Posted by Kendall Harmon

But now what happened in North America is being repeated elsewhere. If not effectively challenged, false teaching is contagious, especially when it is well funded. At the recent meeting in Kigali of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), the London based Anglican Communion Secretary General, Josiah Idowu-Fearon commended the relief and development work of the Anglican Alliance, but new research by the Institute for Religion and Democracy shows close links between this organisation and TEC. Even now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is contemplating the overturning of Scripture by legitimising the blessing of same sex unions in breach of Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, despite reaffirming it at the recent meeting of the Council of Anglican Churches of Africa in Rwanda.

However, the greatest cause for concern continues to be the British Isles. The Scottish Episcopal Church has already opened the door wide to conducting same sex ‘marriages’ while in England, Salisbury Cathedral has become the latest of a growing number of cathedrals which publicly support and even bless ‘Gay Pride’ marches. Chichester Diocese has issued a statement commending those of its churches ‘with open doors to celebrate all that the Pride Festival stands for’ while the website of the Church of England’s Diocese of Europe celebrates the ‘truly joyful occasion’ of the same sex ‘marriage’ of a member of one of its congregations conducted by the Lutheran Bishop of Copenhagen.

I am therefore encouraged that seventy two members of the Church of England’s General Synod have written an open letter to the English bishops ahead of meetings planned later this year calling on them not to compromise by adopting practices that are contrary to Lambeth Resolution I.10 and warning that to do so ‘could set the Church of England adrift from her apostolic inheritance.’

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of NigeriaGlobal South Churches & PrimatesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

White rioters poured into the streets, burning and looting homes, businesses and churches in a black neighborhood and leaving this city deeply traumatized. That was 1921.

Last week, not far from where those haunting events took place, the streets of Tulsa were calm after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black motorist. The video of the shooting angered many Tulsa residents, but the subdued reaction was markedly different from the violent clashes that took place in Charlotte, N.C., in recent days, after the police killed a man there.

Why one place erupts and another does not is never easy to discern. Tulsa quickly released videos showing the facts. But some here trace part of the reason for Tulsa’s emphasis on prayer, and not protest, in recent days to the lingering scars of the 1921 riot, which is regarded as one of the deadliest race riots in the country’s history and still lingers in Tulsa’s consciousness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 25, 2016 at 2:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“What is the bible like? Like a letter which a soldier wrote to his wife about the disposition of his affairs and the care of his children in case he should chance to be killed. And the next day he was shot, and died, and the letter was torn and stained with his blood. Her friends said to the woman: the letter is of no binding force; it is not a legal will, and it is so injured by the facts of the writers own death that you cannot ever prove what it means. But the lady said: I know the man, and I am satisfied I can see what he means. And I shall do it because it is what he wanted me to do, and because he died the next day.”

--quoted by yours truly in the sermon this morning

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 25, 2016 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What is truly astonishing is the way that the Democrats’ planks on emerging culture-war issues echoed the (often more radical) stands adopted by the Methodists. Among the rights of children, for example, the Methodists included the right “to a full sex education, appropriate to their stage of development.” Affirming the rights of women, the Methodists supported full equality with men and demanded and end to “sex-role stereotypes.”

To counter overpopulation, the convention recommended the distribution of “reliable contraceptive information and devices.” Less than a year before Roe v. Wade, the convention urged “removal of abortion from the criminal code” but stopped short of approving abortion on demand. Finally, the Methodists embraced affirmative inclusion by reserving 30% of seats on all church boards and agencies for nonwhites, even though barely 6% of church members were African-American.

The events of 1972 also hastened the steady decline in membership and influence among the liberal mainline churches. Before the 1970s were out, the politically and socially conservative Southern Baptists superseded the United Methodists as the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. As one generation gave way to the next, more and more young Methodists, Presbyterians and the like grew up to become religiously something else or—especially among millennials—nothing at all.

Read it all.

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

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Posted September 25, 2016 at 6:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Reliable contraception is important, and will become even more so in countries like Nigeria where couples increasingly seek smaller families. But the assumption that family planning should be all about birth control is a 1960s relic. In a growing number of countries, the problem of getting hold of contraception is giving way to the problem of getting pregnant. As Mr Feng puts it, unmet need is being replaced by unmet demand.

As our poll shows, people in wealthy countries consistently want bigger families than they get. Couples start having children late and find it increasingly difficult. A 30-year-old woman has a roughly 20% chance of getting pregnant each month, falling to about 5% by the age of 40. The resulting baby shortfall is painful for couples and alarming for governments, which worry about the long-term solvency of old-age-pension systems.

Read it all from The Economist.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 25, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

STEIN: But Lanner's experiments are hugely controversial. Some people have moral objections to doing any kind of research on human embryos. But editing the DNA in embryos is even freaking out people who think that's OK.

MARCY DARNOVSKY: The production of genetically modified human embryos is actually quite dangerous.

STEIN: Marcy Darnovsky heads a genetic watchdog group called the Center for Genetics and Society.

DARNOVSKY: It's a step toward attempts to produce genetically modified human beings. This would be reason for the already grave concern.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife EthicsScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 25, 2016 at 5:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

--Psalm 66: 8-9

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 25, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the wake of July’s vote on same-sex marriages at General Synod, Indigenous Anglicans intend to “proceed towards self-determination with urgency,” the Anglican Church of Canada’s three Indigenous bishops say.

General Synod voted this summer to provisionally approve changes to the marriage canon, which would allow same-sex marriages. The proposed changes must pass a second reading, slated for the next General Synod in 2019, before they can take effect.

On Thursday, September 22, National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald; Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh; and Bishop Adam Halkett, of Missinipi, released ajoint statement they say was requested by an Indigenous circle that met after the results of July’s vote were revealed. The bishops begin by saying that they do not speak for all Indigenous peoples, although, they add, they have consulted “broadly and deeply” with many. The statement voices displeasure both with the decision and the process it was made, and expresses desire for a more self-determined Indigenous Anglican community in Canada.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ICBC also highlights that Māori and Pacific voices have been notably absent in public conversations over assisted suicide, raising questions whether the debate so far has accurately reflected this country’s cultural diversity on these issues.

The submission also flags:

1. The limits of claiming assisted dying as a personal ‘right’. The ICBC propose that an individual choice to die does not exist in a vacuum. The ICBC reminds Kiwis that no person is free of social responsibility for others who may suffer as a result of their choice to die.

2. Overseas experience indicates that assisted suicide promotes suicide by normalising it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 24, 2016 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The majority position of the Way Forward Working Group (composed of some of the best legal and theological minds of our church) agreed that blessing committed same-sex couples is not a departure from the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ, and therefore not prohibited by Te Pouhere (our church’s constitution). Many places provide such blessings, and people in committed same-sex relationships hold a bishop’s licence. Under the 2016 revision of Te Pouhere, bishops can even authorise such blessings in places under their jurisdiction.

I propose that our doctrine of marriage be changed to being between a couple, with the intent that it be lifelong and monogamous. Such a change would enable the sort of diversity illustrated in my first paragraph. The change would remove the current hypocrisy around marrying divorcees, clarify practice in relation to committed same-sex relationships, and facilitate honesty and openness.

Within this, I propose we affirm the current position that any minister shall have full discretion to decline to conduct any marriage service or blessing, and that we also affirm and encourage vocations to religious life, singleness, and chastity.

Yours in Christ,

(Rev) Bosco Peters

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 24, 2016 at 12:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The crisis spawned by Boko Haram has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to a relatively little-known city in Nigeria that has finally become safe enough for them to wait out an end to the awful, deadly war.

With villagers from the countryside pouring in, it is almost as though the entire city, Maiduguri, has become a sprawling refugee camp.

Tented government encampments dot the exurbs where people wait for bags of food to arrive. Once-quaint neighborhoods overflow with cardboard hovels filled with young children who are lucky to eat three meals a day.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 24, 2016 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

--Psalm 87:1-3

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 24, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has just released two related reports on numbers in ordained ministry. These are not related to annual ministry figures; the last figures (from 2015) were released in June, and caught the headlines for a number of reasons. These reports are related more to the aims of the Renewal and Reform process, and look back at the historical context as well as projecting forwards. Although there is no new research data included, the reports do contain some important observations which have implications for both national and diocesan approaches.

The first thing to say is that these reports are really helpful, with relevant information, well presented, and with interesting narratives to complement the information. This is a reflection of two important changes, one in strengthening the analysis of what is happening through the Research and Statistics team (they are very impressive—do go and visit them if you are passing through Church House) and the other in focussing more clearly on vocations at a national level within Ministry Division, not least through the appointment of Catherine Nancekievill as Head of Discipleship and Vocation. Is it too optimistic to think that the C of E is actually getting its act together in this area…?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureYoung Adults* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted September 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


From here:
Wycliffe Hall is delighted to announce that The Very Revd. Dr. Justyn Terry is to be our new Academic Dean, giving strategic oversight to all our teaching programmes, both academic and ministerial, and driving for co-ordination and quality.

The Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Michael Lloyd, writes: ‘Justyn has, for the past eight years, been Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry, in the wonderfully named Ambridge USA, so he brings an extraordinary wealth of experience to this new job. I am thrilled at this appointment, and am looking forward with great excitement to working with Justyn. His outstanding gifts will help Wycliffe provide women and men with the best possible training for a lifetime’s service of God. Please do pray for Justyn and Cathy and their daughters, Sophia and Lydia, as they adjust to life back in the UK.’

Justyn is the author of several books, including The Justifying Judgment of God: a Reassessment of the place of Judgment in the Saving Work of Christ, The Gospel according to Galatians: The Good News of Jesus Christ for a Secular Age, and The Five Phases of Leadership: An Overview for Christian Leaders. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity School for Ministry.

Justyn will begin two days a week in October, and then be full-time from 1st January 2017.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thirty-six IARCCUM Anglican and Catholic bishops, representing 19 different regions where Anglicans and Catholics live side by side in significant number, will meet in Canterbury and Rome for a summit meeting in October of this year. The bishops will arrive in Canterbury for the first leg of their meeting on 30th September. They will be staying at the Lodge in Canterbury Cathedral, will take part in the liturgical life of the Cathedral, and will make a pilgrim visit to the shrine of St Thomas à Becket, where Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Robert Runcie prayed together.

Read it all and follow the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeItaly* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEcclesiology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Education is at the heart of the work the Church of England does for the common good. Through its 4,500 primary and 200 secondary schools, it educates around one million children a day. It is estimated that around 15 million people alive today attended a Church of England school.

The fundamental purpose of Church of England education is to nurture people to live life in all its fullness, inspired by Jesus’s message in the Gospel of John: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly.[John 10:10]” Non-church schools also have inspiring visions, albeit articulated in different language; to inspire and educate the whole person, building them up to flourish in the world.

As teachers across the country well know, the education of children, in church and non-church schools, is taking place against a backdrop of deep uncertainty and rapid change.

Read it all from the TES.

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

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Posted September 23, 2016 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The great catechist of the Early Church, St. Augustine, knew better. L. Gregory Jones, in his valuable essay on baptism and catechesis in the patristic era[1], pointed out that for Augustine instruction of the mind and the conversion of the heart were not alternatives, but two sides of the same coin, as the human person is drawn by grace through an extended period of catechetical instruction to exchange error and sin for the knowledge and love of the true God.

This “instruction,” Jones writes, should be conceived of broadly; in the patristic era, it included “learning Scripture through study and hearing homilies … and the shaping of their affections … and being mentored in actual Christian living.” Augustine’s teaching immersed catechumens in the biblical narrative, not simply as “our story” to be expressed in this way or that, but in the intellectually rich mode of faith seeking understanding of the true God.

As a trained rhetor, Augustine was no dry pedant, but sought to “stir genuine delight in his listeners” so that they would come to love that which their minds were beginning to understand. Catechumens were assigned mentors to guide them relationally through the journey of conversion, for Augustine knew that “Christ is announced through Christian friends.” These sponsors were charged with keeping watch over the moral and spiritual formation of new believers, and in Lent would be asked whether their charges had kept from grievous sin and stuck to their Lenten disciplines.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dost thou work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise thee?...Is thy steadfast love declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in Abaddon? Are thy wonders known in the darkness, or thy saving help in the land of forgetfulness?

--Psalm 88:10-12

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 23, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

You can listen directly there or download it here.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitude have welcomed the establishment of a Reflection Group under the leadership of Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. Whilst expressing disappointment that a group tasked with reflecting on issues of human sexuality does not appear to include any openly gay people, we recognise that this simply reflects the reality within the church’s leadership - that LGBT people are invisible, our voices often silenced, and our experiences unheard. We welcome the opportunities which have arisen as part of the Shared Conversations to included the lived experience, deep conviction and prophetic witness of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and we recognise the enormously costly nature of the contribution many people have made to that process.

The Reflection Group must now consider the Church’s steps into the future. In doing so, they will be called to listen carefully to all they have heard during the Shared Conversations. We call upon them to lead the House of Bishops towards a future that celebrates the gifts of all God's people including the LGBTI members of the Church of England and embodies the radical equality to which we are called in Christ.

Read it all.

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

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Posted September 22, 2016 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglican Bishops in Nigeria on Wednesday appealed to the Niger Delta militants to stop the bombing of the oil facilities in their region, saying that shutting down the economy will not address their grievances.

They appealed to the militants to sheath the swords and give peace a chance in the interest of all Nigerians.

Delivering his opening address at the ongoing Church of Nigeria Standing Committee holding in Awka, the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev'd. Nicholas Okoh, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a roundtable meeting between the government and them in order to address their grievances.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 22, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Kevin Robertson was among three priests elected suffragan bishops at a synod of the diocese of Toronto, Saturday, September 17. Photo: Diocese of Toronto

A gay man living with a male partner is among three priests to have been elected suffragan bishops in the diocese of Toronto this weekend.

On Saturday, September 17, members of an electoral synod elected the Rev. Riscylla Walsh Shaw, Canon Kevin Robertson and Canon Jenny Andison as suffragan, or assistant, bishops. Each will be responsible for one of the diocese’s four episcopal areas: York-Scarborough, York-Credit Valley, Trent-Durham and York-Simcoe. Archbishop Colin Johnson, diocesan bishop, will decide which bishop will serve in each area. Bishop Peter Fenty is currently the bishop responsible for York-Simcoe.

Canon Kevin Robertson, incumbent at Christ Church, Deer Park in Toronto, was elected on the fourth ballot of the second election. According to an article on the diocese of Toronto website, Robertson, who lives with his male partner, said it was a “historic day.” He said he believed he was the first openly gay and partnered bishop-elect in the diocese and perhaps even in the entire Anglican Church of Canada.

His election, Robertson said, together with this summer’s provisional vote at General Synod to allow same-sex marriages, showed a growing acceptance of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people in the church.

Read it all. You can read more about the Suffragan Bishop-elect there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 22, 2016 at 6:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; and fear fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.

--Acts 19:11-20

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 22, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are those who live in a world which struggles to distinguish between what something costs and what it is worth. So powerful is this trend that we face Christ and seek to put a price on grace. He responds with infinite love and mercy – and with a command that seems irrational when we first hear it. He says to us, who think ourselves rich, that we are to receive freely from him.

The reason for his offer is that, in God's economy, we are the poorest of the poor; poorer than ever because we think ourselves rich. Our money and wealth is like the toy money in a children's game: it may buy goods in our human economies that seem so powerful, but in the economy of God it is worthless. We are only truly rich when we accept mercy from God, through Christ our Saviour.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesOrthodox ChurchRoman CatholicPope Francis * Theology

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You write that a lot of people are disappointed by their experience with the Bible, which creates guilt. Why the disappointment?

We’re not honest with people about the Bible. There’s this fear that if we admit it’s a difficult and challenging book, we’ll scare people off. We want to tell people, especially new Christians, about all the great things that will happen to them by reading it.

Since we’re not honest about what kind of book the Bible is, and how it’s supposed to work, when people start reading for themselves, they encounter all kinds of crazy material that doesn’t fit the paradigm that we’ve given them. They find stuff from ancient cultures, from different parts of the world, and they don’t understand it immediately. And it’s hard for them to get something they can apply to their lives every single day from just reading through the Bible. So it leads to cherry-picking verses. Because there are these gems, these verses that seem to contain important spiritual truths.

So you get all these cherry-picked passages, but everything else gets neglected or completely ignored. Certain passages are essentially de-canonized. We end up with a partial Bible. So people get discouraged. They try again with a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan, but they’re just not making it.

We need to start equipping people to understand the Bible on its own terms. We have to go back into the Bible’s world, rather than demanding it be immediately relevant to ours. We need to give them pathways from the ancient world into today’s world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Think about the people at work who are part of your network — the individuals who help you improve your performance or provide you with emotional support when you are going through a tough spell. If you’re like most people, the colleagues who come to mind are those you get along with and who have a good impression of you. But has anyone in your network actually given you tough feedback?

Your likely answer is “not many.” As I discovered in recent research I conducted with Paul Green of Harvard Business School and Brad Staats of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, people tend to move away from those who provide feedback that is more negative than their view of themselves. They do not listen to their advice and prefer to stop interacting with them altogether. It seems that people tend to strengthen their bonds with people who only see their positive qualities.

In one of our studies, we used four years of archival data on over 300 full-time employees at a United States-based food manufacturing and agribusiness company. The company has a fluid structure that gives employees some discretion in defining the scope, responsibilities, and deliverables of their role on an annual basis.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A book I begrudgingly appreciate is The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller. Keller is not my theological cup of tea. He embraces traditional gender roles and rejects same-sex marriage, and these points are not marginal to his arguments. They are central to his take on the whole institution of marriage. So while I longed to write him off on principle, I found myself nevertheless affirming a great deal of what I read, particularly his take on premarital sex.
One of the reasons we believe in our culture that sex should always and only be the result of great passion is that so many people today have learned how to have sex outside of marriage, and this is a very different experience than having sex inside it. Outside of marriage, sex is accompanied by a desire to impress or entice someone. It is something like the thrill of the hunt. When you are seeking to draw in someone you don’t know, it injects risk, uncertainty, and pressure to the lovemaking that quickens the heartbeat and stirs the emotions.
Many will roll their eyes at this blanket statement. After all, according to Keller, he and his wife were virgins on their wedding night. What does he actually know about what it’s like to have sex before marriage? Surely this is a reductive blanket assessment of casual or committed-but-not-married sex. There are undoubtedly a wide variety of ways to experience unmarried sex. But for me? Yeah. The shoe fits. I can see it now. My relationships with boyfriends were devoid of any true intimacy. Sure, on rare occasions the sex was great—but it was never truly good.

The contrast between unmarried and married sex is significant. The covenant of marriage—the vows to love now and forever—changes everything. It just does.

Read it all (emphasis hers).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexualityTeens / YouthYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I was, in other words, a very early adopter of what we might now call living-in-the-web. And as the years went by, I realized I was no longer alone. Facebook soon gave everyone the equivalent of their own blog and their own audience. More and more people got a smartphone — connecting them instantly to a deluge of febrile content, forcing them to cull and absorb and assimilate the online torrent as relentlessly as I had once. Twitter emerged as a form of instant blogging of microthoughts. Users were as addicted to the feedback as I had long been — and even more prolific. Then the apps descended, like the rain, to inundate what was left of our free time. It was ubiquitous now, this virtual living, this never-stopping, this always-updating. I remember when I decided to raise the ante on my blog in 2007 and update every half-hour or so, and my editor looked at me as if I were insane. But the insanity was now banality; the once-unimaginable pace of the professional blogger was now the default for everyone.

If the internet killed you, I used to joke, then I would be the first to find out. Years later, the joke was running thin. In the last year of my blogging life, my health began to give out. Four bronchial infections in 12 months had become progressively harder to kick. Vacations, such as they were, had become mere opportunities for sleep. My dreams were filled with the snippets of code I used each day to update the site. My friendships had atrophied as my time away from the web dwindled. My doctor, dispensing one more course of antibiotics, finally laid it on the line: “Did you really survive HIV to die of the web?

Read it all from New York Magazine.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationMediaScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2013 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, declared war on Wonga and other payday lenders crucifying borrowers with 5,000% interest loans. Three years later it looks as if his prayers may have been answered.

CFO Lending, which was fined £34m this week by the Financial Conduct Authority, is just the latest operator brought to its knees by regulators punishing bad lending behaviour. CFO, which traded under brand names Payday First, Money Resolve and Flexible First, will have to hand money back to nearly 100,000 victims of its unfair practices.

Citizens Advice said complaints about payday loans have collapsed by 86% between 2013 and 2016. But campaigners warn that the industry is reinventing itself with still “eye-watering” interest rates on three-month loans aimed at people earning less than £20,000 a year on insecure work contracts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England will see the number of traditional clergy drop by 15 per cent in just 20 years unless it dramatically increases ordinations over the next decade, new figures show.

While falling numbers in the pews have attracted headlines in recent years, senior clerics are also concerned about a separate looming decline - in the pulpit.

Bishops fear a fall in the number of priests could make the task of reversing declining congregations by winning new converts more difficult than ever.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistoryMenPsychologyReligion & CultureSociologyWomenYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Among the world’s religious leaders gathered in Assisi on Tuesday for the World Day of Prayer for Peace is the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Justin Welby.

The Anglican leader was moderating one of the many panel discussions organised by the St Edigio community as part of a three day international meeting focused on the theme ‘Thirst for peace – religions and cultures in dialogue’. Since the first Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, called for by Pope John Paul II exactly 30 years ago, St Egidio has organised an annual interfaith encounter to highlight the vital role of dialogue among all people of faith in promoting peace in the world.

Read and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations* Theology

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of thine apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of thy Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


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

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches that are not reconciled with one another weaken the experience of mercy that unites believers to God and with each other, Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said.
By not reconciling with one other, "our worship is diminished and our capacity to grow close together with God is reduced," he said Sept. 20 in Assisi during a discussion on ecumenism.
"The failure of ecumenism imprisons mercy and prevents its liberation and its power with one another," he said.
Speaking before Pope Francis arrived in Assisi for an interreligious peace meeting, Archbishop Welby joined other Christian leaders exploring how love, charity and mercy help foster peace and unity among Christian denominations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * Theology

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Posted September 20, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


(Photo: Joy Hunter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I've been reading a lot about a "recovering" economy. It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week.

I don't think it's true.

The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.

Ten percent of 250 million adults in the U.S. is 25 million people whose economic lives have crashed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 20, 2016 at 11:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I meet all sorts in my job. You might say it’s a broad church. A few weeks back I was on another shoot when, during a break, the talk got around to religion. In these interesting times, it often does.

Eventually someone mentioned “believing in the sky fairy”, and there was general approval, a bit of laughter. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t much fussed. Generally speaking I’m in favour of a secular society, one without a state-sanctioned religion and where everyone minds a polite responsibility to go quietly about their business and not bother the neighbours with strongly held opinions on the matter of belief.

The sky fairy comment, as it happens, was in response to a general point someone made about the Anglican church — and this sort of thing is absolutely commonplace. Remembering to treat Christianity with unbridled contempt is an entry-level requirement for most modern conversations about religion in Britain.

Read it all from Neil Oliver (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchMulticulturalism, pluralismPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 20, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dioceses have responded to the call to work towards a 50% increase in candidates for ordination with new posts and new procedures. A review of numbers in ordained ministry over the last 67 years shows that the 50% increase in candidates for ministry by 2020 agreed by the General Synod in February, 2015, is needed to stabilise and increase the numbers ministering in parishes, chaplaincies and new forms of church.

The Church of England is seeking to increase by half the numbers training for ordained ministry and to sustain those numbers for a decade: an increase from about 500 to 750 by 2020. At the same time, the Church is also seeking greater diversity among those training for ministry. This will better reflect the communities where the Church is working, in terms of age, gender and ethnic and social background. The 50% increase is an aspiration and not a limit if more candidates come forward and dioceses require more new clergy.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Andrew Watson, chair of the Ordained Vocations Working Group said, "The aspiration to increase the number of new clergy by 50% is part of a wider vision to release and develop the gifts of the whole people of God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders which he has wrought.
He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments....

--Psalm 78:2-7

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With children it is usually cancer: incurable sickness, unbearable pain, debilitating, degrading misery. What child wouldn’t prefer to go an be with Jesus? Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia (it’s a thing) agrees. Far better for children to be given a fatal injection than to cough up blood all night long, whether or not they go to be with Jesus. Indeed, Jesus doesn’t really come into it. Why should he? We’re talking about the exercise of free will for the alleviation of unbearable physical suffering. It is liberal, progressive and compassionate. A child could understand it, especially at the age of 17.

Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, and now injects people whether or not they are suffering a terminal illness. If you’re depressed and feeling suicidal for no particular reason at all, Belgium will provide a way out. They extended euthanasia to children in 2014. It is the only country in the world that has no age restriction. At least in the Netherlands you have to be 12 years of age before you can decide you’d prefer to be with Jesus than all those nasty doctors and nurses. In Belgium, the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia can give their blessing to your death if you’re 10, eight, six… provided you’re in unbearable physical pain and know what you’re doing.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child… (1Cor 13:11).

One hesitates to use the word ‘evil’ of statutes promulgated by well-intentioned politicians in the context of a liberal democracy, with all the constitutional checks and balances afforded by reason and experience. But Belgium’s abolition of all age restrictions on “the right to die” must surely qualify as one of the most wicked and damnable decrees in the history of Christendom.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgium* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Supporters of a change in the Church of England’s stance on sexuality have voiced dismay after a new panel of bishops to help “discern” its future course on issues such as same-sex marriage was chosen seemingly dominated traditionalists.

The 10-strong “Bishop’s Reflection Group” appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York includes a string of prominent evangelicals and some seen as staunch conservatives but no-one who has openly advocated a change in teaching or practice on the issue.

Liberals voiced anger while opponents of any change also privately hailed the make-up of the group, set up after a four-day gathering of all the bishops last week, as better than they expected from their point of view.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

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

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What we now see is occurring because Christians have allowed our own minds to become dull, darkened, and depraved. We’ve allowed this to happen, not out of malice toward God or bad intentions, but because our passive minds have resulted in passive lives and a weakened, impotent, wandering, and often confusing and contradictory witness to the Gospel and the life of Christ within.

Simply put, the world has done a better job of evangelizing us to its ways than we have of evangelizing the world to the magnificent good news of the Gospel.

Upholding constitutional rights and the human dignity of those who are same-sex attracted is a matter of basic human decency. But same-sex marriage is something completely different. As a gay man, allow me to make what is perhaps a startling declaration: same-sex marriage is a great coup for the devil, far greater than individual homosexual acts or relationships ever were or ever could be. Same-sex marriage mocks Christ’s relationship with his Bride, the Church. That is the source of the fury being hurled at those who speak out against same-sex marriage.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps the most significant thing about the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church that met in June in Crete is that it took place at all. The Eastern Orthodox churches hadn’t met in this way in nearly a century, and it was their first meeting since the fall of the communist regimes that had decimated the religious landscape of Eastern Europe, home to the majority of Ortho­dox Christians. Even if the decisions taken at the council are contested, there is now a mechanism in place by which they might be revisited.

In the Orthodox Church, nothing happens quickly. Yet the ripples of conciliarity being felt from the June meeting are significant, and they will not soon die out. Some within the Orthodox Church are proposing regular meetings, perhaps not unlike the Lambeth conferences held every decade in the Anglican Com­munion. Regular assemblies like this would be something new, and all of a sudden they feel more possible.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is composed of 14 self-governing churches (15 if you count the Orthodox Church in America, whose independent, self-governing status is contested). Of these, four did not attend, largely due to disagreements over some of the texts that were to be discussed in Crete.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox Church* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

GAFCON UK is puzzled as to why the Church of England needs a 'Bishops' Reflection Group' on homosexuality. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference is clear, and the Bible is universally clear. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are same-sex attracted, and faithfully living according to God's revealed plan for human flourishing. As pastors, teachers, friends, and neighbours we can have no other response. The Church of England needs to have the courage of its foundational convictions, return to them, and move on to its mission of calling the nation to turn to Christ as the only Saviour and Lord.


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

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Then we will never turn back from thee; give us life, and we will call on thy name! Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! let thy face shine, that we may be saved!

--Psalm 80:18-19

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 225 years after the ratification of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the cause of conscience protected by the principles of “no establishment” and “free exercise” may be losing support in the minds and hearts of the American people.

Appeals by religious individuals and groups for exemption from government laws and regulations that substantially burden religious practice are increasingly unpopular and controversial. So much so that many in the media have taken to using scare quotes, transforming religious freedom into “religious freedom.”

Now the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights appears to be recommending that we make it official: Our first freedom is first no more.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Lord is King;he has put on splendid apparel;
the Lord has put on his apparel
and girded himself with strength.

He has made the whole world so sure *
that it cannot be moved.

--Psalm 93:1-2

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 18, 2016 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...to the typical observer, it’s the Francis position that looks more like the church’s real teaching (He is the pope, after all), even if it’s delivered off the cuff or in footnotes or through surrogates.

That position, more or less, seems to be that second marriages may be technically adulterous, but it’s unreasonable to expect modern people to realize that, and even more unreasonable to expect them to leave those marriages or practice celibacy within them. So the sin involved in a second marriage is often venial not mortal, and not serious enough to justify excluding people of good intentions from the sacraments.

Which brings us back to Tim Kaine’s vision, because it is very easy to apply this modified position on remarriage to same-sex unions. If relationships the church once condemned as adultery are no longer a major, soul-threatening sin, then why should a committed same-sex relationship be any different? If the church makes post-sexual revolution allowances for straight couples, shouldn’t it make the same ones for people who aren’t even attracted to the opposite sex?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySacramental TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Terms of Reference

To assist the Bishops of the Church of England in their reflection on issues relating to human sexuality, in the light of theological, biblical, ecumenical, Anglican Communion, pastoral, missiological, historical and societal considerations bearing on these issues, and following experiences of the shared conversations held around the Church between 2014 and 2016.
To assist the House of Bishops in identifying questions in relation to human sexuality, with particular reference to same sex relationships. It will also develop possible answers to those questions for the House to consider, as a contribution to the leadership which the House provides to the Church on such issues.
To provide material to assist the House of Bishops in its reflections in November 2016, and subsequently as requested, and to assist the House in its development of any statements on these matters which it may provide to the wider Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“You seem pretty positive, what types of things bring you down?”....

“Show me (role play) how you would show a customer you’re willing to help them by only using your voice....”

“If you’re given a jar with a mix of fair and unfair coins, and you pull one out and flip it 3 times, and get the specific sequence heads heads tails, what are the chances that you pulled out a fair or an unfair coin?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I don't know if it's any better with the Anglican Church in England, but the...[Episcopal] Church in America seems to have gone stark raving mad."

Read the background and the larger quote there.


(Carl Van Vechten)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

3 Comments
Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the set time which I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars....

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up; but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

--Psalm 75: 2-3; 6-7

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Where can we by the power of God make a difference for emerging Anglicanism?” asked Bishop Mark Lawrence, in a day-long gathering of clergy from the Diocese of South Carolina at Saint James, James Island, September 14. “There’s some gravity to our decision. We need to think forward, evangelically, missionally in a way that will make a difference if someone looks back 50 years from now.”

Over 100 clergy were present for the meeting, which focused primarily on discernment issues surrounding the Diocese’s process towards affiliation with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)* South Carolina* Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2016 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



(Hat Tip: @MaxCRoser+ourworldindata.com)

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2016 at 8:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’ll be honest, this made me mad. Hansen oh-so-blithely presumes that he, simply by virtue of his job title, is entitled to special privileges on Facebook. But why, precisely, should that be the case? The entire premise of Facebook, indeed, the underpinning of the company’s success, is that it is a platform that can be used by every single person on earth. There are no gatekeepers, and certainly no outside editors. Demanding special treatment from Facebook because one controls a printing press is not only nonsensical it is downright antithetical to not just the premise of Facebook but the radical liberty afforded by the Internet. Hansen can write his open letter on aftenposten.no and I can say he’s being ridiculous on stratechery.com and there is not a damn thing anyone, including Mark Zuckerberg, can do about it.

Make no mistake, I recognize the threats Facebook poses to discourse and politics; I’ve written about them explicitly. There are very real concerns that people are not being exposed to news that makes them uncomfortable, and Hansen is right that the photo in question is an example of exactly why making people feel uncomfortable is so important.

But it should also not be forgotten that the prison of engagement-driving news that people are locking themselves in is one of their own making: no one is forced to rely on Facebook for news, just as Aftenposten isn’t required to post its news on Facebook. And on the flipside, the freedom and reach afforded by the Internet remain so significant that the editor-in-chief of a newspaper I had never previously read can force the CEO of one of the most valuable companies in the world to accede to his demands by rousing worldwide outrage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2016 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the summer of 1905, the Catholic cassock, and whether to ban wearing it in the streets, sparked a passionate debate in France . For Charles Chabert, a leftwing MP, the black ankle-length soutane was not just an affront to modernity but a reminder of the threat the monarchist Catholic Church posed to the secular republic that he, and his colleagues, sought to consolidate with a bill enforcing a strict separation of state and religion.

Some priests would find it hard to part with the garment, he conceded, but others, “the most clever, the most educated”, would welcome the ban as liberation. Conjuring up an imaginary cleric, shy and buttoned up, Chabert added: “Look at him. The garb makes him a prisoner of his own ignorance . . . Of this slave, let’s make a man.”

Aristide Briand, author of the separation bill, disagreed. By policing garments, the state would be perceived as “intolerant”, and, even worse, the subject of “ridicule”, he quipped.
Fast forward 111 years, France is again debating religious garb — this time, the burkini.

Read it all from the FT (if necessary another link is there).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamSecularism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pretending that the refugee crisis is going to disappear is “futile, foolish”, and turning vulnerable people away from the UK “simply shifts the burden to those less able to bear it”, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams has warned.

He was speaking at a multifaith gathering at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London, on Monday, to mark the release of an open letter to the Prime Minister, signed by more than 200 religious leaders, some of whom were also in attendance (above). It calls on the Government to accommodate more refugees in the UK more quickly, and, in particular, to reunite families that have been separated by conflict.

“The pace in responding to the refugee crisis seems very slow,” Lord Williams said. “We have had months of discussion on the subject of reuniting children with parents, and as yet have remarkably little to show for it.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigration* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehu′man, Biztha, Harbo′na, Bigtha and Abag′tha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served King Ahasu-e′rus as chamberlains, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command conveyed by the eunuchs. At this the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him.

Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times—for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, the men next to him being Carshe′na, Shethar, Adma′tha, Tarshish, Meres, Marse′na, and Memu′can, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom—: “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasu-e′rus conveyed by the eunuchs?” Then Memu′can said in presence of the king and the princes, “Not only to the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also to all the princes and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasu-e′rus. For this deed of the queen will be made known to all women, causing them to look with contempt upon their husbands, since they will say, ‘King Ahasu-e′rus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ This very day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will be telling it to all the king’s princes, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. If it please the king, let a royal order go forth from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be altered, that Vashti is to come no more before King Ahasu-e′rus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.

--Esther 1:10-19

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ballarat's Anglican Bishop Garry Weatherill has declared his support for same-sex marriage and said he opposed the Federal Government's proposed plebiscite on the issue.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday introduced legislation into the Lower House for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage to be held on February 11.

At this stage, Labor is expected to block the passage of the bill.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The College of Bishops of the Church of England met in Oxford from 12-15 September 2016.

As is the usual pattern of meetings of the College every third year the College of Bishops are joined for part of their meeting by bishops from the Scottish Episcopal Church, Church of Ireland and Church in Wales. Representatives from each of the sister churches made presentations to the college and engaged fully in discussions during the first days of the meeting.

A wide ranging agenda included presentations and discussions on Safeguarding, the Renewal and Reform programme, the post-Brexit political landscape, clergywomen in leadership, clergy wellbeing and issues of sexuality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Bishop of Rochester has rejected claims put forward by some Members of Parliament that a visit by a British delegation to Syria was ill-advised.

In a statement submitted to The Church of England Newspaper, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali said, he, Baroness Cox, Lord Hylton, the Rev Andrew Ashdown and other members of the unofficial delegation had challenged the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad over his indiscriminate use of force in that country’s civil war, which has led to tens of thousands of civilian casualties.

The group’s visit had been attacked in the press for “giving a ‘war criminal’, that is President Assad, a photo opportunity and a tool for propaganda. In fact, it was a pastoral visit to the people of Syria, especially Christians, who have suffered so much at the hands of jihadist extremists,” he wrote.

“Britain maintains relations with and encourages visits to countries like the Sudan, Iran and Zimbabwe. Why is Assad being demonised to this extent? In the Middle East, the choice is not between angels and monsters but between one kind of monster and another,” Bishop Nazir-Ali said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKMiddle EastSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The eye-popping improvement in economic fortunes last year raises the question: If incomes are up and poverty is down, why is Donald J. Trump’s message of economic decay resonating so broadly?

The answer is in plain sight. While the economy finally is moving in the right direction, the real incomes of most American households still are smaller than in the late 1990s. And large swaths of the country — rural America, industrial centers in the Rust Belt and Appalachia — are lagging behind.

“We ain’t feeling too much of all that economic growth that I heard was going on, patting themselves on the back,” said Ralph Kingan, the mayor of Wright, Wyo. “It ain’t out in the West.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReservePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted September 15, 2016 at 11:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some people can be too extreme even for Islamic State.

The self-proclaimed caliphate’s biggest and deadliest franchise outside the Middle East, the “West Africa Province” also known as Boko Haram, fractured in recent weeks over Islamic State’s decision to replace its notorious leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Mr. Shekau hasn’t recognized the August appointment of a rival Boko Haram commander, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, as the group’s new “governor.” The two factions have repeatedly clashed since then and their followers have accused each other of abandoning the true faith.

This split, while weakening Boko Haram in the immediate term, could have dramatic consequences for how jihadists continue their struggle in Nigeria and in neighboring countries. Boko Haram’s areas of influence were cut down by the recent offensives of regional militaries, which were aided by U.S., British and French advisers. But the group still controls large chunks of northeastern Nigeria and operates in parts of Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfrica* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the New Testament too, some of the passages often cited are not about loving, committed, faithful relationships between people of the same sex, but about pederasty and male prostitution. But all that apart, and given that each of the passages purported to be about homosexuality can be interpreted in more than one way, we come to the fundamental question as to whether taking the Bible as a whole, we can come to the same conclusions about committed, faithful, loving, same-sex relationships as we did about slavery.

We are not thereby abandoning the Bible but trying to interpret it in a way that is consistent with the main thrust of the ministry of Jesus, who went out of His way to minister to those who were excluded, marginalised, and abandoned by His society because they were regarded as impure and unholy by the religious leaders of His day, either because of their gender, age, morality or sexuality. Taking Holy Scripture seriously means paying attention to Jesus’ ministry of inclusivity.

And all of that without bringing into the reckoning what we now know about same-sex attraction in terms of psychology and biology and the experience of homosexual people. And surely if God is the creator, He reveals Himself to us through new knowledge and insights so that, for example, we no longer believe the world was created in six days. As I have tried to show, in the Bible there are a number of totally different perspectives on the same issue. What was responsible for this shift was a growth in understanding about the issue in question.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Wales* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Wales* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted September 15, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In thee, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In thy righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline thy ear to me, and save me! Be thou to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for thou art my rock and my fortress.

--Psalm 71:1-3

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Religion is still viewed in government circles as little more than a parade of “fairies, goblins and imaginary friends” despite claims that it would now “do God”, according to Britain’s former minister for faith.

Baroness Warsi said there is still misunderstanding and hostility towards religion in “ever secular” Whitehall circles, despite efforts to change the culture.

The former Tory Chairman urged Theresa May – whom she described as “somebody of faith … somebody who understands faith” - to reinstate the post of faith minister which was quietly dropped after the last election.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town penned an open letter to them “saying the vast majority of South Africans support their efforts to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent for the benefit of all and not to enrich a few”.

It is not the first time Makgoba has backed Gordhan. In February‚ he met with the minister before he delivered his Budget Speech.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of people driven from their homes by war and persecution has now surpassed the UK’s population to equal the 21st largest country in the world.

More than 65.3 million people are currently refugees or are displaced in their own countries according to the United Nations – the highest figure since records began before the Second World War.

Humanitarian organisations warn that those forced to flee face an uncertain future with difficulties in education, employment, health and security.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistanEngland / UKEuropeMiddle EastSyria* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He compared biblical interpretations of same-sex relationships with those of slavery – a practice once defended by the Church. As opinions on that changed, he suggested, so may the Church’s view on same-sex relationships.

“In spite of all the passages in favour of slavery, when you examine the Scriptures as a whole and the ministry of Jesus in particular, you realise it is about freedom from all that diminishes and dehumanises people. No Christian I hope would today argue that slavery is good, but for nineteen centuries the Church accepted it and defended it. God through His Holy Spirit has led us into the truth of seeing things in a totally different way today and we are rightly horrified when we read about people who have been kept as slaves by others.

“What all this amounts to is that one cannot argue that there is one accepted traditional way of interpreting Scripture that is true and orthodox and all else is modern revisionism, culturally conditioned. Scripture itself is diverse and theological views held in some biblical books are reshaped in the light of experience by other writers….

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Wales* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Wales* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

6 Comments
Posted September 14, 2016 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians of every tradition, in whatever context, share many things in common. At the core of Thy Kingdom Come is one of the most important: a reliance on God to send the Holy Spirit to empower us as witnesses to the good news.

In Acts 1.8, shortly before his ascension, Jesus tells his disciples that they “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. Jesus links being a witness and the empowering work of the Spirit. We cannot be witnesses on our own.

When I spoke with Cardinal Vincent Nichols recently, he said that those days of prayer at Pentecost had had far deeper resonance in his own life and prayer than ever before. There was a real sense of new growth, he said. For me, it seemed to be a fresh sign of the Lord saying to us: “The Spirit is given to you to carry on and do the work.”

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen!

--Psalm 72:18-19

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 14, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If we look at the crisis of faith and order within the Anglican Communion, it’s not only bishops that are at fault. In the last 20 years, the Archbishops of Canterbury have failed to address the problems and even made things worse.

The leading bishops of the Communion of Anglican Churches, the Primates, tried to take action in 2007 and recently in January, but were stymied both times as we noted here. In their last “official” meeting in 2008, the Primates barely mustered a quorum for an insipid statement about their gathering for fellowship and prayer only—leading some to wonder why they meet at all. We were present at the Anglican Consultative Council Meetings in 2009 where we watched ACC-14 fatally weaken the proposed “Anglican Communion Covenant” through parliamentary sleight of hand, and in 2012 at ACC-15 where they refused to take any action on the Covenant. We have documented how in less than four months ACC-16 in Lusaka overturned the will of the Primates “gathering” in January. Yes, the Lambeth Conference of Bishops meeting in 1998 produced an exceptionally clear statement on Biblical, and therefore Anglican, teaching on human sexuality, marriage and qualifications for ordained leadership within the Church, in its Resolution I.10. But Lambeth 2008 “Indaba’d” the statement to death through facilitated discussions without any action—and minus almost 300 bishops who boycotted due to the presence of The Episcopal Church's bishops.

If this isn’t “exigent circumstances” - if these facts do not add up to emergency conditions by virtue of massive structural failure and paralysis - what more could we possibly need to follow the historical precedent of the catholic conciliarists? What more do we need to call a general council of the Communion to replace its failed structures? The situation in fact is so bad that, as others have observed, it has descended from the ridiculous to the absurd.

Like the Church in the Middle Ages, the current structures of the Churches in the Anglican Communion are incapable of healing the wound to Anglican faith and order.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican PrimatesGlobal South Churches & PrimatesInstruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchGlobalization* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted September 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scientists have produced healthy offspring without fertilising an egg in a breakthrough that overturns the fundamental principles of embryology.

Bath University biologists bred baby mice by injecting sperm into a non-viable type of embryo called a parthenogenote. This has dividing cells that are fundamentally different from eggs and more like cells elsewhere in the body.

Tony Perry, senior author of the study, said the research could in principle open the way to a “speculative and fanciful” scenario in which sperm are made to fertilise adult cells derived from skin or other tissue. It could even allow two men to become the biological parents of a baby, without female involvement.

Read it all (or if necessary another link is there).

Update: A Telegraph article is there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLife EthicsScience & Technology* Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 13, 2016 at 3:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

McAllister is adamant that taking drugs to end her life would not be suicide. “In suicide,” she says, “you’re choosing between life and death. With the End of Life Option Act, you’re choosing the time and manner of your death, knowing that it is inevitably coming within a short period of time. The law allows you to have a little bit of control over when, where, and how.” She would rather die at home, with an opportunity to say goodbye to family and friends, than in a hospital.

Advocates of right-to-die laws say control, or at least the sense of it, is important to the terminally ill. What people seem to want is the comfort of knowing that they have a way out if pain becomes unbearable or their condition deteriorates too far....

Professor Robert George, who has written extensively on philosophy and ethics, argues that statutes such as California’s diminish respect for the sanctity of life. “Opposition to medicalized killing” is “grounded in a recognition of ... the idea that no one has ‘a life unworthy of life,’ or is ‘better off dead’ or a ‘useless eater,’ ” he writes in an email. “It reflects the belief that nothing should be done that gives credit to or encourages the adoption of these beliefs, even by those suffering pain and tempted to despair.” George rebuts those who argue that individuals should be free to determine their own fates, calling medical assistance in dying “a policy question that implicates many aspects of the common good of our civil society and legal order.” Many who end their lives, he says, are driven by fear and depression. He urges that people facing terminal illness be provided with palliative care and counseling to help make their last months comfortable and peaceful.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 13, 2016 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We don’t have to go too many days without coming across a story of revenge – some variation on the spurned lover who cuts off the sleeves of their ex’s clothes and gives their silver car a coat of red gloss paint. Many books and films are driven by a revenge-type plot, building up the tension until the bad guys gets their comeuppance, with the sense of relief that brings. There seems to be endemic in humans a desire for personal justice that is powerful and potentially deadly.

Certainly that was the case in first-century Rome. In Reading Romans in Pompeii, Peter Oakes invites us to imagine how Paul’s letter might have sounded to a mixed group of people meeting in the rented workshop of Holconius the cabinet-maker. If Holconius’s daughter was mugged by a known criminal in the neighbourhood, Holconius could expect to muster up a group from the congregation, go to the man’s house, beat him up, and take back any belongings – in revenge.

But Paul wants Christians to find different ways of dealing with vengeance, different ways of handling people who wrong us.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 13, 2016 at 1:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


Iain McGilchrist - Depression and the Depths of Hell from Regent College on Vimeo.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted September 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Church of England priest has won a national award for her outstanding contribution to work on helping make funerals more accessible for Deaf people.

Canon Gill Behenna, Chaplain with the Deaf Community in the Diocese of Bristol and the Church of England's Deaf Ministry Adviser, was named Funeral Minister of the Year at The Good Funeral Awards, with Rev Kate Bottley runner-up.

Canon Gill won the award in recognition of her outstanding and ground-breaking contribution to the funeral experience of Deaf people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral Care* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

--Psalm 61:1-4

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 13, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Put it on your list if you have not seen it. It should be required viewing for all High School Youth Groups--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationHealth & MedicineHistoryMenSportsYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 6:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Read it all (page 5).

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Comes now Bishop Bruno, he of the forkèd tongue, and for a response to the charges files a motion to dismiss the Title IV proceedings against him in their entirety. His reasons stated are twofold:

(1) The complainants violated the confidentiality provisions of Title IV by disclosing the substance of their charges, and of ECUSA's responses to them; and

(2) [Now get this] The complainants violated Canon IV.19.2 by resorting to a proceeding in the secular civil courts before filing their charges against +Bruno under Title IV.

Note that while +Bruno is technically correct that the earlier stages of the Title IV proceedings against him were confidential, the violation of that confidentiality by the Complainant (i.e., the members of St. James the Great) does not furnish canonical grounds for a dismissal of the charges. Under the Canon he cites (IV.13.9[a]), it is only misconduct "that the Hearing Panel deems to be disruptive, dilatory or otherwise contrary to the integrity of the proceedings" on the part of the Respondent (i.e., Bishop Bruno) or the Church Attorney that can provide grounds for the imposition of sanctions -- which, by the way, do not include the dismissal of all charges, as +Bruno requests.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMen* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I just bootleg the gospel,” Howard Butt Jr. told 1,500 Baptist men in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1954. Butt meant he had no license to preach, but that didn’t stop him from doing it. The 89-year-old well-known author and speaker, as well as creator of the Laity Lodge Retreat Center, passed away yesterday evening from complications related to Parkinson’s.
“Howard was a mentor, a motivator, and a model servant whose mind and heart were profoundly poured out on me at a most critical time,” said Christianity Today International president and CEO Harold Smith.
“His words of exhortation and encouragement to both my wife and me during a challenging first year of executive leadership offered us the assurances of God’s watchcare and direction—even in an industry experiencing such tumultuous change,” Smith stated. “Truly, the power of Howard’s presence in word and deed has left a God-anointed legacy that will inspire me and the entire CT team for years to come.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the LaityStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leaders of the two sides responsible for mass killings and rapes in the South Sudan conflict have amassed enormous wealth inside and outside the country, at least some of it illegally, according to an investigative report released on Monday by a Washington advocacy group.

The families and top associates of the principal opponents in the conflict, President Salva Kiir and his rival and former vice president, Riek Machar, own multimillion-dollar properties, drive luxury cars and stay at expensive hotels, “all while much of their country’s population suffers from the consequences of a brutal civil war and, in many places, experiences near-famine conditions,” according to the report.

Neither of the two men nor members of their immediate families are among the half-dozen South Sudanese officials facing the international sanctions imposed last year. But the report said the leaders had “benefited financially from the continuing war and have effectively ensured that there is no accountability for their human rights violations and financial crimes.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPoverty* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The letter writers are, however, unlikely to accept this conclusion. Their call for full inclusion asked for much more. They want the bishops to “enable those parishes that wish to do so to celebrate the love that we have found in our wives and husbands”. But this is to address a separate question from that of inclusion. It is a question not of including people but of deciding which of the many patterns of life found among LGBTI people the church can faithfully celebrate. Even their own proposal would not be fully inclusive of all LGBTI people once inclusion is to be understood beyond “full participation in ministry”. It would still exclude from the church’s liturgical celebrations those who, for whatever reason, do not choose to marry their same-sex partner but to structure their relationships in other ways.

Despite this, the appeal to inclusion continues in order to persuade people to go further and commend same-sex unions. But this is a quite distinct matter involving inclusion and approval of certain ways of life as morally acceptable rather than inclusion of people. The reason for this continued appeal to inclusion was caught by Justin Welby speaking at Greenbelt where he said:

We cannot pretend that – so I’m putting one case then I’m going to put the other – we cannot pretend or I can’t pretend myself that inclusion from the point of view of someone in a same sex relationship just to take a simple…that inclusion of someone in a same sex relationship that falls short of the blessing of the Church is going to feel like inclusion – it’s not going to be perceived as inclusion. I think we’re conning ourselves if we say that there is some clever solution out there that means you can do less than that and it will feel like inclusion.

Here – voicing the views of many – he has developed the language of inclusion in two important but flawed respects. It refers to a subjective experience – something must “feel like inclusion”– and then to inclusion in a specific form as being necessary if it is “to be perceived as inclusion” and meet that subjective test: the “blessing of the Church” on “a same sex relationship”. These two moves are what then lead to a number of problems.

Read it all from Fulcrum.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Obamacare failed because it flunked Economics 101 and Human Nature 101. It straitjacketed insurers into providing overly expensive, soup-to-nuts policies. It wasn't flexible enough so that people could buy as much coverage as they wanted and could afford — not what the government dictated. Many healthy people primarily want catastrophic coverage. Obamacare couldn't lure them in, couldn't persuade them to buy on the chance they'd get sick.

Obamacare failed because the penalties for going uncovered are too low when stacked against its skyrocketing premium costs. Next year, the penalty for staying uninsured is $695 per adult, or perhaps 2.5 percent of a family's taxable household income. That's far less than many Americans would pay for coverage. Financial incentive: Skip Obamacare....

Obamacare failed because it hasn't tamed U.S. medical costs. Health care is about supply and demand: People who get coverage use it, especially if the law mandates free preventive care. Iron law of economics: Nothing is free; someone pays. To pretend otherwise was folly. Those forces combined to spike the costs of care, and thus insurance costs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

--Psalm 56:3-4

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 12, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon


President and Mrs. Bush, I want to say a personal word on behalf of many people. Thank you, Mr. President, for calling this day of prayer and remembrance. We needed it at this time.

We come together today to affirm our conviction that God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious, or political background may be. The Bible says that He’s the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles. No matter how hard we try, words simply cannot express the horror, the shock, and the revulsion we all feel over what took place in this nation on Tuesday morning. September eleven will go down in our history as a day to remember.

Today we say to those who masterminded this cruel plot, and to those who carried it out, that the spirit of this nation will not be defeated by their twisted and diabolical schemes. Someday, those responsible will be brought to justice, as President Bush and our Congress have so forcefully stated. But today we especially come together in this service to confess our need of God.

Today we say to those who masterminded this cruel plot, and to those who carried it out, that the spirit of this nation will not be defeated by their twisted and diabolical schemes. Someday, those responsible will be brought to justice, as President Bush and our Congress have so forcefully stated. But today we especially come together in this service to confess our need of God.

We’ve always needed God from the very beginning of this nation, but today we need Him especially. We’re facing a new kind of enemy. We’re involved in a new kind of warfare. And we need the help of the Spirit of God. The Bible words are our hope: God is our refuge and strength; an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

But how do we understand something like this? Why does God allow evil like this to take place? Perhaps that is what you are asking now. You may even be angry at God. I want to assure you that God understands these feelings that you may have. We’ve seen so much on our television, on our — heard on our radio, stories that bring tears to our eyes and make us all feel a sense of anger. But God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest.

But what are some of the lessons we can learn? First, we are reminded of the mystery and reality of evil. I’ve been asked hundreds of times in my life why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer totally, even to my own satisfaction. I have to accept by faith that God is sovereign, and He’s a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering. The Bible says that God is not the author of evil. It speaks of evil as a mystery. In 1st Thessalonians 2:7 it talks about the mystery of iniquity. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Who can understand it?” He asked that question, ‘Who can understand it?’ And that’s one reason we each need God in our lives.

The lesson of this event is not only about the mystery of iniquity and evil, but secondly it’s a lesson about our need for each other. What an example New York and Washington have been to the world these past few days. None of us will ever forget the pictures of our courageous firefighters and police, many of whom have lost friends and colleagues; or the hundreds of people attending or standing patiently in line to donate blood. A tragedy like this could have torn our country apart. But instead it has united us, and we’ve become a family. So those perpetrators who took this on to tear us apart, it has worked the other way — it’s back lashed. It’s backfired. We are more united than ever before. I think this was exemplified in a very moving way when the members of our Congress stood shoulder to shoulder the other day and sang “God Bless America.”

Finally, difficult as it may be for us to see right now, this event can give a message of hope — hope for the present, and hope for the future. Yes, there is hope. There’s hope for the present, because I believe the stage has already been set for a new spirit in our nation. One of the things we desperately need is a spiritual renewal in this country. We need a spiritual revival in America. And God has told us in His word, time after time, that we are to repent of our sins and return to Him, and He will bless us in a new way. But there’s also hope for the future because of God’s promises. As a Christian, I hope not for just this life, but for heaven and the life to come. And many of those people who died this past week are in heaven right now. And they wouldn’t want to come back. It’s so glorious and so wonderful. And that’s the hope for all of us who put our faith in God. I pray that you will have this hope in your heart.

This event reminds us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. We never know when we too will be called into eternity. I doubt if even one those people who got on those planes, or walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon last Tuesday morning thought it would be the last day of their lives. It didn’t occur to them. And that’s why each of us needs to face our own spiritual need and commit ourselves to God and His will now.

Here in this majestic National Cathedral we see all around us symbols of the cross. For the Christian — I’m speaking for the Christian now — the cross tells us that God understands our sin and our suffering. For He took upon himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, our sins and our suffering. And from the cross, God declares “I love you. I know the heart aches, and the sorrows, and the pains that you feel, but I love you.” The story does not end with the cross, for Easter points us beyond the tragedy of the cross to the empty tomb. It tells us that there is hope for eternal life, for Christ has conquered evil, and death, and hell. Yes, there’s hope.

I’ve become an old man now. And I’ve preached all over the world. And the older I get, the more I cling to that hope that I started with many years ago, and proclaimed it in many languages to many parts of the world. Several years ago at the National Prayer Breakfast here in Washington, Ambassador Andrew Young, who had just gone through the tragic death of his wife, closed his talk with a quote from the old hymn, “How Firm A Foundation.” We all watched in horror as planes crashed into the steel and glass of the World Trade Center. Those majestic towers, built on solid foundations, were examples of the prosperity and creativity of America. When damaged, those buildings eventually plummeted to the ground, imploding in upon themselves. Yet underneath the debris is a foundation that was not destroyed. Therein lies the truth of that old hymn that Andrew Young quoted: “How firm a foundation.”

Yes, our nation has been attacked. Buildings destroyed. Lives lost. But now we have a choice: Whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people, and a nation, or, whether we choose to become stronger through all of the struggle to rebuild on a solid foundation. And I believe that we’re in the process of starting to rebuild on that foundation. That foundation is our trust in God. That’s what this service is all about. And in that faith we have the strength to endure something as difficult and horrendous as what we’ve experienced this week.

This has been a terrible week with many tears. But also it’s been a week of great faith. Churches all across the country have called prayer meetings. And today is a day that they’re celebrating not only in this country, but in many parts of the world. And the words of that familiar hymn that Andrew Young quoted, it says, “Fear not, I am with thee. Oh be not dismayed for I am thy God and will give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand upon” my righteous — on “thy righteous, omnipotent hand.”

My prayer today is that we will feel the loving arms of God wrapped around us and will know in our hearts that He will never forsake us as we trust in Him. We also know that God is going to give wisdom, and courage, and strength to the President, and those around him. And this is going to be a day that we will remember as a day of victory. May God bless you all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEschatology

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Posted September 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Six months later, police knocked on the door of the Di Nardo family home in Westchester, New York. They carried Marisa’s charred, black purse. Inside was a receipt from the Sept. 10 dinner. She was one of 2,606 people killed by the terrorists who struck the Twin Towers. The purse was all the tangible evidence Marisa’s family had of her passing.

For close to 15 years, Harley buried his grief and avoided thinking about his sister in the doomed tower. It was too painful, he said....

Marisa’s 2002 memorial service was the last time Harley reflected on his sister’s death, he said, until he, his wife and two young children moved to California last year.

His son and daughter asked about their aunt, and Harley found himself wishing he knew more about her last day.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.

--Psalm 24:1

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 11, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The courage to name and shame chronic liars—and stop giving them a stage—is hard to come by in a competitive marketplace the economic basis of which is crumbling. Gatekeeping power will always bring with it a temptation for abuse—and it will take a long time for people to come to believe that temptation can be resisted even if it is.

But if old media will be hard put to get a new grip on the gates, the new ones that have emerged so far do not inspire much confidence as an alternative. Facebook (which now has more than 1.7 billion monthly users worldwide) and other social networks do not see themselves as media companies, which implies a degree of journalistic responsibility, but as tech firms powered by algorithms. And putting artificial intelligence in charge may be a recipe for disaster: when Facebook recently moved to automate its “trending” news section, it promoted a fake news story which claimed that Fox News had fired an anchor, Megyn Kelly, for being a “traitor”.

And then there is Mr Trump, whose Twitter following of over 11m makes him a gatekeeper of a sort in his own right. His moment of truth may well come on election day; the odds are that he will lose. If he does so, however, he will probably claim that the election was rigged—thus undermining democracy yet further. And although his campaign denies it, reports have multiplied recently that he is thinking about creating a “mini-media conglomerate”, a cross of Fox and Breitbart News, to make money from the political base he has created. Whatever Mr Trump comes up with next, with or without him in the White House, post-truth politics will be with us for some time to come.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMediaPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted September 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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