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From the Morning Bible Readings

The Lord said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Ab′arim, and see the land which I have given to the people of Israel. And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was gathered, because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin during the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Mer′ibah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) Moses said to the Lord, “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep which have no shepherd.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him; cause him to stand before Elea′zar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey. And he shall stand before Elea′zar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord; at his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.” And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; he took Joshua and caused him to stand before Elea′zar the priest and the whole congregation, and he laid his hands upon him, and commissioned him as the Lord directed through Moses.

–Numbers 27:12-23

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) MPs hear horror stories as the UK prepares to host conference on freedom of religion

The plight of Christians, Muslims, and humanists around the world was raised in a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday morning, in advance of an international conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) next week.

The session was opened by the Prime Minister’s special envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Fiona Bruce MP.

“Millions of people today are being denied their FoRB,” Ms Bruce told the gathering of parliamentarians. “FoRB violations are getting worse in severity and scale. Right across the world people are losing their jobs, education, homes, livelihoods, families, freedom, access to justice, even life itself, simply on account of what they believe.”

The international Ministerial Conference on FoRB next week will gather more than 500 politicians, faith leaders, and experts to share best practice on protecting religious freedom and to inspire more action to be taken.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Religious Freedom / Persecution

From the Morning Bible Readings

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

–Romans 8:18-25

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

–Romans 8:12-17

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CL) Southeastern’s Karen Swallow Prior: Why the Pro-Life Movement Must Prioritize Nuance, Education and the Imagination Post-Roe

Yet even though she is grateful that Roe has been overturned, Prior cautioned Christians against being hasty with how they move forward, saying that Roe’s absence gives us a unique opportunity to create beneficial legislation.

“For example,” said Prior, “we need to learn the difference between between intervening in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, which is going to be fatal to both mother and child and an abortion.” Because Roe was the law of the land for so long, Christians haven’t had to think through how the answer to such questions will impact the laws we create—but now in some states we have new opportunities.

Said Prior, “We’re going to have to educate ourselves quickly and thoughtfully and not just rush to put legislation in place that would be disastrous or uninformed or medically irresponsible. Of course, we want all of these laws to protect all of the human lives involved, but that’s not something that happens quickly and overnight. We have to really understand what it means to be pro-life and how to apply that in principle.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AC) Georgette Forney–Why are Anglicans Pro-Life?

People often say that abortion isn’t mentioned in the Bible. But the command to protect and honor Life is implicit in every word of Scripture.

First, we need to understand that the value of human life is based in our creation by God and in our redemption through Jesus. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our lives have value not because they are ours but because they are His! For this reason, we must live our lives giving glory to God and living in His statues. In this way, Scripture firmly contradicts the “my body, my choice” mantra of abortion supporters.

Second, because our lives have value in Him, we as His people are called to protect and honor all Life. The clearest evidence of this is in the commandment, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) But even earlier, in the book of Genesis, God declares that the spilling of man’s blood is inherently wrong, due to our status as God’s beloved creation: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:6)

True, society in general believes that murder is wrong. However, Scriptures show that “valuing” Life goes beyond avoiding the act of killing. Honoring the sacredness of Life means serving those in need and sharing the love of God. Christ demonstrates how we should do this: “For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in…Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” (Matthew 25:41-45) Being a life-affirming Christian means more than opposing death—it means serving those who are hurting, lonely, and broken. It means caring for the “least of these,”—the unborn, the homeless, the single mothers, the elderly, and the handicapped. Because our lives are valuable to God, so theirs must be to us.

God didn’t “forget” to talk about abortion, assisted suicide, or euthanasia in the Scriptures. The gift of Life is proclaimed in all of God’s commands and in everything that God has created, including us.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Language, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Theology

From the Morning Bible Readings

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

–Romans 8:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep thy statutes.
I cry to thee; save me,
that I may observe thy testimonies.
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in thy words.
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate upon thy promise.
Hear my voice in thy steadfast love;
O Lord, in thy justice preserve my life.

–Psalm 119:145-149

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The Controversy over neglected Widows and the story of the Death of Stephen (Acts 6-7)

You may also find more there.

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

(World) Erin Hawley and Kristen Waggoner on the historic Dobbs decision–A victory for life and the Constitution

The U.S. Supreme Court’s courageous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a win for life and the Constitution. That historic ruling finally reverses the court’s disastrous opinion in Roe v. Wade—a decision that made up a constitutional right to abortion and resulted in the deaths of more than 60 million unborn children. Because of the court’s ruling in Dobbs, states may now fully protect unborn life.

The Mississippi law at issue in the case, the Gestational Age Act, protects unborn children and the health of their pregnant mothers based on the latest science. It protects unborn life after 15 weeks of gestational age—a point in time when babies can move and stretch, hiccup, and quite likely feel pain. It permits abortions to save the life of the mother or for severe fetal abnormalities. Despite the modesty of Mississippi’s law, the lower courts struck it down because no matter what science showed, or how strong a state’s interest in protecting unborn life was, under the Roe regime, states may not protect life until viability—about 22 weeks of gestational age.

Dobbs is a win for life. Fifty years of scientific progress and innovation establish what the Bible has always taught: Life begins at conception. Ultrasound technology allows expectant parents to see the truth of Psalm 139: Children are fearfully and wonderfully made from the very beginning.

Under Roe v. Wade, moreover, the United States has been an extreme outlier in abortion law and policy. As the chief justice noted during oral arguments, the United States is one of only six nations, including China and North Korea, that allow elective abortions through all nine months of pregnancy. The Washington Post recently ranked the United States as the fourth most liberal abortion country in the world. Most countries do not allow elective abortions at all, and 75 percent protect life after 12 weeks of gestation.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Supreme Court, Theology

Irenaeus for his Feast Day–“The heretics follow neither Scripture nor tradition”

1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but viva voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.”And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent,who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself.

2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For [they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma, but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.

3. Such are the adversaries with whom we have to deal, my very dear friend, endeavouring like slippery serpents to escape at all points. Wherefore they must be opposed at all points, if perchance, by cutting off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth. For, though it is not an easy thing for a soul under the influence of error to repent, yet, on the other hand, it is not altogether impossible to escape from error when the truth is brought alongside it.

Against Heresies: Book III, Chapter 2.

Posted in Church History, Theology

From the Morning Bible Readings

And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

“What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.

–Matthew 21:23-32

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

–Romans 6:12-18

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

–Luke 13:10-17

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

–Romans 6:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Scotus Blog) Supreme Court argues that constitutional right to abortion did not and does not exist

The Supreme Court on Friday eliminated the constitutional right to obtain an abortion, casting aside 49 years of precedent that began with Roe v. Wade.

The decision by Justice Samuel Alito will set off a seismic shift in reproductive rights across the United States. It will allow states to ban abortion, and experts expect about half the states to do so.

In one of the most anticipated rulings in decades, the court overturned Roe, which first declared a constitutional right to abortion in 1973, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which re-affirmed that right in 1992. The decision followed the leak in early May of a draft opinion showing that a majority of the justices were privately poised to take that step. On Friday, they made it official.

The vote was 6-3. Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett joined Alito’s opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts did not join the opinion but agreed with the result and filed a separate opinion. The court’s three liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, filed a joint dissent.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Supreme Court, Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD: that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die; that men may declare in Zion the name of the LORD, and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the LORD. He has broken my strength in mid-course; he has shortened my days. “O my God,” I say, “take me not hence in the midst of my days, thou whose years endure throughout all generations!” Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They will perish, but thou dost endure; they will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away; but thou art the same, and thy years have no end.

–Psalm 102:18-27

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Guardian) Christians in Oxford asked to commit to protecting environment

The addition to the liturgy comes as the Oxford diocese announces plans to spend £10m improving the energy efficiency of its vicarages in an effort to hit net zero emissions by 2035. It is one of 10 dioceses to have divested from fossil fuel companies, making commitments not to invest in coal, oil and gas in the future.

At a national level, the Church of England has been criticised for not acting quickly enough to cut its links with fossil fuel companies. It began to cut ties to coal and other heavily polluting industries in 2015, then pledged in 2018 to divest by 2023 from high-carbon companies that were “not aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement”. But as the deadline approaches, the organisation has said it is still “engaging” with key oil and gas interests, rather than cancelling all of its holdings.

Chris Manktelow, of the Young Christian Climate Network, told the Guardian earlier this year that that was not good enough. “The church should be moving quickly and showing moral leadership, and is just not going fast enough. We are not happy with this response [to the calls to divest].”

On Wednesday, Greenpeace welcomed the Oxford decision.

“The diocese of Oxford is moving away from fossil fuels, which is essential, but this liturgical change goes deeper,” said a spokesperson. “Today’s lesson is that, in a climate and nature emergency, you need to make environmental considerations central to your project right from the very beginning and keep them in mind the whole way through. That sounds very much like wisdom worth listening to.”

Read it all and you can see the additional wording in the liturgy there.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Local Paper) Senate gun bill supported by Lindsey Graham addresses Charleston loophole

The Senate’s bipartisan gun safety bill, which has the backing of South Carolina’s senior Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, includes a pair of provisions that would address two issues of tremendous importance in the Palmetto State:

1. Closing the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allowed a young white supremacist to buy a gun on a technicality before going on a hate-fueled rampage inside a downtown Charleston church in 2015, and

2. Expanding the definition that determines which domestic abusers are barred from getting guns, an issue of significance in a state that ranks sixth-worst in the nation for women killed by men.

Graham was one of 14 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who joined all 48 Democrats and two independents in advancing the bill June 21 for debate.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Senate, Violence

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.

–Romans 5:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants–not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” –in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations; as he had been told, “So shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “reckoned to him as righteousness.” But the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

–Romans 4:13-25

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper) Mental health experts say deep TMS therapy should have a larger public health impact

He and his wife had just welcomed a new baby boy. Life was supposed to be good, he thought.

“I found myself, in the moments that should’ve been the most joy-filled moments in my life, just feeling absent or despondent,” Hogan said.

Hogan is part of an estimated 10-30 percent of patients with major depression who don’t respond to typical antidepressant medications like Zoloft or Prozac.

But since starting a rather new therapy in 2020, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, he’s felt better than he ever has.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology

From the Morning Bible Readings

What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin.”

Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

–Romans 4:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

–Matthew 19:13-22

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!

–Psalm 66:20

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; and large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ”˜For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.”

The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

–Matthew 19:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Church Commissioners acknowledge that the slave trade boosted early funds

The Church Commissioners acknowledged on Thursday that their £10.1-billion fund has early links with the transatlantic slave trade. Both the Commissioners and the Archbishop of Canterbury have apologised.

The revelations come after research into Queen Anne’s Bounty, which was established in 1704 to tackle poverty among the clergy through the buying of land (from which the clergy received the income) or through an annuity stream. The Commissioners came into being in 1948 after a merger of the Bounty and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The research was initiated by the Commissioners in 2019 — shortly before the death of George Floyd sparked the Black Lives Matter movement (News, 5 June 2020), and amid an international debate about monuments to people with links to the slave trade (News, 14 May 2021).

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(NYT) How a Religious Sect That Dominated a Company Unit Landed Google in a Lawsuit

Founded in 1970 by Robert Earl Burton, a former San Francisco Bay Area schoolteacher, the Fellowship of Friends describes itself as an organization “available to anyone interested in pursuing the spiritual work of awakening.” It claims 1,500 members across the globe, with about 500 to 600 in and around its compound in Oregon House. Members are typically required to give 10 percent of their monthly earnings to the organization.

Mr. Burton based his teachings on the Fourth Way, a philosophy developed in the early 20th century by a Greek Armenian philosopher and one of his students. They believed that while most people moved through life in a state of “waking sleep,” a higher consciousness was possible. Drawing on what he described as visits from angelic incarnations of historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Johann Sebastian Bach and Walt Whitman, Mr. Burton taught that true consciousness could be achieved by embracing the fine arts.

Inside the organization’s Northern California compound, called Apollo, the Fellowship staged operas, plays and ballets; ran a critically acclaimed winery; and collected art from across the world, including more than $11 million in Chinese antiques.

“They believe that to achieve enlightenment you should surround yourself with so-called higher impressions — what Robert Burton believed to be the finest things in life,” said Jennings Brown, a journalist who recently produced a podcast about the Fellowship called “Revelations.” Mr. Burton described Apollo as the seed of a new civilization that would emerge after a global apocalypse.

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Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(PD) Ryan Anderson–Anthropological Fallacies

The attentive reader will have noticed that body-self dualism is intimately related to expressive individualism, another key anthropological fallacy of our age. If the body is a mere costume or vehicle—an instrument of the desiring self—then that self should use the body to express its inner truth. Of course the person of the Psalms, of St. Paul’s epistles, and of St. Augustine’s Confessions was also a “self” in the sense of having an interior life. But the inward turn of the biblical tradition was at the service of the outward turn toward God. The person was a creature of God, who sought to conform himself to the truth, to objective moral standards, particularly having to do with his bodily self, in pursuit of eternal life.

Modern man, however, seeks to be “true to himself.” Rather than conform thoughts, feelings, and actions to objective reality (including the body), man’s inner life itself becomes the source of truth. The modern self finds himself in the midst of what Robert Bellah has described as a culture of “expressive individualism”—where each of us seeks to give expression to our individual inner lives, rather than seeing ourselves as embodied beings, embedded in communities and bound by natural and supernatural laws. Authenticity to inner feelings, rather than adherence to transcendent truths, becomes the norm.

Rather than seeing ourselves as what Gilbert Ryle referred to as ghosts in machines, where the real self is the mind, or the will, or the consciousness, that somehow inhabits a body and makes use of the body as a mere instrument, we should see ourselves as incarnate, bodily beings—dependent rational animals, as Alasdair MacIntyre explains. Only if my body is me, if I’m an embodied soul, or an ensouled body, a dynamic unity of mind and matter, body and soul, can we make sense of the truthful positions on these four issues. Given our bodily nature—which itself is a personal nature—certain ends are naturally good for us. Body-self dualism, and its social manifestation in expressive individualism, underlie the rejection of our given human natures with given human goods that perfect our natures.

So any effective apologetics agenda on anthropology would need to center on responding to body-self dualism and the rejection of natural law that expressive individualism entails.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Euchologium Anglicanum

O God, who hast made thyself known to us as Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, in order that we may be informed of thy love and thy majesty: Mercifully grant that we may not be terrified by what thou hast revealed of thy majesty, nor tempted to trespass upon thy mercy by what we know of thy love for us; but that by the power of thy Spirit we may be forever drawn to thee in true adoration and worship; who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit