Monthly Archives: March 2016

Easter Music for 2016–The Lord is Risen Indeed! William Billings

Listen to it all and you can read more about it, including finding the lyrics, at Lent and Beyond.

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

Charles Simeon on Easter–a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers

In this tomb, also, you may see, A pledge to us…Yes, verily, it is a pledge,

Of Christ’s power to raise us to a spiritual life ”” The resurrection of Christ is set forth in the Scriptures as a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers; and by the very same power too, that effected that. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul draws the parallel with a minuteness and accuracy that are truly astonishing. He prays for them, that they may know what is the exceeding greatness of God’s power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” And then he says, concerning them, “God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us usi together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus^” Here, I say, you see Christ dead, quickened, raised, and seated in glory; and his believing people quickened from their death in sins, and raised with him, and seated too with him in the highest heavens. The same thing is stated also, and the same parallel is drawn in the Epistle to the Romans ; where it is said, “We are buried with Christ by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” But can this be effected in us ? I answer, Behold the tomb ! Who raised the Lord Jesus? He himself said, ” I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again….”

–Horae homileticae, Sermon 1414

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

(Christian Today) Ruth Mawhinney–An interview with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

…what about some of the bigger religious questions that are being posed in the world right now? We are speaking the day after the Brussels attacks, at a time of heightened hostility towards Muslims. #StopIslam was trending on Twitter as we spoke. Is this our problem? Yes. Welby thinks we have a responsibility to “demonstrate hospitality for mainstream Muslim leaders who themselves have taken huge risks and are suffering very significant threats when they stand up against attacks like Brussels.

“Secondly, I think we have a responsibility to be part of the process of developing a narrative that is more attractive within our society than the perverted, cruel and savage narrative which takes young men in particular, but women as well, into extremist action.

“Hostility to all Muslims because they’re Muslims ”“ although we disagree as Christians with their theology ”“ is a deeply unChristian and wrong way of behaving.”

Read it all.

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

(CEN) Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel–What is the Anglican Consultative Council meeting for?

Despite past history the GAFCON Primates decided to attend the January meeting. They demonstrated a love for the unity of the Communion but on a basis of common faith. They have not yet given up on the Communion. But ACC’s actions so far confirm their suspicions that they are being misled and manipulated and even an orthodox Archbishop of Canterbury cannot stop it.

How can ACC not accept the Primates’ decision? Why is it arrogating such roles to itself? Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda are right in drawing a firm line on the sand. Their approach is principled, not managerial or political.

Politically, TEC holds powerful cards ”“ money, power, access, communication, control of the media and leverage. But did TEC accept the Primates decision in January in the light of what they look on as a replay in Lusaka?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Theology

A year in the life of a CofE priest: how a photo project changed my life

In parallel, I got to know Kit’s parishioners who worship at St James’, as well as the group of people who support Kit – all full of faith, kindness, generosity of spirit, care and consideration for each other (and a knowledge of the Bible that puts me to shame!). I saw and experienced, first hand, the positive differences that the church can make in a local community, and the value of community that the church can offer to those that seek it.

And I found myself being steadily drawn back to God and my faith. There wasn’t any ”˜sudden moment’, just a growing recognition that I wanted this to be part of my life again. I now attend Kit’s church every Sunday when I remind myself to be considerate, loving and helpful to others; to be kind; to be generous”¦and I find this weekly reminder a very helpful ”˜pause’ in my busy life. And I have also experienced, first hand, the value and power of prayer.

I have enjoyed immersing myself in supporting Kit’s church, seeking to bring my business experience to bear to the PCC and our Finance and Buildings committees. We are currently wrestling with the usual realities of a roof that needs a major overhaul, and a need for funding!

Read it all and do not miss the photo and the further link for more.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography

Archbp of York Sentamu–Paying the Living Wage

Like that checkout assistant, many of us remain unconvinced by Chancellor George Osborne packaging up what is essentially an increase on the National Minimum Wage for over 25s and rebranding it the “National Living Wage”. Of course it is to be welcomed that Mr Osborne is increasing wages at the bottom level for over 25s. But let’s call it what it is: a new legal minimum wage for over 25s. It is not a living wage in any real sense; it is not paying workers what they deserve and it is not paying workers what they need in order to achieve a decent standard of living in the UK.

The real Living Wage is set according to what experts and the public believe is needed to achieve an above-poverty standard of living. Not earning this can mean having to rely on a food bank even if you are in work. Let’s think about that for a second. Working people should not have to rely on food banks to feed their families.

The new minimum wage also risks setting young against old. There are two million under 25’s who will not benefit from the increased minimum wage. The realLiving Wage (as set by the Living Wage Foundation) makes no distinction for how old someone has to be to expect to be paid fairly for a day’s work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, Theology

John Donne for John Donne Day (3)

When all is done, the hell of hells, the torment of torments, is the everlasting absence of God, and the everlasting impossibility of returning to his presence…to fall out of the hands of the living God, is a horror beyond our expression, beyond our imagination…. What Tophet is not Paradise, what Brimstone is not Amber, what gnashing is not a comfort, what gnawing of the worme is not a tickling, what torment is not a marriage bed to this damnation, to be secluded eternally, eternally, eternally from the sight of God?

–From a sermon to the Earl of Carlisle in 1622

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

John Donne for John Donne Day (2)

I can bring it so neare; but onely the worthy hearer, and the worthy receiver, can call this Lord this Jesus, this Christ, Immanuel God with us; onely that virgin soule, devirginated in the blood of Adam but restored in the blood of the Lambe hath this Ecce, this testimony, this assurance, that God is with him; they that have this Ecce, this testimony, in a rectified conscience, are Godfathers to this child Jesus and may call him Immanuel God with us for as no man can deceive God, so God can deceive no man; God cannot live in the darke himself neither can he leave those who are his in the darke: If he be with thee he will make thee see that he is with thee and never goe out of thy sight, till he have brought thee, where thou canst never goe out of his.

–John Donne (1572-1631), Preached at St. Pauls, upon Christmas Day, in the Evening, 1624

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

John Donne's Batter My Heart for his Feast Day

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to’another due,
Labor to’admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly’I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me,’untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you’enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

–Holy Sonnet XIV

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Poetry & Literature, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Donne

Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being: Open our eyes to see, with thy servant John Donne, that whatsoever hath any being is a mirror in which we may behold thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Mozarabic Sacramentary

We give thee thanks, O heavenly Father, who hast delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of thy Son; grant, we pray thee, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us to joys eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

–Psalm 146:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jonathan Sacks–The ethnic cleansing of Christians is 1 of the great crimes of our age

…the real target is not Christianity but freedom. Nor is this a war. Wars are fought between nations, by armies, and the intended victims are combatants. Terrorists wear no uniforms, and their intended victims are innocent civilians. I for one will never forget the episode two weeks ago on the Ivory Coast where terrorists gunned down a five-year-old child begging for his life.

There have been ages of terror before, but never on this scale, and never with the kind of technology that has given the jihadists the ability to radicalise individuals throughout the world, some acting as lone wolves, others, like the attackers in Paris and Brussels, working in small groups, often involving family members.

The aim of Isil is political: to re-establish the Caliphate and make Islam once more an imperial power. But there is another aim shared by many jihadist groups: to silence anyone and anything that threatens to express a different truth, another faith, a different approach to religious difference. That is what lay behind the attacks on the Danish cartoons; on Catholics after a speech by Pope Benedict XVI; the murder of Theo van Gogh; and the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. The calculation of the terrorists is that, in the long run, the West will prove too tired to defend its own freedoms. They are prepared to keep committing atrocities for as long as it takes, decades if need be.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

SDSU Study: Religion Down, Afterlife Belief Up Among Millennials

A recent San Diego State University poll led by psychology professor Jean Twenge shows that Americans are five times less likely to pray as compared to the early 1980’s, and twice as many said they do not believe in God. The biggest decline is among 18-29 year olds, the so-called millennials. The study also shows that despite the decline in religious affiliation or practice, belief in the afterlife has increased. How does Professor Twenge explain this?

“It was interesting that fewer people participated in religion or prayed but more believed in an afterlife,” Twenge said. “It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality ”“ thinking you can get something for nothing.”

Read it all and you can find the full paper there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Eschatology, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology, Young Adults

(Atlantic) Homeschooling Without God

Many atheist, agnostic, and non-religious kids and parents credit social media with helping them realize there are others like them. In nearly every place in the U.S. where there are homeschoolers, there are organized “park days” where kids get together weekly to play with other kids, go on field trips, or participate in sports. The California Homeschool Network, an extensive but incomplete compendium of resources in the state, lists 47 Christian homeschool-support and park-day groups, and seven that are secular. But across the state and country, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of secular homeschool Facebook groups where moms and dads post photos, hatch ideas for social gatherings, and discuss their struggles and successes with state laws.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Lara Corbell has homeschooled her daughters, a seventh grader and a fifth grader, for two years. She left her job as a merchandiser for Hallmark to teach her kids because her younger daughter was performing poorly in public school. The family doesn’t attend church, although they celebrate a secular version of Christmas and Easter. The kids like the gifts and Easter baskets, Corbell said, but “we had issues with lying about Santa.” Corbell stopped attending church when she was five after she told her dad she “didn’t like it,” and services are largely foreign to her girls.

“I was thinking I’d just plug these words into Google and get some resources but every single thing I would delve into would have some religion in it. It was so frustrating,” Corbell, 45, said of her first foray into homeschooling. “It’s not about being anti-religion. It’s just that you want to teach kids your own belief system. I just wanted unbiased resources.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Atheism, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology