Daily Archives: November 3, 2016

(WSJ) Jason Gay experiences an epic night of anxiety and jubilation for Cubs Fans

“I don’t want to hear any negativity!” a voice shouted in the crowd.

You know what happened next. The Cubs held off the Indians in the ninth, and then”¦.it began raining in Cleveland. The crowd couldn’t help but laugh at the emotional torture of it. A rain delay?

A priest in the crowd””really, there was a priest, Father Bill Corcoran, of Saint Elizabeth Seton Church””pleaded for vigilance.

“You have to have courage! Corragio!” he said, using the Italian. “Never lose hope.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Psychology, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Is Church decline the fault of poor leadership?

In the summer, and after a year’s delay, Bloomsbury published That Was the Church That Was by Andrew Brown and Linda Woodhead. Woodhead is professor of sociology of religion at the University of Lancaster, and Brown has been a religious correspondent for a national newspaper for many years. So you might expect them both to know what they are talking about when it comes to the Church of England. But the review by Edward Lucas in The Times sets out how much an explanation is needed of recent decline in church attendance””and how signally this book fails to offer it:

It deserves a definitive book, explaining how a mighty, self-confident and global institution, with centuries-old roots and run by kind, intelligent and hard-working people, was shunted to the sidelines of national life in less than a generation. Andrew Brown and Linda Woodhead have failed to do that. Despite flashes of insight and some vivid writing, their book is lazy, spiteful and meandering.

I was keen to read the book for myself to see whether this withering assessment was deserved, or whether it reflected the interests and concerns of the reviewer. Sadly it was the former.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology

New C of E Head of Media Operations Announced

The communications office of the Church of England has today announced the appointment of John Bingham as Head of Media Operations. John replaces Neill Harvey Smith who moved on from the role in July of this year.

John Bingham brings substantial experience to the post with 15 years in full time journalism with much of this at a senior level. He has held his current role as Religious and Social Affairs editor for the Daily Telegraph for almost 5 years having previously worked as a Senior Reporter for the Telegraph and Chief reporter for the Press Association.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

NZ Anglicans form Key Working Group on the same-gender blessings and the church struggle

The group charged with identifying “structural arrangements” to allow the church to hold all those with differing convictions on blessing same-gender relationships has today been named.

Its members are: Rt Rev Richard Ellena (Bishop of Nelson); Mrs Jackie Pearse (a former General Secretary of this Church); Rev Learne McGrath (Vicar of Massey, Auckland); Mr Jeremy Johnson (Chancellor of the Diocese of Christchurch); Mr Fei Tevi (Diocese of Polynesia) and Rev Katene Eruera (Dean Tikanga Maori St John’s College)

Last May’s Napier General Synod passed Motion 29 ”“ which tabled the ”˜A Way Forward’ report until the 2018 General Synod “with a firm expectation that a decision to move forward will be made then.”

Motion 29 also charged the Primates with setting up another working group with a tightly-focussed mandate to identify “structural arrangements within our Three-Tikanga Church to safeguard both theological convictions concerning the blessing of same gender relationships” .

Read it all from Anglican Taonga.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Fleming Rutledge–Beyond Religion and Spirituality, from the Baltimore Declaration Conference

In the Church Dogmatics, Karl Barth defines “human religion” this way: “the realm of attempts by man to justify and sanctify himself before a wilfully”¦devised image of God.”[6] The position I’m staking out is that in today’s context, it is more crucial than ever to make a sufficiently sharp distinction between self-justification and self-sanctification, on the one hand, and on the other, the utterly gratuitous, prevenient action of God in justifying humanity by the self-offering of his Son. I’m choosing those two words carefully: gratuitous in its original, primary meaning of “given freely, without regard to merit” and prevenient, meaning “to go before,” as in prevenient grace which precedes anything we can do to earn or deserve it.

So what is the antidote to the situation we find ourselves in, where voices within the church are calling for the reinstatement of Pelagius as a Christian teacher and model? Where “Celtic” services on Sunday evenings, with candles and chants and eclectic liturgies, attract far more millennials than Sunday morning worship? Where so often, sermons are little more than assorted more-or-less-religious reflections having little to do with the actual biblical text? Where the high Christology of the Creeds and Councils has become a Jesus-ology, based on his inclusive table fellowship? What is the antidote?

In one of my old files I came across an interview with the pre-eminent Anglican missionary bishop and historian Stephen Neill. He said, “Biblical preaching is practically unknown these days.” This is in the 1970s! He continues, “I find a very remarkable response to biblical preaching. There’s not nearly enough of it in the churches in America”¦[Unless] you are rooted and grounded in the faith, there is no particular impulse to pass it on.” This was more than 40 years ago, and the trends have proven him right.

I’m here to argue that when there is no biblical preaching, the church is in a crisis.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Eschatology, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Richard Hooker on Richard Hooker's Feast Day

But I am besides my purpose when I fall to bewail the cold affection which we bear towards that whereby we should be saved, my purpose being only to set down what the ground of salvation is. The doctrine of the Gospel proposeth salvation as the end, and doth it not teach the way of attaining thereunto? Yes, the damsel possessed with a spirit of divination spake the truth: “These men are the servants of the most high God who show unto us the way of salvation” [Acts 16:17] — “a new and living way which Christ hath prepared for us through the veil, that is, his flesh,” [Heb 10:20] salvation purchased by the death of Christ.

–Learned Discourse on Justification (my emphasis)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Soteriology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Richard Hooker

O God of truth and peace, who didst raise up thy servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion: Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth 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 England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Leonine Sacramentary

Grant us, O Lord, not to mind earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to cleave to those that shall abide; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. And some one said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ”˜Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ”˜I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ”˜We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ”˜I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!’ There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

–Luke 13:18-30

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ESPN) The Cubs finally Win the World Series in one of the greatest games ever

At least it didn’t take anything special to wipe out the longest title drought in the history of professional sports. Only the greatest World Series Game 7 ever played. That’s all.

Move over, Jack Morris and Luis Gonzalez. Tell Ralph Terry and Madison Bumgarner they had a great run. And you, Bill Mazeroski fans, submit your case via your favorite form of social media.

But we would argue that none of those games can top the passion, the drama and the history of Game 7 in Cleveland, on a balmy Wednesday night turned stormy Thursday morning. It took 10 exhausting innings and 4 hours and 45 exhilarating minutes. But when it finally ended, at 12:47 a.m., on Nov. 3, 2016, the giant left-field scoreboard read: Cubs 8, Indians 7. And it was suddenly possible to type a sentence that no living human has ever typed:

The Chicago Cubs are the champions of baseball.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Men, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues

C of E starts a new website inviting people attend local parish services at Christmas.

Parishes are being invited to visit AChristmasNearYou.org/upload from the 1st November and complete a simple form no later than 1st December to register their Christmas church services.

On the 1st of December www.AChristmasNearYou.org will be live for anyone to be able to find the nearest Christmas services to them (or search for services in a particular location). It will be able to filter by date, whether there will be carols and accessibility such as wheelchair access, sign language and parking and more. They’ll also be able to find which Christmas services are serving mince pies or mulled wine! For smartphones, the website will be able to use geolocation to find where the person is and show which Christmas services are happening nearest to them.

To promote the website and accompanying Christmas social media campaign, there will be four videos on the theme of Christmas Joy. The videos star Gogglebox vicar Kate Bottley, comedian Paul Kerensa, Matt Woodcock and Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons Rose Hudson Wilkin – each talking about a moment of Christmas Joy in their lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Christmas, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(AI) Gavin Ashenden–Discernment+Discipleship-A Response to the Bishop of Liverpool 26 Oct 2016

Bishop Bayes’ article is a mixture of Christian and secular aspiration, but it is fatally flawed by his preferencing the spirit of the age and its values over Scripture and spiritual discernment.

He begins his article by encouraging change and transformation, (St Paul would agree with that) but he is unwilling or unable to make any discrimination between wholesome, holy desires- desires of the Spirit as the New Testament teaches, and desires of the flesh ”“ the lower nature. Not all change is good.

The New Testament understands the idea of the heart’s desire he advocates, but it locates it as a Christian in a longing for God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Bishop Bayes, ditching any recognition of being single and celibate, locates it in the desire for a romantic, erotic relationship; and in the face of the whole weight of Christian experience and biblical teaching, encourages the anger that is the fruit of the frustration of not getting what you want, to be directed against the Church.

This is taking up cudgels on behalf of the flesh, not the Spirit, as not only misses but perverts the point of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture