Daily Archives: June 4, 2014

Archbishop Welby prays with Nigerian president during whistle-stop visit

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made a last minute visit to Nigeria today to offer his heartfelt sympathy for the recent events affecting the country, including the recent bombings in Jos and the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls who have now been missing for almost two months.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Nigeria, Foreign Relations, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

The recent 'What I want to say now' sermon by the former Bishop of St Albans Christopher Herbert

So what did I not speak out about, which I can do now?

The main issue I failed to address was the question of beauty. Please bear with me, because when I talk about beauty I am not talking about the overly self-conscious and preening opinions of art critics. They write for a very limited audience. The kind of beauty that I want to talk about is much larger and much more profound than that.

When I refer to beauty I am referring to the absolute, ineffable, ultimately inexpressible beauty of the Divine, of God, of the Almighty”¦

There is a delicious and troubling irony here: going to churches throughout Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire as I did, gazing out from our house across to St Albans Abbey as I did, I did not often reflect on the stunning loveliness of our church buildings. I loved them, I worked in them, I preached in them, but I did not stop to consider the relationship between the beauty of those buildings and the beauty of God. Let me not confine myself to Herts and Beds. Think of any of the countless thousands of our churches in these islands: the medieval glass in Fairford, the soaring perpendicular of Patrington in Holderness, the grace of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol, the racy, provocative carving at Kilpeck in Herefordshire, the strange carvings on the font at Melbury Bubb (what a glorious name for a village in Dorset), and whilst still in Dorset, the windows etched by Lawrence Whistler at Moreton, or more prosaically, the graffiti at Ashwell in Hertfordshire concerning the Plague and a design for old St Paul’s.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Architecture, Art, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby–”What we talk about when we talk about evangelism

For years it was popularly believed that to call these animals ‘kangaroos’ was based on a profound and embarrassing misunderstanding.

Evangelism is such a word. For Christians, it’s the name for an activity that some love and others hate ”“ it’s a passion for some and an embarrassment for others. For non-Christians, it’s a word that can send them running to the hills, feeling they are in danger of having something ‘done’ to them. (I wonder which of these descriptions fits you ”“ and what you’ve experienced in the name of evangelism to make you feel this way?)

Given all this controversy around the word, it was no surprise that when, on taking office last year, I declared evangelism as one of the three priorities for my ministry. Some people thought I was profoundly misguided, while others jumped for joy.

However, it’s my belief that if only we truly ‘got’ evangelism, we, the Church would live to show what it meant. And to ‘get’ it means to receive it, and to give it. Continually. And if we lived what we spoke of, and spoke of what we lived, no-one would have to point at the Church and wonder what it was for.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Texting while driving ban closer to reality in South Carolina

The ban on texting while driving is expected to come up for a vote at the Legislature on Wednesday, after members of both bodies reached a compromise.

Three members from the House and three from the Senate met on Tuesday to discuss what versions of the texting while driving ban they will agree on to send back to the bodies for a final vote. They agreed on leaning toward the House’s version, which applies to all drivers; the Senate’s was geared toward those with beginner’s permits.

But there is a holdup as lawmakers work on clearing up a technicality. Once that’s done, the bill will go back to both bodies for a vote.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, State Government, Theology, Travel

(RNS) Jonathan Merritt talks to Tom Wright (II)–Contemporary questions of sexual ethics and others

RNS: Fair enough. Then how does your view of scripture inform the sexuality debates today? Would your approach to the Bible allow, for example, the blessing of monogamous, lifelong same-sex relationships?

NTW: Monogamous, lifelong same-sex relationships were known in the ancient world as well as in the modern””there is plenty of evidence, despite what people sometimes say. When Jesus reaffirms the traditional Jewish standards of sexual behavior (he was talking in a Jews-only context where people would know what his shorthand sayings meant), and when Paul, speaking in a largely Gentile context, spells out a bit more clearly what is and what isn’t part of the new-creation lifestyle for those “in Christ,” this way of life was always counter-intuitive in that world, as it is again today.

But it’s important that we do not reduce the Bible to a collection of true doctrines and right ethics. There are plenty of true doctrines and right ethics there, of course, but they come within the larger thing, which is the story of how the Creator is rescuing and restoring the whole creation, with his rescue and restoration of humans at the heart of it. In other words, it isn’t about “do we allow this or that?” To ask the question that way is already to admit defeat, to think in terms of behavior as a set of quasi-arbitrary, and hence negotiable, rules.
We must ask, with Paul, “This new creation God has launched in Jesus””what does it look like, and how can we live well as genuine humans, as both a sign and a means of that renewal?” We need to remind ourselves that the entire biblical sexual ethic is deeply counter-intuitive. All human beings some of the time, and some human beings most of the time, have deep heartfelt longings for kinds of sexual intimacy or gratification (multiple partners, pornography, whatever) which do not reflect the creator’s best intentions for his human creatures, intentions through which new wisdom and flourishing will come to birth. Sexual restraint is mandatory for all, difficult for most, extremely challenging for some. God is gracious and merciful but this never means “so his creational standards don’t really matter after all.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Apologetics, Books, Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Jonathan Merritt talks to Tom Wright (I)–The Bible

RNS: No matter where a Christian falls on the spectrum, you’ll find something in this book to love and something to ruffle your feathers. Why did you decide to pen a book that touches on so many contentious issues? Do you expect pushback?

NTW: The book emerged from many different situations over a period of a few years. I didn’t set out to ruffle feathers, but to try to bring some biblical clarity to areas in which many Christians today, in the UK as well as the USA, are genuinely confused. So much of what people take to be “Christianity” is in fact an odd combination of things that really are in the Bible with things that are part of western culture from the last two or three hundred years. Figuring out which is which and how it all works is bound to be puzzling to some people if they’ve been firmly taught something else.

A lifetime of working in some very different churches has taught me that people come with all kinds of odd ideas and that a little clear biblical teaching goes a long way, and also that sometimes people resist it nervously because “it’s not what they said in Sunday School.” I’m all for Sunday schools, but there is a time for people to grow up and see things differently.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Today in History: June 4th

You can check here and there. This is what stood out to me:

1789 Jun 4, The US constitution, enacted as sovereign law, went into effect.

1794 Jun 4, Robespierre was unanimously elected president of the Convention in the French Revolution.

1919 Jun 4, The U.S. Senate passed the Women’s Suffrage bill.

1989 Jun 4, In China hundreds of people died as Chinese army troops stormed Beijing to crush the pro-democracy movement. Hundreds of thousands of discontented Chinese took to the streets of Beijing, demanding more reform, but the military crushed the protests in the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

What stood out to you–KSH?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History

(Reuters) Church of England to bar clergy from joining parties seen as racist

The Church of England may dismiss clergy if they back political parties promoting the “sin of racism”, its bishops agreed on Tuesday in an unprecedented move by the mother church of the world’s 80 million Anglicans.

William Fittall, secretary general of the Church’s General Synod, said they would be disciplined if they joined or sought support for the British National Party or National Front, whose views the Church considers incompatible with its teachings.

It was the first time Church of England clergy have been banned from joining a political party.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

TEC Diocese of Central Pennsylvania announces Bishop Search process

You can find the webpage there, and the diocesan profile (15 page pdf) here. Of special interest is the Diocesan fast facts page:

Diocesan Baptized membership: 12,645; in 1998, this number was 16,852
Average Sunday attendance: 4,328
Parishes: 66
With clergy full time: 26
With clergy part-time: 30
With supply clergy: 10
Clergy:
Priests: 83 (including parochial, non-parochial, retired, and licensed but not canonically resident)
Deacons: 28 canonically resident, with 17 active
Parish staffing statistics
Fifteen of our parishes share clergy. In 2014, six of our parishes will move from full time clergy to
part-time. About half of our parishes have half-time or quarter-time clergy.
Christian Formation in our parishes
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye upon you.”
Psalm 32:8
Thirty-seven of our parishes offer church school.Twenty-three of our parishes have a mid-week
Eucharist.
Twelve of our parishes reported persons under the age of 16 being confirmed.
In 1998, 52 of our parishes reported having some form of Adult Education; in 2013, 34 did.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Data, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

St. James Episcopal Church in Delaware celebrates 300 years

A landmark church near Stanton is celebrating its 300th anniversary, a rarity in the First State and its faith community.

Predating the state itself, the church of St. James’ Mill Creek was established by missionaries of the Church of England and became one of the founding parishes of the Episcopal Church after the War of Independence, the Rev. James M. Bimbi tells Delaware Backstory.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John XXIII

Lord of all truth and peace, who didst raise up thy bishop John to be servant of the servants of God and bestowed on him wisdom to call for the work of renewing your Church: Grant that, following his example, we may reach out to other Christians to clasp them with the love of your Son, and labor throughout the nations of the world to kindle a desire for justice and peace; through Jesus Christ, who is alive and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Christ, the King of Glory, who through the everlasting gates didst ascend to thy Father’s throne, and open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers: Grant that, whilst thou dost reign in heaven, we may not be bowed down to the things of earth, but that our hearts may be lifted up whither thou, our redemption, art gone before; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ascension, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.

–Ephesians 4:1-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

From the Do not Take Yourself too Seriously Department–How to Write…

My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:

Avoid alliteration. Always.
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
Employ the vernacular.
Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Poetry & Literature

(FT) Internet access costs set to sap digital content spending

Consumers’ willingness to pay for digital content is in danger of being held back by their rising spending on internet access, according to a new forecast that raises questions about the media industry’s hopes for streaming music and video subscriptions.

The report from consultancy PwC, to be released on Wednesday, estimates the total size of the industry will grow to $2.15tn by 2018. But the fortunes of the market’s three segments will vary, with internet access revenues growing faster than both consumer spending and advertising.

That suggests internet providers such as Time Warner Cable and AT&T will be poised to capture a growing share of industry revenue. Streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify , the latter of which had Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as its most popular music artists last year, will also be well-positioned to lead growth in consumer spending, as they capture subscribers willing to pay for round-the-clock access to movies, television shows and music.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Movies & Television, Music, Sacramental Theology, Science & Technology, Theology