Daily Archives: December 10, 2007

The President of the House of Deputies issues statement after meeting with Council of Advice

In a statement issued after the December 3-5 meeting of the President of the House of Deputies Council of Advice, President Bonnie Anderson said she and Council members “spent a considerable amount of time discussing how the wider church can support those Episcopalians who want to remain in the church when and if their bishops attempt to lead their dioceses out of the Episcopal Church.”

Anderson said the Council also discussed how the Episcopal Church “can best create the safest space possible for the largest number of Episcopalians” to remain in the church.

“I have learned during my travels throughout our church that there are Episcopalians in every one of those disaffected dioceses who need our prayers and our support,” Anderson said in her statement. “I was very moved by the conversations I have had this year with such Episcopalians in the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and San Joaquin.”

The Council, composed of 15 persons, is appointed each triennium by the president of the House of Deputies under the authority of Title I, Canon 1.1(b) and gives the president, upon her request, consultation and advice.

Read the whole thing.

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

In Columbia Oprah Winfrey wows the crowd

In what Sen. Barack Obama described as the best-attended rally of the political season for any candidate, more than 29,000 attendees jammed Williams-Brice Stadium Sunday.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey rallied the crowd of supporters ”” a primarily female and African-American audience ”” to get behind her friend, Obama, a new kind of leader who possesses “a tongue dipped in the unvarnished truth,” Winfrey said.

Winfrey, who has never before endorsed a presidential candidate, said she’s “stepping out of my pew” because she’s been disappointed with politicians and has become inspired by Obama’s message of change and unity.

“Dr. King dreamed the dream, but we don’t have to dream the dream anymore,” Oprah told the crowd. “We get to vote that dream into office.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Your Child’s Disorder May Be Yours, Too

BY age 2 it was clear that the boy had a sensibility all his own, affectionate and distant at the same time, often more focused on patterns and objects than the people around him.

He was neither naturally social like his mother, nor an early and gifted reader like his father. Quirky, curious, exuberant, he would leap up and dance across the floor after solving a problem or winning a game, duck walking like an N.F.L. receiver posing for a highlight film.

Yet after Phil and Susan Schwarz received a diagnosis for their son, Jeremy, of high functioning autism, they began to think carefully about their own behaviors and histories.

Mr. Schwarz, a software developer in Framingham, Mass., found in his son’s diagnosis a new language to understand his own life. His sensitivities when growing up to loud noises and bright light, his own diffidence through school, his parents’ and grandparents’ special intellectual skills ”” all echoed through his and Jeremy’s behavior, like some ancient rhythm.

His son’s diagnosis, Mr. Schwarz said, “provided a frame in which a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated aspects of my own life growing up fit together for the first time.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

David Curry: Inwardly Digest

“Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them ”¦” These familiar words belong to the Collect which Archbishop Thomas Cranmer composed for The Second Sunday in Advent. Taken from the Scriptures, in this case Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the prayer captures an entire pattern of theological understanding that is at once formative and foundational for Anglican doctrine and devotion. Diarmaid MacCulloch, commenting on Gerlach Flicke’s 1545 portrait of Cranmer, which depicts him holding The Epistles of Paul but also with Augustine’s book De Fide et Operibus (“Of Faith and Works”), suggests that this signals Cranmer’s theological enterprise, namely, the recovery of the Scriptures understood through the best of the Fathers, principally Augustine.

The creedal or doctrinal understanding of the Scriptures is a distinctive feature of the Anglican Common Prayer tradition. The rich interplay of Scripture and Creed(s), for example, shapes the worship and liturgy of the Church. The Articles of Religion and the ordination vows of the clergy testify to the centrality of the Scriptures for the teaching and praying life of the Church and express a remarkably sophisticated approach to the reading of the Scriptures in the life of the Church. We place ourselves under the authority of God’s Word Written. But that means that we have to think the Scriptures. “What do the Scriptures say?” (Romans 10.8). Or, as Christ asks, “how do you read?” (Lk.10.26). There is a necessary engagement between God and our humanity through the witness of the Scriptures. Revelation is mediation and requires the fullest engagement of our minds with what the Scriptures proclaim.

The reformed principle of sola scriptura, “scripture alone”, admits of a range of applications but its most basic sense for Anglicans is the primacy of Scripture in determining doctrine, devotion and discipline. “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proven thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith,” as Article VI puts it. The same idea is required of the teaching of the clergy. What are the things necessary to salvation? Those things which belong to the articles of the Faith; in short, the Creeds, which are the distillation of the Scriptures, and which speak to the nature of our spiritual identity with God in his self-relation as Trinity and in his relation to us as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. Creedal and doctrinal principles exercise more than a merely formal role; they exercise a formative role in the life of the Church. They should have a definitive voice in the debates and issues of the day.

How? Do creedal and doctrinal principles as derived from Scripture have anything to say on matters of morality and polity? And, if so, in what way and to what extent? To begin to consider those questions will necessarily mean becoming more aware of the essentials of the Faith and the ways in which those principles are brought to bear upon our lives and the life of the Church. At issue in the present controversies is whether the principles of the Faith have an integrity which should direct our thinking or whether they can be changed and altered; in short, whether they are subject to our thinking.

Some see everything – God, humanity, the Church – as endlessly negotiable and celebrate the secular culture as providing the context that determines the content of the Faith. In this view, the principle is our human experience which determines all else and seeks the re-imaging of God, humanity and Church in our own image. But who is it that claims to speak on behalf of our human experience and what happens when such claims collide with principles of doctrine? For Anglicans, synodical consensus does not extend to matters of doctrine and worship; in fact, such things are intentionally precluded by the self-limiting nature of The Solemn Declaration of 1893 which commits the Anglican Church of Canada to being “an integral portion” of the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, hold[ing] the One Faith revealed in Holy Writ, and defined in the Creeds” by being “in full communion with the Church of England throughout the world.” Some things, the Archbishop of Canterbury, remarks, with respect to the scene in North America, cannot be negotiated. We are not simply our own independent agents. We are part of the body of Christ.

To walk apart from the Anglican Communion would be to forsake the catholicity and apostolicity of the Church and to become merely another sect in the sea of sectarian confusions belonging to the landscape of North American religion.

The appeal to the Scripture is not to an arbitrary authority but to the principles which the Scriptures present, the principles which govern and measure human lives and human activity. At issue, in the present controversy, is the place of the sexual in the understanding of our humanity and moral behaviour. What is homosexuality? Neither a category of creation nor of biology, it is, properly speaking and on its own terms, a social and psychological construct. There are many, many different social constructs ranging from biker gangs to the red hat ladies, from hobby groups to sex clubs. It doesn’t mean that special liturgies should be created for each and every social construct or that each and every social construct is something that should be celebrated as morally consistent with Christian doctrine. What is the relation of the sociological to the theological?

From the standpoint of Christian morality, the theological determinants of social and moral order are the revealed doctrines of creation, redemption and sanctification seen in engagement with the order of nature rationally understood. Scripture does not speak of sexual orientation as something ontologically given or created. Christian Marriage, too, is not understood simply as a social construct ”“ something invented by us ”“ but rather as divinely “instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency,” recalling the order of creation, “an honourable estate, signifying unto us the mystical union betwixt Christ and his Church,” recalling the order of redemption, “an holy estate ”¦ adorned and beautified” by Christ “with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought,” recalling the order of sanctification. We are not our own and marriage is one way in which we live to and for Christ in the life of his body, the Church.

One way. Not the only way. Friendship in all of its varied and many forms is a significant part of our life in Faith. We belong to a fellowship of faithful believers who, whether married or single, are committed to one another in the body, in the Church. Friendship is not the same thing as marriage, however, and excludes the sexual. This is the sticking-point for our contemporary technologically fixated culture. In condoms we trust, too much, I fear, and are the victims of our own technological idolatry which wreaks such havoc upon all our lives.

We began with a reference to an Advent prayer. We end with a prayer of the Epiphany. Both are seasons of teaching, each of which engages contemporary culture in different ways. Advent looks to the light of God in Christ coming into our world and day, a light that is judgment from above. Epiphany celebrates the light of God in Christ in our midst, engaging the cultures of the world from within the world. A light from above and a light from within “that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same.” The doctrine of revelation offers healing and health, salvation and grace, to a world that is weary and worn. The question is whether we will “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” what the Scriptures are saying to us in the integrity of their doctrinal and creedal understanding.

–The Rev. David Curry serves at Christ Church, Windsor, Nova Scotia

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Theology, Theology: Scripture

5 Die in Colorado Church, Mission Attacks

A gunman shot four staff members at a missionary training center near Denver early Sunday, killing two, after being told he couldn’t spend the night. About 12 hours later and 65 miles away in Colorado Springs, a gunman fatally shot a parishioner at a megachurch and wounded four other people before a guard killed him, police said.

One of the hospitalized victims from the second attack died Sunday at about 10:10 p.m., said Amy Sufak, a spokeswoman for Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs.

The police chief in Arvada, a suburb about 15 miles west of Denver where the mission workers were shot, said the shootings may be related to those in Colorado Springs but declined to elaborate. No one had been captured in the Arvada shootings, authorities said.

Early Monday, authorities were searching a home in suburban Englewood, about 15 miles south of Denver, that they said could be related to the Colorado Springs shooting case. Results of that search were not immediately known.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Rick Reilly: Speaking of Class to the Class of '98

Thank you, graduates. Please be seated. It’s an honor to address the college athletes who are going on to the pros this year. If I may, I’d like to offer just a few pieces of advice.

Every now and again turn off Nintendo, shut off Spectravision and open a book. We already have enough jocks who think the Brothers Karamazov are the WWF tag-team champs.

If you ever hear yourself saying, “They offered me $81 million? That’s an insult!” find a tire iron, go into a quiet room and hit yourself very hard on the shin.

Marry someone who has never heard of you.

Now that you’ve made it, practice twice as long as you did in college. The hardest worker in the NBA is Michael Jordan. What does that tell you?

If you write a book, read it before it comes out.

Be careful with your money. Write your own checks. None of this power-of-attorney crap. Get an agent and a lawyer, and tell each the other’s a crook.

Shock the world: Apologize when you screw up.

Read it all; this was also used in yesterday’s sermon by yours truly.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

The Bishop of Johannesburg: the Garden of Eden

The garden is a place of God’s abundant providence and blessing. Everything is gift and cause for wonder and celebration. Everything is permitted and a source of ongoing delight and pleasure. But there are always boundaries, and the garden is bounded by one prohibition. he story does not explain the prohibition for the prohibition in and of itself is unimportant. What is important is the authority of the one who speaks and the expectation of an absolute obedience that is born of trust. This is God’s world and we live in it on God’s terms.

The conversation that comes later between the woman and the serpent is fascinating. The prohibition is interrogated and challenged, and what is a given is reduced to an option. In the process, what was boundary becomes threat, promise is obscured, and what was trust becomes defiance.In his commentary on Genesis, Walter Brueggemann rather scathingly says, ‘Theological-ethical talk here is not to serve God, but to avoid the claims of God. ”¦ The serpent is the first in the Bible to seem knowing and critical about God and to practice theology in the place of obedience’.

I wonder how often we ‘practice theology in the place of obedience,’ how often we use it to avoid the claims of God on our life? In the garden when the prohibition is violated, the promises are perverted and vocation is undermined. The energy once spent in ’tilling and tending’ God’s creation is now focussed entirely on the self and its new-found freedom that is not freedom but bondage.

Vocation, promise, prohibition are three strands of human life lived in God’s world on God’s terms, interdependent facets of divine purpose. Prayerfully they must woven into a threefold cord that is not easily broken and that can sustain us in our ministry. All life is vocation.

May the three-fold chord of your life be renewed this Advent and Christmas

Read it all. (Hat tip jdk)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Washington Times: New bishops set for Anglican breakaways

“The old order in the Episcopal Church is falling apart,” said CANA Bishop Martyn Minns, the former rector of Truro Church in Fairfax. “We’re all finding a new way to live into our Anglican heritage.”

Churches belonging to CANA are under the umbrella of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, and Bishop Minns was made a member of the Nigerian House of Bishops in August 2006. He was snubbed last spring by being one of a handful of prelates not invited by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to the decennial Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops.

Archbishop Akinola has since said that none of his bishops will attend Lambeth in July if the CANA bishops are not invited. He objected to the presence of several dozen American bishops who helped consecrate openly homosexual New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003.

“It’s not so much about me and my invitation,” Bishop Minns told reporters Thursday, “it’s about how the Anglican Communion functions together.”

Read it all and there is much more information on the CANA website.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Some San Joaquin Episcopal churches aren't joining their diocese's decision

One day after the Diocese of San Joaquin became the first in the country to break ties with the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Keith Axberg sought to reassure and cheer up his congregation, the only one in this city that is expected to remain with the national church.

“There are things that are going to take time and much we don’t know,” said Axberg, rector of Holy Family Episcopal Church in northeast Fresno. “But our purpose is to gather here to worship God . . . and I’m thankful you are here.”

Delegates to San Joaquin’s annual convention finalized Saturday an earlier decision to remove all references to the Episcopal Church from the diocese’s constitution, the latest twist in a bitter, years-long dispute about theology and the role of gays in the church. The conflict between liberals and conservatives escalated sharply in 2003 when the church consecrated an openly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire.

In another unprecedented step, the convention delegates, made up of clergy and lay leaders from area churches, also formally accepted an invitation from Anglican Archbishop Gregory James Venables of Argentina to place their Fresno-based diocese under his authority.

The dual actions thrust all involved — church leaders and parishioners, theological liberals and conservatives alike — into uncharted waters, many said, with the immediate future far from clear.

Read it all.

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

Four Anglican Bishops (including two Americans) consecrated today for CANA

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: Is Mormonism Christian?

Is Mormonism Christian?” is a very important question. The answer is equally important and simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian.
If you are a Mormon, please realize that CARM is not trying to attack you, your character, or the sincerity of your belief. If you are a non-Mormon looking into Mormonism, or if you are a Christian who is simply researching Mormonism, then this paper should be of help to you.
The reason Mormonism is not Christian is because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Of the essential doctrines (that there is only one God, Jesus is God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone, and Jesus rose from the dead physically, the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), Mormonism denies three of them: how many gods there are, the person of Jesus, and His work of salvation.
Mormonism teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones (D. & C. 130:22) and that Jesus is a creation. It teaches that he was begotten in heaven as one of God’s spirit children (See the Book, Jesus the Christ, by James Talmage, p. 8). This is in strict contrast to the biblical teaching that he is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14), eternal (John 1:1, 2, 15), uncreated, yet born on earth (Col. 1:15), and the creator all (John 1:3; Col. 1;16-17). Jesus cannot be both created and not created at the same time. Though Mormonism teaches that Jesus is god in flesh, it teaches that he is “a” god in flesh, one of three gods that comprise the office of the Trinity (Articles of Faith, by Talmage, pp. 35-40). These three gods are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This is in direct contradiction of the biblical doctrine that there is only one God (Isaiah 44:6,8; 45:5). See Trinity for a correct discussion of what the Trinity is.
Because Mormonism denies the biblical truth of who God is, who Jesus is, how forgiveness of sins is attained, and what the gospel is, the Mormon is not Christian — in spite of all his claims that he is.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Mormons, Other Faiths

South Carolina's Largest newspaper by Circulation Summarizes What Mormons Believe

See what you make of their efforts.

Posted in Uncategorized

'Oprahpalooza' comes to early voting South Carolina

Thousands of people streamed into Williams-Brice stadium on Sunday for media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s second day of campaigning with Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Campaign supporters helped promote a rock concert-like atmosphere, yelling “fire it up” and bands entertained the crowd at the 80,000-seat University of South Carolina stadium. Temperatures were in the 70’s ”” a stark contrast to frigid Iowa, where Winfrey told crowds a day earlier that Obama “has a new vision for America.”

Some early arrivals said the Illinois senator already had their vote. Others said they wanted to learn more about him, and that the popular talk show host’s presence drew them to the event.

“I want to see Oprah,” said Beverly Cheney, 45, who drove nearly three hours from Fayettville, N.C., and was trying to decide between Obama and former Sen. John Edwards. “But I make my own decision.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, US Presidential Election 2008

Pope Benedict XVI on John the Baptist

As we pursue the journey of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, John the Baptist’s call to conversion resounds in our communities. It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and welcome the Son of God who comes into our midst to make the divine judgment manifest.

The Father, writes the evangelist John, judges no one, but rather has entrusted the power to judge to the Son of Man (cf. John 5:22, 27). And it is today, in the present, that our future destiny is at stake; it is the concrete way we conduct ourselves in this life that decides our eternal fate. At the sunset of our days on earth, at the moment of death, we will be evaluated according to whether or not we resemble the Child who is about to be born in the lowly cave in Bethlehem, since he is the criterion by which God measures humanity.

The heavenly Father, who in the birth of his only-begotten Son manifests his merciful love to us, calls us to follow in his footsteps, making our existence, as he did, a gift of love. And the fruits of love are the “good fruits of conversion” to which John the Baptist refers, when he directs his pointed words at the Pharisees and Sadducees who were in the crowds at Christ’s baptism.

Read it all.

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

More details on Jeffrey Steenson from John Allen of the NCR

Two other ecumenical developments this week are worth noting.

On Dec. 1, Bishop Jeffrey Steenson of the Episcopalian Diocese of the Rio Grande, which covers New Mexico and portions of Texas, was received into the Catholic church by Cardinal Bernard Law in a private ceremony at Rome’s Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where Law serves as the archpriest. Steenson, 55, was accompanied to Rome by Catholic Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe.

Steenson, who is married with three children, has applied to be ordained a Catholic priest under the terms of the 1980 “Pastoral Provision” allowing Episcopal ministers to be ordained as Catholic priests while remaining married. During the fall meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore, Sheehan told NCR that Steenson, assuming his request receives Vatican approval, will eventually be incardinated into his Santa Fe archdiocese. Archbishop John Myers of Newark, current head of the Pastoral Provision, said that given Steenson’s background as a patristics scholar, he would probably end up teaching in a Catholic seminary or university.

Under the terms of the Pastoral Provision, married Episcopal ministers who become Catholic priests are barred from having “the ordinary care of souls” in a parish, so most work as hospital chaplains, campus ministers, or seminary instructors, usually while assisting part-time in a parish.

Steenson’s application for ordination has to be approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, currently headed by American Cardinal William Levada. Myers said in mid-November that he doesn’t expect any difficulty, though the congregation could not act upon the request until Steenson was formally received into the church.

Sources told NCR that Steenson’s application joins as many as eight to ten others currently awaiting Vatican action under the terms of the Pastoral Provision.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts