Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryUrban/City Life and Issues* General InterestPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

College sex, it turns out, is not so very different from the hotel food in that old Jewish joke made famous by “Annie Hall”: terrible, and in such small portions.

Lisa Wade opens “American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus” with a cascade of statistics that says as much. The average graduating senior has hooked up just eight times in four years, or once per semester. Almost one-third of college students never hook up at all. Those who do report mixed feelings about the experience, with one in three saying that intimate relationships in the past year have been “traumatic” or “very difficult to handle.”

“In addition,” Ms. Wade writes, “there is a persistent malaise: a deep, indefinable disappointment.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicineMenPsychologySexualityWomenYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Narcissus would seem to be an unlikely character to show up in companies of Christians. And yet the progeny of Narcissus keep showing up in our communities of created and saved souls. They are so glaringly out-of-place in the context of the biblical revelation defined by the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, one would think that they would be immediately noticed and exposed. More often they are welcomed and embellished, given roles of leadership and turned into celebrities.

It is an odd phenomenon to observe followers of Jesus, suddenly obsessed with their wonderfully saved souls, setting about busily cultivating their own spiritualities. Self-spirituality has become the hallmark of our age. The spirituality of Me. A spirituality of self-centering, self-sufficiency, and self-development. All over the world at the present time we have people who have found themselves redefined by the revelation of God in Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, going off and cultivating the divine within and abandoning spouses, children, friends and congregations.

But holy living, resurrection living, is not a self-project. We are a people of God and cannot live holy lives, resurrection lives, as individuals. We are not a self-defined community; we are a God-defined community. The love that God pours out for and in us creates a community in which that love is reproduced in our love for one another.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 18, 2017 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Manchester United have taken steps to increase they security by hiring a counter-terrorism chief after two high-profile lapses last year.

United are the first Premier League club to create a position of this kind, with the club made aware that their Old Trafford home lends itself to a significant target for extremists.

A former inspector from Greater Manchester Police’s specialist search unit has been appointed to fill the role, having been trained in cover police operations including terrorism, as well as specialising in sweep searches of buildings are vehicles.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSports* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 18, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The early Christians must have felt that they had no option but to talk about the cross. They knew that because of the death of Jesus on the cross their universe had changed. They no longer lived in the same world. They expressed this with enormous force, talking about a new creation, about liberation from slavery. They talked about the transformation of their whole lives and they pinned it down to the events that we remember each Good Friday. They couldn't get away from the cross – or so at least the New Testament seems to imply. There are in fact some New Testament scholars who try to argue that reflection on the cross of Jesus came a little bit later. First came Jesus the charismatic teacher, the wandering prophet; first came an interest in his words rather than his deeds or his sufferings. And yet, when you read the earliest texts of Christian Scripture, not only the Gospels, it's difficult to excavate any stratum of thinking that is, as you might say, 'pre-cross'. Pretty well everything we read in the New Testament is shadowed by the cross. It is, first and foremost, the sign of how much has changed and how it has changed.

Even non-Christians in the world around recognised the central importance of the cross to Jesus' early followers. The earliest picture we have of the crucifixion is scratched on a wall in Rome; it may be as old as the second century. It is a rather shocking image: a man with a donkey's head strapped and nailed to a cross, and next to the cross a very badly drawn little figure wearing the short tunic of a slave, and scribbled above it, 'Alexamenos worshipping his god'. Presumably one of Alexamenos's fellow slaves had scrawled this little cartoon on the wall to make fun of him. But he knew, as Alexamenos knew, that Alexamenos' god was a crucified God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted January 18, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has defended the right of Christians to protest when crosses are removed from public places.

In a new book on the meaning of the cross and resurrection, both in the early Church and in the modern world, Lord Williams of Oystermouth says it is "reasonable" to "get rather indignant" when crosses are removed from certain public places.

The Christian cross is a "sign" of God's love and freedom, he says.

It is a sacrifice that symbolises the forgiveness of sins.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted January 18, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ove, therefore, becomes the hallmark of nonviolent resistance requiring that the resister not only refuse to shoot his opponent but also refuse to hate him. Nonviolent resistance is meant to bring an end to hate by being the very embodiment of agape. King seemed never to tire of an appeal to Anders Nygren's distinction between eros, phila and agape to make the point that the love that shapes nonviolent resistance is one that is disciplined by the refusal to distinguish between worthy and unworthy people. Rather agape begins by loving others for their own sake, which requires that we "have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution."

Such a love means that nonviolent resistance seeks not to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win a friend. The protests that may take the form of boycotts and other non-cooperative modes of behaviour are not ends in themselves, but rather attempts to awaken in the opponent a sense of shame and repentance. The end of nonviolent resistance is redemption and reconciliation with those who have been the oppressor. Love overwhelms hate, making possible the creation of a beloved community that would otherwise be impossible.

Accordingly, nonviolent resistance is not directed against people but against forces of evil. Those who happen to be doing evil are as victimized by the evil they do as those who are the object of their oppression. From the perspective of nonviolence King argued that the enemy is not the white people of Montgomery, but injustice itself. The object of the boycott of the buses was not to defeat white people, but to defeat the injustice that mars their lives.

Read it all from ABC Australia's Religion and Ethics site.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And so we come to the final apologia for Kelvin Holdsworth's mistake, again from his sermon yesterday: "Nobody at that service that night could be in any doubt that we proclaimed the divinity of Christ and preached the Gospel of God's love."

Well yes, you possibly did recite the Nicene Creed at some point after its key verses were repudiated, but saying that makes the heresy before it OK is like saying that if you deliver a devastating uppercut to a stranger walking down the street, handing him a plaster afterwards makes it OK.

This story hasn't gone away despite the best efforts of the Provost to say nothing, to say he'll say something and then say nothing, to ignore his boss, to ignore the sensible, cogent, important theological questions that even the head of the Episcopal Church of Scotland accepts are perfectly valid.

In ministry, or indeed any position of responsibility, the sooner you learn the lesson that it's better when you're caught red-handed to admit a mistake and ask for forgiveness than to try and defend an indefensible corner, the better.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesScottish Episcopal Church* Culture-WatchBooksMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyChristology

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Posted January 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenEducation

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Posted January 17, 2017 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Isabelle was licensed during the daily Eucharist service at Lambeth Palace, attended by staff as well as her family and friends. She was previously Tutor in Biblical Studies at St John’s College, Nottingham and Associate Priest in the parish of Edwalton.

Speaking at the time of her appointment in November last year, the Archbishop said: “I am delighted to welcome Isabelle to the team at Lambeth. The Chaplain is a central part of life here, supporting the Archbishop and the family, maintaining the rhythms of worship and prayer and providing pastoral support for the community who live and work here.”

“Isabelle comes to us highly commended by her diocese where she has served in several ministry roles, lay and ordained, in university, college and parish. She brings a pastoral heart, a spiritual richness and a rigorous theological understanding to what is a demanding role. We look forward to welcoming her, husband Paul and daughter Aelwen to London and life at Lambeth.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 17, 2017 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Queen accompanied her nephew, David Armstrong-Jones, to church near her Sandringham Estate...[this past weekend], just days after his father, Lord Snowdon, died.

Braving wet and cold conditions, the royal party attended the morning service at St Mary the Virgin church in the village of Flitcham, Norfolk.

Read it all from the Telegraph and don't miss the pictures.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 17, 2017 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesScottish Episcopal Church* Culture-WatchMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 17, 2017 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* TheologyEschatology

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[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.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPrison/Prison MinistryRace/Race Relations* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Mall is a seat of democracy, a site for protest, and the home of the Smithsonian Institution. These truths converged in 1968, when antipoverty demonstrators staged a six-week campaign on “America’s front yard.” The Smithsonian had a front seat to “Resurrection City, USA,” the protesters’ name for their encampment. Today, a salvaged mural from the often-forgotten event is back on the Mall, in the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The slogans of solidarity inscribed on the mural inspired curators Aaron Bryant (NMAAHC) and Mireya Loza (NMAH) to reflect on the campaign’s multiethnic character, while Kendra Greendeer (NMAI) brings the legacy forward to recount how American Indians and allies traversed the same hallowed ground at a recent march across the Mall.

Check it all out.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 1:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump remembers representing the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black male who was fatally shot in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida.

The shooter, George Zimmerman, was a neighborhood watch volunteer who was found not guilty in a high-profile murder trial.

The verdict, among others Crump has seen, has left minority communities feeling like second-class citizens, he said Sunday at Morris Street Baptist Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations* South Carolina

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As [Ralph] Abernathy tells it–and I believe he is right–he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.

“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama–in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Have not many of us, in the weary way of life, felt, in some hours, how far easier it were to die than to live?

The martyr, when faced even by a death of bodily anguish and horror, finds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulant and tonic. There is a vivid excitement, a thrill and fervor, which may carry through any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hour of eternal glory and rest.

But to live,—to wear on, day after day, of mean, bitter, low, harassing servitude, every nerve dampened and depressed, every power of feeling gradually smothered,—this long and wasting heart-martyrdom, this slow, daily bleeding away of the inward life, drop by drop, hour after hour,—this is the true searching test of what there may be in man or woman.

When Tom stood face to face with his persecutor, and heard his threats, and thought in his very soul that his hour was come, his heart swelled bravely in him, and he thought he could bear torture and fire, bear anything, with the vision of Jesus and heaven but just a step beyond; but, when he was gone, and the present excitement passed off, came back the pain of his bruised and weary limbs,—came back the sense of his utterly degraded, hopeless, forlorn estate; and the day passed wearily enough.

Long before his wounds were healed, Legree insisted that he should be put to the regular field-work; and then came day after day of pain and weariness, aggravated by every kind of injustice and indignity that the ill-will of a mean and malicious mind could devise. Whoever, in our circumstances, has made trial of pain, even with all the alleviations which, for us, usually attend it, must know the irritation that comes with it. Tom no longer wondered at the habitual surliness of his associates; nay, he found the placid, sunny temper, which had been the habitude of his life, broken in on, and sorely strained, by the inroads of the same thing. He had flattered himself on leisure to read his Bible; but there was no such thing as leisure there. In the height of the season, Legree did not hesitate to press all his hands through, Sundays and week-days alike. Why shouldn't he?—he made more cotton by it, and gained his wager; and if it wore out a few more hands, he could buy better ones. At first, Tom used to read a verse or two of his Bible, by the flicker of the fire, after he had returned from his daily toil; but, after the cruel treatment he received, he used to come home so exhausted, that his head swam and his eyes failed when he tried to read; and he was fain to stretch himself down, with the others, in utter exhaustion.

Is it strange that the religious peace and trust, which had upborne him hitherto, should give way to tossings of soul and despondent darkness? The gloomiest problem of this mysterious life was constantly before his eyes,—souls crushed and ruined, evil triumphant, and God silent. It was weeks and months that Tom wrestled, in his own soul, in darkness and sorrow. He thought of Miss Ophelia's letter to his Kentucky friends, and would pray earnestly that God would send him deliverance. And then he would watch, day after day, in the vague hope of seeing somebody sent to redeem him; and, when nobody came, he would crush back to his soul bitter thoughts,—that it was vain to serve God, that God had forgotten him. He sometimes saw Cassy; and sometimes, when summoned to the house, caught a glimpse of the dejected form of Emmeline, but held very little communion with either; in fact, there was no time for him to commune with anybody.

--Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



You can find the full text here.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 16, 2017 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Clutching the blood-stained Bible she had with her when Dylann Roof executed nine family and friends around her, Felicia Sanders told the self-avowed white supremacist in court Wednesday that she still forgives him for his actions. They have scarred her life but haven't shaken her faith.

Addressing Roof the day after a jury sentenced him to death, Sanders said the mass shooting that killed nine black worshippers at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015 has left her unable to hear a balloon pop or an acorn fall without being startled. She can no longer shut her eyes when she prays.

But she will carry on, she told him, and continue to follow the words of God still clear in the battered Bible she cherishes.

"I brought my Bible to the courtroom ... shot up," she said. "It reminds me of the blood Jesus shed for me and you, Dylann Roof."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCapital PunishmentLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 15, 2017 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hayhoe is the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she teaches and conducts research as an atmospheric scientist and an associate professor of political science.

As a Texas-dwelling, evangelical Christian, atmospheric scientist, Hayhoe can often win the ears of many religious communities, receive invitations to address students at Christian colleges, or have conversations with mega-church-going Republican climate cynics she otherwise mightn’t meet or who wouldn’t listen.

Her faith and, now, her web series, has led many people to tell her they had believed or suspected that human-influenced climate change was a liberal hoax but that she has changed their minds, she said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 15, 2017 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One British woman wanted to go above and beyond for her local homeless community and her selfless act is getting attention around the world.

Fay Sibley, who lives in Colchester, Essex, became concerned about the homeless people living in her neighborhood after weather forecasters predicted up to 4 inches of snow.

She decided to place a clothing rack filled with coats right outside her local library with the simple message: "Need a coat? Take one. Want to help? Leave one."

Sibley, 30, told ABC News that she got the idea after spotting a similar exchange in Yorkshire on social media. She gathered up coats from her friends and family and set up her coat rack outside of the Colchester Library.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoverty* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 15, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The decisions which have led to the situation in St Mary’s Cathedral are a matter for the Provost and the Cathedral community but the Scottish Episcopal Church is deeply distressed at the widespread offence which has been caused. We also deeply regret the widespread abuse which has been received by the Cathedral community.

“In response to what has happened at the Cathedral, the Scottish Episcopal Church will bring together all those who are involved in the development of interfaith relations. Our intention will be as a Church to explore how, particularly in the area of worship, this work can be carried forward in ways which will command respect. Our desire is that this should be a worthy expression of the reconciliation to which all Christians are called.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesScottish Episcopal Church* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchBooksMulticulturalism, pluralism* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

4 Comments
Posted January 14, 2017 at 7:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In terms of religion, this inauguration exhibits the confluence of two major currents of indigenous American spirituality.

One stream is represented by Norman Vincent Peale’s longtime bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking” (1952). The famous Manhattan pastor is Trump’s tenuous connection to Christianity, having heard the preacher frequently in his youth. For Peale and his protege, the late Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame, the gospel of Christ’s death for human sin and resurrection for justification and everlasting life was transformed into a “feel-good” therapy. Self-esteem was the true salvation.

Another stream is represented by the most famous TV preachers, especially those associated with the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen and Paula White are the stars of this movement, known as Word of Faith.

Read it all from Michael Horton in the Washington Post.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology


Posted January 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, has been named as the favourite to succeed Richard Chartres as Bishop of London.

Cottrell is 3/1 favourite with bookmakers William Hill for the Church of England's third most senior job after Archbishop of Canterbury and York.

Although the formal appointments process has not yet begun, his name is increasingly being spoken of in Church circles as someone with the experience and charisma to lead the Church of England's fastest-growing, most diverse and most complex diocese.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

2 Comments
Posted January 14, 2017 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Around the table at U.C.S.F., Miller stood out. The other doctors wore dress pants and button-downs — physician-casual — while he wore a sky blue corduroy shirt with a tear in the sleeve and a pair of rumpled khakis; he could have come straight from camping or Bonnaroo. Even just sitting there, he transmitted a strange charisma — a magnetism, people kept telling me, that was hard to explain but also necessary to explain, because the rapport Miller seems to instantly establish with everyone is a part of his gift as a clinician.

“It’s reasonable to say that it’s impossible to describe what it feels like to be with him,” [Dr. Michael] Rabow told me. “People feel accepted. I think they feel loved.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all--NYC's finest indeed.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the genetic basis of attributes like intelligence and musicality is too thinly spread and unclear to make selection practical, then tweaking by genetic manipulation certainly seems off the menu too. “I don’t think we are going to see superman or a split in the species any time soon,” says Greely, “because we just don’t know enough and are unlikely to for a long time – or maybe for ever.”

If this is all “designer babies” could mean even in principle – freedom from some specific but rare diseases, knowledge of rather trivial aspects of appearance, but only vague, probabilistic information about more general traits like health, attractiveness and intelligence – will people go for it in large enough numbers to sustain an industry?

[Bioethicist Henry] Greely suspects, even if it is used at first only to avoid serious genetic diseases, we need to start thinking hard about the options we might be faced with. “Choices will be made,” he says, “and if informed people do not participate in making those choices, ignorant people will make them.”

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The uncertainty and turmoil caused by Brexit could prove worthwhile if it acts as a catalyst in the redistribution of power and wealth to the North, a leading figure in the church has claimed.

According to the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, last year’s vote presents politicians with a fresh opportunity to boost prosperity in the region – and to avoid deepening division across the country. The intervention from the senior clergyman comes amid growing concerns about the impact of Brexit on the North’s economy, following reports that the region is twice as dependant on EU trade as other parts of the UK.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of York is set see how heavenly food is produced during a tour of North Yorkshire.

Dr John Sentamu will embark on a mission in the Northern Ryedale deanery from Friday, which will see him visit a number of places including Michelin-star The Star Inn, at Harome, near Helmsley, over the following three days.

The mission is the first in a series which will see the Archbishop go back on the road to visit all 21 deaneries in the Diocese of York over the next two years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Another 5,000 French Jews emigrated to Israel last year, figures showed Monday, continuing a trend that has seen tens of thousands quit the country after a series of attacks targeting the community.

The Jewish Agency of Israel issued the update as France marked two years since attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and on a Jewish supermarket in Paris, where four shoppers were shot dead.

Daniel Benhaim, who heads the Israeli-backed group in France, said that insecurity had been a "catalyst" for many Jews who were already thinking of leaving.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeFranceMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

James B. Johnson V’s arrest exemplifies what his attorney says is a modern “American tragedy” — an injury leads to painkiller addiction which, in turn, leads to heroin use.

“Local kid gets injured, gets hooked on opioids and can’t get off of them,” attorney D. Scott Lautner said Thursday. “This clearly shows the drug epidemic problem in the United States right now, that it affects everybody of different ages, sexes, religions and occupations.”

In this case, the addict is a police officer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A total of 41 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said Britain has “no specific religious identity” in a ComRes poll published to launch the new Faith Research Centre in Westminster.

And a third of 25 to 34-year-olds believed the same, the poll of 2,048 adults found.

Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, had an entirely different perspective on how religious Britain is compared to the over 55s and pensioners.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociologyYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here are three things that will stay with me:

First is the way that the perpetrators at Auschwitz tried to dehumanise their victims – in a way that actually cost the humanity of both. It worked to some extent. Prisoners killed others in order to live – and were then killed themselves. Others gave their lives, like St Maximilian Kolbe and St Edith Stein.

Second, these atrocities were committed by ordinary people. When one of the priests leading our retreat was asked who was to blame, he said: "People did it to people.”

Third, it was idolatrous and demonic.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanyPoland* TheologyTheodicy

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Which, if any, of these films are actually worth seeing?

Critics weren’t bowled over by any of them. The best reviewed of the lot was “Hail, Caesar!”, the least acclaimed Coen film since 2008’s “Burn After Reading.” Audiences were more negative and box office was disappointing. At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed it; I might almost be the ideal audience for this film, though it doesn’t seem to play as well for everyone as it does for me.

That goes double for “The Young Messiah,” a film few critics found as compelling and creative as I did.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

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Posted January 13, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The body of Archbishop Brown Turei, one of three leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, is to lie in state at Kauaetangohia Marae near the northernmost point of East Cape for two nights before his funeral on Saturday.

Brown Turei died surrounded by his family and loved ones in Gisborne Hospital on Monday, aged 92.

He was ordained a deacon in 1949 and a priest the following year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

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Posted January 12, 2017 at 4:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By the time the ordeal ended, 10 hours later, 22 people, including two police officers, were dead, the restaurant spattered with blood and shattered glass.

For months, Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter was a spooked place. Restaurants were empty night after night. Foreigners no longer left the safety of their compounds. Young Bangladeshis found themselves wondering who they could trust: Several of the terrorists came from wealthy, cosmopolitan families, not so different from the young elites who died in the siege.

In an effort to break this trance, the restaurant’s owners decided to reopen the Holey, known for its flour-dusted baguettes and homemade pasta. One of the owners, Ali Arsalan, said he was inspired in part by the staff: When he paid them two months’ salary and suggested they return to their villages to recover from the trauma, they said they would prefer to go back to work

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaBangladesh* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishops have painted a hopeful picture of a post-Brexit Britain in their New Year messages.

After the Prime Minister’s declaration that Article 50 will be triggered in March, so that Britain can leave the EU in March 2019, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his message, spoke of a “tough cam­paign” that had “left divisions”, but argued that reconciliation was pos­sible: “I know that if we look at our roots, our culture, and our history in the Christian tradition . . . we will find a path towards reconciling the differences that have divided us.”

The message, filmed in Coventry, celebrated the welcome given to refugees in the city

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

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Posted January 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchMedia* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 12, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For a nation struggling to make sense of deflation, duty and the shock of a graduate trainee being worked to death at one of Japan’s most prestigious companies, “Premium Friday” seems to provide a glimmer of hope.

Following revelations of ruinously excessive overtime demands at Japan’s largest advertising agency, Dentsu, the government wants bosses to order their overworked and under-slept employees home at 3pm on the last Friday of every month.

Proponents of the idea, which include the powerful Keidanren business lobby, argue that workers could use the time for recuperative snoozing or enjoy more leisure activities and rev the economy out of deflation.

It may not, say many labour experts, be quite that simple.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAsiaJapan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 12, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thirteen leading international asset owners and five asset managers with over £2 trillion under management launched the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) today to better understand how the transition to a low-carbon economy affects their investments. The TPI will assess how individual companies are positioning themselves for the transition to a low-carbon economy through a public, transparent online tool. The heads of funds involved launched the Initiative this morning at the opening of the stock market at the London Stock Exchange.

The Initiative has been led by the Church of England's National Investing Bodies and the Environment Agency Pension Fund in partnership with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. Data has been provided by FTSE Russell.

Preliminary assessments released today include the oil and gas and electricity utilities sectors. As part of a phased rollout, management quality and carbon performance assessments of additional sectors and individual companies will follow in the coming months.

Read it all from the C of E.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 12, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The flaw in his approach is that while the Muslims who chose the reading seem to have been only too aware of the differences, and chose to declare them in their Koranic reading during the Christian worship, the Provost, on the other hand, appears to have been unaware.

When asked if he had known what the passage of the Koran said about Jesus, how it denied what Christians hold central to their faith, he “declined to comment further”.

This was not, then, “a dialogue about the ways we differ”. It was not even a strategy of parity. If there had been a conversation in which he had said, “Let us insert into each other’s worship and prayers readings from our sacred scriptures which confront and contradict each others’ faith”, how would the Islamic community have responded? We will never know, because the exercise was not actually the one he claimed it to be.

Read it all from Gavin Ashenden.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesScottish Episcopal Church* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyChristology

5 Comments
Posted January 12, 2017 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since it was finally completed in the fourteenth century, the tower of the Priory of St Mary Overie, later the Parish Church of Saviour and now the Cathedral for the Diocese of Southwark, stood high above the surrounding community on the south bank of the Thames. It was the ‘Shard’ of its day, an architectural presence in this busy, congested, exciting district of London. Within the tower, bells were hung, the first ring associated with the marriage in the Priory Church of King James I of Scots to Joan Beaufort, niece of the then Bishop of Winchester, Cardinal Beaufort on 12 February 1424. The bells rang out to call people to prayer, to mark the joyous and the sad occasions of life, to warn and to welcome. In the eighteenth century the ring of twelve was consolidated in the way that we have come to know the ring. Now in the twenty-first century it has been our privilege to undertake much needed work on the bells to ensure that they ring loud and clear for future generations.

Read it all and don't miss the wonderful pictures.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted January 12, 2017 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

‘Tim, there’s a priest at the door.’ She gripped her hands in front of her sweatshirt, balling her fists into her stomach. ‘He wants to know if you want to speak with him.’

Tim laboured to chew and swallow the food in his mouth. ‘A priest?’

‘From the Church of England.’ Tim’s father and I checked each other’s faces for comprehension. Only Tim intuited immediately why a priest had come calling.

‘No.’ Tim shook his head. ‘Please tell him no.’

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 12, 2017 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Saward’s case led to changes in attitudes toward rape victims and important legal overhauls. Victims of sexual assault were given the right to appeal lenient sentences and the media was blocked from identifying a victim before a defendant was charged. In 1990, Saward became the first person in Britain to waive her right to anonymity as a victim of rape. With Wendy Green, she wrote a book, Rape: My Story, in which she spoke openly about her trauma, how it had led to suicidal thoughts and how she had overcome them. “I believe forgiveness gives you freedom,” she wrote. “Freedom to move on without being held back by the past.” Saward went on to give training to judges and police on how to treat rape victims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexualityViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

LAWTON: Immigration is going to be a really interesting issue to watch this coming year, and the years ahead, not just legal and illegal immigration, but also refugees coming in, and how the Trump administration handles that. And again, if any refugees—I mean the Obama administration set a goal for fiscal year 2017 of 110,000 refugees to be brought into this country. What’s going to happen to that?

DIONNE: I think that all disappears under the Trump administration

LAWTON: And, again, you had a pretty broad faith coalition—evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Protestants, Jews and others really coming together to say we want to bring people in, we want to help resettle them, and so they’re not going to be on board with some of that policy, and some of them, especially in the mainline Protestant community, have said, we’re going to make our churches sanctuary churches, so that rather than being deported, immigrants can come here and receive some kind of protection. So that’ll be a very interesting issue.

ABERNETHY: Many bits of action, too, all over the place, by police chiefs, by mayors already.

Read it all from PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new national survey of law enforcement officers found that the vast majority feel their jobs are harder than ever before, after the police-involved shootings of black Americans over the past several years.

The nationally representative survey of close to 8,000 police officers, released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, provided some data to back up assertions made by leading law enforcement figures, including the F.B.I. director James Comey, that the publicity surrounding such episodes has discouraged the police from confronting suspects.

The survey found that 72 percent of respondents said their colleagues are “now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons”; that 86 percent thought police work had become harder because of high-profile incidents like the killings of Mike Brown in 2014 and Alton Sterling in the summer of 2016; and that 93 percent of police officers think their colleagues now worry more about personal safety.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race Relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 11, 2017 at 1:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Obama administration’s failure to beat back the rise of radical Islam reflects a greater failure of thinking elites. Steeped in an intellectual culture of secularism, Western leaders have consistently denied both the Koranic motives of America’s enemies, and the Christian underpinnings of the U.S. system of values. They look for economic and social reasons for this clash of cultures and dismiss the far more terrible possibility that humanity is actually at war over the nature of God.

This estrangement from the sacred continues a trend begun during the Enlightenment of the 18th century.

But its roots are in the 17th century’s rise of science. The scientific method transformed a world of miracles into a world of material. Its successes, in time, made atheism seem the default setting of true reason. But is it?

The physicist Stephen Hawking, who publicly confirmed his atheism in 2014, doesn’t believe that God is needed to explain creation. “The laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing,” he explained. The philosopher Roger Scruton, writing in this newspaper, thoroughly undid this argument simply by asking, “But what created the laws of physics?” Such an obvious flaw in Mr. Hawking’s reasoning should have been clear to anyone who wasn’t being carried off on the skeptical tide of the times.

As a former secular Jew who converted to Christianity, I understand the temptation of such skepticism. My baptism in 2004 was an act of transgression. I sensed it at the time and know it all the more certainly today. I was nearly 50 then. I had lived my adulthood as a postmodern man, a worldling of the coasts and cities. For me to accept the truth of God and his incarnation in Jesus Christ was to defy the culture of the age.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaismSecularism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

1) Revival cannot be scheduled. Revival cannot be predicted, but neither can it be precluded. There simply are no natural laws that guarantee revival. True revival is a sovereign work of God (Zech. 4:6). In other words, revival is always a miracle. Revival is not "in our pocket." Once we fall into the trap of thinking that revival is at our beck-and-call, we will begin to develop earthly strategies that we are convinced will produce the desired end. We will become sinfully pragmatic in the business of religion, as we justify virtually any tactic or method just so long as it gets "results". But this is precisely what we must avoid at all costs.

(2) Someone has defined revival as "a copious effusion of the influence of divine grace," i.e., a bountiful outpouring of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. J. I. Packer defines revival as "a work of God by his Spirit through his word bringing the spiritually dead to living faith in Christ and renewing the inner life of Christians who have grown slack and sleepy" (Revival, 36). Or again,

"Revival is God stirring the hearts of his people, visiting them . . . coming to dwell with them . . . returning to them . . . pouring out his Spirit on them . . . to quicken their consciences, show them their sins, and exalt his mercy . . . before their eyes" (Keep in Step with the Spirit, 256).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


(Amazon)

What are the principles for which America fights? This is a trick question. Countries can pursue principles to the point of sparking conflict. They can invoke principles to raise morale. They can follow principles in waging war. But few principles can be turned into a casus belli without driving a country headlong into fanaticism.

It is fanaticism, America’s fanaticism, that the Pulitzer Prize–winning University of Pennsylvania historian Walter McDougall blames when he considers the strategic advantages the United States has squandered since Osama bin Laden led an attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. George W. Bush, whom Americans had elected to the White House a year before the attacks, really did say in their aftermath, “Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.” His administration named its original Afghan invasion plan Operation Infinite Justice. And McDougall has a particularly bleak assessment of the Iraq invasion that followed the attack on Afghanistan. “To speak of draining the swamps of Islamo-fascism through democratization of the whole Muslim crescent,” he writes, “was mad.”

If so, it was a madness that has been a signature of American foreign policy at least since the end of the Cold War.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistory* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He was ordained in 1991 and served for 4 years as curate of All Saints, Crowborough in Chichester diocese. He and Heather then left to move to Sydney Australia, as Mike took up a post as Junior Lecturer at Moore Theological College. While there he also did research for an MTh, with a dissertation on the concept of truth in John’s Gospel, and made many friends.

I first met Mike in 1998 when he returned to the UK to be a research fellow at Oak Hill Theological College in London. Some of his lectures were quite stretching (such as this one, and this one which he contributed to The Theologian journal), and I never understood his compulsive need to talk about Arsenal football club and include diagrams or witty quotes in all of his handouts! But he was a good friend and a mentor. We met up weekly to read the Bible and pray together during a year when I was doing MPhil research in the Old Testament, and we’d occasionally pore over the Septuagint or a Latin Church Father, or he’d advise me about college committees he had gotten me involved with. Always with at least one cup of coffee (and occasionally with a glass of something different).

Mike’s PhD from Kings College, London (completed in 2004) was on the eternal relation between God the Father and God the Son in selected patristic theologians and John’s Gospel, which highlights his interest in integrating systematic, historical, and biblical theology. Much of this work made it into his most recent publication Your Will Be Done: Exploring Eternal Subordination, Divine Monarchy and Divine Humility. He was keen to encourage Christians to engage more carefully in systematic theology, which he saw as something of a weakness in evangelical circles. In a helpful talk from 2006, for example, he examined the biblical foundations of systematics and outlined a biblical method of engaging in it, which many found persuasive.

Read it all (my emphasis).

(Oak Hill College)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

1 Comments
Posted January 11, 2017 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just a few hours after he told a crowded courtroom “I still feel like I had to do it,” Dylann Roof was sentenced to death by a federal jury for carrying out a cold, calculated massacre inside Charleston's Emanuel AME Church in a bid to spark a race war.

The 12-member panel – three white jurors, nine black – deliberated for a little less than three hours before unanimously deciding that the 22-year-old white supremacist should die for his crimes rather than spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It will be up to the presiding judge to formally impose that sentence, but he is bound by law to follow the jury’s decision. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel has scheduled the formal sentencing hearing for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchCapital PunishmentLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted January 10, 2017 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians are determined by the conviction that a brown-skinned Jew—whose body was publically tortured to death on a cross by a consortium of government and religious officials, and whose crucified body was resurrected from the dead, opening up the realm of God to people of every color, including people who believe their skin is without color—is the truth about God.

The invention of whiteness is the sin of designating humanity by reference to physical characteristics for the purpose of one race (white) dominating nonwhite races. Race is humanly conceived, structurally maintained, deeply personal, and (from a specifically Christian standpoint) sin.

Because power is used to maintain and institutionalize racial privilege, racism is more insidious than disorganized, infrequent racist acts by disconnected individuals. Though a social construction, rooted in sinful misunderstandings of our humanity in Christ, race is a political reality that has far-reaching economic, social, and individual deleterious consequences.

While race is a fiction, a human construction, racism is a fact.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester condemned the reading and called for discipline against those involved.

"The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation," he said in a statement.

He also called for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to publicly distance the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion from the event.

" Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Qur'an for themselves, whether in the original or in translation. This is not, however, the same thing as having it read in Church in the context of public worship," he said.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsScottish Episcopal Church* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted January 10, 2017 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Switzerland has won a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) obliging Muslim parents to send their children to mixed swimming lessons.

It said authorities were justified in giving precedence to enforcing "the full school curriculum" and the children's "successful integration" into society.
The ECHR acknowledged that religious freedom was being interfered with.
But judges said it did not amount to a violation

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeSwitzerland* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 10, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] Right Reverend Dr Jacob Ayeebo, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale has bemoaned the current situation where faith was becoming insignificant to growing numbers of people in society.

He said “Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life”.

He said most teenagers prioritised education, career development, friendships, and travel, adding “Among adults, the areas of growing importance are lifestyle comfort, success and personal achievements”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Province of West Africa* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaGhana

0 Comments
Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Really, a team coached by Dabo Swinney couldn't have won a national championship any other way.

The Clemson coach's life story could have been written by Horatio Alger, the guy who invented the classic American success story, if Alger had a drawl and ever said, "Bring your own guts."

Swinney, the former walk-on wide receiver, won his first national championship against his alma mater -- the team that denied him a year ago, the monolithic defending national champion Alabama -- with 1 second to play, on a throw to a former walk-on wide receiver.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSportsYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

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Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the surface, Hollywood is a land of loose morals, where materialism rules, sex and drugs are celebrated on screen (and off), and power players can have a distant relationship with the truth. But movie studios and their partners have quietly — very quietly, sometimes to the degree of a black ops endeavor — been building deep connections to Christian filmgoers who dwell elsewhere on the spectrum of politics and social values. In doing so, they have tapped churches, military groups, right-leaning bloggers and, particularly, a fraternity of marketing specialists who cut their teeth on overtly religious movies but now put their influence behind mainstream works like “Frozen,” “The Conjuring,” “Sully” and “Hidden Figures.”

The marketers are writing bullet points for sermons, providing footage for television screens mounted in sanctuaries and proposing Sunday school lesson plans. In some cases, studios are even flying actors, costume designers and producers to megachurch discussion groups.

Hollywood’s awareness of its need to pay better attention to flyover-state audiences has grown even more urgent of late, as ultraliberal movie executives, shocked to see a celebrity-encircled Hillary Clinton lose the presidential election to Donald J. Trump, have realized the degree to which they are out of touch with a vast pool of Americans. Tens of millions of voters did not care what stars had to say in support of Mrs. Clinton.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

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Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...this obsession with things which are ‘less than God’ is rooted in a more profound malaise – the House of Bishops is not spiritually serious. By this I mean to say that they don’t seem to believe that the substance of Christianity is a matter of eternal life and death. The House of Bishops seems to be filled with just the same sort of social justice pleading that a liberal atheist would be perfectly at home with, with the consequence that the Bishops sound just like every other well-meaning middle class worrier....

The Bishops, in other words, seem to embody the cultural cringe that most Christians in England suffer from – that feeling when you are a reasonably intelligent and committed believer, but in mixed company refrain from mentioning anything to do with Christian faith for fear of causing offence, or, worse, being mistaken for a fundamentalist. The trouble is that the Bishops are there precisely to articulate the Christian faith in the public sphere and – surely! – to run the risk of offending when they do.

What the Bishops have failed to do is articulate a coherent narrative, not about what Christianity is in general and as a whole, but what Christianity means for the English people at this point in our national life.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

2 Comments
Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is with profound shock and sadness that we announce the sudden and unexpected death of our Principal, the Revd Dr Mike Ovey, at the age of 58.

As the Oak Hill community comes to terms with the loss of our dear brother and leader, we cling on to the promise that ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’. It reminds us that for Mike, death is not an end but a glorious beginning.

Read it all and you can read comments by Archbp Peter Jensen there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

2 Comments
Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[SCOTT] SIMON: What are some of the reasons you think more people's families, I guess I should - I almost said why more people are choosing to be cremated. And that might technically be true - but usually after their death.

[BARBARA] KEMMIS: So cremation is simply cheaper than burial. Of course, when you consider a funeral or a memorial service or celebration-of-life expenses, those are extra. And consumers also report that they see extra value with cremation and that they have more flexibility. To put it bluntly, death, even when it's anticipated, is inconvenient.

We don't want to lose our loved ones. We don't want to drop everything and gather and grieve and do what we need to do. But we must. And we can do that. But as families are spread across the country in various states, it's more and more difficult to bring people together on short notice. Cremation can expand the timeframe of grieving and memorializing your loved one.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEschatology

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Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almost 1,000 days since she was kidnapped with 275 other schoolgirls from school dormitories in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, the 24th girl to be released from captivity has been found.
Rakiya Abubakar Gali was discovered on 5 Jan. by the Army, who were questioning captured Boko Haram militants. She has a six-month-old baby.

The mass abduction on 14 April 2014 eventually generated headlines around the world and fuelled a social-media storm, with the hashtag #bringbackourgirls and campaign group Bring Back our Girls (BBOG). It says 195 are still missing.

Fifty-seven girls escaped shortly after being taken by extreme Islamist militants Boko Haram, while others have recently found freedom.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I want to add a postscript to this tribute. In her death, Jill has somehow become public property. That is entirely understandable. Whilst remaining gentle and vulnerable, Jill was a tireless campaigner, fine communicator, a loyal and compassionate friend, a perceptive counsellor, and a courageous justice-seeker. It is interesting that so many tributes have been paid to her by those who are not involved with the church. But Jill was also a faithful Christian believer, whose testimony to God’s goodness and love undergirded all that she was and did. Working for justice in the area of violence against women was in every way her Christian calling, and one she pursued with faithfulness and vigour; indeed, I believe it is impossible to understand her work or her legacy without acknowledging the centrality of God’s love in her life. So, since she has offered such encouragement to other Christians, we might ask why her work received more attention from those outside the church than those within it and why, now that she has gone from us many Christians are wondering why they never learnt from her or supported what she was doing. So here’s the challenge. If the outpouring of tributes following Jill’s death, helps us in the church to re-think our own agendas, recognizing our blind spots, and our entrenched parochialism, Jill’s work will continue. For even now, she is surely encouraging us towards a bigger vision, where we can engage with the needs of our culture and our world, with more insight, compassion and care.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSexualityViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Please bear with me/us.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet

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Posted January 7, 2017 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jory Fleming will be studying for his masters degree next fall at Oxford — one of just 32 Americans to do so.



Take the time to watch the whole video portrait (just over 2 minutes). Note carefully the important role played by his bird (!) and his Mom.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEntertainmentHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* South Carolina

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Posted January 6, 2017 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But a closer look reveals a more complicated scene. If I may quote myself once more,
The gifts the magi present to Jesus are, at one level, what we would have expected. The gold is a fitting sign of kingship. The incense attests, however obliquely, to Jesus’ deity (incense being used in the Old Testament for the worship of Israel’s God). But the myrrh foreshadows a funeral. The myrrh casts a shadow over the other two gifts, forcing us to ask whether the kingship and deity of Jesus will somehow culminate in tragedy. Myrrh, as the jaunty Christmas carol puts it, is a “bitter perfume”; it “breathes a life of gathering gloom; / Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, / Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.” Or, as T.S. Eliot’s great poem “The Journey of the Magi” has it, when the wise men crest the hills of Judea and make their way toward Bethlehem, what they see is “three trees on the low sky.”
This is the ultimate unpredictability and irregularity of Epiphany. It is a feast day, and we are celebrating the appearance of Jesus the king of the Jews to all the nations of the world. And yet it is a strange feast, a poignant one, in which we can already smell the acrid odor of a corpse. It’s important, I think, to bear this strange Christological concertina wire of reconfigured chronology in mind when we observe — and teach others to observe — the Christian calendar, so that we don’t forget where the narrative’s real center lies. The church year has the hallmark of every good story: a beginning, a middle, and an end. But the more you inhabit it, the more you realize that its end is given in its beginning: There is no Christ anywhere in the Christian year who is not already “the Lamb that was slaughtered from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8), and that, ultimately, is the mystery the calendar invites us to plumb.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphany* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted January 6, 2017 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Come to your heaven, you heavenly quires!
Earth hath the heaven of your desires;
Remove your dwelling to your God,
A stall is now His best abode;
Sith men their homage do deny,
Come, angels, all their faults supply.

His chilling cold doth heat require,
Come, seraphim, in lieu of fire;
This little ark no cover hath,
Let cherubs' wings his body swathe;
Come, Raphael, this babe must eat,
Provide our little Toby meat.

Let Gabriel be now His groom,
That first took up His earthly room;
Let Michael stand in His defence,
Whom love hath link'd to feeble sense;
Let graces rock when He doth cry,
And angels sing this lullaby.

he same you saw in heavenly seat,
Is He that now sucks Mary's teat;
Agnize your King a mortal wight,
His borrow'd weed lets not your sight;
Come, kiss the manger where He lies;
That is your bliss above the skies.

This little babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmèd wise
The gates of hell He will surprise.

With tears He fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield,
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows, looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns, cold and need,
And feeble flesh His warrior's steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall,
The crib His trench, hay-stalks His stakes,
Of shepherds He His muster makes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that He hath pight;
Within His crib is surest ward,
This little babe will be thy guard;
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly boy.

--Robert Southwell

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

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Posted January 5, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchMusic

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Posted January 4, 2017 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Wonderful stuff!

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchMusic* General InterestHumor / Trivia

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Posted January 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* TheologyChristology

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Posted January 4, 2017 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Abroad, the summer Olympic games open in Brazil amid dire warnings about Zika, riots, muggers, muggers with Zika and windsurfers being attacked by predatory oceangoing feces. But the games for the most part go smoothly, the biggest glitch being when one of the diving pools mysteriously turns a dark, murky green. The mystery is finally solved when the pool is drained, revealing a Russian nuclear submarine, which Russia insists is in international waters.

In the athletic competition, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt becomes the first athlete ever to win the men’s 100 meter final wearing flip-flops....

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article123321019.html#storylink=cpy

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* General InterestHumor / Trivia* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 3, 2017 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two high-profile TV adverts this season seem to point back to the sentiment of Dickens’ tale. Sainsbury’s sign off with the strap line ‘Christmas is for sharing’, whilst John Lewis prefer ‘Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of’. Behind the marketing strategy seems to be a genuine search for a more profound message to accompany the call to consume. Both are centred on sharing and people, not objects or wealth.

Margaret Oliphant, Scottish novelist and historical writer, wrote that A Christmas Carol ‘moved us all those days ago as if it had been a new gospel’. And its popularity and pertinence remain undimmed. But shining even brighter is the old Gospel – the ultimate story of second chances and redemption that is ready to move us again this Christmas and lead us to sharing it with others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 3, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“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.

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

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Posted January 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

CHORUS

Come we shepherds whose blest sight
Hath met love's noon in nature's night;
Come lift we up our loftier song
And wake the sun that lies too long.

To all our world of well-stol'n joy
He slept, and dreamt of no such thing,
While we found out heav'n's fairer eye,
And kiss'd the cradle of our King.
Tell him he rises now too late
To show us aught worth looking at.

Tell him we now can show him more
Than he e'er show'd to mortal sight,
Than he himself e'er saw before,
Which to be seen needs not his light.
Tell him, Tityrus, where th' hast been;
Tell him, Thyrsis, what th' hast seen.

TITYRUS

Gloomy night embrac'd the place
Where the Noble Infant lay;
The Babe look'd up and show'd his face,
In spite of darkness, it was day.
It was thy day, Sweet! and did rise
Not from the east, but from thine eyes.
CHORUS

It was thy day, Sweet! and did rise
Not from the east, but from thine eyes.
THYRSIS

Winter chid aloud, and sent
The angry North to wage his wars;
The North forgot his fierce intent,
And left perfumes instead of scars.
By those sweet eyes' persuasive pow'rs,
Where he meant frost, he scatter'd flow'rs.
CHORUS

By those sweet eyes' persuasive pow'rs,
Where he meant frost, he scatter'd flow'rs.
BOTH

We saw thee in thy balmy nest,
Young dawn of our eternal day!
We saw thine eyes break from their east
And chase the trembling shades away.
We saw thee, and we bless'd the sight,
We saw thee by thine own sweet light.
TITYRUS

Poor World, said I, what wilt thou do
To entertain this starry stranger?
Is this the best thou canst bestow,
A cold, and not too cleanly, manger?
Contend, ye powers of heav'n and earth,
To fit a bed for this huge birth.
CHORUS

Contend, ye powers of heav'n and earth,
To fit a bed for this huge birth.
THYRSIS

Proud World, said I, cease your contest,
And let the Mighty Babe alone;
The ph{oe}nix builds the ph{oe}nix' nest,
Love's architecture is his own;
The Babe whose birth embraves this morn,
Made his own bed ere he was born.
CHORUS

The Babe whose birth embraves this morn,
Made his own bed ere he was born.
TITYRUS

I saw the curl'd drops, soft and slow,
Come hovering o'er the place's head,
Off'ring their whitest sheets of snow
To furnish the fair Infant's bed.
Forbear, said I, be not too bold;
Your fleece is white, but 'tis too cold.
CHORUS

Forbear, said I, be not too bold;
Your fleece is white, but 'tis too cold.
THYRSIS

I saw the obsequious Seraphims
Their rosy fleece of fire bestow;
For well they now can spare their wings,
Since Heav'n itself lies here below.
Well done, said I, but are you sure
Your down so warm will pass for pure?
CHORUS

Well done, said I, but are you sure
Your down so warm will pass for pure?
TITYRUS

No no, your King's not yet to seek
Where to repose his royal head;
See see, how soon his new-bloom'd cheek
'Twixt's mother's breasts is gone to bed.
Sweet choice, said we! no way but so,
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow.
CHORUS

Sweet choice, said we! no way but so,
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow.
BOTH

We saw thee in thy balmy nest,
Bright dawn of our eternal day!
We saw thine eyes break from their east,
And chase the trembling shades away.
We saw thee, and we bless'd the sight,
We saw thee, by thine own sweet light.
CHORUS

We saw thee, and we bless'd the sight,
We saw thee, by thine own sweet light.
FULL CHORUS

Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span;
Summer in winter; day in night;
Heaven in earth, and God in man.
Great little one, whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heav'n to earth.

Welcome; though nor to gold nor silk,
To more than C{ae}sar's birthright is;
Two sister seas of virgin-milk,
With many a rarely temper'd kiss,
That breathes at once both maid and mother,
Warms in the one, cools in the other.

Welcome, though not to those gay flies
Gilded i' th' beams of earthly kings,
Slippery souls in smiling eyes;
But to poor shepherds, homespun things,
Whose wealth's their flock, whose wit, to be
Well read in their simplicity.

Yet when young April's husband-show'rs
Shall bless the fruitful Maia's bed,
We'll bring the first-born of her flow'rs
To kiss thy feet and crown thy head.
To thee, dread Lamb! whose love must keep
The shepherds more than they the sheep.

To thee, meek Majesty! soft King
Of simple graces and sweet loves,
Each of us his lamb will bring,
Each his pair of silver doves;
Till burnt at last in fire of thy fair eyes,
Ourselves become our own best sacrifice.

--Richard Crashaw (1613-1649)

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

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Posted January 2, 2017 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(It is very difficult to set the stage for this scene, but some background will be helpful. Rayber is one of the novel's central characters and is strongly anti-Christian. He is looking as hard as he can for his nephew, Francis Tarwater, who has run away. This has led him to a small church service, likely a revival meeting, and he is watching what is occurring through a window. Rayber is unable to hear in one ear and in the other he wears a hearing device which sometimes vexes him. The "old man" is a reference to another key character in the novel, Mason Tarwater, whose death and desired burial form an important early part of the book. There is also a mention of Bishop who is Rayber's son and who appears to have Down's syndrome).

. . . A little girl hobbled into the spotlight.

Rayber cringed. Simply by the sight of her he could tell that she was not a fraud, that she was only exploited. She was eleven or twelve with a small delicate face and a head of black hair that looked too thick and heavy for a frail child to support. A cape like her mother's was turned back over one shoulder and her skirt was short as if better to reveal the thin legs twisted from the knees. She held her arms over her head for a moment. "I want to tell you people the story of the world," she said in a loud high child's voice. "I want to tell you why Jesus came and what happened to Him. I want to tell you how He'll come again. I want to tell you to be ready. Most of all," she said, "I want to tell you to be ready so that on the last day you'll rise in the glory of the Lord."

Rayber's fury encompassed the parents, the preacher, all the idiots he could not see who were sitting in front of the child, parties to her degradation. She believed it, she was locked tight in it, chained hand and foot, exactly as he had been, exactly as only a child could be. He felt the taste of his own childhood pain laid again on his tongue like a bitter wafer.

"Do you know who Jesus is?" she cried. "Jesus is the word of God and Jesus is love. The Word of God is love and do you know what love is, you people? If you don't know what love is you won't know Jesus when He comes. You won't be ready. I want to tell you people the story of the world, how it never known when love come, so when love comes again, you'll be ready."

She moved back and forth across the stage, frowning as if she were trying to see the people through the fierce circle of light that followed her. "Listen to me, you people," she said, "God was angry with the world because it always wanted more. It wanted as much as God had and it didn't know what God had but it wanted it and more. It wanted God's own breath, it wanted His very Word and God said, 'I'll make my Word Jesus, I'll give them my Word for a king, I'll give them my very breath for theirs.'

"Listen, you people," she said and flung her arms wide, "God told the world He was going to send it a king and the world waited. The world thought, a golden fleece will do for His bed. Silver and gold and peacock tails, a thousand suns in a peacock's tail will do for His sash. His mother will ride on a four-horned white beast and use the sunset for a cape. She'll trail it behind her over the ground and let the world pull it to pieces, a new one every evening."

To Rayber she was like one of those birds blinded to make it sing more sweetly. Her voice had the tone of a glass bell. His pity encompassed all exploited children--himself when he was a child, Tarwater exploited by the old man, this child exploited by parents, Bishop exploited by the very fact that he was alive.

"The world said, 'How long, Lord, do we have to wait for this?' And the Lord said, 'My Word is coming, my Word is coming from the house of David, the king.'" She paused and turned her head to the side, away from the fierce light. Her dark gaze moved slowly until it rested on Rayber's head in the window. He stared back at her. Her eyes remained on his face for a moment. A deep shock went through him. He was certain that the child had looked directly into his heart and seen his pity. He felt that some mysterious connection was established between them.

"'My Word is coming,'" she said, turning back to face the glare, "'my Word is coming from the house of David, the king.'"

She began again in a dirge-like tone. "Jesus came on cold straw. Jesus was warmed by the breath of an ox. 'Who is this?' the world said, 'who is this blue-cold child and this woman, plain as the winter? Is this the Word of God, this blue-cold child? Is this His will, this plain winter-woman?'

"Listen you people!" she cried, "the world knew in its heart, the same as you know in your hearts and I know in my heart. The world said, 'Love cuts like the cold wind and the will of God is plain as the winter. Where is the summer will of God? Where are the green seasons of God's will? Where is the spring and summer of God's will?'


"They had to flee into Egypt," she said in a low voice and turned her head again and this time her eyes moved directly to Rayber's face in the window and he knew they sought it. He felt himself caught up in her look, held there before the judgment seat of her eyes.

"You and I know," she said turning again, "what the world hoped then. The world hoped old Herod would slay the right child, the world hoped old Herod wouldn't waste those children, but he wasted them. He didn't get the right one. Jesus grew up and raised the dead."

Rayber felt his spirit borne aloft. But not those dead! he cried, not the innocent children, not you, not me when I was a child, not Bishop, not Frank! and he had a vision of himself moving like an avenging angel through the world, gathering up all the children that the Lord, not Herod, had slain.

"Jesus grew up and raised the dead," she cried, "and the world shouted, 'Leave the dead lie. The dead are dead and can stay that way. What do we want with the dead alive?' Oh you people!" she shouted, "they nailed Him to a cross and run a spear through His side and then they said, 'Now we can have some peace, now we can ease our minds.' And they hadn't but only said it when they wanted Him to come again. Their eyes were opened and they saw the glory they had killed.

"Listen world," she cried, flinging up her arms so that the cape flew out behind her, "Jesus is coming again! The mountains are going to lie down like hounds at His feet, the stars are going to perch on His shoulder and when He calls it, the sun is going to fall like a goose for His feast. Will you know the Lord Jesus then? The mountains will know Him and bound forward, the stars will light on His head, the sun will drop down at His feet, but will you know the Lord Jesus then?"

Rayber saw himself fleeing with the child to some enclosed garden where he would teach her the truth, where he would gather all the exploited children of the world and let the sunshine flood their minds.

"If you don't know Him now, you won't know Him then. Listen to me, world, listen to this warning. The Holy Word is in my mouth!

"The Holy Word is in my mouth!" she cried and turned her eyes again on his face in the window. This time there was a lowering concentration in her gaze. He had drawn her attention entirely away from the congregation.

Come away with me! he silently implored, and I'll teach you the truth, I'll save you, beautiful child!

Her eyes still fixed on him, she cried, "I've seen the Lord in a tree of fire! The Word of God is a burning Word to burn you clean!" She was moving in his direction, the people in front of her forgotten. Rayber's heart began to race. He felt some miraculous communication between them. The child alone in the world was meant to understand him. "Burns the whole world, man and child," she cried, her eye on him, "none can escape." She stopped a little distance from the end of the stage and stood silent, her whole attention directed across the small room to his face on the ledge. Her eyes were large and dark and fierce. He felt that in the space between them, their spirits had broken the bonds of age and ignorance and were mingling in some unheard of knowledge of each other. He was transfixed by the child's silence. Suddenly she raised her arm and pointed toward his face. "Listen you people," she shrieked, "I see a damned soul before my eyes! I see a dead man Jesus hasn't raised. His head is in the window but his ear is deaf to the Holy Word!"

Rayber's head, as if it had been struck by an invisible bolt, dropped from the ledge. He crouched on the ground, his furious spectacled eyes glittering behind the shrubbery. Inside she continued to shriek, "Are you deaf to the Lord's Word? The Word of God is a burning Word to burn you clean, burns man and child, man and child the same, you people! Be saved in the Lord's fire or perish in your own! Be saved in . . ."

He was groping fiercely about him, slapping at his coat pockets, his head, his chest, not able to find the switch that would cut off the voice. Then his hand touched the button and he snapped it. A silent dark relief enclosed him like shelter after a tormenting wind.

--The Violent Bear It Away (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1960), pp.129-132 [my emphasis]

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPoetry & Literature* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 2, 2017 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[1] The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me: —
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self—chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?—
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.

[2] Thus am I mine own prison. Everything
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you ?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.

[3]Therefore myself is that one only thing
I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time's winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanative;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my King
I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
He bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?

--Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & Literature

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Posted January 1, 2017 at 1:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted January 1, 2017 at 7:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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Posted January 1, 2017 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When rightly understood, the imaginatively compelling story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth was about God entering the world, in order to redeem it.

Lewis explored this theme in a remarkable sermon that he preached in a London church during the Second World War. He had learnt how to dive in 1930. Although he initially saw this simply as an enjoyable, exhilarating experience, Lewis began to realise its potential as an analogy for what he was coming to see as a core theme of the Christian faith — the incarnation.

Lewis invited his audience to imagine a diver plunging into the water to retrieve a precious object. As he goes deeper, the water changes from “warm and sunlit” to “pitch black” and “freezing”. Then, his “lungs almost bursting”, he goes down into the “mud and slime”, before finally heading back up to the surface, triumphantly bearing the lost object. God “descended into his own universe, and rose again, bringing human nature up with him”.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooks* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

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Posted December 30, 2016 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dickens and Disney’s Tiny Tims both hope that those who feel pity for a poor crippled boy in church “… will think of Him who made lame men walk” at Christmas time.

This was a lesson that Dickens meant for adults, as well as children.

There is no separating the generosity we owe to others from the generosity God has shown to us by sending his son to give us new hearts. Christmas shouldn’t just bring out the best in us once a year; it should transform our lives—as it did for Scrooge. Dickens knew where he wanted to end his story, and finished it accordingly:

“Some laughed to see the alteration in [Scrooge] but he let them laugh ... he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed that knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistory* Theology

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Posted December 30, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While dining at home on December 1, 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow received a telegram that his son had been severely wounded four days earlier. On November 27, 1863, while involved in a skirmish during a battle of of the Mine Run Campaign, Charley was shot through the left shoulder, with the bullet exiting under his right shoulder blade. It had traveled across his back and skimmed his spine. Charley avoided being paralyzed by less than an inch.

He was carried into New Hope Church (Orange County, Virginia) and then transported to the Rapidan River. Charley’s father and younger brother, Ernest, immediately set out for Washington, D.C., arriving on December 3. Charley arrived by train on December 5. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was alarmed when informed by the army surgeon that his son’s wound “was very serious” and that “paralysis might ensue.” Three surgeons gave a more favorable report that evening, suggesting a recovery that would require him to be “long in healing,” at least six months.

On Christmas day, 1863, Longfellow—a 57-year-old widowed father of six children, the oldest of which had been nearly paralyzed as his country fought a war against itself—wrote a poem seeking to capture the dynamic and dissonance in his own heart and the world he observes around him. He heard the Christmas bells that December day and the singing of “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14), but he observed the world of injustice and violence that seemed to mock the truthfulness of this optimistic outlook. The theme of listening recurred throughout the poem, eventually leading to a settledness of confident hope even in the midst of bleak despair.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

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Posted December 30, 2016 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

1 Comments
Posted December 30, 2016 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To give shape and meaning to life we need to inhabit narratives capacious enough to permit development and to accommodate new themes. Not only stories are needed but communities to inhabit them. We all need somewhere we belong and where membership gives us dignity and something to live up to....

God so loved the world that he was generous and gave himself to us in the person of the infant Jesus whose destiny was not command and control but to love his enemies into loving. We no longer regard Caesar as god and the coming of the Christ-child has also changed our picture of God and reveals a generous God who does not in his heart of hearts resemble Caesar.

And so the wise men significantly “departed into their own country another way”.

A genuine encounter with the Christ-child, an infant born in a stable to an ordinary mother in a far off province of the Empire, may not on the surface seem very earth-shaking but in reality it changes everything.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

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Posted December 30, 2016 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

--Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.

He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.

--James Allan Francis (1864–1928) from a sermon preached on July 11, 1926 (for anyone who took the time to listen this was quoted in Jeffrey Miller's Christmas sermon posted earlier--KSH)

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

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Posted December 29, 2016 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Listen to and ponder it all.

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

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Posted December 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.

The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.
Read it all (my emphasis).

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

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Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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 LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 28, 2016 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep,
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
That sweetest ancient cradle song,
Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given
While angels sing with pious mirth.
A glad new year to all the earth.

--Martin Luther (1483-1546)


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

0 Comments
Posted December 28, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Behold the father is his daughter’s son,
The bird that built the nest is hatched therein,
The old of years an hour hath not outrun,
Eternal life to live doth now begin,
The Word is dumb, the mirth of heaven doth weep,
Might feeble is, and force doth faintly creep.

O dying souls, behold your living spring;
O dazzled eyes, behold your sun of grace;
Dull ears, attend what word this Word doth bring;
Up, heavy hearts, with joy your joy embrace.
From death, from dark, from deafness, from despairs
This life, this light, this Word, this joy repairs.
Gift better than himself God doth not know;
Gift better than his God no man can see.
This gift doth here the giver given bestow;
Gift to this gift let each receiver be.
God is my gift, himself he freely gave me;
God’s gift am I, and none but God shall have me.

Man altered was by sin from man to beast;
Beast’s food is hay, hay is all mortal flesh.
Now God is flesh and lies in manger pressed
As hay, the brutest sinner to refresh.
O happy field wherein that fodder grew,
Whose taste doth us from beasts to men renew.

----Robert Southwell (1561-1595)

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Posted December 28, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We remember this day, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by the order of King Herod. Receive, we beseech thee, into the arms of thy mercy all innocent victims; and by thy great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish thy rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchChildren

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Posted December 28, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly here or download it there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & Television* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 27, 2016 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I saw a stable, low and very bare,
A little child in a manger.
The oxen knew him, had Him in their care,
To men He was a stranger.
The safety of the world was lying there,
And the world's danger.

--Mary Coleridge (1861-1907)

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

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Posted December 27, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now the man to whom I'm going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind, decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn't believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn't make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn't swallow the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man. "I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite. That he'd much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another, and then another. Sort of a thump or a thud. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They'd been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it. Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.

And then, he realized, that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me. That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him. "If only I could be a bird," he thought to himself, "and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safety ... to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand."

At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells - Adeste Fidelis - listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow.

According to a knowledgeable blog commenter in the past, "This was written by the author, Louis Cassels. According to enotes.com, he was a "correspondent for United Press International. He was a feature writer and author of the popular column "Religion in America" from 1955 to 1974. He was also a recipient of the prestigious Faith and Freedom Award from the Religious Heritage of America."

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

0 Comments
Posted December 27, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchGlobalization* General InterestPhotos/Photography

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Bethlehem
On Christmas Morn
The lowly gem
Of love was born
Hosannah! Christus natus est.

Bright in her crown
Of fiery star
Judea's town
Shone from afar
Hosannah! Christus natus est.

For bird and beast
He did not come
But for the least
Of mortal scum
Hosannah! Christus natus est.

While beasts in stall
On bended knee
Did carol all
Most joyously
Hosannah! Christus natus est.

Who lies in ditch?
Who begs his bread
Who has no stitch
For back or head
Hosannah! Christus natus est.

Who wakes to weep,
Lies down to mourn?
Who in his sleep
Withdraws from scorn?
Hosannah! Christus natus est.

Ye outraged dust
On field and plain
To feed the lust
Of madmen slain
Hosannah! Christus natus est.

The manger still
Outshines the throne
Christ must and will
Come to his own
Hosannah! Christus natus est.

--Countee Cullen (1903-1946)

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

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Posted December 26, 2016 at 8:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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