Monthly Archives: May 2017

(CT) Shame, Guilt, and Fear: What 1,000 Americans Avoid Most

Many Americans are more worried about their reputation than their conscience.

They worry less about guilt and fear and more about avoiding shame, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Shame has become particularly powerful in American culture in the internet age, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. A single mistake or embarrassing moment posted on social media can ruin a person’s life.

“What’s our biggest cultural fear? Shame,” he said. “What’s surprising is not that personal freedom, ambition, and doing the right thing are valued by Americans. It’s that risk to our reputation is what matters most.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology

TEC Seminary That Stopped Giving Degrees Amid $7.9M Asset Loss to Join Union Theological Seminary

An influential Episcopal Church seminary that last year announced they were no longer granting degrees will become part of the New York-based Union Theological Seminary.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/episcopal-seminary-stopped-giving-degrees-amid-7-9-million-asset-loss-join-union-theological-seminary-184732/#W77P7bRXwoTseXtX.99

Episcopal Divinity School of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a theologically liberal seminary founded in 1974, will move its personnel to Union’s campus.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/episcopal-seminary-stopped-giving-degrees-amid-7-9-million-asset-loss-join-union-theological-seminary-184732/#W77P7bRXwoTseXtX.99

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship

(BBC) Manchester attack: Vigil finds city defiant in the face of terror

The silence held for a full five minutes before the Lord Mayor Eddy Newman began to speak.
His was a message of thanks for the emergency services and defiance in the face in the terrorism, words that were met with cheers and loud applause.
He was followed by others with equally unbending speeches.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, spoke of the city’s unerring belief in diversity and unity and said those who would seek to destroy such things were “the very few, but we are the many, we are Manchester”.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Premiere) Only half of young people believe Jesus was a real person

One third of Christian teenagers don’t know how to talk about Jesus according to a recent poll.

The ComRes survey of 2000 eleven to 18 year olds in England also found that despite this, 56 per cent of non-Christian teenagers said they’d be comfortable with a friend talking to them about faith.

Jimmy Dale who is the Church of England’s Youth Evangelism Officer told Premier’s News Hour the research leaves a big challenge.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

PM Theresa May’s Statement this Morning on the Manchester Attack in Full

At terrible moments like these, it is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before, and the fact that we need to say this again, does not make it any less true. For as so often while we experience the worst of humanity last night, we also saw the best. The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together. And in the days ahead, those must be the things we remember. The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter, but of the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help, of the men and women of the emergency services, who worked tirelessly to bring comfort, to help and to save lives, of the messages of solidarity and hope of all those who opened their homes to the victims, for they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain. A spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken.

There will be difficult days ahead. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected. We offer our full support to the authorities, the emergency and the security services as they go about their work. And we all, every single one of us, stand with the people of Manchester at this terrible time. And today let us remember those who died, and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win and our values, our country and our way of life, will always prevail.

Please take the time to read or watch it all.

Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Andrew Graystone’s Thought for the Day the day after the Manchester bombing

Thousands of excited young people gathered last night for a concert in the Manchester Arena, just a couple of miles from where I am now. For some, their tickets were a birthday or Christmas present. For others, perhaps a quick break in their revision schedule. Many of those young people saw and heard things they will never forget. For them, and for countless friends and family members of those who were killed or injured, the course of their lives has changed forever

An event like this tears through the ordered fabric of our lives. We can find ourselves overwhelmed by anger, fear or deep sadness at the fallenness of our world, and the sinfulness of human hearts. If, as police are currently assuming, it was some sort of terror attack, then that was the precise intention. Random violence can’t win any followers – but it has the power to destabilise us, even those of us who aren’t affected directly. It can stoke the flames of fear or alienation.

But that response is not inevitable….

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

A (well-crafted) Prayer for Manchester from Sam Wells

Posted in England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Augustine

Almighty God, who knowest our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking: Set free thy servants from all anxious thoughts for the morrow; give us contentment with thy good gifts; and confirm our faith that according as we seek thy kingdom, thou wilt not suffer us to lack any good thing; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders which he has wrought.
He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments….

–Psalm 78:2-7

Posted in Theology: Scripture

A Statement from the Manchester Police about the Latest–22 Dead, 59 injured

You may find the BBC live feed there.

Posted in England / UK, Music, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Pray for Manchester UK Tonight–as of this time, 19 confirmed dead and 50 injured in ‘terror’ incident at Manchester Arena, police say

Read it all and you can follow the #manchester hashtag on tiwtter as well as multiple liveblogs from the best english newspaper+news sites.

Posted in Children, England / UK, Music, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(CC) Sam Wells–A chat with the refiner’s fire

You’ve moved across the country, and you’re a long way from the town you know best. Time flies, and it’s been a couple of years since you’ve been back. But something has come up, and it turns out you’re going to spend a day or two there. When you go back, you can’t not go and see that one person, the one who knows you so well and loves you despite it all, and from whom you tend to shy away because he’s like a refiner’s fire that burns away the dross and leaves you with no way to hide the truth. But you’ve been away a couple of years. You’re a lot more worldly-wise now, and you’re not going to be seen through as easily as in the old days.

The conversation starts simply. “What’ve you been up to?” There’re lots of things to say to that. Then, “What’re you working on?” That one’s a bit harder, because you know it doesn’t just mean, “What’s keeping you busy?” but, ”What’s the part of you that’s being tested, what are you learning, what’s not working, and where are you having to grow through your mistakes?” You blunder on, offering up quite a few responses and hoping the number of different activities will prevent the conversation from settling on any single one of them. “That’s a lot of things,” says your refiner’s fire. “Which is the one that really matters?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Theology

(Stuff) Christ Church Cathedral ‘holding up city’s regeneration’ as government intervention calls grow

The neglected Christ Church Cathedral is one of about 30 sites being targeted by council for holding up the city’s regeneration.

The Christchurch City Council’s list comes amid growing calls for the Government to take control of the earthquake-damaged building, which has been sitting derelict in Cathedral Square since the February 2011 tremor.

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Nicky Wagner wants action on the site before a planned Anglican vote on its future in September, while campaigners have called for immediate government intervention to restore the cathedral.

Read it all.

Posted in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, Australia / NZ, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Spectator) Isabel Hardman–It’s not Tim Farron who is illiberal: it’s society

So why the squeamishness about certain beliefs? If it’s OK to say that Heaven exists, then why not answer a question on abortion or sex outside of heterosexual marriage? The answer is that even if Farron thinks it is perfectly possible to be a conservative Christian and an effective Liberal, he doesn’t believe it is possible to express certain Christian beliefs in today’s society. In other words, he suspects that our public debate isn’t particularly liberal.

And this is what the problem is. It’s not that Tim Farron is illiberal: his voting record suggests otherwise. It’s that he appears to fear that the reaction to his own religious beliefs would be so illiberal as to damage his party, and therefore he must obfuscate on those beliefs when asked. We live in a society of liberal intolerance, where only certain worldviews are deemed acceptable by people who often refuse to accept that they themselves have a worldview that also deserves interrogating. Such intolerance is often born of a sincere desire to make life better for those who have been persecuted in the past, including gay people, women who have abortions and those who divorce. But it becomes a form of persecution in itself, just focused on a newly unpopular group.

An election campaign is not the easiest time for a politician to take a principled stand against this liberal intolerance. But with every prominent figure who locks away the unpalatable parts of their worldview, society becomes a little less liberal. Which should worry many more people than just those who support Tim Farron’s party.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

(Tel.) Diocese of Salisbury bucks trend of declining confirmations with rock climbing and bread baking

Confirmations are often seen as an rite of passage out of the Church of England for unwilling teenagers soon to become more interested in socialising and sport.

But one diocese is experiencing an uptick in interest after it introduced rock-climbing, film sessions and baking bread into its classes.

The Rt Revd Dr Edward Condry, Bishop of Ramsbury, has been spearheading a project to increase the number of confirmation ceremonies, and believes it could be key to a revival.

Read it all and please also see this article on the diocesan website.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry