Daily Archives: October 11, 2015

(Redeemer NYC) Tim Keller–The Bible is alive and active

The New York Times recently ran an article “Turn the Page, Spur the Brain” that presented empirical findings showing that reading to children, even infants, was crucial for brain development. They found that exposing children to a video or a picture short-circuited the child’s imagination. One expert said: “They’re not having to imagine the story [for themselves]; it’s just being fed to them.” Another pointed out that children who were exposed to reading “showed significantly more activity in the areas of the brain that process visual association, even though the child was listening to a story and could not see any pictures.” In short, verbal communication makes your mind and heart do the work of grasping and imagining the story for yourself. Images tend to feed you what some other person’s imagination has created.

I am not denigrating visual arts in general. But this simple article about reading to children supports an ancient Protestant understanding about the power of the Word to capture our hearts with the truth in a way nothing else can. 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 4:6 says, remarkably, that right now by faith we can “behold the glory” of Christ. And this beholding is linked to the Spirit’s work in our hearts as the Word of God is read and heard (2 Corinthians 3:12-16).

For years I thought that God could be active in my life through the Spirit and that the Bible was a book I had to obey if God was going to come in. I now realize that Bible is the way that, through the Spirit, God is active in my life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Daily TarHeel) Megachurches attract youth members

The building towers over its sprawling parking lot, its windowless slabs of off-white concrete giving it the authoritative look of a government building. People of all ages trickle into the building seven days a week, sometimes in large crowds. Outside the six floors of the main structure are a number of signs guiding visitors to other parts of the surrounding campus,
including a satellite building and a large courtyard. But this isn’t any kind of government, school or office building ”” it’s Raleigh’s Providence Baptist Church, one of many megachurches in the Triangle. Findings from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research show these churches attract younger participants to their congregations ”” more so than many other, smaller churches. That includes college students, who tend to drop out of church for at least part of their college careers, research says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Young Adults

(Chrstn Post) Florida Anglicans Win Battle to Build New Church; City to Pay $290K in Legal Fees

A Florida congregation has successfully won the right to build a church in a Jacksonville Beach neighborhood despite objections from local residents and an attempt by the city to prevent construction.

Church of Our Savior, a congregation affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, will soon build a church in Jacksonville Beach, thanks to a settlement reached earlier this week with city officials.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A Video of deaf couple’s wedding in Limerick is a viral hit

A video of a “moving and beautiful” ceremony of a deaf couple who wed in Limerick city last weekend is touching the hearts of thousands of people online.

The wedding of Tara Long, 26, from Kileely in Limerick, and Timmy Doona, from Killorglin in Kerry, who are both deaf, left the congregation in tears of joy in St John’s Cathedral in Limerick on Saturday last.

A video of part of the ceremony ”“ where the bride surprised her husband-to-be with a special song performed in sign language ”“ has been posted online by Tara’s brother and has now counted more than 6,000 views to date on YouTube.

Read it all and follow the link to the video.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Ireland, Marriage & Family, Photos/Photography, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Brian Adams–Countering Violent Extremism Requires a Whole-of-Community Approach

The first challenge is leadership. A whole-of-community approach requires leadership that embraces the community. Is there an identifiable leader, whether an individual or a coalition, who is broadly accepted as such and capable of bringing together a range of stakeholders? Do they have a clear vision of the change to which they are leading the community?

The second challenge to overcome is inertia. A whole-of-community approach may require changes in how we work together, how we communicate, how we allocate finite resources – and change is rarely easy. Bureaucratic processes, political turf wars, over stretched personnel, and the time worn “that’s not how we’ve done things in the past” can all contribute to a fairly difficult barrier of inertia. Asking the right questions and having a strong leader can ease some of these strains, but at the core of the implementation, things will have to change in order to address the challenges facing our communities.
The third challenge to successful implementation is turning competitors into partners. Government ministries compete for influence and slices of a finite budget pie. Community organisations compete for funding and recognition in the community and by opinion leaders. Service providers may compete for clients and contracts. Once potential allies are identified, having a clear strategy in place on how to build partnerships is key to a sustainable, effective whole-of-community policy initiative”Š – ”Šfacilitated by good leadership and a rich understanding of the community brought out through asking the right questions.

Countering violent extremism in Australia is challenging. In order to succeed, we have to overcome existing community tensions and divisions. The Countering Community Division policy framework is presented as a way to gather community insights and resources, facilitate in-depth analysis and understanding of the current situation, and coordinate efforts across stakeholders so that we can begin to reunite the divided and strengthen our communities to counteract further radicalisation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(A Look Back) Kendall Harmon: The Powerful Woman With No Lines And No Name

One of my friends has the delightful habit of sending me New Yorker cartoons. Certainly one of the best features a man behind a bookstore counter on top of which is prominently featured Allen Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. He has a big smile on his face and says to the customer “I haven’t read it, but it’s a great book!”

Alas, that is too often a true reflection of how many Episcopalians actually relate to Holy Scripture.

It is such a fabulous book, but we only experience it when we learn to be Scripture students and spiritually attentive Bible readers.

Consider the story of when Simon the Pharisee has the preacher over for dinner (Luke 7:36-50). As for many a good Episcopalian, having the rector over is a big deal for Simon. Etiquette must be properly followed. Invitations must be carefully issued. Everything must be done in correct Anglican fashion, decently and in order.

Then a woman from the wrong side of the tracks crashes the party….

Read it all from 2007 (brought to mind by the Bible readings this morning).

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Christ, the true vine and the source of life, ever giving thyself that the world may live; who also hast taught us that those who would follow thee must be ready to lose their lives for thy sake: Grant us so to receive within our souls the power of thine eternal sacrifice, that in sharing thy cup we may share thy glory, and at the last be made perfect in thy love.

The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: Services of Praise and Prayer for Occasional Use in Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933), p.73

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house, and took his place at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “What is it, Teacher?” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

–Luke 7:36-50

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AJ) Thanksgiving in Canada–A very movable feast

As we sit down to creation’s bounty in the form of a magnificent harvest dinner this month, let’s be thankful we can plan for this fine-weather feast on the second Monday in October. Historically, the date of Canada’s day of thanks has been anything but fixed.

In fact, it was not until 1957 that Parliament first officially set the permanent date we now observe, with Prime Minister John Diefenbaker declaring it “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.”

Before that, the celebration was decidedly, in Hemingway’s words, “a movable feast.” Often wrongly disparaged as lacking the deep historical roots of American Thanksgiving, English Canada’s first celebration occurred 43 years before the Pilgrim Fathers touched American shores. It’s linked to 1578, when British North West Passage explorer Sir Martin Frobisher declared a day of thanksgiving for cross-Atlantic and Arctic tribulations survived. An Anglican service was held near Baffin Island by the Rev. Robert Wolfall, expedition chaplain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, History, Religion & Culture

(Diocese of South Carolina) SC Flooding continues; Keep victims and relief workers in prayer

Found here:

As the flooding progresses through our state we ask you to continue to keep those affected in your prayers. Two of our clergy are serving as chaplains on the front lines. The Rev. Donald Hayes, Vicar of Christ Church, Florence, is Chief Chaplain for the South Carolina Guard. He is overseeing 50 Chaplains deployed throughout our state. The Rev. Nathan Bistis, Associate Rector at St. Luke’s, Hilton Head, is serving as a Chaplain with the National Guard. Both are ministering to flood victims as well as to those involved in search and rescue efforts. While reports are still coming in about churches and individual parish families, we do know that Holy Cross, Stateburg and Holy Comforter, Sumter and St. Paul’s, Conway appear to be among the most significantly impacted so far.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Stewardship, Weather

(BE) Future of historic murals in Brantford church in question

The future of unique, historic murals in St. Jude’s Anglican Church is in question now that the building is for sale.

A local heritage proponent and some former parishioners of the now-shuttered Brantford church are worried about the fate of the one-of-a-kind murals that have graced St. Jude’s walls for 80 years.

“There is no protection” for the paintings despite a two-decade-old federal designation declaring the site as having national architectural significance, says Cindy MacDonald, chair of the city’s heritage committee.

Multiple hand-painted murals depicting the life of Christ within St. Jude’s on Peel Street were designated as significant in 1996 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Art, Church History, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

South Carolina Church members come together for St Paul's church in Conway damaged by flood

Church members come together for Conway church damaged by flood

Thursday was back to school for more than 60 children at Conway’s St. Paul’s Anglican Church Day School, but not everything was back to normal.

The floodwaters damaged the classrooms on the lower level of the historic Conway building.

It soaked carpets and damaged drywall.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Weather