Daily Archives: January 27, 2011

Q & A: Billy Graham on Aging, Regrets, and Evangelicals

What would you say to children who have aging parents?

When we’re young we usually don’t think much about growing old, or about our parents growing old either””not until something forces us to think about it. But it will happen, if they live long enough. So the first thing I’d say to those whose parents are growing older is to be prepared for it, and to accept whatever responsibilities it brings you.

Then be patient with them. They may not be able to do everything they once did, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily helpless or incompetent. And be alert to their needs””including their emotional and spiritual needs. Sometimes they just need to know that you’re there, and that you care….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

RNS–Minister Offers Comfort, Calm in Disasters’ Shadowy Places

Three years after a gunman opened fire and killed six people at a Kirkwood City Council meeting, the Rev. David Holyan recently found himself in Tucson, Ariz.

Holyan, 46, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, has become an accidental expert in what the Presbyterian Church (USA) calls “human-caused disaster” response. More precisely, he is a member of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s National Response Team.

His expertise comes from the victim side. Holyan’s church became a spiritual hub for the community in the wake of the shooting rampage on Feb. 7, 2008, that claimed the lives of six people””including two of Holyan’s parishioners””and the gunman.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Reuters) Primates shun Anglican talks over U.S.Bishops in Same Sex Partnerships

Conservative primates say they are disillusioned by a lack of disciplinary action against the U.S. church, despite recommendations made at previous primates’ meetings, and add that there had been a lack of consultation before the meeting.

The Anglican Communion said primates refusing to attend included those of the Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Nigeria, South East Asia, the Southern Cone of Latin America, Uganda, and West Africa.

Last June, [Katharine Jefferts] Schori said that plans to discipline her church violated Anglican traditions, moving toward a centralized authority.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Jonathan Clark responds to Dr. Goddard: Could we lament together our inability to remain united?

There’s a dynamic of divergence in the Anglican Communion. It is absolutely clear to most people in the Anglican / Episcopal churches in North America that the gospel demands the full inclusion of gay people. It is absolutely clear to those who speak for most churches in the developing world (though not all) that this inclusiveness merely dilutes the gospel. It provides evidence that the churches in North America ”“ and the UK is under intense suspicion as well ”“ are falling into a decadent decline. They just can’t be trusted; the only thing to do is to change the whole structure radically, either from within, or through a totally new structure. The first is preferable of course, as it means you inherit the resources; but either is preferable to the status quo.

The thing which is the obvious gospel imperative for one side is for the other side an equally obvious sign of the opposite. Blessing same-sex relationships is an unavoidable call of faith ”“ or a clear rejection of Christian values. Planting new churches is mere obedience to the call to proclaim the good news ”“ or an obvious rejection of the body of Christ in the churches already present.

No wonder a moratorium can have no effect. But what can anyone then do? Maybe giving up blaming the ”˜other’ would help: no-one can be asked to act against their conscience, however misguided any of us might think it is….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

The Anglican Communion Institute: The Dublin ”˜Meeting’

A little candor by those in attendance would be nice: there is a problem, and it is a major problem. Are the Primates who have gathered in Dublin facing it, or are they still pretending that everybody has “moved beyond” the resolute disrespect of TEC and The Anglican Church of Canada towards their previous commitments and the commitments of the Communion at large?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Primates, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011

The Diocese of Viriginia Council Resolutions results

Read them all and make sure to compare them to the submitted resolutions.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

The Episcopal Bishop of Virginia's Pastoral Address to Diocesan Council

I realize that there are presently clergy and congregations who have addressed these questions of blessing, community, society and Scripture in ways that could be deemed thorough and conclusive. Furthermore, you may remember that I have always affirmed that committed, monogamous same-gender relationships can indeed be faithful in the Christian life. Therefore, I plan also to begin working immediately with those congregations that want to establish the parameters for the “generous pastoral response” that the 2009 General Convention called for with respect to same-gender couples in Episcopal churches. Personally, it is my hope that the 2012 General Convention will authorize the formal blessing of same-gender unions for those clergy in places that want to celebrate them. Until then, we might not be able to do all that we would want to do but, in my judgment, it is right to do something and it is time to do what we can….

We all know that the litigation has been expensive, but I will remind you that these costs are being covered by a line of credit secured by unconsecrated, non-strategic real estate. No pledge dollars given to the diocese’s annual budget are being used to fund this legal battle. And this reminds me . . .

I remain shocked and grievously troubled by the lack of adequate funding for our diocese. Make no mistake: this is not about sexuality or any other controversy. Virginia has been dead last in the Episcopal Church in its percentage funding for the diocesan budget for decades. Our congregations’ average giving to the Diocese is a less-than-modest 6.5 percent of plate-and-pledge, and only 5.4 percent of all unrestricted operating revenues. Only 18 of our 183 congregations give at least 10 percent of their revenues to the Diocese.

Read it all.

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

(AP) New projection shows Social Security funds drained by 2037

Social Security’s finances are getting worse as the economy struggles to recover and millions of baby boomers stand at the brink of retirement.

New congressional projections show Social Security running deficits every year until its trust funds are eventually drained in about 2037.

This year alone, Social Security is projected to collect $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays out in retirement, disability and survivor benefits, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Budget, Economy, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

AP: Some South Sudanese believe Bible backs vote for Independence

The interpretation is not so far-fetched, said Ellen Davis, a professor at Duke Divinity School who has been working with the Episcopal Church of Sudan to strengthen theological education there since 2004.

“There’s no doubt that Isaiah 18 really is speaking about the people of the upper Nile,” she said. “It really is speaking about the Sudanese people.”

Davis said the belief in the prophecy is nearly universal among the Christians she has met in Sudan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Theology: Scripture

AP: Mosque to be built in Calif city after denial of appeal by residents who fear extremism

The Temecula center has owned the land for years but didn’t encounter resistance until planning work on the mosque coincided with debate over the New York site, putting 150 Muslim families at the center of a bitter fight, said Imam Mahmoud Harmoush.

Some residents worried the California mosque would be a center for radical Islam and add to traffic woes in the rapidly developing region. The mosque spent more than $17,000 in the past year, which included studies on the 4.3-acre site to address code concerns raised by its opponents, mosque leaders said.

“It’s amazing how people shift their positions and really don’t listen,” Harmoush said. “They say, ‘Maybe somewhere they are mutilating women, somewhere they are beating their wives.’ If somebody did something in Jordan or Pakistan or Iran, that doesn’t mean American Muslims will do it here.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Paul Tillich: [Jesus] wants to take from us..the burden of religion

The burden… [Jesus] wants to take from us is the burden of religion. It is the yoke of the law, imposed on the people of His time by the religious teachers, the wise and understanding, as He calls them in our words, the Scribes and Pharisees, as they are called usually. Those who labor and are heavy laden are those who are sighing under the yoke of the religious law. And He will give them the power to overcome religion and law; the yoke He gives them is a “new being” above religion. The thing they will learn from him is the victory over the law of the wise and the understanding, and the law of the Scribes and Pharisees.

How does this concern us? Why does this concern all men, in all situations? It concerns us because, with all human beings, we are sighing under the law, under a law which is religion and a religion which is law. This is the depth of the word of Jesus; this is the truth, implied in the emotional power of His words. Man labors and toils, because he is that being which knows about his finitude, about his transitoriness, about the danger of living, and about the tragic character of existence. Fear and anxiety are the heritage of all people, as Paul knew when he looked at the Jews and the Pagans. Restlessness drives man during his whole life, as Augustine knew A hidden element of despair is in every man’s soul, as the great Danish Protestant, Kierkegaard, discovered. There is no religious genius, no keen observer of the abyss of the human soul, nobody capable of listening to the sounds of his heart, who would not witness to this insight into human nature and human existence. Splits and gaps are in every soul: for instance, we know that we are more than dust; and yet we know also that we are going to be dust. We know that we belong to a higher order than that of our animal needs and desires; and yet we know that we shall abuse the higher order in the service of our lower nature. We know that we are only small members of the spiritual world; and yet we know that we shall aspire to the whole, making ourselves the center of the world.

This is man; and because this is man, there is religion and law. The law of religion is the great attempt of man to overcome his anxiety and restlessness and despair, to close the gap within himself, and to reach immortality, spirituality and perfection. So he labors and toils under the religious law in thought and in act….

We are all permanently in danger of abusing Jesus by stating that He is the founder of a new religion, and the bringer of another, more refined, and more enslaving law. And so we see in all Christian Churches the toiling and laboring of people who are called Christians, serious Christians, under innumerable laws which they cannot fulfill, from which they flee, to which they return, or which they replace by other laws. This is the yoke from which Jesus wants to liberate us. He is more than a priest or a prophet or a religious genius. These all subject us to religion. He frees us from religion. They all make new religious laws; He overcomes the religious law.

–Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations, Chapter 11, which you may read there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Christology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(USA Today) Americans living longer but not as long as other people

Smoking, a declining habit, and obesity, a burgeoning problem, have cut three to four years off the increasing life expectancy of Americans, an international longevity comparison concludes.

Nationwide, men’s life expectancy at birth jumped about five years and women’s increased about three years from 1980 to 2007.

But the National Research Council report, which came out Tuesday, finds that lung cancer, respiratory illness and heart disease have led to those increases lagging the average increase in 21 other high-income nations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Chrysostom

O God, who didst give to thy servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people shall be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who by the washing of water and the Word hast made me a member of the mystical body of thy dear Son: Grant me grace, I beseech thee, to continue steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers; that united in love with my brothers and sisters I may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree” — that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

–Galatians 3:13-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture