Daily Archives: July 17, 2014

(CT) Want to Love Your Job? Church Can Help, Study Says if it emphasizes Faith/Work Integration

If they can be tempted away from their workplaces to worship, churches can make parishioners happier with their jobs, new research shows.

Regular attenders who frequent a church that teaches God is present at your workplace, work is a mission from God, or that faith can guide work decisions and practices is a good sign for your career, according to a recent study from Baylor University.

Those who often attend churches with that philosophy are more likely to be committed to their work, be satisfied with their work and look for ways to expand or grow the business.

The effect isn’t huge, but it is statistically significant, said Baylor researcher Jerry Park. Park and his fellow researchers point out in the study that the small effect size might be meaningful in another way: As an indication that current survey questions and methods do a poor job of measuring the importance and influence of religion in respondents’ lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Julian Mann: Anglo-Catholics in danger of doing a Brazil

Sometimes it can be right to alienate one’s own supporters if an important issue of Christ’s truth is at stake, but Forward in Faith [UK] appears to be increasingly alienating its supporters for the wrong reason.

Cranmer’s Curate had noticed some rather disturbing equivocations on the received biblical teaching of the Church on human sexuality in the FiF magazine New Directions in recent months, but a very incisive piece by a blogger with the priceless name of Balaam’s Ass, posted by Anglican Mainstream – Gay Pride, Sex Discrimination and Anglo-Catholic Incoherence – has crystallised the issue.

Since losing some of its best and brightest leaders to the Ordinariate, the FiF high command has started openly flirting with the LGBT agenda, and this is causing consternation among Anglo-Catholic Christians in local churches.

The implications of this spiritual and moral drift in the FiF leadership are serious for conservative evangelical co-belligerency with Anglo-Catholics against the revisionist agenda in the Church of England. There has certainly been evidence of late that the Anglo-Catholics are proving unreliable allies.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Transcript of Q&A with Archbishop Foley Beach

Question from Mr David Virtue, Virtue Online: Archbishop Foley, the Archbishop of Canterbury steadfastly refuses to recognise the ACNA, however you are recognised by the GAFCON Primates, especially the Primate of Nigeria the largest province of the Anglican Communion. What do you see or how do you think that log-jam is going to break or will it break in the coming months or years? Clearly you are growing, TEC is dying, so what do you see as the way forward with the Archbishop of Canterbury in the light of the recognition by the GAFCON Primates?

Archbishop Foley Beach: I think first of all we should respect the See of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Canterbury. I would say though, history in a few weeks, months, maybe the next year or so ”“ what’s happening in the Church of England I’m not sure we want to be in communion with just to be honest with you, and so.. [large and long applause]. As I have expressed it to folks in our diocese, we are in communion with 50 million of the 70 million Anglicans around the world, and if Canterbury chooses to recognise us – I mean I hope that will happen one day – I am not going to do anything to stop that from happening – but that’s not the goal ”“ our mission is to reach people for Jesus Christ, and we’ve got to stay focused on that
from here 4 minutes in

AB Beach: Let us pray together please:

Father, we ask in Jesus’ name that you would use this time for your glory; that you would give us better insight and understanding on your church and what you are doing in our lives together. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Before I say a few words I wanted to introduce my wife, Allison. Many of you have seen her around. Allison and I have been married 31 years and we have 2 children. James is 25 years old and is a senior at an American university getting his masters in International Relations and Arabic; and our daughter is getting ready to be 23 and she is entering the University of Georgia to get her masters in Children’s Literacy. And so we are very blessed to have a wonderful family. Allison, do you want to say anything?

Allison Beach: I just thank God for you all and I thank you for the prayers that we already feel. You know there is so much power in prayer and this is a high calling and a high privilege and you all are right there with us and we thank you for what you are going to do for this whole movement to grow closer to the Lord and to bring others to Him. And I just thank you and we both thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what you are doing.

AB Beach: Thanks [Applause]

I thought I would begin by just telling you just a little bit about myself, so that you kind of know some of my history. People keep saying, ”˜we don’t know anything about you.’

I was born in Atlanta, Georgia and was living what I thought was a normal childhood until about age 8 when…

my dad happened to be home one day, when I got home. I rode my bike home back from school. Yes back in those days we could ride our bikes as an 8 year old to school. And he was in the little garage area where we would park our bicycles, and he said, “I need to talk to you.” And he began to share that he and my mother were going to have a divorce and that he would be leaving. And of course, I was devastated, didn’t quite understand what was going on. Later I did some study and discovered that my mother had been running around sleeping with all kinds of men ”“ she had issues with alcohol ”“ and he just couldn’t take it any more.

Well back then the courts always gave custody to the mother and so my five brothers and sisters went to live with her, and she immediately got involved, at that time in the culture, the drug movement and the hippy movement [you all remember the wildness of the late 60’s] swept through our town, and my mother became what you would call a hippy. Some of you all may remember that, some of you may not remember that, but you should remember that.

And for the next five years, four and a half years or so, we moved all over the place. I went to five different elementary schools, and it wasn’t uncommon to have people doing drugs in our house or I would go to bed at night and some stranger would be in my bed – I had no idea who they were. I remember one time in the fifth grade, we lived in an apartment and it had a screen porch, and so I went to the hardware store and bought some plastic and a staple gun and stapled up the screen so it wouldn’t go to the outside, put a little heater in there and I made that my bedroom because things were so wild in the house.

I was pretty much a street kid on the streets of Atlanta, rode the bus everywhere, had no supervision. But somehow in the midst of that God protected me. On my 12th birthday [and I now view that as a birthday present from God], my mother was arrested for selling drugs: narcotics and for harbouring runaways was the charge, and my younger sisters and I went to live with DFACS [Division of Family and Children Services] for a while until my dad was given custody. As part of the custody deal we were not allowed to see our mother for the next five years, it was in the court order.

So I went to live with my father and all of a sudden I had somebody buying me clothes. I didn’t have to baby-sit to earn money to have things I wanted. The food was good and I got haircuts. I mean it was just a whole different world.

And he was involved in the Baptist Church, and so we started going to church on Sundays. And I remember going to youth camp, and sitting around the camp fire and the associate pastor was preaching, and he was talking about Hell and what Jesus did for us on the cross. And of course, I didn’t want to go to Hell, so I asked Jesus into my life, and it was a real meaningful experience.

Then High School hit ”“ and nobody ever explained to me that my relationship with the Lord is supposed to grow ”“ and I was not discipled – and so on Sunday morning I would be in church; during the week I would be just like everybody else ”“ the perfect chameleon.

Then I got involved, someone invited me to the Ministry of Young Life and I began to go to Young Life meetings. And I remember during my senior year, a Young Life leader getting up [we had become very good friends] and he gave a talk which basically said something like this: he said our life is like a chest of drawers, and in your chest you have your school drawer, your religious drawer, your family drawer, your party drawer, your dating drawer, your working drawer, your athletic drawer, all these. And I remember thinking, yeah, that’s me ”“ I’m well balanced, I’ve got all these different drawers. [laughter]. And he goes on to say: what most people do is they put God in a drawer marked ”˜religious’ ”“ and when they want him around they open the drawer, and when they don’t they close the drawer. He said, ”˜God doesn’t want to be put in a drawer, he wants the whole chest’. And that got me ”“ and he began to talk about Jesus being Lord and what that meant ”“ and that got my head spinning because he was describing me perfectly.

A few weeks later a friend of mine invited me to spend the night at his house, and that Sunday we went to his church. And the Pastor preached a sermon and I still remember the title and the details. It was called Jesus Christ: the Lord or my Lord. And the first part of the sermon was all about the lordship of Jesus being lord of creation and lord of the earth and lord of the heavens and all these aspects of the lordship of Jesus. And then last part was what it meant to have him as my lord, my boss, the one driving the car of my life.

And I realised at that point that yes, I had asked Jesus into my life, but He was not my lord – I was. I was in charge of my life.

So that night I went home and I got down by my bed and knelt, and I said: ”˜Lord, I just surrender it to you. I want you to truly be my Lord’. Now I didn’t have a lightening bold experience, but all of a sudden when I would read the Bible, it would speak to me. When I would pray, I didn’t feel like my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling. And then I had this incredible peace, which I now know is that ”˜Peace of God which passes all understanding’. That Peace just was always with me. That began a journey that has just been an incredible, incredible journey.

So before I go any further, we have been talking a lot about conversion and compassion and courage this week, and if you are here this week and you have never experienced conversion, please don’t leave here without bending the knee of your heart and allowing Jesus to come into your life and to forgive you of your sins, please don’t do that.

Well during College, I got involved in the ministry of Young Life. And Young Life began to form me, shape me, disciple me, teach me how to live the life of a Christian, but also how to do ministry. And after four years of, really five years of doing that, a search committee approached me from the Cathedral of St Philip in Atlanta, Georgia, that is a very large Episcopal Church there, asking me to be their youth pastor. Well, I am still a Baptist at this point [laughter], but I went through the interviewing process and they wanted to hire me. And so in my final interview with the Dean of the Cathedral, David Collins, he was all excited about me being willing to come and he finally said: ”˜well do you have any questions for me?’ And I said: “well does it bother you that you have a Baptist working as your youth pastor?” He said: “No, we are looking for God’s person, and God’s person may not be an Episcopalian.” Well I was just stunned at that kind of freedom in the Spirit to be open to what God was going to do.

Well, I served there for seven years. After three years I was confirmed, with the confirmation class that I taught. [laughter] But in that process I really felt God calling me into the Anglican world, it was just so many things worked together to do that.

But I remember when we had confirmation classes with the kids, we would ask them who their godparents were because we would want to get them involved in the process of their confirmation. And so it comes time for my confirmation and I’ve got godparents, but because of my childhood, I didn’t know them. And so after a few calls I discovered that as a child, as a baby, I had been baptised in the Episcopal Church, in a church in Atlanta, and so it is like God did this circle, and brought me home.

I can now look back at my childhood and see how wherever we were living, something drew me to a church. I can’t explain why, it is varieties of types of churches, but wherever we were moving, I would take my younger sisters and we would go to church.

How are we doing on time? I’ve got to leave some time for questions. OK a few more things:

I went to the University of the South for cemetery [laughter]. It took about three years to recover, but praise the Lord he taught me a lot while I was there. When I graduated seminary, the bishop said: “Foley, if you are willing, I am willing to send you as a deacon in charge, until you are ordained a priest to this little church out in Monroe, Georgia.’ I think he was thinking: ”˜you know, he will be out of my hair out there and won’t bother me.’ And so I agreed to do that and we were there about eleven years. And we had a fun time taking a small little parish in a rural area that was quickly becoming suburban and watching the Lord transform lives and change things.

Then 2003 hit, and the events of the Episcopal Church General Convention that year and our church was really devastated. And I remember running one night after that decision and I know you are going to think this is crazy but I was wrestling with: Lord, what do we do Sunday? What’ll I tell the people? Because they felt like their church had been taken from them; that the church that they grew up in no longer existed. And so what came to me was, do the burial office for The Episcopal Church ”“ and so I did [laughter and clapping] and the press here, you all don’t have to advertise that please. But we did the liturgy with the Pascal candle and all and it was so cathartic that the Holy Spirit was so powerful it ministered ”“ because of the grieving people felt. And by the way they did change their name after that – I don’t know those who know that, they actually did.

For the next four months I was so booked with weddings and speaking events that I really couldn’t decide what to do, so we put our church in a prayer-mode. We asked folks to just seek the Lord, we did some teaching, but after Christmas that year was the first time I was really able to put some serious thought and prayer as to what Foley Beach is supposed to do. And so I had a prayer retreat scheduled, and I hadn’t been with the Lord 15 minutes and it was just clear ”“ I knew I could not stay, I would lose my soul if I continued to do ministry under that authority.

And so I knew I had to go, but I did not know where – and a few days later I was invited to a dinner at a friend’s house and two folks were there, Bill Atwood who many of you know, and David Anderson. And I was sharing with them my dilemma and they said something like this:
”˜Let us suggest something to you new. The Primates had met in emergency session and offered overseas Primates to do emergency pastoral temporal care, something to that effect, for folks in the States. What about going under Bolivia?’

And so in a few minutes we had the Bishop of Bolivia on the phone. He interviewed me, I interviewed him, and in a few days I was canonically resident in the Diocese of Bolivia under the Southern Cone. [Applause]

I stood up at our church a few weeks later and resigned. I didn’t ask anybody to come with me. I basically told folks it was their decision before the Lord what they should do: some would be called to be a part of this; some would not. And then when we has our organisational meeting when 154 folks showed up, I knew at that point we were going to have a church, I’d have a job, the Lord was going to do wonderful things and the rest is history.

I’ve only got 10 minutes left, so that is enough of my story. I am just so grateful for the Lord – what he has done in my life, and how he has used us all together to begin to transform North America.

Let’s just open this up for questions, we have a couple of mics here and I will see if anyone would like to ask me anything before I run out of time. Anybody?

Question: Where did you meet your wife?

AB Beach: Where did I meet my wife ”“ very good. Well one of my best friends from high school I prayed with him to receive Christ, in a bar just before he went off to college at the University of Georgia. And he became involved in ministry leadership there. Well Allison came to know the Lord at the University of Georgia and got involved in his ministry. So she graduates and is looking for something to do and she wanted to do youth ministry.

So he sent her my way, and so we actually met when she showed up to do a training thing I was doing for leaders, for high school kids. The next part of that story is the kids ended up setting us up on our first date [laughter] ”“ and we actually doubled on our first date with a couple in the youth group which is kind of bizarre, but its ”“ yes.

Question from Debbie Colgard from the Diocese of Western Anglicans: Looking forward in the next five years, how would you, what’s your vision for the role of the laity in our churches?

AB Beach: Laity is the key. If you guys aren’t doing the ministry we are in trouble and so it’s a great question. I could give a 30 minute talk on the importance of lay ministry. I’m going to do my best to build on what we have, but to see how dioceses can equip congregations to empower the laity to do the ministry. That’s the key ”“ I mean you guys are out in the market place ”“ you guys are out in the schools and the communities to be able to reach people. What happens to too many of us clergy is we get insulated by Christian people all the time, our members ”“ you guys are the key to winning North America for Jesus Christ, so laity are important.

Yes sir-

Question from Mr David Virtue, Virtue Online: Archbishop Foley, the Archbishop of Canterbury steadfastly refuses to recognise the ACNA, however you are recognised by the GAFCON Primates, especially the Primate of Nigeria the largest province of the Anglican Communion. What do you see or how do you think that log-jam is going to break or will it break in the coming months or years? Clearly you are growing, TEC is dying, so what do you see as the way forward with the Archbishop of Canterbury in the light of the recognition by the GAFCON Primates?

Archbishop Foley Beach: I think first of all we should respect the See of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Canterbury. I would say though, history in a few weeks, months, maybe the next year or so ”“ what’s happening in the Church of England I’m not sure we want to be in communion with just to be honest with you, and so.. [large and long applause]. As I have expressed it to folks in our diocese, we are in communion with 50 million of the 70 million Anglicans around the world, and if Canterbury chooses to recognise us – I mean I hope that will happen one day – I am not going to do anything to stop that from happening – but that’s not the goal ”“ our mission is to reach people for Jesus Christ, and we’ve got to stay focused on that. [Applause] Thank you:

Question: My name is Mimi, I’m here with Greenhouse movement with Father William Beazley. It’s my first time here actually and it is a privilege to be here. Just looking around this room and this week I’ve noticed that there is a lack of more diversity in terms of demographics, in terms of the ethnicity and race which I understand is part of the ACNA just in America. My question is: what are we doing as the Anglican Church in North America to bring more diversity in terms of age group, demographics, social economic class, ethnicity, race and things like that?

AB Beach: In order to be more diverse, really to me the key is ”“ I mean let me back up: This church has been awesome with missions, and we are going to continue to emphasise missions, but God has brought the mission field to our countries ”“ and in every urban area, now even many rural areas, people from all over the world have come here, so we have got to send folks into those groups to love them, to care for them, to serve them, to lead them to the Lord, and start churches in those areas. So to me that is going to be the key, is to go where people are, build relationships with them and serve them and lead them to Jesus. So that is what I am going to be about or at least trying to do. Thank you.

Question from Canon Norman Beale, Jurisdiction of Armed Forces and Chaplaincy: You have given us the perfect segue to my question which is: Tell us about your vision for the work of missions beyond the borders of Canada and the United States?

AB Beach: Well first of all I want to stay out of the way. I mean there are such good things happening right now I don’t want to mess it up. But I would like to be a catalyst and a spark to help things even get better. I think that working with our global Anglican partners, especially the GAFCON Primates, what they need there in their countries, we can be doing wonderful things to assist them.

But then there’s all these people groups that haven’t been met, and there are some tremendous ministries that are doing that and I think we ought to have our people involved. There’s even now an incredible mission ministry online called Global Media Outreach, I believe it is, and literally millions of people are being exposed to the Gospel through internet technology. And we ought to have online missionaries, these folks who can’t get out of their house, they can sit in front of their computer screen for a couple of hours and disciple new believers in other parts of the world. There’s just incredible things happening that I think we ought to be supportive of ”“ the potential is wonderful so I don’t know if that helps with your answer

Canon Beale: Thank you

Question from a member of the Diocese of the Mid Atlantic: As you look at the next five years what are you most excited about ”¦ and what do you see as the biggest challenge?

AB Beach: Well, I need to say this too, I have been the Archbishop-elect, five days ”“ four days ”“ so much is coming at me. First of all, I think it is exciting for me personally to be a part of such a wonderful movement. I think this Anglican movement is going to reach a lot further and a lot deeper than most of us realise, so I am very excited about that. I’m excited about the young people. There’s some tremendous things happening with young people but the challenge, and this is a real challenge, as I go around the churches and visit, I don’t see too many children in a lot of places, or teenagers.

So how are we going to reach children and teenagers? Some places are doing it well, but a lot of places there are none. So that is going to be a tremendous challenge.

I’m not so much worried about the unity thing that gets worked up in the press all the time because I have been walking with these bishops, and I see their heart, and I see their love for the Lord, and I see a commitment to keep this thing going and to work. So I am not worried about that ”“ it’s going to be a challenge because we do have differences on a lot of things but we are in the same stream and we are all going in the same direction. We may not be in the same part of the stream but we are in the stream.

Question from Matt Webb, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic: Who are your Christian heroes, particularly from the past?

AB Beach: Wow. Obviously Wilberforce, Nicholas Ridley, Latimer, [John] Chrysostom, one who doesn’t get a lot of credit is E.M. Bounds ”“ he wrote a lot of books on prayer, and that’s really affected me ”“ that’s just scratching the surface.

Question from Thomas Mackenzie, Nashville, Tennessee: I want to first of all just testify that you are looking at a wonderful pastor in Foley Beach [AB Beach: thank you]. My question is, there is some anxiety about women’s ordination and I just wondered if you would like to make a comment about what would you say to that anxiety?

AB Beach: ”˜Be anxious for nothing for .. with everything’ ”“ Philippians 4. I don’t want to be flippant but as I shared with David Virtue, I approach this from really three different perspectives. One is from the College of Bishops, we have put a process in place and I don’t feel called to usurp that process and force things. We are going to let that unfold, and part of that process is it goes to the GAFCON Primates who, their theological committee on all of this, and they are divided on it too. And so it is an issue that is not going to go away real quickly. The whole Anglican Communion is divided on it.

From a personal perspective what I have tried to say to folks is we need to.. Well first of all, where I’m at, I do not ordain women to the presbyterate, I just make that clear so everybody who doesn’t know that knows now. But for the people on the other side of that issue, for me I feel we need to honor them and respect them and treat them royally. We do not need to be doing this to each others [hits his fists against each other]. I’ve often when asked about this, and I am not going to embarrass folks in front of you all, but when I am asked about this I will quote other bishops in the college, their name, and how I respect them and honor them and some of them are my heroes literally but we are on different places on this – and I am not going to let it divide fellowship, or break fellowship with them because we disagree on that issue. We have agreed to disagree.

And then there is just one last thing. When I signed up to be part of the ACNA I knew that in the Constitution it said each diocese would have its own policy on this and so I knew that there would be people that would disagree. Where we end up down the road I don’t know but that is the framework I am coming into this with ”“ that there are Godly people on the other side of the issue from me.

I am out of time and so I hate to stop us here, we are just getting interesting but let me close us with a prayer and then I would like us to go quickly because we only have a few minutes before the service starts.

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Featured (Sticky)

Bishop of Sheffield orders Welby Facilitated Conversations on Sexual Immorality in Communion/CofE

The Pilling Report, published in November 2013, recommended that the church’s internal dialogue on the subject of human sexuality might best be addressed through a process of conversations across the church and involving others in the Anglican Communion. This recommendation was endorsed by the College of Bishops in January. The outlines of the process were agreed by the House of Bishops in May.
…..
Under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, Canon David Porter, a team of around 20 trained facilitators will support a process of conversations across the Church of England. They will bring the skills necessary to ensure that the process provides a safe place for all viewpoints to be expressed and to keep the conversations to the objective of seeking understanding rather than having any predetermined trajectory.
…..
Following the meeting of the College of Bishops, the process will then extend across the dioceses, with dioceses working in “clusters” to enable 12 regional conversations, each involving around 60 participants, to experience the process….
….
Dioceses will look at ways to use their relationships with their companion links to involve participants from elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.
+Steven Sheffield
26 June 2014

Read it all [pdf]
________________________
The previous appeals and warnings given to the Church of England Bishops not to compromise their position in the Anglican Communion include:

Statement of the Global South Primates

The Global South considers forward movement on the Pilling Report’s recommendations as equal to what the North American churches did ten years ago which caused much confusion in the Communion.
….
After more than 10 years of listening and conversation, we do not see a value of endless conversations and indabas.

We are clear on what the Bible teaches about sexual relationships outside of the marriage of one man and one woman, and the need for pastoral care for those who find themselves in relationships outside of this. The dissenting view written by the Bishop of Birkenhead captures well our position. For us in the Global South, his view is the majority view, and we hope the Church of England Bishops will recognize this. The Church of England needs to be cautious in taking decisions that will compromise faith and the position of the Church of England within the Anglican Communion as well as the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury more

and from the GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala

If this report is accepted I have no doubt that the Church of England, the Mother Church of the Communion, will have made a fateful decision. It will have chosen the same path as The Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada with all the heartbreak and division that will bring.

The problem is not simply that the Report proposes that parish churches should be free to hold public services for the blessing of homosexual relationships, but the way it justifies this proposal. Against the principle of Anglican teaching, right up to and beyond the Lambeth Conference of 1998, it questions the possibility that the Church can speak confidently on the basis of biblical authority and sees its teaching as essentially provisional. So Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth conference, which affirmed that homosexual practice was ”˜incompatible with Scripture’ and said it could ”˜not advise the legitimisation or blessing of same sex relationships’, is undermined both in practice and in principle.

The proposal to allow public services for the blessing of same sex relationships is seen as a provisional measure and the Report recommends a two-year process of ”˜facilitated conversation’ throughout the Church of England which is likened to the ”˜Continuing Indaba’ project. This should be a warning to us because it highlights that the unspoken assumption of Anglican Indaba is that the voice of Scripture is not clear. This amounts to a rejection of the conviction expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles that the Bible as ”˜God’s Word written’ is a clear and effective standard for faith and conduct.

We should pray earnestly that the English House of Bishops steps back from endorsing this Report, but the developing situation in the Church of England, the historic Mother Church of the Communion, underlines the need for our Global Fellowship to build on the success of GAFCON 2013 and implement our commitments. As we noted in the Nairobi Communiqué, the GFCA is becoming an ”˜ important and effective instrument of Communion during a period in which other instruments of Communion have failed both to uphold gospel priorities in the Church, and to heal the divisions among us

other appeals and warnings here

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Featured (Sticky)

(NY Magazine) Sex Without Fear?–How a new Pill is Causing Consternation for many gay men

For the past several years, the conversation about gay life has been, to a large degree, a conversation about gay marriage. This summer””on social media, on Fire Island, at the Christopher Street pier, and in certain cohorts around the ­country””what many gay men are talking about among themselves is Truvada. And what’s surprising them is how fraught the conversation can be. For some, like [Damon] Jacobs, the advent of this drug is nothing short of miraculous, freeing bodies and minds. For doctors, public-health officials, and politicians, it is a highly promising tool for stopping the spread of HIV.

But for others, a drug that can alleviate so much anxiety around sex is itself a source of concern. They worry that Truvada will invite men to have as much condom­less sex as they want, which could lead to a rise in diseases like syphilis. Or they fret that not everyone will take it as religiously as they ought to, reducing its effectiveness and maybe even creating resistance to the drug if those users later become HIV-positive and need it for treatment.

Read it all.

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Men, Sexuality, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

(Christian Today) C of E Traditionalists ready to let women bishops legislation pass

The mood of the Church of England’s General Synod in York was set by a key intervention by a leading conservative evangelical early on in the debate.

Dr Philip Giddings, chairman of the House of Laity, said a better way had been found than November 2012, when the last package failed by six votes, but the package still did not meet the needs of everyone in the Church. He said: “The key for me is that this package is adequate.”

This was because of the new House of Bishops’ guidelines, which bishops and clergy will be disciplined if they fail to adhere to and which pledge proper oversight for those opposed to women bishops.

Read it all.

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

Lee Gatiss: What does 'flourishing' actually mean?

In this article from the latest edition of Crossway, Lee Gatiss has a question for the General Synod as it considers the provision to be made for complementarians, those who do not believe we should have women bishops.
In the last edition of Crossway and a recent edition of The Church of England Newspaper, I suggested that there is something of a credibility crisis in the Church of England. We are officially told by the House of Bishops that they want us ”˜to flourish’. Some, no doubt, voted in the dioceses to progress the women bishops legislation because they believed such fine sounding words.

But it does not feel very much like flourishing when a constituency of our size and significance is never represented at the episcopal level. Despite over half a dozen appointments being made since my articles, nothing has changed.

We are compelled therefore to ask what exactly ”˜flourishing in the life and structures of the Church’ means, if we will never again see a single complementarian evangelical serving as a diocesan bishop, as some have suggested.

As General Synod approached, the Archbishops confessed (in GS Misc 1079), that the current process of appointments has in a sense failed and cannot deliver on the aspiration to have ”˜at least one’ complementarian evangelical bishop.

They respond directly to my consistent campaigning on this and make it clear that even though Synod in 2007 approved by 297 to 1 a report calling explicitly for conservative evangelicals to be included on the Preferment List, this has been conveniently forgotten for seven years…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(LA Times) Megan Daum–When cellphones and social media become the enemy

As long as that phone is acting as a kind of electronic umbilical cord, parents can tell themselves their children are safe.

But increasingly the smartphone itself is an instrument of harm. Such is the case with a 16-year-old Houston girl named Jada, who entered the spotlight as she publicly confronted the evidence that she had been raped at a party by at least one other teenager. She says she passed out after drinking a beverage that was spiked and only learned of the crime after her classmates began tweeting photos and videos taken of her unconscious, partly nude body. (Houston police are investigating; no one has been charged.)

What happened next is remarkable in ways that instill faith in the human spirit and at the same time provoke disgust at the depravity and lemming-like behavior that teenagers with smartphones are capable of.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(RNS) Church of England kicks the devil out of baptism rite

In the traditional service, godparents are asked whether they are ready to renounce the devil and all his works for the sake of the child being baptized.

The new wording, approved Sunday (July 13), only asks whether parents and godparents will “turn away from sin” and “reject evil.”

Speaking after the new wording was overwhelmingly approved, Bishop Robert Paterson denied that the baptism service had been watered down.

“We all know that for many people, the devil has been turned into a cartoonlike character of no particular malevolence,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Phil Ashey: Why Good Disagreement and Conversational Ecclesiology are neither good nor missional

Today I write to commend three resources to you in support of the proposition that we will do well as followers of Jesus Christ not to fall into the trap of endless conversations about human sexuality and the Bible which end in accommodating culture over Biblical content.

At the very best, such processes divert the Church from proclaiming with clarity and certainty the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his saving, transforming love for all people, everywhere and at all times. At worst, such processes give access to false teachers to lead God’s people astray. False teachers also lead those who do not yet know Christ to eternal separation from God. Finally, such processes divert the time, talent and treasure of God’s people from the fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission. Remember the famous “Decade of Evangelism” of The Episcopal Church USA? Remember how it was utterly eclipsed by “conversational ecclesiology” and “good disagreement” over gay rights, same sex blessings and ordinations/consecrations of leaders (clergy and bishops) in same sex relationships? There is a lesson and a warning here for The Church of England (CofE) and the rest of the Churches in the Anglican Communion.

The first resource which I commend for you to read in its entirety is an essay by Dr. Martin Davie, “Why Disagreement is not good.”…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Dr Martin Davie: Why Disagreement is not good

“.. in so far as we able to do so we have an obligation to protect people from error. That is to say, when there are people who know the truth, but may potentially be tempted to depart from it we must do our best to prevent this happening. This is a particularly important part of the vocation of church leaders. That is what St Paul was getting at when he told the Ephesian elders at Miletus

”˜Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.’ (Acts 20:28)

Caring for the flock means seeking to prevent the sheep being led astray.

In the light of all this I suggest that Archbishop Welby and the House of Bishops should expunge the term ”˜good disagreement’ from their vocabulary. They should talk instead about the importance of the Church of England being a truthful community, a community which aims at agreement in the truth and in which those with leadership roles take seriously their responsibility to encourage this search for truth and, as far as possible, to protect the faithful from error.”

[Dr Martin Davie has lectured at Oakhill Theological College and been Theological Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity of the Church of England and Theological Consultant to the House of Bishops and authored or contributed to a number of books and was the chief drafter for the two Church of England reports ‘Some Issues in Human Sexuality’ and ‘Women bishops in the Church of England’]
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In the new edition of his biography of Archbishop Justin Welby, Andrew Atherstone draws the following contrast between the approaches of Archbishop Welby and his predecessor:

Rowan Williams spent most of his archepiscopate seeking areas of core theological agreement around which Anglicans could coalesce, most notably in the failed Anglican Covenant. Welby’s project is different: not the pursuit of theological agreement but learning to live with theological disagreement.

In this quotation Atherstone has put his finger on the heart of Archbishop Welby’s approach to the challenges facing the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion. Rather than trying to get everyone to agree on issues such as women bishops or same-sex relationships the Archbishop is concerned instead with getting people to disagree well with each other, what he has called ”˜good disagreement.’

The phrase ”˜good disagreement’ is one that the Archbishop has used on several occasions and it has also been used by the Church of England’s House of Bishops, most recently in a statement about the facilitated conversations on issues of human sexuality that are due to take place across the Church of England in the next couple of years. This statement said that one of the objectives of these conversations is ”˜to clarify the implications of what it means for the Church of England to live with what the Archbishop of Canterbury has called ”˜good disagreement’ on these issues.’

Unfortunately, neither the Archbishop of Canterbury, nor the House of Bishops, nor anyone else, has produced a clear definition of what is meant by ”˜good disagreement’ and no understanding of the term has ever been agreed by the Church of England. This is a problem because you cannot begin to think about whether good disagreement is a sensible idea unless and until you know what this term means. In this blog post I want to suggest that whole idea of ”˜good disagreement’ is radically misconceived and that what we should be talking about instead is how to handle disagreement, which is in itself necessarily a bad thing, in the best way possible as part of our calling as Christians to be a community of truth….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

([London] Times) Challenge Launched on the legality of government intelligence-gathering in the UK

Mass surveillance of UK citizens is taking place without proper safeguards and in breach of people’s rights to privacy, it was claimed this week.

The British intelligence services share personal communications data collected by the US authorities on a “vast scale” ”” including on “a very substantial number of people located in the UK,” lawyers claimed at a hearing in London.

The claims came at the start of a landmark challenge to the legality of government intelligence-gathering before the normally secret Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which investigates complaints about the conduct of the security and intelligence services, often behind closed doors.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(Bloomberg) China Faces Second Bond Default Amid World’s Biggest Debt

China faces what would be the second default in the nation’s onshore bond market after a builder said it may fail to make a payment next week, the latest sign of stress in the world’s biggest corporate debtload.

Huatong Road & Bridge Group Co., based in the northern province of Shanxi, said it may miss a 400 million yuan ($64.5 million) note payment due July 23, according to a statement to the Shanghai Clearing House yesterday. Chairman Wang Guorui is assisting authorities with an official investigation, it said, without elaborating. Wang was removed from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanxi Committee on July 9 for suspected violations of the law, according to an official statement and media report last week.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy, Globalization

A Pastoral Letter from the Council of Bishops of The Society on the Women Bishops Vote

The approval of the Women Bishops legislation brings to an end a decade of debate about what provision should be made for those who are unable, for theological reasons, to receive the ministry of women as priests and bishops.

In the earlier stages of that debate we offered the Church of England a vision of how provision could be made with full ecclesiological integrity not just for us but also for the Church of England as a whole. It is now clear that the reality will be shaped differently, and will fall short of our ideal.

None the less, we believe that we can have confidence in our future as catholics who are called to live out our Christian vocation in the Church of England, maintaining a distinctive witness to the quest for the unity of the Church. The House of Bishops’ Declaration embodies a commitment to enabling us to flourish within the Church of England’s life and structures. It does so because our theological convictions about ministry and ordination remain within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition. As Resolution III.2 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference stated, ”˜those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Women

(CT) Transgender Students Battle Christian Universities

The U.S. Department of Education rejected a petition a transgender student filed against George Fox University, ending a three-month dispute.

The student, who goes by the name Jayce and identifies as a man, asked to live in male student housing at the university, but the school said he could live only in a single apartment. The case gained attention in April, when the student’s mother started an online petition, which has garnered more than 21,000 signatures, asking George Fox to reverse its decision.

Inside Higher Education reports that the Department of Education in May granted the university a religious exemption to Title IX’s requirements that recipients of federal funding not “offer different services or benefits related to housing” to students based on sex. On those grounds, the federal office denied Jayce’s petition.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Young Adults