Daily Archives: November 19, 2009

Theologian J.I. Packer shares thoughts on Knowing God

A: Yes. The books of C.S. Lewis had a very profound, indirect affect on me. Lewis, of course, was a Catholic-Anglican rather than an evangelical, but he erected around me all the scaffolding of orthodox Christianity, in terms of which I was opened to the authentic Gospel. His writings still help me. He was certainly the 20th century’s No. 1 apologist. The older I get, the more I appreciate his real genius in Christian insight and communication. He was never my professor. He was a professor of English and the most popular lecturer at Oxford. He was, in fact, operating weekly as the anchor man in the Socratic Society. It was a club where inquirers, with an interest in Christianity, could hear the pros and the cons of the Christian faith.

Q: You’re such a prolific writer yourself, but you’re probably best known for one book, “Knowing God,” first published in 1973. Why do you think that particular book has been such a big seller?

A: It rang a bell because it covered ground and did a job that many people felt needed to be done, but which nobody was attempting at that stage. What was happening was that in evangelical circles, all the emphasis was being laid on personal experience and devotion in the sense in which husbands and wives are devoted to each other. There was not a great deal of intellectual effort going along with it. What I did in “Knowing God” is to write a series of practical articles intended to lead the reader to faith.

I was starting with the very basics that Christians believe about God and working through the aspects of God and the Trinity. I went on with the Gospel and to a series of chapters in the book that were called “Behold Your God.” They were all about living by faith … as the true focus of real life (so that) you are more alive, you see more, you understand more, and you live in a deeper level than anyone can do otherwise. Well, it rang a bell. So the book has sold well and continues to sell well, something like 30,000 copies a year. It’s found a niche.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Theology

(London) Times: Churches head for a showdown in Rome

The Archbishop of Westminster has blamed Church of England bishops for keeping their leader in the dark about the Pope’s attempts to entice Anglicans to Rome.

As the Archbishop of Canterbury prepared to visit Pope Benedict XVI for the first time since plans to admit Anglican opponents of women priests into the Catholic faith were published, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, deepened the row.

Archbishop Nicholls said that it had been the “duty” of the Anglicans involved in the talks to keep their primate informed about the Pope’s plans.

Read it all and there is much more on Ruth’s blog there (follow the links).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Gene Davenport–Withdrawal Symptoms: Is God Giving Us What We Deserve?

In reality, the three areas…[of the economy, health care and U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan] are simply part of the chaos that engulfs contemporary Western society. Other manifestations of that chaos include the widespread breakdown of authority and personal responsibility, the increase in violence, the loss of respect for others and of a personal sense of decency and restraint, the political hysteria in radio and TV talk shows from both the right and the left ”“ and on the list could go.

Twenty years ago, I wrote that Western society at that time exhibited characteristics commonly associated with insanity, including obliviousness to reality, absorption in a self-contained world of one’s own invention, obsession with trivia and domination by paranoia. It was motivated by the contradictory drives of self-love and self-hatred and driven impulsively toward self-destruction. In other words, society, I said, was clinically insane. I see no reason to modify that observation today.

From a biblical perspective, we have been handed over to what English versions of the New Testament translate as “the wrath of God.” For the apostle Paul, however, the wrath of God is not God’s angry attack upon the world, but is God’s withdrawal from the world, God’s handing the world over to its own desires.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Laura Vanderkam: Give thanks for job creators

Kimberly Martinez has a history of finding success in disaster. After she lost her job in 2002, she and her sister-in-law capitalized on the post-9/11 security craze to launch a business called Bonitas International, which sells ID badge jewelry. People snapped up the fancy BooJeeBeads lanyards, and revenue rose fast, hitting $2 million in 2008. Headcount reached 13 people.

Then the recent recession hit hard. In late 2008, Martinez realized that ”” amid widespread layoffs and reduced hours ”” she was providing the lone full-time paycheck in 70% of her Ohio-based employees’ homes. That would be OK if business were thriving, but in January 2009, orders sank 50% from the year before.

Faced with such a crisis, many people would have cut staff. But not Martinez. She doubled down. She hired someone to track cash flow. She hired a marketing team to find new outlets for her wares. Now, thanks to their efforts, business is on track to grow in 2010 and, thanks to her decision, five more Americans have jobs. “Creating a job feels like winning,” she says.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Kevin Staley-Joyce: Marriage of Opposites

It should be no surprise that the language of same-sex marriage is just as controversial as the arguments for it. The rhetorical choices of same-sex marriage proponents””especially their use of rights language””have been effective in winning over the minds of many young people. While rhetoric is unavoidable and hardly a malum in se, it can diminish understanding when it is used to make, rather than merely buttress, an argument. In a recent article, New York Times legal correspondent Adam Liptak used the phrase “opposite-sex marriage” to refer to unions between heterosexuals. It appears to be the Times’ first revival of the term since the spring of 2004, when same-sex marriages began in Massachusetts. Writing on the details of a court battle in San Francisco, Liptak asserted that the lawyer involved was advocating not, well, marriage, but “opposite-sex marriage.” (Liptak also said the lawyer’s arguments “seemed to fall of their own weight,” in case you’re wondering about his own view).

This kind of language is an anguish, no doubt, to those unrequited Times letter-writers who will soon lose sleep over the new, unwelcome adjective for their marriages. Who was it who said that same-sex marriage wouldn’t change anything but for gays? If we have begun to call marriage by a different name, something significant is afoot.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Media, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

ENS–Episcopal Church begins considering the work given to it by General Convention

The work given to the Episcopal Church by the July meeting of General Convention in Anaheim, California, has begun.

Nearly 270 volunteer members of 24 of the Episcopal Church’s so-called interim bodies, the Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards (commonly know as CCABs) are having their first meetings here Nov. 17-20. The meeting included an orientation session the morning of Nov. 18.

Each CCAB will also have 18 hours meeting together here. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson commissioned the members during a Eucharist at the end of the orientation session.

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

New bishop elected to the Diocese of Saskatoon

David Irving, currently the executive archdeacon of the diocese of Kootenay, has been elected the new bishop of the diocese of Saskatoon. Bishop-elect Irving will replace Bishop Rodney Andrews , who is retiring on Feb. 28.

“I am absolutely delighted,” Bishop-elect Irving said.

Although Bishop-elect Irving has spent most of his career in British Columbia, his work in the church began on the prairies. After completing his theological studies in England at two Oxford colleges, he was ordained a deacon in Edmonton in 1986 and then spent three years serving as the incumbent for the St. Thomas parish in Wainwright, Alta. “We had a wonderful time when we were in Alberta,” he said. “Prairie folks are special folks and we are certainly looking forward to being back there.”

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

Benjamin Guyer: Marriage, Family, and Anglican Viability

The future of the Anglican Communion depends upon young people such as Rachel and myself being able, and not just willing, to remain Anglican. Rachel was raised in the Episcopal Church; I began attending the Episcopal student center at the very end of my senior year at the University of Florida, and was confirmed a year and a half later. The process leading up to confirmation was, in many ways, a difficult one. My parents are ex-Catholics and I was raised in a fundamentalist, charismatic church, but at the age of sixteen I began attending, with the rest of my family, a rather unhealthy Calvinist church. Those were very difficult years for me, and my choice to leave evangelicalism at the age of 21 was preceded (and followed, as it turned out) by years of study, struggle, and tears far removed from merely youthful angst. My choice to seek out a different church was met with considerable hostility by some of my family members, but by that point in my life, I knew enough theology to recognize that liturgy, the sacraments, the creeds, and apostolic succession were necessary and essential features of historic Christianity. At the invitation of a friend, I attended the Episcopal student center in late December 2003. The moment I walked through the doors of the chapel, I experienced for the first time what I have never experienced since: I knew that I was home. Reflecting upon this moistens my eyes; the gratuitous plenitude of that life-changing moment exceeds my command of language. I know what it means to be suddenly and miraculously converted only because of that event.

There were several Anglican doctors whose writings gave theological substance to my prior ecstasy ”“ Rowan Williams among the living, and Michael Ramsey and Lancelot Andrewes among those who now sleep. In the years since, I have been shaped by the metaphysical vision of Richard Hooker and the creative rigor Austin Farrer; I have been nourished by the poetic meditations of Divine Herbert and R. S. Thomas; I have been inspired by saints such as Trevor Huddleston and the recent martyrs of Melanesia. In the last year and a half, I have been amazed to learn of the once-central cult of monarchy, complete with miracles, relics, and liturgical commemorations, which suffused Anglican devotion and self-understanding for hundreds of years. And, I remain fully committed to the conciliar ecclesiology that has increasingly defined Anglicanism beginning with the first Lambeth Conference in 1867. I want to pass on this heritage to my children. How do I do so, when I cannot be certain that I will have a church to raise them in ”“ let alone a church for myself and my girlfriend?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Washington Post: Senator Reid unveils 848 Billion Health-care bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid presented an $848 billion health-care overhaul package on Wednesday that would extend coverage to 31 million Americans and reform insurance practices while adding an array of tax increases, including a rise in payroll taxes for high earners.

Democratic leaders were jubilant that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined that the Senate bill would cut federal deficits by $130 billion over the next decade. That projection, released shortly before midnight Wednesday, represents the biggest cost savings of any legislation to come before the House or Senate this year, but the measure’s effective date also was pushed back by one year, to 2014. Democrats said the savings could prove more significant in the long run, though the CBO said they “would probably be small,” amounting to around 0.25 percent of the overall economy, or no more than $650 billion between 2019 and 2029.

Those projected reductions could prove critical in winning the support of three wavering moderate Democrats whose votes Reid (D-Nev.) must secure to bring the legislation to the floor before the Senate breaks for Thanksgiving. But Reid also stacked the bill with provisions sought by liberals, including a public insurance option, albeit a version with an opt-out clause for states.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Senate

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually!

–Psalm 105:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A prayer for the Feast Day of Elizabeth of Hungary

Almighty God, by whose grace thy servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Poverty, Spirituality/Prayer

An Encouraging Profile of the Boys Town Football Team

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports, Teens / Youth

Vicar forgives girls who bullied his daughter to death

Despite the brutality of the attack, Mr Boxall, a vicar at the Open Gateway Community Church in Thamesmead, south London, said he and his family were praying for the assailants. “We want them to know we forgive them. That does not mean that what they did ‘doesn’t matter’. Of course it does,” he said.

“Forgiveness means that we refuse to be shackled by bitterness and our prayer is that forgiveness will allow the girls to be released from the burden of what they have done.”

Miss Boxall was adopted by Mr Boxall and his wife after being abandoned as a baby by her alcoholic mother.

The couple, who have four natural sons, were working in Rio de Janeiro as missionaries at the time.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Lecturer in Texas speaks on Anglicans rejoining the Catholic Church

The pope has ordained that Anglo-Catholics can become part of the Roman Catholic Church while retaining their liturgies and other aspects of their Anglican heritage. [Taylor] Marshall emphasized to his audience that they must not listen to theories made up by other people simply because they have a biased view on either one of the faiths. “Theories mentioned such as, ‘The pope doesn’t have priests so he will steal priests from the Anglicans,’ are not theories to be listened to,” he said. “Instead, when one of these theories is heard, correct the person and try to explain.” This new ordinance will be very difficult for those who are already bishops in the Anglican Church. These bishops depend solely on the church, and when they leave, they will lose everything that they have.

“This is something that will make a radical difference,” Marshall said. “Pensions will be lost, insurance will be removed and many will even be attacked by others.” The people who realize that they want to join the Catholic faith will have to give up many of their dreams and material belongings. This will only continue to get worse as people begin to lose jobs, but even with this radical movement, the Catholic faith will continue to help those in need. Even though this may seem like a small movement ordained by the pope, Marshall mentioned that the pope is “mirroring the sacred heart of Jesus.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

AP: New Lutheran body to form after vote to allow pastors in non-celibate same sex partnerships

The split over gay clergy within the country’s largest Lutheran denomination has prompted a conservative faction to begin forming a new Lutheran church body separate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Leaders of Lutheran CORE said Wednesday that a working group would immediately begin drafting a constitution and taking other steps to form the denomination, with hopes to have it off the ground by next August.

“There are many people within the ELCA who are very unhappy with what has happened,” said the Rev. Paull Spring, chairman of Lutheran CORE and a retired ELCA bishop from State College, Pa.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)