Monthly Archives: July 2017

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O Lord Jesus Christ, into whose death we have been baptized: Grant, we beseech thee, that like as thou wast raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we may walk in newness of life; that having been planted in the likeness of thy death, we may be also in the likeness of thy resurrection; for the glory of thy holy name.

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

–Mark 4:30-32

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(TLC) David Goodhew–Facing Decline in TEC (the Episcopal Church)

[Jeremy] Bonner’s analysis shows how TEC has dramatically declined in recent years. There is a sense that the wider Anglican Communion has not awakened to how far and fast that decline has happened. In significant parts of the United States, TEC has ceased or will soon cease to have a meaningful presence. That said, those who write TEC off are overstating their case. Despite severe decline, it remains a substantial presence in parts of the nation, especially in some major cities.

Estimating the size of TEC’s decline and understanding its causes is complex. Suggesting remedies is beyond the scope of this short article. But a few things can be said.

First, churches need to face demographic realities. If, for example, a city’s or town’s ethnic make-up shifts, wise dioceses and congregations will adapt, not pretend everything is the same.

Second, denominations have to learn to value the local church theologically. If the local church is seen only as an adjunct to some higher good, often called the kingdom, it is not surprising that little effort is made to multiply such congregations or seek their growth. Seeing kingdom as different from, and better than, church is against the grain of the New Testament, in which local churches are integral to the kingdom. The things that we value are the things that tend to flourish. If we want to see growing local churches, we need a theology that values the local church more.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, TEC Data, TEC Departing Parishes

A Letter in tomorrow’s [London] Telegraph concerning “two opposed expressions of Anglicanism”

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) England’s unique national experiment–Free Talk Therapy to anyone who desires it

England is in the midst of a unique national experiment, the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses.

The rapidly growing initiative, which has gotten little publicity outside the country, offers virtually open-ended talk therapy free of charge at clinics throughout the country: in remote farming villages, industrial suburbs, isolated immigrant communities and high-end enclaves. The goal is to eventually create a system of primary care for mental health not just for England but for all of Britain.

At a time when many nations are debating large-scale reforms to mental health care, researchers and policy makers are looking hard at England’s experience, sizing up both its popularity and its limitations. Mental health care systems vary widely across the Western world, but none have gone nearly so far to provide open-ended access to talk therapies backed by hard evidence. Experts say the English program is the first broad real-world test of treatments that have been studied mostly in carefully controlled lab conditions.

The demand in the first several years has been so strong it has strained the program’s resources.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology

(America) Drew Christiansen: Catholic-evangelical relations are richer than the conspiracies Civilta Cattolica described

In a recent editorial, “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism,” Civilta Cattolica identified cooperation between Protestant fundamentalists and conservative American Catholics as “a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy.” Civilta particularly attacked the Prosperity Gospel as a stream of popular theology opposed to Catholic social teaching as advanced by Pope Francis.

Catholic-evangelical relations in the United States, however, are richer and more nuanced than the fearsome conspiracies Civilta described. Take, for example, the Evangelical Environmental Network.

EEN is a nimble coalition of some 700 congregations. Whatever the issue, it has been quick out of the blocks with arresting public relations campaigns. Were gas-guzzling autos a threat to clean air? EEN offered America “WWJD,” the “What Would Jesus Drive?” campaign. Were animal species threatened with extinction? Then an EEN spokesman would appear on late-night TV a wildcat draped across his shoulders.

Read it all and make sure to read the piece he is responding.

Posted in Ecumenical Relations, Evangelicals, Roman Catholic

The Rev. David Booman’s sermon on Genesis 22– Does God Ask For To Much?

‘He’s not a tame lion,’ wrote CS Lewis of Aslan, the Christ-figure in his children’s books. Which was Lewis’ way of saying that God is not a tame god. A good God, yes. Safe and
predictable, no. But, one who will often lead his people into unthinkable, seemingly untenable places. Where our faith is stretched to the breaking point.

And you know, if God doesn’t sometimes shock us and make us really uncomfortable, He’s probably a god made in our image. Because, what are the chances that the God of the universe, reigning over all times and all cultures, is perfectly in lockstep with our worldview, our belief system, our morals, our political agenda.

No, if God is anything, we should expect that His ways are not our ways. That He’s not a tame lion.

Read it all and you can also listen to or download the sermon there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s July 2 Sermon: Wrestling with the Strange but Important story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas a Kempis

Holy Father, who hast nourished and strengthened thy Church by the writings of thy servant Thomas a Kempis: Grant that we may learn from him to know what we ought to know, to love what we ought to love, to praise what highly pleaseth thee, and always to seek to know and follow thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Eric Milner-White

O Lord Christ, by whose single death upon the cross the members of thy body also die to servitude and sin: Grant us so to crucify the old man, that the new may daily rise with thee in the immortal power of thy free Spirit, who liveth and reigneth with the Father and thee, one God, world without end.

-–Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

Posted in 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: Scripture

(NBC) Buffalo’s Opioid Court Hopes to Show New Path in Addiction Fight

Watch the whole encouraging piece.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues

(Law+ Religion UK) Frank Cranmer–Law and religion round-up – 23rd July

Sexual orientation and “British Values”

An Orthodox Jewish school in Hackney has failed its third Ofsted inspection because it did not teach its pupils about sexual orientation. The inspectors reported that the pupils at Vishnitz Girls School, who range in age from three to eight,

“are not taught explicitly about issues such as sexual orientation. This restricts pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and does not promote equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles. As a result, pupils are not able to gain a full understanding of fundamental British values.”

Furthermore:

“The school’s approach means that pupils are shielded from learning about certain differences between people, such as sexual orientation. The school’s culture is, however, clearly focused on teaching pupils to respect everybody, regardless of beliefs and lifestyle. Leaders and proprietors recognise the requirement to teach about the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010. However, they acknowledge that they do not teach pupils about all the protected characteristics, particularly those relating to gender reassignment and sexual orientation. This means that pupils have a limited understanding of the different lifestyles and partnerships that individuals may choose in present-day society.”

Unsurprisingly, opinions in the media are divided.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

An Interesting Look Back in History–President Woodrow Wilson’s April 1917 Speech to Congress urging them to join the allies in World War I

We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know that in such a government, following such methods, we can never have a friend; and that in the presence of its organized power, always lying in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security for the democratic governments of the world. We are now about to accept gage of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify its pretensions and its power. We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretence about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included: for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.

Just because we fight without rancour and without selfish object, seeking nothing for ourselves but what we shall wish to share with all free peoples, we shall, I feel confident, conduct our operations as belligerents without passion and ourselves observe with proud punctilio the principles of right and of fair play we profess to be fighting for.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, History, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President

Irwin Stelzer–Time to Break Up Amazon? Americans have a schizophrenic attitude toward successful big businesses

“The trusts are hijous monsters. On the one hand they must be crushed underfoot; on the other hand not so fast.” So spake Mr. Dooley, the fictitious Irish bartender and font of wisdom created by Finley Peter Dunne in the late 19th century. Trusts were the form monopolies took at the time. Dooley captured Americans’ schizophrenic attitude toward successful big businesses. We make them big and successful by buying their products-J.D. Rockefeller’s petrol, Andrew Carnegie’s steel, J.P. Morgan’s loans, Ma Bell’s telephone network, American Tobacco’s cigarettes-then worry that they have too much power and call in the trust busters.

In fact, schizophrenia is something of a misdiagnosis. Bigness alone has never been considered by the courts to be an evil. In the language of the Supreme Court, monopoly power that is the result of “a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident” in unobjectionable. So why, then, are some hedge funds shorting the stock of Amazon in anticipation of a government move to break up Jeff Bezos’ creation or somehow restrain its growth? And why do we see articles in the New York Times headlined ” Amazon’s Growing Monopoly Bite” and ” Is it Time to Break Up Google?” And why is the Wall Street Journal warning that “Tech Companies Spread Their Tentacles” thus “concentrating power and wealth in the hands of a few companies in a way not seen since the Gilded Age.” Not to be outdone by the Economist, which leads with “A giant problem” and goes on to what for it is a near-hysterical statement, “The rise of the corporate colossus threatens both competition and the legitimacy of business … using the dark arts of management to stay ahead.”

Let’s start with some facts, using Amazon as the poster boy for a possible new documentary, The Company That Ate the U.S. Economy. Statistics about the company are hard to come by, so we must rely on probably the best guesses available, those of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). Amazon Prime, the offering that provides “free” shipping, exclusive access to movies, television shows, photo storage and a host of other goodies, costs $99 per year, counts as members some 80 million U.S. households, about two out of every three in the country, up from 58 million only one year ago. That certainly is a lot of customers.,,,

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues