Daily Archives: September 23, 2009

New bishop elected to 'can-do' diocese of Athabasca

Canon Fraser Lawton, 41, rector of St. Thomas’ Anglican church in Fort McMurray, Alta., is the new bishop-elect of the diocese of Athabasca.

“Northern Alberta is an exciting place where people have a can-do attitude,” said Bishop-elect Lawton in a telephone interview.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Rowan Williams' 150th Anniversary Sermon for the Anglican Church in Japan

Simplicity comes first. We do not proclaim ourselves, says St Paul, we don’t offer ourselves as the answer to everyone’s questions. We bring the knowledge of the great gifts God has given in his promise of reconciliation and renewal, and we bring our own struggles to live in the atmosphere of reconciliation and renewal ”“ pointing always to God as the one who begins the whole story and brings it to its full realisation. We learn to walk lightly and to travel light, grateful for the gifts of human culture but not making them an absolute.

Risk and solidarity come next. We don’t seek to protect ourselves, to do no more than keep the little circle of the Christian family warm and secure. We walk along the roads of human suffering, accompanying the lost and anxious and oppressed in the name of Jesus.

And reverence comes third. We approach our neighbours not with arrogance and impatience but with a readiness to learn and a willingness to rejoice in the rich texture of their human lives, individual and cultural. We look and listen for God in all that lies before us.

If we can continue in this ‘barefoot’ mission, we shall be opening ourselves up to the simplicity of Jesus himself and so to the transforming grace and beauty of his own mission.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Japan, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Michael Lawson's address to the Evangelical Episcopal Assembly

But you, or at least I imagine most of you have actually stayed in the Episcopal Church. I think that’s brave, and I am glad you have been able to. It doesn’t mean it’s any easier for you. But I do believe from what we have seen together, that staying must mean a call to greater discipleship and uncompromising mission. You have no mandate to remain in the Episcopal Church and simply fade into the background, keeping your head down, avoiding controversy, and preaching a scaled down gospel for our very sick and resistant cultures.

How have we got to where are? I suppose it wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to call the period from 7 June 2003, the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire as the beginning of Wilderness years of the Episcopal Church.

But it’s not the only wilderness, and Christian history has seen many such periods. So how does the Scripture address us in such situations?

There are many choices, But what about Hebrews 3:12-14, where the context is exactly that. A desert like experience where God’s word is thwarted and rejected. Listen to this. It’s a call to a greater discipleship.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelicals, Other Churches, TEC Conflicts, Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lecture at Rikkyo Gaukin University

Christian doctrine regards human beings as made in the divine image; and that has regularly been interpreted as meaning that human beings share something of the rational nature of God. But to use those words today instantly gives a false impression. We understand ‘reason’ as a way of arguing and testing propositions ”“ usually so as to become better at manipulating the world round us. Because religious faith is not a matter of argument in this way, it is then easy to conclude that faith and reason are enemies, or at least operating in different territory. Already in the Europe of the early Middle Ages, in the dispute between St Bernard and Peter Abelard, there was a foreshadowing of this sterile opposition. Bernard complains that Abelard thought faith was a judgement that you came to when the arguments were over, an informed opinion, almost an informed guess, and that reason was no more than marshalling the evidence and learning how to tell a good argument from a bad one. But St Bernard himself held to an older and richer understanding of reason as the way in which we shared in God’s vision of an ordered and connected world. You could not say that God was rational because he was good at arguing and came to well-supported conclusions: when theologians said that God was rational, they meant that he was consistent with himself and that out of his own understanding of the richness of his being he created a world of astonishing and beautiful diversity which still had a deep consistency about it.

And perhaps that is where we need to start today in thinking about the place of reason in a Christian institution. A ‘reasonable’ or ‘rational’ human being, on this understanding, is one who seeks not first and foremost to master and control a passive universe around, but one who looks for the ways in which he or she can discover the rhythms and patterns of reality and so understand themselves more fully. Certainly it implies that this kind of knowledge will be useful: it is better to work with the grain of reality in what we do than to work against it. But if the very first question is always ‘What is the use or the profit of this?’ we are training ourselves to ignore everything that lies outside our own immediate practical questions. That is not the spirit in which great discoveries are made; and it is certainly not the spirit in which great human beings are made. The student or researcher who is able to allow their mind and heart to be shaped by the flow and complexity of what is around, not prejudging what the important questions are but letting themselves be carried along by a certain degree of wonder and uncertainty, is the student who will be likely to arrive at innovative and creative insight.

Thus one of the central tasks of a Christian institution of learning is to allow some of the space and freedom for students to become creative in this way.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Education, Theology

Colorado Springs Gazette: Grace Church trial took financial toll on both parties in lawsuit

St. George’s rector, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, said Tuesday he’s optimistic that the church will pay off its debts within the next 60 days.

“We are developing a (long-range) plan to once again have the sort of ministry and outreach for which we have long been known,” said Armstrong, whose church lost the bid for the $17 million Tejon Street property and now meets in the Mountain Shadows area.

On the other side, the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado spent $2.9 million to defend against the Anglican parish’s lawsuit to take possession of downtown property, diocese financial records show.

The legal expenses and a decline in the stock market resulted in a colossal loss in the diocese’s investment income, dropping from $4.9 million in January 2006 to $750,000 in August, records show. It will take years to recover the funds, said Chuck Thompson, assistant treasurer for the diocese.

“We had to sell stocks and bonds to pay the fees,” Thompson said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado

Statement of Faith–Joyce Meyer Ministries

God gives all believers spiritual gifts. They are for the strengthening of God’s people (the Church) and proof of God’s existence and power to unbelievers. The gifts of the Spirit are active and relevant today.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 1 Peter 4:10

Sanctification is the ongoing process of allowing God’s character to be developed in us.

Romans 6:19; Galatians 5:22-25

Divine healing is active in the lives of people today through Jesus, who is the Healer. Healing includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual restoration.

Read it all and see what you make of it.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

Bob Freeman–Basic health care ”” an important concept for the future

Is health care a right or a privilege? Should government be more or less involved? Perspectives abound among all groups involved: patients, doctors, hospitals, health insurers, the pharmaceutical industry, legislators.

Most would agree that the needs of the uninsured represent a top priority for reform. Perhaps the experience of an entity devoted to addressing those needs for the last six years might be insightful….

Read it all from the letters section of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine

17.4% in South Carolina lacking insurance

When it comes to health insurance in America’s cities, you don’t have to look far for contrasts.

Mount Pleasant had the lowest percentage of people lacking health insurance in 2008 among relatively large cities in the Southeast. Its 6.2 percent ranked 22nd among all U.S. cities.

Across the Cooper River, that picture is much bleaker. North Charleston ranked 481st in the nation with 25.1 percent of its 84,902 residents without health insurance. Among adults ages 18 to 64 living in the city, 30.5 percent are uninsured.

The figures come from the U.S.Census Bureau, which obtained data from the nation’s 532 cities with populations of at least 65,000.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine

Living Church: South Carolina Decision Could Have Far-Reaching Impact

The Supreme Court of South Carolina has resolved a long-running dispute between All Saints Church, Pawleys Island, and the Diocese of South Carolina. In a unanimous ruling written by Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal, the court said that the Episcopal Church’s Dennis Canon does not apply to the congregation, which was founded before the Episcopal Church.

“It is an axiomatic principle of law that a person or entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another,” the court ruled. “The diocese did not, at the time it recorded the 2000 notice, have any interest in the congregation’s property.”

It is not yet clear whether the Episcopal Church will appeal the decision. “My understanding is that the legal team is currently reviewing the ruling,” said Neva Rae Fox, the Episcopal Church’s public affairs officer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts

Vicki Gray: Church needs gifts of transgender Episcopalians

Our goals at Anaheim were minimal — to assert that we exist as flesh-and-blood human beings, to demonstrate that we are here in the church as decent and devout followers of Jesus Christ, and to begin the process of education and dialogue that will lead to full inclusion in the life of the church not only of the transgendered, but of other sexual minorities such as the inter-sexed (known to some as hermaphrodites).

To those ends, TransEpiscopal put forth four resolutions — to which two were added in the course of the convention — in the hope that one would reach the floor of the House of Deputies to begin the educational discussion. To our surprise and joy, four resolutions not only reached the floor but were overwhelmingly passed by both the deputies and the House of Bishops, putting the church on record with regard to trans-inclusive hate crimes legislation and employment non-discrimination nationally and, in terms of lay employment, within the church. [Those resolutions included C048, D012, D032, D090.]

To be sure, there was one key resolution that failed. It was CO61 that would have added gender identity and expression to those categories of people in our canons who could not be excluded from consideration for ordination. It passed overwhelmingly in the House of Deputies, but, after considerable discussion in the House of Bishops, was amended, in well-meaning fashion, to strike the whole explicit list of those who could not be excluded from such consideration and to substitute, in its stead, “all people.” Would that all people understood what “all” meant. Fearing that might not be the case and, agreeing with others, that such wording might put us back at square one in terms of racial, gender, and other discrimination, TransEpiscopal joined Integrity in letting CO61 die by not bringing it up again in the House of Deputies.

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

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

World's Longest Basketball Shot?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Notable and Quotable

[C.S.] Lewis always makes me think and re-think. We need more of that in the Church today. O, that our teachers and preachers would read!

–Michel Kear, commenting on C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain on Amazon in a customer review

Posted in Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

So [the king of Syria] sent there horses and chariots and a great army; and they came by night, and surrounded the city.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

He said, “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Then Eli’sha prayed, and said, “O LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Eli’sha.

–2 Kings 6: 14-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

C.S. Lewis to start the day

If the happiness of a creature lies in self-surrender, no one can make that surrender but himself…and he may refuse. I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully “All will be saved”. But my reason retorts, “Without their will, or with it?” If I say “Without their will” I at once perceive a contradiction; how can the supremely voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say “With their will”, my reason replies “How if they will not give in?”

–C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Fount Paperback edition, pp. 106-107

Posted in Eschatology, Theology

President Hu Jintao commits China to carbon-cutting deal

China pledged today to slow the growth of its carbon emissions despite the rapid growth of its economy.

President Hu Jintao told nearly 100 leaders at a UN summit on climate change that the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases would cut carbon dioxide emissions by a “notable margin per unit of GDP” by 2020. “We have taken and will continue to take determined and practical steps to tackle this challenge,” he said.

Mr Hu said that China, now overwhelmingly dependent on coal, would “vigorously develop” renewable and nuclear energy and try to increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 15 per cent by 2020. He added that the country would plant 40 million hectares of forest to absorb carbon emissions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization