Daily Archives: September 25, 2014

A S Haley–The Unraveling of the Anglican Communion

The Archbishop of Canterbury was unable and unwilling to do what was necessary to save either of the two initiatives. Consequently, the bishops of ECUSA (who received their invitations to Lambeth as though nothing had happened) had no motivation to change course. Indeed, the latter were only too willing to see the Primates’ efforts fail, without their having to do anything overt to torpedo them. And Lambeth itself was both a collegial dud (thanks to the imposed but phony indaba gimmick) and a financial disaster.

By 2008 the hostility and disputes inside ECUSA spilled over into the uncanonical depositions of four orthodox bishops — three of them diocesan (+Schofield, +Duncan and +Iker). The lawsuits picked up in earnest, and largely remain unabated to this day. These blatantly illegal actions by the new Presiding Bishop of ECUSA directly brought about the formation of what in time became the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). The division of ECUSA was now formal — even if most of those whose actions had led to it refused to recognize what had happened.

Dr. Williams’ dithering over Lambeth, ECUSA’s thumbing its nose at him over pastoral oversight, and its continued actions against dissident bishops and clergy, greatly widened the fractures in the Anglican Communion. Over three hundred bishops from African denominations refused to attend Lambeth, and a number of the Global South primates announced GAFCON’s first gathering, timed to take place before Lambeth 2008 even convened. The division within the Anglican Communion was now formal, even though again most refused to recognize what was happening.

After the events of 2008 within ECUSA, there was no longer any reason for the revisionists in ECUSA to hold back in the slightest.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Instruments of Unity, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture, Windsor Report / Process

(CEN) Christianity in Britain declining at a faster rate that had previously been thought

Christianity in Britain is declining at a faster rate that had previously been thought, according to an analysis of the 2011 census figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The new analysis shows that Christianity is declining 50 per cent faster than had been estimated. In its initial analysis ONS found a 15 per cent decline, but this figure included 1.2 million Christians born overseas. A more detailed analysis also came up with the finding that the majority of Christians are now aged over 60 (a quarter of them over 65) and that for the first time less than half of young people describe themselves as Christians.
As a result ONS has calculated that in a decade only a minority will describe themselves as Christians. In the 2011 census the figure stood at just under 60 per cent with a total of 33.2 million followers.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Former Charleston, SC, Police Chief Reuben Greenberg remembered as groundbreaking, passionate

Former Charleston Police Chief Reuben M. Greenberg, a charismatic and combative leader who drove down crime and drew national attention to the Holy City during his 23 years as its top cop, died Wednesday after a long period of declining health. He was 71.

Mayor Joe Riley said Greenberg – the city’s first and only black police chief – will long be remembered as a pioneer and innovative pace-setter who led the force at a time when Charleston was growing again in terms of national prominence.

“He is an historic figure in this historic city,” Riley said shortly after news of Greenberg’s passing began to spread. “The quality and the credibility of his police leadership made him a national figure.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Guardian) Paul Merton's autobiography "a story of solitude and class insecurity"

His deliverance, although he did not know it at the time, was the opening of the Comedy Store above a Soho strip club in May 1979. He is amusing on the strange acts who thrived in this hospitable habitat, none weirder than the expressionist clown Andrew Bailey, aka Podomovski, who held a large pane of magnifying glass in front of his head and made guttural noises with the mic fully in his mouth. At a stroke, Merton points out, this venue loosened the hold of Oxbridge and the TV and radio commissioners and introduced something new to the comedy scene: democracy. He does not mention that this new ecological niche was also especially welcoming to his own style of comedy: deadpan, off”‘the”‘cuff, reactive, full of jarring interruptions and synaptic leaps. It is one of the paradoxes of Merton’s career that he is such an earnest scholar of the mechanics of carefully crafted visual and written comedy ”“ as a boy he collected Super 8 silent films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and projected them on to a bedsheet hung on his bedroom wall ”“ yet his own extraordinary talents are best deployed as a virtuoso of winging it.

The book’s central episode feels less fresh because Merton has already mined it for material in his act and in interviews: the breakdown he suffered in 1990, the first symptom of which was his inability to stay in his chair for the opening shot of Whose Line is it Anyway?

Merton is clear that this period, which culminated in a six-week stay at the Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital, was a one-off, caused by a reaction to the anti-malarial tablets he took before a trip to Kenya. There is no reason to doubt this, but the preceding account of his erratic journey through the 1980s does give the impression of someone driven almost mad by not having a vehicle for his peculiar talents ”“ and then made manic by suddenly being on the verge of fulfilling them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, England / UK, Movies & Television, Theology

(Bloomberg) Nigerian Army Says It Killed Man Acting as Boko Haram Leader

The Nigerian military said a man who appeared in recent videos claiming to be the leader of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, was killed in a battle last week.

The man, identified as Mohammed Bashir, died when government troops defending the northeastern town of Konduga killed some top Boko Haram commanders in an attack on a convoy of rebel vehicles on Sept. 17, Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

Bashir “has been acting or posing on videos as the deceased Abubakar Shekau, the eccentric character known as leader of the group,” the army said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

The Gafcon Chairman’s September Pastoral Letter – 'Continuing GAFCON'

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To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

September 23, 2014

Many of us were also present last October for GAFCON 2013 and I have encouraged people to think of the Divine Conference as ”˜Continuing GAFCON’. In the Nairobi Commitment and Communiqué, we stated our intention to become much more than a big conference every five years. As long as the Great Commission is at risk through the promotion and toleration of false teaching and immorality in the Anglican Communion, we must have ”˜Continuing GAFCON.’

and

AMiE is authorised by the GAFCON Primates to work within and, where necessary, outside the structures of the Church of England as a missionary society. In my message of greeting to the conference I said ”˜We understand the challenges that faithful Anglicans face in England. At GAFCON 2013 here in Nairobi we recognised that the focus of the struggle for biblical faithfulness has shifted from North America to England. The temptation to dilute the message of Jesus Christ and compromise with the surrounding culture is strong, so it is vital for the gospel in England, and also for the world, that you continue as a beacon to the revealed truth of the Scriptures. The salvation of people from hell is at stake. So nothing could be more important.

‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit”¦. to revive the heart of the contrite.’ Isaiah 57:15

My dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the precious name of our Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

Here in Nairobi, we have just concluded our Divine Conference. We have enjoyed four wonderful days of fellowship, worship and teaching as hundreds of people have been drawn daily to hear God’s Word at All Saints Cathedral. We have come to the Lord in repentance and we have experienced the truth of the great promise we have in Isaiah 57:15, that the God who dwells in the splendour of holiness also dwells with the contrite and lowly. God has indeed drawn near. He has saved the lost, brought back the wanderers, lifted our burdens and given us a new joy in Jesus the Son of God, in whom all His promises are fulfilled.

Many of us were also present last October for GAFCON 2013 and I have encouraged people to think of the Divine Conference as ”˜Continuing GAFCON’. In the Nairobi Commitment and Communiqué, we stated our intention to become much more than a big conference every five years. As long as the Great Commission is at risk through the promotion and toleration of false teaching and immorality in the Anglican Communion, we must have ”˜Continuing GAFCON.’

Our Divine Conference reflected the partnership we have with other Confessing Anglicans as we welcomed international guests and speakers from other nations, including Uganda, the UK and the Anglican Church of North America. My brother Archbishop Stanley Ntagali reminded us that true unity comes when Christ is at the centre of the Church and urged us to see that ”˜GAFCON is a revival movement to revive the Anglican Communion’.

We were also delighted to receive greetings from Archbishop Foley Beach through his special representative…
…………
..In the twenty first century, it is becoming clear that we must see the once missionary nations of the West as now themselves mission fields. The fact that the United Kingdom came close to breaking up last week is a symptom of the disintegration that follows when a once common Christian faith has been lost and I want to appreciate the work of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) who are sharing with other mission minded Anglicans in England as they meet for the ”˜ReNew’ Conference this week.

AMiE is authorised by the GAFCON Primates to work within and, where necessary, outside the structures of the Church of England as a missionary society. In my message of greeting to the conference I said ”˜We understand the challenges that faithful Anglicans face in England. At GAFCON 2013 here in Nairobi we recognised that the focus of the struggle for biblical faithfulness has shifted from North America to England. The temptation to dilute the message of Jesus Christ and compromise with the surrounding culture is strong, so it is vital for the gospel in England, and also for the world, that you continue as a beacon to the revealed truth of the Scriptures. The salvation of people from hell is at stake. So nothing could be more important.’

As Chairman of GAFCON I give thanks to God as I see brothers an sisters in Christ round the world standing firm and partnering together to make known the good news of our Lord Jesus in season and out of season….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

Archbishop Welby expresses sorrow at death of Stephen Sykes, former bishop of Ely

Archbishop Justin had the privilege of getting to know Bishop Stephen in his retirement in the diocese of Durham.

The Archbishop said: “Bishop Stephen’s whole life was dedicated to serving God and his Church. The Church of England is deeply indebted to his ministry of thoughtful scholarship and servant leadership. I am deeply saddened to hear of his death ”“ not least because it is so sudden for his dear wife Joy, his children and grandchildren ”“ yet I rejoice at a life lived so well and so wholly in the service of Christ, through many trials and difficulties.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

(Internet Monk) N.T. Wright: Authority and the Public Reading of Scripture

As part of my study during these weeks when we are discussing the nature and purpose of the Bible, I have been reading N.T. Wright’s illuminating book, Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today.

I particularly like his point that there is need to clarify what we mean when we speak about the Bible’s “authority.” Affirming that authority rightly belongs to God in the context of his Kingdom rule, Wright says we must have a more dynamic understanding of the term: the Bible only has authority in the sense that God exercises his sovereign rule through it.

Thus, Wright says, Scripture’s authority does not lie in its status as a “court of final appeal” or as a compendium of doctrine, as rules for living or a devotional manual. Rather, the “authority of Scripture” must be understood within the context of God’s Kingdom and God’s mission to the world. Scripture is a primary means by which God acts in and through his people to bring healing and redemption to all creation.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Andrew Sullivan on the story of a Montana R. C. Parish and a Same-Sex Couple Therein

If the church upholds this kind of decision, it is endorsing cruelty, discrimination and exclusion. Pope Francis’ view is that this is exactly the kind of thing that requires the church to exercise mercy not rigidity. But allowing a married gay couple to sing in the choir as an act of “mercy” would merely further expose the fragility of the church’s thirteenth century views of human sexuality. It would put the lie to the otherness of gay people; to the notion that it is essential or even possible for a tiny minority to live entirely without intimacy or love or commitment. It also reveals that gay men have long been a part of the church ”“ and tolerated, as long as they lied about their lives and gave others plausible deniability with respect to their sexual orientation. It is an endorsement of dishonesty.

None of this is compatible with the core moral teachings of the church ”“ about fairness, truth, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and inclusion. And this is clear to large numbers of Catholics ”“ especially the younger generation who will rightly view this kind of decision as barbaric and inhuman. There is only so much inhumanity that a church can be seen to represent before its own members lose faith in it. I recall the feelings of my own niece and nephew who lost a huge amount of respect for the church when they heard a homily denouncing the civil marriage of their own uncle. I notice the outcry among Catholic high school students when a teacher was fired for the very same reason. When a church responds to an act of love and commitment not by celebration but by ostracism, it is not just attacking a couple’s human dignity; it is also attacking itself.

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

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) Frank Bruni on the story of a Montana R. C. Parish and a Same-Sex Couple Therein

…in early August, a 27-year-old priest who had just begun working at the parish summoned them to a meeting, according to local news reports. And at that meeting, he told them that they could no longer be choir members, perform any other roles like that or, for that matter, receive communion.

If they wanted those privileges restored, there was indeed a remedy, which the priest and other church officials spelled out for them over subsequent conversations. They would have to divorce. They would have to stop living together. And they would have to sign a statement that marriage exists only between a man and a woman.

Translation: Renounce a love fortified over 30 years. Unravel your lives. And affirm that you’re a lesser class of people, barred from the rituals in which others blithely participate.

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

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Dio of Lichfield) BBC's ”˜Marvellous' tells the story Neil Baldwin tonight–Here is a brief intro

So who is he? Stoke City kit man, clown with Billy Smart’s circus, part of the furniture at Keele University for half a century, Neil Baldwin’s life seems to defy definition. Journalists have tried: a Walter Mitty with true stories; Keele University’s mascot.

Above all, Neil is a Christian.

“Every morning I get up and pray. Prayer is the best gift you can have.” I ask him whether his faith comes through in the documentary and he smiles. “My friends who came along to the premiere said ”˜you’ve put God in it first’ ”“ and that’s it how should be. Sometimes Christianity is not portrayed very well. If you’ve got no Lord, you are lost. God is always working in me, and through all the people that I’ve met.“

“Where do you go to church?” he asks. I tell him, and he shoots straight back “Your curate’s leaving, isn’t he? He’ll be missed. And a very good cricketer.” With unerring detail, Neil proceeds to tell me a history of comings and goings from my church over the years.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Philip Jenkins on Friedrich Engels–Corinthians and Communists

I posted recently on Friedrich Engels’s On the History of Early Christianity, his 1890s text that actually makes some excellent historical points about the social and political contexts of the early church. On occasion, it’s actually”¦ well, pretty funny.

As a historian, Engels had the enormous virtue of moving outside the library, to understand early Christianity though his own lived experience in the nineteenth century radical Socialist underground. He knew exactly what it was like to operate in a clandestine transnational movement of the lower class. Both were under constant observation by the police, and you never knew exactly who might be a spy or informer. Oddly, given his strongly anti-church opinions, Engels had something like a love for the early Christians, and he imagines talking to them as fellow-sufferers who came from exactly the kind of setting.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Church History, History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Food for Thought from G K Chesterton at the beginning of the Day

The great ideals of the past failed not by being outlived (which must mean over-lived), but by not being lived enough. Mankind has not passed through the Middle Ages. Rather mankind has retreated from the Middle Ages in reaction and rout. The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.

–What’s Wrong With The World (CreateSpace Independent Publishing reprint of the 1910 original) p. 23

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Books, Church History, Notable & Quotable

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Sergius

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that inspired by the devotion of thy servant Sergius of Moscow, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

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.

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