GAFCON Chairman’s September Pastoral Letter on Saint Matthew’s Day
Posted by The_Elves

My dear brothers and sisters,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I continue to thank God for the global family of the GAFCON movement and as we stand together to restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion, I believe that we are recovering what it truly means to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Today, we give thanks for St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist for whom discipleship was costly. The call of Jesus was the point where he abandoned his love of money because he knew God had not abandoned him. Matthew, the despised tax collector, experienced the grace of God as he was given a new purpose in life and a new community to be part of.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON II 2013

September 21, 2015 at 6:11 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

GAFCON calls for ‘truth on the table’ in the Anglican Communion in called Primates Meeting
Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is on this basis that the GAFCON Primates will prayerfully consider their response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter. They recognize that the crisis in the Communion is not primarily a problem of relationships and cultural context, but of false teaching which continues without repentance or discipline.

Consistent with this position, they have previously advised the Archbishop of Canterbury that they would not attend any meeting at which The Episcopal Church of the United States or the Anglican Church of Canada were represented, nor would they attend any meeting from which the Anglican Church in North America was excluded.

It is therefore of some encouragement that the Archbishop of Canterbury has opened the door of this meeting to the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach. He has already been recognized as a fellow primate of the Anglican Communion by Primates representing GAFCON and the Anglican Global South at his installation in Atlanta last October and he is a full member of the GAFCON Primates Council.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican PrimatesGlobal South Churches & Primates

September 18, 2015 at 5:00 am - 6 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

The Archbishop of Canterbury calls for a new Primates’ Gathering
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury today wrote to all 37 Primates inviting them to attend a special Primates’ gathering in Canterbury to reflect and pray together concerning the future of the Communion.

The meeting, to be held in January 2016, would be an opportunity for Primates to discuss key issues face to face, including a review of the structures of the Anglican Communion and to decide together their approach to the next Lambeth Conference.

The agenda will be set by common agreement with all Primates encouraged to send in contributions. It is likely to include the issues of religiously-motivated violence, the protection of children and vulnerable adults, the environment and human sexuality.

Read it all.

Other posts on this subject - newest first:
+ (Get Religion) The Atlantic goes halfway in reporting on Anglican primates meeting (September 21, 2015)
+ Gavin Ashenden responds to the London Times Editorial on the Anglican Primates Meeting (September 21, 2015)
+ GAFCON Chairman’s September Pastoral Letter on Saint Matthew’s Day (September 21, 2015)
+ (Daily Nation) Kenyan Anglican Primate Downplays Split Call Ahead of Proposed 2016 Primates Meeting (September 20, 2015)
+ Archbishop Mouneer at All Souls Church in London (September 19, 2015)
+ Canon Phil Ashey: What Brings Us Together (September 18, 2015)


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican Primates* Culture-WatchGlobalization

September 16, 2015 at 9:04 am - 47 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Recent Key Entries
Posted by The_Elves

This post is 'STICKY' - new posts are below.

Please remember Bishop John Ellison in your prayers: [George Conger] Border-crossing charges filed against British Bishop

Here are the links to posts that have been recently featured at the top of the blog or on topical issues.

Top of the pile
+ GAFCON Chairman’s July - August Pastoral Letter (August 6, 2015)
+ CofE - Porter: Shared Conversations will lead to CofE Synod Same Sex Legislation Change in February 2017 (July 28, 2015)
+ TEC Same Sex Marriage Rites - [ACI] The New Episcopal Church: What Hath General Convention 2015 Wrought? (July 27, 2015)
+ TEC Conflicts - Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth: Judgment concludes trial-court phase (July 25, 2015)
+ TEC Conflicts - A S Haley: Final Judgment in Fort Worth Case (July 25, 2015)
+ Statement from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans (July 17, 2015)
+ Talks from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans - Fort Worth July 13th to 17th (July 14, 2015)
+ CofE General Synod 10th to 13th July 2015 Links (July 10, 2015)
+ Reform Statement on the Archbishop of York (July 9, 2015)
+ Reply Brief Filed by Diocese of South Carolina in SC Supreme Court (July 6, 2015)


