Daily Archives: January 30, 2013

TEC Bishop Dan Edwards of Nevada–on Prayer and learning the Importance of Relationships

Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone is about the decline of community in our culture. Bill Bishop’s The Big Sort is about the division of communities into little clusters of like-minded people, what Robert Bellah calls “special interest enclaves.” No wonder we listen to Garrison Keillor’s stories of Lake Woebegone with a kind of longing. We miss human community and it isn’t just nostalgia. Human community is an incarnate expression of the unity and diversity of God, of Reality itself, represented theologically by the Trinity. To fracture into a society of scattered individuals is to lose touch with our authentic human nature, the nature of God, and the imago dei.

So for me prayer these days is about connection. It’s about caring for the well being of my “poor earthbound companions and fellow mortals.” It’s nothing to write home about. But my longing for human bonds of affection is laced with hope.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops, Theology

(ACNS) WCC assembly, an opportunity for praying, listening and sharing

“The World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly will be an opportunity for praying, listening and sharing together. The event will provide participants a chance to listen for the voice of God, leading them to justice and peace in the world.”

These were the words of Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the WCC general secretary, who spoke with the press in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 29 January.

Along with Prof. Dr Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, vice-moderator of the WCC Central Committee and moderator of the assembly planning committee, Rev. Dr Henriette Hutabarat Lebang, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, and WCC staff members, Tveit is in Seoul finalizing plans for the WCC assembly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Globalization, Theology

(RNS) Pope Benedict XVI says lack of ”˜faith’ could be used in marriage annulments

According to Miguel Angel Ortiz, a professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Benedict wasn’t so much addressing the specific issue of remarried divorcees but addressing the relation between the spouses’ personal faith and the validity of marriage, including its commitment to fidelity.

In a 2005 question-and-answer session with priests, the pope said he once believed that lack of faith was enough to declare a marriage invalid. But, after tasking theologians to look into the issue, he had “understood that the problem was very difficult” and required further study.

At the time, Benedict said it was “particularly sad” to see people marry in the church out of tradition instead of a faith commitment only to subsequently find faith and remarry.

For Ortiz, the pope’s reflection could “speed up the process of declaring a marriage invalid” without changing the substance of the process itself.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Elesha Coffman reviews the new Video Series People of Faith: Christianity in America

One scholar says it’s impossible to understand American history without an understanding of the nation’s Christian history. Another suggests that it can lead to church renewal. A third says it helps us interpret Scripture, shape our mission, and appreciate God’s grace. People of Faith serves most of these needs well.

The series””produced by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College (Illinois), with support from the Lilly Endowment””shows Christians engaged in public life during the European settlement, the founding of the nation, the Civil War, the 19th-century social reform movements, and the civil rights movement. Christian activity is portrayed as predominantly positive, though not entirely so. For example, the series points out that Christians made arguments both for and against slavery, and that Prohibition began as a public health crusade against a devastating social problem but quickly turned punitive and counterproductive. Subjects that Christians got mostly wrong, notably the treatment of Native Americans, are touched on lightly, if at all.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, America/U.S.A., Church History, Education, Evangelicals, History, Media, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Sarah Coakley–Women bishops and the collapse of Anglican theology

In our supposedly “secular” culture, the Church of England seems to have succumbed to the idea that theological ideas do not matter very much, and this may bespeak a deeper malaise even than the current crisis itself. Young people are turning back to the Church, longing for spiritual and intellectual bread; by and large stones await them, even despite a most promising new generation of young priest-scholars (women and men) who are beginning to rise through the ecclesial ranks. Perhaps in a generation things will be different.

But for the moment the Church has in effect signed its own theological death warrant. At the end of this summer, amid a new storm of fury about a confused conservative amendment to the Measure (astonishingly backed by both Archbishops to placate the defectors), I was invited to address the House of Bishops on “the theology of women bishops.” I made the following three points, and stand by them:

we cannot compromise on the historic theology of the bishop as locus of unity;
we must return afresh to our distinctively Anglican notions of reason and tradition to solve this crisis, not lapse into rational incoherence; and
we must resist in the Church the supervenience of bureaucratic thinking (with all its busy political pragmatism) over theological and spiritual seriousness.

I offer here just a brief further expansion on each of these points.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Theology, Women

In Southern Ontario, St. Alban’s Anglican Church is on the brink of closure

The small but mighty congregation at Nobleton’s St. Alban’s Anglican Church is on the brink of losing their church due to steadily declining numbers.

Rev. Sheilagh Ashworth, of the Anglican Parish of Lloydtown (St. Alban’s, Christ Church, Kettleby and St. Mary Magdalene, Schomberg) said the church has been “on the edge for a long time,” and the future of the church has been “dodgy” for more than a decade.

While in a difficult situation, they have until the end of May to turn things around.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North &Central America on the Right to Life 40 years Later

The Holy Orthodox Christian Faith is unabashedly pro-life. The Lord Jesus Christ was recognized and worshipped in His mother’s womb while yet unborn by the Holy Forerunner who was also still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44); St. Basil the Great (4th Century), one of the universal teachers of the faith, dared to call murderers those who terminate the life of the fetus. The Church has consistently held that children developing in the womb should be afforded every protection given to those outside the womb. There is no moral, religious or scientific rationale which can justify making a distinction between the humanity of the newly-conceived and that of the newly-born.

Abortion on demand not only ends the life of a child, but also injures the mother of that child, often resulting in spiritual, psychological and physical harm. Christians should bring the comfort of the Gospel to women who have had abortions, that our loving God may heal them. The Orthodox Church calls on her children, and indeed all of society, to provide help to pregnant mothers who need assistance brining their children safely into the world and providing these children loving homes.

On the occasion of this sorrowful anniversary, and as we mourn the violence we all too often visit upon one another, as exemplified by the recent mass killings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, we pray for an end to the violence of abortion. Surely the many ways in which we as a people diminish the reverence and respect for human life underlie much of this violence. The disrespect for human life in the womb is no small part of this. Let us offer to Almighty God our repentance for the evil of abortion on demand and extend our hearts and hands to embrace life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Violence

Popular daycare faces eviction after Tennessee Episcopal Diocese's legal fight

A longtime Nashville daycare operation is being evicted, leaving dozens of families in the lurch, after it found itself caught in the middle of a brutal legal battle over the role of sexuality in the Episcopal Church.

The fight over sexuality and the Bible seemed like a legal disagreement between the Diocese of Tennessee and St. Andrew’s Parish, but the innocent victim in all this is the daycare that sits on church property in Green Hills.

Cooperative Child Care has had a successful model – no scandals, no issues and 30 years of quality service – but now it has been given six months to get out.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Tennessee

A Month After Episcopal Church Closure in Avon, Connecticut, a Community Conversation is Scheduled

After the closure of Christ Episcopal Church in Avon, the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut is beginning the process of deciding what to do with the property.

And that all starts with a community conversation Wednesday night.

“The purpose of tomorrow night’s meeting is not to decide what to do with the church at all,” Audrey Scanlan, the state diocese’s canon for mission collaboration, said Tuesday morning. “The purpose of tomorrow night’s meeting is to have a conversation about Avon.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(Reuters) Syria "breaking up before everyone's eyes:" envoy tells U.N.

U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi warned the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be able to cling to power for now but the country is “breaking up before everyone’s eyes,” diplomats told Reuters.

Brahimi appealed to the 15-nation council to overcome its deadlock and take action to help put an end to the Syrian civil war. However, it was not clear whether his latest report, which diplomats said was his bleakest since his appointment last year, would persuade Russia to agree to support concrete U.N. steps to try to halt the bloodshed.

Read it all and please join me in praying for the situation in Syria.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Middle East, Syria

Collin Hansen–The Mirage and Marriage

How closely does your Facebook profile resemble your actual life? If we only knew you from a Twitter feed, would you think we really understood your hopes and dreams, your joys and fears? Facebook may ask what you’re feeling, but the rest of us don’t really care. We can’t even keep up with the drama in our families, among our closest friends. How can we handle the momentary peaks and valleys of hundreds, even thousands of friends? So we outline an online persona in black and white and only color in the parts we feel safe to expose. You only know I’m sick if I can find a witty way to tell you. You only find out I’m in despair if I can link the encouraging Bible verse God tossed me as a life raft.

You can fool anyone online for a while. Are you really surprised Te’o fell for the ruse? It’s a small jump from crafting your online profile to inventing an entirely fake persona. Imagine the myth you could perpetuate when you’re not even bound by the confines of all three dimensions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

Metro Talks to David Attenborough

But you don’t believe the dear Lord created it anyway, do you? Hasn’t that got you into trouble with the people who don’t believe in evolution? Not in this country. You get letters but it’s a very easy thing to answer. Someone says: ”˜I believe a God of infinite mercy created every single species and the Lord looks after us and all the animals.’ Well, what about that little African boy, five years old, sitting on the banks of a river, and he’s got a worm in his eye that’s going to turn him blind in three years? Did this God that you talk about actually design this worm and say: ”˜I’ll put it in this boy’s eye?’ To suggest that God specifically created a worm to torture small African children is blasphemy as far as I can see. The Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t believe that.

He’s supposed to believe it, though, isn’t he? Absolutely not! If you said to the Archbishop of Canterbury: ”˜Are you really telling me that God got some mud, blew in it and made a man and when that man said: “I haven’t got a friend”, he took out one of his ribs, rubbed it in his hands and went “boom, boom”?’ [Rowan] Williams [the last Archbishop of Canterbury] is a highly civilised, educated man. He wouldn’t for a microsecond be so silly as to believe that. But it does put him in an intolerable position.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Animals, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Two New Resolutions Proposed in the Diocese of Georgia

Here is one:

The Tithe as the Standard of Funding

The Reverends Robert Fain, Ted Clarkson, Gavin Dunbar and Cynthia Taylor propose the following resolution to the 192nd Convention. Their copy of the resolution with its full accompanying explanation is online here: The Tithe as the Standard of Funding PDF.

Resolved, that this 192nd Convention of The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia request that the Special Task Force on Church Structural Reform, created by the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church to present a plan to the next General Convention in 2015 for “reforming the Church’s structures, governance and administration”, include as one of its recommendations a proposal the the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church adopt the tithe as the standard of giving and as the funding formula for diocesan support of the budget of the Episcopal Church and,

be it further Resolved, that this resolution together with its accompanying Explanation, be forwarded to The Executive Council for it information.

Read them all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lift up our hearts, we beseech thee, O Christ, above the false show of things, above fear, above laziness, above selfishness and covetousness, above custom and fashion, up to the everlasting truth and order that thou art; that so we may live joyfully and freely, in faithful trust that thou art our Saviour, our example, and our friend, both now and for evermore.

–Charles Kingsley

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified[a] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose.

–Galatians 2:11-21

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture