Daily Archives: February 13, 2017

(AFP) How algorithms (secretly) run the world

When you browse online for a new pair of shoes, pick a movie to stream on Netflix or apply for a car loan, an algorithm likely has its word to say on the outcome.

The complex mathematical formulas are playing a growing role in all walks of life: from detecting skin cancers to suggesting new Facebook friends, deciding who gets a job, how police resources are deployed, who gets insurance at what cost, or who is on a “no fly” list.

Algorithms are being used — experimentally — to write news articles from raw data, while Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was helped by behavioral marketers who used an algorithm to locate the highest concentrations of “persuadable voters.”

But while such automated tools can inject a measure of objectivity into erstwhile subjective decisions, fears are rising over the lack of transparency algorithms can entail, with pressure growing to apply standards of ethics or “accountability.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Science & Technology, Theology

(Tel) C of E ministers could work beyond the age of 70 to ease the recruitment crisis

Senior Church of England ministers look set to be allowed to work beyond 70, as its ruling body votes on the issue for the first time amid concerns about a shortage of clergy.

The Anglican Church faces a recruitment crisis as hundreds of ministers are due to retire over the next decade and there is not enough younger staff to replace them.

A vote on the new rules, due to take place on Tuesday at the Church of England synod, will come after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, addresses the meeting on Monday.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Gavin Ashenden – Turbulent Priest

A podcast you can find at the lower right of the link below talking about Christianity, Islam,Secularism, Persecution, a death threat, the Church of England and his view of the future.

Listen to it all if you wish

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

3 BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme Segments of Anglican Interest

In an unprecedented move, 14 retired Church of England Bishops have released a letter expressing concern about the House of Bishops’ report on marriage and same sex relationships. The former Bishop of Worcester Peter Selby, who wrote the letter, speaks to William Crawley.

A man who claims he was beaten when he was a boy by John Smyth, the former head of a Christian charity, says his abuser claimed the beatings could be theologically justified. David Hilborn, Chair of the Theology Advisory Group for the Evangelical Alliance and Angela Tilby, Canon Emeritus of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford join William to discuss’ ‘violent theology’.

Trevor Barnes speaks to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby about his book ‘Dethroning Mammon’.

Listen to any or all at the audio link provided at this linked page.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Collection of Various Responses to the House of Bishops Report by Anglican Mainstream

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(C of E Comm Blog) Bp Martyn Snow–The House of Bishops Report: We Need Each Other

Everyone needs to be heard. There has been much talk (on social media) of people boycotting the small groups at General Synod. I am saddened by the thought that I won’t hear their voices. The assumption may be that I won’t listen because I wear purple and the report has already been written and everything is decided. I don’t believe that is the case. I have much to learn in my own pastoral response to LGBTI people and I can only learn it by listening.

Everyone needs to be seen. There has also been much talk (on social media) of gestures of defiance. There will be protest groups outside Synod and others inside proposing alternatives to the ”˜take note’ debate. I understand the motives behind this but wonder what will be achieved. Will it lead to change and a greater acceptance of LGBTI people in churches? I’m really not sure. The media will circle like wolves and everyone’s hackles will rise.

We need each other. My sincere prayer is that the new relationships generated among members of General Synod by previous small groups will triumph over the old pattern of playing to the public gallery. Vent your anger at me, but please do it face to face in a small group. Tell me of your frustration, but please do it in such a way that we can talk together about new ways of decision making which model to a war-torn world how we can live well together.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(C of E Comm Blog) Bishop Martin Warner-The House of Bishops report: the Anglo-Catholic tradition

Using today’s terminology, Anglo-Catholicism has often been caricatured and derided as harbouring a gay subculture. Irrespective of the actual sexual orientation of Anglo-Catholic laity and clergy, past or present, we have borne the opprobrium, and offered safe space to recipients, of homophobia.

And still we love the faith and the Sacraments received by the Church of England as something rich and life-giving, an articulation of Christian truth shared with the ancient Churches of East and West.

I have no formal mandate for saying so, but that is the reason why many Anglo-Catholics, and others, sincerely and gladly accept the retention of the doctrine of marriage as we have received it.

However, aware of the destructive force of homophobic innuendo and denigration, we also know we need a theological language that can articulate and honour difference in human sexual identity and relationship.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Critics of Bishops’ sexuality report plan a Synod protest vote

The House of Bishops’ report on marriage and same-sex relationships…is a “morally reprehensible document that needs to be rejected by the Synod”, the Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury, Canon Simon Butler, said on Wednesday.

Describing it as a “betrayal of trust” that left “weapons on the table”, he expected a “very close vote” after the take-note debate scheduled to take place on Wednesday evening.

“If it is defeated, that is a clear signal to the House of Bishops that Synod is unwilling to progress in the direction they are taking,” he said. “If it is a narrow vote, the Bishops would be very unwise to continue down this course, because the whole of the Church’s wider agenda will be subsumed into a conflict that will last for the next period of the life of the Church. That would be a disaster.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Observer) Church of Eng faces new split over attitude to same-sex relationships

The Church of England is facing a fresh crisis over its stance on gay relationships following unprecedented criticism by a group of leading retired bishops over its failure to provide leadership on the issue, and its marginalisation of LGBT members.

The highly unconventional intervention comes before this week’s synod, which will be dominated by rancorous divisions over sexuality. Officials hope the 500-plus members of the church’s general assembly will approve a recent report from bishops which upholds the traditional teaching that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman.

But a rebellion is being orchestrated by supporters of LGBT rights who are dismayed at the bishops’ restatement of doctrine. The church insists that gay clergy must be celibate, and clergy are forbidden from conducting same-sex marriage services. An open letter from 14 retired bishops, led by Peter Selby, the former bishop of Worcester, and including Richard Harries, former bishop of Oxford, urges their successors to think again. They say serving bishops have sought to manage a conflict “rather than perhaps enabling or leading”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Tel) Anglicans braced for new clashes over same-sex marriage in church

The Anglican church is set for a renewed clash on the divisive question of gay marriage this week when its ruling body votes on a key report from the Bishops on same sex relationships.

The Church of England synod, the governing body made up of Bishops, clergy and laity which decides on church law and policy, will vote on Wednesday whether to ”˜take note’ – confirm – or reject the report confirming the status quo against gay marriage.

Liberals within the church are hopeful the synod will reject advice from the Bishops’ to leave its policy against gay marriage unchanged.

A vote by the synod in favour of same-sex marriage could eventually pave the way for a fundamental change in Anglican teaching.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Weekend Retired Bishops Letter to the C of E Bishops on the H of Bps Report

From there:

Dear Fellow Bishop

The Bishops’ Report to Synod on Sexuality

Most retired bishops would be prepared to admit that participation in the synodical processes of the church is not what they most miss about their role as diocesan or suffragan bishops. They also feel some reticence about entering into the current debates occupying their successors on the basis of information that is partial and becomes more and more dated with the passing of the years. There is a dilemma, though: you don’t work for years as a bishop and then easily and suddenly lose the bond you feel for the bishops, your successors and former colleagues. Nor do you lose your concern that the church of which you continue to be a bishop should be faithful in its commendation of the Gospel to the society at large.

So when a report emerges that is the subject of major controversy within the church and society some retired bishops will wish to do what the signatories of this letter are seeking to do, namely to reflect from their particular perspective on what our successors are seeking to say and do about an issue that has been a longstanding source of concern and contention.
Your statement is the product of enormous time and effort, our memories of such situations suggesting perhaps too much time and too much effort. The ”˜too much’ comes from the enormous sense of responsibility your document shows to manage a conflict that you and we know causes huge amounts of grief and argument. The result, dare we say, is that whereas it used to be said that bishops often sounded as though they spoke with a pipe in their mouths, now that pipes are rare they sound more as though they see their task as managing ”“ rather than perhaps enabling or leading ”“ the conflicts that are bound to occur. And we remember how exhausting that is, and how it seems to blunt the edge of bishops’ own passionate convictions, which might divide them but also invigorate the conversation.

You write after the Shared Conversations. We well remember having had lots of those, even if they did not have capital letters. But their integrity rested on the assurance that in reporting them the voices of those who participated would not be drowned out by the ”˜majority view’ or ”˜established position’. Our perception is that while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its authentic voice. Our experience would lead us to doubt whether there was an expectation around that canons and doctrinal statements would be changed within any reasonable timescale, and that focus seems to have taken far more time than it would have done if the authentic voices of lesbian and gay people had been allowed to express the major focus of their hopes. Going down the road of seeking a change in the law or doctrinal formulation would indeed not have been realistic ”“ but you might not have had to spend as much time explaining why if those other voices had been allowed to come through more clearly.

The result of that focus on the issue of a change in the law is that your call for change of tone and culture, while absolutely right, does not carry conviction. Indeed, from the perhaps luxurious perspective of retirement the tone and culture of your document are incredibly familiar ”“ we’ve been there and talked in that tone of voice, and it prevents calls for a change of culture, of course offered in complete sincerity by you, from ringing true.

We’ll avoid making too many detailed points just now; but hard as you have tried you have really not allowed the theological voice of some of us to be heard properly. In para 8 you draw a contrast between ”˜the many who [hold] a conservative view of scripture [for whom] the underlying issue at stake is faithfulness to God’s word’ and others for whom ”˜the imperative to read scripture differently stems from a parallel conviction’. If the second group are to recognise their voice in theological conversations their ”˜parallel conviction’ needs to be expressed and not just alluded to.

May we end by assuring you that we continue to sympathise with the challenging nature of the task you have in this and other matters. You will receive much negative comment about your report, and we hope that these brief remarks may illuminate the reason for that: it is not that the Shared Conversations were thought to herald changes of law or doctrine; rather there will be deep disappointment that those who are not officially part of your meetings, who experience at first hand the struggles you only allude to, have once again been spoken about by their bishops instead of being enabled to speak in their own voice about their future and the future of the church they belong to and care about.

Yours sincerely in Christ

The Rt Revd Dr David Atkinson, formerly Bishop of Thetford

The Rt Revd Michael Doe, formerly Bishop of Swindon

The Rt Revd Dr Timothy Ellis, formerly Bishop of Grantham

The Rt Revd David Gillett, formerly Bishop of Bolton

The Rt Revd John Gladwin, formerly Bishop of Guildford and of Chelmsford

The Rt Revd Dr Laurie Green, formerly Bishop of Bradwell

The Rt Revd the Lord Harries, formerly Bishop of Oxford

The Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, formerly Bishop of Hulme

The Rt Revd Dr Stephen Platten, formerly Bishop of Wakefield

The Rt Revd John Pritchard, formerly Bishop of Oxford

The Rt Revd Dr Peter Selby, formerly Bishop of Worcester

The Rt Revd Tim Stevens, formerly Bishop of Leicester

The Rt Revd Roy Williamson, formerly Bishop of Bradford and of Southwark

The Rt Revd Martin Wharton CBE, formerly Bishop of Newcastle

Please note that there is also information on the additional signatories to the letter here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Absalom Jones

Set us free, O heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear: that, honoring the steadfast courage of thy servants Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from E.B. Pusey

O God, fountain of love, pour thy love into our souls, that we may love those whom thou lovest with the love thou givest us, and think and speak of them tenderly, meekly, lovingly; and so loving our brethren and sisters for thy sake, may grow in thy love, and dwelling in love may dwell in thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations. For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens.

–Psalm 89:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AI) ACNA orders valid state Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have recognised the orders of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967. The Measure gives the Archbishops authority to determine whether the orders of any Church are ”˜recognised and accepted’ by the Church of England for the purposes of the Measure.

This follows work undertaken by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) in consultation with the Council for Christian Unity both (a) to clarify the general criteria by which the Church of England recognises the ministry of those whose orders are of churches within the historic episcopate and with whom the Church of England is not in communion, and (b) to consider whether the orders of ACNA meet these criteria. The work on the general criteria is presented in Recognition by the Church of England of Orders Conferred in Other Churches, available on the FAOC page of the Church of England website. The work on ACNA specifically was communicated to the Archbishops, whose responsibility it is to make the decision in such cases. The Archbishops, having carefully reflected on this advice, have decided to act on it by formally recognising ACNA’s orders.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops