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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The famous radio personality and early pioneer of television, Arthur Godfrey, grew up in an era very different from today. It was a time when a boy could wander down to the blacksmith shop on a lazy afternoon and watch the smithy work at his anvil and forge. It was a favorite past time of the young Godfrey. Sometimes he would watch the blacksmith sorting the scrap metal. The man would pick up a piece of metal from a holding bin, turn it this way and that in his large hands, then either toss it into the fire to be softened and hammered into some useful tool, or thrown into a junk heap to be discarded. From this experience Arthur forged a simple prayer which he used all his life. Whenever seized by his own sense of sin or some personal moral failure he would pray—“The fire, Lord, not the junk-heap.” It is a prayer that captures two essential dimensions of Ash Wednesday and Lent— a prayer for pardon and a prayer for purity.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Lent Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Christology Soteriology
The Anglican Communion is our spiritual home and the GAFCON Primates traveled to England in the hope that godly faith and order could be restored through renewed obedience to the Bible.
We are pleased that Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America has played a full part in the Canterbury meeting of Primates and that sanctions have been applied to the Episcopal Church of the United States, (TEC) recognising the need for mutual accountability on matters of doctrine within the family of the Communion.
However, this action must not be seen as an end, but as a beginning. There is much that causes us concern, especially the failure to recognise the fact that the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) has also rejected the collegial mind of the Communion by unilaterally permitting the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of those in active homosexual relationships. We fear that other provinces will do the same.
Since the beginning of the crisis in the Communion brought about by the actions of both TEC and the ACoC, the Anglican instruments of unity have been unable to guard biblical truth and restore godly order. There must therefore be doubt about the effectiveness of the sanctions that have been agreed.
In particular, it must be recognised that the continuing brokenness of the Communion is not the result simply of failed relationships, but is caused by the persistent rejection of biblical and apostolic faith as set out in Lambeth Resolution 1.10. We are therefore disappointed that the Primates’ statement makes no reference to the need for repentance.
The need for the GAFCON movement is being recognised by an ever increasing number of people and we are encouraged in our conviction that God has called us to work for an Anglican Communion which is a truly global family of Churches. We long to see a united, confident and courageous witness to God who by the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ has given us an unshakeable hope and assures us of his unfailing love.
-- Released by GAFCON chairman The Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala and the GAFCON General Secretary, The Most Rev. Dr. Peter Jensen
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Global South Churches & Primates GAFCON II 2013 GAFCON I 2008 * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
"I'd thought about the families that were bombed. There was one in which the package arrived to the man's home and his little 2-year-old daughter was there. She was almost in the room when he opened the package. Luckily she left, and his wife left. And then he died," Patrik told ABC News' Byron Pitts. "And there were others. And so I spent those days thinking about those people."
Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski placed or mailed 16 bombs that killed three people and injured 23 others, according to authorities.
In 1995, before he was identified as the Unabomber, he demanded newspapers to publish a long manuscript he had written, saying the killings would continue otherwise. Both the New York Times and Washington Post published the 35,000-word manifesto later that year at the recommendation of the Attorney General and the Director of the FBI.
A professor of philosophy, Patrik recognized familiar sounding ideas in the manuscript from letters her husband David Kaczynski had received from his older brother Ted, including a 23-page essay in which he raged against the modern world. In the essay, Ted wrote phrases such as, "Technology has already made it impossible for us to live as physically independent beings."
Read it all (or watch the video which is recommended).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Mental Illness * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Theodicy
The idea of national repentance seems at first sight to provide such an edifying contrast to that national self-righteousness of which England is so often accused and with which she entered (or is said to have entered) the last war, that a Christian naturally turns to it with hope. Young Christians especially-last-year undergraduates and first-year curates- are turning to it in large numbers. They are ready to believe that England bears part of the guilt for the present war, and ready to admit their own share in the guilt of England. What that share is, I do not find it easy to determine. Most of these young men were children, and none of them had a vote or the experience which would enable them to use a vote wisely, when England made many of those decisions to which the present disorders could plausibly be traced. Are they, perhaps, repenting what they have in no sense done?
If they are, it might be supposed that their error is very harmless: men fail so often to repent their real sins that the occasional repentance of an imaginary sin might appear almost desirable. But what actually happens (I have watched it happening) to the youthful national penitent is a little more complicated than that. England is not a natural agent, but a civil society. When we speak of England's actions we mean the actions of the British government. The young man who is called upon to repent of England's foreign policy is really being called upon to repent the acts of his neighbor; for a foreign secretary or a cabinet minister is certainly a neighbor. And repentance presupposes condemnation. The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the congenial one of bewailing-but, first, of denouncing-the conduct of others.
--C.S. Lewis, "Dangers of national repentance"
"Confess your faults one to another" (Jas. 5:16). He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. This pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. so we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. "My son, give me thine heart" (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates sin.
Our first parents fell into open disobedience because already they were secretly corrupted; for the evil act had never been done had not an evil will preceded it. And what is the origin of our evil will but pride? For "pride is the beginning of sin." And what is pride but the craving for undue exaltation? And this is undue exaltation, when the soul abandons Him to whom it ought to cleave as its end, and becomes a kind of end to itself. This happens when it becomes its own satisfaction....The devil, then, would not have ensnared man in the open and manifest sin of doing what God had forbidden, had man not already begun to live for himself....By craving to be more, man became less; and by aspiring to be self-sufficing, he fell away from him who truly suffices him.
--Augustine, The City of God 14.13
1.) Religious congregations can think creatively about how to welcome unmarried young adults and those from different socio-economic backgrounds into their communities.
When Stephanie visited a nearby Catholic church, hoping to get connected, she couldn't help but notice that most of the parishioners seemed affluent. They dressed nicely, and she felt that her t-shirt from Goodwill, jeans, and tattoos made her conspicuous. She felt like if she wanted to go back, she needed to buy new clothes, but she didn't want to spend the money to do that. No one seemed to smoke, either, so she was the only one who needed to step out during the two-hour Bible study to take a smoke break, which also made her feel awkward.
When she tried bringing her children to Mass, there was no childcare available, and she felt self-conscious about and distracted by their poor behavior in church. As a single parent, it was doubly difficult to get them to behave because there was just one of her and two of them. There was a class her son could attend, but it wasn't the kind of thing you were just supposed to walk into. There were fees and paperwork, so it didn't feel like the kind of place she could just drop her son off, even though the teacher was kind and accommodating when Stephanie inquired.
Even social events meant to foster parish community often seemed to have a cost attached. While that's understandable, it meant attending Lenten fish fries and similar events entailed somewhat of a financial sacrifice for her.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Young Adults * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Nervous about Valentine's Day? Try a tiger roll.
First dates at a sushi restaurant are 1.7 times more likely to lead to a second, says Match.com, America's largest online dating site. The sushi tip is just one finding from the sixth annual Singles in America survey, which asked 5,500 respondents everything from which politician they want to vote for to which politician they'd be up for dating (Joe Biden and Marco Rubio dominate with 21 percent and 20 percent, respectively). Match's match-making masterminds conclude that it's probably okay to talk religion, politics and money on Date 1, but keep your hands off your phone. And if you're male, double-check those text messages: women are way less forgiving of spelling and grammar errors.
But even as more and more Americans turn to online dating, as it loses the "desperate" reputation of its early days, the jury's still out on what, exactly, it's doing to singles' hearts and minds. At a time when more Americans are unmarried than ever before, are Tinder and OKCupid changing what Americans want in a partner, or just how they find them?
Read it all.
Wycliffe Hall is one of the Church of England’s most prestigious theological colleges, being one of Oxford University’s many colleges. Long respected as an evangelical institution, it has had a number of difficulties since the principalship of Alister McGrath and the current principal, Michael Lloyd, is seen by many as a safe pair of hands.
But he’s now facing a growing crisis over an inadvertent but controversial invitation to the dean of Christ Church, Martyn Percy, to preach at college chapel on 8 March 2016 at a service of Holy Communion. The text for that day is Col. 4:2-18.
Read it all.
Same-sex marriage in churches, and full access to all three Holy Orders for those in such marriages, are among the goals of a new mission calling for “the full acceptance and affirmation of LGBTI people” in the Church of England.
The LGBTI Mission, launched on Thursday, has put together a programme of goals that it would like to achieve “over the next five years and beyond”. It includes demands for action from the hierarchy, alongside plans to press ahead independently, including the publication of liturgy to celebrate same-sex marriage.
A booklet outlining the programme, published yesterday, lists examples of “discrimination” and “injustice” faced by LGBTI people, and warns of a culture of “collusion and silence” in the Church. Some young LGBTI people do not feel “safe and welcomed”, it says.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Melbourne's Anglican churches say they cannot offer sanctuary to asylum seekers facing immediate deportation to Nauru because they are not equipped to provide accommodation.
It puts the Melbourne Anglican diocese at great odds with its counterparts around the rest of the country, who are willing to face police raids and possible charges to shield asylum seekers.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Immigration * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
I could quite imagine two adjacent dioceses within the Church of England permitting or prohibiting divorce, and recognizing or not recognizing the leadership of women. It wouldn't be comfortable, but it would be possible. It is simply impossible, however, to imagine one diocese celebrating same-sex sexual unions as equivalent to other-sex marriage, and a neighbouring one holding that this is outside of Christian moral teaching, and therefore (among its clergy) a cause of discipline. These two different views are simply incompatible; two such dioceses could not co-exist in the same Church.
That is why the question for the Church is not about polity alone, but about the Church's doctrine of marriage, and within that, its understanding of human sexuality. There is no middle ground to stand on.
Ritchie appears to share the view of Jayne Ozanne (former Director of Accepting Evangelicals, whom he cites) that change in the Church is "inevitable." To that end, Ozanne cites survey evidence showing that popular opinion is changing, and changing fast. That is one way for the Church to decide its doctrine - on the basis of popular opinion.
Historically, though, the Church of England has pursued a patient engagement with Scripture in order to shape its theology....
Read it all from ABC australia.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Anglican Provinces Church of Ireland Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
How Emanuel AME Church reacted to the 90 seconds of terror that unfolded within its walls last year has some people mentioning the Charleston congregation in the same breath as the pope and others who have sought world peace.
The church on Monday joined Pope Francis as a nominee for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, an honor that typically picks from hundreds of disparate political, religious and cultural pioneers who have helped civilizations in all corners of the globe cope with strife.
Inspired by the response to the mass shooting that befell the church and claimed nine parishioners’ lives on June 17, a group of Chicago-area political leaders led the Nobel effort and others, including U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., joined in. Though they announced the push months ago, the officials said they had followed through with the nomination by Monday’s deadline.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Globalization Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
A woman who believes she was born a cat has opened up about her life as a feline, describing how she has a superior sense sense of hearing and sight which allows her to hunt mice in the dark.
Nano, 20, from Oslo, Norway, makes the revelation in an interview published on the NRK P3 Verdens Rikeste Land YouTube channel, and it's been viewed 122,000 times.
And she claims to possess many feline characteristics including a hatred of water and the ability to communicate simply by meowing....
Nano sums up her life as a cat as 'exhausting' but says that you get you to living with 'cat acts and cat instincts'.
'My psychologist told me I can grow out of it, but I doubt it,' she concludes. 'I think I will be cat all my life.'
Read it all from the Daily Mail.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine History Psychology Young Adults * General Interest Animals * International News & Commentary Europe Norway * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Let’s ask a question: Why was David Blatt fired as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers? The man who fired him said it was a matter of “a lack of fit with our personnel and our vision.” Possibly true. But it would be more useful to say this: David Blatt got fired because Chip Kelly got fired before him, and Jose Mourinho before him, and Kevin McHale before him, and so on nearly ad infinitum.
That is to say: firing coaches is how professional sports franchises deal with conflict. And athletes know that this is how professional sports franchises deal with conflict: so when a team hits a bad patch, and the players are underperforming, and the coach is getting angry with them, and relationships are fraying… why bother stitching them up? Why bother salving the wounds? If everyone knows where the situation is headed — sacking the manager — then isn’t there rather a strong incentive to make things worse, in order to hasten the inevitable, put an end to the frustrations, start afresh, get a do-over? Of course there is.
And precisely the same tendencies are at work in many of the key institutions of American social life. This is one of the chief reasons why so many marriages end quickly; this is why so many Christians church-hop, to the point that pastors will tell you that church discipline is simply impossible: if you challenge or rebuke a church member for bad behavior, he or she will simply be at another church the next week, or at no church at all.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Marriage & Family Psychology Sociology Sports * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
But a new NBER working paper from economists at Stanford and the University of Virginia suggests that, when done right, one kind of teacher turnover, at least, can be highly effective: programs for aggressively replacing bad teachers. The authors collected data from a unique Washington, D.C. program called IMPACT, which assesses teachers based on student outcomes and ratings from their peers, rewards those who perform well, and replaces those who persistently perform poorly. In a nutshell, it worked: The teachers pushed out for poor performance were consistently replaced with teachers who performed significantly better. “Under a robust system of performance assessment,” the authors write in their conclusion, “the turnover of teachers can generate meaningful gains in student outcomes, particularly for the most disadvantaged students.”
As we’ve written before, the idea that all teachers must be teachers for life needs to be questioned more often. That’s especially true when one is talking about replacing poorly performing teachers.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Politics in General City Government State Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Globally, the people who fight in wars or commit violent crimes are nearly all young men. Henrik Urdal of the Harvard Kennedy School looked at civil wars and insurgencies around the world between 1950 and 2000, controlling for such things as how rich, democratic or recently violent countries were, and found that a “youth bulge” made them more strife-prone. When 15-24-year-olds made up more than 35% of the adult population—as is common in developing countries—the risk of conflict was 150% higher than with a rich-country age profile.
If young men are jobless or broke, they make cheap recruits for rebel armies. And if their rulers are crooked or cruel, they will have cause to rebel. Youth unemployment in Arab states is twice the global norm. The autocrats who were toppled in the Arab Spring were all well past pension age, had been in charge for decades and presided over kleptocracies.
Christopher Cramer of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London cautions that there is no straightforward causal link between unemployment and violence. It is not simply a lack of money that spurs young men to rebel, he explains; it is more that having a job is a source of status and identity.
Read it all from the Economist.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Men Psychology Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Beards are fashionable again, but the subject of facial hair and the clergy stirs strong emotions. The bearded King Edward VII, in enjoining Archbishop Cosmo Gordon Lang to “stop curates wearing moustaches”, gave voice to the general hostility of the Christian tradition to hair confined to the upper lip; but there the consensus ends.
The discovery that two of the most energetic priests in east London had recently grown beards of an opulence that would not have disgraced a Victorian sage prompted me to look again at the barbate debate throughout Church history. The two priests work in parishes in Tower Hamlets. Most of the residents are Bangladeshi-Sylheti, for whom the wearing of a beard is one of the marks of a holy man. This view is shared among many Eastern cultures, but it was not so for much of the history of the West.
Alexander the Great was clean-shaven, and this was the fashion also in the Roman Republic and early empire, until the reign of the Emperor Hadrian in the second century. Early representations of Christ in Western European art, such as the Hinton St Mary mosaic on display in the British Museum, show the Saviour also clean-shaven, and portrayed as some Classical hero.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine History Men Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Same-sex marriage could be a reality within the Anglican Church of Canada by 2019, despite a recent vote by Anglican archbishops to suspend the church’s US branch for consecrating gay weddings.
Anglican priests in Canada took a significant step towards marrying same-sex couples in 2013, when the church’s highest governing body here (the triennial synod) voted to change canon law to allow for gay marriage.
The resolution still needs approval from two more synods in 2016 and 2019 before it can come into effect.
It also includes an opt-out clause for clergy members, bishops, congregations and dioceses opposed to blessing gay marriage.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
On a recent rainy afternoon over veggie burgers at NeueHouse, the co-working space in the Flatiron district, three Vedic meditators were discussing drink options for a new kind of happy hour they were organizing.
“Tonight would be a good night for tea,” Katia Tallarico, 33, a lanky psychotherapist from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said to Light Watkins, 42, an organizer from Los Angeles typically partial to a hot lemon-ginger elixir.
“It’s O.K., we have a really great water, from Australia,” said Andrea Praet, 34, a trend strategist from Greenpoint, who also runs an urban retreat series, with Ms. Tallarico, called the Uplift Project.
Around 5 p.m., the three made their way over to set up a “bar” and buffet at General Assembly, a fourth-floor technology school and site of New York City’s inaugural Shine: an inspirational, alcohol-free evening.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Alcohol/Drinking Urban/City Life and Issues Young Adults * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Anglican Communion Institute - Canada
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Murray Henderson
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Dean Mercer
The Rev’d Dr. Ephraim Radner (Senior Fellow, ACI)
The Rev’d Dr. Catherine Sider-Hamilton
If you drop a penny from your hand to the ground, no one notices. Drop it from the 18th floor, and everyone pays attention. If you shoot an arrow from a distance, and it leaves the bow off only by a fraction, no matter how smooth the shot feels, it will still land far from the target.
On first blush, the statement from the Primates has a minimal and precise character that we come to expect of such statements, but this one above all illustrates the importance of precision and modesty. Upon every reading one sees how hard this unexpected penny might land, with two responsibilities in mind as the Anglican Church of Canada enters its deliberations over a possible change to the marriage canon.
“This meeting could have been marked by calls for exclusion of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and me. It was not. It could have been marked by walk-outs as some had anticipated. It was not. It could have been marked by ranting and raving. It was not. Instead it was marked by perseverance to remain in dialogue that was frank but respectful. It was marked by a generosity of grace and patience, with one another. It was marked too, by renewed commitments in the consideration of matters of doctrine that could be of a controversial nature, to consult broadly in the seeking of advice and counsel.”
This sense of the value that communion holds for us all, bound as we are by the ties forged in baptism, has protected the Communion from a moment of disintegration, an internal threat of which Canada is keenly aware. Many fear that disintegration already has come to The Episcopal Church in the wake of their divisions and may well be permanent. As the presence and participation of Archbishop Foley Beach made clear (he was invited to vote on the statement, though he abstained), the Anglican Communion in the United States is divided. Already The Episcopal Church no longer speaks alone for Anglicans in that country.
Nothing on this scale has happened yet in Canada, though a wealth of clergy and lay members have left for the Anglican Network In Canada churches. A spirit of cordiality among the Canadian Bishops (and, to be candid, a degree of stealth - it is stealth to declare doctrinal statements non-doctrinal; to bless and appoint as clergy same-sex couples who are civilly married) has kept the Canadian Church from a defining and divisive moment. As well, we are keenly aware of declining resources in the Canadian church as a whole. We can't afford division.
At last count, there are 40 ongoing legal disputes among Anglicans in the United States, with a price tag estimated at between $30 to $60 million. Reconciliation in Canada between ACoC and those churches that have already joined ACNA or ANIC would be hard, but nothing like what will required in the United States if reconciliation is taken up.
Secondly, the Primates aimed for the centre. The church’s tradition on life for the married and single was reaffirmed and therefore, an obligation to reckon with this tradition, for those who dissent. What happens if that obligation is ignored, if "unilateral actions" are taken "on a matter of doctrine without Catholic unity"? Nothing less than the current dysfunction of the church, the reason for which the Archbishop of Canterbury called the meeting.
Has anything been taken from the authority of the provinces? No, but central affirmations about the shared convictions and obligations of the family members remind everyone that this is not the cold competition between Rogers and Bell, but rather the personal and intimate relationship between Fred and Justin and Eliud, a bond which from that level extends to us all.
And from the centre, “consequences” were restated if provinces act independently. In a fashion that is typical of the Anglican church, infused with a spirit of generosity and charity that wins deep and profound loyalty, the statement was issued in terms of consequences, not in terms of discipline or punishment. Those who have raised this challenge have been treated with charityand respect.
There was an ugly alternative hovering over the Primates in that crypt, of party competition, factionalism and fragmentation, the spirit of this age to which we are all subject. This statement, by contrast, was cast in terms of family obligations and the obligations of old and precious ties. If a spirit of prophecy has come to The Episcopal Church, it is only fair for the rest of the Communion to state the truth: that spirit has not spoken to the rest. That spirit, in fact, is contested by the majority. Your arrow has hit and hurt people you are not taking into account.
That is the cost of TEC’s prophetic claims. That is the Scriptural obligation on us all - “let the spirits be tested.”
How will the penny land in Canada?
On the one hand, it’s hard to know what the impact will be or when it will be fully felt. But here are three consequences that immediately come to mind.
First, those who uphold and support the church’s formal teaching, and have done so at no small cost in Canada, have been encouraged and emboldened. They are not alone. However marginalised they may be in their own national church and scorned in their society, they have been encouraged once again to stand firm.
Secondly, the Anglican Church of Canada has before it the option of continuing this debate inside or outside of the boundaries for such a debate in the Communion.
There is a reason for restraint with regard to the marriage canon that all can understand. This question was rushed! The church moved, without reflection or preparation, from blessings to marriage. That is apart from the questionable merits of the Primate’s Commission report itself, “This Holy Estate”, which provided a rationale for the marriage canon to be changed.
In a thorough review, which draws in similar reviews of the formal statements of The Episcopal Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church, Martin Davie, (formerly the Theological Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity of the Church of England and Theological Consultant to the House of Bishops), identifies a clear independent streak. Even apparent allies of a rationale for change - TEC, SEC and the ACoC - are developing rationales on their own. The challenge to the marriage canon is not just the work of dissenters, but of sectarians, too. ("A Church of England perspective on Anglican arguments for same-sex marriage,” by Martin Davie,
And should the Anglican Church of Canada proceed independently of the communion, they will have a hand in formalizing the division among Anglicans in Canada. Archbishop Foley Beach and ACNA now speak to Canterbury on behalf of Anglicans in the United States. The impact of this has not yet been measured.
Until now, TEC could claim that they represented American Anglicans to Canterbury. That is now past. And so who does TEC represent? Critics have every reason to say: a declining, self-styled progressive denomination who has taken up the questions around human nature and sexuality along lines that match perfectly current social mores. And standing beside and apart from them is a growing and invigorated body who have faced this same challenge from deep within the tradition of their church and communion and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Canada has, in large part, avoided this division and competition. How the ACoC could proceed with a marriage canon change and maintain their integrity - indeed, their existence - as a single broad church beggars the imagination.
Since Lambeth 1998 and Resolution 1.10 and over these last 18 years, this hard debate has been marked by division, enormous cost, and profound discouragement. But consider the hopeful task set out in the conclusion, this challenge for us all: the “restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace ofChrist.”
As we approach General Synod 2016, the Primate’s statement asks us in Canada to be temperate, to be patient and to walk together with our brothers and sisters around the world, to find God's future--the truly prophetic way--in solidarity with the communion and the tradition, and not in the tempting boldness of departure from it.
How hard this penny lands! How deep and good its effects might be.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Despite the increasing tension, Bishop Lee is optimistic about the future of the Anglican Communion. "I think the current controversies might well prove to become a breakthrough moment in global understanding and regard for one another," he says.
Lee cites reports from primates who attended the Jan. 11-15 meeting, including a Facebook post from Archbishop Welby which emphasized unity during the tense discussions.
"Despite those differences," Lee says, "two bishops were regarding each other and realizing they were both followers of Jesus Christ. Above and beyond all the disagreements, each trying to work out the implications of their faith in their own context. I think that's extraordinary."
Bishop Lee says the main barrier to resolving this dispute -- and future disputes -- is the human habit of categorizing people according to gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. "As long as those things remain abstractions, it's very easy to speak about who may or may not be in this place or that place," he says. "When they become living realities, when those labels are transformed into living persons standing in front of me, and with whom I have a relationship, that's very, very different."
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Standing at a microphone in September holding up a baby bottle, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a local pediatrician, said she was deeply worried about the water. The number of Flint children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had risen alarmingly since the city changed its water supply the previous year, her analysis showed.
Within hours of Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s news conference, Michigan state officials pushed back — hard. A Department of Health and Human Services official said that the state had not seen similar results and that it was working with a much larger set of data. A Department of Environmental Quality official was quoted as saying the pediatrician’s remarks were “unfortunate,” described the mood over Flint’s water as “near-hysteria” and said, as the authorities had insisted for months, that the water met state and federal standards.
Dr. Hanna-Attisha said she went home that night feeling shaky and sick, her heart racing. “When a state with a team of 50 epidemiologists tells you you’re wrong,” she said, “how can you not second-guess yourself?”
No one now argues with Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s findings. Not only has she been proved right, but Gov. Rick Snyder publicly thanked her on Tuesday “for bringing these issues to light.”
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The bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Clifton Daniel, echoed this sentiment, suggesting that perhaps it was the role of the Episcopal Church to forge ahead of its more conservative global relations: “Sometimes in family life, members grow and mature at difference paces. I believe this moment in our life is one such instance.”
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Naghmeh Abedini is looking forward to reuniting next week with her husband, Saeed, the Iranian-American pastor freed on Saturday after more than three years in an Iranian prison.
But she’s not rushing the reunion.
In an interview at her parent’s home in Boise, Idaho on Wednesday, Abedini said that rebuilding their marriage after her husband’s imprisonment will take time.
The relationship, she said, has been strained in recent months by the publication of an email she sent to friends and supporters late last year. Her note described “physical, emotional, psychological and sexual” abuse by her husband, who she said was addicted to pornography.
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The number is stark: 57,762,169. That is through the end of last year—the number of legal abortions in America since the Roe v. Wade decision 43 years ago tomorrow on January 22, 1973. That was one of the darkest days in American history, and ever since then America has been at war over abortion. We’re now talking about four decades and more. When the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v. Wade, the Court’s majority attempted to put an end to the abortion question. That’s actually what they thought they were doing. To the contrary, that decision has enlarged and revealed the great moral divide that runs through the center of our culture.
Most Americans actually are probably pretty much unaware of the actual contours of the abortion debate as it emerged in the early 1970s. Going back to 1973, the primary opposition to legal abortion came from the Roman Catholic Church; Evangelicals in the pro-life movement joined later. Until the late 1970s and the awakening of the evangelical conscience on abortion, most Evangelicals didn’t want to talk about the issue, considering it to be an issue for other people in other places. Roe v. Wade changed all of that legally in 1973 ruling that in all 50 states abortion on demand, as it has been called, must be considered a woman’s right. The decision was demanded by and later championed by feminists as one of the great feminist victories. The leaders of that movement claimed, and continue to claim, that the availability of abortion on demand is necessary in order for women to be equal with men with respect to the absence of pregnancy as an obstacle to career advancement.
Furthermore, the moral logic of Roe v. Wade was a thunderous affirmation of the idea of personal autonomy that had already taken ahold of the American mind. As the decision made all too clear, “rights talk” had displaced what had been seen as a higher concern for right versus wrong.
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The challenge facing the task group, the body — not yet appointed — whose job it will be to mend the Anglican Communion after last week’s gathering of Primates, was manifest this week as people reacted to the final communiqué from Canterbury.
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It is surprising, then, that the whimper [from the 2016 Primates Gathering] has occasioned such a hue and cry. On Thursday the Labour shadow cabinet minister and former Anglican priest, Chris Bryant, declared he had left the Church of England for good. The Church’s decision will one day ‘seem [as] wrong as supporting slavery’ he tweeted. On Saturday the Times published a full-blown invective. The Church has no right, the editorial claimed, to maintain its traditional doctrine of marriage.
The outcry is indicative of a profound shift. Institutions founded on certain precepts to which its members are expected to subscribe shouldn’t be allowed to act on them if those precepts don’t square with a prevailing agenda. Back in 2013 advocates for same-sex marriage argued that the church’s beliefs about sexuality shouldn’t be imposed on the rest of society. That makes sense. But now the church is being told it shouldn’t hold those beliefs at all.
It is easy to overlook how ominous this shift really is. The conviction that organisations and communities cannot determine their own distinct ethos, their own rules for membership and their own criteria for leadership imperils the very survival of a pluralistic society. What is the point of institutions if they don’t have the freedom to organise themselves in the way they see fit?
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Last week in Canterbury, though many people were amazed that there were finally some consequences for the Episcopal Church, others were disappointed that the consequences were not more stringent. Certainly, after all the years of flouting Scripture, there is ample reason to be disgusted. Certainly, as more than a dozen Provinces recognized, there was ample reason to eject TEC from the Communion. Unable to win the day on the resolution for ejection, they moved to other expressions of discipline, focusing narrowly on last summer’s TEC General Convention decision to change the marriage canon and prayer book to embrace same-sex marriage. The focus turned to what was essentially described as a failure to consult and a decision to move outside institutional norms. There should not be, however, concern about institutional norms and practice. The greatest offense is that the Episcopal Church is engaging in activities that lead people away from Christ eternally. In other words, the Episcopal Church, rather than being the Ark of Salvation, is the instrument bringing spiritual destruction to people it is literally leading away from Christ and into Hell. Although they are more strident than some other Provinces, there are others doing the same thing. Soon, the focus of discipline needs to be on them as well. Canada is a great place to start the next round!
This Primates’ “Gathering” in Canterbury was the first one to gather a majority of the Primates in years. The reason is that since the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007, a deadline was put to the Episcopal Church to return to Anglican faith and practice or “walk apart.” Sadly, following the meeting, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, unilaterally decided to overturn the hard-fought decision of the meeting and let the Episcopal Church completely off the hook. There is no way to describe gracefully what ABp Williams did. He simply unilaterally decided to declare that the deadline for conforming that had been given to TEC was “not a deadline.” Even worse, he invited errant TEC bishops to the 2008 Lambeth Bishops’ Conference, completely taking the teeth out of what the Primates had decided. From that point, it has not been possible to gather the majority of Primates because the Dar es Salaam decision had not been honored. Many Primates said that they would not attend until the Dar es Salaam decisions were implemented.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was able to get Primates to come by insuring them that they would have control of the agenda. That is an assurance that several of the Primates I spoke with believe was honored at this gathering. The Archbishops wanted to discuss TEC, and they got to. Sadly, the resolution to completely eject TEC from the Anglican Communion failed, but almost half the Provinces were willing to give them the boot. Though the ejection resolution failed to pass, it was obvious though that the vast majority of Provinces wanted to see TEC disciplined. After lively discussions, the sanctions that were put in place were overwhelmingly approved. I understand that the numbers were 27 voting for sanctions, 3 against, and 6 abstaining. ABp Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America refused a ballot on the TEC vote, saying that although he had been completely included in the meeting and all the other votes that took place while he was present, he did not think it was appropriate to vote on TEC, because the ACNA’s status has not yet been formalized.
Now the question is: Were the sanctions enough? The answer is another question: Enough for what? From a spiritual standpoint, both the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church (as well as several others) having pursued unbiblical activity without repentance deserve to be ejected from the Communion—at least until they repent and demonstrate suitable fruits of repentance. Is it enough that they have been denied voice and vote in some areas? I believe that it is extremely significant and sets the stage for more to happen with TEC and other Provinces.
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Deaths from drug overdoses have jumped in nearly every county across the United States, driven largely by an explosion in addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin.
Some of the largest concentrations of overdose deaths were in Appalachia and the Southwest, according to new county-level estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of these deaths reached a new peak in 2014: 47,055 people, or the equivalent of about 125 Americans every day.
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The pain is palpable at St. Mary's Episcopal Church. The Rev. Ted Berktold doesn't need a tearful 75-year-old woman in his cluttered, book-filled office to tell him that. "This is not personal," she says, "but the Episcopal Church is no longer my church."
"My church is leaving me," another elderly congregant tells someone on the staff....
Other challenges will come first: The Anglican Communion's October 2004 Windsor Report calls on the Episcopal Church USA to halt the blessing of same-sex unions, block the potential consecration of openly gay clergy and express its regret for the pain caused by the Robinson consecration. The report is fueling rumors of an official split between the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church USA.
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An overwhelming majority of the Primates present voted that TEC should be excluded from all meetings which represent the Anglican Communion and that it should be suspended from internal decision-making bodies, initially for three years.
The GAFCON Primates, of whom I am chairman, worked hard with other orthodox Primates to achieve this result despite predictions by many that the meeting would be carefully managed to prevent any firm conclusions emerging.
TEC is not the only province to reject the bible’s teaching and there is still much work to do to heal the wounds that compromise and false teaching have inflicted upon the Anglican Communion, but a start has been made.
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[Bishop Michael Curry]...rebutted charges the Episcopal Church had been captured by secular culture. “Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all.”
Archbishop Beach told CEN the dispute was a salvation issue. “Millions of souls were affected by false teaching.”
Archbishop Welby asked Archbishop Beach what it would take to reconcile the ACNA and the Episcopal Church. Archbishop Beach said the ACNA asked the Episcopal Church to repent of its ungodly innovations, to end all litigation immediately, to give restitution for the millions of dollars in property and assets taken from departing congregations, to “restore to us our pension” and “rescind” the depositions of the over 700 clergy kicked out of the Episcopal Church.
A resolution was brought forward on Wednesday asking the Episcopal Church to voluntarily withdraw from the instruments of communion as it revisits the issue of same-sex marriage — akin to the earlier motion brought by Archbishop Ntagali. Bishop Curry told the meeting the Episcopal Church would not comply with such a request.
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[Michael] Gilbreath (a CT editor at large) hearkens back to the 1963 Birmingham civil rights campaign, to the world of Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and other heroic Christian leaders. Today, we idolize these figures for leading a beleaguered people to the Promised Land. But as Birmingham Revolution makes clear, the civil rights movement was no slam dunk. Uncertainty, scarce resources, and outside hostility could have ground its progress to a halt.
The Birmingham campaign was pivotal. On the heels of defeat in Albany, Georgia, victory in Birmingham restored the movement's momentum. Failure could have crippled it, by drying up funding, discrediting the nonviolent method, and validating fears that the leaders were—take your pick—extremists, rabble-rousers, too Christian, not Christian enough, too Southern, or insufficiently urban.
How—amid the noise and ambiguity, the internal struggles and self-doubts, the bone-deep weariness and constant fear of death—did the Birmingham leaders maintain their focus? And how might their example instruct the church today? Gilbreath gives four answers.
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A husband had a lot of explaining to do to his irate wife after driving off from a petrol station without her, according to reports in Brazil.
The man, only identified as Walter, was driving back to Argentina following a holiday in Brazil when he made the unfortunate error....
The couple’s 14-year-old son had also failed to spot his mother was missing as he was playing on his mobile phone in the front seat.
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The practical consequences of the primates’ action will be that, for three years, Episcopalians will not be invited to serve on certain committees, or will be excluded from voting while they are there. However, the primates do not have authority over the Anglican Consultative Council, the worldwide body of bishops, clergy and lay people that facilitates the cooperative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion. I serve as a representative to that body, along with Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut, a four-time deputy before his election as bishop, and six-time Deputy Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine of the Virgin Islands, and I am planning to travel to Zambia for our scheduled meeting in April and to participate fully.
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The statement by Anglican leaders, thrashed out after four days of “painful” talks in the crypt of Canterbury cathedral, made no reference to LGBT Christians.
“To say I’m really disappointed would be an understatement,” Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church Oxford, told the Guardian. “The statement had nothing to say about LGBT Christians, and that’s a lost opportunity. By saying nothing, you are sending a signal.”
Jayne Ozanne, a prominent gay evangelical within the Church of England and a member of its general synod, said: “It claims that ‘there is neither victor nor vanquished’. This is false. Those whose lives will be most impacted are our LGBT brothers and sisters around the world, of which the statement makes no mention. It is as if we do not even exist.”
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We are so grateful for the godly leadership and clear vision of the GAFCon and Global South Primates and for their partnership with us in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Together, we are seeking to spread the Light of the Gospel in a dark and dying world.
We particularly thank God for Archbishop Foley Beach and his humble, prayerful and courageous leadership of our Province, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
Our Primate, Archbishop Beach, fully participated in the Primates’ gathering at Canterbury until today, when he, along with several other GAFCon Primates, left. Along with the GAFCon Primates, Archbishop Foley laboured very hard and patiently, refusing to be deflected. Two things came to a head today - the issues of discipline and an opportunity to speak about ACNA.
Archbishop Beach concluded his time at the meeting with a brief testimony to what the Lord has done and is doing in the ACNA and then provided a gift of our ACNA’s Catechism to every Primate.
The witness to the broader Communion was very significant. I believe some Provinces are being drawn into GAFCon as a result of the witness of GAFCon and Global South Primates at this gathering.
A small but significant step was taken toward restoring Biblical and godly order in the Communion. Although, in the end, only the US Episcopal Church (TEC) was named in the very moderate disciplinary action agreed to by the Primates, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) and its actions were referred to frequently in the course of the Primates’ discussions.
Archbishop Beach told media here, “The sanctions placed on the Episcopal Church are strong, but they are not strong enough, and to my deep disappointment they didn’t include the Anglican Church of Canada as they should. It took many steps for the Anglican Communion to come to this current crisis. This is a good step back in the right direction, but it will take many more if the Communion is to be restored.”
Once Primates had finally addressed the issue of discipline, it was time for Archbishop Beach to quietly step away from the remainder of the meeting as ACNA had committed itself to only continue at the meeting if TEC and the ACoC had stepped away and until repentance and godly order were restored. The ACoC remained and, although mild sanctions were applied to TEC, its Primate also remained in the meeting.
I, and all of us here in Canterbury, are so aware of the incredible blanket of prayer that has enveloped this meeting. I truly believe God has answered, although perhaps not as we anticipated. The GAFCon movement has been strengthened and broadened and its wholesome impact on the Communion increased. Thank you for praying! Please continue.
For ANiC, we will continue to press on in fervent prayer and with intensified focus on building “biblically faithful, gospel sharing, Anglican churches”. To that end, let us pray that the five ministry priorities we are seeking to apply may become a transformational reality in every congregation of ANiC.
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The debate represents a larger global tension between Christians largely in places like the U.S. and Europe and Christians in places like Africa.
The active membership of the U.S. Canadian and British Anglican churches combined is less than the numbers the Nigerian church has added in the last 15 years, about 20 million members, according to Philip Jenkins, historian at Baylor University.
“Most Christian denominations have the bulk of their members in the Global South, so they will be looking at this very carefully,” Jenkins said.
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We unanimously agreed that these changes “represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage,” and we wrestled with what the consequences should be.
The GAFCON and Global South Primates were tremendous in their leadership in the meeting, and made a strong impact in the final decision. I confess that I have mixed feelings about the sanctions.
The sanctions are strong, but they are not strong enough, and to my deep disappointment, they didn’t include the Anglican Church of Canada as they should.
With that said, it took many steps for the Anglican Communion to come to this current crisis. This is a good step back in the right direction, but it will take many more if the Communion is to be restored.
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“This is not how Anglicans should behave,” said Christina Rees, a member of the General Synod, the governing body of the Church of England. “It’s awful. It’s a terrible outcome to the meeting of the primates in Canterbury. What action will now be taken against all those churches in the Anglican Communion who treat gay men and women as criminals? Will they be suspended for three years, too?”
Jim Naughton, former canon for the Archdiocese of Washington and now a communications consultant specializing in the Episcopal Church, called the sanctions a “weird” attempt by the primates to take power away from elected bodies and claim it for themselves.
But Naughton expects no impact in the life of the Episcopal Church.
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JUSTIN WELBY: It is a sense of, hang on; you are telling us whom and what we should be. A senior figure in one country said to me a few years ago - he said, I didn't go through the colonial period and get rid of you people in order for you to come back in a different form and do the same to me as you were doing before.
[NPR'S TOM] GJELTEN: One more consideration - Christians in the global South often compete with Muslims. Philip Jenkins, a religion historian at Baylor University, says their resistance to same-sex marriage must be seen in that context.
PHILIP JENKINS: If they were ever to waiver on these gay issues, they think that would just hand a massive propaganda victory to Muslims. Christians in those countries would be seen as just toeing the Western line, giving way to Western immorality.
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A split in the Anglican Church over the issue of homosexuality "would not be a disaster, but it would be a failure", the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of Church leaders, Justin Welby said he wanted "reconciliation", but that would mean "finding ways to disagree well".
Views range from liberals in the US - who accept openly gay clergy - to conservatives in Africa, who do not.
There are fears of a permanent schism in the 80m-strong Communion.
Read it all from the BBC.
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Thirdly, I've signed because the church must be a place of compassion and love. The Quakers (who have often been a long way ahead of the C of E in matters of justice, including their acceptance of homosexual people) are known as the Society of Friends. This is how St John sees the church gathered in the upper room, where disciples are set fee to love one another in a way that echoes God's eternal love for them. Human pain and suffering have a particular claim on our compassion. And we shouldn't make any mistake about the suffering and pain many gay people around the world experience. I include in this gay clergy and other ministers in the Church of England who, in an ecclesiastical culture perceived to be hostile, live in real fear of being found out. The Primates have a special responsibility to make sure that our churches are communities of hospitality and friendship that do not collude with hypocrisy. They, we all, have that calling because this is how God himself is always reaching out towards each of us. It's a great deal harder to act hospitably than to uphold simple binaries that banish the non-approved from acceptance. This truly is 'tough love'.
I hope that this letter will not come across as trouble-stirring or polemical. It's meant to be firm but eirenic in tone. It would be great if it helped give the Primates confidence as they debate human sexuality, if it helped them to know that every step they take, however tentative, towards changing entrenched attitudes and welcoming gay Christians into their communities will be warmly and gratefully supported. The first step, maybe, is to recognise that just as with female ordination, there will be differences of view among the Primates and this needs to be respected. (I'm not sure that it altogether is, yet.) As Justin Welby has said, in grown-up communities there must always be room for 'deep disagreement'.
But our letter is looking for much more than this. We're looking for a deep change of hearts and minds. We use the word 'repentance'. That's undeniably a strong word, but nothing is less is called for in the face of any great wrong we have committed. I am pretty confident that in decades to come, we as churches shall be saying we are deeply sorry for the way we have mistreated and oppressed gay people in the past. So why not say it now? That would make the Anglican Communion a place of hope and sanctuary for LGBTI people across the world.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The teaching of the Holy Scriptures and the faithful traditions of the Church stand in the way of this new egalitarianism, and are widely attacked. Those refusing to subscribe to the emerging equalities agenda by adopting the LGBT value system, are increasingly ostracized and punished.
It began with Christian bakers who were targeted for refusing to bake cakes celebrating gay weddings. It developed into the sacking of people who held public office, ranging from the chief executives of Internet companies who had dared to support traditional marriage like Brendan Eich, to the sacked Harvard Urologist Dr Paul Church, who refused to endorse the new political correctness. Increasingly anyone holding public office does so as a hostage to the new uncompromising ideology.
The Church is having to decide whether or not accommodates itself to this new celebration of the gods of equality with the developing cultural fascism that is emerging to enforce it, or whether it remains faithful to Scripture and Christian experience (otherwise called, tradition.)
The Episcopal Church in the United States decided early on that it would accommodate.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Secularism * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology
We expressed our deep gratitude to and profound affection for the clergy and laity of La Province de l’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda, and most particularly to the Archbishop and Bishops of the Province, for their trust, generosity, and partnership in commending the bishops, clergy, and congregations of PEARUSA to be fully incorporated in the Anglican Church in North America. They were among our rescuers in an hour of great need. Now, at another critical moment, they bless us toward ecclesial maturity in Christ.
In our times of prayer and intercession, we have been mindful and keenly aware of the upcoming gathering of Primates in Canterbury next week. While we are grateful that our Primate, Archbishop Foley Beach, has been invited to attend, we recognize the magnitude of the challenge to restore Biblical faith and order to the Communion.
In light of the depth of the divisions in the Anglican Communion, we are deeply thankful for the partnership and solidarity we share with both our GAFCON partner Provinces and the Provinces of the Global South. Whatever the results of the meeting in Canterbury, we remain committed to sharing the transforming love of Jesus Christ in North America and beyond. It is our fervent hope that the defiant Provinces of the Communion will return to the historic faith, order, and practice.
We will continue to pray for the upcoming meeting, but, regardless of the outcome, we take joy in the knowledge of the future we share with those who remain committed to historic, Biblical, faith.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury — the figurehead of 85 million-member communion of churches with roots in the Church of England and its blend of Protestant theology and Catholic liturgical traditions — called the meeting and made a major concession to the so-called Global South primates.
Not only did he invite Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, he also invited Archbishop Foley Beach, head of the Anglican Church in North America, whose break with the Episcopal Church was especially significant in the Pittsburgh area. Normally a meeting of primates would only include the top official in each of the communion’s 38 national churches.
In the confusingly overlapping names involved, the Anglican Communion recognizes the Episcopal Church as its U.S. church, rather than the Anglican Church in North America. But the latter has received recognition from Global South Anglicans, made up of primarily non-Western nations.
The primates can’t tell a national church such as the Episcopal Church what to do. But the meeting could see the communion split or redefined as a looser federation.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Episcopal Church (TEC) * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
I have been asked many times why I am going. Firstly, as a group the GAFCON Primates all decided together that we would attend in good faith and see if there is a possibility of restoring order to the structures of the Anglican Communion.
Secondly, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, invited me in good faith, and like my brother Primates, I am going in good faith.
Thirdly, the Anglican Church in North America is now a Partner Province of the Global South who are also planning to attend.
Fourthly, to not attempt to bring godly order and unity to the Church would be a sin against the Lord and His bride.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
When he was an undergraduate at Cambridge, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was cox of a Trinity College rowing eight. Perhaps coincidentally, rowing metaphors flowed in September when he announced that he had invited all 37 global Anglican primates to Canterbury for a conference starting on January 11th, in what some see as a last-ditch attempt to save the Anglican Communion. One aide suggested that bishops should not spend so much time “trying to placate people and keep them in the boat, without ever getting the oars out and starting to row”. Frustrated that bickering is keeping Anglicans from their primary mission, the archbishop will need all his powers as a cox to head off a collision, or even the sinking of the global Anglican boat.
The problem is a row between liberals, mainly North American, who want the church to allow same-sex marriage, and conservatives, who think it must not. Some leaders from each side are not on speaking terms. Archbishop Welby is said to want a looser affiliation, so that both groups can keep relations with Canterbury and continue to call themselves Anglican but not have to deal with each other. He has no “papal” powers to kick out any provinces; previous attempts to discipline those who defy traditional Anglican teaching have been stopped from below. The archbishop is “not so much trying to get closer unity”, says one informed cleric; “he is trying to prevent greater disunity.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Globalization * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
since same-sex ‘marriages’ became legal in Great Britain in 2014 a number of Church of England laity and clergy have entered into them. In addition the majority report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality (the ‘Pilling’ report) recommended in 2013 that priests should ‘be free to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service’ and if this recommendation eventually becomes Church of England policy the pressure to move from this half way house to the solemnization of same-sex ‘marriages’ will become acute.
What all this means is that although the debate about the blessing of same-sex relationships and the ordination and consecration of those in such relationships have not gone away the new storm centre in the Anglican Communion is going to be same-sex ‘marriage.’
In this paper I provide an introduction to this debate by setting out and assessing the arguments for same-sex ‘marriage’ put forward in reports from the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. At the end of the paper I will give an overview of what I think we have learned about the key issues in the debate and the challenges facing the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.
Read it all and yes I mean the pdf of the full report.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The Primates Meeting in 2007 in Dar es Salaam laid out a plan to bring discipline and restore order, and was unanimously supported by all 38 Primates of the Anglican Communion. Sadly, the Archbishop of Canterbury later unilaterally overruled it and did not implement it. This further breach of trust deepened the tear in the fabric of the Anglican Communion.
As GAFCON Primates, we have since met with the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, and explained our position – we are not in communion with the Episcopal Church USA or the Anglican Church of Canada (for similar reasons). We, therefore, cannot participate in meetings to which they are invited because that would mean there were no problems in the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion has, in fact, experienced a serious rupture and the wound is still deep.
Godly order has not yet been restored in the Anglican Communion and, therefore, as Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, I am constrained by the resolutions of our Provincial Assembly to not participate in a Primates Meeting.
At the same time, the Archbishop of Canterbury contacted me personally, along with every Primate of the Anglican Communion, and invited us to come together for a “gathering” to consider if there was a way forward for the Anglican Communion.
Together with the other GAFCON Primates, we have agreed to be part of a “gathering” of Primates in Canterbury to discuss the future of the Anglican Communion, keeping in mind Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
As GAFCON, we have a clear vision of the future of global Anglicanism and have been moving forward with that vision since Jerusalem in 2008. The Archbishop of Canterbury understands that the first topic of conversation in the “gathering” of Primates is the restoration of godly order in the Anglican Communion. This is the unfinished business from the non-implemented, but unanimously agreed, Communique from the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby --Rowan Williams Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Church of Uganda Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
About two million Americans are hooked on prescription painkillers. In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written -- that's one bottle for every American adult. CBS News went to West Virginia, a state that is attempting a drastic solution: allowing addicts to sue the doctors who got them hooked....
"We are talking in a certain sense drug traffickers. They are doing nothing but writing and cranking out prescription after prescription after prescription," said DEA agent Gary Newman.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Psychology * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Sickness relieved is a beautiful thing. A heart attack treated takes the elephant off the chest and leaves a smile. A child made well, a broken bone splinted, a wound closed, a tooth numbed, an abscess opened are among the reasons that physicians, at least at first, decide to walk among the sick.
However, we poor doctors, with our paltry degrees and bags of tricks, can only do a little. We merely treat the symptoms. He treated the disease. He brought an end to it all with his birth, death and resurrection. No more sin, no more death. He offered every patient the cure, free of charge, with no need for insurance or cash.
How it must feel to be him! Not to cure the broken bones, but to offer healing to the broken hearts. Not to excise the tumor, but to remove the guilt. Not to bypass the heart, but to replace it with a new one.
At Christmas, we celebrate the child. How blessed we are that he walked among us, knew our every disease, then grew up to become the only physician qualified to heal us.
Read it all.
Since God was in the business of re-starting creation in the sending of his Son, might we not expect him to create “out of nothing” the second time, just as he did the first? Karl Barth, the greatest theologian of the 20th Century, thought so. Just as the Spirit brooded over creation the first time, so again in the birth of Jesus the Spirit “brooded” over the virgin Mary. Also, just as creation was totally initiated by God the first time, so creation (the second time, in Jesus) gets to be totally initiated by God. The Virgin Birth tells us that Jesus was not born “of the will of man”, but wholly of the Father’s initiative. God chose to by-pass the normal male role in the work of redemption, in part, so the logic goes, to signal his own headship. “Man as a creating, controlling, self-assertive, self-glorifying being was set aside in favor of a woman who listened, received, and served.” (From, A Step Further, by the author)
We honor the Virgin Birth, of course, because Scripture teaches it. But we can also see the logic behind it. God’s sovereign action is a challenge to the human psychological need to contribute to our own salvation, to be co-creators with God. Mary is a witness against the drive, push, and self-assertion that men especially (though not exclusively) associate with a healthy self-image and by which men often mask their own impotence.
Read it all.
Inspired by these teachings, spiritual director Jenn Giles Kemper created Sacred Ordinary Days, with resources like a liturgical planner and a podcast to guide people through the liturgical year, which begins a bit before the calendar year with the start of Advent. This practice of prayer, reading, and contemplation isn’t the same as a Christianized, or monasticized, version of New Year’s resolutions.
“Goals and intentions are task-based and work best within a quantifiable measure of success and an easily marked ending point,” Giles Kemper explained to me. “Something more process-oriented is helpful when you’d like to reorient toward ‘being’ over ‘achieving.’”
Giles Kemper uses the language of “play” as she talks about trying certain spiritual practices (“playing with silence”), which makes it seem more inviting—and less like there is a right and a wrong way to approach spiritual disciplines. She finds flexibility in her experience with the Rule of Life, a grace and freedom to shift, grow, and practice, in a constant posture of a learner.
Read it all.
You see, the researcher that they're filming, a guy named Harry Harlow [in 1960], was trying to prove-- and I know this is going to sound crazy. He was trying to prove that love is an important thing that happens between parents and children.
And the reason why he felt the need to prove this point was at the time-- and again, I know this is going to sound kind of out there. The psychological establishment, pediatricians, even the federal government were all saying exactly the opposite of that to parents.
Deborah Blum: It's actually one of those things that you say, how could they have thought that? But psychology just didn't believe in love. And if you go back and you pull any of the psychology textbooks, really almost pre-1950, you don't even find it in the index because it was not a word that was used.
Read it all or better listen to it all (emphasis mine).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Psychology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Christian joy thus springs from this certainty: God is close, he is with me, he is with us, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as a friend and faithful spouse. And this joy endures, even in trials, in suffering itself. It does not remain only on the surface; it dwells in the depths of the person who entrusts himself to God and trusts in him.
Some people ask: but is this joy still possible today? Men and women of every age and social condition, happy to dedicate their existence to others, give us the answer with their lives! Was not Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta an unforgettable witness of true Gospel joy in our time? She lived in touch daily with wretchedness, human degradation and death. Her soul knew the trials of the dark night of faith, yet she gave everyone God's smile.
In one of her writings, we read: "We wait impatiently for paradise, where God is, but it is in our power to be in paradise even here on earth and from this moment. Being happy with God means loving like him, helping like him, giving like him, serving like him" (The Joy of Giving to Others, 1987, p. 143). Yes, joy enters the hearts of those who put themselves at the service of the lowly and poor. God abides in those who love like this and their souls rejoice. If, instead, people make an idol of happiness, they lose their way and it is truly hard for them to find the joy of which Jesus speaks.
--Pope Benedict XVI (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI * Theology Anthropology Christology
But the object of divine action in the Incarnation is man. God’s free decision is and remains a gracious decision; God becomes man, the Word becomes flesh. The Incarnation means no apparent reserved, but a real and complete descent of God. God actually became what we are, in order actually to exist with us, actually to exist for us, in thus becoming and being human, not to do what we do-sin; and to do what we fail to do–God’s, His own, will; and so actually, in our place, in our situation and position to be the new man. It is not in His eternal majesty–in which He is and remains hidden from us–but as this new man and therefore the Word in the flesh, that God’s Son is God’s revelation to us and our reconciliation with God. Just for that reason faith cannot look past His humanity, the cradle of Bethlelhem and the cross of Golgotha in order to see Him in His divinity, Faith in the eternal Word of the Father is faith in Jesus of Nazareth or it is not the Christian faith.
--Karl Barth (1886-1968)
And even because this day He took not the angels' nature upon Him, but took our nature in "the seed of Abraham," therefore hold we this day as a high feast; therefore meet we thus every year in a holy assembly, upon us a dignity which upon the angels He bestowed not. That He, as in the chapter before the Apostle setteth Him forth, That is, "the brightness of His Father's glory, the very character of His substance, the Heir of all things, by Whom He made the world;" He, when both needed it His taking upon Him their nature and both stood before Him, men and Angels, "the Angels He took not," but men "He took;" was made Man, was not made an Angel; that is, did more for them than He did for the Angels of Heaven.
Elsewhere the Apostle doth deliver this very point positively, and that, not without some vehemency; "Without all question great is the mystery of godliness: God is manifested in the flesh." Which is in effect the same that is here said, but that here it is delivered by way of comparison; for this speech is evidently a comparison. If he had thus set it down, "Our nature He took," that had been positive; but setting it down thus, "Ours He took, the Angels He took not," it is certainly comparative.
...Now the masters of speech tell us that there is power in the positive if it be given forth with an earnest asseveration, but nothing to that that is in the comparative. It is nothing so full to say, "I will never forget you," as thus to say it; "Can a mother forget the child of her own womb? Well, if she can, yet will not I forget you." Nothing so forcible to say thus, "I will hold my word with you," as thus, "Heaven and earth shall pass, but My word shall not pass." The comparative expressing is without all question more significant; and this here is such. Theirs, the Angels, nusquam, "at no hand He took, but ours He did.
--From a Christmas sermon in 1605.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Anthropology Christology Theology: Scripture
It will be a century this coming summer that the great Protestant theologian Karl Barth began his revolutionary commentary on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. A quiet and studious man of simple tastes, Barth was an unlikely revolutionary. He listened to Mozart, smoked his pipe and read the paper: “Theology is done with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” he said. But mostly he sat and wrote. His Church Dogmatics is more than six million words. And no, I haven’t read it all. But his considerably shorter Epistle to the Romans, written earlier, was the decisive turning point in 20th-century theology. It was a book that dropped a bomb on the comfortable assumptions of German liberal thought. And it’s a bomb that needs dropping again – but this time much closer to home.
Barth’s target was the sort of theology offered by his tutor, Adolf von Harnack. For the universally admired Harnack, Christianity was a religion of inner morality – of good people, in their local congregations, who sought nothing more than personal transformation.
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“Those do not commonly know themselves best who think best of themselves, who have the highest opinion of themselves”--Matthew Henry (from his Bible commentary on 1 Cor. 4:8)
On the day before Christmas Eve, Reverend Jonathan Erdman had a heavy heart. In a somber letter to his parish, he announced his decision to resign as rector, effective January 10, 2016. Invoking Martin Luther, he explained the issue of conscience which made this decision inevitable. “After prayer and study of scripture, I am not able to approve same-sex marriage as rector of Calvary.” Jonathan would not perform a gay blessing, nor as shepherd of the flock at Calvary, could he allow one to be performed in his parish. In an act of pastoral concern for the few LGBT members of his parish this may affect, he arranged for same-sex members of Calvary to be married by other clergy at the Episcopal cathedral nearby. Predictably that was not enough.
As soon as General Convention allowed for same-sex blessings in the Episcopal Church, certain members of Calvary Church were eager to begin. I’m sure the self-righteous indignation was palpable as Fr. Jonathan informed this vestry--a different vestry from the one in place when he arrived to which his views on same-sex marriage were specifically addressed--that same-sex blessings would not take place at Calvary Church. Fr. Jonathan apparently did not give priority in his ministry to arguing from the pulpit for or against the secular social agenda strangling the ECUSA. An orthodox high churchman, graduate of Yale Divinity School, and former curate at St. Thomas 5th Avenue under the now-retired Reverend Andrew Mead, Fr. Jonathan Erdman loved and ministered to parishioners from all walks of life and of all sexual orientations. There are some that too quickly confuse the difference between withholding judgment of an individual’s sins and celebrating them (or allowing them to be celebrated under your authority) as a sacrament of the Church.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology
Entering 2016, the future never felt more within reach.
Science fiction will become science fact this year when you take virtual-reality vacations and your dishwasher reorders its own soap. Are you ready for a drone that follows you around like paparazzi?
When we gazed ahead at the devices, breakthroughs and ideas most likely to make waves, two themes emerged. One is liberation: We’re increasingly less shackled, be it to a phone charger or a cable subscription. The other is intelligence: As processing power and bandwidth increase, our machines, services and even messaging apps become more capable.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
In 2015, a sense of unease and foreboding seemed to settle on all the world’s major power centres. From Beijing to Washington, Berlin to Brasília, Moscow to Tokyo — governments, media and citizens were jumpy and embattled.
This kind of globalised anxiety is unusual. For the past 30 years and more, there has been at least one world power that was bullishly optimistic. In the late 1980s the Japanese were still enjoying a decades-long boom — and confidently buying up assets all over the world. In the 1990s America basked in victory in the cold war and a long economic expansion. In the early 2000s the EU was in a buoyant mood, launching a single currency and nearly doubling its membership. And for most of the past decade, the growing political and economic power of China has inspired respect all over the world.
Yet at the moment all the big players seem uncertain — even fearful. The only partial exception that I came across this year was India, where the business and political elite still seemed buoyed by the reformist zeal of prime minister Narendra Modi.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization History Psychology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
“The purpose of religious language…is to evoke an attitude...”
You may need to enlarge the page to see it better; I sure did; KSH.
Washington went on to express his gratitude for the support of "my countrymen" and the "army in general." This reference to his soldiers ignited feelings so intense, he had to grip the speech with both hands to keep it steady. He continued: "I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them [Congress] to his holy keeping."
For a long moment, Washington could not say another word. Tears streamed down his cheeks. The words touched a vein of religious faith in his inmost soul, born of battlefield experiences that had convinced him of the existence of a caring God who had protected him and his country again and again during the war. Without this faith he might never have been able to endure the frustrations and rage he had experienced in the previous eight months.
Washington then drew from his coat a parchment copy of his appointment as commander in chief. "Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theater of action and bidding farewell to this august body under whom I have long acted, I here offer my commission and take leave of all the employments of public life." Stepping forward, he handed the document to Mifflin.
This was -- is -- the most important moment in American history.
The man who could have dispersed this feckless Congress and obtained for himself and his soldiers rewards worthy of their courage was renouncing absolute power. By this visible, incontrovertible act, Washington did more to affirm America's government of the people than a thousand declarations by legislatures and treatises by philosophers.
Thomas Jefferson, author of the greatest of these declarations, witnessed this drama as a delegate from Virginia. Intuitively, he understood its historic dimension. "The moderation. . . . of a single character," he later wrote, "probably prevented this revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
This Christmas Eve at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in mid-town Charleston, as in other parishes across our diocese and nation, children and their families will gather for the annual Christmas Pageant. Scripts that have been more or less memorized and rehearsed will be played out before the admiring eyes of family and friends. Performances will lurch forward in the usual manner. Archangels with wings and halos will stand in pulpits or announce with trembling voices from the lectern microphones: “Be not afraid, Behold I bring you good news of a great joy that will come to all the people….” Shepherds will arrive at makeshift stables where the Holy Family gathers ‘round a manger. Perhaps Shepherd #1 will speak his lines boldly and clearly; Shepherd #2’s muttered words will hardly be heard past the second pew; and Shepherd #3 will too obviously read his part from a page taped to the back of the stuffed lamb he nervously clutches to his chest. Of course there will be the normal missed lines…as well as the directions uttered from off stage. But there will also be those electrifying and unscripted moments that bring surprised laughter and joyous tears that every mother and father and grandparent cherishes—the unscripted and electrifying moments when grace and candlelight abounds.
There were such moments of course two thousand years ago when the interplay between God’s script and the unscripted response of his people played itself out on the world’s stage occurring as it did in a minor country, among a seemingly unimportant tribe; and yet with electrifying purpose (as astonishing as it may seem to the eyes of the skeptical) God through the incarnation and atoning work of Jesus Christ brought salvation for all people (Titus 2:11).
One scripted and yet unrehearsed moment was after the Angel Gabriel sent from God proclaimed to Mary the God-scripted-lines, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you: therefore, the child to be born will be holy—the Son of God.” And then the entire unseen heavenly host and all the rest of the created order of the universe held their collective breath and waited for Mary’s unscripted and unrehearsed lines which her few but godly years had been preparing her to speak: “Behold, I am the bondservant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Read it all.
More than 2,000 people are expected to be welcomed into church-run night shelters across the UK this winter, according to a new report.
A study of Church and Community Night Shelters by the Christian homelessness charity Housing Justice showed 2,171 homeless guests were accommodated in 500 venues last winter with a similar number or more expected to be accommodated this season.
Volunteers invested 231,000 hours of time to help run the shelters, which if given a financial value, would amount to more than £3 million, with 39% of guests receiving help to make a move into their own accommodation.
Welcoming the report the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester and Chair of Housing Justice said: "The overwhelming majority, more than 80%, of these projects have at least one Church of England church taking part working alongside others to provide warmth and welcome to those in need. I am deeply grateful to those volunteers who give of themselves providing not only food and shelter but a love of the neighbour. The role of Churches at the heart of the projects shows the quiet, committed service, offered to the vulnerable, as an expression of love and discipleship."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Chai Feldblum isn’t a minor figure. She is the head of the on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, having been appointed by President Obama, and will be in that post until her term expires in 2018. Long before she was elevated to the EEOC chairmanship, Feldblum was known for her view that there are almost no situations in which disputes between religious liberty and gay rights should be resolved in favor of religious liberty.
It fell to Andrew Sullivan (whose voice I miss more and more every week) to defend freedom to the crowd. You really should read the whole Reason report to hear what he had to say. It includes a link to Andrew’s presentation, in which he says that the LGBT-industrial complex needs to keep the bogeyman of Oppression alive (“These people’s lives and careers and incomes depend on the maintenance of discrimination and oppression”), and says that religious liberty is just about the most important American freedom.
The hard truth is that Andrew Sullivan, alas for us all, is irrelevant to the debate now. When I saw him this spring in Boston, he told me that he can’t go on some campuses now because the gay left hates him for speaking out for religious liberty, and in particular for Brendan Eich. Think about that: fewer than four years ago, the president of the United States was formally committed to maintaining traditional marriage in law. Now, we have Court-mandated gay marriage from coast to coast, and Andrew Sullivan, who has done as much or more than any single person to make that happen, is now regarded by the gay rights movement as some sort of reactionary because of his liberal views.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
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My dear brothers and sisters,
Receive Christian greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Saviour and Lord.
As our Christmas celebrations begin, I pray that familiar words, hymns and customs will by God’s grace kindle in our hearts a new sense of wonder and thankfulness for the gift of Emmanuel, God with us.
At Christmas we think of Jesus as the helpless baby lying on a bed of straw. Yet ‘He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ (Colossians 1:17) and the Jesus we worship now is not the baby of Bethlehem but the risen Christ glimpsed in the vision of John in the first chapter of Revelation whose face is like the sun in its full brilliance (Revelation 1:16). This is the glorified Jesus who will be revealed to all as Lord, Saviour and Judge at the end of human history.
So if we think of Jesus as Saviour, we must also therefore confess him as Christ the Lord. Here in the Anglican Church of Kenya it is common for preachers to introduce themselves by saying that they have accepted Jesus as their personal Saviour. That is so important. Jesus is indeed a wonderful Saviour, but we must not limit his work just to our personal experience. He is the central figure in all human life and history, whether he is recognised or not, and what marks out the Christian is a life that witnesses now, in word and deed, that Jesus is Christ the Lord. If that is lacking, a personal testimony from the past is empty words.
To confess Jesus as Lord brings hope and strength into the most challenging situations. For example, our neighbours in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan have shown us what it looks like to witness to Jesus as Lord in the statement issued from their recent House of Bishops meeting.
They are able to sustain hope in continuing to call for peace, unity and love in their two nations despite the trauma of years of suffering and civil war and they courageously call to account those who would rather give children bullets and guns than pencils and paper.
But at the centre of this hope is Jesus, so they also recognise that the church must guard the gospel which alone can bring lasting change to the hearts of men and women. If Jesus is Lord, then he must govern our relationships through his word and the bishops agreed that their Church should break its ties with the Episcopal Church of the Unites States (TEC) following that Church’s decision to change its canons and its liturgy to allow for ‘gender neutral marriage’. For the same reasons, the Anglican Church of Kenya also affirmed that it was no longer in relationship with TEC at our Provincial Synod earlier this year.
The clarity and courage of these brothers is an encouragement to me as we prepare for the meeting of Primates called by the Archbishop of Canterbury next month (http://gafcon.org/crossroads/). With many others, I long to see our beloved Communion united and its divisions healed, but this must be in a way that truly honours Jesus as Lord and head of his body, the Church. It is easy to be like parents who by false kindness allow their children to follow destructive patterns of behaviour, but we are called to care for the household of God, to guard the gospel of grace and to preach the word ‘in season and out of season’ (2 Timothy 4:2).
So as we look beyond Christmas to the New Year, let our lives be lived in true devotion to Jesus as Lord. To confess with the first Christians that ‘Jesus is Lord’ is a comfort and a challenge. It is a comfort because we know that we are under his protection and that as Lord of the Church, he will not let the powers of darkness triumph despite our sin and brokenness. It is a challenge because it is a call to a love for Jesus which is stronger than the love of a comfortable life which leads to compromise and decline.
Finally let us especially keep in our prayers this Christmas those brothers and sisters for whom the confession that Jesus is Christ the Lord can cost even their lives. In some parts of the world Christmas is a time when attacks by extremist movements are most common. Pray that God will protect, provide and give them perseverance and that those of us who are free to gather without fear may take every opportunity we have to make Jesus known as Lord and Saviour.
Last Sunday here in Nairobi thousands of us in All Saints Cathedral sang the great advent hymn ‘Come thou long expected Jesus’ and may I particularly commend to you the second verse as a prayer to express the desires of our hearts for the Anglican Communion and the witness of all believers in the year ahead:
Born thy people to deliver,May Christ the Lord, the Prince of Peace, be with you and all you love this Christmas.
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
--(The Most Rev.) Archbishop Eliud Wabukala is Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has called together all the Primates of the Anglican Communion for a meeting in Canterbury 11th – 16th January 2016 which we believe will be decisive for the future of the Communion.
AT STAKE IS A BASIC CHURCH-DEFINING PRINCIPLE:
Will Christ rule our life and witness through His word, or will our life and witness be conformed to the global ambitions of a secular culture?
This was the reason GAFCON was formed in 2008: to renew a Communion in crisis, drifting from biblical truth. While the presenting issue was human sexuality, this was really just one symptom of a deeper challenge, the emergence of a false gospel which rejects the core Anglican commitment to the truth and authority of the Bible.
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Many orthodox Primates did not attend the last Primates Meeting in 2011 under the chairmanship of his predecessor, Rowan Williams. They were not prepared to share in fellowship with provinces like The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) which had rejected the clear teaching of Scripture and the collegial mind of previous Primates Meetings and the Lambeth Conference 1998 by pressing ahead with the blessing of same sex unions and ordaining those in such relationships.
This time, GAFCON and the other orthodox Primates are willing to attend, but they know that after many years of debate, action is needed to restore the spiritual and doctrinal integrity of the Communion they care for so deeply. They are clear that their continued presence will depend upon action by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a majority of the Primates to ensure that participation in the Anglican Communion is governed by robust commitments to biblical teaching and morality.
It has been suggested that the way forward is for the Anglican Communion to abandon the idea that there should be mutual recognition between the provinces and that it should instead find its unity simply in a common relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
This is not historic Anglicanism....
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Here are some key findings from the report:
1A declining share of children live in two-parent households. Today, 69% of children younger than 18 are living with two parents, down from 87% in 1960. A record-low 62% of children live with two married parents, while 7% live with two cohabiting parents. Meanwhile, the share of children living in single-parent households has increased threefold, from 9% in 1960 to 26% in 2014.Read it all.
The rising prevalence of divorce, remarriage and cohabitation has caused other changes in family living arrangements, even among those living in two-parent households. In 2014, fewer than half of children (46%) lived in a household with two married parents in their first marriage, down from 73% in 1960.
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[The data in the economic background paints]...a very murky picture. This is the first time the Fed has ever embarked on tightening cycle when the ISM gauge of manufacturing is below the boom-bust line of 50. Nominal GDP growth in the US has been trending down from 5pc in mid-2014 to barely 3pc.
Danny Blanchflower, a Dartmouth professor and a former UK rate-setter, said the US labour market is not as tight as it looks. Inflation is nowhere near its 2pc target and the world economy is still gasping for air. He sees a 50/50 chance that the Fed will have to pirouette and go back to the drawing board.
“All it will take is one shock,” said Lars Christensen, from Markets and Money Advisory. “It is really weird that they are raising rates at all. Capacity utilization in industry has been falling for five months.”
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Nonetheless, [Roger] Scruton overstates his case a bit. It’s true that there is much disagreement about Human Rights at the global level. But within Europe? I wonder whether the absence of agreement on particular cases makes today’s commitment to Human Rights all that different, as a practical matter, from yesterday’s commitment to Christianity. It’s not like Christians have always agreed among themselves on what Christianity requires for law and politics, either. (See: The Protestant Reformation). May Christians divorce and remarry? May they use artificial contraception? Some Christian communions say yes, others no. Do these disagreements mean Christianity is useless as a means of ordering society? I wouldn’t think so. Besides, even if one disagrees with it, there is a consistent European Court jurisprudence on many human-rights questions.
I suppose the response would go something like this. Fundamentally, Human Rights – at least, the dominant secular version – denies the basis for any objective truth claims. So there’s no way to resolve any issue, other than deferring to individual subjectivity, which is no basis for a legal system. It’s not a matter of a few difficult cases here and there, but the whole run of possible cases. Without a commitment to some objective value, something other than individual choice, the whole system will ultimately collapse.
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Evidence suggesting senior clergy tried to cover up sex abuse by an Anglican bishop has been uncovered by the BBC.
Two priests raised concerns about Peter Ball but were urged to keep quiet or saw no action taken, it has emerged.
And a couple who worked for now-jailed Ball, former bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester, said they also tried to raise concerns but were ignored.
Ball's offending is the subject of an independent review and a national inquiry is looking at Church abuse.
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Hiltz also said that after his meeting with Welby, he came away “encouraged by his [Welby’s] clarity in terms of what the Primates’ Meeting is and what it’s not.”
The Primates’ Meeting “is not a decision-making body—it’s a body for people that come together to pray and discuss and discern and offer some guidance. We don’t make resolutions,” Hiltz said.
Since it was announced that Archbishop Foley Beach, the leader of the breakaway Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), would be present for the first part of the meeting, Hiltz said there has been concern in some quarters over whether or not attempts will be made to confront The Episcopal Church (TEC) over its decision this year to allow same-sex marriages. But Hiltz said Welby was quite clear that the meeting would not exclude any of the primates of churches that are members of the Anglican Communion.
“His principle is one of full inclusion of all the primates. I think he will encourage, and if need be, challenge, the primates to uphold that principle,” Hiltz said.
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Prof Percy critiques Archbishop Welby’s decision to invite Archbishop Foley Beach of the breakaway Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to attend the Primates’ meeting, without consulting the official Episcopal Churches in the USA and Canada, and suggests:
‘So the Archbishop of Canterbury could begin proceedings in January by offering an apology to American and Canadian Anglicans for his intemperate gestures towards ACNA, and his lack of consultation, which has undermined them. He should further apologise for dealing in territories and spheres of authority that are simply not his to meddle with.’He also warns against using the widespread belief that the Anglican churches of the global south now form the majority and are the only ones growing numerically to cede ‘more moral ground…to African churches…than might be judicious’ in divisive debates over sexual ethics.
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A spokesman for the Winchester Diocese said: "Canon Jeremy Davies made an application earlier this year for permission to officiate in the Diocese of Winchester.
"Due to the Church of England's position on same sex marriage, as set out in the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance, Canon Jeremy Davies has been informed that his application has been unsuccessful."
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The American public has shown itself to be quite critical in its views of politicians and the federal government, expressing low levels of trust in both. Yet a recent Pew Research Center survey of attitudes about government also finds that Americans pull no punches when assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their fellow citizens.
The public gives the “typical American” a mixed assessment when asked about specific traits. Most (79%) agree that the term “patriotic” describes the typical American very or fairly well, and majorities also view the typical American as “honest” (69%) and “intelligent” (67%).
However, just over two-thirds (68%) say the term “selfish” also applies to the typical American very or fairly well, and half of the public says that the typical American can be aptly described as “lazy.”
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[KIM] LAWTON: Many across the faith community condemned the plan as discriminatory and a violation of religious liberty. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said their faith was being unfairly singled out by a lynch mob. Thousands of US faith leaders wrote an open letter urging Trump to repudiate his comments. Reverend Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called the plan “reckless rhetoric.”
RUSSELL MOORE: The idea of banning people from the country simply because of what they believe? It’s shocking to me. When I first heard this, I had to stop and say, did I really hear that correctly and listen to it again. It’s really troubling.
LAWTON: He said his evangelical beliefs motivate him to speak out.
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Irwin Weiner felt so good after heart surgery a few weeks before turning 90 that he stopped for a pastrami sandwich on the way home from the hospital. Dorothy Lipkin danced after getting a new hip at age 91. And at 94, William Gandin drives himself to the hospital for cancer treatments.
Jimmy Carter isn't the only nonagenarian to withstand rigorous medical treatment. Very old age is no longer an automatic barrier for aggressive therapies, from cancer care like the former president has received, to major heart procedures, joint replacements and even some organ transplants.
In many cases, the nation's most senior citizens are getting the same treatments given to people their grandchildren's age — but with different goals.
"Many elderly patients don't necessarily want a lot of years, what they want is quality of life," said Dr. Clifford Kavinsky, a heart specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "They want whatever time is left for them to be high quality. They don't want to be dependent on their family. They don't want to end up in a nursing home."
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In the passage where the New Testament says that every one must work, it gives as a reason "in order that he may have something to give to those in need." Charity-giving to the poor-is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing a society in which there were no poor to give to. They may be quite right in saying that we ought to produce that kind of society. But if anyone thinks that, as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted company with all Christian morality. I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them. I am speaking now of "charities" in the common way. Particular cases of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbours or employees, which God, as it were, forces upon your notice, may demand much more: even to the crippling and endangering of your own position. For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear-fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a temptation.Sometimes our pride also hinders our charity; we are tempted to spend more than we ought on the showy forms of generosity (tipping, hospitality) and less than we ought on those who really need our help.--Mere Christianity (New York: Harper Collins, 2001), Book III, Chapter 3 [emphasis mine]
After a landlord was convicted of pushing her Muslim tenant down a flight of stairs, a judge ordered her to respect the rights of all Muslims and to take an introductory course on Islam. Now the highest court in Massachusetts is being asked to decide whether the judge violated the landlord's constitutional rights.
The Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments next month in a case that poses interesting legal questions at a time when the country is grappling with anti-Muslim backlash following deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, both allegedly carried out by radical Muslims.
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The week after the shooting at Mother Emanuel, Bible study was so crowded every chair in the basement was taken. Black people. White people. Members of the national media. People had to stand in the back against the walls.
The world watched in awe as the nine victims’ family members publicly forgave the white supremacist accused of murdering their loved ones in the sanctuary of their beloved church. So moved, pilgrims flocked to Emanuel, leaving a parade of flowers, cards, rosaries and balloons behind. President Barack Obama broke into song during his eulogy for slain pastor the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, singing “Amazing Grace” before thousands of mourners in Charleston’s TD Arena.
Almost six months later, the crowds aren’t as big as they once were. For Sunday’s church service, fire marshals no longer have to block the doors. Nowadays, maybe 25 or 30 folks will attend Bible study. Last Wednesday, 22 showed up.
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Speaking as the Church of England's lead on the environment, Bishop Nicholas has welcomed today's agreement at the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris. After two weeks of talks, participants have committed to hold the increase in global temperatures to 'well below' 2-degrees above pre-industrial levels, alongside clear rules on transparency and reviews of carbon emissions every five years.
Speaking about the COP21 agreement, Bishop Nick Holtam, said, "is good to have an ambitious agreement about the aspiration. What matters now is that governments actually deliver a low carbon future - the transparency of accountability and process of review will be what ensures that happens. This looks like real progress - there is now a much more positive spirit about what now needs to happen than after Copenhagen six years ago, but we are still at an early stage on the journey."
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The handsome Washington townhouse where Wayne Hickory practices orthodontics is a landmark of terrorism in America.
In 1919, an anarchist exploded a bomb at what was then the home of the attorney general. The failed assassination set off a wave of violent raids on radicals, Communists and leftists, and the deportation without due process of hundreds of innocent European immigrants — a high point of hysteria in an era known as the first Red Scare.
“Maybe there is something to learn from history,” Dr. Hickory said in a sitting room that now contains advertising for invisible braces. But asked about Donald J. Trump’s call to bar Muslims from entering the United States, Dr. Hickory said that, as implausible as it was, the proposal had prompted a necessary discussion about whether travelers from countries fraught with Islamic extremism should receive increased scrutiny. “Perhaps,” he said, “the line needs to be drawn a little bit more severely.”
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As terrorist attacks fueled by extreme Islamist ideology convulsed cities in the U.S. and Europe over the last 15 years, Los Angeles and its sprawling suburbs were spared.
It couldn't last forever.
The assault on a San Bernardino social services center last week by a U.S.-born Muslim man and his Pakistani wife was an event of national significance, potentially reshaping next year's presidential contest and raising Americans' fears of terrorism to levels not seen since the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
But the killing of 14 people by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik has had a particular effect in Southern California, a densely populated region whose residents have at times felt themselves remote from the transatlantic waves of terror that have washed over New York, London, Paris, Madrid and Washington, D.C.
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After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it. In early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined, a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
In at least one sense, the shift represents economic progress: While the share of U.S. adults living in both upper- and lower-income households rose alongside the declining share in the middle from 1971 to 2015, the share in the upper-income tier grew more.
Over the same period, however, the nation’s aggregate household income has substantially shifted from middle-income to upper-income households, driven by the growing size of the upper-income tier and more rapid gains in income at the top. Fully 49% of U.S. aggregate income went to upper-income households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially from 62% in 1970.
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The chronically homeless, on the other hand, are a subset of the homeless population that is often the most vulnerable. These are people who have been living on the streets for more than a year, or four times in the last three years, and who have a "disabling condition" — that includes serious mental illness, an addiction or a physical disability or illness.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that represents about 20 percent of the national homeless population.
By implementing a model known as Housing First, Utah has reduced that number from nearly 2,000 people in 2005, to fewer than 200 now.
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BEING THANKFUL MAKES YOU MORE PATIENT
In one recent study, psychologists found that being primed with gratitude can help us make longer-term decisions. Subjects who wrote about a time they felt grateful were more likely than other groups (who wrote about happy and neutral experiences, respectively) to opt for a check to be mailed to them later than for a smaller amount of cash immediately.
So the next time you’re up against a test of your willpower, think of something you’re thankful for. The exercise could help tamp down the part of your brain whining for instant gratification.
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I ask, on that basis, who are the archbishop’s heroes? From whom in history does he draw his inspiration? One name stands out. Revealingly, it is not an obvious name that sends a popular signal, but a figure obscure to most, not an Anglican celebrity but a Catholic martyr, not a European mover and shaker but a voice from the developing world, not a power in any land but a suffering servant.
‘Cardinal Van Thuan spent 13 years in a communist prison after the fall of South Vietnam. He was in solitary confinement. But he led his torturers to Christ. He converted, taught, and ordained priests in prison. He breathed in the presence of Christ.’
There aren’t many contemporary Christian leaders who are both energetic in their condemnation of the crimes of communism and robust in their analysis of the evil of Islamism, but Justin Welby stands out. There is something special about him. And his candour, commitment and kindness are gifts in which all can share this Christmas.
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After the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. dropped seven percentage points to 20%. This is the lowest level of satisfaction recorded since November 2014, but still above the all-time low of 7% in October 2008.
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It's the season of kindness, so one Florida restaurant is doing its part to help others get into the spirit, by offering food that's priced with a "suggested donation." For TODAY NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.
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