Category : * Christian Life / Church Life

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Richard Baxter

Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after thee, and in an affectionate walking with thee, every day of our lives; that when thou comest, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God for ever and ever.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

(WSJ) Gun Death Rate Nears Three-Decade High, With Men at Most Risk

The rate of gun deaths in the U.S. reached a 28-year high in 2021 after sharp increases in homicides of Black men and suicides among white men, an analysis of federal data showed.

A record 48,953 deaths in the U.S., or about 15 fatalities per 100,000 people, were caused by guns last year, said the analysis published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open. Gun deaths declined in the 1990s, but have been rising steadily over the past decade and skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, said researchers who conducted the analysis.

Gun-related deaths of women and children have risen, the analysis said, but men remain far more likely to die from guns.

“The disparities are so marked,” said Chris Rees, a co-author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Rees and his colleagues analyzed U.S. firearm fatality rates from 1990 to 2021 using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. have died from guns since 1990, the analysis showed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Men, Violence

(NYT) Christine McVie, Hitmaker for Fleetwood Mac, Is Dead at 79

Christine McVie, the singer, songwriter and keyboardist who became the biggest hitmaker for Fleetwood Mac, one of music’s most popular bands, died on Wednesday. She was 79.

Her family announced her death on Facebook. The statement said she died at a hospital but did not specify its location or give the cause of death. In June, Ms. McVie told Rolling Stone that she was in “quite bad health” and that she had endured debilitating problems with her back.

Ms. McVie’s commercial potency, which hit a high point in the 1970s and ’80s, was on full display on Fleetwood Mac’s “Greatest Hits” anthology, released in 1988, which sold more than eight million copies: She either wrote or co-wrote half of its 16 tracks. Her tally doubled that of the next most prolific member of the band’s trio of singer-songwriters, Stevie Nicks. (The third, Lindsey Buckingham, scored three major Billboard chart-makers on that collection.)

The most popular songs Ms. McVie wrote favored bouncing beats and lively melodies, numbers like “Say You Love Me” (which grazed Billboard’s Top 10), “You Make Lovin’ Fun” (which just broke it), “Hold Me” (No. 4) and “Don’t Stop” (her top smash, which crested at No. 3). But she could also connect with elegant ballads, like “Over My Head” (No. 20) and “Little Lies” (which cracked the publication’s Top Five in 1987).

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Music

(CT) Evangelical Giving Goes Up, Despite Economic Woes

The annual State of Giving report from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) found giving to ministries increased more in 2021 than it had any year out of the last 10. Inflation and the pandemic both raised real concerns for ministry leaders trying to make ends meet, but evangelicals responded to the crises with generosity.

The ECFA survey of about 1,800 members found they received more than $19 billion in donations in 2021. Adjusting for inflation, giving went up by about 3 percent. In the last 10 years, the increase has been closer to 2 percent.

“Contrary to what many expected, giving during the pandemic to ECFA members was strong,” Michael Martin, ECFA president and CEO, wrote in the report. “The findings we unveil emphasize the good work that ECFA members are doing to serve and expand their services in the face of inflation and other challenges.”

If Christians are excited and optimistic about the work of parachurch organizations, though, the numbers reveal a different story when it comes to megachurches. The ECFA surveyed 87 churches that belong to the financial accountability organization. Giving to those congregations dropped by 6.6 percent in 2021, following a decline of 1.1 percent the year before.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Stewardship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Andrew

Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from the Non-Jurors’ Prayer Book

O thou, who hast foretold that thou wilt return to judgment in an hour that we are not aware of, grant us grace to watch and pray always, that whether thou shalt come at even, or at midnight, or in the morning, we may be found among the number of those servants who shall be blessed in watching for their Lord, to whom be all glory now and for evermore.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Kamehameha and Emma

O Sovereign God, who raisedst up (King) Kamehameha (IV) and (Queen) Emma to be rulers in Hawaii, and didst inspire and enable them to be diligent in good works for the welfare of their people and the good of thy Church: Receive our thanks for their witness to the Gospel; and grant that we, with them, may attain to the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from Lancelot Andrewes

Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

([London] Times) Queen Elizabeth II biography reveals stoic monarch in final days

According to the Right Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, she was in “fantastic form” on the weekend before she died.

He told Brandreth that she was “so alive and engaging”, and how they spoke about her childhood, her horses, church affairs and her sadness over the war in Ukraine. “Her faith was everything to her. She told me she had no regrets,” he said.

Brandreth wrote: “Her Majesty always knew that her remaining time was limited. She accepted this with all the grace you’d expect.” The biographer claimed he “heard that the Queen had a form of myeloma — bone marrow cancer,” which he wrote would explain the tiredness, weight loss and mobility issues that were spoken about during the last year of her life.

Her death certificate stated that she had died of old age.

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on any of the claims in the book.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Books, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Of what does the Hope of Heaven Consist (Isaiah 2:1-5)?

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

TSM reports the death of former dean John Rodgers

From there:

We share news of the passing of our second Dean and President, The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, and we join in praying for his family and friends. He was a tireless servant of our seminary and our country as a United States Marine veteran.

“Lord Jesus, be mindful of your promise. Think of us, your servants, especially The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, and when we shall depart, speak to our spirits these loving words: “Today you shall be with me in joy.” O Lord Jesus Christ, remember us, your servants who trust in you, when our tongues cannot speak, when the sight of our eyes fails, and when our ears are stopped. Let our spirits always rejoice in you and be joyful about our salvation, which you, through your death, have purchased for us. Amen.” (110. For Joy at the End of Life, BCP 2019)

More memorial news and tributes will be forthcoming.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Seminary / Theological Education

A prayer for the day from Prayers for the Christian Year

Almighty and everlasting God, who orderest all things in heaven and on earth: We give thee thanks and praise that thou didst make all ages a preparation for the coming of thy Son, our blessed Redeemer. Prepare us for the coming of him whom thou dost send, and grant that of his fullness we may all receive; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Prayers for the Christian Year (SCM, 1964)

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

Music for Advent–Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus from Red Mountain Music

The music is by Rowland H. Prichard and the lyrics are by Charles Wesley.

Listen to it all.

Posted in Advent, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from the Church of England

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Isaac Watts

God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from the Prayer Manual

O God, Who art man’s sovereign good, and dost seek the love of Thy children: deliver us from sloth in Thy work and coldness in Thy cause; rekindle in us love by our looking unto Thee, and by our waiting upon Thee renew our strength; 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)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

Please join us in giving thanks today for Anglican Bishop Chip Edgar of South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Otis Sargent Huntington

O loving God, by whose grace thy servant James Huntington gathered a community dedicated to love and discipline and devotion to the holy Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ: Send thy blessing upon all who proclaim Christ crucified, and move the hearts of many to look unto him and be saved; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Day from L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

Almighty God, whose blessed Son taught in all honesty the way of life that thou requirest: Grant that we may so live as dutiful and loyal citizens of our earthly country, that we may show ourselves to be members of that heavenly country whereof thou art sovereign Lord and King; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer of Thanksgiving from B F Westcott

We give thee humble and hearty thanks, O most merciful Father, for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men, for the blessings of this life and for the promise of everlasting happiness. And as we are bound, we especially thank thee for the mercies which we have received: for health and strength and the manifold enjoyments of our daily life; for the opportunities of learning, for the knowledge of thy will, for the means of serving thee in thy Church, and for the love thou hast revealed to us in thy Son, our Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be praise and glory for ever and ever.

–B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer of Thanksgiving from Lancelot Andrewes

Blessing and honour, and thanksgiving and praise,
more than we can utter,
more than we can conceive,
be unto thee, O holy and glorious Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
by all angels, all men, all creatures,
for ever and ever.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Day from the Iona Books

Most worthy art Thou, O good and gracious God, of all praise, even for Thine own sake which exceedeth all things in holiness. By Thee only we are hallowed and made holy. As our duty continually bids us, we praise Thee for our glorious redemption, purchased for us in Thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Give us therefore the Holy Spirit to govern us. And grant that all things that breathe with life may praise Thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, Who reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(PRC) How Religion Intersects With Americans’ Views on the Environment

Most U.S. adults – including a solid majority of Christians and large numbers of people who identify with other religious traditions – consider the Earth sacred and believe God gave humans a duty to care for it, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

But the survey also finds that highly religious Americans (those who say they pray each day, regularly attend religious services and consider religion very important in their lives) are far less likely than other U.S. adults to express concern about warming temperatures around the globe.

The survey reveals several reasons why religious Americans tend to be less concerned about climate change. First and foremost is politics: The main driver of U.S. public opinion about the climate is political party, not religion. Highly religious Americans are more inclined than others to identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, and Republicans tend to be much less likely than Democrats to believe that human activity (such as burning fossil fuels) is warming the Earth or to consider climate change a serious problem.

Religious Americans who express little or no concern about climate change also give a variety of other explanations for their views, including that there are much bigger problems in the world today, that God is in control of the climate, and that they do not believe the climate actually is changing. In addition, many religious Americans voice concerns about the potential consequences of environmental regulations, such as a loss of individual freedoms, fewer jobs or higher energy prices.

Read it all.

Posted in Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Stewardship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Clement of Rome

Almighty God, who didst choose thy servant Clement of Rome to recall the Church in Corinth to obedience and stability: Grant that thy Church may be grounded and settled in thy truth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and may evermore be kept blameless in thy service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Day from Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

Help us, O Holy Spirit, Giver of life and love, to be always so mindful of the love from whence we came, that we may learn more and more the love to which we go: and in this love abounding, daily abide; 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)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

CS Lewis on CS Lewis Day (III)–on Love, Hell and Vulnerability

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell.

–C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960), pp. 138-139

Posted in Anthropology, Church History

(CT) William O’Flaherty–The Top 10 Misquoted Lines from C. S. Lewis for CSLewis Day

2. “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

Lewis never wrote those words, but he did admire the person who originally wrote them—or at least something very similar. George MacDonald penned a close variation of this saying in Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood (1867). In the 28th chapter, we find a comment about “the great mistake of teaching children that they have souls.” It goes on to say that “they ought to be taught that they have bodies, and that their bodies die; while they themselves live on.” Years later, in 1892, an article appeared in The British Friend where MacDonald is quoted as saying, “Never tell a child … you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.”

1. “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun. Not because I can see it, but by it, I can see everything else.”

The most misquoted line from Lewis. These are certainly great words, but they aren’t quite what Lewis actually wrote. They are close though. Not including punctuation, there are eight differences between this and Lewis’s original. The correct version comes from an essay entitled “Is Theology Poetry?” found in The Weight of Glory. The actual statement Lewis wrote is, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.”

 Read it all.

Posted in Church History

Tom Wright on C.S. Lewis for CS Lewis’ Feast Day: Reflections on a Master Apologist After 60 Years

I once found myself working closely, in a cathedral fundraising campaign, with a local millionaire. He was a self-made man. When I met him he was in his 60s, at the top of his game as a businessman, and was chairing our Board of Trustees. To me, coming from the academic world, he was a nightmare to work with.

He never thought in (what seemed to me) straight lines; he would leap from one conversation to another; he would suddenly break into a discussion and ask what seemed a totally unrelated question. But after a while I learned to say to myself: Well, it must work, or he wouldn’t be where he is. And that was right. We raised the money. We probably wouldn’t have done it if I’d been running the Trust my own way.

I have something of the same feeling on re-reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. I owe Lewis a great debt. In my late teens and early twenties I read everything of his I could get my hands on, and read some of his paperbacks and essays several times over. There are sentences, and some whole passages, I know pretty much by heart.

Millions around the world have been introduced to, and nurtured within, the Christian faith through his work where their own preachers and teachers were not giving them what they needed. That was certainly true of me.

Read it all.

Posted in Apologetics, Church History

CS Lewis on CS Lewis Day (I)–His description of his own Conversion

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words “compelle intrare,” compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.

–C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (Harcourt Brace, 1956), p.228

Posted in Apologetics, Church History, Theology