Daily Archives: August 25, 2007

Ralph Webb offers his Thoughts on the Archbishop Peter Akinola Martyn Minns matter

If progressives want to know why so many orthodox Anglicans feel that they cannot remain in the Episcopal Church, they should look to a large degree at their own words and actions. The attribution of speculated, and damaging, motives to orthodox Anglican leaders; “glee” at seeming progressive victories; insults and statements that the departures are inconsequential — all of these things, and many more, contribute to orthodox Anglicans feeling that they cannot stay in the Episcopal Church.

The view of orthodox Anglican leaders is so negative and one-sided on the progressive end that people are left with a stark choice. Given that all of us, including godly leaders, struggle with sin daily and have our own weaknesses, are orthodox Christian leaders such as (but not limited to) Minns and Duncan to be respected and trusted? Do they have good ends in mind for the church of God, and for the body of Christ? Or are they nefarious leaders who have been plotting the destruction of one segment of the body of Christ for a decade?

This is not the same question as whether to leave the Episcopal Church. Orthodox Anglicans hold different convictions on that matter, and some are still working through that issue. Rather, the question concerns whether we essentially trust orthodox Christian leaders to have the good of the body of Christ in mind, even if we are not going to follow certain ones in either leaving or staying in (as the case may be) the Episcopal Church. To allude to a choice that Harry Potter must make in J.K. Rowling’s latest bestseller, this is a question of choosing what we believe amid competing voices. The times demand this when orthodox Christian leaders are slandered with abandon.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

16-year-old takes over as congregation’s organist

Forget, for the moment, that Zachary Crippen’s church has been in the news because of a nasty, high-profile divorce from its mother denomination.

And let’s sidestep the fact that there’s a dispute over who owns the towering stone church building and its belongings, including the 80-year-old organ.

This story is about the young man who brought music back into the lives of the congregation of Grace CANA Church, a group that broke away in March from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. The timing wasn’t the best. It was right before Easter, a highly attended service that begs for a church organist. But the organist and most of the choir did not join the breakaway.

Enter Crippen, a master of the keyboard with about eight years of piano lessons to his credit. That’s piano, not organ. He had never touched an organ, but he wasn’t deterred. He stepped into the vacuum and up to the organ ”” and it took him 10 minutes to figure out how to open it up.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado

Summerville high School Football from noon onwards on ESPN

For those of you interested in this sort of thing, the local high school football team, ranked 8th nationally by ESPN, is playing Booker T. Washington from Florida, ranked 9th, and the game is televised on ESPN.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Sports

Robin Gill: The Anglican Communion is fractured beyond repair, but it could flourish

There are occasions when families do not talk to each other, and have deep tensions. Yet they remain families, whether they want to be or not. Family members can make pompous statements ”” “I am no longer your sister” ”” yet they obviously are. Likewise, in the Anglican Family, exclusion makes little sense, and the Lambeth Conference can survive as a less formal gathering, whether or not the bishops share communion or agree about anything much.

The Anglican Family worldwide can be seen to flourish in many different ways, even within parts of its extended family, such as the Methodist Church, that have developed a separate ecclesial identity. In turn, the Anglican Family can also be seen to be a part of the extended Catholic Family, whatever recent popes have thought about the validity of Anglican orders or shared communion.

All Anglicans have a common genetic link with the Church of England, but they have expressed their inheritance differently. However much we may regret this, we are now unlikely ever again to be a Communion. Yet perhaps that can free us to be something else.

We need not strive for conformity. We can be free to explore shared convictions with like-minded family members around the world, without denigrating other members who do not share these convictions. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has wisely done this for years.

As a post-colonial Church, the Anglican Family would learn to move beyond power and authority ”” no more Lambeth Resolutions or Windsor Process. Instead, we might discover the joys of sharing and learning from different members of the same family. We might even rekindle some of the genuine family affection that I have seen so often in my travels. Be not afraid. We can indeed flourish as the Anglican Family.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Theology

A conflicted church for the Lutherans

“Sometimes I think these bishop elections are kind of treated with political nice, like we don’t do politics in the church,” Hunstad said. “Sometimes I think we need to create opportunities for people to be honest.”

Several of the posters eventually revealed their identities, including the Rev. Randy Smith, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston, Minn. As “Holy Discontent,” he wrote that the synod was in “tough shape,” that many quality pastors had left or been fired, and thriving congregations weren’t lifted up as models for the rest of the synod.

“People were ready for change, significant change,” Smith said in an interview this week. “The people spoke with the election.”

Steve Trandem, pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji, Minn., also posted on the site. He described himself as a friend of Wangberg, but said he appreciated his work in the parish more than as bishop.

“I think there was a general feeling on the part of many in the synod … that we had a constitutional expert in the synod office and they were looking more for someone who could be a pastor to the pastor,” Trandem said in an interview. “To be fair, there’s a question as to whether that can happen, but many pastors, me included, feel that’s still necessary.”

The synod, essentially a geographical area covering northwest Minnesota, includes 272 congregations with more than 330 ordained ministers and about 109,000 Lutherans.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches

George Anne Boyle: Focus on helping God's people

The bumper sticker had a big cross on it and read, “Back to basics: Feed the hungry, House the poor, Clothe the naked.”

Those are the basic values of being a Christian, aren’t they?

In looking at the Gospels, Jesus is constantly healing people and eating with people. Very rarely do I find Jesus, as he is healing or feeding people, asking, “Wait, what do you believe?” or “Who do you live with?” He simply feeds or eats with outcasts and heals people – even people who are of a different religious background than his!

This is the litmus test for being a Christian: Following a Jesus who says love is the only commandment and commands us to feed and heal and eat with outcasts. So, I wonder, how are we, as a Christian nation, doing with the basics? Maybe thinking about our nation begins by looking at our own corner of the world.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry

Notable and Quotable

For the laying down of the law of once marrying, the very origin of the human race is our authority; witnessing as it emphatically does what God constituted in the beginning for a type to be examined with care by posterity. For when He had moulded man, and had foreseen that a peer was necessary for him, He borrowed from his ribs one, and fashioned for him one woman; whereas, of course, neither the Artificer nor the material would have been insufficient (for the creation of more). There were more ribs in Adam, and hands that knew no weariness in God; but not more wives Or, “but no plurality of wives.” in the eye of God. And accordingly the man of God, Adam, and the woman of God, Eve, discharging mutually (the duties of) one marriage, sanctioned for mankind a type by (the considerations of) the authoritative precedent of their origin and the primal will of God. Finally, “there shall be,” said He, “two in one flesh,” not three nor four. On any other hypothesis, there would no longer be “one flesh,” nor “two (joined) into one flesh.” These will be so, if the conjunction and the growing together in unity take place once for all. If, however, (it take place) a second time, or oftener, immediately (the flesh) ceases to be “one,” and there will not be “two (joined) into one flesh,” but plainly one rib (divided) into more. But when the apostle interprets, “The two shall be (joined) into one flesh” of the Church and Christ, according to the spiritual nuptials of the Church and Christ (for Christ is one, and one is His Church), we are bound to recognise a duplication and additional enforcement for us of the law of unity of marriage, not only in accordance with the foundation of our race, but in accordance with the sacrament of Christ. From one marriage do we derive our origin in each case; carnally in Adam, spiritually in Christ. The two births combine in laying down one prescriptive rule of monogamy. In regard of each of the two, is he degenerate who transgresses the limit of monogamy. Plurality of marriage began with an accursed man. Lamech was the first who, by marrying himself to two women, caused three to be (joined) “into one flesh.”


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Marriage & Family

Terence Jeffrey: A Test Case for Abolishing Family

As odd is it might seem, the next to last day of 2003 may someday be seen as a fateful moment for the traditional family. That is the when the United States Drug Enforcement Agency busted a pair of methamphetamine dealers in Philadelphia.

In a remarkable example of the corrosive force liberalism exerts on our society, the arrest of these drug dealers led to an opinion issued July 31 by U.S. District Judge Marvin Katz that — if sustained by the Supreme Court — could erase the special status marriage and the traditional family enjoy in American law.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family

Laguna Hills priest brings soul to his performances as a pro musician

He stands in an empty church, practicing. Always practicing. Ninety minutes every day, two mallets in each hand.

They fall gently on an old vibraphone he once rolled through the streets of Manhattan in another life. Another time. Back then a long-haired Norm Freeman played Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden.

Now? He plays for a hundred people here. A hundred there. He leans over the instrument: Soft strains of “Stardust” lift to the vaulted church ceiling.

It’s hard to believe he once played with the thrash-metal band Metallica. Or at the MTV Music Awards. Or on Saturday Night Live.

“Trying to prove myself in the music business ultimately left me feeling empty,” says Freeman, 55, a husband and father of two. “It was from that place that I started a spiritual quest.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship

Bishop Christopher Epting: United in Mission

As Christians, we’ve learned that God is a forgiving God. We’ve learned that God not only exists, but that God’s very nature is love and that there is nothing we could ever do or think which would make God stop loving us, or being willing to forgive us. We call that “the good news,” and it is news that many people desperately want and need to hear.

They need to hear from us, as so many in the gospels heard from Jesus, “Your sins are forgiven.” That’s really the main message Christians have for this world and it’s what we promise to proclaim every time we renew our Baptismal Covenant: “Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?” I will. “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” I will. “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” I will. That’s our mission ”” the mission of the Church.

I wish I could promise that the Church is a perfect place, that we all just get along, and that you will never find yourself in the middle of a church fight ”“ whether it’s in a parish, a diocese, the national church, or a worldwide Communion. But I can’t promise you that, because the Church is a human, as well as divine, institution and certainly it is made up of very fallible human beings.

What I can promise is that the mission of the Church is the most important thing you can commit your life to, whether as a young person or an older person, whether clergy or lay, no matter where you spend most of your time on a day-by-day basis. Because everywhere you will find people who need to be reconciled to God or to another person, and your job is to help that happen.

It’s the main thing we do as Christians….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Outward Bound program helps veterans heal their emotional scars

THE nine men who climbed to the summit of the Colorado mountain were combat veterans who had fought in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.

Several knew the pain of bullets tearing through flesh. Others couldn’t gather memories blown away by an explosion. Some had seen combat so close they killed with their knives.

They were a wary group of strangers, guarded and slow to trust, who had arrived at the Outward Bound Wilderness school in Leadville, Colorado, a few days before, wondering how a one-week course in the wilderness could help them heal. But on the fourth day of their five-day journey in mid-July, after more than three hours of tough climbing up steep, moss-covered scree fields and beyond the tree line, these hard military men, ranging in age from 23 to 52, mourned in silence, 13,000 feet above sea level on the summit of Virginia Peak. Stripped of life’s routines, they stood under an iron-gray early morning sky and finally allowed the tears to fall for friends who would never see this place.

“Look around this countryside: you guys deserve this,” said Bob O’Rourke, a 62-year-old retired marine and one of the instructors for the Outward Bound course. “Don’t forget this moment.” O’Rourke, a Vietnam veteran, choked back tears of his own. The men with him were silent as they looked out across vast granite bowls speckled with old mine entrances among the evergreens. The imposing silhouette of Huron Peak stared back from the southwest.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Roger Mummert: At a Family Gathering, an Internet Cafe Breaks Out

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Marriage & Family

Time Magazine: Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith

Jesus has a very special love for you. [But] as for me–The silence and the emptiness is so great–that I look and do not see,–Listen and do not hear. –MOTHER TERESA TO THE REV. MICHAEL VAN DER PEET, SEPTEMBER 1979

On Dec. 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, the “Saint of the Gutters,” went to Oslo. Dressed in her signature blue-bordered sari and shod in sandals despite below-zero temperatures, the former Agnes Bojaxhiu received that ultimate worldly accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance lecture, Teresa, whose Missionaries of Charity had grown from a one-woman folly in Calcutta in 1948 into a global beacon of self-abnegating care, delivered the kind of message the world had come to expect from her. “It is not enough for us to say, ‘I love God, but I do not love my neighbor,'” she said, since in dying on the Cross, God had “[made] himself the hungry one–the naked one–the homeless one.” Jesus’ hunger, she said, is what “you and I must find” and alleviate. She condemned abortion and bemoaned youthful drug addiction in the West. Finally, she suggested that the upcoming Christmas holiday should remind the world “that radiating joy is real” because Christ is everywhere–“Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive.”

Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, that is only now being made public, she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. “Jesus has a very special love for you,” she assured Van der Peet. “[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see,–Listen and do not hear–the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak … I want you to pray for me–that I let Him have [a] free hand.”

The two statements, 11 weeks apart, are extravagantly dissonant. The first is typical of the woman the world thought it knew. The second sounds as though it had wandered in from some 1950s existentialist drama. Together they suggest a startling portrait in self-contradiction–that one of the great human icons of the past 100 years, whose remarkable deeds seemed inextricably connected to her closeness to God and who was routinely observed in silent and seemingly peaceful prayer by her associates as well as the television camera, was living out a very different spiritual reality privately, an arid landscape from which the deity had disappeared.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic