Daily Archives: September 19, 2016
Reading classics is humbling. Myopia becomes impossible. Millennia of human history unfold with the pages of books””and with an authenticity that no textbook or documentary can mimic. Read the Iliad and you glimpse the grandeur of a bygone warrior civilization. Marvel at the mysteries of The Inferno””and at the epoch that thrived on such poetry. Read Of Plymouth Plantation and admire the pluck of the Pilgrims who erected homes in a barren Massachusetts winter. Whistle at the sheer determination that drove pioneers like the Ingallses to plough and homestead the West. Recognizing hardships in other centuries doesn’t erase our own. But the recognition can relieve the feverish sense that our troubles are overwhelming. Great books stand as testaments that civilization survives adversity. Thucydides’s History is the record of wartime. Boethius bequeathed The Consolation of Philosophy while awaiting execution. Milton composed Paradise Lost blind, and Bunyan penned Pilgrim’s Progress from prison.
Old books remind us that human nature persists across time. Rosalind’s love for Orlando, hidden in her boyish disguise but at the end bursting forth in womanly depth, speaks to us today as it did in Shakespeare’s time. Joy, love, loneliness, valor, heroism, grief, pride””we sense these anew with characters whose lives look nothing like our own. Human emotion isn’t limited by geography, economic conditions, political structures, or time. The stories of long ago reflect to us something of our own experiences, as in a mirror that mimics the major features but twists and alters the rest.
The litany of great books can, of course, come across as mere litany. Books that charm us in one season, books that shake us to the core in another, can turn blank and empty if we approach them in a dull spirit. Reading them for the sake of duty or out of pedantry is certain to miss the point. The best books are best because of their quirky individuality, not because they are part of a club of “great” books.
What we now see is occurring because Christians have allowed our own minds to become dull, darkened, and depraved. We’ve allowed this to happen, not out of malice toward God or bad intentions, but because our passive minds have resulted in passive lives and a weakened, impotent, wandering, and often confusing and contradictory witness to the Gospel and the life of Christ within.
Simply put, the world has done a better job of evangelizing us to its ways than we have of evangelizing the world to the magnificent good news of the Gospel.
Upholding constitutional rights and the human dignity of those who are same-sex attracted is a matter of basic human decency. But same-sex marriage is something completely different. As a gay man, allow me to make what is perhaps a startling declaration: same-sex marriage is a great coup for the devil, far greater than individual homosexual acts or relationships ever were or ever could be. Same-sex marriage mocks Christ’s relationship with his Bride, the Church. That is the source of the fury being hurled at those who speak out against same-sex marriage.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
Perhaps the most significant thing about the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church that met in June in Crete is that it took place at all. The Eastern Orthodox churches hadn’t met in this way in nearly a century, and it was their first meeting since the fall of the communist regimes that had decimated the religious landscape of Eastern Europe, home to the majority of OrthoÂdox Christians. Even if the decisions taken at the council are contested, there is now a mechanism in place by which they might be revisited.
In the Orthodox Church, nothing happens quickly. Yet the ripples of conciliarity being felt from the June meeting are significant, and they will not soon die out. Some within the Orthodox Church are proposing regular meetings, perhaps not unlike the Lambeth conferences held every decade in the Anglican ComÂmunion. Regular assemblies like this would be something new, and all of a sudden they feel more possible.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is composed of 14 self-governing churches (15 if you count the Orthodox Church in America, whose independent, self-governing status is contested). Of these, four did not attend, largely due to disagreements over some of the texts that were to be discussed in Crete.
Conservative and liberal Christians have criticised a new bishops’ group set up to discuss the issue of homosexuality.
Some conservatives are upset that such a group has been set up at all.
Liberal Anglicans are equally angry, complaining that the new Bishops’ Reflection Group contains no members who have advocated a change in the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage.
Others however have welcomed its membership as faithfully representing Biblical teaching on [same-sex relationships]….
We want to wish the Archbishop well in his retirement. We note the Archbishop’s final presidential address at Governing Body, and still struggle to understand how his approach to scripture is not just licence to disregard its authority. We believe that the inclusivity of Jesus, to which the Archbishop referred, was one not only of loving everyone, but also of calling everyone to a degree of repentance which would result in following him exclusively as Lord. We note Jesus gave an invitation to everyone, but warned repeatedly and frequently of consequences for those who rejected him. We are therefore delighted that one of the closing discussions at Governing Body got people talking about the need to engage in mission and evangelism. We hope and pray that these are the issues that occupy the time and energy of the Church in Wales in the years to come.
GAFCON UK is puzzled as to why the Church of England needs a ‘Bishops’ Reflection Group’ on homosexuality. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference is clear, and the Bible is universally clear. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are same-sex attracted, and faithfully living according to God’s revealed plan for human flourishing. As pastors, teachers, friends, and neighbours we can have no other response. The Church of England needs to have the courage of its foundational convictions, return to them, and move on to its mission of calling the nation to turn to Christ as the only Saviour and Lord.
Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and didst give him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in thy Church, we pray, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Today we remember Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury from 668 – 690 pic.twitter.com/GJxRDfSXZT
— Church of England (@c_of_e) September 19, 2016
Take from us, O Lord God, all pride and vanity, all boasting and self-assertion, and give us the true courage that shows itself in gentleness; the true wisdom that shows itself in simplicity; and the true power that shows itself in modesty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Then we will never turn back from thee; give us life, and we will call on thy name! Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! let thy face shine, that we may be saved!
Federal authorities said they are investigating the stabbing of nine people Saturday night in a shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minn., as a possible terrorist act, and a news agency linked to Islamic State said the group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The suspect is a Somali-American man who was known to local police but hadn’t previously been on the radar of counterterrorism investigators in Minnesota, according to an official familiar with the investigation. For years, Minnesota has grappled with the radicalization of some young men in the state’s Somali community.
“We are currently investigating this as a potential act of terrorism,” Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Minneapolis division, said at a news conference Sunday. “We do not at this point in time know whether the subject was in contact with, had connections with, was inspired by, a foreign terrorist organization.”
Religion is big bucks ”” worth $1.2 trillion annually to the American economy, according to the first comprehensive study to tabulate such a figure.
“In perspective, that would make religion the 15th largest national economy in the world, ahead of 180 other countries in terms of value,” said Georgetown University’s Brian Grim, the study’s author.
“That would also make American religion larger than the global revenues of the top 10 tech companies, including Apple, Amazon and Google,” he continued. “It would also make it 50 percent larger than the six largest American oil companies’ revenue on an annual basis.”