Daily Archives: July 18, 2016

(1st Things) Matthew Schmitz–Donald Trump, Man of (Norman Vicent Peale) faith

In his late twenties, Trump began attending Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue. Founded in 1628 in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, Marble Collegiate is one of the few institutions that survives from the city’s founding. Peter Minuit, the governor of New Amsterdam, was the first church elder, and Peter Stuyvesant, the colony’s director general, led worshippers to service every Sunday. The high steeple of its current home, erected in 1854, rises two hundred feet above the pavement, a symbol of uprightness set in stone. Here Trump walked down the aisle after exchanging vows with Ivana and heard the sermons of Norman Vincent Peale, a man whose philosophy would become Trump’s own.

When Trump met him, Peale was already famous as the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, a book that would go on to sell some five million copies. Peale occupied a position at the center of the establishment, though this standing was endangered in 1960, when he joined a group of 150 Protestant pastors, including Billy Graham, that wanted to keep Kennedy out of the White House. The group issued a manifesto asking whether a Catholic could be trusted as president when Rome had shown such “determined efforts . . . to breach the wall of separation of church and state.” Peale led the public presentation of the document and faced an immediate backlash from Union Theological Seminary’s Reinhold Niebuhr and John Bennett, who accused him of “blind prejudice.” The embarrassed Peale apologized and from then on sought to distance his teaching from the harsh realities of politics.

Before Trump made his own foray into politics, he read Peale’s book and adopted its program of “positive thinking.” The two men began to trade public compliments. Peale, always generous in his assessments of human nature, said that Trump had a “profound streak of honest humility.” Trump, not exactly showing that humble streak, said that Peale “thought I was his greatest student of all time.” In a certain sense, Trump was right. Peale has had no more perfect disciple.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–The Power of Priorities+the Danger of Distraction (Luke 10:38-42)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Dio of SC) Anglican Leadership Institute Announces September Speaking Events

New from Bishop Michael Nazir Ali
Faith, Freedom & the Future

With unique insight and wisdom, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali surveys the current challenges facing today’s church and provides a compelling hope-filled vision of what a living Christian faith, and its comprehensive outworking, can offer society today. Bishop Michael boldly tackles a range of pressing and controversial issues with astute scholarship and understanding ”” including: the challenge of Islam, freedom and conscience, the ”˜modern family’, bioethics and the uncertain future of the worldwide Anglican Communion and, by implication, other mainline denominations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Globalization, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(CT) How Perry Noble's Alcohol Firing by NewSpring Compares to Other Churches

The church’s executive pastors met with Noble “over the course of several months” to discuss their concerns about his dependence on alcohol, which eventually resulted in his removal.
“In my opinion, the bible (sic) does not prohibit the use of alcohol, but it does prohibit drunkenness and intoxication,” Noble wrote to his congregation of 18 years. “I never had a problem drinking alcohol socially, but in the past year or so I have allowed myself to slide into, in my opinion, the overuse of alcohol.
“This was a spiritual and moral mistake on my part,” Noble wrote, “as I began to depend on alcohol for my refuge instead of Jesus and others.”
Noble’s addiction””and his church’s concern””are not new. Nearly one in five pastors report that they have struggled with addiction to alcohol or prescription drugs, according to a 2013 survey by Barna Group.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Alcoholism, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Perry Noble removed as pastor at NewSpring in Greenville, SC for alcohol addiction issues

About 2,000 members made the warm walk across the NewSpring Church parking lot in Anderson for each worship service Sunday morning.

Few were fully braced for the news that awaited: Perry Noble, the only senior pastor the church has known, has been removed from his duties for personal issues related to alcohol by the church’s leadership team.

Williamston Town Councilman Rockey Burgess said the news “did come as a shock” in the 9:15 a.m. service, even though recent rumors had prepared him to a degree.

“But the church isn’t made up of the preacher, and the church doesn’t worship the preacher,” he said. “The church is the people who go there, and we all love one another.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Alcoholism, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

PBS Religion+Ethics Newsweekly–Violence, Law Enforcement, Race, and Justice

Joining me for more on this is our managing editor Kim Lawton and Lisa Sharon Harper of the Christian social justice group Sojourners. She’s the author of the new book The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right.


ABERNETHY: On your list of things that need to be done, what’s first?

09HARPER: Number one, we need to deal with the unconscious beliefs that we have about each other. You see, our society is structured according to those beliefs””in fact you go back to Plato, Western civilization, Plato told us back in 360 BC we should structure the republic according to race. But it wasn’t colorized at that point. We colorized it, and then we created a slave-based, race-based slavery system that structured the way we encountered the world. And it creates biases.

KIM LAWTON: And you think though that that’s still having an impact? We’re well beyond slavery now…

HARPER: So imagine 254 years walking around in society and seeing black people in chains, confined in small spaces with overseers. Then another 100 years you see them swinging from trees””this is how criminals are treated in Europe. This is how we came to understand and see black people. And now, when an officer encounters a black person in a car, you actually””he responds to them as if they’re criminal before even meeting them, before listening to their voice.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Spectator) Dan Hitchens–Pilgrimages are back ”“ with less Christianity

The BPT’s philosophy emphasises personal fulfilment ”” on pilgrimage, says their website, ”˜You are free to be the best person you can dream of being’ ”” but also social conscience: they encourage pilgrims to give something back, whether by picking up litter, buying locally or talking to a stranger. They also promise that ”˜You will rediscover your relationship with self and Nature. Engaging with the world in the way your body was designed to do is a sure path to feeling grateful for being alive.’

It is, in short, a very 21st-century kind of spirituality. It has much in common with the atheist church the Sunday Assembly, whose slogan is ”˜Live better, help often, wonder more’. Which sounds very much like the self-help tradition ”” a term Hayward happily applies to pilgrimage. ”˜It is a self-help technique, as much as anything else. But religion, of course, is a self-help”¦’ He checks himself. ”˜I mean, would it call itself self-help?’

It’s a complex question, but as far as Christianity goes I think the answer is probably no. Jesus provoked not so much ”˜a sense of wonder’ as fear, astonishment, fiercely personal hatred and even more fiercely personal love. He spoke about individual fulfilment, but said that the only way to it was a slow death by crucifixion. He showed compassion, but often in startling ways ”” negotiating with devils, controlling the weather, raising the dead. It was not your average Ted talk.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Travel

Christian Century Interviews Writer Dennis Covington

Do you have hope for Syria?

There’s hope but no chance for true peace until Assad steps down. It’s hard for me to listen when people say: In places like Syria, they’re not like us. They want a strong person in power to rule them. I don’t buy that. Everybody wants to be free enough to determine their own destiny. Syria used to be a more or less secular state. My Syrian friends have described how their mothers used to go to Easter services even though they were Muslims.

Christianity and Islam aren’t so far apart. And Judaism too””we’re all of Abrahamic faiths. Almost all the people I saw over there who were doing the work of Jesus were Muslims. They were healing the sick, caring for the widows and orphans. Most of the foreign aid workers were Europeans who didn’t have any religious affiliation at all, but they were doing the work of Jesus. And there were Christians among them, of course. We’re all in this together.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that as a tree is known by its fruit, so we may be recognized as thy children by our obedience to thy will. Help us to put away all hypocrisy and self-seeking, that we may truly set forth thy glory and extend thy kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed is he who considers the poor!
The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
thou dost not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness thou healest all his infirmities.

–Psalm 41:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

NYT-In the Age of ISIS, Who’s a Terrorist, and Who’s Simply Deranged?

In December 2014, a middle-aged man driving a car in Dijon, France, mowed down more than a dozen pedestrians within 30 minutes, occasionally shouting Islamic slogans from his window.

The chief prosecutor in Dijon described the attacks, which left 13 injured but no one dead, as the work of a mentally unbalanced man whose motivations were vague and “hardly coherent.”

A year and a half later, after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel slaughtered dozens of people when he drove a 19-ton refrigerated truck through a Bastille Day celebration on Thursday in Nice, France, the authorities did not hesitate to call it an act of Islamic terrorism. The attacker had a record of petty crime ”” though no obvious ties to a terrorist group ”” but the French prime minister swiftly said Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel was “a terrorist probably linked to radical Islam one way or another.”

The age of the Islamic State, in which the tools of terrorism appear increasingly crude and haphazard, has led to a reimagining of the common notion of who is and who is not a terrorist.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, Globalization, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Western Jurisdiction elects a Untd Methodist bishop who is a woman married to another woman

Bishop Melvin Talbert, retired from the Western Jurisdiction, said he wasn’t sure he would ever live to see the day when the church would elect an openly gay bishop.

“This means our church ”” at least part of our church ”” has finally come to the realization that there is no longer any place for exclusion. We are all children of God regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or abilities. We would be blessed to invite all God’s people to their rightful place at the table.”

In a statement issued following Oliveto’s election, Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, said, “This election raises significant concerns and questions of church polity and unity.”

Ough clarified that the Council of Bishops does not have constitutional authority to intervene in the election, but “is monitoring this situation very closely.”

He acknowledged that some in the church will view this election as a violation of church law and a significant step toward a split, while others will consider it a milestone toward being a more inclusive church.

“Our differences are real and cannot be glossed over, but they are also reconcilable,” Ough said. “We are confident God is with us, especially in uncharted times and places.”

Read it all from UMNS.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture