Daily Archives: March 14, 2018

Wednesday Food for thought from Max Lucado–‘We are not happy here [on earth] because we are not at home here’

Unhappiness on earth cultivates a hunger for heaven. By gracing us with a deep dissatisfaction, God holds our attention. The only tragedy, then, is to be satisfied prematurely. To settle for earth. To be content in a strange land. To intermarry with the Babylonians and forget Jerusalem.

We are not happy here because we are not at home here. We are not happy here because we are not supposed to be happy here. We are “like foreigners and strangers in this world” (1 Peter 2:11).

Take a fish and place him on the beach.2 Watch his gills gasp and scales dry. Is he happy? No! How do you make him happy? Do you cover him with a mountain of cash? Do you get him a beach chair and sunglasses? Do you bring him a Playfish magazine and martini? Do you wardrobe him in double-breasted fins and people-skinned shoes?

Of course not. Then how do you make him happy? You put him back in his element. You put him back in the water. He will never be happy on the beach simply because he was not made for the beach.

And you will never be completely happy on earth simply because you were not made for earth. Oh, you will have your moments of joy. You will catch glimpses of light. You will know moments or even days of peace. But they simply do not compare with the happiness that lies ahead.

–Max Lucado Heaven: God’s Highest Hope(Word:Waco,1994), chapter 1

Posted in Books, Eschatology

Bishop Mark Lawrence Addresses the 227th South Carolina Diocesan Convention

Before I go any further with my purpose, let me get something out of the way. Call it litigation—legal updates—the financial challenges it brings. You may think it is the elephant in the room. I suggest to you it is not. Certainly, the most recent legal volley from The Episcopal Church is an attempt to bring every congregation of the diocese (and even those outside the diocese) into their crosshairs. But, it is not the elephant in the room. An elephant in the room is a metaphor for what many fear is a problem that is do not acknowledge openly. Frankly, the legal battle is acknowledged everywhere I go. Whether at Bishop’s forums, coffee hours, vestry meetings, church door handshakes, evening phone calls, or casual dinners. Then there is the related question, such as, “If we should we lose, who will stay with the building and who will not?” All I will say of this for now is what I hear in my quiet moments from the Lord that now is no time to lose my resolve! Therefore, by God’s grace, I shall not. I suggest the same for you. But if your congregation needs a refresher course about the theological issues that led to our dissociation from TEC may I suggest you get a copy of the video that Al Zadig and Kendall Harmon are making at St. Michael’s entitled: “Why the Battle? Different God and Gospel.” Thank you, Al and Kendall.

So that said, I want to address what I believe is the real elephant in the room. I have been your bishop now for ten years. The first five years were in the context of theological and ecclesiastical struggles to remain “intact and in TEC”: the last five in litigation to be “intact and out of TEC”. As I reflect on this decade—just a mere one thirty-fourth of the time Anglicanism has been in Charleston and one twenty-third of the time the Diocese of South Carolina has been in existence, I realize I am sojourner among you. If the years that Anglicanism has been here were measured as one hour my years with you would be considerably less than two minutes. And in that hour there has been wars and rumors of wars. There have been rectors removed from their pulpits in the midst of British occupation and reinstated after the Revolution. There have been Union soldiers housed in our churches and surgeries performed on Southern gravestones. A Confederate submarine sunk in Charleston harbor and German submarines lurked off the Carolina coast. There have been fires and floods, earthquakes and plagues. The ironies abound. One of my predecessors in his Bishop’s Address in the late 19th Century wondered what could be done about the declining churches along the coast, for some of the parishes could hardly stay open—all the growth was inland. Parishes in the Low Country were languishing. Now the Low Country and the coastal regions are so bursting with people moving in from elsewhere one can hardly navigate the roadways. Instead, we ask what we should do about our congregations in the small towns of the Midlands and the Pee Dee. It is they who struggle to keep their church doors open. The hymn writer, Issac Watts might well have had them in mind when he wrote:

“Time like an every rolling stream bears all our years away; /they fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day. /O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, /be thou our guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.”

Indeed, are we not all sojourners? An ever-changing environment is the normal backdrop to life; change is the real constant. Hence there are always “good reasons” for the sower not to go out. This I believe is the elephant in the room. It is the main theme of this address. Jesus said, “A sower went out to sow.” It did not matter to our Lord that there was uncertainty—he went out to sow. Uncertainty is arguably, why we need to go out to sow. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” so must we go out into the field. I have spoken about this in one way or another at almost every diocesan convention. It seems always to lose out to other pressing concerns. Sadly, I have let it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(AP) 3 rural Illinois men charged with Minnesota mosque bombing

Federal authorities on Tuesday charged three men from rural central Illinois with the bombing of a Minnesota mosque last year and said one of the suspects told an investigator the goal of the attack was to “scare” Muslims out of the United States.

A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield, Illinois, says the men also are suspected in the attempted bombing of an abortion clinic. The Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, was bombed just before morning prayers on Aug. 5, causing a fire and extensive damage although no one was injured or killed. And there was an attempted bombing of the Champaign, Illinois, Women’s Health Practice on Nov. 7.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Violence

TEC House of Bishops concludes its recent retreat meeting

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

The next Anglican Bishop of Lancaster set to take on her new role this summer

The Bishop of Lancaster-designate was introduced by Bishop Julian at Marsh Community Centre, Lancaster, this morning, alongside the Suffragan Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev. Philip North. Joining the Bishops were other members of the bishop’s leadership team.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be appointed the eighth Bishop of Lancaster,” said Mrs Duff. “This is a vibrant and exciting part of the Church of England with its Vision 2026: Healthy Churches Transforming Communities. Being born and brought up in Lancashire, the region has been on my heart in prayer for many years.

“Time and again I have seen how, with prayer and perseverance, churches can grow and it will be good to be part of a courageous diocese that is looking to the future with real hope.

The Bishop-designate is married to Rev. Prof. Jeremy Duff, who is Principal of the St Padarn’s Institute in the Church in Wales, and they have two sons, Robbie, aged 13 and Harry, aged 10.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(ACNS) Oceania regional primates pledge united action on climate change and gender-based violence

Anglican primates in the Oceania region have committed themselves “to take concrete action, to be champions and advocates, and to support each other” in the fight against climate change and gender-based violence. The Primates and General Secretaries of the Anglican Church in Australia, the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, the Anglican Church of Melanesia, and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia made the commitments in a communiqué following their recent regional meeting, or Fono, in Fiji.

As part of its commitment to tackle climate change, the church leaders are encouraging investment into sustainable energy as a valid option for investment funds. They are also encouraging their various trust boards “to consider restructuring their investments to maximise returns from such innovative ideas.” And they want Anglican schools in the region’s four provinces to integrate “climate change topics into the current curricula.”

On gender-based violence, the primates and general secretaries welcomed the work of The House of Sarah – an initiative of the Diocese of Polynesia, which works to end violence against women and children. They say that they encourage and support “the zero tolerance for violence policy as promoted by the House of Sarah” and will look at ways that they can share their work in other Provinces. The also encouraged all provinces to adopt and implement the Anglican Consultative Council’s (ACC) “Safe Church charter”, and committed themselves to review and respond to the guidelines coming from the International Safe Church Commission – an inter-provincial body established at the last ACC meeting to develop Communion-wide approaches to protecting children and vulnerable adults.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Primates

(GR) Washington Post attempts the near-impossible: Profiling Virginia Mens Basketball Coach’s Tony Bennett without mentioning faith

Tony Bennett — the coach, not the singer — is quirky. Mysterious. Someone who believes “it’s okay to be different.”

That’s the basic storyline for an in-depth Washington Post profile of Bennett, whose Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball team enters March Madness as the No. 1 overall seed.

Strangely enough (ghosts, anyone?), the Post manages to write 1,850 words about Bennett without any reference to terms such as “faith,” “Christian” and “prayer.”

Those familiar with Bennett will understand why that’s so remarkable.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Media, Religion & Culture, Sports, Young Adults

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon from Saint Michael’s, Charleston–What is the Gospel (John 3, Ephesians 2)?

The link is there and you can listen live or download the audio depending on your preference.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from G W Briggs

Lord, Who hast given all for us: help us to give all for Thee.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Joseph’s…brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Fear not, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he reassured them and comforted them.

–Genesis 50: 18-21

Posted in Theology: Scripture