Daily Archives: April 12, 2014
Worth every second of the three minutes of your time it takes to watch–touching, heart-rending, and encouraging–KSH.
I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full of what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one’s eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people’s eyes can see further than mine.
–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book III, Chapter 12 (“Faith”; emphasis mine) [Hat tip:JH]
Beginning at sundown on April 14, many Jews will be observing Passover at a Seder, the special meal that commemorates their ancestors’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. The book that guides the ritual is the haggadah. The Sarajevo Haggadah, named for the Bosnian city where it is kept, is a rare, beautifully illustrated manuscript created more than 600 years ago in Spain, and many see its own story as a compelling symbol of the Exodus. “It went through so many different cultures,” observes composer Merima Kljuco, “and so many different people took care of the book and helped it survive.”
A property rights battle over the historic St. John’s Parish has ended years after a schism erupted within the Episcopal Church when part of the congregation opposed the church’s acceptance of gay pastors.
Superior Court Judge Roger Ross on April 4 awarded the parish in downtown Stockton to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.
The group that had broken away from the diocese – most of them with a history of multiple past generations in the Episcopal Church – and became aligned with the more conservative Anglican Church of North America was ordered out of the building in the ruling.
Scholars have probed Shakespeare’s plays for centuries, hoping to seize a look into the Bard’s soul, to determine if he was a man of faith. The latest academic to take this journey, or at least to write a book about it, is David Kastan, a Yale University English professor who concludes in A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion that the plays are not keys to Shakespeare’s own faith, but rather register the ways religion changed his world.
“One thing we know nothing about is what Shakespeare believed,” he told an audience of about 130 gathered in early March in Manhattan. “We know lots of what he said. He lived in a culture where religion just saturated the culture. Religion is the way culture expressed its fundamental values for Shakespeare.”
The discussion was presented by the Pearl Theatre Company, one of New York’s most respected off-Broadway companies, and the Shakespeare Society, whose artistic director, Michael Sexton, moderated the 90-minute onstage talk at the theater.
The oldest Anglican church in Malaysia recently held a special service to pray for the families and victims of flight MH 370, the Malaysian government and other governments involved in the search and rescue efforts.
The Special Service of Praying for MH 370 was held on Sunday, 6th April in Christ Church, Melaka to allow worshippers to identify themselves, and stand in solidarity with those affected by the tragedy.
The Rt Revd Jason Selvaraj, Assistant Bishop of West Malaysia, said, “We wanted to tell the families that we are concerned and we stand with you at this painful time. We wanted to tell our Malaysian government and its people that our leaders are very much in our prayers as they work on the search and rescue mission.
The final evening of Jack Chen’s life was indistinguishable from many others. The sophomore returned home from school, ate dinner with his mother and retired to his room. His mother asked him to turn out his light at midnight.
Inside his bedroom, anguish gnawed at him, a darkness invisible to friends and family: He maintained a 4.3 grade-point average at one of the area’s top high schools, was a captain of the junior varsity football team and had never tried drugs or alcohol.
But that hidden pain drove Jack from his Fairfax Station home early the next morning ”” Wednesday, Feb. 26. The 15-year-old, who pestered his father to quit smoking and wear his safety belt, walked to nearby tracks and stepped between the rails as a commuter train approached.
His death is one of six apparent suicides at Fairfax’s W.T. Woodson High School during the past three years, including another student found dead the next day. The toll has left the school community reeling and prompted an urgent question: Why would so many teens from a single suburban school take their lives?
Read it all from the Washington Post.
I want to propose a slightly different approach, grounded both in experience and theology, of the prophetic response to violence which accepts the world as it is and seeks to bring redemption and salvation.
It is not popular to speak of forgiveness during a war as one city lies burning, like Dick Howard. But the deep tragedy of World War II, and of the cumulative ten years of war between the United Kingdom and Germany in the first half of the last century, in which those two countries alone killed several million of each other’s citizens, that tragedy began to be redeemed on the day that Dick Howard wrote ”˜Father forgive’ on the ruined wall of Coventry Cathedral. We prefer to win wars, we prefer to win wars against violence, and to defeat our dehumanised enemy than to find the reconciliation that is the true victory of the gospel of peace.
So in conclusion, what does a church committed to reclaiming the gospel of peace look like? What does it look lie in the USA where there are people who are faithful Christians on all sides of the debate about guns? What does it mean to be a faithful Christian? What it does not mean is to shout louder from your corner in the conviction that you are right and everyone else is stupid.
Rather, a church committed to the reclaiming of the gospel of peace looks like those who join their enemies on their knees.
In 1803, in a house overlooking Plymouth harbor, a 14-year-old boy lay dangerously ill. Before this time, he’d never given much time to serious thought about the course his life would take. But during his year-long convalescence, he began to reflect on the possibility of future fame. Would he be a statesman, an orator, or a poet? An eminent minister of a large, wealthy church? Where did true greatness lie? He was shocked out of his reverie””and very nearly out of his bed””by a mysterious voice that uttered the words “Not unto us, not unto us, but to Thy name be the glory.”
Adoniram Judson would remember that startling revelation for the rest of his life. With his strong academic training, keen intellect, and linguistic abilities, he might well have become a prominent theologian, scholar, or politician in 19th-century America. But his profound desire to do the will of God led him down a very different path.
“The motto for every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be ‘Devoted for Life.'”
Eternal God, we offer thanks for the ministry of Adoniram Judson, who out of love for thee and thy people translated the Scriptures into Burmese. Move us, inspired by his example, to support the presentation of thy Good News in every language, for the glory of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
We give thee hearty thanks, O heavenly Father, for the rest of the past night, and for the gift of a new day, with its opportunities of pleasing thee. Grant that we may so pass its hours in the perfect freedom of thy service, that at eventide we may again give thanks unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
–Daybreak Office of the Eastern Church
Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we too believe, and so we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
–2 Corinthians 4:13-18
Jeff Bauman knows the exact moment his life was changed forever. It was the moment he looked Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the face.
“He just seemed out of place,” said Bauman in his most recent interview with Brian Williams. “Everybody there was having fun, you know, clapping, taking pictures, and he was just standing there with a backpack … he just looked really odd. So I looked at him and I stared at him.”
And then, in an instant: a flash, and what sounded like a pop, and he was lying flat on his back.
Watch and/or read it all from NBC.
The thing about the wife issue is that it’s near sexual ethics. There’s no hotter topic in our culture right now than sexual ethics. If you can turn it around and say, “You [Christians] have been thinking for 2,000 years that Jesus was celibate, and you held that forth as an ideal. It turns out that he was married and very much interested in sex. Therefore, he didn’t really care about sexual ethics they way modern-day Christians do.”
Is there any reason Christians should be unsettled by documents like these?
The Wife of Jesus fragment should not at all be unsettling for the Christian faith. It reflects the belief of someone who was writing between the fifth and ninth century. That belief might go earlier, but when we know that there were all kinds of heretical beliefs cropping up around end of the first century, we also know this is nothing new.