Daily Archives: May 1, 2015

Martin Davie: Grace and Disagreement – [Justin Welby's Shared Conversations on Sexual Immorality]

A Review by Martin Davie. [from here]

An Executive Summary of a paper commissioned by Church of England Evangelical Council.

[from the conclusion]

How evangelicals should respond.

Firstly”¦Evangelicals need to say loudly and clearly that, for the reasons explained above, the shared conversations are a deeply flawed process supported by deeply flawed resources. They are in fact an object lesson of how a church should not go about handling a serious theological issue.

Secondly, Evangelicals need to be aware that the shared conversations are only the ”˜warm up act.’ It will be in the General Synod, probably in the session in February 2017, that a substantive debate will take place that could change the Church of England’s theology and practice. Such a debate would be proceeded by discussions in the College and House of Bishops so Evangelicals need to be ready for the lead in to the debate to begin as soon as the shared conversations have finished in the summer of 2016.

Thirdly, since it is clear that, whatever criticisms are offered, the shared conversations process is going to take place Evangelicals need to ready to keep on making the following key points during the process:

1. The position of the Church of England has not changed”¦The burden of proof is on those who want to change the Church’s position.

2. In considering its teaching and practice in relation to human sexuality the Church of England has to base its approach on the teaching of the theological authorities specified in Canons A5 and C15, namely the Bible, the teaching of the orthodox Fathers and Councils and the Historic Formularies of the Church of England (the Thirty Nine Articles, the Book of Common Prayer and the 1662 Ordinal)”¦

3. The reason a gap has opened up between the Church of England and the belief and behaviour of many people in this country is not because the Church’s teaching about sexuality has been shown to be wrong, but because increasing numbers of people have forgotten about God or are unwilling to live lives that are obedient to what God says.

4. In thinking about sexuality it is important not simply to focus on those biblical texts that directly address the issue of same-sex relationships, but to set those in the wider context of the fact that the Bible everywhere presumes a heterosexual norm for sex, marriage and family life on the basis of God’s creation of human beings as male and female.

5. No one has yet succeeded in successfully challenging the fact that the Bible takes a universally negative view of same-sex sexual activity in all its forms, a truth acknowledged by many who would like the Church to change its position on sexuality.

6. It is important not to let our experience determine our reading of the Bible. Rather we must interpret our experience in the light of biblical teaching.

7. The question of sexual orientation is a red herring. There is no agreed account of the cause(s) of same-sex attraction, studies of sexual attraction indicate that in a large number of people who they are attracted to sexually is something fluid rather than fixed and even in the case of those who have a life -long attraction to those of their own sex whether they choose to act on this attraction remains an act of voluntary choice for which they are morally accountable.

8. The issue of human sexuality is not a secondary issue on which we can simply agree to disagree”¦The Bible is clear that unrepented sexual sin cuts people off from God in this life and in the world to come”¦

9. The Church of England has a responsibility to take into account the effect that any decision that it makes will have on Christians in other parts of the world, particularly in those places where the Church is facing persecution.

10. It is not enough simply to say ”˜no’ to same-sex relationships. The Church of England needs to take seriously the pastoral needs of those people who experience same-sex attraction and it needs to honour those who live lives of Christian holiness in the face of such attraction.

Read here

The full paper can be found here

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

Finalists Announced for next TEC Presiding Bishop

The nominees are:

â– The Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal, 64, Diocese of Southern Ohio
â– The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, 62, Diocese of North Carolina
â– The Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas, 56, Diocese of Connecticut
â– The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, 61, Diocese of Southwest Florida

Read it all and there is more here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(LA Times) Has millennials' self-esteem become self-righteousness?

Self-esteem, the kind that comes from finding the sweet spot between a healthy fondness for yourself and healthy self-skepticism, tends to get harder to come by the older we get. For a kid, self-esteem can be as close at hand as a sports victory or a sense of belonging in a peer group. It’s a much more complicated and elusive proposition for adults, subject to the responsibilities and vicissitudes of grown-up life.

For college students, caught in that muddy crossing between childhood and independence, going through a phase in which they can’t tell the difference between caring for themselves and declaring their own importance at every turn may actually be something of a rite of passage, albeit one as ridiculous as returning from a semester abroad with a foreign accent.

But if, in fact, this confusion is more than just a phase, if what we’re dealing with is a generation ”” and, increasingly, an entire culture ”” for whom self-righteousness and self-esteem are essentially interchangeable, we’re in trouble. Because self-righteousness, when you think about it, is a contra-indicator of self-esteem. It’s what sets in when genuine righteousness eludes us. And if we spend our lives inside safe spaces writing love letters to ourselves, just about everything else will elude us too.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Young Adults

In Greenwood SC a proposed Change to a Segregated Monument Is Stymied by a Law Protecting It

The bronze plaques on Main Street silently tell the toll of the two world wars on this small county: 197 men, listed by name but uncategorized by rank or age or branch of service.

Nonetheless, each is identified as “white” or “colored,” lingering evidence of Greenwood County’s segregated past that Greenwood city officials and leaders of the local American Legion post now want to banish from the city’s memorial to the war dead.

But they cannot, at least for now, without defying the South Carolina Legislature and a law born of a compromise so uneasy that even 15 years after it was reached, people fear that any changes to Greenwood’s tribute would spawn another tortured clash about how this state marks its racial history.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., City Government, History, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, State Government

(Church Times) Work starts on Westminster Abbey’s secret space

In an unremarkable corner of Westminster Abbey is a wooden door marked “Private”. Behind it are 78 wooden steps spiralling upwards in a narrow staircase. And at the top of those is one of the Abbey’s hidden treasures: what John Betjeman once called “the greatest view in Europe”.

More than 20 metres above the floor of the Abbey, and largely invisible to the tourists taking pictures below, is a vaulted gallery that runs the entire length of the building. This is the Abbey’s eastern triforium, a centuries-old secret expanse that is to be opened to visitors for the first time as part of a gallery and exhibition space.

The Dean, Dr John Hall, invited us, a group of reporters, to join him in a final tour around the triforium before building work begins in earnest to transform the dusty space into the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries

Read it all and make sure not to miss the slideshow.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Architecture, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

David Mills–Robert George on the Culture War and Conservative Defeatists

[Robert George]…was responding to two tendencies, I think: 1) that of some conservatives to retreat into analysis, and particularly historical genealogy, when faced with a cultural and political challenge; and 2) that of some of them to find the problem in a force that can’t be resisted, like the Enlightenment roots of the American founding, which justifies disengagement from a battle we can’t win. He calls this defeatism.

I’m not so hopeful as Robby. He has greater faith than I do in the American people and the force of public reason.

He may, for example, think the natural law arguments for marriage as it has been understood to be more publically compelling than I do. We have an instinctive sense of the natural law, as St. Paul noted, but our recognition of what is natural can be neutralized. You may see that men and women are made for union with each other, but if you understand marriage as primarily an affective relation, as most Americans do, you’ll have no strong reason to oppose same-sex marriage. If your society has for decades separated sexual intimacy from the creation of children, you’ll find it easier to accept intrinsically sterile marriages, especially as children can be provided in other ways.

I hope Robby’s right about the possibilities for success, though I don’t think he is. I still agree with him that we must stand up and bear witness.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Theology

(SA) Nepali Christians die in their churches

It’s been revealed hundreds of Christians died or were injured as the Nepal earthquake hit their churches, including an Anglican minister and 17 of his parishioners.

In Nepal, Sunday is a work day so Christians normally attend church on their day off, which is Saturday. So many were in church when the quake hit on 25th of April.

Rev Lewis Lew, the Dean of Nepal which is under the oversight of the Diocese of Singapore, has issued a confirmation of a tragic scene in the village of Choke.

The village was recently visited by a mission team from Singapore.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Nepal, Parish Ministry

Google honours working classes with a creative doodle for World Labour Day

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, Globalization, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Economist) The marriage squeeze in India and China: Bare branches, redundant males

KHAPs are informal local councils in north-western India. They meet to lay down the law on questions of marriage and caste, and are among India’s most unflinchingly conservative institutions. They have banned marriage between people of different castes, restricted it between people from the same village and stand accused of ordering honour killings to enforce their rulings, which have no legal force. India’s Supreme Court once called for khaps to be “ruthlessly stamped out”. In April 2014, however, the Satrol khap, the largest in Haryana, one of India’s richest states, relaxed its ban on inter-caste marriage and made it easier for villagers to marry among their neighbours. “This will bring revolutionary change to Haryana,” said Inder Singh, president of the khap.

The cause of the decision, he admitted, was “the declining male-female sex ratio in the state”. After years of sex-selective abortions in favour of boys, Haryana has India’s most distorted sex ratio: 114 males of all ages for every 100 females. In their search for brides, young men are increasingly looking out of caste, out of district and out of state. “This is the only way out to keep our old traditions alive,” said Mr Singh. “Instead of getting a bride from outside the state who takes time to adjust, we preferred to prune the jurisdiction of prohibited areas.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Children, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, India, Marriage & Family, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the American book of Common Prayer

O Heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes, we beseech thee, to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works; that rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve thee with gladness; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Edward James Deenihan RIP

My father-in-law died last night, he was 96. When I think of him I think of someone who is the kind of person who held this country together: loyal husband, father, grandfather, Goodyear industrial tire employee, Hibernian society member, and mostly importantly member of his local Roman Catholic Church. He not only attended Bible study and worship regularly, he even (still) participated in spiritual retreats in recent years.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Harmon Family, Parish Ministry

(New Inquiry) Rob Horning–Pinterest and the Acquisitve Gaze

In “The Consuming Vision,” an essay about novelist Henry James, of all things, Jean-Christophe Agnew argues that the consumerist culture emerging in James’s time was a “world constructed by and for a consuming vision,” an “imagined world ”¦ in which imagination itself strives to gild, glaze, and ultimately commodify its objects.” This consuming vision becomes hegemonic in a world that comes to be seen as made entirely of commodities. “What modern consumer culture produces,” Agnew argues, “is not so much a way of being as a way of seeing ”” a way best characterized as visually acquisitive. In short, modern consumer culture holds up the cognitive appetite as the model and engine of its reproductive process.”

Agnew points out that the churn of markets assures that these sorts of characteristics are never stable in any given commodity or experience. Consumerism posits such meanings as free-floating, redeployable, highly contingent and not intrinsic to a good’s use value. (Soap might make me objectively clean, but will it make me feel clean, which is ultimately more important?)

Thus those meanings are always socially determined to a degree, and always require further labor to affix them to goods. Advertising has traditionally served the purpose of attaching the affective associations with products; social media now enlists the members of one’s social networks to assist in this process. We aid in the building of such ad hoc associations between feelings and goods (we are “prosuming,” making our consumption productive of symbolic meaning by broadcasting it), but this serves also to reinforce that the overall sense that the meanings are applied and withdrawn at social whim.

Pinterest is geared toward stimulating this acquisitive appetite for images without sating it.

Read it all (Hat tip: The Browser).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, History, Photos/Photography, Psychology

(Vatican Radio) Pope meets members of Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission

Meeting with the members of ARCIC III, Pope Francis noted the current session is studying the relationship between the universal Church and the local Church ”“ a question central to his own reform programme – with particular reference to difficult decision making over moral and ethical questions.

These discussions, the Pope said, and the forthcoming publication of five jointly agreed statements from the previous phase of the dialogue, remind us that ecumenism is not a secondary element in the life of the Church and that the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable. Despite the seriousness of the challenges, he said we must trust even more in the power of the Spirit to heal and reconcile what may not seem possible to our human understanding.

Finally Pope Francis highlighted the powerful testimony of Christians from different Churches and traditions who have been victims of violence and persecution. The blood of these martyrs, he said, will nourish a new era of ecumenical commitment to fulfill the last will and testament of the Lord: that all may be one.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(C of E) National Investing Bodies seeking to witness the transition to a low carbon economy

The Church Commissioners and The Church of England Pensions Board have today announced the £12million divestment from thermal coal and tar sands.

From today neither body, nor the CBF Church of England funds, will make any direct investments in any company where more than 10% of its revenues are derived from the extraction of thermal coal or the production of oil from tar sands.

This announcement coincides with the adoption of a new climate change policy recommended by the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) that sets out how the three national investing bodies (NIBs) will support the transition to a low carbon economy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology