The Lord gives us power and strength when we need it most. Never lose faith! 🙏🏿🙌🏿 pic.twitter.com/Ay7wcbNNQu
— Charlie Wilson (@CharlieWilson) August 11, 2019
Category : * By Kendall
As you no doubt guessed, we are on an August break so posting will be sporadic.
A tip of the hat to Lutheran blogger Dan Skogen, who highlighted this exchange. The church historically teaches – and most Christians today would reiterate – that God loves everyone and seeks their best interest. But does that love mean that Hell is, as Egensteiner asserted, empty?
Even among many liberal mainline Protestant luminaries, the doctrine of Hell is taken seriously today more so than in the past two generations. In 2008, the liberal Christian Century hosted a symposium on Hell. As IRD’s Mark Tooley reported somewhat surprisingly, most of the respondents seemed to believe in it. This stands in stark contrast to early and mid-20th Century liberal Protestants who rejected the existence of Hell outright.
This old Protestant liberalism was embodied by Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong. Tooley notes that Spong gained celebrity in the 1980s writing books denying supernatural Christianity and insisting rationalism was the only way to “save” the faith for younger people. Meanwhile, his Episcopal Diocese of Newark lost nearly half its members under his watch, and the seminars he taught in retirement attracted only the elderly.
Rarely today do Tooley or I encounter liberal Protestants similar to Spong who are under 60 (Egensteiner turns 62 next month). “Modernist” views are now passé, and liberal Protestants under age 50 typically believe in an afterlife and sometimes even Hell.
But Hell isn’t just about the afterlife. As I reported last year on an Anglican workshop that addressed preaching on the subject, the Doctrine of Hell has consequences today for the living including Christology, evangelism, human dignity and our “tone in life”.
“Hell is empty and we should have no concern about our eternal fate.”
— Dennis Lennox (@dennislennox) July 23, 2019
Good morning all. This morning, I continue my wander round Old Aberdeen. Today, St. Machar’s Cathedral. This has been a site of worship since 589AD, this present building, since around the fourteenth Century. The ceiling contains the heraldic shields. Have a lovely day. pic.twitter.com/cTwIUwbTJF
— Terence Farquharson (@TelfotoABZ761) June 28, 2019
— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) June 16, 2019
Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth. Amen. #Pentecost pic.twitter.com/bJIhQKGouH
— Jonathan Powers (@jonboy017) June 9, 2019
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–How shall we understand the Ascension and what is its significance for us?
“Ascension of Christ,” by Rembrandt. Jesus is the Light of the World. pic.twitter.com/imM1OnMvt3
— Christian Culture (@Christian8Pics) June 27, 2014
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–What is the Connection Between Easter and the Church (Revelation 7:9-17)
Above all the gospel accounts of Easter compel our attention. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” One version of this wonderful day begins with a voice of negation, a crucial question which many people never answer. Are we looking for love in all the wrong places? Are we clinging to earthly things and forgetting those things which do not pass away?
Then we hear “come and see.” To see with the full eyes of one’s heart is a rare thing indeed. So many times in life we look but do not see, do not perceive as God perceives. The power of the post-resurrection narratives is that each person is met on his or her terms. What wondrous love is that, as the Holy Spirit by his power opens our eyes.
The dynamic does not stop with the question and the call to see, however. If we really see who God is and his power to change lives and transform them into the likeness of his glory, we cannot keep it to ourselves.
Where I served my curacy in South Carolina, we had many Clemson football fans; they root for the Tigers whose color is orange. One day I visited a family devoted to Clemson and, I kid you not, even their toilet seat cover was orange. Bless them, they loved to tell the story of a particular University. One wonders whether an Easter people have a similar passion to share Jesus’ love for the world.
He is risen. Why? Come. See. Go. Tell. Alleluia.
–The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall S. Harmon is the host of this blog
— Tim Montgomerie (@montie) March 27, 2016
How shall we understand freedom? Perhaps because I am in a state, South Carolina, where candidates….[not long ago] were running around saying “you are free so vote for me!” this has been much in mind.
There is a lot of sloppy thinking about freedom these days. For too many it only means the ability to choose a candidate or a product. Or it is understood to be the removal of external constraints, as in I need the government out of my—then fill in the blank: my business, my body, and on and on.
Christian thinking about freedom is a totally different animal.
For one thing, in the Scriptures, freedom has an interesting relationship to time. Freedom is something which was present in creation, and which will be fully present again at the end of history when God brings it to its conclusion. But what about the present? The people Jesus spends time with—say, for example, the woman at the well (John 4), or Zaccheus (Luke 19) are not free but constrained, imprisoned, and encased. When Jesus rescues them, freedom begins, but even then it is lived out in the tension between the already of new life in Christ and the not yet of the fullness of the eschaton.
So apart from Christ people who think they are free need to hear the bad news that their perceived freedom is an illusion. One would like to hear more from preachers these days on this score, since they are addressing parishioners who are workaholics or poweraholics or sexaholics and/or addicts to heaven knows what else. Why is it that a group like AA seems to know more about real freedom than so many churches? Because they begin with the premise which says their members are enslaved—that is the first of the twelve steps.
And there is so much more to freedom then even this. In the Bible, real freedom moves in not one or two but three directions.
Freedom from is one piece of the puzzle—freedom from sin, from the demands of the law, from the tyranny of the urgent, from whatever constricts us from being the people God intended us to be.
Equally important, however, is freedom for, freedom for Christ, for service, for God’s justice, for ministry. Paul wonderfully describes himself as a bondservant of Christ Jesus, and the Prayer Book has it right when it says God’s service is “perfect freedom.”
Freedom with should not be missed, however. For Paul in Galatians Christian freedom is not the Christian by herself changed by the gospel. This has too much in common with the individual shopper in Walmart deciding exactly what kind of popcorn or yogurt she wants. No, real freedom is to be liberated to live for Christ with the new pilgrim people of God who reflect back a little of heaven’s light on earth. A real church is one where people enjoy koinonia, fellowship, the richness of God’s life shared into them which they then share out in Christ’s name by the power of the Holy Spirit to the world.
Paul says it wonderfully in Galatians: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Do not settle for anything less than this real freedom, freedom from bondage, freedom with our fellow pilgrims, and freedom for the God who made the heavens and the earth.
–The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon is the convenor of this blog
— Fr. Mark Hanna (@Fr_MarkHanna) April 28, 2019
— Beech Genealogy (@GenealogyBeech) April 13, 2017
I had a family trip to attend the youngest daughter’s White Coat ceremony at Veterinary School, during which I got some kind of nasty lower gi bug from which I am still recovering. So bear with us as the blog gears back up–KSH.
I have been at this blog since the first part of 2003, and it is time for a break. As I am constantly insisting to my friends, none of us is indispensable, and this is a way of living that out by yours truly. Remember I told you I am the type of person who goes to bed every night just a little sad–only a little–about how much I don’t know (and still wish to find out). So moving away from the information addiction for me will not necessarily be easy–but it is important.
The snowdrops are coming out near Jamestown Cottage. Spring is coming. Ideal time for a short break. pic.twitter.com/g6h5rGwG0H
— Jamestown Cottage (@JamestownHols) February 27, 2019
Change your name to Humpty Dumpty pic.twitter.com/XIEegfQKoj
— Olasinde Afolabi (@the_olamide_) February 25, 2019
O God, come to our aid.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Miraculous draught of fish,1610
Peter Paul Rubens pic.twitter.com/Mo934jyN2l
— Kalina Boulter (@KalinaBoulter) April 6, 2018
Deploying the phrase “the pew never rises higher than the pulpit,” Harmon noted that a good sermon is organized, biblical, and applies the bible to daily life. In contrast, he lamented the state of American preaching ministry as “woefully inadequate.”
“It has to have its primary content from the Bible, it has to be clearly structured so that as a listener you can follow it,” Harmon quoted Simeon as saying. “You take them to the average American pulpit and the guy gets up there and he’s mumbling this strange amorphous set of pithy sayings and interesting jokes as if it’s some kind of entertainment seminar. The person’s already hit the off button.”
“I concede that [the state of the American church] is depressing, but it’s only depressing if you don’t believe it’s the truth. If it is the truth, for our God every obstacle is always an opportunity.”
Hard truths from @KendallHarmon6 about culture’s embrace of pagan anthropology and failure of church to be “salt and light”. But, he encourages, 18th Century evangelist Charles Simeon’s example offers a faithful way forward. #Anglican @AnglicanCouncil https://t.co/F14fflsIK5
— Jeff Walton (@jeffreyhwalton) February 7, 2019
— Fr. David (@FrDavid1) October 6, 2018
Today is the Baptism of Christ. Luke 3:21-22 (NIV): “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.” Illumination from a 15thC Book of Hours [MS 459] pic.twitter.com/x6snzKI54F
— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) January 13, 2019
Kendall Harmon’s Sermon for the first Sunday of Christmas: Have we Grasped the Central Theological Claim of Christmas (John 1:14)?
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” Isaiah 9:6 (NIV). Merry Christmas from all of us @lampallib! However you choose to spend it, we hope you have a wonderful day. Image from Scenes of the Nativity, written & illuminated by Mr & Mrs A. Trevor, 19th century [MS 1563] pic.twitter.com/lSVWB00RR9
— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) December 25, 2018
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) November 14, 2018
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday #Sermon–The Nature and Purpose of #Marriage (Genesis 2) https://t.co/jN7F18rmrm #anglican #theology #southcarolina #bonhoeffer #matthewhenry #ethics #bible #anthropology pic.twitter.com/iIQ4B7XYQ5
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) October 8, 2018
And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed (Mark 1:35).
"O Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, Have mercy upon me, a sinner! Amen." (The Jesus Prayer) pic.twitter.com/2ZfOkzAVmS
— CarmeloftheHolyFace (@HolyFaceCarmel) August 31, 2016
Never Forget. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/hGdxCApH5B
— Edoardo Fanfani (@EdoardoFanfani) September 11, 2018
(You may find the names of all 343 firefighters here–KSH).
On Monday this week, the last of the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th was buried. Because no remains of Michael Ragusa, age 29, of Engine Company 279, were found and identified, his family placed in his coffin a very small vial of his blood, donated years ago to a bone-marrow clinic. At the funeral service Michael’s mother Dee read an excerpt from her son’s diary on the occasion of the death of a colleague. “It is always sad and tragic when a fellow firefighter dies,” Michael Ragusa wrote, “especially when he is young and had everything to live for.” Indeed. And what a sobering reminder of how many died and the awful circumstances in which they perished that it took until this week to bury the last one.
So here is to the clergy, the ministers, rabbis, imams and others, who have done all these burials and sought to help all these grieving families. And here is to the families who lost loved ones and had to cope with burials in which sometimes they didn’t even have remains of the one who died. And here, too, is to the remarkable ministry of the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, who played every single service for all 343 firefighters who lost their lives. The Society chose not to end any service at which they played with an up-tempo march until the last firefighter was buried.
On Monday, in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, the Society therefore played “Garry Owen” and “Atholl Highlander,” for the first time since 9/11 as the last firefighter killed on that day was laid in the earth. On the two year anniversary here is to New York, wounded and more sober, but ever hopeful and still marching.
–First published on this blog September 11, 2003
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–How are we as Christians to understand Work? (For Labor Day) https://t.co/39gSLFKZAO #theology #pneumatology #christianity #southcarolina #preaching #parishministry #LaborDay2018 pic.twitter.com/RFmaX9F7Y7
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) September 4, 2018
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Are We Living Wisely? Are we Making the Most of the Time? (Ephesians 5:15-20)
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday #Sermon–Are We Living Wisely? Are we Making the Most of the Time? (Ephesians 5:15-20) https://t.co/HDsgyd2HRF #theology #pneumatology #christianity #southcarolina #preaching #parishministry pic.twitter.com/JshJTONLmD
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) August 20, 2018