues, “I find a very remarkable response to biblical preaching. There’s not nearly enough of it in the churches in America…[Unless] you are rooted and grounded in the faith, there is no particular impulse to pass it on.” This was more than 40 years ago, and the trends have proven him right.

I’m here to argue that when there is no biblical preaching, the church is in a crisis.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyEschatologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 3, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But I am besides my purpose when I fall to bewail the cold affection which we bear towards that whereby we should be saved, my purpose being only to set down what the ground of salvation is. The doctrine of the Gospel proposeth salvation as the end, and doth it not teach the way of attaining thereunto? Yes, the damsel possessed with a spirit of divination spake the truth: "These men are the servants of the most high God who show unto us the way of salvation" [Acts 16:17] -- "a new and living way which Christ hath prepared for us through the veil, that is, his flesh," [Heb 10:20] salvation purchased by the death of Christ.

--Learned Discourse on Justification (my emphasis)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted November 3, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I'm absolutely amazed. My knees are shaking a little bit because I wasn't expecting this,” said Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic's archaeologist-in-residence. "We can't say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades."

In addition, researchers confirmed the existence of the original limestone cave walls within the 18th-century Edicule, or shrine, which encloses the tomb. A window has been cut into the southern interior wall of the shrine to expose one of the cave walls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* TheologyChristology

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

(Christ/St. Paul's Church Yonges Island SC; photo by Jacob Borrett)


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How then should evangelism be defined? The N.T. answer is very simple. According to the N.T., evangelism is just preaching the gospel, the evangel… Christians are sent to convert, and they should not allow themselves, as Christs representatives in the world, to aim at anything less. Evangelizing, therefore is not simply a matter of teaching, and instructing, and imparting information to the mind. There is more to it than that. Evangelism includes the endeavor to elicit a response to the truth taught. It is communication with a view to conversion. It is a matter, not merely of informing, but also of inviting. It is communication with a view to conversion. It is an attempt to gain (KJV) or win (ESV) or catch our fellow men to Christ (see 1 Cor 9:19ff.; 1 Pet. 3:1; Luke 5:10) Our Lord depicts it as fishermen’s work (Mt 4:19; cf. 13:47).
--Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVaristy Press, 1961) pp.41-50, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 30, 2016 at 5:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s adviser for evangelism and witness, the Revd Chris Russell, deplores the attitude to evangelism entertainingly shown in the BBC TV sit-com, Rev. In that popular series, the Revd Roland Wise was seen talking another priest through the “IED” course: “Invade. Evangelise. Deliver.” This approach, says Mr Russell, is not endorsed by Lambeth Palace.

“Evangelism is not about techniques,” he says. “It is not a marketing ploy.”

Evangelism may be an important strand of Renewal and Reform, but many members of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Force, agree emphatically that it is not motivated by anxiety about numbers. “It is a commitment you have because you are the Church of Jesus Christ, not because you are worried about the future, or who is going to pay for the roof, Mr Russell says.” What matters is that “people do not know Jesus Christ.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
[Will] Willimon once preached about an encounter he had with the father of a graduating student. The father called his office and exploded over the phone. “I hold you personally responsible for this,” he yelled at Willimon. The father was angry because his graduate-school-bound daughter had decided (in the father’s words) “to throw it all away and go and do mission work in Haiti with the Presbyterian church.” The father screamed, “Isn’t that absurd! She has a bachelor of science degree from Duke University, and she is going to dig ditches in Haiti! I hold you responsible for this!”

Willimon, not easily intimidated, asked him, “Why me?” The father replied, “You ingratiated yourself and filled her with all this religion stuff.” Dr. Willimon was quick to reply, “Sir, weren’t you the one who had her baptized?” “Well, well, well, yes,” the father stumbled. “And didn’t you take her to Sunday school when she was a little girl?” “Well, well, yes.” “And didn’t you allow your daughter to go on those youth group ski trips to Colorado when she was in high school?” “Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?” replied the father, becoming more and more aggravated. “Sir,” Willimon concluded, “you are the reason she is throwing it all away. You introduced her to Jesus. Not me!” “But,” said the father, “all we wanted was a Presbyterian.” Willimon replied, “Well, sorry sir, you messed up. You’ve gone and made a disciple.”
--shared by my coworker Craige Borrett in the morning sermon and one of my favorite Willimon stories

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryCaribbeanHaiti* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Throughout Germany, the pews of churches like theirs are filled increasingly by asylum-seekers. Though two umbrella church organizations told me that they couldn’t provide exact statistics or comment on the nationality of the asylum-seekers attending church, Christoph Heil, a spokesman for the Protestant Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia—which includes 1,300 parishes—confirmed the pattern. “Normally we don’t count the number of asylum-seekers who are baptized because we don’t differentiate between who is an asylum-seeker and who isn’t, but [asylum-seekers asking to be baptized] appears to be a new trend,” he said.

Muslim converts to Christianity that I spoke to in Germany cited the redemptive power of Jesus’s story, and disillusionment with Islam. It’s also worth noting the more earthly forces potentially at work: Germany does not grant refugee status to Iranians as easily as it does Syrians and Iraqis. Around 27,000 Iranians applied for asylum in the EU in 2015, with Germany hosting the overwhelming majority; according to Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, 60 percent of Iranian requests for asylum received positive answers that year. Iranians seeking refugee status must prove that if they are sent home, they stand the risk of being persecuted for their beliefs. In Iran, that often means Christian converts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanyMiddle EastIran* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyChristology

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Posted October 22, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Why do you think the cross, its image and message, is so captivating?

It seems as though the world knows in its bones that the cross of Jesus was the ultimate revelation of true power and true love. Most people for some of their lives, and some people for most of their lives, nurse sorrows and wounds whether secret or open; and the thought or sight of Jesus on the cross, perhaps particularly when it’s painted beautifully or set to wonderful and appropriate music, speaks of the true God not as a distant, faceless bureaucrat, nor as a bullying boss, but as the one who has strangely come into the middle of the pains and sorrows of the world and taken their full force on himself. In a sense, all of Christian theology, certainly theology of the cross, is the attempt to explain, to give a wise and scriptural account of, that very immediate, personal, visceral impact.

Read it all

Filed under: * TheologyChristology

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Posted October 16, 2016 at 5:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yet Jesus Christ is also the Life. This means he is the one who conquers death and offers life eternal to all. But as many biblical scholars have noted, “eternal life” is about a life of unimaginable quality. A life of beauty.

“Beauty,” wrote psychologist Rollo May, “is the experience that gives us a sense of joy and a sense of peace simultaneously. … Beauty is serene and at the same time exhilarating; it increases one’s sense of being alive. … Beauty is the mystery which enchants us.”

Beauty fills us with joy and peace precisely because it indirectly and mysteriously manifests the one who is the Life. One might even paraphrase our Lord and say that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the beautiful. Or to put it more succinctly, it is in Jesus Christ that we can know, relish, and live into what we here at CT call a “beautiful orthodoxy.” It is in Christ alone that we can know, relish, and live into the truly good, the truly true, and the truly beautiful as manifested in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchArtPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyChristology

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Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several months ago we were praying that the Lord would guide us during the conference, specifically that it would not be political, but spiritual, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We did experience his movement among us, and the communique reflects the love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. It expressed very clearly where we stand, in a non-aggressive and non-divisive way. On the contrary, it shows how unity among the people of God brings blessing. (Psalm 133)
- Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

It expresses our collective frustration, hope, and counsel to the Anglican Communion leadership on the state of our communion. It shows our faith, determination, and effort to restore this communion to wholeness. And it shows we are getting ready for the possibility of further deterioration, that we should be able to speak and act decisively.
- Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Province of Nigeria

With the confusing messages from the centers of Anglicanism regarding Biblical morality, it clearly communicates our message, allowing us to focus on our mission to lead people to Jesus Christ.
- Archbishop Foley Beach, Anglican Church in North America

When we see conflicts and suffering in the world, this communique tells us we have to work faster and more corporately to help. But it also expresses our dissatisfaction and disappointment over the inability of the communion to address fundamental issues which are distracting us from the mission of the church. The truth of the gospel will only have power if it is not compromised.
- Archbishop Ng Moon Hing, Province of Southeast Asia

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & Primates* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Times have changed, Ms. Sandys said on Monday as the statue arrived at the cathedral, swaddled in the kind of dark gray blankets that movers wrap around furniture.

“It was startling then,” said Ms. Sandys, who is a granddaughter of Winston Churchill and whose name is pronounced “sands.” “Now? Well, we have women bishops now.”

The current dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev. James A. Kowalski, saw the return of the statue as “an opportunity to reframe the conversation and, frankly, do a better job than the first time.”

And this time, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, Andrew M. L. Dietsche, wrote an article for the cathedral’s booklet — an approving article. “In an evolving, growing, learning church,” he wrote, “we may be ready to see ‘Christa’ not only as a work of art but as an object of devotion, over our altar, with all of the challenges that may come with that for many visitors to the cathedral, or indeed, perhaps for all of us.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

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Posted October 5, 2016 at 8:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The world watched in amazement as, on the day of their son’s funeral, nearly 30 Amish men and women, some the parents of the victims, came to the cemetery and formed a wall to block out media cameras. Parents, whose daughters had died at the hand of their son, approached the couple after the burial and offered condolences for their loss.

Then, just four weeks after the shooting, the couple was invited to meet with all the families in a local fire hall. One mother held Roberts’s gaze as both women’s eyes blurred with tears, she said. They were all grieving; they were all struggling to make sense of the senseless.

But the Amish did more than forgive the couple. They embraced them as part of their community. When Roberts underwent treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer in December, one of the girls who survived the massacre helped clean her home before she returned from the hospital. A large yellow bus arrived at her home around Christmas, and Amish children piled inside to sing her Christmas carols.

“The forgiveness is there; there’s no doubt they forgive,” Roberts said.

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 2, 2016 at 1:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
In reading Kenneth L. Woodward’s “The Democrats’ Methodist Moment” [see there], I am struck by both the views of Hillary Clinton and the observations of Mr. Woodward about the United Methodist Church, other Protestant denominations, the Catholic church and many Jews, and their connection with the progressive Democratic Party’s righteous politics with the attending social-justice traditions.

It’s funny that in an article like this, with all of its religious implications, there is no mention of Jesus Christ, his teachings and place in Christianity. Could it be that’s the reason there are now more “Nones” (people with no religious affiliation) than ever before, and the so-called “Christian church” is in decline? For many reasons, I don’t think that John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, would recognize the United Methodist Church today.

George Mamoulides


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyChristology

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Posted September 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England should not have a monopoly on Anglicanism in England, the priest set to plant a new church in Scarborough, outside diocesan structures...says.

“In the business world, monopolies are not encouraged; so I do not see why there should be one Anglican service provider in England,” the Revd Lee McMunn said on Wednesday. “Surely we can allow people the option to choose, whether that is future ministers or future members of congregations.”

His Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) church in Scarborough will be the first of hundreds, if the organisation’s church-planting plans are fulfilled. This month, AMiE announced plans to plant 25 churches by 2025, and 250 by 2050. It is seeking to draw up a map of “promising and needy places to plant new gospel churches”, and to recruit people to start AMiE churches and serve as “assistant ministers”. It is also hoping that Anglican churches will form partnerships with AMiE churches, providing money and “mutual training”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Global South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyChristologyEcclesiologySoteriology

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Posted September 30, 2016 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Cross is the abyss of wonders, the centre of desires, the school of virtues, the house of wisdom, the throne of love, the theatre of joys, and the place of sorrows; It is the root of happiness, and the gate of Heaven.

Of all the things in Heaven and Earth it is the most peculiar. It is the most exalted of all objects. It is an Ensign lifted up for all nations, to it shall the Gentiles seek, His rest shall be glorious: the dispersed of Judah shall be gathered together to it, from the four corners of the earth. If Love be the weight of the Soul, and its object the centre, all eyes and hearts may convert and turn unto this Object: cleave unto this centre, and by it enter into rest. There we might see all nations assembled with their eyes and hearts upon it. There we may see God’s goodness, wisdom and power: yea His mercy and anger displayed. There we may see man’s sin and infinite value. His hope and fear, his misery and happiness. There we might see the Rock of Ages, and the Joys of Heaven. There we may see a Man loving all the world, and a God dying for mankind. There we may see all types and ceremonies, figures and prophecies. And all kingdoms adoring a malefactor: An innocent malefactor, yet the greatest in the world. There we may see the most distant things in Eternity united: all mysteries at once couched together and explained. The only reason why this Glorious Object is so publicly admired by Churches and Kingdoms, and so little thought of by particular men, is because it is truly the most glorious: It is the Rock of Comforts and the Fountain of Joys. It is the only supreme and sovereign spectacle in all Worlds. It is a Well of Life beneath in which we may see the face of Heaven above: and the only mirror, wherein all things appear in their proper colours: that is, sprinkled in the blood of our Lord and Saviour.

The Cross of Christ is the Jacob’s ladder by which we ascend into the highest heavens. There we see joyful Patriarchs, expecting Saints, Prophets ministering Apostles publishing, and Doctors teaching, all Nations concentering, and Angels praising. That Cross is a tree set on fire with invisible flame, that Illuminateth all the world. The flame is Love: the Love in His bosom who died on it. In the light of which we see how to possess all the things in Heaven and Earth after His similitude. For He that suffered on it was the Son of God as you are: tho’ He seemed only a mortal man. He had acquaintance and relations as you have, but He was a lover of Men and Angels. Was he not the Son of God; and Heir of the whole world? To this poor, bleeding, naked Man did all the corn and wine, and oil, and gold and silver in the world minister in an invisible manner, even as He was exposed lying and dying upon the Cross.

--Centuries of Meditations 1:58-60

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

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Posted September 27, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This sure is matter of love; but came there any good to us by it? There did. For our conception being the root as it were, the very groundsill of our nature; that He might go to the root and repair of our nature from the very foundation, thither He went; that what had been there defiled and decayed by the first Adam, might by the Second be cleansed and set right again. That had our conception been stained, by Him therefore, primum ante omnia,to be restored again. He was not idle all the time He was an embyro all the nine months He was in the womb; but then and there He even ate out the core of corruption that cleft to our nature and us, and made both us and it an unpleasing object in the sight of God.

And what came of this? We who were abhorred by God, filii irae was our title, were by this means made beloved in Him. He cannot, we may be sure, account evil of that nature, that is now become the nature of His own Son is now no less than ours. Nay farther, given this privilege to the children of such as are in Him, though but of one parent believing, that they are not as the seed of two infidels, but are in a degree holy, eo ipso; and have a farther right to the laver of regeneration, to sanctify them throughout by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. This honour is to us by the dishonour of Him; this the good by Christ an embyro.

--From a sermon preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Sunday, the Twenty-fifth of December, 1614

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristology

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Posted September 26, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sermon from 1 Timothy 2:1-7 & Luke 16:1-13. QUESTIONS for Small Groups: (1) In 1 Timothy 2:1, Paul mentions various types of prayer (supplication, intercession, thanksgiving)...when you pray, what type of prayer do you typically default to? (2) What are some practical ways that you can grow in your prayer life? (3) Jesus is the Mediator for ALL people. Is there anyone you have considered beyond the reach of God's love? How can you pray for that person and reach out to them? (4) If a stranger asked you, "Is the Christian faith inclusive or exclusive, how would you answer?

You can listen directly there or download it here.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / HomileticsSpirituality/Prayer* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 22, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


(Photo: Joy Hunter)

Prolific author and teacher Dr. Ken Boa spoke to a crowd at St. John’s, Johns Island, September 7, 2016 on “Rewriting Your Broken Story: Gaining an Eternal Perspective on your Christian Walk,” which is also the title of his most recent book.

“All of us have broken stories,” said Boa. “How is yours broken?”

He began retelling a story of Martin Laird’s which tells of a dog who when set free simply ran in circles, because it had lived most of its life in a cage. “We buy into a false narrative,” said Boa.

Read it all and note the link to his talk and to pictures.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 20, 2016 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We want to wish the Archbishop well in his retirement. We note the Archbishop’s final presidential address at Governing Body, and still struggle to understand how his approach to scripture is not just licence to disregard its authority. We believe that the inclusivity of Jesus, to which the Archbishop referred, was one not only of loving everyone, but also of calling everyone to a degree of repentance which would result in following him exclusively as Lord. We note Jesus gave an invitation to everyone, but warned repeatedly and frequently of consequences for those who rejected him. We are therefore delighted that one of the closing discussions at Governing Body got people talking about the need to engage in mission and evangelism. We hope and pray that these are the issues that occupy the time and energy of the Church in Wales in the years to come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Wales* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Wales* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchWomen* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In other words, Jesus casts his disciples in the same light as the crowds who will eventually clamor for his crucifixion. It is not just Israel as a whole who has hardened hearts and blinded eyes: it is Jesus’ inner circle, his closest confidantes, his chosen few.

In Mark’s view, the disciples aren’t heroes. Jesus clearly didn’t pick his disciples because of their superior understanding or their “sensitivity to the Spirit,” as we sometimes called it in my church growing up. If anything, Mark goes out of his way to portray the disciples as clumsy, self-absorbed, and insensitive to the Spirit. They can’t see Jesus for who he really is. They may have eyes, but they’re no better than sightless glass. Their hearts are as lively as cold stone.

Odd as it may sound, as a frustrated young Christian, disappointed with my efforts at spiritual self-improvement, I found comfort in Mark’s dark view of the disciples. Looking back on my quest for the right formula for holy living, I remember being unsure what to make of Bible verses that promised, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin” (1 John 3:9), and, “[T]hough you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart” (Rom. 6:17). I had no trouble, though, identifying with Mark’s disciples: sometimes eager, often failing, occasionally getting things right and demonstrating faithfulness, but more regularly getting things wrong and showing infidelity. The disciples in Mark’s gospel are not so much paragons of sainthood as they are examples of the full range of human fallibility. Mark shuts the door on the naïve notion that Jesus came simply—in the words of theologian Robert Farrar Capon—to teach the teachable or improve the improvable. And that meant I could stop trying to drum up teachability or improvability on my own.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the years that I was the principal caregiver for my wife, I did things I never imagined I’d have to do: caring for her body, thinking for her, arranging her days. My shortcomings often humbled me. But what if it had gotten even harder before she died? I do not know for sure that I could have gone on. For all of us, there are always untested limits.

But not for Jesus. All the way down, he screamed from the cross something strange: a prayer. He no longer felt any intimacy with God, so he didn’t pray to his father. Instead, he questioned God as any human could. A human being can still pray to God, even in the absence of any sign that he has a divine father, even there at the bottom. Someone can still ask, if nothing else, why this God has forsaken him. God gives, and God takes away. But he is still there.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheodicyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 16, 2016 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The longer I spent immersed in the study of classical antiquity, the more alien and unsettling I came to find it. The values of Leonidas, whose people had practised a peculiarly murderous form of eugenics, and trained their young to kill uppity Untermenschen by night, were nothing that I recognised as my own; nor were those of Caesar, who was reported to have killed a million Gauls and enslaved a million more. It was not just the extremes of callousness that I came to find shocking, but the lack of a sense that the poor or the weak might have any intrinsic value. As such, the founding conviction of the Enlightenment – that it owed nothing to the faith into which most of its greatest figures had been born – increasingly came to seem to me unsustainable.

“Every sensible man,” Voltaire wrote, “every honourable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror.” Rather than acknowledge that his ethical principles might owe anything to Christianity, he preferred to derive them from a range of other sources – not just classical literature, but Chinese philosophy and his own powers of reason. Yet Voltaire, in his concern for the weak and ­oppressed, was marked more enduringly by the stamp of biblical ethics than he cared to admit. His defiance of the Christian God, in a paradox that was certainly not unique to him, drew on motivations that were, in part at least, recognisably Christian.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 16, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Admittedly, his face has adorned more religious imagery than any other in history.

But now Jesus is being put forward as an icon of an entirely different sort – in the world of fashion.

The Church of England has given its blessing to London Fashion Week with an official video making the Biblical case for the clothing industry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 16, 2016 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O heir of heaven, lift now thine eye, and behold the scenes of suffering through which thy Lord passed for thy sake! Come in the moonlight, and stand between those olives; see him sweat great drops of blood. Go from that garden, and follow him to Pilate's bar. See your Matter subjected to the grossest and filthiest insult; gaze upon the face of spotless beauty defiled with the spittle of soldiers; see his head pierced with thorns; mark his back, all rent, and torn, and scarred, and bruised, and bleeding beneath the terrible lash. And O Christian, see him die! Go and stand where his mother stood, and hear him say to thee, "Man, behold thy Saviour!" Come thou to-night, and stand where John stood; hear him cry, "I thirst," and find thyself unable either to assuage his griefs or to comprehend their bitterness. Then, when thou hast wept there, lift thine hand, and cry, "Revenge!" Bring out the traitors; where are they? And when your sins are brought forth as the murderers of Christ, let no death be too painful for them; though it should involve the cutting off of right arms, or the quenching of right eyes, and putting out their light for ever; do it! For if these murderers murdered Christ, then let them die. Die terribly they may, but die they must. Oh! that God the Holy Ghost would teach you that first lesson, my brethren, the boundless wickedness of sin, for Christ had to lay down his life before your sin could be wiped away.

Read it all.


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

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Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What compels a person to travel halfway across the world to care for refugees in the Kurdistan area of Iraq, or to take stuffed animals, candy and beads to kids in the last free village closest to ISIS-occupied territory? To be sure, Nancy has a global mindset and travel is not new to her. Her daughter, Ally, moved to China after graduating from college to teach English. Fortunately, sons Matt and Jacob and their families live in the U.S. But what’s interesting is that Nancy’s story could be your story, or the story of anyone who opens themselves to a God-driven chain of events and obeys God’s Word .I [Patti Wheat] interviewed Nancy after she returned from her recent trip with Jerry and Stacy Kramer, founders of Love for the Least (L4L).

Read it all (page 5).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryMinistry of the Laity* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* South Carolina* TheologyChristology

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the great themes of the Hebrew Scriptures is that God identifies with the suffering. There are all these great texts that say things like this: If you oppress the poor, you oppress to me. I am a husband to the widow. I am father to the fatherless. I think the texts are saying God binds up his heart so closely with suffering people that he interprets any move against them as a move against him. This is powerful stuff! But Christianity says he goes even beyond that. Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s son, divinity became vulnerable to and involved in - suffering and death! He didn’t come as a general or emperor. He came as a carpenter. He was born in a manger, no room in the inn.

But it is on the Cross that we see the ultimate wonder. On the cross we sufferers finally see, to our shock that God now knows too what it is to lose a loved one in an unjust attack. And so you see what this means? John Stott puts it this way. John Stott wrote: “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” Do you see what this means? Yes, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us! It can’t be that he doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved in it. And therefore the Cross is an incredibly empowering hint. Ok, it’s only a hint, but if you grasp it, it can transform you. It can give you strength.

And lastly, we have to grasp an empowering hope for the future. In both the Hebrew Scriptures and even more explicitly in the Christian Scriptures we have the promise of resurrection....

Read it carefully (noting especially the original setting as described) and read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyChristologyTheodicy

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Posted September 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted September 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sleepy town of Nain was electrified by Jesus’s visit and the reported healing of the young man, by almost every account. His mother threw Jesus a large party the next day—with the most expensive of wines.

Yet as with much of his “ministry” the net result of the events at Nain remain to be seen. Will his latest reported "healing" silence critics who set accuse him of ignoring a more systematic approach to sickness and poverty? Or would it simply embolden those who condemn him for his "selectivity"?

Jesus himself could not be reached for comment, typical of his longstanding response to criticism. But his close associate Peter said to this reporter, “You have eyes but do not see.”

Others wonder if there is anything to see at all.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMediaReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the last few years, despite claims of being a growing economy, the standard of living in Nigeria has continued to fall dramatically. Interestingly, this fall in the human condition seems to have created a fertile environment for the emergence of the kind of deep religious spirituality that has ironically placed our country on top of both the most religious and corrupt nations of the world. One would ordinarily expect that in this environment of widespread moral degeneracy, religious leaders would rise up to their prophetic responsibility of not only speaking truth to power and working for the enthronement of a just social order, but also of showing good example in the manner in their personal conduct. But this is not the case. In a nation where millions of people go to bed hungry every day, some of today’s acclaimed preachers have ridden on the crest of our collective social dysfunction to financial stardom.

Add to this phenomenon the rise of nouveau riche prosperity gospel preachers who continue to feast on the ignorance and gullibility of the people, capitalizing on their socio-economic condition to rob them of their faith and money. Through the prosperity gospel, the hawking of miracles, signs and wonders, the advertisement of God-induced financial breakthroughs, and the crave and craze for hedonistic materialism, the public face of religion in Nigeria has been so battered and badly disfigured, such that if Jesus Christ were to come back today on earth, he would be hard pressed to recognize our version of Christianity as what he bequeathed to us. Just take a cursory look at the lifestyle of some of today’s acclaimed men of God. Their highly materialistic way of life is a brutal affront to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They lack every iota of modesty, frugality, and simplicity.
Today, the Christian gospel has become so reduced to financial inducements and promises of wealth and power. In today’s religious geography, God is more or less a first-aid box, a quick fixer and a money doubler.

Read it all (my emphasis) [Hat tip: ABK).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 30, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Advent is a Gospel-centered church, with a “living, daring confidence in God’s grace” (Martin Luther) evident in any of our programs and ministries. Holding to what the Letter of Jude calls “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”, this Gospel focus finds the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus ever and only at the center. The most comprehensive summation of our traditional Anglican doctrine is found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion.

And what are the “fruits” of that theology?

A Heart for the Gospel:
When we say we have a heart for the Gospel, we mean that we are passionate about lifting Jesus up in his life, death, and resurrection. Only Jesus has the power to change the heart of a sinner.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 8:53 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the filmmakers treat the Messiah with utmost reverence, he offers only a mix of platitudes about peace and forgiveness. This watered-down Christianity mirrors the sentiments of today’s fearful-to-offend evangelicalism, which often seems more concerned with wooing new followers than offering a complete understanding of Christianity’s demands and rewards.

“Love your enemies,” Jesus tells a young Judah. Later, he pacifies an angry mob of Jewish-nationalist Zealots with more boilerplate, telling them that violence against the oppressive Roman regime won’t solve anything. A few scenes later, an impressively costumed Morgan Freeman, playing the wealthy Sheikh Ilderim, who becomes Judah’s chariot-racing patron, also points out that violence isn’t the answer. If you’ve got Morgan Freeman, who needs Jesus?

Christ’s specifically salvific role, which made him the center of Christian theology for the past 2,000 years, goes missing in the film. As portrayed in “Ben-Hur,” he is neither the Messiah, nor the king whose kingdom is not of this world. Jesus’ death on the cross has no particular religious significance here. The Passion is depicted as almost accidental, as Jesus is swept up in Pontius Pilate’s broader purge of Zealots. Jesus’ death serves as nothing more than an opportunity to set a good example by forgiving his enemies.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* TheologyChristology

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Posted August 26, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (note that a link of the sermons page may be found there).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 21, 2016 at 4:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his sermon July 17, [the Reverend Chris] George preached on the parable of the Good Samaritan, tying in Waliyani’s situation as an example.

“At Smoke Rise, hospitality must be part of our spiritual DNA,” he said in his sermon. “Hospitality teaches us that we cannot walk to the other side of the road; we cannot ignore the suffering. We can help our friends and family, but we must also help strangers, and we must treat those strangers like they are friends and family.”

After the morning service, members of the congregation filed into the BP station, filling up their tanks and buying snacks and goods from the store. More than 150 people showed up, packing up the parking lot until no more cars could enter. Throughout the week, more came—and George estimates probably more than 350 churchgoers passed through the station. One even drove his car around town Saturday evening to empty his tank in preparation.

Read it all from Christianity Today.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral CarePreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 18, 2016 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thy well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer* TheologyChristology

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Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly here or download it there,

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

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Posted August 2, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

(Photo by Jacob Borrett)

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The affirmation culture of pop psychology has made its way into the theological academy, at least at mainline Protestant seminaries. We are told that we can be the leaders who will fix the church and that all of our snazzy ideas are totally going to work, indeed, that they are “prophetic” (please stop using that word to describe anyone you know).

Of course, the problem with this system is that then our seminaries send these “prophetic” newly ordained people into actual churches with actual lay people. And the ability of lay people to spot bad ideas is very strong. This combination usually makes for a painful, short marriage. One need only glance at the numbers of clergy who last less than five years in parish ministry to know that perhaps that professor was right. Maybe we are all idiots for wanting to do ministry in churches; the smart ones got out ahead of time.

Or maybe our seminaries could do better by the people they are training. Why are we not telling people in seminary that if they do not want serve in churches then they should not be pursuing ordination? I understand the practical reasons (mostly money), but I am astonished that we do not see the negative endgame for the church, not to mention the damage it does to the individual paying for an education: Paying student loans for a ministerial education that proved worthless is a sure and certain path to embitterment.

When I was in seminary, I remember having an endless number of conversations with people in their 20s who wanted to be ordained but classified themselves as “just not sure” about the church. Most of them were interested in academics. I wonder how many professors of systematic theology or biblical studies we will need in the future. According to the flood of people in our seminaries, I am guessing 4 million.

I would suggest that our seminaries are inadvertently devastating our churches. Most people who are ordained do end up in some kind of ordained ministry at some point in their career. However, if they have been encouraged and you are so special-ed through seminary, then it seems perfectly logical to them that they can make their living being an urban garden planter who occasionally talks about Jesus.'

Read it all.

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

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Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A well known Christian educator recently confided to me his concern that evangelicals alwasy seem behind in coping with the great issues of our time. They never seem to lead. In proof of his point he pointed to the great similarities between evangelical and secular concerns. When students were agitating on secular campuses, it was not long before students were agitating on Christian campuses. When ecology became an issue nationally, it also became an issue for evangelicals. In the same way, evangelicals tagged along in their concerns with Watergate, social action, race relations, and other issues.

There are different ways of reacting to such a statement, of course, and some of them put the evangelical church in a somewhat better light. For one thing, evangelicals have been in the forefront of valuable movements in the past. In fact, it is their success in some of these that has apparently placed them behind today; for secular agencies have simply taken over areas in which believers in Christ paved the way. The social arena provides many examples. Second, there are areas in which evangelicals are still being creative and are breaking new ground. The work of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Medical Assistance Programs of Wheaton, Ill., and L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland may be cited as examples. But one may view these facts and yet still be somewhat uneasy. Are these things adequate? Are there no more areas in which a courageous evangelical witness might pioneer? If there are, why are we so often failing to move into them or even see what needs to be done?

The last question is the point at which we should probably begin to deal with the problem. And the answer to it is that the evangelical church is probably getting its concerns from the secular world rather than speaking to it out of those concerns which it derives from the Scriptures. To put it in other words, the church knows more of the world’s literature than it does its own literature. Or, to rephrase it yet again, in trying to sell itself to the world the believing church has forgotten its unique character and lost its distinctives.
--from an article in Eternity Magazine in 1975 (emphasis mine)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all from the Churchman.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 13, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



The crowd who gathered for the memorial service for the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr. , 13th Bishop of South Carolina, held at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston, July 6, 2016, heard about “The faith of Christ that formed him, the man of Christ he became and the challenge of Christ Ed Salmon would offer.”

The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall S. Harmon, the Diocese’s Canon Theologian who served under Bishop Salmon, gave the sermon. The two were friends and co-workers for more than 25 years in various settings.

The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th Bishop of South Carolina, served as the celebrant at the service.

“He was a shepherd,” said Harmon. “He saw the church as precious and served the church out of love, devotion, respect and admiration, doing it for the one who brought the church into being in the first place.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistory* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyEcclesiology

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Posted July 8, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“This is a big old ship, Bill. She creaks, she rocks, she rolls, and at times she makes you want to throw up. But she gets where she’s going. Always has, always will, until the end of time. With or without you.”
--J.F. Powers’ Wheat that Springeth Green (New York: New York Review Books Classics edition of the 1988 original, 2000), p. 170

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

1 Comments
Posted July 6, 2016 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Probably the oldest of the figured stain glass windows in the Trinity nave is the image of Christ as the Good Shepherd near the center of the north wall.

Read it all from trinity Church, Natchez, Mississippi.

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

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Posted July 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the rent earth of the Somme Valley, he laid the foundation of his epic trilogy.

The descriptions of battle scenes in “The Lord of the Rings” seem lifted from the grim memories of the trenches: the relentless artillery bombardment, the whiff of mustard gas, the bodies of dead soldiers discovered in craters of mud. In the Siege of Gondor, hateful orcs are “digging, digging lines of deep trenches in a huge ring,” while others maneuver “great engines for the casting of missiles.”

On the path to Mordor, stronghold of Sauron, the Dark Lord, the air is “filled with a bitter reek that caught their breath and parched their mouths.” Tolkien later acknowledged that the Dead Marshes, with their pools of muck and floating corpses, “owe something to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme.”

In a lecture delivered in 1939, “On Fairy-Stories,” Tolkien explained that his youthful love of mythology had been “quickened to full life by war.” Yet he chose not to write a war memoir, and in this he departed from contemporaries like Robert Graves and Vera Brittain.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & LiteratureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeFrance* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 1, 2016 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Every year around this time—June is of course Pride month in LGBT communities—I go back and reread an older essay by Eve Tushnet called “Romoeroticism.” Tushnet points out that in the nineteenth century, as same-sex love was being newly described as a pathology, a psychological disorder, it was the Catholic Church, of all places, where many same-sex attracted men and women found a home—because it was the Church that, rather than medicalizing same-sex love, celebrated “the possibility of shockingly chaste same-sex love.” When I first read that, several years ago now, it reconfigured my whole way of thinking about being gay and Christian: Yes, Scripture was telling me that gay sex wasn’t the true fulfillment of my longings for same-sex intimacy, but no, it wasn’t telling me to deny the goodness of that longing itself. On the contrary, traditional Christianity, it turned out, was radically pro-same-sex love.

The actual on-the-ground history is messy, of course. Many Catholic parishes aren’t exactly safe places to be out as LGBT, and the rich history of celebrated same-sex love is largely unknown—or suppressed—in many churches. But Tushnet’s point is that the resources are there in Catholicism (and, I would argue, in my own Anglican Communion and other churches too) to dignify and nurture same-sex love. We wouldn’t have to compromise one iota of historic Scriptural, Christian teaching in order to open our doors to gay and lesbian people, to offer them a place free from disdain and rejection and humiliation, and even to affirm their (our!) desire to lay down their lives for a friend.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Filed under: * By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted June 28, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.”And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent,who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself.

2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

3. Such are the adversaries with whom we have to deal, my very dear friend, endeavouring like slippery serpents to escape at all points. Wherefore they must be opposed at all points, if perchance, by cutting off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth. For, though it is not an easy thing for a soul under the influence of error to repent, yet, on the other hand, it is not altogether impossible to escape from error when the truth is brought alongside it.

--Against Heresies: Book III, Chapter 2.

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

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Posted June 28, 2016 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Run, John, and work, the law commands,
yet finds me neither feet nor hands,

But sweeter news the gospel brings,
it bids me fly and lends me wings!


Filed under: * TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)

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Posted June 27, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.

--C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960), p.137

Filed under: * TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted June 23, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our engagement in the world in an anxious age is made possible by our confidence in the gospel in a pluralistic society where people have profoundly different beliefs. We won’t always be able to persuade those around us that our beliefs are right and theirs are wrong. Indeed, some of our most important beliefs stem from contested premises that others do not share. But recognizing the existence of these disagreements should not prevent us from holding to what is ultimately true. Our beliefs can be true, and we can hold these warranted beliefs confidently even though others reject them. For this reason, recognizing the social fact of difference should not be mistaken as relativism. To the contrary, a greater awareness of our distinctiveness that comes from confidence in the gospel can encourage us to work to strengthen the social fabric for the good of others.

This kind of posture is what one of us has called “confident pluralism.” As Christians, we can engage with the pluralism around us because our confidence lies elsewhere. We can acknowledge genuine differences in society without suppressing or minimizing our firmly held convictions. We can seek common ground even with those who may not share our view of the common good.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyApologeticsChristologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 23, 2016 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For example, we need to think and plan for what ministries and leadership our churches, chaplaincies and fresh expressions need (including how to give effect to the decision to increase the number of ordinands by 50% by 2022).....

And we need to expect God to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, that he will take us to places and people that we cannot yet conceive and in ways we may not yet understand. We hope that every diocese will seek to articulate their own narrative of hope, informed by their context, enriched by all that God has been doing and continues to do, and confident of God’s promises for the future. We hope that every parish will similarly look honestly and prayerfully at how and where God has been leading and where he may be taking us next. As the writer of Lamentations says:

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness

Renewal & Reform is built on hope. And hope is a very, very good thing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

5. “Everything happens for a reason”
No. It just doesn’t.
Evil has no reason. It is anti-reason. And anti-love.

Read it all.

Filed under: * TheologyChristologyTheodicyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 20, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the story of how celebrated Harvard scholar Karen King, author of books such as The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, was duped really gets thick. It involves East Germany, BMW brakes, porno films, antiquities scholarship, and an academic fitting the evidence to her prejudices. Really, it’s a story worthy of Werner Herzog. I’m not giving away too much when I say that the papyrus is clearly a fake and proves nothing about Jesus’s marital status.

The Catholic Church puts an enormous amount of emphasis upon marriage. Isn’t this odd for a tradition that was founded upon the teachings of a celibate Messiah? What could celibates know about marriage and sexuality?

Most Catholics have probably heard a millions versions of these questions from people with smug looks on their faces. It is the sort of look that says “I’ve caught the simpletons in a massive contradiction. Let’s watch them squirm.”

My preliminary surveys indicate some, not all, Catholics might be surprised that the perfectly orthodox (small “O”) answer to this question is that there’s nothing odd about the Catholic obsession with marriage, because Jesus is married as well. No, I’m not talking about Swedenborg’s The Delights Of Wisdom Pertaining To Conjugial Love where people get married in heaven. This is different and decidedly not heterodox.

Read it all (from Patheos) and take special note of Addison Hart (yes, the brother of David Hart) and his new book The Woman, the Hour, and the Garden: A Study of Imagery in the Gospel of John.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryMedia* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 18, 2016 at 10:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I reminded [Walter Fritz] that I was a journalist; I wrote fact, not fiction. Nor could I accept favors from the subject of a story. But I was curious: What role would the Walter Fritz character play in this hypothetical book, whose underlying ideas, after all, would be entirely his? He gave me a quizzical look. “I wouldn’t have a role in it,” he said.

He wanted, that is, to be the invisible hand.

As I walked back to my car, I realized with something like a shudder that Fritz had hoped to lure me into a trap from which my reputation might never recover. I knew enough about his dealings with King and Laukamp to recognize all the signs: the request for secrecy, the strategic self-effacement, the use of other people for his own enigmatic ends.

Fame and fortune would rain down on me, he’d promised. All I had to do was lower my guard and trust him with all the important details.

This is a really important piece--take the time to read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryPsychology* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 18, 2016 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott got the first call about 9 on a Wednesday night a year ago. A deputy sheriff told him there were reports of a shooting at Emanuel AME Church in his hometown of Charleston.

Scott’s first thought was to check in with his friend the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor.

“I remember picking up the telephone to call Clementa to see what was happening, and it’s probably my last text that I have to him,” Scott said.

Sitting in his office on Capitol Hill, Scott pulled out his phone and scrolled through his messages – all the way down to June 17 of last year.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* South Carolina* TheologyChristology

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Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those who think the idea of the Crusade is one that spoils the idea of the Cross, we can only say that for them the idea of the Cross is spoiled; the idea of the cross is spoiled quite literally in the cradle. It is not here to the purpose to argue with them on the abstract ethics of fighting; the purpose in this place is merely to sum up the combination of ideas that make up the Christian and Catholic idea, and to note that all of them are already crystallised in the first Christmas story. They are three distinct and commonly contrasted things which are nevertheless one thing; but this is the only thing which can make them one.

The first is the human instinct for a heaven that shall be as literal and almost as local as a home. It is the idea pursued by all poets and pagans making myths; that a particular place must be the shrine of the god or the abode of the blest; that fairyland is a land; or that the return of the ghost must be the resurrection of the body. I do not here reason about the refusal of rationalism to satisfy this need. I only say that if the rationalists refuse to satisfy it, the pagans will not be satisfied. This is present in the story of Bethlehem and Jerusalem as it is present in the story of Delos and Delphi; and as it is not present in the whole universe of Lucretius or the whole universe of Herbert Spencer.

The second element is a philosophy larger than other philosophies; larger than that of Lucretius and infinitely larger than that of Herbert Spencer. It looks at the world through a hundred windows where the ancient stoic or the modern agnostic only looks through one. It sees life with thousands of eyes belonging to thousands of different sorts of people, where the other is only the individual standpoint of a stoic or an agnostic. It has something for all moods of man, it finds work for all kinds of men, it understands secrets of psychology, it is aware of depths of evil, it is able to distinguish between ideal and unreal marvels and miraculous exceptions, it trains itself in tact about hard cases, all with a multiplicity and subtlety and imagination about the varieties of life which is far beyond the bald or breezy platitudes of most ancient or modern moral philosophy. In a word, there is more in it; it finds more in existence to think about; it gets more out of life. Masses of this material about our many-sided life have been added since the time of St. Thomas Aquinas. But St. Thomas Aquinas alone would have found himself limited in the world of Confucius or of Comte.

And the third point is this; that while it is local enough for poetry and larger than any other philosophy, it is also a challenge and a fight. While it is deliberately broadened to embrace every aspect of truth, it is still stiffly embattled against every mode of error. It gets every kind of man to fight for it, it gets every kind of weapon to fight with, it widens its knowledge of the things that are fought for and against with every art of curiosity or sympathy; but it never forgets that it is fighting. It proclaims peace on earth and never forgets why there was war in heaven.

This is the trinity of truths symbolised here by the three types in the old Christmas story; the shepherds and the kings and that other king who warred upon the children. It is simply not true to say that other religions and philosophies are in this respect its rivals. It is not true to say that any one of them combines these characters; it is not true to say that any one of them pretends to combine them. Buddhism may profess to be equally mystical; it does not even profess to be equally military. Islam may profess to be equally military; it does not even profess to be equally metaphysical and subtle. Confucianism may profess to satisfy the need of the philosophers for order and reason; it does not even profess to satisfy the need of the mystics for miracle and sacrament and the consecration of concrete things.

There are many evidences of this presence of a spirit at once universal and unique. One will serve here which is the symbol of the subject of this chapter; that no other story, no pagan legend or philosophical anecdote or historical event, does in fact affect any of us with that peculiar and even poignant impression produced on us by the word Bethlehem. No other birth of a god or childhood of a sage seems to us to be Christmas or anything like Christmas. It is either too cold or too frivolous, or too formal and classical, or too simple and savage, or too occult and complicated. Not one of us, whatever his opinions, would ever go to such a scene with the sense that he was going home. He might admire it because it was poetical, or because it was philosophical, or any number of other things in separation; but not because it was itself. The truth is that there is a quite peculiar and individual character about the hold of this story on human nature; it is not in its psychological substance at all like a mere legend or the life of a great man. It does not exactly in the ordinary sense turn our minds to greatness; to those extensions and exaggerations of humanity which are turned into gods and heroes, even by the healthiest sort of hero-worship. It does not exactly work outwards, adventurously, to the wonders to be found at the ends of the earth. It is rather something that surprises us from behind, from the hidden and personal part of our being; like that which can some times take us off our guard in the pathos of small objects or the blind pieties of the poor. It is rather as if a man had found an inner room in the very heart of his own house, which he had never suspected; and seen a light from within. It is as if he found something at the back of his own heart that betrayed him into good. It is not made of what the world would call strong materials; or rather it is made of materials whose strength is in that winged levity with which they brush us and pass. It is all that is in us but a brief tenderness that is there made eternal; all that means no more than a momentary softening that is in some strange fashion become a strengthening and a repose; it is the broken speech and the lost word that are made positive and suspended unbroken; as the strange kings fade into a far country and the mountains resound no more with the feet of the shepherds; and only the night and the cavern lie in fold upon fold over something more human than humanity.

--–The Everlasting Man (Radford, Virginia: Wilder Publications, 2008 paperback ed. of the 1925 original), pp. 114-116

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

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Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A bird flew out at the break of day
From the nest where it had curled,
And ere the eve the bird had set
Fear on the kings of the world.

The first tree it lit upon
Was green with leaves unshed;
The second tree it lit upon
Was red with apples red;

The third tree it lit upon
Was barren and was brown,
Save for a dead man nailed thereon
On a hill above a town.

That night the kings of the earth were gay
And filled the cup and can;
Last night the kings of the earth were chill
For dread of a naked man.

‘If he speak two more words,’ they said,
‘The slave is more than the free;
If he speak three more words,’ they said,
‘The stars are under the sea.’

Said the King of the East to the King of the West,
I wot his frown was set,
‘Lo, let us slay him and make him as dung,
It is well that the world forget.’

Said the King of the West to the King of the East,
I wot his smile was dread,
‘Nay, let us slay him and make him a god,
It is well that our god be dead.’

They set the young man on a hill,
They nailed him to a rod;
And there in darkness and in blood
They made themselves a god.

And the mightiest word was left unsaid,
And the world had never a mark,
And the strongest man of the sons of men
Went dumb into the dark.

Then hymns and harps of praise they brought,
Incense and gold and myrrh,
And they thronged above the seraphim,
The poor dead carpenter.

‘Thou art the prince of all,’ they sang,
‘Ocean and earth and air.’
Then the bird flew on to the cruel cross,
And hid in the dead man’s hair.

‘Thou art the son of the world.’ they cried, `
‘Speak if our prayers be heard.’
And the brown bird stirred in the dead man’s hair
And it seemed that the dead man stirred.

Then a shriek went up like the world’s last cry
From all nations under heaven,
And a master fell before a slave
And begged to be forgiven.

They cowered, for dread in his wakened eyes
The ancient wrath to see;
And a bird flew out of the dead Christ’s hair,
And lit on a lemon tree.

--G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

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

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Posted June 13, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out (about 27 1/2 minutes).

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMediaReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This world is no friend to grace…The world is protean: each generation has the world to deal with in a new form. World is an atmosphere, a mood. It is nearly as hard for a sinner to recognize the world’s temptations as it is for a fish to discover impurities in the water. There is a sense, a feeling, that things aren’t right, that the environment is not whole, but just what it is eludes analysis. We know that the spiritual atmosphere in which we live erodes faith, dissipates hope and corrupts love, but it is hard to put our finger on what is wrong….

People submerged in a culture swarming with lies and malice feel as if they were drowning in it: they can trust nothing they hear, depend on no one they meet. Such dissatisfaction with the world as it is is preparation for traveling in the way of Christian discipleship. The dissatisfaction, coupled with a longing for peace and truth, can set us on a pilgrim path of wholeness in God.

Read it all (with our thanks to TS).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted June 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If anything, I think the initial concerns were understated.

Bell defenders were saying, “But you haven’t even read the book!” (In fact, I was able to read a pre-pub copy of the book during the week after the controversy broke.) But the actual book itself vindicated the dismay that so many of us felt. Kevin DeYoung’s thorough review of the book showed just how problematic the book turned out to be.

How did all of this change Rob Bell’s reputation?

I think it made it harder for a lot of younger evangelicals—who cared about biblical theology and sound doctrine but admired Bell’s creativity and insights—to defend him. There has been a resurgence of theological training among young evangelicals over the past few decades, and I think most people who have carefully studied Scripture and theology and church history—whether they have a seminary education or not—were able to see that Bell was seriously out of his depth. A lot of folks saw that he was on a certain trajectory and that he was now happy to leave evangelicalism in the rear-view mirror. His decision to leave his church and literally sign on to the Oprahfication of spirituality has only solidified and deepened those concerns.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 2, 2016 at 3:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Kenneth E. Bailey, the scholar who introduced evangelicals to Middle Eastern culture and history, died [on] Monday [May23]...at age 85.

Bailey gave Western readers “the eyes to see” the deeper significance of Jesus’ life and stories by placing them in the cultural context of the Middle East, publishing books like Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes and Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes, a 2012 CT Book Awards winner.

Bailey was the “premier cultural interpreter of the life of Jesus,” according to Wheaton College New Testament professor Gary Burge. Bailey’s insights stemmed from his own childhood in Egypt and a 40-year career studying and teaching in Egypt, Cyprus, Israel, and Lebanon.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchBooks* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 1, 2016 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Delegates to the Episcopal convention last summer approved a marriage equality resolution allowing same-sex couples to be married in an Episcopal church if the local priest is willing. The passage of the resolution came days after the June 26, 2015, ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage for all Americans.

For some, like Mark McCarty, that was the last straw. McCarty was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest for 60 years before deciding to leave over the same-sex marriage issue. To him, it is a matter of biblical interpretation. He says no one has been able to show him a Bible passage that OKs same-sex marriage. He prefers the "traditional biblical Anglican worship" referred to in the newspaper ad.

Deciding to leave Heavenly Rest was painful, McCarty said. He will miss the beauty of the building itself, the bell tower, the music and grandeur of the service. But, McCarty said, he believes staying at Heavenly Rest for those reasons, when he opposes the Episcopal Church's theology, would be wrong.

"That's idolatry," he said. "That's building worship.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 31, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Here are the questions to ponder after listening.

1) Is your faith in Christ your personal faith?

2) Is your faith consistent and active?

3) Is your faith aware of its potential impact on others?

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 31, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I should say here I am a happy, even-keeled soul. If this were the Middle Ages, I would be in a book under the heading “The Four Humors: Sanguine/Phlegmatic.”

Therefore, it was very unsettling to suddenly feel like a boat being tossed on the waves. I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t frightened—I just had too many feelings. I decided to buy a Dallas Willard book to read anthropologically, of course. I read his Hearing God. I cried. I bought Lewis Smedes’s My God and I. I cried. I bought Sara Miles’s Take This Bread. I cried. It was getting out of hand. You just can’t go around crying all the time.

At this point, I reached a crossroads. I sat myself down and said: Okay, Nicole, you have two choices. Option One: you can stop reading books about Jesus. Option Two: you could think with greater intention about why you are overwhelmed by your emotions. It occurred to me that if Option Two proved fruitless, I could always return to Option One. So I emailed a friend who is a Christian, and I asked if we could talk about Jesus.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted May 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, has warned against syncretism – the practice of merging different religious beliefs. The warning came after a prominent Christian politician made a public visit to her ancestral shrine to give thanks for her re-election – a practice in line with the country’s traditional religions.

“We value our ancestors because we are connected to them by the relationship we have,” Archbishop Ntagali said. “But, we must always trust only in God. We no longer need to go through the spirits of the dead because Jesus is our hope and protector. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, as Jesus says in John 14:6.

“The Church of Uganda condemns syncretism,” he said, as he urged bishops and clergy to “use this opportunity to proclaim the sufficiency of Christ crucified to meet all our needs, and to work pastorally with Christians to apply this glorious truth practically in their lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* International News & CommentaryAfricaUganda* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther Faiths* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 26, 2016 at 12:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many today remember Bonhoeffer for his radical Christian discipleship and sacrificial involvement in the German resistance movement against Hitler. However, few know him for what he believed was most central to his life and ministry: nourishing the body of Christ through the proclamation of the Word. Bonhoeffer cared deeply for the spiritual life and health of the local church, serving in various pastoral roles in Germany, Spain, England, and America. He even wrote his doctoral thesis—Sanctorum Communio—on the church as a holy community.

The sermon showcases Bonhoeffer’s masterful pastoral instincts. He speaks into this atmosphere of angst and uncertainty with a message of hope—a message the church still needs to hear and re-proclaim today, because no human is beyond fear’s reach. We’ve all encountered its many faces:
“. . . fear of an important decision; fear of a heavy stroke of fate, losing one’s job, an illness; fear of a vice that one can no longer resist, to which one is enslaved; fear of disgrace; fear of another person; fear of dying.”
Fear fills us with loneliness, hopelessness, and desperation. It drives us to decisions and actions that undo us.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 11, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My fifth example comes from the contemporary church, and surprisingly enough from the Anglican Church.

At the Lambeth Conference of 1958, the bishops produced quite a good statement about Scripture, and I want to quote this part of it to you:
The church is not over the holy scriptures, but under them, in the sense that the process of canonization was not one whereby the church conferred authority on the books, but one whereby the church acknowledged them to possess authority. And why? The books were recognized as giving the witness of the apostles to the life, teaching, death and resurrection of the Lord, and the interpretation by the apostles of these events. To that apostolic authority the church must ever bow.

So there is the need for the church to bow down before the authority of the Apostles. So it is time to sum up and conclude:

Firstly, our Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly endorsed the authority of the Old Testament, by appealing to it, and by submitting to its authority himself. And secondly, Our Lord Jesus Christ deliberately provided for the writing of the New Testament by appointing and equipping his Apostles to speak and teach in his name. Thus both the Old Testament and the New Testament, although in different ways, bear the stamp of his authority. Therefore, if we wish to submit to the authority of Christ, we must submit to the authority of scripture. If we wish to hear the voice of Christ, we must listen to Scripture through which he speaks. To the authority of Scripture carries with it the authority of Christ.

So the ultimate question before us tonight, and the ultimate question before the whole church today is: ‘Who is the Lord?’ Is the church the lord of Jesus Christ – so that it has the liberty to edit and manipulate his teaching? Or is Jesus Christ the lord of the church – so that it must believe and obey him? And since Jesus Christ is Lord there should be no hesitation on our part about our answer to those questions.

Let us pray…we will spend a moment or two of silent reflection and prayer, especially that we ourselves may be submissive and obedient to the Scriptures, and so to Christ:

We desire to thank you very much heavenly Father that you have given us in the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments an authoritative and definitive revelation of yourself. We ask your forgiveness for times when we have presumed to disagree with what is written in Scripture. We pray for a new humility and a new obedience. We pray the same for the churches from which we come, to which we belong, that they may be truly biblical churches submissive to your authority. Hear us in our prayers, in the name and for the glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyChristologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 9, 2016 at 7:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Here are the questions to ponder after listening.

1) What are the ways you are not allowing yourself to be sent?

2) Jesus is alive by the power of his Holy Spirit. That same holy spirit lives with us and abides in us each and every day. Do we live like that? Love Like that? Are we guided by that? Does that describe your life right now, a life led by and abiding with the spirit of the living God?

3) Jesus is sovereign Lord in a world where it doesn't much look like he's in charge. Do you embrace that Jesus is King now even in the mess and unpredictability of life, even if you can't sense or see it?

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 9, 2016 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
Now, if they who hold such views have authority to meet, your wisdom approved in Christ must see that, inasmuch as we do not approve their views, any permission of assembly granted to them is nothing less than a declaration that their view is thought more true than ours. For if they are permitted to teach their view as godly men, and with all confidence to preach their doctrine, it is manifest that the doctrine of the Church has been condemned, as though the truth were on their side. For nature does not admit of two contrary doctrines on the same subject being both true. How[,] then, could your noble and lofty mind submit to suspend your usual courage in regard to the correction of so great an evil? But even though there is no precedent for such a course, let your inimitable perfection in virtue stand up at a crisis like the present, and teach our most pious emperor that no gain will come from his zeal for the Church on other points if he allows such an evil to gain strength from freedom of speech for the subversion of sound faith.


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

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Posted May 9, 2016 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You may find the link here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take Rose, for example. At the age of 19 and in her first year of university in a town near her home village, Rose and her family were among her tribemates who were targeted for ethnic cleansing.

Their only crime was to be born in the “H” tribe. The “L” tribe hated them for who they were and marked all their homes in the town for killing. Her two brothers were killed, but she survived because a Good Samaritan whisked her to the airport and got her the only remaining seat available on a flight out of the war zone. She had never flown in an airplane, had only the clothes on her back, and didn’t know where she was going.

When she arrived at her unknown destination, she didn’t speak any of the languages spoken there, except a few words of broken English. Someone asked her where she was going and all she could say was, “Take me to the closest Anglican church.” She grew up in a home of committed Anglican Christians so that’s the only thing she could think of.

She ended up in the office of a Church of Uganda Bishop. He and his wife “adopted” her and took her into their family.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfrica* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 7, 2016 at 1:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By his ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus becomes the head of his body the Church. For the Holy Spirit, who animates the Church, is the gift of the ascended Christ. Ascension makes Pentecost possible.

Moreover, this gift of the Spirit is not a one-time occurrence, whether at Pentecost or at an individual’s baptism or confirmation. The ascended Lord is the ongoing source of spiritual gifts that enliven and build up his body.

As chapter four of the Letter to the Ephesians teaches: “when he ascended on high … he gave gifts.” The ascension bespeaks the ongoing agency of Jesus “who always lives and makes intercession for us.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscension* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the Ascension means the departure of the Lord Jesus, why celebrate it? Who rejoices over the loss of a loved one? Clearly this is not a day to remember what was lost. We celebrate what was gained.

For the first time, our humanity, the nature assumed by Christ, has been taken into the Godhead. This is a coming of age for the human race, something akin to the removal of training wheels.

Here, the sainted scholars of the Church diverge a bit. It’s not clear whether we were created to enjoy the very life of God, or if this is the gladsome result of the Incarnation. Put another way, we don’t know whether the Incarnation, and the resultant glorification of our humanity, happened because of sin, or despite it. Either way, as it did happen, Christ took on our humanity so that we might share his divinity. Today, in him, our humanity is first raised to that height.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality – our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.

So if the world looks and feels like a world without God, the Christian doesn’t try to say, ‘It’s not as bad as all that’, or seek to point to clear signs of God’s presence that make everything all right. The Christian will acknowledge that the situation is harsh, even apparently unhopeful – but will dare to say that they are willing to bring hope by what they offer in terms of compassion and service. And their own willingness and capacity for this is nourished by the prayer that the Spirit of Jesus has made possible for them.

The friends of Jesus are called, in other words, to offer themselves as signs of God in the world – to live in such a way that the underlying all-pervading energy of God begins to come through them and make a difference.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The readers may learn out of our Institutions what profit we reap by the ascension of Christ. Notwithstanding, because it is one of the chiefest points of our faith, therefore doth Luke endeavor more diligently to prove the same; yea, rather, the Lord himself meant to put the same out of all doubt, when as he hath ascended so manifestly, and hath confirmed the certainty of the same by other circumstances. For, if so be it he had vanished away secretly, then might the disciples have doubted what was become of him; but now, sith that they, being in so plain a place, saw him taken up with whom they had been conversant, whom also they heard speak even now, whom they beheld with their eyes, whom also they see taken out of their sight by a cloud, there is no cause why they should doubt whither he was gone. Furthermore, the angels are there also to bear witness of the same. And it was needful that the history should have been set down so diligently for our cause, that we may know assuredly, that although the Son of God appear nowhere upon earth, yet doth he live in the heavens. And this seemeth to be the reason why the cloud did overshadow him, before such time as he did enter into his celestial glory; that his disciples being content with their measure might cease to inquire any further. And we are taught by them that our mind is not able to ascend so high as to take a full view of the glory of Christ; therefore, let this cloud be a mean to restrain our boldness, as was the smoke which was continually before the door of the tabernacle in the time of the law.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscension* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (It begins with the reading of the gospel by the Rev. Fred Berkaw) [It is an MP3 file]. It occurred on the occasion of the Bishop's confirmation visit to Saint Paul's in Summerville, South Carolina in times past.

He speaks of a memory from 1960 and later there comes this quote to whet your appetite:

"What is astonishing to me I suppose is that we in the church make so little of the Ascension of our Lord."

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ascension theology turns at this point to the Eucharist, for in celebrating the eucharist the church professes to know how the divine presents itself in our time, and how the question of faithfulness is posed. Eucharistically, the church acknowledges that Jesus has heard and has answered the upward call; that, like Moses, he has ascended into that impenetrable cloud overhanging the mountain. Down below, rumours of glory emanate from the elders, but the master himself is nowhere to be seen. He is no longer with his people in the same way he used to be. Yet he is with them, in the Spirit.
--Douglas Farrow, Ascension Theology (New York: T and T Clark, 2011), p. 64

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

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The same week that Kate Grosmaire visited the hospital where her 18-year-old daughter lay in a coma from a gunshot wound to the head, she visited the jail where the shooter was being held by police.

Even before they took Ann off life support, the Grosmaires knew wanted to forgive her murderer, her high school boyfriend Conor McBride.

“Conor has said that act could not have been anything but from God because people alone can’t do that; it has to be from God,” said Kate, who still talks to McBride on the phone once a week. “That was the start of his salvation.”

Since Ann’s death in 2010, Kate and husband Andy Grosmaire have become advocates for an approach to criminal punishment called restorative justice. In their daughter’s murder case, the Catholic couple learned they could push for lighter charges than life in prison.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 3, 2016 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly or download--at the link here (and if anyone has difficulty the download link is there)

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

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Posted May 2, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the people of a missionary God, we are entrusted to participate in the world the same way He does—by committing to be His ambassadors. Missional is the perspective to see people as God does and to engage in the activity of reaching them. The church on mission is the church as God intended.

Instead, churches have become little more than suppliers of religious goods and services. They are more concerned with crafting a good service (music, preaching, ambience, etc) to keep their clients happy. And as a result, we have a disengaged and an uninvolved church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted April 19, 2016 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and and download the mp3 there. The sermon proper starts about 10 seconds in.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 18, 2016 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can find the link at the page here or the MP3 there; listening to Gary Beson's sermon is recommended, it comes at about 31 minutes.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted April 9, 2016 at 5:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian claim from the beginning was that the question of Jesus's resurrection was a question, not of the internal mental and spiritual states of his followers a few days after his crucifixion, but about something that had happened in the real, public world.

This "something" left, not just an empty tomb, but a broken loaf at Emmaus and footprints in the sand by the lake among its physical mementoes. It also left his followers with a lot of explaining to do, but with a transformed worldview which is only explicable on the assumption that something really did happen, even though it stretched their existing worldviews to breaking point.

What I want to do here is to examine this early Christian claim, to ask what can be said about it historically, and to enquire, more particularly, what sort of "believing" we are talking about when we ask whether we - whether "we" be scientists or historians or mathematicians or theologians - can "believe" that which "the resurrection" actually refers to.

Read it all from ABC Australia.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm [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 SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 3, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...particularly when we look at the disciples, the watered-down resurrection doesn’t seem credible at all. Remember that the Gospel of John (whose author had little to gain by making the disciples, future leaders of the early church, look bad) notes that the disciples were so frightened that they barricaded themselves behind locked doors after Jesus’s death. They had good reason to be. “If the authorities dealt that way with Jesus, who had so many people supporting him,” they must have thought, “what will they do to us?” Even before the crucifixion Peter shrank in fear from being identified as a follower of Jesus. Imagine how their fear would have intensified after witnessing the Romans’ brutal execution of their master.

With one exception, all of Jesus’s male followers were so terrified that they shrank from standing at the foot of the cross, unable to accompany Jesus during his final hours. Their reluctance may have stemmed from an inability to watch the agonizing death of their friend, but much was out of fear of being identified as a follower of an enemy of Rome. (The women, showed no such fear, though the situation may have posed less danger for them.)

The disciples were terrified. So does it seem credible that something as simple as sitting around and remembering Jesus would snap them out of their abject fear? Not to me. Something incontrovertible, something undeniable, something visible, something tangible, was necessary to transform them from fearful to fearless.

This is one of the most compelling “proofs” of the Resurrection.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 3, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In this tomb, also, you may see, A pledge to us...Yes, verily, it is a pledge,

Of Christ's power to raise us to a spiritual life — The resurrection of Christ is set forth in the Scriptures as a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers; and by the very same power too, that effected that. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul draws the parallel with a minuteness and accuracy that are truly astonishing. He prays for them, that they may know what is the exceeding greatness of God's power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." And then he says, concerning them, "God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us usi together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus^" Here, I say, you see Christ dead, quickened, raised, and seated in glory; and his believing people quickened from their death in sins, and raised with him, and seated too with him in the highest heavens. The same thing is stated also, and the same parallel is drawn in the Epistle to the Romans ; where it is said, "We are buried with Christ by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." But can this be effected in us ? I answer, Behold the tomb ! Who raised the Lord Jesus? He himself said, " I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again...."

--"Horae homileticae, Sermon 1414

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted March 31, 2016 at 1:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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Posted March 31, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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