Monthly Archives: December 2015

More Music for Christmas 2015–Alison Krauss, Yo-Yo Ma – The Wexford Carol

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Food for Thought as the Calendar Year End Approaches

“Those do not commonly know themselves best who think best of themselves, who have the highest opinion of themselves”

–Matthew Henry (from his Bible commentary on 1 Cor. 4:8)

Posted in Anthropology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

CMS' celebratory special features in Honor of the 150th Anniversary of Samuel Ajayi Crowther

I would guess that most blog readers know little about this important Anglican leader. Please avail yourselves of the many resources here to learn more.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Nigeria, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Missions, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

For his Feast Day (2)–Archbishop Justin Welby preaches on Anglican Pioneer Samuel Crowther

Those who opposed him were caught up in their own world. British society of the nineteenth century was overwhelmingly racist, deeply hierarchical. It resisted all sense that God saw things differently. In the India of the time the East India Company, ruling the land, forbade the singing of the Magnificat at evensong, lest phrases about putting down the mighty from their seats and exalting the humble and meek might be understood too well by the populations they ruled. The idea that an African was their equal was literally, unimaginable. Of course they forgot the list of Deacons in Acts 5, including Simeon Niger in Acts 13, or Augustine from North Africa, or the Ethiopian eunuch whom Philip baptised. They lived in an age of certainty in their own superiority. In their eyes not only the gospel, but even the Empire would be at risk if they conceded.

The issue was one of power, and it is power and its handling that so often deceives us into wickedness. Whether as politicians or Bishops, in business or in the family, the aim to dominate is sin. Our model is Christ, who washed feet when he could have ruled. Crowther’s consecration reading was do not dominate, and it means just what it says. Each of us must lead by humility.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of Nigeria, Ministry of the Ordained, Missions, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Race/Race Relations

For his Feast Day (1)–(CMS) Samuel Ajayi Crowther: the unsung hero

It is time to tell again the long-neglected story of Samuel Ajayi Crowther, writes Gareth Sturdy.

If you know the name, it probably resounds as that of a hero. Such heroes, unacknowledged in their own time and then ignored by their immediate successors, end up being the Really Important Ones. Their stature is so great that it is missed entirely up-close, gets larger the more distant you are from it, and can only been seen in its true glory from space.

If the name is unknown to you, then you are the victim of a cover-up. How else can you have missed one of the most important Africans of the modern era?

It is an opportune moment to reassess Crowther in the light of new understanding. A light that glares at the cover up and reveals a significance greater than that so far ascribed to him by even his most loyal champions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Nigeria, Ministry of the Ordained, Missions, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Samuel Ajayi Crowther

Almighty God, who didst rescue Samuel Ajayi Crowther from slavery, sent him to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to his people in Nigeria, and made him the first bishop from the people of West Africa: Grant that those who follow in his steps may reap what he has sown and find abundant help for the harvest; through him who took upon himself the form of a slave that we might be free, the same Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Nigeria, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the day from the Gallican Sacramentary

Grant to thy servants, O God, to be set on fire with thy love, to be strengthened by thy power, to be illuminated by thy Spirit, to be filled with thy grace, and to go forward by thine aid; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

–Psalm 46:1-3; somehow oh-so-appropriate as the year draws to a close–KSH

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AI) Opposition to same-sex marriage leads to Kentucky Episcopal Church rector's ouster

On the day before Christmas Eve, Reverend Jonathan Erdman had a heavy heart. In a somber letter to his parish, he announced his decision to resign as rector, effective January 10, 2016. Invoking Martin Luther, he explained the issue of conscience which made this decision inevitable. “After prayer and study of scripture, I am not able to approve same-sex marriage as rector of Calvary.” Jonathan would not perform a gay blessing, nor as shepherd of the flock at Calvary, could he allow one to be performed in his parish. In an act of pastoral concern for the few LGBT members of his parish this may affect, he arranged for same-sex members of Calvary to be married by other clergy at the Episcopal cathedral nearby. Predictably that was not enough.

As soon as General Convention allowed for same-sex blessings in the Episcopal Church, certain members of Calvary Church were eager to begin. I’m sure the self-righteous indignation was palpable as Fr. Jonathan informed this vestry–a different vestry from the one in place when he arrived to which his views on same-sex marriage were specifically addressed–that same-sex blessings would not take place at Calvary Church. Fr. Jonathan apparently did not give priority in his ministry to arguing from the pulpit for or against the secular social agenda strangling the ECUSA. An orthodox high churchman, graduate of Yale Divinity School, and former curate at St. Thomas 5th Avenue under the now-retired Reverend Andrew Mead, Fr. Jonathan Erdman loved and ministered to parishioners from all walks of life and of all sexual orientations. There are some that too quickly confuse the difference between withholding judgment of an individual’s sins and celebrating them (or allowing them to be celebrated under your authority) as a sacrament of the Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, TEC Parishes, Theology

S.C. overtakes Alabama to become the nation’s 23rd most populous state

South Carolina’s population is now greater than Alabama’s, making the Palmetto State the nation’s 23rd largest, thanks to all the new residents pouring in.

Growth has both pros and cons, but if it’s a popularity contest between states, South Carolina is among the winners.

What do you think?
New Census Bureau data shows that just four states saw greater domestic migration ”” more people moving in from other states than moving out ”” during the 12 months ending July 1.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina

William Willimon for Christmas 2015: From a God We Hardly Knew

It’s tough to be on the receiving end of love, God’s or anybody else’s. It requires that we see our lives not as our possessions, but as gifts. “Nothing is more repugnant to capable, reasonable people than grace,” wrote John Wesley a long time ago.

Among the most familiar Christmas texts is the one in Isaiah: “The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (7:14) Less familiar is its context: Isaiah has been pleading with King Ahaz to put his trust in God’s promise to Israel rather than in alliances with strong military powers like Syria. “If you will not believe, you shall not be established,” Isaiah warns Ahaz (7:9). Then the prophet tells the fearful king that God is going to give him a baby as a sign. A baby. Isn’t that just like God, Ahaz must have thought. What Ahaz needed, with Assyria breathing down his neck, was a good army, not a baby.

This is often the way God loves us: with gifts we thought we didn’t need, which transform us into people we don’t necessarily want to be. With our advanced degrees, armies, government programs, material comforts and self-fulfillment techniques, we assume that religion is about giving a little, of our power in order to confirm to ourselves that we are indeed as self-sufficient as we claim.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Theology

(WSJ) The Technology That Will Change Your Life in 2016

Entering 2016, the future never felt more within reach.

Science fiction will become science fact this year when you take virtual-reality vacations and your dishwasher reorders its own soap. Are you ready for a drone that follows you around like paparazzi?

When we gazed ahead at the devices, breakthroughs and ideas most likely to make waves, two themes emerged. One is liberation: We’re increasingly less shackled, be it to a phone charger or a cable subscription. The other is intelligence: As processing power and bandwidth increase, our machines, services and even messaging apps become more capable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Science & Technology, Theology

Year in Review: Barna’s Top 10 Findings in 2015

With the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, a jump in concerns about religious freedom and an overall secularization of Americans’ views, 2015 was a year of increasing anxiety among people of faith. Barna conducts tens of thousands of interviews every year, and we’ve compiled our top 10 findings and trends from a vast array of research conducted in the past 12 months….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(FT) Gideon Rachman–Battered, bruised and jumpy ”” the whole world is on edge

In 2015, a sense of unease and foreboding seemed to settle on all the world’s major power centres. From Beijing to Washington, Berlin to Brasília, Moscow to Tokyo ”” governments, media and citizens were jumpy and embattled.

This kind of globalised anxiety is unusual. For the past 30 years and more, there has been at least one world power that was bullishly optimistic. In the late 1980s the Japanese were still enjoying a decades-long boom ”” and confidently buying up assets all over the world. In the 1990s America basked in victory in the cold war and a long economic expansion. In the early 2000s the EU was in a buoyant mood, launching a single currency and nearly doubling its membership. And for most of the past decade, the growing political and economic power of China has inspired respect all over the world.

Yet at the moment all the big players seem uncertain ”” even fearful. The only partial exception that I came across this year was India, where the business and political elite still seemed buoyed by the reformist zeal of prime minister Narendra Modi.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Politics in General, Psychology, Terrorism, Theology

The Archbp of Sydney Glenn Davies on Christmas–The light of Jesus overcomes darkness

“This year, the world we live in has been overshadowed by darkness. We are appalled at the dark acts committed in Paris, Beirut, San Bernardino and elsewhere.” Dr Davies said. “We long for light to dispel the darkness. Yet that is exactly the message of Christmas, when God’s light shone into the world and the darkness did not overcome it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons