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(BBC) Life at 50C: The toxic gas flares fuelling Nigeria’s climate change

Joy and her family are among two million Nigerians living within 4km of a gas flare in Nigeria’s oil-rich south.

Climate change has had a devastating impact on Nigeria. Fertile lands are turning into deserts in the north, while flash floods have become more common in the south….

Take the time to watch the whole video report (just under four minutes).

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

–Matthew 3:13-17

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O God, who hast commanded us to walk in the Spirit and not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh: Perfect us, we pray thee, in love, that we may conquer our natural selfishness and give ourselves to others. Fill our hearts with thy joy, and garrison them with thy peace; make us longsuffering and gentle, and thus subdue our hasty and angry tempers; give us faithfulness, meekness and self-control; that so crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts, we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit to thy praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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A Prayer for Labor Day

On this three day weekend, when we rest from our usual labors, loving Father, we pray for all who shoulder the tasks of human laboring the marketplace, in factories and offices, in the professions, and in family living.

We thank you, Lord, for the gift and opportunity of work; may our efforts always be pure of heart, for the good of others and the glory of your name.

We lift up to you all who long for just employment and those who work to defend the rights and needs of workers everywhere.

May those of us who are now retired always remember that we still make a valuable contribution to our Church and our world by our prayers and deeds of charity.

May our working and our resting all give praise to you until the day we share together in eternal rest with all our departed in your Kingdom as you live and reign Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

–The Archdiocese of Detroit

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(Veritas revisit)–Quite the testimony from Sarah Irving-Stonebraker: How Oxford and Peter Singer drove me from atheism to Jesus

One Sunday, shortly before my 28th birthday, I walked into a church for the first time as someone earnestly seeking God. Before long I found myself overwhelmed. At last I was fully known and seen and, I realised, unconditionally loved – perhaps I had a sense of relief from no longer running from God. A friend gave me C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, and one night, after a couple months of attending church, I knelt in my closet in my apartment and asked Jesus to save me, and to become the Lord of my life.

From there, I started a rigorous diet of theology, reading the Bible and exploring theologians such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Ramsey, and F.D. Maurice. Christianity, it turned out, looked nothing like the caricature I once held. I found the story of Jacob wrestling with God especially compelling: God wants anything but the unthinking faith I had once assumed characterized Christianity. God wants us to wrestle with Him; to struggle through doubt and faith, sorrow and hope. Moreover, God wants broken people, not self-righteous ones. And salvation is not about us earning our way to some place in the clouds through good works. On the contrary; there is nothing we can do to reconcile ourselves to God. As a historian, this made profound sense to me. I was too aware of the cycles of poverty, violence and injustice in human history to think that some utopian design of our own, scientific or otherwise, might save us.

Christianity was also, to my surprise, radical – far more radical than the leftist ideologies with which I had previously been enamored. The love of God was unlike anything which I expected, or of which I could make sense.

Read it all.

Posted in Apologetics, Christology, Soteriology, Theology, Uncategorized

A Prayer to begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

O God, our Father, we pray for thy Church, which is set today amid the perplexities of a changing order, and face to face with new tasks. Baptize her afresh in the life-giving spirit of Jesus. Bestow upon her a greater responsiveness to duty, a swifter compassion with suffering, and an utter loyalty to the will of God. Help her to proclaim boldly the coming of the Kingdom of God. Bid her cease from seeking her own life, lest she lose it. Make her valiant to give up her life to humanity; that, like her crucified Master, she may mount by the path of the cross to a higher glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

—-Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer, Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

–Psalm 1

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From the Morning Bible Readings

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

–Acts 9:1-9

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Happy Canada Day and 154th Birthday to all Canadian Blog readers!

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(ACNS) Scientists and theologians join forces for new Anglican Communion Science Commission

A new Anglican Communion Science Commission (ACSC) is being formed to “resource the whole Anglican Communion for courageous and confident spiritual leadership in issues involving science.”

The ACSC will be co-chaired by the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba and the Bishop of Oxford, Stephen Croft.

The ACSC will formally launch at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, in July and August next year, and will hold its first conference shortly afterwards.

Read it all.

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Roland Allen in his own words on Mission and Saint Paul

In little more than ten years St. Paul established the Church in four provinces of the Empire, Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia. Before AD 47 there were no churches in these provinces; in AD 57 St. Paul could speak as if his work there was done, and could plan extensive tours into the far west without anxiety lest the churches which he had founded might perish in his absence for want of his guidance and support.

The work of the Apostle during these ten years can therefore be treated as a unity. Whatever assistance he may have received from the preaching of others, it is unquestioned that the establishment of the churches in these provinces was really his work. In the pages of the New Testament he, and he alone, stands forth as their founder. And the work which he did was really a completed work. So far as the foundation of the churches is concerned, it is perfectly clear that the writer of the Acts intends to represent St. Paul’s work as complete. The churches were really established. Whatever disasters fell upon them in later years, whatever failure there was, whatever ruin, that failure was not due to any insufficiency or lack of care and completeness in the Apostle’s teaching or organization. When he left them he left them because his work was fully accomplished.

This is truly an astonishing fact. That churches should be founded so rapidly, so securely, seems to us today, accustomed to the difficulties, the uncertainties, the failures, the disastrous relapses of our own missionary work, almost incredible. Many missionaries in later days have received a larger number of converts than St. Paul; many have preached over a wider area than he; but none have so established churches. We have long forgotten that such things could be. We have long accustomed ourselves to accept it as an axiom of missionary work that converts in a new country must be submitted to a very long probation and training, extending over generations before they can be expected to be able to stand alone. Today if a man ventures to suggest that there may be something in the methods by which St. Paul attained such wonderful results worthy of our careful attention, and perhaps of our imitation, he is in danger of being accused of revolutionary tendencies.

–Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours; A Study of The Church In The Four Provinces, Chapter One

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([London] Times) Archbp Justin Welby and Lord John Browne:

The key to understanding and addressing these existential threats lies in both the practical and the profound: in science and engineering, but also the idea, found in the Christian faith, that each person is precious, worth caring for and has potential.

For a long time, scientific truths about climate change were treated as opinion, something which you might or might not believe depending on your personal point of view. We have come a long way since then. But resolving the crisis still requires commitment to the truth – we owe that to those who will suffer the most if we fail to act.

This journey from opinion to truth is a crucial first step, but the journey that really matters is from truth to sustainable action.

That will require every one of us to play our part. It cannot just be done by governments or companies, by NGOs or faith groups, and it cannot be done in isolation. We will have to work with people with whom we disagree, sometimes profoundly. Indeed, the two of us writing do not agree on everything, but we recognise that we are united by a common cause: that in facing the threat of climate change, there is more that unites us than divides us.

Individual responses need to be guided by hope rather than fear, and the certainty that huge change is made up of small things. We are both realists when it comes to human behaviour: sustainable change rarely comes from asking people to make unrealistically ambitious sacrifice. Instead, we must give people the engineered tools and the economic incentives to make choices that work for them and for the planet. The combined power of engineering, economics and leadership through example makes a profound difference.

Read it all.

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Elisabeth Cruciger

Pour out thy Spirit upon all of thy sons and daughters, Almighty God, that like thy servant Elisabeth Cruciger our lips may praise thee, our lives may bless thee, and our worship may give thee glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Sunday Food for Thought from Shakespeare and JRR Tolkien

“Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.”
Whenever i think of these wonderful words of Shakespeare from Sonnet 116 I always think of Sam and Frodo going up the slopes of Mount Doom–KSH.
———————–

‘[The] dim light of the last day of their quest found them side by side. The wind had fallen the day before…, and now it came from the North and began to rise; and slowly the light of the unseen Sun filtered down into the shadows where the hobbits lay….
‘Now for the last gasp!’ said Sam as he struggled to his feet. He bent over Frodo, rousing him gently. Frodo groaned; but with a great effort of will he staggered up; and then he fell upon his knees again. He raised his eyes… to the dark slopes of Mount Doom towering above him, and then pitifully he began to crawl forward on his hands.
Sam looked at him and wept in his heart, but no tears came to his dry and stinging eyes….
‘Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get!…. Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.’
As Frodo clung upon his back, arms loosely about his neck, legs clasped firmly under his arms, Sam staggered to his feet; and then to his amazement he felt the burden light. He had feared that he would have barely strength to lift his master… and… the dreadful dragging weight of the accursed Ring. But it was not so. Whether because Frodo was so worn by his long pains…, or because some gift of final strength was given to him, Sam lifted Frodo with no more difficulty than if he were carrying a hobbit-child pig-a-back…. He took a deep breath and started off.
They had reached the Mountain’s foot on its northern side, and a little to the westward; there its long grey slopes… were not sheer…. Sam struggled on as best he could, having no guidance but the will to climb as high as might be before his strength gave out…. On he toiled…, turning… to lessen the slope, often stumbling forward, and at the last crawling…. When his will could drive him no further…, he stopped and laid his master gently down….
It was easier to breathe… above the reeks…. ‘Thank you, Sam,’ [Frodo] said in a cracked whisper. ‘How far is there to go?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Sam, ‘because I don’t know where we’re going.’
He looked back, and then he looked up; and he was amazed to see how far his last effort had brought him. The Mountain… had looked taller than it was…. The… tumbled shoulders of its great base rose for maybe three thousand feet above the plain, and above them was reared half as high again its tall central cone…. But already Sam was more than half way up the base, and the plain of Gorgoroth was dim below him…. As he looked up he would have given a shout, if his parched throat had allowed him; for… above him he saw plainly a path…. It climbed like a rising girdle from the west and wound snakelike about the Mountain, until before it went round out of view it reached the foot of the cone upon its eastern side.
Sam… guessed that if he could only struggle on just a little way further up, they would strike this path. A gleam of hope returned to him….’

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch iii

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From the Morning Scripture Readings

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!

–Psalm 24:7-10

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From the Morning Bible Readings

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

–Colossians 3:1-4

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An Easter Carol

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

While the patient earth lies waking,
Till the morning shall be breaking,
Shuddering ‘neath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.
And when sunrise smites the mountains,
Pouring light from heavenly fountains,
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say,
Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

Up and down our lives obedient
Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,
Till those garden lives shall be
Fair with duties done for Thee;
And our thankful spirits say,
Christ arose on Easter-Day.

–Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

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Jesus Christ was Buried

“By the grace of God” Jesus tasted death “for every one”. In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only “die for our sins” but should also “taste death”, experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. The state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell. It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb, reveals God’s great sabbath rest after the fulfillment of man’s salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe.

–The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, para. 624

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John Donne–Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward

This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
And by that setting endlesse day beget;
But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
Sinne had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I’almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for mee.
Who sees Gods face, that is selfe life, must dye;
What a death were it then to see God dye?
It made his owne Lieutenant Nature shrinke,
It made his footstoole crack, and the Sunne winke.
Could I behold those hands which span the Poles,
And tune all spheares at once peirc’d with those holes?
Could I behold that endlesse height which is
Zenith to us, and our Antipodes,
Humbled below us? or that blood which is
The seat of all our Soules, if not of his,
Made durt of dust, or that flesh which was worne
By God, for his apparell, rag’d, and torne?

Read it all.

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Charles Henry Brent for his Feast Day–Bp Mark Lawrence’s address on him in 2008

In 1899 a relatively obscure priest working in a City Mission in the slums of South Boston was compiling a book on prayer from articles he had written for the Saint Andrew’s Cross, a magazine of the recently established lay order of the Protestant Episcopal Church known as the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Seven years before, this celibate priest had left the Order of the Cowley Father’s whose House was just across the Charles River in Cambridge. Although he left the order over a dispute between his superior, Fr. A. C. A. Hall and the Order’s Father Superior in England, the young priest never left the inward embrace of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience—even less did he leave behind the spiritual disciplines of the religious life he had learned so well under Fr. Hall’s steady hand. Somewhere between his pastoral and social work among the sordidness and squalor of the South End—replete with red light district, street waifs, immigrants and vagrants— and his late night vigils of intercessory prayer or early mornings spent in meditation, not to mention the full round of parish duties, he found the time to write. In the final chapter of his little book, With God in the World, he wrote words that now appear as strangely prescient for his own life: “Men—we are not thinking of butterflies—cannot exist without difficulty. To be shorn of it means death, because inspiration is bound up with it, and inspiration is the breath of God, without the constant influx of which man ceases to be a living soul. Responsibility is the sacrament of inspiration. . . . The fault of most modern prophets is not that they present too high an ideal, but an ideal that is sketched with a faltering hand; the appeal to self-sacrifice is too timid and imprecise, the challenge to courage is too low-voiced, with the result that the tide of inspiration ebbs and flows.” He was to parse this belief taking root in his soul, with the phrase “the inspiration of responsibility”. Within two short years he would have the opportunity to test these words with his life.

His name was Charles Henry Brent, born the son of an Anglican clergyman from New Castle, Ontario in 1862. How Charles Brent, a Canadian by birth, came to be a priest in of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and under the episcopacy of the renowned Phillips Brooks, and later, the almost equally celebrated Bishop William Lawrence, is itself an interesting story we haven’t time to explore. Suffice to say that God seemed to be grooming through the seemingly quixotic twists and turns of providence a bishop not merely for the church or for one nation, but for the world—a man, of whom it could be said, he was Everybody’s Bishop.

You may find Part One there and Part Two here. Take the time to read it all.

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A National Day of Reflection for the first anniversary of lockdown

The Church of England, Marie Curie, Hope UK, Care for the Family, Ataloss and many charities and organisations across the UK, will join forces on Tuesday 23rd March for a National Day of Reflection to commemorate the first anniversary of the nationwide Coronavirus lockdown.

York Minster will open from 11.30am to welcome people for prayer, quiet reflection and to light candles for family, friends and loved ones. The Minster will fall still at 12 noon for a national one minute silence. A Chaplain will be present throughout the day.

The Revd Michael Smith, Canon Pastor at York Minster said: “This unprecedented event has touched communities all over the world. There has been heart-breaking loss of life, disruption to every sphere of life, enforced isolation that has been extremely difficult to endure and severe economic strain. Even the most basic human interactions such as comforting the sick and dying, or attending a funeral have been impossible for many.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, History, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I remember you constantly in my prayers. As I remember your tears, I long night and day to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lo′is and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you. Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

–2 Timothy 1:1-14

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Tuesday Mental Health break–Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road

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(Eleanor Parker) ‘Farewell, Advent, Christmas is come!’

15. This time of Christ’s feast natal,
We will be merry, great and small,
And thou shalt go out of this hall;
Farewell from us both all and some!

16. Advent is gone, Christmas is come;
Be we merry now, all and some!
He is not wise that will be dumb
In ortu Regis omnium. [At the coming of the King of all things]

Read it all.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

O Lord our God, Who hast chased the slumber from our eyes, and once more assembled us to lift up our hands unto Thee and to praise Thy just judgments, accept our prayers and supplications, and give us faith and love. Bless our coming in and our going out, our thoughts, words, and works, and let us begin this day with the praise of the unspeakable sweetness of Thy mercy. Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

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From the Morning Bible Readings

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sad’ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

–Matthew 3:1-12

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Liturgy of St. Mark

It is meet and right, holy and becoming, and helpful to our souls, to worship Thee Who art the I AM, Lord God, Father Almighty; to hymn Thee, to give thanks to Thee, openly to confess Thee, by night and by day, with mouth unceasing, and lips that are never silent, and unresting heart: Thee Who hast made the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is therein; Thee Who didst make man after Thine own image and likeness, and freely gayest him the delights of paradise, and didst not reject nor forsake him when he transgressed, O good God; but Thou didst recall him by the law and educate him by the prophets, and reform and renew him by Thine aweful, and life-giving, and heavenly mystery. All these things Thou didst by Thy wisdom, the true light, Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, by Whom we render thanks to Thee with Him and the Holy Spirit … from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof, from the north and from the south, because Thy Name is great among all peoples, and in every place incense and a pure sacrifice are offered to Thy holy Name.

–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)

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop John Cosin (1594-1672)

Grant me, gracious Lord, a pure intention of my heart, and a steadfast regard to Thy glory in all my actions. Possess my mind continually with Thy presence, and ravish it with Thy love, that my only delight may be, to be embraced in the arms of Thy protection.

–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)

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop F. T. Woods (1874-1932)

Into Thy hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves and I all who are dear to us this day. Be with us in our going out and in our coming in. Strengthen us for the work which Thou hast given us to do. And grant that, filled with Thy Holy Spirit, we may walk worthy of our high calling, and cheerfully accomplish those things that Thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–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)

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(Quillette) Sergiu Klainerman–Reflections on Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard Address

But it is not just that our basic institutions are declining by neglecting their essential responsibilities. Far more worrying is the fact that the liberal ideas underpinning these institutions are themselves collapsing under a constant barrage of criticism. In other words, people are losing faith in our foundational liberal values. This fact, barely visible in 1978, is an essential part of the present reality of Wokeness. Examples abound, but I will confine myself to one of the most outrageous. According to a recent graphic display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, visitors were told that individualism, hard work, stable families, logical thinking, and scientific objectivity are characteristic of “white” people. It follows, by that logic, that any attempt to assert these as universally desirable virtues must be viewed as racist. Needless to say, in the postmodern world of the Woke, logic itself is a social construct to be used only when it advances the political objectives of the movement.

To understand the scope and intensity of this collapse it helps to summarize the origins of this phenomenon.

Marxism has from its inception been very good at detecting and criticizing some of the more obvious deficiencies of capitalism—yet, as we know, terrible at offering any workable solutions.

Marxists were obsessed with taking power, and whenever they did, by insurrection or conquest, their rule descended rapidly into some awful form of totalitarianism. But with the exception of the underdeveloped Russia, and later China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Cuba, capitalism turned out to be more enduring than the original Marxists envisioned, partly because of its remarkable ability to adapt and reform itself within the cultural traditions and democratic institutions that sit alongside it. That led to a new form of criticism, cultural Marxism, initiated by Gramsci, directed at the “hegemonic culture” through which capitalism maintains its power. The intense focus on criticizing all aspects of Western societies with the ultimate aim of weakening and eventually destroying them was continued by the Frankfurt School, under the name of Critical Theory, and brought to the US where it found a niche in American colleges and universities and from where it soon started its long march through America’s institutions.

Today, various critical theories dominate entire academic departments, such as Gender Studies, African American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Education, etc., and provide a growing influence in almost all academic disciplines except maybe STEM—though almost certainly not for long. Take any possible identity group and you can find a critical theory dedicated to it. Critical race theory (CRT), for example, analyzes society from the point of view of race, while critical feminism theory is focused on understanding gender inequalities. Critical pedagogy theory (CPT) criticizes the traditional relationship between teacher and student which, apparently, is like the relationship between a colonizer and the colonized. These theories provide road maps for liberation from the oppressive, dominant power structures. They are also connected to each other by the doctrine of intersectionality, which claims to understand how a person’s various identities (from gender, sex, race, class, to disability, physical appearance, height, weight, etc.) combine to create unique modes of discrimination or privilege. Add to this a contempt for capitalism, an apocalyptic vision of climate change, and the neat trick of combining moral relativism in theory with a large dose of moral absolutism in practice, and you get the main contours of the so-called Woke phenomenon.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

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