Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all from Michael Horton in the Washington Post.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

These men saw a star that made them set out. The discovery of something unusual in the heavens sparked a whole series of events. The star did not shine just for them, nor did they have special DNA to be able to see it. As one of the Church Fathers rightly noted, the Magi did not set out because they had seen the star, but they saw the star because they had already set out (cf. Saint John Chrysostom). Their hearts were open to the horizon and they could see what the heavens were showing them, for they were guided by an inner restlessness. They were open to something new.

The Magi thus personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home, their heavenly homeland. They reflect the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts become anesthetized.

A holy longing for God wells up in the heart of believers because they know that the Gospel is not an event of the past but of the present. A holy longing for God helps us keep alert in the face of every attempt to reduce and impoverish our life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 7, 2017 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....one could learn a great deal from the question, “What do you hope to get for Christmas?” For if you know our hopes, you fairly well know us. If you want to know who a person really is, and plans to be, inquire into what that person is hoping for.

What are you hoping for?

I expect that is what most of us think religion is about, the fulfillment of our hopes. We hope to find peace in our anxious lives. So we come to church on Sunday morning hoping that the music of the hymns, the words of scripture and preaching may fill us with a sense of peace.

We hope for thoughtful, reflective lives. So we come to church on Sunday morning hoping for an interesting sermon, something that will help us to use our minds, something that will test our intellects, make us think about things in a way we haven’t thought before.....

The trouble is that the Gospels seem to engage in a continual debate with people’s hopes and expectations. Jesus came, light into our darkness. But the problem with Jesus was he was not the sort of light that we expected. That is where the trouble started. Jesus was the hope of the world. But he was not the hope for which the world was hoping!

Read it all.

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Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A crucial event for the church’s confession of the doctrine of the Incarnation came at the Council of Chalcedon (A.D.451), when the church countered both the Nestorian idea that Jesus was two personalities—the Son of God and a man—under one skin, and the Eutychian idea that Jesus’ divinity had swallowed up his humanity. Rejecting both, the council affirmed that Jesus is one divine-human person in two natures (i.e., with two sets of capacities for experience, expression, reaction, and action); and that the two natures are united in his personal being without mixture, confusion, separation, or division; and that each nature retained its own attributes. In other words, all the qualities and powers that are in us, as well as all the qualities and powers that are in God, were, are, and ever will be really and distinguishably present in the one person of the man from Galilee. Thus the Chalcedonian formula affirms the full humanity of the Lord from heaven in categorical terms.

The Incarnation, this mysterious miracle at the heart of historic Christianity, is central in the New Testament witness. That Jews should ever have come to such a belief is amazing. Eight of the nine New Testament writers, like Jesus’ original disciples, were Jews, drilled in the Jewish axiom that there is only one God and that no human is divine. They all teach, however, that Jesus is God’s Messiah, the Spirit-anointed son of David promised in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa. 11:1-5; Christos, “Christ,” is Greek for Messiah). They all present him in a threefold role as teacher, sin-bearer, and ruler—prophet, priest, and king. And in other words, they all insist that Jesus the Messiah should be personally worshiped and trusted—which is to say that he is God no less than he is man. Observe how the four most masterful New Testament theologians (John, Paul, the writer of Hebrews, and Peter) speak to this.

John’s Gospel frames its eyewitness narratives (John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24) with the declarations of its prologue (1:1-18): that Jesus is the eternal divine Logos (Word), agent of Creation and source of all life and light (vv. 1-5, 9), who through becoming “flesh” was revealed as Son of God and source of grace and truth, indeed as “God the only begotten” (vv. 14, 18; NIV text notes). The Gospel is punctuated with “I am” statements that have special significance because I am (Greek: ego eimi) was used to render God’s name in the Greek translation of Exodus 3:14; whenever John reports Jesus as saying ego eimi, a claim to deity is implicit. Examples of this are John 8:28, 58, and the seven declarations of his grace as (a) the Bread of Life, giving spiritual food (6:35, 48, 51); (b) the Light of the World, banishing darkness (8:12; 9:5); (c) the gate for the sheep, giving access to God (10:7, 9); (d) the Good Shepherd, protecting from peril (10:11, 14); (e) the Resurrection and Life, overcoming our death (11:25); (f) the Way, Truth, and Life, guiding to fellowship with the Father (14:6); (g) the true Vine, nurturing for fruitfulness (15:1, 5). Climactically, Thomas worships Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (20:28). Jesus then pronounces a blessing on all who share Thomas’s faith and John urges his readers to join their number (20:29-31).

--Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs (Tyndale House, 2011), pp. 105-106

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 3, 2017 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s a story so strange we could not have dreamed it up by ourselves, this story of how God was incarnate in Jesus the Christ. An embarrassing pregnancy, a poor peasant couple forced to become undocumented immigrants in Egypt soon after the birth of their baby, King Herod’s slaughter of the Jewish boy babies in a vain attempt to put an end to this new “King,” From the beginning the story of Jesus is the strangest story of all. A Messiah who avoids the powerful and the prestigious and goes to the poor and dispossessed? A Savior who is rejected by many of those whom he sought to save? A King who reigns from a bloody cross? Can this one with us be God?

And yet Christians believe that this story, for all its strangeness, is true. Here we have a truthful account of how our God read us back into the story of God. This is a truthful depiction not only of who God really is but also of how we who were lost got found, redeemed, restored, and saved by a God who refused to let our rejection and rebellion (our notorious “God problem”) be the final word in the story.

Read it all.

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Posted December 29, 2016 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christian joy thus springs from this certainty: God is close, he is with me, he is with us, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as a friend and faithful spouse. And this joy endures, even in trials, in suffering itself. It does not remain only on the surface; it dwells in the depths of the person who entrusts himself to God and trusts in him.

Some people ask: but is this joy still possible today? Men and women of every age and social condition, happy to dedicate their existence to others, give us the answer with their lives! Was not Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta an unforgettable witness of true Gospel joy in our time? She lived in touch daily with wretchedness, human degradation and death. Her soul knew the trials of the dark night of faith, yet she gave everyone God's smile.

In one of her writings, we read: "We wait impatiently for paradise, where God is, but it is in our power to be in paradise even here on earth and from this moment. Being happy with God means loving like him, helping like him, giving like him, serving like him" (The Joy of Giving to Others, 1987, p. 143). Yes, joy enters the hearts of those who put themselves at the service of the lowly and poor. God abides in those who love like this and their souls rejoice. If, instead, people make an idol of happiness, they lose their way and it is truly hard for them to find the joy of which Jesus speaks.

--Pope Benedict XVI (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 29, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s tough to be on the receiving end of love, God’s or anybody else’s. It requires that we see our lives not as our possessions, but as gifts. "Nothing is more repugnant to capable, reasonable people than grace," wrote John Wesley a long time ago.

Among the most familiar Christmas texts is the one in Isaiah: "The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (7:14) Less familiar is its context: Isaiah has been pleading with King Ahaz to put his trust in God’s promise to Israel rather than in alliances with strong military powers like Syria. "If you will not believe, you shall not be established," Isaiah warns Ahaz (7:9). Then the prophet tells the fearful king that God is going to give him a baby as a sign. A baby. Isn’t that just like God, Ahaz must have thought. What Ahaz needed, with Assyria breathing down his neck, was a good army, not a baby.

This is often the way God loves us: with gifts we thought we didn’t need, which transform us into people we don’t necessarily want to be. With our advanced degrees, armies, government programs, material comforts and self-fulfillment techniques, we assume that religion is about giving a little, of our power in order to confirm to ourselves that we are indeed as self-sufficient as we claim.

Read it all.

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Posted December 28, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This Gospel is so clear that it requires very little explanation, but it should be well considered and taken deeply to heart; and no one will receive more benefit from it than those who, with a calm, quiet heart, banish everything else from their mind, and diligently look into it. It is just as the sun which is reflected in calm water and gives out vigorous warmth, but which cannot be so readily seen nor can it give out such warmth in water that is in roaring and rapid motion.

Therefore, if you would be enlightened and warmed, if you would see the wonders of divine grace and have your heart aglow and enlightened, devout and joyful, go where you can silently meditate and lay hold of this picture deep in your heart, and you will see miracle upon miracle. But to give the common person a start and a motive to contemplate it, we will illustrate it in part, and afterwards enter into it more deeply.

First, behold how very ordinary and common things are to us that transpire on earth, and yet how high they are regarded in heaven. On earth it occurs in this wise: Here is a poor young woman, Mary of Nazareth, not highly esteemed, but of the humblest citizens of the village. No one is conscious of the great wonder she bears, she is silent, keeps her own counsel, and regards herself as the lowliest in the town. She starts out with her husband Joseph; very likely they had no servant, and he had to do the work of master and servant, and she that of mistress and maid, They were therefore obliged to leave their home unoccupied, or commend it to the care of others.

Read it all.

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Posted December 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let us allow the Child in the manger to challenge us, but let us also allow ourselves to be challenged by the children of today’s world, who are not lying in a cot caressed with the affection of a mother and father, but rather suffer the squalid “mangers that devour dignity:” hiding underground to escape bombardment, on the pavements of a large city, at the bottom of a boat overladen with immigrants. Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons.

The mystery of Christmas, which is light and joy, questions and unsettles us, because it is at once both a mystery of hope and of sadness. It bears within itself the taste of sadness, inasmuch as love is not received, and life discarded. This happened to Joseph and Mary, who found the doors closed, and placed Jesus in a manger, “because there was no place for them in the inn” (v. 7). Jesus was born rejected by some and regarded by many others with indifference. Today also the same indifference can exist, when Christmas becomes a feast where the protagonists are ourselves, rather than Jesus; when the lights of commerce cast the light of God into the shadows; when we are concerned for gifts but cold towards those who are marginalized.

Yet Christmas has essentially a flavor of hope because, notwithstanding the darker aspects of our lives, God’s light shines out. His gentle light does not make us fear; God who is in love with us, draws us to himself with his tenderness, born poor and fragile among us, as one of us. He is born in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.” In this way he seems to tell us that he is born as bread for us; he enters life to give us his life; he comes into our world to give us his love. He does not come to devour or to command but to nourish and to serve.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyChristology

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Posted December 26, 2016 at 9:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Opening with an examination of the light and dark motif found in Isaiah’s proclamation—that “on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isa. 9:2)—Keller frames the incarnation as an inbreaking of divine light into our world. The world is fallen, shrouded in the darkness of rebellion, but the true light (John 8:12) has shone forth bringing life. In contrast with secular humanism’s conviction that we’re able to overcome the darkness by our own will, Christmas tells us that only a light from outside us can save us.

When I picture light penetrating into darkness, it’s often a violent thing. For those enveloped in darkness, it’s an assault on their senses. Eyes squinting, we instinctively flinch from the jolt. Yet here with the Christmas story, we have the most dramatic intrusion of light imaginable. It’s the story of the holy One, the Son of God in flesh arrayed, breaking into realms of darkness to reclaim his fallen bride—the unapproachable God approaching his enemies. Our instinct should be to flinch from the threat, as we see the Old Testament saints doing whenever God draws near as a pillar of fire, a whirlwind, or a cloud of glory.

But when God became man, his entrance into the darkness was disarming rather than jarring. A baby is not threatening. Why the difference? [Timothy] Keller asks and answers:

Why would God come this time in the form of a baby, rather than a firestorm or whirlwind? Because this time he has not come to bring judgment but to bear it, to pay the penalty for our sins, to take away the barrier between humanity and God, so we can be together. Jesus is God with us. (54)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I wouldn’t characterize the New Testament descriptions of the risen Jesus as fuzzy. They are very concrete in their details. Yes, Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus at first, but then she does. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) also don’t recognize Jesus at first. Their experience was analogous to meeting someone you last saw as a child 20 years ago. Many historians have argued that this has the ring of eyewitness authenticity. If you were making up a story about the Resurrection, would you have imagined that Jesus was altered enough to not be identified immediately but not so much that he couldn’t be recognized after a few moments? As for Mark’s gospel, yes, it ends very abruptly without getting to the Resurrection, but most scholars believe that the last part of the book or scroll was lost to us.

Skeptics should consider another surprising aspect of these accounts. Mary Magdalene is named as the first eyewitness of the risen Christ, and other women are mentioned as the earliest eyewitnesses in the other gospels, too. This was a time in which the testimony of women was not admissible evidence in courts because of their low social status. The early pagan critics of Christianity latched on to this and dismissed the Resurrection as the word of “hysterical females.” If the gospel writers were inventing these narratives, they would never have put women in them. So they didn’t invent them.

The Christian Church is pretty much inexplicable if we don’t believe in a physical resurrection. N.T. Wright has argued in “The Resurrection of the Son of God” that it is difficult to come up with any historically plausible alternate explanation for the birth of the Christian movement.

Read it all.

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Posted December 23, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The scale of religious persecution around the world is not widely appreciated. Nor is it limited to Christians in the troubled regions of the Middle East. A recent report suggests that attacks are increasing on Yazidis, Jews, Ahmadis, Baha’is and many other minority faiths. And in some countries even more insidious forms of extremism have recently surfaced, which aim to eliminate all types of religious diversity.

We are also struggling to capture the immensity of the ripple effect of such persecution. According to the United Nations, 5.8 million MORE people abandoned their homes in 2015 than the year before, bringing the annual total to a staggering 65.3 million. That is almost equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom.

And the suffering doesn’t end when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land. We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith.

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Mediators urged Congo’s president and opposition parties to reach an agreement before Christmas on a peaceful settlement to the country’s political crisis, saying dozens already have been killed this week amid protests over the president’s stay in power.

“Enough is enough,” Msgr. Marcel Utembi, one of the Catholic Church mediators, said Wednesday. “A solution must be found as soon as possible by all political actors, but in particular by the government in order to reassure the Congolese people.”

He also conveyed a message from Pope Francis following their meeting this week: “I am concerned by what is happening in your country, which I wish to visit at the opportune moment. I pray for the Congolese people, who need peace so much now.”

Read it all from the WSJ.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In many parts of our troubled, uncertain world, Christian minority communities along with other minorities are being similarly targeted. In some places, this is motivated by a desire to eradicate the indigenous Christian presence completely. These are acts not only of terror but of genocide; criminal acts for which the international community must bring those guilty to account. Yet although so vulnerable and often forgotten and marginalised, our brothers and sisters are being courageous in the Lord. Indeed, ‘God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong’ (1 Corinthians 1.27).
In other places conflict and corruption have become so normal that the world forgets the suffering of the poor.
I ask your prayers for those of us who live in safety that we may not be bystanders afar off, beating our breasts as we retire to the security of our homes, but that we may draw nearer to the cross of Jesus, stand there alongside our suffering brothers and sisters and be ready to take our part in practical action for change. I pray that Christ will strengthen all his people in our inner being with power through the Holy Spirit to be faithful, to have courage and to live in hope.
More than ever we need Christ like communities proclaiming the good news of the gospel in word and action.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther Churches

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Posted December 22, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rashad Ali is a British Sunni Muslim who devotes most of his life to combating extremism and urging young co-religionists to reject the siren voices of jihadism. At the risk of making himself unpopular with some members of his community, he actively assists the government’s efforts to counter hard-line Islamism. He works mostly in his own country but also follows the Muslim scene in many other places.

Like many others working in his field, he is convinced that recent events in Syria have made his life much, much harder. Whether in Britain or in Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia or Morocco (all countries he has visited recently), he finds that ordinary Sunnis are appalled and angry over the suffering of civilians in east Aleppo before and during the collapse of the rebel stronghold.

The news has made them furious with Russia, which claims inter alia to be deploying its fighter-bombers in support of local Christians; angry with Iran and the Shia Muslim militias that it sponsors in Syria; and disappointed with Western countries for doing nothing to restrain the Russo-Iranian coalition. A common grievance, says Mr Ali, a fellow of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, is that Western consciences are moved by the plight of ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Kurds or Yazidis or small Christian sects, but indifferent to ordinary Sunni Arabs.

Read it all.

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Posted December 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The church is in the [St Marks] cathedral complex signaling the vivid symbolism of the explosion,” says Ishak Ibrahim, a religious freedoms researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. “It aims at terrorizing the heart of Coptic Orthodoxy in Egypt”.
The terrorist group vowed further attacks and declared ‘a war against polytheism’ referring to the Christians’ belief in the trinity pejoratively in a statement.
This particular attack fits in with the pattern of ISIS’s notorious aim to shock and awe, hitting a minority religion and at women. It also shows the difficult position Coptic Christians find themselves in Egypt today, as the largest religious minority in the Middle East at around 10 million people. On the one hand an easy target for a callous terror group. But on the other, living as a second class group in their own country, under a different kind of threat from the authorities.

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Monday, December 12, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi walked alongside the Coptic Pope Tawadros (Theodore) II at the funeral procession for victims of the bombing that had killed at least twenty-five people at the chapel of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo the day before. At the funeral, Sisi announced that the government had identified the suicide bomber, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahmoud Shafik Mostafa, and arrested four other people—three men and one woman—in connection with the attack. He also had strong words of condemnation: “Those who commit acts such as this do not belong to Egypt at all, even if they are on its land.”

This series of events was strangely similar to what had taken place almost six years ago in another Egyptian city. In the early morning of January 1, 2011, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the midst of a large crowd of worshippers who were leaving al-Qiddissin Church in Alexandria. Twenty-three people died. Soon thereafter, President Hosni Mubarak appeared on state television to condemn the attack: “The blood of their martyrs in Alexandria mixed to tell us all that all Egypt is the target and that blind terrorism does not differentiate between a Copt and a Muslim.”

Much has changed in Egypt since 2011. Mubarak is no longer in office. He was ousted by a peaceful popular uprising a little over a month after the Alexandria attack. Mohamed Morsi—the Muslim Brotherhood–backed candidate who became the first democratically elected president of Egypt in 2012—has come and gone. He was ousted by a coup d’état led by Sisi in 2013. Sisi is still in power, having won an “election” (with 97 percent of the vote), and he has aggressively opposed his rivals, notably the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet with all of these developments, one thing has not changed: Attacks against Christians have continued.

Read it all.


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

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Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Little could dampen the enthusiasm of 13-year-old Tony Atef as he wore his soccer outfit and headed to Egypt’s most successful club, Al Ahly, to partake in the team’s junior soccer tryouts. After Tony scored two goals, a coach approached him, asking for his name to record among those accepted. But his dream of making the team died quickly, when the coach noticed the small tattoo of a cross on his wrist. Tony was quickly sent home. There would be no place for a Coptic Christian on an Egyptian soccer team.

Tony’s case soon went viral, after his brother took to social media to decry bigotry and discrimination. Embarrassed, the club invited Tony for another tryout, but it was too late. Similar stories soon emerged of other Coptic kids being rejected by other soccer teams. A newspaper pointed out that there wasn’t a single Copt among the league’s top 540 players. In fact, there had been only five Copts among the league’s players in the last few decades, and some of them spoke out about the discrimination they faced.

During Mass this past Sunday, an Islamic State suicide bomber made his way inside St. Peter and St. Paul’s Coptic Church in Cairo and detonated his bomb, leaving 25 people, mostly women, dead. The bombing, the deadliest since the 2010 New Year’s Eve bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria, drew swift condemnations from governments around the world. But as much as such attacks remind the world of the plight of Copts, it is their daily encounter with discrimination and persecution that poses the greatest threat to their future.

Read it all.

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Posted December 18, 2016 at 5:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. John the Baptist Parish was formed through the merger of two smaller local congregations that broke away from the Episcopal Church because of concerns about changes within their denomination: St. Michael the Archangel, which worshiped in Philadelphia’s Mount Airy section and Blessed John Henry Newman, which worshiped in Wayne.

Last year the St. John’s community arranged for a lease to purchase the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, an Italian personal parish in Bridgeport, which had merged into Sacred Heart Parish in nearby Swedesburg in 2014.

Father David Ousley, the pastor of St. John the Baptist, expects arrangements for the purchase will be finalized in the near future. His congregation, which has about 100 members, is financially stable and he expects further growth.

“Our primary focus is Catholicity for Anglicans who see a need for it,” he said. “Usually they see a need for the sacraments or the need for sound and concrete teaching.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted December 18, 2016 at 4:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This [Will] Herberg challenge radically affected Oden's work in the 1970s, as he evolved from backing an edgy liberalism to spreading an ecumenical approach to orthodoxy in shelves of books. Oden kept publishing into the final years of his life, until his Dec. 8 death at the age of 85. "Here was a guy who -- until his mid-40s -- had been a success on that career track in the contemporary academy," said Seamands. Oden had a Yale University doctorate and thrived in an era "built on the idea that new is better and that you looked down on anything old. You were supposed to idealize whatever people called the latest thing. That's how you got ahead."

In the 1950s, Oden embraced Marxism, existentialism and the demythologization of Scripture. He was an early leader among Christians supporting abortion rights. In the 1960s he plunged into transactional analysis, Gestalt therapy, parapsychology and what, in one of my first encounters with him, he called "mild forms of the occult."

As he dug into early church writings from the ancient East and West, Oden came to the conclusion that "I had been in love with heresy." In a 2012 interview with Good News magazine, Oden explained: "My basic question early on in the 1970s was, is the Resurrection really just an idea or is it a fact of history? ... Did this Jesus rise from the dead? Not symbolically, not just as a fragile memory of the earliest Christian rememberers, not just as an ever-questionable matter of fallible human remembering, but did Jesus actually rise from the dead. And finally, I did believe. And that changed my life."

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So how does Pope Francis’ record look so far? He remains popular and scandal-free. When secret recordings of the pope discussing Vatican finances in July 2013 leaked, he sounded as committed to reform in private as he does in public, calling the Holy See’s costs “out of control.” Yet it remains an open question whether the Curia will implement his ambitious reforms, such as improving Vatican accounting or eliminating unnecessary positions. The Vatican bank also changes at a glacial pace, and it will take years to judge whether transparency efforts pay off.

The most immediate change comes from how Francis’ style has had an influence on everyone who works within the Vatican’s walls. Rather than live in the Apostolic Palace, Francis chose to live in a guesthouse. This makes him physically and spiritually closer to his employees and visitors. He also left behind fancier vestments and speaks plainly and directly to his subjects.

Under Francis, the Vatican looks less like a medieval court and more like a responsive government. He has placed a bishop exclusively in charge of helping the homeless near the Vatican. He ordered the installation of showers and bathrooms for the homeless, brought in refugee families to live at the Vatican, and welcomed the homeless for private tours. The pope has also publicly criticized the Vatican for “spiritual Alzheimer’s.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaArgentina* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

7. Assisted suicide grows in availability and popularity.

Assisted suicide spread this year to California, Colorado, and Canada as polls reveal that a strong majority of 67 percent of Americans believe this practice is morally acceptable for terminally, painfully ill patients. Christian arguments for the dignity of all life made in God’s image suffer limited effectiveness in Western culture, which views “death with dignity” as the compassionate choice. What happens, though, when option becomes expectation for the suffering? Without acknowledging God as Creator or recognizing purpose to suffering, there are no cultural resources to resist technocratic exploitation.

6. Christian education weathers threat—for now.
Not even legislative reprieve in California or unexpected national election results brought comfort to Christian school administrators worried that anti-discrmination concerns will force them to choose between biblical teaching and financial survival. There is no choice in the short term but to fight to preserve government aid in the form of tax exemption, grants, and subsidized loans. Many Christian colleges can’t survive without it. But in the long term, some administrators are pushing for landmark compromise, while others plan to forsake government dependence in favor of full freedom to teach and enforce biblical morality. Either way the implications for theological education cannot be exaggerated.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMediaReligion & Culture* General InterestHumor / Trivia* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted December 15, 2016 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He once described his theological pilgrimage to me as a series of twists and turns that carried him through liberalism, the social gospel, psychotherapy, and neo-orthodoxy, before eventually bringing him back home to classical Christianity, or what he preferred to call “paleo-orthodoxy.” Oden’s earlier years as leftward-leaning theologian can be traced through his publications, engagement, and interaction with Rudolph Bultmann (1964), Karl Barth (1969), and Soren Kierkegaard (1978). Each of these publications seemed to move him closer to historical orthodoxy, even as he explored the relationship of theology to psychotherapy in various works along the way (1967.1969, 1972,1974), always with an eye on pastoral ministry and the relationship of theology to the church.

In 1979, he sent a wake-up call to others, inviting them to join in his return to convictional and classical orthodoxy with the volume, Agenda for Theology. This publication served as the forerunner for his carefully-conceived, comprehensively-designed, and thoughtfully-written, three-volume systematic theology (1987, 1989, 1992), which drew deeply on the writings of the church fathers. The heartbeat and message of these three volumes were summarized in one of my favorite works, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy (2003). Oden, the Wesleyan theologian, joined with his Calvinist friend J. I. Packer to co-author an important resource on the confessional consensus of believers through the ages, the faith once for all delivered to the saints, which was called, One Faith: The Evangelical Consensus.

Oden’s massive theological project recognized that modernity did not satisfy and that the curiosity for the new, the novel, and the creative did not in itself serve the church well.

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(You need first to take the time to read read the original document there.

“In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber,” said Flannery O’Connor. Her point was that sentimentality cannot restrain the darker forces in human nature. Which brings us to the Catholic bishops of eastern Canada.

They recently published a pastoral document indicating how, in their opinion, Catholics who commit suicide voluntarily, through doctor-assisted euthanasia (which is now legal there), should be treated by the Church....It is a masterpiece of Francis-speak. The document can be summed up like this: “Yes, euthanasia is strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church, but we know that some people are going to choose it anyway, so we intend to offer them all the sacraments to help them along the way, because who are we to judge?”

Here are some passages from the document. This is the opening paragraph:
In our Catholic tradition we often refer to the Church as our Mother. We perceive her as a mother who lovingly accompanies us throughout life, and who especially wishes to support and guide us when we are faced with difficult situations and decisions. It is from this perspective that we, the Bishops of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, wish to share with you this pastoral reflection on medical assistance in dying.
Read it all.

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Posted December 13, 2016 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Government has shown that it does not care about the persecution of Christians overseas by refusing visas to three prominent Syrian Orthodox archbishops, the most senior Syrian Orthodox cleric in Britain, Archbishop Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod, has said.

Archbishop Dawod, who is the Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar of the UK, had invited three of his colleagues from Iraq and Syria to attend the consecration of their Church’s first cathedral in Britain last month.

The clerics were denied visas to enter the UK, however — actions which made a mockery of any claims by the authorities that they were concerned about the persecuted Church in the Middle East, Archbishop Dawod said on Tuesday.

The Archbishop of Mosul, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, and the Archbishop of St Matthew’s, Mor Timothy Mosa Alshamany — both from Iraq — were denied visas on the grounds that they might claim asylum and because they did not have enough money, Archbishop Dawod said.

Read it all.

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Posted December 13, 2016 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

It is with great sadness that we receive the news today of at least 25 people brutally murdered by an explosion during regular Sunday worship at St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo, adjacent to the Grand Cathedral of Saint Mark.

Our prayers are with those whose lives have been so senselessly ended, those who have been injured, and every family and community affected. We also pray for every Coptic parish and community across Egypt as they fill their churches this morning, as well as for the broader Egyptian society that fall victim to similar inhumane attacks.

Many within our Coptic community in Britain will have family and friends in Egypt, and we also pray for them at this time of uncertainty.

We share in this tragedy but are encouraged by the strength and resilience of our brethren in Egypt that we have grown accustomed to and learn from. We pray God’s peace and protection upon the Christians of Egypt, the broader Egyptian society, Christians around the world worshipping this morning and all faith communities that fall prey to similar attacks.



Read it all and watch the interviews

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Twenty two people have been killed in a bombing at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral.

Another 35 people were wounded in the second deadly attack to hit Cairo in two days, according to Egyptian state television.

Egypt's official Mena news agency said an assailant lobbed a bomb into a chapel close to the outer wall of St Mark's Cathedral, seat of Egypt's Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic Church

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Posted December 11, 2016 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Trainee priests must undergo a robust spiritual formation that roots out clericalism, an obsession with the liturgy and a “presumed theological or disciplinary certainty”, according to new Vatican guidelines.

But while the 91-page document primarily seeks to ensure that seminarians become mature pastors, it controversially reiterates a ban on ordaining gay men or “persons with homosexual tendencies”, first implemented in 2005 causing widespread offence to gay Catholics, including many gay priests.

It is also at odds with Pope Francis’ more compassionate “who am I to Judge?” response when he was asked about gay priests in 2013 - and the reiteration of the ban has already received a negative response from LGBT catholics.

Nevertheless the text was signed off by Francis and was written following a two-year process, including consultation with bishops from across the world and various Vatican offices.

Read it all.

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

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Posted December 10, 2016 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Theologian Thomas C. Oden, one of Methodism’s and American Christianity’s most esteemed theologians, passed away at his home in Oklahoma last night.

An emeritus board member who chaired the board of the Institute on Religion & Democracy in Washington, D.C. for six years, Oden was also professor emeritus at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

Oden remained a prolific writer in his final years. A scholar of the Early Church Fathers, he edited the nearly two dozen volume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. His most recent books are on early African Christianity and on the social ethics of John Wesley, including Systematic Theology and most recently Turning Around the Mainline and How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind.

Read it all.

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Posted December 8, 2016 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The skyline of Paris has just acquired yet another arresting feature. Only a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, a spanking new Russian Orthodox cathedral, complete with five onion domes and a cultural centre, was inaugurated on December 4th by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, amid sonorous rhetoric about the long and chequered history of the Russian diaspora in France.

To secular observers, this was the latest success for Russian soft power, showing that even in times when intergovernmental relations are frosty, ecclesiastical relations can still forge ahead. In October, Patriarch Kirill reconsecrated the Russian cathedral in London and had a brief meeting with the supreme governor of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth; this was a more cordial chat than any conversation the political leaders of Britain and Russia have had recently.

The new temple in Paris was, in a sense, both a product and a hostage of secular politics. Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s then-president, agreed to its construction, with Russian funds, back in 2007 as a good-will gesture to Russia. Plans to turn the cathedral’s opening into a moment of diplomatic togetherness, attended by the French and Russian presidents, foundered after the countries’ row over Syria sharpened. But nothing prevented Patriarch Kirill from inaugurating the new house of prayer, with French cultural figures like the singer Mireille Matthieu in attendance.

Read it all.

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Posted December 8, 2016 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Paul’s exhortation to pray “without ceasing” highlights the importance of regular prayer in the life of the Christian. Luther’s years of monastic life modeled a regulated daily life of prayer. The various monastic daily prayer offices seem to have influenced Luther’s teaching of prayer in the Small Catechism. Not only is a prayer for morning provided, but Luther places that prayer within a simple liturgy: first, the name of the Triune God is spoken and the sign of the holy cross is made, then the Creed and Lord’s Prayer (two of the Chief Parts!) are spoken. Finally, Luther suggests his little prayer may be said “if you choose.” Humbly, Luther considers his own contribution optional and the handed-down texts of the Faith essential.

Luther’s modeling of prayer seems deliberately designed to avoid the type of praying that Jesus warns against: “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7) With many words comes much work; Luther aims at a simple liturgy of prayer that can be adopted in the daily lives of Christians both in his time and in our present day.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheran* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Why are suffering Syrian and Iraqi bishops banned from visiting the UK? They only wanted to attend the consecration of the country’s first Syriac Orthodox cathedral, dedicated to St Thomas. They might even have met the Prince of Wales for a cup of tea, but after that they’d have surely returned to serve their rapidly-diminishing flocks and lead them through their daily crucifixions, beheadings, enslavement, murder, rape… Surely the Sunday Express has got this story completely wrong. Bishops banned? Why on earth?

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's 8 a.m. Sunday at St. Hilda's in Catonsville, and the priest in the pulpit wears a white robe and green chasuble to celebrate the Episcopal Mass — a formal liturgy with roots that date to the 16th century.

Two hours later, he has exchanged the alb and chasuble for a black Joe Flacco jersey to lead an evangelical service — his language now part Billy Graham, part Rodney Dangerfield.

Read it all from the Baltimore Sun.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Irish priests' ever-increasing workload is threatening to turn this aging, demoralized and declining group into "sacrament-dispensing machines" who find pastoral work less and less satisfying, a co-founder of Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests has warned.
In his address to the association's annual general meeting in Athlone Nov. 16, Fr. Brendan Hoban highlighted how suicide is on the rise among Irish priests, a group he said was also increasingly prone to depression.

With the vast majority of Irish priests now age 70 or over, elderly diocesan priests are living increasingly isolated and lonely lives and are constantly "reminded that we no longer really matter, that at best we're now little more than a ceremonial presence on the sidelines of life," he said.

Read it all.


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Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Melbourne's Catholic and Anglican archbishops have condemned the Andrews government's imprisonment of teenagers in "the harshest of adult prison settings", warning that teen offenders' welfare and chances of rehabilitation are at risk.

Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart and his Anglican counterpart Philip Freier have taken the "unusual step" of writing a joint letter to Mr Andrews offering to boost chaplaincy and pastoral care services to "the most vulnerable and impressionable children" in the care of the state as the youth justice crisis deepens.

Earlier this month rioting teen inmates damaged the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre at Parkville. In response, Premier Daniel Andrews' government moved some inmates to the maximum security Barwon Prison, making "no apology" for the plan.

Read it all from The Age.

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Posted November 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the midst of Nazi-occupied Paris, an independent-minded Russian Orthodox nun lamented that Christians were not equipped to meet the challenges of the moment. “I look everywhere and nowhere do I find anything that would point to the possibility of a breakthrough from material life to eternity,” wrote Maria Skobtsova in an essay titled “Insight in Wartime.” She did not see around her any forms of Christian life that had the “right voice, the right pathos, the kind of wings” to stand against the terrors of the era.

Skobtsova herself was perhaps the exception. Born in 1891 under the czar, she had by the 1940s been a Bolshevik, a poet, and a refugee. She was almost killed by both White and Red armies during the Russian Revolution of 1917. She fled Russia after briefly serving as the deputy mayor of Anapa, a city near the Black Sea. In exile she returned to the Orthodox faith, and in 1932 she became a nun.

She refused, however, to take up residence in a convent or traditional religious community. Issuing a thoroughgoing critique of monasticism, she insisted that she would seek instead “to share the life of paupers and tramps.”

Read it all.

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Posted November 27, 2016 at 4:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Patriarch of Antioch was in London... [this past Thursday] for the consecration of Britain’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was the guest of honour at the service, which was attended by a number of senior Anglicans from the Church of England, including the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres; the Bishop at Lambeth, Nigel Stock; and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, the former ecumenical secretary at Lambeth Palace.

The new cathedral of St Thomas is the former Saint Saviour’s Church in Acton, west London – formerly a chapel for deaf Christians operated by the Royal Association for the Deaf.

The joyous service was marked with sadness as the congregation and a succession of speakers reflected on life for Christians in the homelands of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Syria and Iraq.

Read it all.

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Posted November 27, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anti-racist activism could be an excellent opportunity for Lutheran and Anglican congregations to engage in grass-roots ecumenical action, says Pat Lovell, representative to Council of General Synod (CoGS) from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

“We have this close relationship, we have power together, and I’d like to see us do more work together at the grassroots,” Lovell told CoGs in a November 19 partner’s reflection, noting that while both churches are involved in initiatives around responsible resource development, homelessness and poverty, there has been less co-operation on anti-racism.

Lovell said the recent defacement of a synagogue, a church and a mosque in Ottawa, is a reminder that racism and anti-Semitism remain problems in Canada.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesLutheran

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

London’s Westminster Abbey will be lit up in red tonight in an act of solidarity with people around the world who are persecuted for their faith. It is one of a number of religious buildings that are joining the #RedWednesday campaign by the Roman Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). As part of the campaign, one of London’s iconic red busses is taking part in a faith-buildings tour today, to spread the “Stand up for Faith and Freedom message”.

After setting off from Westminster Cathedral – the seat of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales – the bus will call at the Imam Khoei Islamic Centre, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood, and Westminster Abbey before returning to the Cathedral where a gathering and service will be held.

The Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Ignatius Aphrem II, has travelled from Damascus for the event, which will also be attended by Dr Sarah Bernstein, director-general of the Jerusalem Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations in Israel, and Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri Ameer, head-imam of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational & Cultural Centre in Ireland.

Read it all.

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



From there:
Red Wednesday is an occasion for people to stand in solidarity with the millions who are targeted for their beliefs and are living in fear. It takes place on the Feast of the Pope and Martyr, St Clement, and a growing number of parishes, schools and groups around the country are pledging their support for the day of witness.

The buildings taking part in the Red Wednesday witness include Catholic, Church of England and Free Churches which are being lit up in red – most notably Westminster and Brentwood Cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue at St John’s Wood, as well as Stonyhurst and the Palace of Westminster. “We are also inviting everyone, and especially schools, groups, and university students to wear red – as a symbol of the suffering today of people of faith,” says the event’s coordinator Patricia Hatton. “Priests too can get involved by wearing red vestments to celebrate the Feast of St Clement.”



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Posted November 23, 2016 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The debate over Amoris Laetitia has intensified, after Pope Francis suggested that some responses do not understand the document.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, partially translated by La Stampa, the Pope criticised “a certain legalism.” He said that responses to Amoris Laetitia exemplified this..
...........
This weekend, the Pope will officially appoint new cardinals at a meeting known as a consistory. However, he has cancelled the usual pre-consistory session where cardinals raise issues of concern. No reason has been given, but there is speculation that other cardinals might have wanted to ask about the dubia.

Read it all

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted November 19, 2016 at 12:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..Cardinal Burke is one of four cardinals who have written to the Pope asking for a clarification of Amoris Laetitia. They say that the document could be read as contradicting Church teaching on the moral law and on the question of Communion for the remarried. The Pope has declined to reply to the letter.

Asked what would happen if the Pope remained silent, Cardinal Burke replied: “Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.”

Read it all

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted November 19, 2016 at 12:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some evangelical leaders around the globe worry that the recent US presidential election has damaged Christian moral witness, and will fuel discord abroad.

In a conference call Tuesday, a week after Donald Trump’s win, more than 70 ministry presidents, pastors, and scholars spoke with concern as they discussed the ramifications of the American election on the global church.

The call was organized by Doug Birdsall, a former top leader of the Lausanne Movement and the American Bible Society, as part of his new Civilitas Group. Participants included evangelical representatives from Asia, Europe, and South America, as well as a diverse span of US church leaders.

“One of the things that America was stood for in the past was moral leadership and character. Over the past few decades, it has slowly dissipated,” said Hwa Yung, longtime bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. “In this election you have produced two candidates, both of whom are deeply flawed in character. The question people around the world are asking is, ‘Is this what America is today?’ The election has done great damage to your moral standing in the eyes of the world.”

Read it all.

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Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the label “evangelical” became an especially blurred category both because of the media and because of some evangelical voices. Over the course of the campaign, the press increasingly referred to evangelicals as politically conservative, and predominantly white Christians. For some evangelicals, abortion and future Supreme Court appointments were of primary concern, placed over and against concerns for women, people of color, Muslims, and LGBT persons. This polarization, even among evangelicals, led some to conclude that evangelicals on both sides were increasingly and inextricably bound to and complicit with scandalizing words and actions that degrade people and contradict and betray the gospel of Jesus Christ. At times, these associations have not just been attributed by the press, but clearly and repeatedly captured through evangelicals’ own witness. The reported influence of the evangelical vote in the post-election surveys only intensified this view.

For some who have identified themselves as evangelical, these distorted entanglements now compel them to abandon the term, to adamantly reject further identification with evangelical and with groups associated with it. Only by distancing themselves from the now pervasive and destructive associations with evangelical do they feel they can reclaim or maintain their identity and integrity as followers of Jesus. For these, anything less than this seems like a meaningless and impossible semantic position.

As President and President Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary, we lament and reject the disgrace that hateful words and actions by some evangelicals have heaped specifically upon people of color, immigrants, women, Muslims, and LGBT persons in our nation, as we uphold the dignity of all persons made in the image of God. We grieve and condemn the racism and fear, rejection and hatred that have been expressed and associated with our Lord. Such realities do not in any way reflect the fruit of God’s Spirit and instead evoke the sorrow of God’s heart and of our own.

To whatever degree and in whatever ways Fuller Theological Seminary has contributed or currently contributes to the shame and abuse now associated with the word evangelical, we call ourselves, our board of trustees, our faculty, our staff, our students, our alumni, and our friends to repentance and transformation.

Read it all.

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Up through the 1960s, members and institutions of the Protestant mainline dominated American public life. To be sure, this dominance was not without serious issues—most notably, the exclusion of “Catholics, Jews, blacks, and atheists from nearly every position of influence in American life.” The significant demographic changes brought about by post-war immigration did nothing but exacerbate this problem.

Through these developments, influential mainline thinkers such as Harvey Cox and Paul Tillich responded by abandoning Christian particularism. Gleason writes:

They focused on the church’s social obligations, which they emphasized at the expense of the exclusivity and particularity of traditional doctrinal claims. In one famous formulation, Tillich argued that Christianity was just one of many ways to touch “the ground of being.” Symbols, religious and otherwise, all inadequately represented their ineffable subjects, but they also pointed beyond themselves to this ground of being, which Tillich called God. If Tillich was right, then mainline Protestants had no reason to distrust people of other faiths. Perhaps their beliefs were not so different after all.

This liberal thought was disseminated to millions of congregants by mainline Protestant clergy. They taught the values of “individualism, tolerance, pluralism, and emancipation from tradition”—and, in so doing, played a pivotal role in creating the culture in which we now live.

By virtue of their very “success,” however, mainline churches became a “vanishing mediator.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranMethodistPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ* Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon




As of 2014, there were roughly 245 million adults in the United States, including 173 million Christians and 56 million people without a religious affiliation. These are big numbers that, along with many others in the religious demographic pie, can at times make it difficult to fully understand the American religious landscape.

But what if we looked at this big picture a little differently? What if we imagined the United States as a small town, population 100, instead of a continent-spanning nation with hundreds of millions of people? Doing so presents an interesting thought experiment because it allows us to see basic data about the U.S. and its people in a fresh, simple and illuminating way.

The following five charts use data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study to create a religious demographic profile of the U.S. if the country were made up of exactly 100 adults.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther Faiths

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Simeon moved to put benches in the aisles, the church wardens threw them out. He battled with discouragement and at one point wrote out his resignation.

"When I was an object of much contempt and derision in the university," he later wrote, "I strolled forth one day, buffeted and afflicted, with my little Testament in my hand … The first text which caught my eye was this: 'They found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; him they compelled to bear his cross.'"

Slowly the pews began to open up and fill, not primarily with townspeople but with students. Then Simeon did what was unthinkable at the time: he introduced an evening service. He invited students to his home on Sundays and Friday evening for "conversation parties" to teach them how to preach. By the time he died, it is estimated that one-third of all the Anglican ministers in the country had sat under his teaching at one time or another.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O loving God, who orderest all things by thine unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see thy hand; that, following the example and teaching of thy servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve thee with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First of all, Graham moved from biblical inerrancy and literalism to a more dynamic sense of biblical infallibility. The Bible was authoritative not because it was historically or scientifically accurate in every detail, but because it did what it promised to do: infallibly bring people to faith in Christ. Graham believed in the Bible’s factual accuracy, but that was not the main point. The Bible held authority because it worked.

The second change focused on the the new birth. In the early days Graham called for something like a “ready-set-go” conversion experience. Stand up, walk to the front, sign a decision card, join a church, and then witness to your new-found faith. But over time Graham saw that people could show their commitment in other ways. He allowed that many people, including his wife, Ruth, never experienced a single moment of decision. They just grew up “saved” and never saw themselves otherwise. And he knew too that many inquirers were coming back to Christ after their first love had grown cold.

Graham’s notion of the spiritual and moral results that should be the fruit of new birth also evolved. His primary emphasis always fell on individual conversion. But he also came to see the need for intentionally working for social reform, sometimes through legislation. Converted hearts did not automatically produce converted hands.

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

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Posted November 7, 2016 at 9:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Could you cite those who influenced your interest in and decision to convert to Catholicism? What is your previous religious background?

Professor Vermeule: I was baptized and raised as an Episcopalian/Anglican; my first school was run by Anglican nuns and I later attended an historically Episcopalian boarding school. I fell away from the Episcopal Church in college, and when I returned in later life, it was a different place. There are many “small-O” orthodox Christians remaining within it, including dear friends, but they have lost control of the institution to heterodox forces.

As for influences, there were many, especially Cardinal Newman, Father Brian Dunkle, S. J., Father Kevin Grove, CSC, who generously arranged my reception at Notre Dame, a set of lay and clerical scholars and friends from Notre Dame, Harvard and other universities, friends at St. Paul Parish at Harvard, and a larger cloud of witnesses throughout the Church. But behind and above all those who helped me along the way, there stood a great Lady.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted November 5, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelist Billy Graham is “doing well” as he prepares to celebrate his 98th birthday with his family, his son said.

Franklin Graham told RNS Thursday (Nov. 3) they are planning to get him one of his favorite treats to mark the special day on Monday.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even when they try to stake out a more ostensibly counter-cultural position, as Hatmaker did in 7, they often end up mimicking more mainstream trends in rich, suburban America.

To be fair, the BELONG Tour is not unique in this. Millennial evangelicals from this second-generation seeker-sensitive movement are doing this sort of thing en masse. The other obvious example of this is the Q Conference, which is an evangelical riff on TED talks.

Even so, this needs to be understood: The things that Hatmaker said last week are entirely consistent with a movement that cannot create culture but can only react to it and mimic it. Even where I think she is more right than wrong, as she is in her handling of race issues, for example, her response shows a kind of captivity to prevailing cultural norms that are typical of seeker-sensitive ministries. It is a movement driven by the same techniques used to grow businesses and which interprets the contemporary expression of Christian faith through the medium of current cultural norms and, particularly, common business norms and practices.

There is simply no foundation in the movement for someone like Hatmaker to resist the cultural momentum that has carried so many people toward a view of the human body and sexuality that is wildly out of step with historic Christian teachings.

To the extent that Hatmaker has helped promote and grow this sort of syncretist Christianity she should be criticized, but this problem is far older than Hatmaker and is something that Hatmaker inherited from other older Christians. So criticism that singles out Hatmaker is misguided; Hatmaker is one part of a much larger sub-culture of evangelicalism that is deeply broken and incapable of doing the very things it was designed to do, which is communicate the truths of the Gospel to a culture that finds those truths increasingly strange and alien. By adopting the norms of the bourgeois, the attractional Christians of the 1970s were setting themselves and their children up to become good syncretists and utterly incapable of mounting any kind of serious prophetic critique of their culture.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 3, 2016 at 4:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Marriage, as Jesus defines it in Matthew 19—where a man leaves his father and mother and joins with his wife in covenant marriage—is a core evangelical belief.
It might not seem that way these days, when we hear of a few people making news by changing their views on sexuality and marriage, but we are in a season of one evangelical organization after another feeling the need to make clear their position on marriage.
That’s the bigger story than the celebrity of the moment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the release of her second major book—The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life (Zondervan)—Voskamp, 43, is especially mindful of the temptation to grow bigger than her roots. An extreme introvert for whom fun means curling up and reading Jonathan Edwards, Voskamp is ambivalent about the 10-city book tour she’s about to take. In conversations with her bubbly publicist, she’s trying to secure as many days at home.

“We need to break the ladders and go lower,” Voskamp tells CT on a visit to her farmhouse this summer. “That means destroying platforms and living hidden lives that have dirt underneath our fingernails, as opposed to everyone striving to get behind a microphone. . . . Numbers can be toxic to our souls.”

Even still, Voskamp has some pretty interesting numbers in her life: 7 children, ages 21 to 2; 600 acres, on which her husband, Darryl (“The Farmer” to her readers), grows corn and raises pigs; 1,000 gifts, which Voskamp made herself write down in a time when gratitude was elusive and which spawned her first book; 1 million–plus copies, which that book went on to sell; and 1 Tim Keller sermon, a different one of which Voskamp tries to read every night before bed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An elderly Christian widow who survived two years of Islamic State rule over her northern Iraqi town said the jihadists threatened to kill her, forced her to spit on a crucifix and made her stamp on an image of the Virgin Mary.

Zarifa Badoos Daddo, 77, was reunited with her family on Sunday after Iraqi forces drove Islamic State from Qaraqosh as they advanced on Mosul, the militants’ last major urban bastion in the country. The forces found her sheltering in a house they thought was abandoned or booby-trapped with explosives.

Most residents of Qaraqosh – Iraq’s largest Christian town – had fled toward the country’s autonomous Kurdish region more than two years ago as the jihadists approached, but Daddo stayed on with another elderly woman.

Her relatives had long feared she was dead.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians are finally returning to the Church of the Immaculate Conception. In the courtyard, they find piles of shell casings and mannequin torsos riddled with bullet holes. The Islamic State fighters who held the building until just a few days ago used the space for target practice.

The cavernous interior of the church, the largest in Iraq, is charred and black. The floors are strewn with trash. Islamic State fighters destroyed the crosses and burned any religious books they could find. Now a man is searching through the rubble, salvaging scraps of manuscripts in Aramaic, the ancient language spoken by Jesus.

A small group of priests and local people gathers around the altar, and for the first time in two years, the sound of prayer fills the hall. Gunfire and shelling can still be heard not far away. A man goes up to the darkened altar and kisses it, shaking his head in disbelief at the level of destruction. One of the priests finds a few pieces of communion wafer and wraps them respectfully in paper. “This is Christ’s body, after all,” he says.

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

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last year, the AOOIC communiqué recommended the omission of the Filioque clause – the words “and the son” which western churches added to “…which proceeds from the Father” in the Nicene Creed without international consensus. The Anglican co-chair of the Commission, Bishop Gregory Cameron from St Asaph in Wales, said at the time that it had “long been a source of contention between Western and Eastern Christians.”

In their communiqué issued at the end of last week’s talks, the members of the AOOIC said that “having completed its work on the Procession of the Holy Spirit at its 2015 meeting, the Commission continued its reflection on the second part of its Agreed Statement on pneumatology, ‘The Sending of the Holy Spirit in Time (Economia).’

“This second part considers the action of the Holy Spirit in the life and mission of the Church making it one, holy, catholic and apostolic. The Co-Chairs signed the second part of Agreed Statement that will be sent to our churches for reflection and comment, after which the Commission will produce the full statement, ‘The Nature and Work of the Holy Spirit,’ in its final form.”

Read it all from ACNS.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesOrthodox Church* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 2:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans may know the basics of how Martin Luther was said to have nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517, condemning the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences, but they probably don’t realize how Luther strategically used the media of his time: books, paintings, prints and music.

This monk in a town at the edge of Germany took on the Holy Roman emperor and the pope — then the most powerful men in Europe — 500 years ago, and won, dividing the church, setting in play “one of the most successful media campaigns in history” and altering Western society and culture, said John T. McQuillen, assistant curator of printed books and bindings at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.

That message and its resonance are being celebrated at three institutions in honor of the coming 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s action and the beginning of the Reformation. Each of the shows — in Manhattan, Atlanta and Minneapolis — is unique. Featured among them are hundreds of objects: liturgical vestments; illuminated manuscripts; satirical woodcuts; one of six existing single-sheet printed copies of the 95 theses; the pulpit where Luther last preached; personal belongings, like Luther’s traveling spoon and beer stein; and items from recent archaeological excavations in Germany, including household goods and toys linked to Luther’s childhood.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryMediaReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheran* Theology

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of Scotland is to launch a webchat service to help those looking for spiritual guidance but unwilling to come to church on a Sunday.

The initiative will go live in the new year and is the Kirk's latest effort to reach beyond its traditional audience as figures show a continued trend away from organised religion.

The digital congregation will be able to book an online chat with a minister but may have to wait up to three hours for a reply. A separate 24-hour chatline to discuss religious questions has also been set up.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are indications that life for Christians in Iraq, including in liberated areas of Nineveh, will not be easy. Some see troubling signs that certain politicians in Iraq – and in neighboring regional power Turkey – will try to build their own empires or caliphates on the rubble of the one ISIS attempted.

After the liberation from ISIS of historically Christian towns in the Nineveh region of Iraq last week, Patriarch Luis Raphael Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church visited several of the newly-freed areas.

“These are our lands, Christian lands and villages,” Patriach Sako, the Baghdad-based spiritual leader of many of Iraq’s Christians said. He added that Christians would soon return to their ancestral lands, according to AsiaNews.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyApologetics

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Posted October 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is certainly a pattern that distinguishes your work. You're always attentive to the larger work and the way in which a coherent reading of the text has to inform each of its parts. Was there a part of your literary training or sensibility early on that helped to discipline that kind of reading?

That's a nice observation. I think so. When I was an undergraduate at Yale in the 1960s, the English department was still fundamentally shaped by what was called the New Criticism. That approach predated the emergence of deconstruction and the various kinds of postmodernist approaches to literature that have since become dominant.

The New Critics were not particularly concerned about the historical circumstances of the production of the text, or influences on the author, or those kinds of things. Rather, I was taught to look at the way in which the language of the text itself worked—its imagery, music, metaphor—and to think about how the text functioned as a complete work of art. I think that approach to interpretation has informed the pattern you're describing in my scholarship.

The Bible is just not a collection of little verses or tidbits of wisdom. When we're reading the Gospel of Luke, for example, we're reading a text that has a narrative shape to it. To see what's going on in the text, you have to read the thing whole and see how the parts relate to the whole.

And the same thing applies not only to individual gospels but also, analogously, to the Bible as a whole.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is a kind of baby-boomer Pharisaism in Clinton’s outlook. It’s an outlook that recognizes the existence of evil, yes, but the evil is always located in other people, never in oneself; it’s always out there somewhere—in society, in discriminatory practices, in “backward-looking policies,” in partisan climates, in “an interlocking network of groups and individuals who want to turn the clock back on many of the advances our country has made” (this last an explanation, in Living History, of her notorious reference to a “vast right-wing conspiracy” in 1998).

Clinton is the product, first, of the midcentury Protestant liberalism of her upbringing—she was raised in a solidly mainline Methodist church outside Chicago—and, second, the countercultural protests of the 1960s. These are very different cultural phenomena in many respects, but both tended to locate human wickedness in institutions, social trends, historical processes. War, consumerism, social injustice, poverty, the “military–industrial complex”: the problem was always some kind of social or political circumstance, never man himself and certainly not one’s own heart. For Clinton, an honest admission of wrongdoing isn’t something to avoid doing; it isn’t a thing at all. Except in some extreme case in which the individual admits his part in an institutional or political sin (Lee Atwater’s late confession of cruelty to political opponents, perhaps), decent, right-thinking people can’t admit to wrongdoing because wrongdoing isn’t really the result of individual decisions.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.

When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis Other Faiths* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A sister with the Servants of Mary, Socorro has spent many of her nights and dark, early mornings in the homes of the dying. Each night, a volunteer picks her up around 7 p.m. and drives her to her destination: a tiny stucco house just a few miles from the South Los Angeles convent.

The congregation was founded in Spain in 1851. As nurses, they worked during cholera epidemics and wars, and later in Mexico during revolutions. Now, more than 2,000 sisters work in 128 convents throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The sisters prefer to minister in patients’ homes, but also work in hospices, orphanages and hospitals. And when needed, they take care of their own.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted October 26, 2016 at 7:53 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Catholics may be cremated but should not have their ashes scattered at sea or kept in urns at home.
According to new guidelines from the Vatican's doctrinal office, cremated remains should be kept in a "sacred place" such as a church cemetery. Ashes should not be divided up between family members, "nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects."

The church has allowed cremation for decades, but the guidelines make clear that the Vatican is concerned that the practice often involves "erroneous ideas about death." Those ideas run the gauntlet from deeply nihilistic to New Age-y, the Vatican says, from the belief that death is the definitive end of life to the notion that our bodies fuse with nature or enter another cycle of rebirth.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEschatology

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Posted October 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the Christian town of Bartella was being liberated from the Islamic State last week, Mona, a Christian student miles from the front line, was hiding under a bed with six other young women.

Sitting on the bed above, inches away, were six ISIS militants, engaged in the terrorist attack on Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk.

Mona’s story highlights the complexities of the situation Christians face in Iraq. On the one hand, long-Christian villages are being liberated. On the other hand, the threats are real, even in a city outside of ISIS control.

After hiding under the bed for three hours, the young Christian women in Kirkuk were able to escape out the back door when five of the six terrorists left, leaving one behind who was wounded. He later blew himself up with a suicide bomb.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 25, 2016 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Golfers at one of the world’s most prestigious courses are being given spiritual advice by a Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen.

[The] Rev Susan Brown, who also wed Madonna and Guy Ritchie, has written thought provoking reflections for each of the 18 Championship Course holes at Royal Dornoch Golf Club in the Highlands to help inspire players and “exercise the body, mind and spirit”. The 57-year-old walked the course at different times of the day to capture the unique feel of the stunning landscape to create the so-called “Holy Round” as part of celebrations to mark 400 years of golf in the area.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian

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Posted October 22, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The headmaster of Downside School has spoken out against suggestions that pornography should be taught in schools.

Following comments by the broadcaster and journalist Dame Jenni Murray, in which she said teenagers should watch pornography together and analyse it as though it was a Jane Austen novel, Dr James Whitehead said that promoting pornography goes against the ethos of gender equality.

During an appearance at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, Murray suggested schools “put boys and girls together in a class and you show them a pornographic film and you analyse it in exactly the same way as you teach them to read all the other cultures around them”.

But in a blogpost for the Independent Schools Council, Dr Whitehead said Jane Austen would be “appalled”.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEntertainmentPornographyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

B&C co-chair Mark Noll helped start the publication in 1994, the same year his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind was released.

“I’m quite depressed about the state of the world as is reflected in its closing,” said Noll, a history professor at Notre Dame University, who believes the magazine thrived because of Wilson’s vision and expertise.

“John’s singular ability in an age of polemics and partisanship and gotcha-journalism was to emphasis the long-term, to be thoughtful rather than reactive, to try to bring insight rather than onslaught,” Noll said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingBooksEducationMediaReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted October 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mike Berenstain became a designer at Random House and then a children’s-book writer and illustrator for about 10 years before being called in by his overworked parents to help out with the family business in the mid-1980s. Stan died in 2005, and after that, Mike was left in charge of the writing; his mother continued to co-illustrate the stories along with Mike until she died in 2012. Mike took over as sole author and illustrator, and the books began to reflect more of his own personality, even as he served as the faithful executor of his parents’ vision. This led to a disconnect between his family’s stolid, universalist postwar morality and his own.

Stan Berenstain had been born to a secular Jewish family in West Philadelphia, and Jan Berenstain, née Grant, was Episcopalian by birth. Mike and his brother were not raised in any particular religious faith. “They taught me morals and traditions and ethics, but not a particular spiritual identity,” he says. Mike didn’t find religion until he enrolled his children at Quaker schools near his suburban Philadelphia home, which led him to the Presbyterian Church and a mature religious faith of his own.

In 2006, Mike Berenstain, with the agreement of his mother, approached HarperCollins with an idea for a new book series. They had noticed an unusual volume of letters and emails from devoted Christian readers, writing to share their appreciation for the timeless values of the Berenstain Bears books. A light went off: How about an entire series for religious readers?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterianOther FaithsJudaism* Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The visit represents the first time that Archbishop Justin and Patriarch Kirill have met, but it is the second time a Patriarch of Moscow and an Archbishop of Canterbury have met at Lambeth Palace in recent times. The first meeting was that of Archbishop Michael Ramsey with His Holiness Alexey I in 1964.

The relationship between the two churches has endured for more than three centuries, through some very difficult times as well periods when the two countries have stood side by side. This relationship has been cemented through many personal contacts and through the spiritual and cultural interchange which has enriched both churches.

After welcoming Patriarch Kirill and his delegation to Lambeth Palace, Archbishop Justin had a personal conversation with Patriarch Kirill. Uppermost in the conversation was their shared compassion for Christian, and other, minorities in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, where they have been systematically targeted and persecuted and their communities decimated.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussia* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A cheque from Anglican church-goers to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral following a burglary has been welcomed as "a moving gesture of friendship".

Leaders from the Catholic landmark say they were "overwhelmed" to receive nealy £1,000 from Liverpool Cathedral after the break-in last week.

In a statement posted on Facebook, they said: "We were overwhelmed this week to receive a very special donation from our close neighbours and friends, Liverpool Cathedral."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted October 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bigotry on display in the emails is that of people who claim to perceive bigotry everywhere, even where it does not exist. Some on the left have perfected the technique of smearing their political opponents by dismissing dissent from the dogmas of secular progressive ideology—on, say, abortion or marriage—as bigotry. This tactic has only bred more hatred toward traditions of faith that uphold traditional moral values, such as Catholicism, evangelical Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Mormonism and Orthodox Judaism.

Neither presidential candidate has an admirable record of respect for religion. Mr. Trump has been rightly called out for whom he associates with, and Mrs. Clinton should be held to the same standard.

She vowed in the second presidential debate “to be the president for all Americans,” regardless of politics or religion. Given her closest advisers’ animus toward faithful Catholics and evangelicals, millions of Americans ought to be skeptical—especially if they’re unwilling to put politics before faith and common decency.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic


Posted October 14, 2016 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the forerunners of the Ordinariate is the remarkable parish of Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, Texas.

As a young Anglican seminarian, Christopher Phillips trained for the ministry at Salisbury in England. On his return to the United States he and his wife Joanne, living at that time in Rhode Island, felt the call to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

It was 1981 and Pope John Paul II had just given permission for married Anglican priests who become Catholic to be granted a dispensation from the vow of celibacy, thereby allowing them to be ordained as Catholic priests. Permission was also granted for groups of Anglicans to set up “personal parishes” using an Anglican-style liturgy under the supervision of their Catholic bishop.

At the same time Christopher and Joanne were discerning the way forward, a small group of Episcopalians in San Antonio had decided to leave the Episcopal church and seek re-union with Rome. They asked Christopher if he would move to Texas to be their pastor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The piece is essentially an op-ed commentary on a survey conducted by Lifeway Research and funded by Ligonier ministries. The defining feature of the survey, at least to me, was an inability for those surveyed to think consistently about their faith. For example, 60% of respondents believed that Heaven is a place where “all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones” however 54% percent of respondents said that “only those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior” will go to heaven. Adding to the confusion, 64% believe that “God accepts all forms of religion.” It doesn’t take a seminary degree to see the incompatibility of the above viewpoints. The only way I could reconcile the above viewpoints would be with the theologically liberal solution of a Universalist Cosmic Christ, which is probably not what the respondents intended!

And while logical inconsistency might be the defining feature of the survey, it is by no means the most interesting. Apparently, for this survey LifeWay used “stringent criteria” in order to separate “Evangelicals” from Christians in general. Those respondents who identified as “Evangelical” must indicate the Bible as “their highest authority,” that personal evangelism was important and that “trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross is the only way to salvation.” The expectation was that the Evangelicals would perform better on the more theological/biblical portions of the survey than the more generic “Christian” respondents. But as Morris points out in his article for The Federalist, Evangelicals actually performed worse. And the points they scored worse on were not Bible trivia such as “who was the first Apostle called by Jesus,” but rather the Evangelicals struck out on fundamental articles of the Christian faith.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

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

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Posted October 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"It’s been a surreal week. Last Wednesday and Thursday I met the Pope, first for a big service then for a conversation. The service was beautiful, full of a sense of the presence of God. Towards the end the Pope gave a gift, for me and my successors, a beautifully carved wooden Bishop's staff, modelled on one given to St Augustine by Pope Gregory the Great in 597 – over 1,400 years ago.

"In turn I gave him the cross I was wearing; it is called a Coventry Cross, and is the shape of three nails, modelled on the ones made at Coventry Cathedral after it was bombed in 1940. In the past 70 years they have become a global symbol of peacemaking and reconciliation.

"At that deeply emotional moment, triggered by the cross of nails, I remembered Aleppo, and those driven from homes all round the world as refugees. And then yesterday evening I met Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani 19-year-old shot for campaigning for education for girls, and still doing so. An extraordinary evening.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....something changed for Moore after Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president of the United States, was caught on tape bragging about his ability to sexual assault women. When Trump said, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the #####. You can do anything,” Moore had had enough.

“I’m one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it,” Moore said. She also had a word about evangelical leaders still supporting Trump: “Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

Moore’s broken silence about the 2016 race—rooted in her own experience with sexual assault—signals a widening gender divide between evangelicals. Increasingly, moderate and conservative Christian women are speaking out about Trump’s brand of misogyny and divisiveness, and condemning support for the nominee or silence about him from male evangelicals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before we get to the Sarah Pulliam Bailey round-up for today, it is significant that the Associated Press has produced a feature with the headline, "Why Do Evangelicals Prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton?"

Of course, this headline should have included the word "some," as in "some evangelicals." Down in the body of the feature, AP made it rather clear that many – perhaps even most – religious conservatives are not planning to vote for Trump, but against you know who. This is not news to people who follow religion trends, but it will be surprising to some editors at daily newspapers:

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




You can find their wonderful website there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:07 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This past week, the latest (though surely not last) revelations from Trump’s past have caused many evangelical leaders to reconsider. This is heartening, but it comes awfully late. What Trump is, everyone has known and has been able to see for decades, let alone the last few months. The revelations of the past week of his vile and crude boasting about sexual conquest—indeed, sexual assault—might have been shocking, but they should have surprised no one.

Indeed, there is hardly any public person in America today who has more exemplified the “earthly nature” (“flesh” in the King James and the literal Greek) that Paul urges the Colossians to shed: “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry” (3:5). This is an incredibly apt summary of Trump’s life to date. Idolatry, greed, and sexual immorality are intertwined in individual lives and whole societies. Sexuality is designed to be properly ordered within marriage, a relationship marked by covenant faithfulness and profound self-giving and sacrifice. To indulge in sexual immorality is to make oneself and one’s desires an idol. That Trump has been, his whole adult life, an idolater of this sort, and a singularly unrepentant one, should have been clear to everyone.

And therefore it is completely consistent that Trump is an idolater in many other ways. He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool.

Read it all from Andy Crouch.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthdox Church (pictured) also extended his welcome to the delegates of the Anglican Global South. Through Metropolitan Bishoy he expressed his delight in the Christological agreement signed between the Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches in 2014, as well as the 2015 agreement on the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father.

“[We] back you in your defense of the commandments of the Holy Scriptures,” said Pope Tawadros to the Global South delegates, through Metropolitan Bishoy, while noting serious disagreements that exist between the Coptic Orthodox and the Anglican Church as a whole.

“Yet we carry on our dialogue with the Anglican Communion in order to encourage the Anglican conservatives to continue abiding to the true and genuine Biblical principles.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & PrimatesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesCoptic Church* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury spent two days in Rome this week, accompanied by 17 leaders from other Anglican Provinces worldwide, as well as pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops who discussed ways of forging closer partnerships in mission.

At an audience in the Vatican on Thursday, Pope Francis said that it was “a beautiful sign of fraternity” to see the Primates of so many Anglican Provinces celebrating the fruits of the first meeting 50 years ago between his predecessor Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey.

“Let us never grow tired of asking the Lord together and insistently for the gift of unity,” the Pope said. All church leaders were being challenged to go out and bring God’s “merciful love to a world thirsting for peace”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted October 7, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis spoke to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Primates of the Anglican Communion in a Vatican audience on Thursday.

The Holy Father recalled the historic meeting between Blessed Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey 50 years ago, which has led to a gradual rapprochement based on theological dialogue.

He then reflected with them on the three themes of ‘prayer, witness, and mission’ as a basis for ‘our continuing common journey’.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 6, 2016 at 12:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Into this mix of war, migration and climate change, economic deprivation, inequality and corruption, we see added the growth of extremist groups advocating religiously motivated violence, affecting most, probably even all, of the great world faiths. The internet enables their poison to spread around the world with lightning speed, catching the naïve and lost, and leading them into paths of destruction. Secular values disregard the unborn, especially those with disabilities, and discard the aged. Family life is marginalised in the cause of economic necessity.

"Facing all these perils, and a million more, is the body of Christ, the church, against which, as was promised to St Peter, the gates of hell shall not prevail. We have much cause for concern, but none for fear, for we are embraced by Christ, our Good Shepherd. In fact, we are filled with joy and hope, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who is given to us.

"Yet in our disunity we grieve the Spirit of God, and we damage every aspect of our lives in Christ. Our witness is damaged, for we are not seen as one, and thus the world is less able to see that Jesus comes from the Father. Our fellowship is impaired, for we cannot share in the Eucharist. Our delight in Christ is overshadowed by our grief at divisions within his family.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted October 6, 2016 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fifty years ago our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey met in this city hallowed by the ministry and blood of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Robert Runcie, and later with Archbishop George Carey, and Pope Benedict XVI with Archbishop Rowan Williams, prayed together here in this Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill from where Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the Anglo-Saxon people. On pilgrimage to the tombs of these apostles and holy forebears, Catholics and Anglicans recognize that we are heirs of the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the call to share that treasure with the whole world. We have received the Good News of Jesus Christ through the holy lives of men and women who preached the Gospel in word and deed and we have been commissioned, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to be Christ’s witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8). We are united in the conviction that “the ends of the earth” today, is not only a geographical term, but a summons to take the saving message of the Gospel particularly to those on the margins and the peripheries of our societies.

In their historic meeting in 1966, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey established the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission to pursue a serious theological dialogue which, “founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions, may lead to that unity in truth, for which Christ prayed”. Fifty years later we give thanks for the achievements of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, which has examined historically divisive doctrines from a fresh perspective of mutual respect and charity. Today we give thanks in particular for the documents of ARCIC II which will be appraised by us, and we await the findings of ARCIC III as it navigates new contexts and new challenges to our unity.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

0 Comments
Posted October 5, 2016 at 4:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ordination of women and “more recent questions regarding human sexuality” are serious obstacles in the path to unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics; but they “cannot prevent us from recognising one another as brothers and sisters in Christ”, Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said in a Common Declaration.

Speaking of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey in 1966 – the first such public meeting of a Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury since the Reformation – and their Common Declaration, Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby said that their predecessors had “recognised the ‘serious obstacles’ that stood in the way of a restoration of complete faith and sacramental life between us. Nevertheless, they set out undeterred, not knowing what steps could be taken along the way, but in fidelity to the Lord’s prayer that his disciples be one.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

0 Comments
Posted October 5, 2016 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was measure of how warm a relationship the Archbishop of Canterbury has with Pope Francis.

When asked by a child this summer who would win if they had a fight, Archbishop Welby joked the Pope would, for sure.

"He has a bigger stick than me, and has a bigger hat than me - and he's better than me."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted October 4, 2016 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Pope and the head of the Church of England will say prayers together for the first time since England’s break from Rome gave rise to the Anglican church, the Vatican announced Monday.
The historic and hugely symbolic move will come on Wednesday at vespers, or evening prayers, in the ancient church of San Gregorio al Celio in the Italian capital.
It will be the first time a pontiff has joined with an Archbishop of Canterbury in joint public prayer since the schism in 1534 was triggered by English monarch Henry VIII’s clash with Rome.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

2 Comments
Posted October 3, 2016 at 4:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Vaughan then views the issues through the biblical framework of creation, fall and redemption. True freedom is found not through radical independence, but through being who we are. The result of being left to invent our identities is a deep insecurity and fluidity. But in reality our identity is given to us in creation. We are made embodied and sexual. As a result of the fall, however, we are now all disordered. Some people have disordered bodies which, in the case of gender, includes a small minority with intersex conditions. More common are disordered minds. This includes phenomena like depression and anxiety. But it can also include gender dysphoria. These are not necessarily a direct result of an individual’s own sin. But they are the result of humanity’s rebellion against sin. We are now all in some way or other broken people in a broken world. Vaughan draws on his own experience of same-sex attraction to illustrate this point. The gospel is the good news of redemption through Christ in a new creation. Before the day when our bodies will be redeemed, we are to resist desires contrary to God’s will. ‘That means that those who experience gender dysphoria should resist feelings that encourage them to see themselves as anything other than the sex of their birth.’ (61) Though this may be difficult, this will lead to a greater experience of freedom and a secure identity. Vaughan ends with a chapter entitled ‘Wisdom’ where he address a series of ‘What if …?’ scenarios including advice to parents, friends and churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the end, we simply have no place to go other than the Bible as God’s authoritative revelation. Christ, not the Bible, is the foundation of our faith — but our only authoritative and infallible source of knowledge about Christ is the Bible.

A true defense of the Christian faith has never been more needed than now, but an attempt to rescue Christianity from its dependence upon Scripture is doomed to disaster.

We are left in the same predicament as Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms. If Scripture cannot be trusted, then we are doomed.

“Jesus loves me — this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” A mature Christian faith will say more than that, not less than that. “For the Bible tells me so” does not mean that we do not have reasoned answers to difficult questions, but it does mean that we admit our dependence upon Scripture — and that we confess that God intended for us to be dependent on Scripture.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyApologeticsTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

George Mamoulides


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in a year where many voters see nothing but bad choices, many evangelicals feel deeply torn. Long a reliable Republican voting bloc, many are appalled to find Donald J. Trump their only alternative to Hillary Clinton. They say he has taken positions all over the map on same-sex couples and abortion and does not have the character to be president. Others are still bewildered that Mr. Trump defeated not only Mr. Cruz — a pastor’s son who made “religious liberty” a signature issue — but also half a dozen other conservative Christian contenders they would have gladly supported.

Read it all.

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

3 Comments
Posted September 29, 2016 at 10:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After writing Heaven, I heard many stories about the losses of loved ones. People were asking, “How can I be happy”—they probably wouldn’t use that word because it sounds so unspiritual—“when my seven-year-old has just died of leukemia?”

I began to think more and more of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, when he describes himself as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). He doesn’t say “rejoicing, yet always sorrowful.” It’s rejoicing that’s the constant, even as this leaves plenty of room for sorrow and struggle.

Something would be terribly wrong if we weren’t grieving for this world and those who suffer. But is it okay to be happy when we live in a world of hurt? And beyond that, is it actually God’s calling? Because if God commands us to rejoice, he must empower us to rejoice. He must want us to be happy. That’s what got me interested in God’s happiness. Is God happy? Can he be happy when he sees so much sin in the world, when he knows what his Son endured on his behalf, when he sees the persecution of his people? Can we?

Clearly, the answer is yes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 28, 2016 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Catholic priest Fr Edward O'Donnell has been installed as an ecumenical canon at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.
He is one of three ecumenical canons appointed at the cathedral.
In his role at St Anne's he can preach, lead prayers and read scripture. He can also assist at the cathedral's traditional Black Santa Christmas collection for charity.
It is the first time in St Anne's history that a Catholic priest has been appointed to such a role.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Ireland* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My country’s parliament recently passed the first national assisted-suicide legislation in our history. Prompted by the Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision last year to strike down the previous law as unconstitutionally restricting individual rights to life, liberty, and security, Parliament is now arguing over how widely or narrowly to involve Canadian citizens—both patients and health care providers—in assisted suicide.

In Culture of Death, first published in 2000, American lawyer and activist Wesley J. Smith warned that this debate was upon us. A new, updated revision of the book sharpens this warning, drawing on a wide range of cases in Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and the bellwether states of Oregon and Washington.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyBooksChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

All it took was for a KLOVE radio intern’s finger to slip, and a classic power ballad by Journey became an unlikely worship sensation overnight.

The incident reportedly occurred Tuesday evening, as new intern Kyle Criswell attempted to queue up Michael W. Smith’s song “Open Arms,” but mistakenly selected hit rock band Journey’s 1981 power ballad of the same name instead.

Criswell realized his mistake as the sappy love lyrics “Lying beside you, here in the dark / Feeling your heartbeat with mine / Softly you whisper, you’re so sincere / How could our love be so blind” began pumping into his headphones. Horrified, the young assistant immediately signaled the on-duty DJ to come over and help him figure out how to correct his mistake.

But then, something amazing happened, as thousands of new listeners began to tune into the station to hear the hit new worship song, calling in and demanding the station replay the track.

Read it all from The Babylon Bee.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* General InterestHumor / Trivia* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted September 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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