Category : Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

–Luke 5:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How terrible are thy deeds!
So great is thy power that thy enemies cringe before thee.
All the earth worships thee;
they sing praises to thee,
sing praises to thy name.”

–Psalm 66:1-4

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples and having exhorted them took leave of them and departed for Macedo′nia. When he had gone through these parts and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he determined to return through Macedo′nia. Sop′ater of Beroe′a, the son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalo′nians, Aristar′chus and Secun′dus; and Ga′ius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tych′icus and Troph′imus. These went on and were waiting for us at Tro′as, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Tro′as, where we stayed for seven days.

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lights in the upper chamber where we were gathered. And a young man named Eu′tychus was sitting in the window. He sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer; and being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and embracing him said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the lad away alive, and were not a little comforted.

But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there; for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mityle′ne. And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chi′os; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we came to Mile′tus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

–Acts 20:1-16

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(R U) Terry Mattingly–The Last Rites For Elizabeth II

“Queen Elizabeth was one of those people in this mortal life who always thought ahead,” said David Lyle Jeffrey, distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. When preparing these rites, the queen was “clearly looking for prayers, Scriptures and hymns that made connections she wanted to make for her family, her people and the world. … I think she succeeded brilliantly.”

An Anglican from Canada, Jeffrey said the events closing the queen’s historic 70-year reign were an appropriate time to explore the “essence of her admirable Christian character.” Thus, the retired literature professor wrote a poem after her death — “Regina Exemplaris (An exemplary queen)” — saluting her steady, consistent faith. It ended with these lines:

She who longest wore the heavy crown

Knew but to kneel before the unseen throne

And plead her people’s cause as for her own,

And there to praise the Lord of All, bowed down,

More conscious of his glory than her high acclaim,

Exemplar thus in worship, in praise more worthy of the Name.

After the “Kontakion of the Departed,” Bishop David Conner, the dean of St. George’s Chapel, noted the importance of this sanctuary to Queen Elizabeth. She had worshipped in the Windsor Castle chapel as a girl, sometimes singing in the choir and taking piano lessons with organist Sir William Henry Harris. The queen included some of his music in the committal service.

“We are bound to call to mind,” said Conner, “someone whose uncomplicated, yet profound Christian faith bore so much fruit … in a life of unstinting service to the nation, the Commonwealth and the wider world, but also, and especially to be remembered in this place, in kindness, concern and reassuring care for her family, friends and neighbors.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NYT front page) ‘They Are Watching’: Inside Russia’s Vast Surveillance State

Four days into the war in Ukraine, Russia’s expansive surveillance and censorship apparatus was already hard at work.

Roughly 800 miles east of Moscow, authorities in the Republic of Bashkortostan, one of Russia’s 85 regions, were busy tabulating the mood of comments in social media messages. They marked down YouTube posts that they said criticized the Russian government. They noted the reaction to a local protest.

Then they compiled their findings. One report about the “destabilization of Russian society” pointed to an editorial from a news site deemed “oppositional” to the government that said President Vladimir V. Putin was pursuing his own self-interest by invading Ukraine. A dossier elsewhere on file detailed who owned the site and where they lived.

Another Feb. 28 dispatch, titled “Presence of Protest Moods,” warned that some had expressed support for demonstrators and “spoke about the need to stop the war.”

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Science & Technology, Ukraine

From the Morning Bible Readings

O Lord, my God, I call for help by day;
I cry out in the night before thee.
2 Let my prayer come before thee,
incline thy ear to my cry!

–Psalm 88:1-2

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; and fear fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.

–Acts 19:11-20

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(TLC Covenant) Rowan Williams–Queen Elizabeth’s Anglican Faithfulness

[Archbp Geoffrey Fisher’s book of prayers and meditations]…were the foundations for her thinking about her calling. And they helped her make what must have been a difficult discernment in her later years. As British society grew both more religiously plural and more secular, she responded not by watering down what she had to say in her annual Christmas broadcasts but by gently increasing the references to her faith and to the role of religious faith in general.

Reading through these Christmas texts, it is striking that, as her society ceased to take for granted the frame of reference that was hers, she recognized that part of her task was to remind us of it. Never triumphalist, never aggressive, she simply reiterated her own commitment, her acknowledgment of God’s grace, and her insistence on the need to remember what the Christmas festival was actually about.

Contrary to what some over-anxious and over-apologetic observers might have feared, this did not offend or alienate the faithful of other communities. It reassured them that the monarch understood how and why faith mattered. And that was partly because she was increasingly willing to take part in interfaith events (and was indeed criticized by some Christian rigorists for doing so). This might be at large public events like Commonwealth Day services.

But my strongest memory is of an event at Lambeth Palace, late in my time as archbishop, when we had organized a small exhibition of treasures from different faith traditions and invited the queen to come and view this, to meet a number of religious leaders, and to address the group. What she said in her address was a powerful statement of a genuinely theological rationale for the Church of England’s role in a religiously plural society.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NYT front page) Health Panel Recommends Anxiety Screening for All Adults Under 65

A panel of medical experts on Tuesday recommended for the first time that doctors screen all adult patients under 65 for anxiety, guidance that highlights the extraordinary stress levels that have plagued the United States since the start of the pandemic.

The advisory group, called the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, said the guidance was intended to help prevent mental health disorders from going undetected and untreated for years or even decades. It made a similar recommendation for children and teenagers earlier this year.
The panel, appointed by an arm of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, has been preparing the guidance since before the pandemic. The recommendations come at a time of “critical need,” said Lori Pbert, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, who serves on the task force. Americans have been reporting outsize anxiety levels in response to a confluence of stressors, including inflation and crime rates, fear of illness and loss of loved ones from Covid-19.

“It’s a crisis in this country,” Dr. Pbert said. “Our only hope is that our recommendations throw a spotlight on the need to create greater access to mental health care — and urgently.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology

From the Morning Bible Readings

On that night the king could not sleep; and he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mor′decai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands upon King Ahasu-e′rus. And the king said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mor′decai for this?” The king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mor′decai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. So the king’s servants told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse which the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set; and let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble princes; let him array the man whom the king delights to honor, and let him conduct the man on horseback through the open square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’” Then the king said to Haman, “Make haste, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mor′decai the Jew who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he arrayed Mor′decai and made him ride through the open square of the city, proclaiming, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”

Then Mor′decai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. And Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mor′decai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”

While they were yet talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and brought Haman in haste to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

–Esther 6:1-14

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

When he had landed at Caesare′a, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phryg′ia, strengthening all the disciples.

Now a Jew named Apol′los, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aq′uila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Acha′ia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully confuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

–Acts 18:22-28

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aq′uila, a native of Pontus, lately come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them; and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them, and they worked, for by trade they were tentmakers. And he argued in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedo′nia, Paul was occupied with preaching, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man shall attack you to harm you; for I have many people in this city.” And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

–Acts 18:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.

If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

–James 1:19-27

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And he who sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.”

–John 12:44-50

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) Atlanta Hospital Closes in the Midst of Poverty and Politics

The Atlanta Medical Center sits on a vast stretch of urban land, just one mile south of Ponce de Leon Avenue — the street that segregationists over a century ago designated as the dividing line between Black and White Atlanta.

That distinction was palpable on Thursday, when a group of Georgia religious leaders held a press conference outside the hospital, calling on Governor Brian Kemp to meet with them, and find a way to stop the planned closure of the 120-year-old medical center, along with others like it in the state.

“Let’s be honest, this is about devaluing Black and Brown and poor people,” said Reverend Shanan Jones, president of Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta. “Their lives are expendable. Their lives don’t matter.”

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Pzephizo) Peter Wyatt reviews Louise Perry’s ‘The Case Against the Sexual Revolution’

According to Philip Larkin, ‘sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three’. Until today, this sexual revolution, brought about by more effective forms of contraception, has been hailed as an emancipation of human beings. No longer were we subject to the restraints of traditional morality as policed by religious faith, and family mores. Instead, they could act according to our desires, to find pleasure and happiness in any way they saw fit. Why should society have any opinion on what happened between the sheets, as Stephen Fry once said?

In her provocative new book, The Case Against the Sexual RevolutionLouise Perry argues that the picture is far from rosy. Instead of liberation, society has created new forms of oppression: rough sex, hook-up culture, and pornography to name a few. She argues that in all of these women have been the losers. In her view, the much-touted concept of “consent” as the answer to everything has failed and we have arrived at a situation that benefits a minority of men, at the expense of women. 

Her book is fearless in attacking the current orthodoxy, using her own experience as a campaigner in a rape crisis charity, along with extensive research, and she ends the book by quoting the radical feminist Andrea Dworkin (to paraphrase), that it is a lie to equate sexual freedom with freedom. Instead, she offers one piece of advice, ‘get married and stay married’. That is an incredible statement from a secular author! 

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pornography, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Women

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now when they had passed through Amphip’olis and Apollo’nia, they came to Thessaloni’ca, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas; as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.

–Acts 17:1-4

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Current) Marvin Olasky–A Wrinkle in Journalism History

As I began editing World thirty years ago I was proposing policies regarding poverty-fighting and related issues that became known as “compassionate conservatism.” The magazine reflected that viewpoint. Today, “national conservatism” or “Christian nationalism” has little room for compassion. As World resisted paranoid lines regarding vaccines, masks, and church closings—all part of a big government plot—our resistance became part of a larger conspiracy theory: World had gone woke.

American journalism history has valuable lessons on how to deal with conspiracy mongers. In 1955 wealthy William F. Buckley, Jr. started a magazine, National Review, that invigorated a conservative movement in disarray. Within a few years Buckley as editor had to fight off the John Birch Society, which asserted—among other oddities—that President Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist. Buckley said Birch founder and head Robert Welch inferred “subjective intention from objective consequences”: Because bad things had happened, U.S. policy makers must have intended them to happen.

John Birchers scrutinized book-buying decisions by local librarians and demanded that some books be removed. When National Review opposed the Birch campaign to impeach Earl Warren, the Supreme Court’s chief justice, many subscribers complained. When one donor said he had supported National Review financially and wanted it to support his concerns, Buckley said the magazine was “not for sale.”

Buckley owned the magazine and maintained his emphasis on independence even when the business side, led by publisher Bill Rusher, worried about reader and revenue loss. Rusher said a “substantial fraction” of readers “bled away” during 1962 and 1963. A direct mail campaign flopped as many on the mailing lists sided with the Birchers.

Buckley stuck with his principles and wrote to Barry Goldwater, “It is essential that we effect a clean break” with the Birch Society.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Media, Religion & Culture

An All Souls, Langham Place, Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)

take the time to watch it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

From the Morning Bible Readings

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one’s fetters were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family. Then he brought them up into his house, and set food before them; and he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God.

But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” And the jailer reported the words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go; now therefore come out and go in peace.” But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now cast us out secretly? No! let them come themselves and take us out.” The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens; so they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. So they went out of the prison, and visited Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they exhorted them and departed.

–Acts 16:25-40

Posted in Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Holy Cross Day

O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life and peace: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Soteriology, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I know that thou canst do all things,
and that no purpose of thine can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you declare to me.’
I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees thee;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

–Job 42:1-6

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Justin Welby preaches at Canterbury Cathedral on the Death of Queen Elizabeth

That same year, it was the year of the European City of Culture for Liverpool, Her Late Majesty came to Liverpool and there was a formal lunch. I was at a table not far away from her. Also at the table with her was a Rwandan woman who had escaped the genocide but lost almost her entire family and seen most terrible horrors. At the end of lunch, the Queen invited her to come and sit next to her, and talked to her for at least 20 minutes, while some of her staff hovered, twitching. And when I spoke to her later, she said, ‘there was healing’.

Both Her late Majesty and His Majesty treat others as special because for both their faith is built on the same rock. The rock of Christ. It is a rock on which we too can stand. There is room on that rock for every human being, however important or unimportant. Our sure hope comes from the fact the monarchy is not in a person, it is in God’s loving grace that he poured upon the Queen and pours upon the King – ‘Thy choicest gifts in store, on him be pleased to pour’.

This is the faith that enabled Her Late Majesty to be such a blessing to us, and to people around the world, an example of wisdom and reconciliation. Some of us will remember seeing on television her visit to Ireland in 2011 when, at the formal state dinner, she opened her speech in the Irish language, and Mary MacAleese, the then President of Ireland, looked at her neighbour at the table and went ’wow’. Or when Her Majesty in 2012, chose quite literally to extend the hand of friendship to Martin McGuinness, despite their differences and painful history – including the very personal history for the Queen of the death of her beloved uncle Lord Mountbatten as a result of an IRA attack in 1979. She was able to offer her hand because she stood on the rock of Christ.

She knew that every person is part of the flock, she saw every one of her subjects and every person she met as part of God’s treasured people. She knew that even in the shadow of the valley of death the Good Shepherd was with here. She knew that throughout this country’s darkest days and greatest victories, the hand of the Lord seeks us out and guides us. His Majesty knows the same. We have continuity, we have stability through grace.

Her life made sense in the light of Jesus Christ, her Lord and Saviour. So does that of His Majesty.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon: What does in Mean that Christians are Forgiven and Free (Romans 8:1-2)?

Listen to it all and there re other options here.

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

(WSJ) Walter Russell Mead–What if Putin Uses a Nuclear Weapon in Ukraine?

For Mr. Putin, the war in Ukraine began as what Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass has called a “war of choice.” Mr. Putin could have left Ukraine undisturbed and gone on to rule Russia for many years to come. But having chosen to start the war, he can’t afford to lose it. Radical Russian nationalists are already blaming him for the military failures in Ukraine. The Kremlin is no place for the weak, and the hard men who run Russia could turn on a politically wounded Mr. Putin in a heartbeat. Regardless of public sentiment across Russia, the people closest to Mr. Putin likely still want him to win the war.

The question is what Mr. Putin does next. If he can stabilize the military front until winter sets in, he has several months to prepare for the spring. He might use that time to organize a general mobilization, building a much larger conscript army for another year of conventional combat. But if the front doesn’t stabilize, or if he feels that public resistance to a general mobilization could endanger the stability of the regime, he might look to more drastic options, such as the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

It is anything but clear how the West would respond. Allowing Mr. Putin to use nuclear blackmail to assert his control over Ukraine would be such a craven act that the moral and political foundations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would be shaken to the core—and nuclear-armed aggressors elsewhere would take note. Yet the obvious countermove, placing Ukraine under an American nuclear umbrella, risks the greatest nuclear crisis since John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev squared off over Cuba in October 1962.

So far, American policy has aimed at avoiding the binary choice between abandoning Ukraine and provoking a nuclear confrontation with Russia….

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Laz′arus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Laz′arus also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written,

“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on an ass’s colt!”

His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Laz′arus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him.”

–John 12:9-19

Posted in Theology: Scripture

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

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible readings

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together,
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
when it burst forth from the womb;
when I made clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

–Job 38:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(1st Things) Carl Truman–The Quiet Faith Of Queen Elizabeth Ii

…she saw the monarchy as something larger than herself, something to which her personal interests had to be subordinated.

Some of this was no doubt due to her quiet but serious Christian faith. A friend who once had the privilege of being a royal chaplain and spending a weekend at Balmoral Castle confirmed that the conversations he had with the queen revealed her to be a thoughtful, devout Christian. As a humble Christian she took her earthly vocation seriously, placing the needs of the office and of the people she ruled before her own.

Unlike most heads of state today, she was a person to whom one could point and say to one’s children and grandchildren, “When you grow up, you want to be like her.” Her reign was marked with a deep sense of the dignity of her office. She never used profane language. She never sneered at critics. A generation raised on reality TV, life-as-performance, confected Twitter outrage, and “living loud” would do well to reflect upon that. To how many other executives of the past decades can one point as a good example to follow? Maybe that is why monarchy might not be such a bad thing after all. Democratically-elected leaders often achieve their positions thanks to ruthless ambition, dirty tricks, and an overwhelming sense of their own vital importance. The queen was never burdened with such temptations, and it showed.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Theology

Her Majesty The Queen: Archbishop Justin delivers Thought For The Day

In times of grief, fear, or vulnerability, we can cling to the wounded feet of Christ. It is offered to all of us.

We can look out at the world, and can find that our lives can be abundant, as Her Late Majesty’s was, that our lives can find hope, even in the face of death.

We remember today especially the Royal Family in their grief. We pray for the reign of His Majesty King Charles III. He will feel especially the weight of this change.

In the Christian story of life, death, and resurrection, there is space for our grief and uncertainty. We see the wounds of Christ who died with us. But with God, the final words are abundant life and fulfilled hope. And in Her Majesty’s life we saw that and can be inspired.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Ecclesiology, Politics in General