Monthly Archives: July 2016

"Secularization in contemporary Christianity"…"the quiet dropping of belief in a future life"

[One of the most striking examples] of secularization in contemporary Christianity is the quiet dropping of belief in a future life. Historically, this belief was the lifeblood of dynamic Christianity. Early Christians thought of themselves as “aliens and exiles on earth” and as persons whose true citizenship was in heaven. And throughout the Christian centuries, belief in a future life was at the heart of all living faith. Now however, this faith, though rarely denied, is equally rarely affirmed. I myself acquired two degrees in Christian theology and completed all the requirements for ordination to the Anglican ministry without receiving any instruction in this doctrine, or even being exposed to sermons about it.

–Paul Badham, “Some secular trends in the Church of England today”, in Religion, State, and Society in Modern Britain (Lampeter: Edward Mellen Press, 1989), p.26, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Charleston, Folly Beach consider curbing plastic bag use; could bring national fight to SC

Isle of Palms became the first town in South Carolina to ban plastic bags last year, and now Charleston and Folly Beach are looking to curb consumption of the single-use bags, possibly by banning them or imposing a fee at checkout counters.

In doing so they could bring the nationwide fight over plastic bags to South Carolina, which happens to be the headquarters of one of the largest packaging manufacturers in North America, a company leading the fight against such restrictions.

Folly Beach City Council is voting at its Aug. 9 meeting on whether to prevent the island’s merchants from distributing or selling plastic bags, and also Styrofoam coolers. Members of Charleston County and city of Charleston government, environmental groups and nonprofit organizations have joined forces on an online survey to gauge how the public feels about measures to curb plastic bag use.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Animals, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Euchologium Anglicanum

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast revealed thyself in all thy power through the incarnation of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and who dwellest in us by the working of thy Holy Spirit: Grant that we may, each in his several calling, profit from the operation of that one and the self-same Spirit whose gifts are manifold, to the glory of thy holy name, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, world without end.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The Lord is King;he has put on splendid apparel;
the Lord has put on his apparel
and girded himself with strength.

He has made the whole world so sure *
that it cannot be moved.

–Psalm 93:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(1st Things) Yu Jie–China's Christian Future

Since the dawn of the new millennium, Christianity in China has redirected its growth toward a hundred or so central cities throughout the country. Groups of young, well-educated, active professionals have gathered in urban churches, smashing the stereotype in many Chinese people’s minds of Christians as elderly, infirm, sick, or disabled. These churches are unable to register with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and acquire legal status, but they are a first step toward Christians assuming leadership in the development of a Chinese civil society independent of government control. They have websites, assembly locations, schedules, listservs, communiqués, and even publications, which cannot be sold but can be circulated among church members.

China’s urban churches will be a major force in its democratization, for a free society requires a civil society capable of standing up to tyranny and the abuse of power. First, though, they will have to remedy the erroneous notion, present even among some churchgoers, that religion should be a private matter. What is needed is a political theology underscoring the sovereignty of God’s law rather than separation of church and state.

Christianity has transformed how I see myself as a dissident. Over decades of involvement with the Chinese democracy movement, I have seen so-called dissidents think the same, talk the same, act the same as those from whom they are supposedly dissenting. Too often the Communists and dissidents are kindred spirits. I have also seen personal ambitions and power struggles drive friends apart and turn those who should be working with one another against one another. My fellow dissidents attach great hopes to democracy, but it is simply a better method of public management and division of powers””the least worst, as Churchill said. It is not the horizon of all human hope and longing. If one does not believe in something other than democracy, one is no better off than the Communists, making a god of a ­political system.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

The Church of Ireland Release on St Anne’s Appointing a Roman Catholic Ecumenical Canon

Fr [Edward] O’Donnell will join Methodist Minister the Rev Ruth E Patterson, and Presbyterian Minister, the Rev Dr Ruth Patterson, to complete the Cathedral’s complement of three Ecumenical Canons.
Fr O’Donnell said he was surprised to learn from the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, that the Cathedral Chapter had elected him as an Ecumenical Canon, adding that he was ”˜very pleased and happy to accept.’
“While this is a personal privilege for me, the honour is shared with all those who work quietly but persistently to improve and strengthen inter”“church relationships,” Fr O’Donnell said.
“I recognise that for St Anne’s Cathedral community, and for the Catholic community of Belfast, that this is a significant step, perhaps even historic, but more so, I recognise the generosity of the Dean and Chapter in inviting me, as a representative of the Roman Catholic Church, to be an Ecumenical Canon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic, Theology

A Ruth Gledhill Christian Today art. on a Possible Primates Meeting

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to call another meeting of the worldwide Archbishops of the Anglican Communion in a further attempt to heal divisions over sexuality.
At the last meeting in January this year, “consequences” were imposed on The Episcopal Church of the United States over its decision to go ahead with same-sex marriage.
The Church in Canada is subsequently agreed this summer to do the same, although a second vote on the issue will not take place for another three years….

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Wilberforce and Anthony Ashley-Cooper

Just and eternal God, we offer thanks for the stalwart faith and persistence of thy servants William Wilberforce and Anthony Ashley-Cooper, who, undeterred by opposition and failure, held fast to a vision of justice in which no child of yours might suffer in enforced servitude and misery. Grant that we, drawn by that same Gospel vision, may persevere in serving the common good and caring for those who have been cast down, that they may be raised up through Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Knight

Almighty God, in whom is no darkness at all: Grant us thy light perpetually, and when we cannot see the way before us, may we continue to put our trust in thee; that so, being guided and guarded by thy love, we may be kept from falling, this day and all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

At the set time which I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars….

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up; but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

–Psalm 75: 2-3; 6-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AI) Primates asked to reserve dates for meeting in October 2017

In an email sent by staffers at the Anglican Consultative Council to the primates and moderators of the church on 27 July 2016, the ACC stated that date had “been selected as the date for the next Primates’ Meeting. The meeting will take place in Canterbury. We will write with a formal letter of invitation in due course but I would be most grateful if you would now confirm this date in your diary.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury

(WSJ) David Studdart–The Strange Rites of the Ancient Olympics

Like doping scandals today, rigged outcomes and cheating, though not common, certainly did tarnish the ancient Games. Visit Olympia, and you can still see the bases of the “Zanes,” bronze statues of Zeus erected from fines imposed on cheating athletes, with inscriptions naming and shaming the culprits. But nothing diminished the allure of the Olympics. Only Christianity could overcome them. With the banning of pagan practices by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in A.D. 391, their days were numbered, and by 425 the Olympics were no more.

For well over a thousand years the Games survived seismic shifts in politics and society, not to mention long-raging wars. Their religious focus undoubtedly played a major part in their longevity. And they evolved, too, with new contests being introduced (those for heralds and trumpeters were perhaps the most bizarre) while others (such as the mule race) were phased out.

But it was more than all that, and here we arrive at the continuing appeal of the modern Games as well. The philosopher Epictetus put his finger on it. Even as he noted “the cacophony, the din, the jostling, the shoving [and] the crowding” of the ancient Games, he had to admit that “you are happy to put up with all this when you think of the splendor of the spectacles.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Greece, History, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sports, Theology

Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Advisor for Reconciliation Announced

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has announced the appointment of Sarah Snyder as his new Advisor for Reconciliation.

She takes over from Canon David Porter who moved into his new role as Chief of Staff and Strategy to the Archbishop at the beginning of May.

Sarah will take up the role in September. She will be part of the senior team at Lambeth Palace while also being based at Coventry Cathedral, where Archbishop Justin’s Reconciliation Ministry has been established since its inception. Her role will have a particular emphasis on supporting the Church in contexts of violent conflict or post-conflict and helping the Church to be an agent of reconciliation and conflict-transformation.

Read it all.

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

(Church Times) Goddard Inquiry begins to sift through Church’s evidence

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has begun a “rapid evidence assessment” as part of its investigation into the Anglican Churches in England and Wales, the Inquiry’s Counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, said this week.

Mr Emmerson made his com­ments on Wednesday at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, Lon­don, where Justice Lowell Goddard was holding a series of preliminary hearings into the Inquiry’s different strands.

He revealed that the Inquiry’s research team was sifting through information and evidence from 114 different sources. Among them was the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, which had sup­plied over 7000 items of evidence relating to the diocese of Chichester and the case of Bishop Peter Ball, which are being used as case studies by the Inquiry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Mary and Martha [and Lazarus] of Bethany

Generous God, whose Son Jesus Christ enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany: Open our hearts to love thee, our ears to hear thee, and our hands to welcome and serve thee in others, through Jesus Christ our risen Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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