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* AdminFeatured (Sticky)

April 28, 2015 at 7:35 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(New Atlantis) James Poulos—Losing Liberty in an Age of Access
Posted by Kendall Harmon

A few months before 9/11, when I first moved to downtown Los Angeles, the city’s high rises teemed with lawyers and bankers. The lights stayed on late — a beacon of industriousness. But as I quickly discovered, they rolled up the sidewalks by sundown. No matter how productive and wealthy its workers, downtown was a ghost town. LA’s urban core was no place to raise a family or own a home. With its patchwork of one-way streets and expensive lots, it was hardly even a place to own a car. The boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s that had erected LA’s skyline had not fueled residential growth. Angelenos who wanted to chase the dream of property ownership were effectively chased out of downtown.

But things change. Last month, I moved back to “DTLA,” as it’s now affectionately known. Today, once-forlorn corners boast shiny new bars, restaurants, and high-end stores. The streets are full of foot traffic, fueled by new generations of artisans, artists, and knowledge workers. They work from cafés or rented apartments, attend parties on hotel rooftops, and Uber religiously through town. Yes, there are plenty of dogs. But there are babies and children too. In a little over a decade, downtown’s generational turnover has replaced a faltering economy with a dynamic one.

What happened? Partly, it’s a tale of the magnetic power possessed by entrepreneurs and developers, who often alone enjoy enough social capital to draw friends and associates into risky areas that aren’t yet trendy. Even more, it is a story that is playing out across the country. In an age when ownership meant everything, downtown Los Angeles languished. Today, current tastes and modern technology have made access, not ownership, culturally all-important, and LA’s “historic core” is the hottest neighborhood around. Likewise, from flashy metros like San Francisco to beleaguered cities like Pittsburgh, rising generations are driving economic growth by paying to access experiences instead of buying to own.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

October 6, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CC) Lian Xi-China’s gospel valley: Churches thrive among the Lisu people
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pastor Jesse’s mud-plastered Mitsubishi SUV jolted wildly along the newly dug dirt road that zigzagged up the mountainside toward the construction site of the new church. We stopped to let a pedestrian squeeze by, a middle-aged Lisu woman with a pink, checkered headscarf and a giant bamboo back basket which was strapped to her forehead. The Lisu are one of the 55 ethnic minorities of China and the predominant tribespeople in Gongshan, which nestles on the slope of the Gaoligongshan mountain range. Only 30 miles to the north, these mountain peaks reach more than 16,000 feet. Beyond that is Tibet.

It was a sun-drenched Saturday morning in December 2014. I had arrived the night before on my first visit to the area after reading Chinese media reports of the explosive growth of Christianity among the Lisu people in the “Gospel Valley,” as the Upper Salween River Valley is known. The church under construction is called Zion. It replaces a smaller one built in 1998 with members’ shovels, picks, baskets, and bare hands.

“Brothers and sisters brought their own bedrolls and woks and camped over there during construction of the first church,” Pastor Jesse said, gesturing toward the terraced fields up the slope. “Almost all the construction material was carried up here in bamboo baskets.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Theology

October 6, 2015 at 6:59 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(DW) Europe’s top court declares EU-US data deal invalid
Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg on Monday declared the Safe Harbor data-sharing deal as invalid.

The agreement, signed in 2000 between Brussels and Washington, enables companies and international networks to easily transfer personal data to the United States without having to seek prior approval, a potentially lengthy and costly process.

"The Court of Justice declares that the (European) Commission's US Safe Harbour Decision is invalid," it said in a decision on a case brought against Facebook by Austrian law student Max Schrems.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

October 6, 2015 at 6:45 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

David Ould—Same-Sex Marriage+the Church: What God has Joined Together, Bishop Parkes Puts Asunder
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Another day, another bishop trying to tell us that the church has had it wrong for 2,000 years.

The latest is the Anglican bishop of Wangaratta, the Most Rev. John Parkes, who has gotten himself into the newspapers and on the radio to tell us that not only is same-sex marriage inevitable in Australia, but that it might actually be compatible with Christian doctrine.

He is, of course, not the first to make the argument in one form or another, and none of his arguments are new so they serve as good example of this tendency of the theologically liberal wing of the church - and, not least, the Anglican Church of Australia - to keep pushing contrived arguments that are less likely to make the grade than that famous strained gnat of which Jesus spoke.

Read it all from ABC religion and Ethics in Australia.

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

October 6, 2015 at 6:31 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(BBC) Bishop David Walker—system to catch benefit cheaters isn’t having desired effect
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Benefit cheats should be allowed to get away with fraud to stop innocent people being punished with sanctions and late payments, a leading bishop has said.
The Rt Rev David Walker criticised the "Kafkaesque" workings of the welfare system which he said produced too many wrongly imposed sanctions and delays.
The Bishop of Manchester made the remarks at a Conservative Party conference fringe event in the city.
He claimed innocent people are trapped in the drive to catch fraudsters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

October 6, 2015 at 6:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Time Magazine—10 questions with evangelical leader Rob Schenck
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why are you now taking up the issue of guns?

Our perceived need for self-defense discounts the life of the person on the other side of the gun. I’m really limiting my message to my fellow Christians, especially evangelicals. And we have a massive presence of lethal weapons in our Christian communities. I’m aware of some pastors who now go into the pulpit armed and ready to use their weapons to defend their congregants. That sets up, in my mind, a disaster.

What do you say to people who say they need a gun to protect themselves and their families?

I like to ask people the last time they faced a mortal threat in their life. Most people can’t think of one. Within our conservative ranks, there seems to be an almost rampant fearmongering that’s used as a device to build audiences and readership. And I think it’s contrary to the optimism of the Gospel.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

October 6, 2015 at 6:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(LA Times) How assisted suicide will work in California now that its been signed into law
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: What do critics say?

Many doctors continue to object to it, as do many religious leaders and activists for the disabled who fear that the disabled could be put under duress to end their lives prematurely.

The California Catholic Conference, the Medical Oncology Assn. of Southern California and the California Disability Alliance note that similar bills have failed recently in Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado.

"This bill is simply about protecting doctors and HMOs from liability," Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst for the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund told The Times earlier this year, "and tells people with disabilities who face a terminal diagnosis that may well prove inaccurate that there is no dignity in our lives."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

October 6, 2015 at 5:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CNN) South Carolina flooding: 18 dams breached
Posted by Kendall Harmon

This was the scene an hour ago as a SC pastor pushed an unearthed casket out of the flood waters @WCBD

— Matt Alba (@mattalbaWCBD) October 5, 2015

At least 18 dams have breached or failed in South Carolina since Saturday, the state's emergency management agency said early Tuesday.

One failure, of the Overcreek dam in Forest Acres, sent a torrent of floodwater raging downstream and forced a mandatory evacuations near Columbia.

Read it all.

Back in Charleston for the night, waters still high,roads still tough to get through.Short vid from Richland flyover

— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) October 6, 2015

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.Weather* South Carolina

October 6, 2015 at 5:06 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Today we remember the martyrdom of William Tyndale
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tyndale has been called the architect of the English language, and in many cases he invented words to better convey the original:




“mercy seat”


And scores of his phrases have proved impossible to better in the last five centuries…

“Let there be light”

“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God”

Wonderful stuff--make sure to read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* TheologyTheology: Scripture

October 6, 2015 at 5:00 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today we remember William Tyndale,Translator of the Scriptures and Reformation Martyr who died in 1536

— Church of England (@c_of_e) October 6, 2015

Almighty God, who didst plant in the heart of thy servants William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale a consuming passion to bring the Scriptures to people in their native tongue, and didst endow them with the gift of powerful and graceful expression and with strength to persevere against all obstacles: Reveal to us, we pray thee, thy saving Word, as we read and study the Scriptures, and hear them calling us to repentance and life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

October 6, 2015 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Benedict
Posted by Kendall Harmon

O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and a life to proclaim thee; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

October 6, 2015 at 4:21 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

From the Morning Scripture Readings
Posted by Kendall Harmon

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber.

--Psalm 121:1-3

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

October 6, 2015 at 4:02 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Ruth Worsley, Fifth woman C of E bishop, is installed as Bishop of Taunton
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt. Rev. Ruth Worsley, the fifth woman bishop to be appointed by the Church of England, has been officially installed as the Bishop of Taunton.

Hundreds of people travelled to Wells Cathedral on Saturday for the special service and to greet and welcome her to the Diocese of Bath & Wells.

During the service Bishop Ruth was presented with her pastoral staff by Phoebe Lang, a student at the Blue School, Wells, and was placed in her seat in the cathedral by members of the Chapter.

The pastoral staff has been designed by Bishop Ruth's husband, Howard, and made by Sam Jolly in Dorset from ash wood. Each of the three parts bears a phrase from Micah 6: 'act justly', 'love mercy', 'walk humbly'.

Read it all.

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

October 5, 2015 at 4:10 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(ACNS) Persecuted church charity honours Sudanese archbishop
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo travelled to Finland last month to receive the award and to give a speech entitled "the Suffering Church’s message for us."

“I am very much honoured to receive this award from you,” Archbishop Kondo said. “This Award is not only to me but it is for all the faithful Sudanese Pastors who work in a very difficult situations and some with no salary!

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesEpiscopal Church of the Sudan* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan

October 5, 2015 at 3:40 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Michael Curry offers possible preview of agenda as new presiding bishop of Episcopal Church
Posted by Kendall Harmon

North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry, who will be installed next month as the new head of the Episcopal Church in the United States, offered a possible preview Sunday of his agenda. Topping the list: Promoting a form of evangelism that calls on members to listen to others’ faith stories and then share their own.

He also wants to stress the love of Jesus, foster social justice, work for reconciliation – racial and otherwise – and preside over a church that’s open to all, including both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage.

Curry, an outgoing preacher and author of “Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus,” will be the national church’s first African-American presiding bishop. In a Q&A with parishioners at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in uptown Charlotte, he said that Episcopalians have been so shy about advertising what their tradition has to offer – including its liturgy, its sacraments and its commitment to social justice – that many people don’t know the denomination exists.

“We’ve got to get to the day when the average Episcopalian is in touch with their own faith story and faith journey and is able to share that appropriately and authentically,” Curry said. “That may be the game-changer. … We’re good about doing. We’re nervous about talking.”

Read it all from the Charlotte Observer.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops

October 5, 2015 at 3:02 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CNN) South Carolina flooding: How to help
Posted by Kendall Harmon

What the #SCFlood looked like from space via mashable

— SEO & Marketing Worm (@MarketingFeedle) October 5, 2015

Deadly flooding has engulfed parts of South Carolina, forcing people from their homes. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has activated the National Guard to help with flood rescues, and charitable organizations are responding.

Impact Your World has gathered ways for people to help in these efforts.

• The Salvation Army is assisting communities along the East Coast by providing food, water and shelter to flood victims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit Organizations* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.Weather* South Carolina

October 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CT) The Christian Case for Not Giving Up on the World’s Most Fragile State
Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Sudan is the kind of place where a sermon anecdote about gunfire draws hearty laughter. The sound of a firearm is such an everyday occurrence that South Sudanese only question whether it came from a pistol, an AK-47, or an M-16. “Many people right now are praying, ‘Thank you God for not making me South Sudanese,’ ” says the pastor.

Listening near the back of the sanctuary in Juba is Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision. He is visiting the world’s newest and most fragile state in his quest to revive the compassion American Christians had for Sudan years ago. The South gained independence from the Muslim-dominated North in 2011 with the solid backing of evangelicals. But two years later, a political power struggle engulfed the Christian-majority nation in bloody conflict.

“It’s a hard sales pitch,” he told Christianity Today as he stood among 50 mothers with malnourished children at a clinic. He said South Sudan is a perfect example of how enormously difficult it is to fulfill both the Great Commission and Great Commandment amid chronic conflict and violence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Theology

October 5, 2015 at 11:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

8 Nobel winners describe what it was like to find out the news
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is one from Carol Greider (Co-Recipient, 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine):
I don’t usually do the laundry so early in the morning, but I was already up, and there was all this laundry staring at me. I was supposed to later meet two women friends to take our morning spin class. People had speculated that sometime in the next five years, something like this might happen. And last year people said, “Maybe, it will be,” and it wasn’t. Reuters had made this prediction that we might get it this time. But I really didn’t have any idea. Maybe it would never happen. There are important fundamental discoveries that never get prizes.

After I got the call, I sent my friend an e-mail: “I’m sorry I can’t spin right now. I’ve won the Nobel Prize.”
Read them all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyScience & Technology

October 5, 2015 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(AP) Pope urges prejudices be put aside at start of family synod
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis on Monday told a contentious gathering of the world's bishops on family issues to put aside their personal prejudices and have the courage and humility to be guided by God.

Francis told 270 cardinals, bishops and priests that the three-week synod isn't a parliament where negotiations, plea bargains or compromises take place. Rather, he said, it's a sacred, protected space where God shows the way for the good of the church.

The bishops are debating how the church can better care for Catholic families at a time when marriage rates are falling, divorce is common and civil unions are on the rise. The main sticking points include how the church should welcome gays and divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

October 5, 2015 at 7:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(Economist) A liberal Muslim and a non-believer in search of common ground
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Maajid Nawaz...and his favourite interlocutor Sam Harris are at first sight an unlikely pair, but they are doing their best to find common ground and get their act together. Mr Nawaz is a British-born Muslim who went through a radical fundamentalist phase and was imprisoned in Egypt; two years after his release in 2006 he co-founded Quilliam, a London-based research institution which describes itself as an anti-extremism think-tank. Mr Harris is a well-known atheist public intellectual in the United States.

A short but intensive dialogue between them is being published this week as a slim volume by Harvard University Press, and we can expect to hear a lot more from them, on talk-shows and in the more cerebral parts of the print media, over the coming months. Their conversation sprang out of an initially abrasive encounter after a debate in 2010, when Mr Harris put it to Mr Nawaz that liberal-minded Muslims were engaged in a near-impossible task: proving that their faith was really a religion of peace when the tenets and scriptures of the faith suggested otherwise.

That is still, broadly speaking, what Mr Harris thinks. He sees the elaboration of a peaceful and tolerant understanding of Islam as a praiseworthy enterprise, and one that only Muslims can undertake, but he is politely sceptical of their chances of succeeding. Mr Nawaz's reply is a measured one. He says that Islam is neither a religion of peace nor a religion of war. It is simply a religion, and one that has been subject to many different interpretations over the centuries, and is still refracted in lots of different ways.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsAtheismIslam

October 5, 2015 at 6:59 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Lowcountry South Carolina Flood victims take stock after devastating rains
Posted by Kendall Harmon

WATCH: Get a video tour of downtown #Charleston in the midst of the #SCFlood: #chswx

— The Post and Courier (@postandcourier) October 5, 2015

David Glover was watching Clemson beat Notre Dame when the dam broke.

Not even 150 sandbags, piled high against the back wall of his house, could keep hours of relentless rainfall from spilling inside. The tide rose. Church Creek flooded. In a mad panic, Glover and his son started carrying everything they could to the kitchen on the second floor, including his favorite game day recliner.

By Sunday afternoon, there was no distinguishing where his yard ended and the creek began. A few sand bags floated above what was once his driveway. Glover crossed his arms as he surveyed the damage from the side of the road.

“I’ve been here 18 years. We’ve never had water like this,” he said. “Thank God I’ve got insurance.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.Weather* South Carolina

October 5, 2015 at 6:34 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A London Times Leader: An independent review ordered by the C of E is essential and welcome
Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is now public knowledge that prominent figures, notably the television personality Jimmy Savile and the Liberal MP Cyril Smith, took advantage of their celebrity to abuse children. It was also public knowledge at the time that they were committing these appalling acts; yet those who knew chose to protect the information, and those who merely suspected were given no official encouragement to investigate.

An independent inquiry into historical sex abuse is being led by Justice Lowell Goddard, who has already said that it may last till 2020. That is not her fault, given the scale of the task, but it is scant consolation for the victims whose lives have been ruined and psyches scarred. Archbishop Welby is right to take the initiative in the Ball case and in doing so has signalled a huge change in the way that the clerical establishment approaches these matters.

The Church of England remains the established church and an integral part of the life of the nation, even in an age of secularism and pluralism. The notion that it provided cover for crimes against the vulnerable by the sexually rapacious and that the perpetrators gained the protection of their posts is abhorrent. It must be aired and investigated.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMenSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

October 5, 2015 at 6:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(BBC) Archbishop Welby orders Church review into retired bishop Peter Ball abuse case
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England said the review, which will be published next year, will examine its co-operation with the police and other statutory agencies and the extent to which it shared information.
It will also consider whether it properly assessed the possible risk that Ball posed to others and whether it responded adequately to the concerns of survivors.
The Archbishop of Canterbury in 1993, George Carey, now Lord Carey, was aware of the case at the time and has denied interfering in it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMenReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

October 5, 2015 at 5:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

The Catholic Life of the C of E:  A further response to the statement by the bishops of The Society
Posted by Kendall Harmon

How do we live together in love and charity? Honesty and open debate must be part of that. I hope these further thoughts will be accepted in a spirit of the deepest possible love for my brothers and sisters who cannot yet receive the ordination of women. I will do everything I can to ensure that we can disagree well and live together in our church with our differences.

Some provisos:
I am not an academic theologian, it is over 20 years since I studied academic theology. I have never studied academic theology beyond undergraduate level.
My apologies for talking of women as ‘them’ in this piece, I can’t see a better or more straightforward way of using language. This piece is about, I hope, getting everything on the table, including that type of language.
The recent statement by the bishops of The Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda makes several (31) references to the idea of validity and sacramental assurance.
With all humility, as a Catholic Christian, I think the logic of the Society bishops’ argument is flawed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

October 5, 2015 at 5:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(FC) Why Sweden Is Shifting To A 6-Hour Workday
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The eight-hour workday hasn't changed much since Henry Ford first experimented with it for factory workers. Now, Americans work slightly longer—an average 8.7 hours—though more time goes into email, meetings, and Facebook than whatever our official job duties actually are. Is it time to rethink how many hours we spend at the office?

In Sweden, the six-hour workday is becoming common.

"I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think," says Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus. "To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge. . . . In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the workday more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work. We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things."

Read it all.

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

October 5, 2015 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

World Bank: Extreme poverty ‘to fall below 10%’
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The World Bank has said that for the first time less than 10% of the world's population will be living in extreme poverty by the end of 2015.
The bank said it was using a new income figure of $1.90 per day to define extreme poverty, up from $1.25.
It forecasts the proportion of the world's population in this category to fall from 12.8% in 2012 to 9.6%.
However, it said the "growing concentration of global poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is of great concern".

Read it all.

“The best story in the world today”. End of extreme world poverty within sight says World Bank

— The Times of London (@thetimes) October 5, 2015

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance

October 5, 2015 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A Prayer to Begin the Day from John Calvin
Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord, heavenly Father, in whom is the fullness of light and wisdom: Enlighten our minds by thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive thy Word with reverence and humility, without which no man can understand thy truth; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

--John Calvin (1509-1564)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

October 5, 2015 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

From the Morning Scripture Readings
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever! Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or show forth all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!

--Psalm 106:1-3

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

October 5, 2015 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(Economist) War in the Muslim world: Putin dares, Obama dithers
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Both Kunduz and Russia’s bombing are symptoms of the same phenomenon: the vacuum created by Barack Obama’s attempt to stand back from the wars of the Muslim world. America’s president told the UN General Assembly this week that his country had learned it “cannot by itself impose stability on a foreign land”; others, Iran and Russia included, should help in Syria. Mr Obama is not entirely wrong. But his proposition hides many dangers: that America throws up its hands; that regional powers, sensing American disengagement, will be sucked into a free-for-all; and that Russia’s intervention will make a bloody war bloodier still. Unless Mr Obama changes course, expect more deaths, refugees and extremism.

Having seen the mess that George W. Bush made of his “war on terror”, especially in Iraq, Mr Obama is understandably wary. American intervention can indeed make a bad situation worse, as odious leaders are replaced by chaos and endless war saps America’s strength and standing. But America’s absence can make things even more grim. At some point, extremism will fester and force the superpower to intervene anyway.

That is the story in the Middle East. In Iraq Mr Obama withdrew troops in 2011. In Syria he did not act to stop Mr Assad from wholesale killing, even after he used poison gas. But when IS jihadists emerged from the chaos, declared a caliphate in swathes of Iraq and Syria, and began to cut off the heads of their Western prisoners, Mr Obama felt obliged to step back in—desultorily.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeRussiaMiddle East* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

October 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CNN) In South Carolina, ‘it’s a historic flood,’ emergency official says
Posted by Kendall Harmon

As teams from multiple agencies try to save people from their cars on flooded streets across South Carolina, officials are struggling just to keep count, the state's emergency management spokesman told CNN on Sunday.

"It's a historic flood the likes of which we haven't seen," Eric Rousey said. Most of the rescue operations are being staged in Dorchester and Charleston, where at least 30,000 people are without power. Emergency officials said there were about 140 water rescues in Dorchester overnight.

In Charleston, people paddled kayaks and canoes down city thoroughfares, as more than 6 inches of rain fell in downtown on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service Twitter account.

On Saturday, about 11½ inches of rain had fallen in the city, the weather service said. That's an inch more than the all-time daily highest amount of rain in the area, recorded in September 1998.

Read it all.

Filed under: * General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.Weather* South Carolina

October 4, 2015 at 3:33 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

The 2015 Nigerian Anglican Communique
Posted by Kendall Harmon


The Standing Committee unanimously resolved to continue to maintain the orthodox biblical stand on this matter. It also calls on her members to defend the orthodox biblical teaching on marriage and family. On its part, the Federal Government is further enjoined to continue to resist the foreign pressure to make it rescind its stand on same-sex marriage.


While the Anglican Communion continues to be impaired by revisionist theologies of some Anglican Provinces, the Standing Committee calls the leadership of the Anglican Communion to repentance and renewed faith in Christ as expressed in the bible, the articles of religion and the Jerusalem Declaration, and further reaffirms our commitment on these as the basis of our relationship with other parts of the communion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria

October 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A CT Editorial—In Guns We Trust: Fear and idolatry are our real gun problem
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let's debate less and dialogue more. Most Americans, whatever their stance on gun control, want less violence, fewer family accidents, less gun-related crime. However, minds often are clamped shut against the other side's proposals and statistics. Instead of using research to club opponents, let's take seriously the whole range of inquiry. Some of the research is surprising, much of it is sobering, and some is even heartening. The wisest strategies will come only from a willingness to evaluate complexity.

Let's learn from what works. The much-publicized (and much-imitated) Project Exile in Richmond, Virginia, has won endorsement from both the NRA and gun-control advocates. There the authorities have strictly enforced existing gun laws, including the mandatory five-year federal prison term for using an illegal gun. They have confronted the public with these policies through an attention-getting ad campaign. The result has been a dramatic decrease in gun-related crime. Focusing on enforcement is both good policy and good theology because it reflects the high value we place on human life, our respect for the rule of law, and a realistic view of guns.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence

October 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CC) Philip Jenkins—The Adventist adaptation
Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the mid-20th century, Seventh-day Adventists stood on the far fringe of the North American religious spectrum. Some evangelicals even challenged their Christian credentials, worried by what was seen as their excessive veneration for Ellen White and her writings. By the late 1950s, the church celebrated the fact that it had surpassed the milestone of a million adherents, the vast majority of whom were in the United States. No scholar of religion picked the church as destined for any major growth spurt.

How shortsighted such secular prophets were. Sixty years later, Adventists constitute a global church that plausibly claims 18 million members, only 7 percent of whom live in the United States. The transformation is in fact even greater than these rough figures suggest, as so many Ad­ventists within the United States have ethnic roots in Africa or the Caribbean. Most of this change has occurred since about 1980.

The SDA Church includes some 75,000 churches spread over 200 countries. Latin America and the Caribbean account for almost 6 million believers, almost a third of the church’s strength. Brazil is the country with the largest number of SDA members. Growth in Africa has also been spectacular. The church’s East-Central Africa division reports 2.5 million members worshiping in 11,000 churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture

October 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A Haunting look back to 1998—Gilbert Meilaender: Affirming Ourselves to Death
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Compassion, taken alone and severed from deeper, richer understandings of our nature and destiny, kills morality. Taken as the sole moral principle it undercuts our ability to articulate an ideal for human life. That is surely true of Tribe’s angle of vision on cloning. In order to assure that we do not risk making any person feel marginalized, we are suddenly forbidden to condemn what seems wrong to us. We are unable any longer to raise and discuss questions about what the nature of a cloned person would in fact be, what it means to be human, whether the bond between the generations created by ordinary human reproduction is integral to our humanity.

Tribe is not wrong to fear that cloning threatens human equality. As one made by us rather than one who comes from us, the clone would be a product rather than a gift. And when we make products, we determine their point and purpose. True compassion should draw us away from such circumstances, away from actions that might create cases metaphysically too baffling for our morality to address. But Tribe, as with the instance of removing the stigma from illegitimacy, purchases equality by means of a compassion that is the only moral law, and that makes for too shriveled and truncated a morality.

We ought, of course, to care as best we can for those who are victimized or marginalized in our society. But when we hesitate to pass judgment it should not be because we fear that moral ideals will, by their very existence, make those who fall short feel condemned. That is a dead end, if there ever was one. Bereft of any larger sense of the human good, unable to articulate (lest we hurt feelings) what is best in human life and what the family at its best might be, we will—if we follow Tribe’s prescription—lurch from one affirmation to the next until even the language of compassion finally loses its point. That is the possibility about which we ought to have second thoughts and which might remind us, in Chesterton’s words, of “the importance of an ideal.”

Read it all from First Things (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

October 4, 2015 at 1:41 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(LA Times) He was a U.S. ally in Africa. Now he’s on trial for crimes against humanity
Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Warning--very disturbing content-KSH).

He was our man in Africa.

Hissene Habre, who ruled Chad in the 1980s, was a U.S. ally in good standing even as his government killed tens of thousands of people and filled prisons with enemies who were starved, beaten and tortured.

Last week he finally had to face victims of those times in court. There was frozen silence as former prisoners testified for the first time against the man who was feted at the White House in 1987 by President Reagan and was armed and supported in a covert CIA operation to fight Libya's Col. Moammar Kadafi.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaChadLibyaAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

October 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

In an Oregon church near shootings were nine died, Christians confront difficult questions
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Their church, Turning Point Adventist, was located in an old Moose Lodge a few miles from Umpqua Community College, where a gunman had allegedly asked victims about their religion and then targeted Christians during a massacre Thursday that left nine dead. Now the sidewalk on the road between the church and the college had become one long memorial, chalked with Bible verses and visited by prayer groups who sang hymns into the night.

It seemed to Wibberding and many others here that the target of America’s latest mass shooting had been not just a classroom or a college or a town, but also a religion. Now, in a church near the shooting, it was left to Christians to ask hard questions about their faith and decide how to respond.

“If he had been pointing that gun at you, asking if you were Christian, what would you have said?” Wibberding asked. “How much does this mean to you? Imagine you were there.”

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureViolenceYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

October 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]