Daily Archives: September 21, 2010

(The Age) Australian Anglicans reverse earlier call on non-Christian marriages

A move to make it easier for non-Christians to get married in an Anglican church failed yesterday when the clergy at the General Synod reversed their vote from Monday and rejected it.

The synod (national church parliament) voted down a proposal that the church abandon its requirement that at least one partner be already baptised.

Liberals and evangelicals agreed at the synod at Melbourne Grammar that a church wedding provided an opportunity of contact with people who now knew little of church. Opponents, mostly from the church’s Catholic wing, argued Christian marriage is a sacrament of the church intended for its members.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Marriage & Family

CEN–No break in Africa’s united front on the Episcopal Church

A letter alleging the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and the Church of the Province of Central Africa have dissented from the final communiqué of last month’s All African Bishops Meeting in Entebbe, does not have the official backing of the two provinces The Church of England Newspaper has learned.

Leaders of the two provinces tell CEN that while parts of the dissenting letter reflect the views held by some Southern and Central Africa bishops, neither province’s House of Bishops have discussed nor endorsed the letter purportedly issued on their behalf.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Keeping Kids Safe From the Wrong Dangers

You read the news about that poor football player, right? The University of Pennsylvania lineman who killed himself? And the autopsy, which showed that his head had been rattled by all those blows over the years? And the fact that the damage may have caused depression and lack of impulse control, which may have resulted in his suicide?

Now, what do you do with this information?

Whether the growing attention to concussions in young athletes will lead to an exodus from the football field (or the basketball court, or the hockey rink) will say a lot about how we humans process risk. Which means it’s anybody’s guess.

If history is any guide, we seem to veer between overreaction and underreaction ”” all while defining our own response as “moderate.”

Read it all.

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

Down Under, Anglicans say "I don't" to marriage Canon changes

Voting confusion dominated the final decision to oppose moves to change the requirements of marriage in the Anglican Church. Currently at least one member of a couple wishing ot marry in the Anglican church in Australia must be baptised. An amendment before the General Synod would have seen this requirement removed.

An unusual procedural move at the sitting of the church’s national parliament saw the matter voted on twice, after a vote rejecting the amendment on Monday was thrown into doubt when some members of the House of Bishops were reportedly confused about voting procedure. Today the General Synod again rejected the amendment, this time in the House of Clergy.

The Provisional Canon to amend the Solemnization of Matrimony Canon 1981 was sent to all the Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia after the 2007 sitting of General Synod. The majority of dioceses around the country have since assented to the canon, a fact that Bishop Glenn Davies (Sydney) brought to the floor when urging the General Synod to give its final approval to the Canon.

“We have an obligation to listen and weigh that assent from those diocese[s] in our vote today,” he said.

Read it all.

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

Stephen McCray Smith, TESM Professor, RIP

In the annals of Stephen McCray Smith’s stellar academic career — ranging from undergraduate study at Stanford University to more than two decades as a professor at Trinity Seminary in Ambridge — the 1963 school year at Multnomah University in Oregon stands out as an exception.

“We didn’t get very good grades that year,” laughed his wife, Joyce, who was an undergraduate there while Dr. Smith was in graduate school. “We fell in love in the fall and got married in June.”

Dr. Smith died Sunday from Parkinson’s disease. He was 70.

“He was just a great teacher,” said Bishop John Rodgers, former dean and president of Trinity Seminary who hired Dr. Smith in 1981 to teach Christian doctrine and ethics. “He gave his students a sense that they’d really have a chance to master something — not just survey it.”

One of God’s truly marvelous saints–he preaching at our wedding. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Colorado Springs-Gazette: Attorneys from both sides satisfied with Don Armstrong plea agreement

Attorneys for the Rev. Donald Armstrong and the Pueblo District Attorney’s office were pleased Monday with the plea agreement in the criminal case involving the former rector of Grace and St. Stephen’s Church in Colorado Springs.

A Fourth Judicial District grand jury indicted Armstrong in May 2009 on 20 felony counts of embezzling $392,000 from Grace Church. Armstrong on Friday pled no contest to one felony count, according to El Paso County court files. Though Armstrong in his plea doesn’t admit guilt, the court views it in a legal sense as a guilty plea.

As part of the agreement, Armstrong admitted guilt to a new charge, misdemeanor theft, said Pueblo District Attorney Bill Thiebaut. A sentencing hearing on this charge will happen before the end of the year.

Armstrong’s sentence could include a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 18 months in the El Paso County Jail. Misdemeanor charges are brought for thefts between $500 and $1,000.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, Theology

A Diocese of Colorado Press Release on the Don Armstrong Plea Agreement

The leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado was recently advised by Special Prosecutor, Stephen Jones that he had entered into a plea bargain with Donald Armstrong, a former priest of the diocese….

Read it all.

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

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, Theology

Fouad Ajami (WSJ): Islam's Encounters With America

There is no gain to be had, no hearts and minds to be won, in Imam Rauf insisting that Ground Zero can’t be hallowed ground because there is a strip joint and an off-track betting office nearby. This may be true, but it is irrelevant.

A terrible deed took place on that ground nine years ago. Nineteen young Arabs brought death and ruin onto American soil, and discretion has a place of pride in the way the aftermath is handled. “Islam” didn’t commit these crimes, but young Arabs and Muslims did.

There is no use for the incantation that Islam is a religion of peace. The incantation is false; Islam, like other religions, is theologically a religion of war and a religion of peace. In our time, it is a religion in distress, fought over, hijacked at times, by a militant breed at war with the modern world.

Read it all from the op-ed page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

AP: Radical Islam is on the rise in the Balkans

An online music video praising Osama bin Laden has driven home a troubling new reality: A radical brand of Islam embraced by al-Qaida and the Taliban is gaining a foothold in the Balkans.

“Oh Osama, annihilate the American army. Oh Osama, raise the Muslims’ honor,” a group of Macedonian men sing in Albanian, in video posted on YouTube last year and picked up by Macedonian media this August. “In September 2001 you conquered a power. We all pray for you.”

Although most of Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian minority are Muslims, they have generally been secular. But experts are now seeing an increasing radicalization in pockets of the country’s Islamic community, particularly after armed groups from the ethnic Albanian minority, which forms a quarter of the population of 2.1 million, fought a brief war against Macedonian government forces in 2001.

Read it all.

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

Brian Doherty (Reason) on Jack Parsons–The Magical Father of American Rocketry

He was an acolyte of Aleister Crowley, an employee of Howard Hughes, a victim of L. Ron Hubbard, and an enthusiastic phone buddy to Wernher Von Braun. He was an only child, his adulterous dad booted by his angry mom. In seeking father figures and brotherhood, he became a vital link in two mighty chains in human history: rocketry and ritual magic. His science was built on intuition, and his magic on experiment.

John Whiteside Parsons was born in 1914 and died in 1952. His short life is a fascinating case study in the limits and the contradictions of unbounded amateur enthusiasts, no matter how bold or brilliant. It limns both the conflicts and the codependency between freewheeling innovators and hidebound institutions, both governmental and private.

Read it all. Mr. Parsons was one of the figures featured in the NPR piece I posted yesterday morning about interesting figures in the past about whom we may not have known–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Science & Technology

A Central Florida Anglican Church makes a new home

Epiphany Celebration Anglican Church celebrated its new house of worship on Sunday by offering praise for the stately red brick building on Bay Street that once belonged to their Baptist friends.

“This is a joyous off-the-charts happy day,” the Rev. Dr. W.H. Volland said to the 255 people sitting in the pews. “The only reason we are in this place is because of the faithful, Godly obedient ministry of the folks of Bay Street Baptist Church. We offer a great deal of thanksgiving to them.”

Epiphany Celebration Anglican Church was formed on Jan. 6, 2007, the day of Epiphany on the liturgical calendar.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry

Susan Engel–Scientifically Tested Tests

As children, teachers and parents sprint, slink or stumble into the new school year, they also find themselves laboring once again in the shadow of standardized tests. That is a real shame, given that there are few indications that the multiple-choice format of a typical test, in which students are quizzed on the specific formulas and bits of information they have memorized that year, actually measures what we need to know about children’s education.

There is also scant evidence that these tests encourage teachers to become better at helping individual children; in fact, some studies show that the tests protect bad teachers by hiding their lack of skill behind narrow goals and rigid scripts. And there are hardly any data to suggest that punishing schools with low test scores and rewarding schools with high ones improves anything. The only notable feature of our current approach is that these tests are relatively easy to administer to every child in every school, easy to score and easy to understand. But expediency should not be our main priority when it comes to schools.

Instead, we should come up with assessments that truly measure the qualities of well-educated children: the ability to understand what they read; an interest in using books to gain knowledge; the capacity to know when a problem calls for mathematics and quantification; the agility to move from concrete examples to abstract principles and back again; the ability to think about a situation in several different ways; and a dynamic working knowledge of the society in which they live.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthew

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of thine apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of thy Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Come, Holy Spirit, we do know You; You have often overshadowed us. Come, more fully take possession of us. Standing now as we feel we are right up at the mercy seat our very highest prayer is for perfect holiness, complete consecration, entire cleansing from every evil. Take our heart, our head, our hands, our feet, and use us all for You. Lord take our substance, let us not hoard it for ourselves, nor spend it for ourselves. Take our talent let us not try to educate ourselves that we may have the reputation of being wise, but let every gain of mental attainment be still that we may serve You better.

May every breath be for You; may every minute be spent for You. Help us to live while we live and while we are busy in the world as we must be, for we are called to it, may we sanctify the world for Your service. May we be lumps of salt in the midst of society. May our spirit and temper as well as our conversation be heavenly; may there be an influence about us that shall make the world the better before we leave it. Lord hear us in this thing.

–C.H. Spurgeon

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And when he wished to cross to Acha’ia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully confuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

–Acts 18:27-28

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture