Category : Media

Laura Lorson with a Hilarious and much needed Thread on a NY Times Headline this week

Make sure to read all the replies.

Posted in Language, Media, Movies & Television

(NPR) Sending the right message about the omicron variant

This time, a lot of local public health departments around the country are working hard to get the message right, says Adriane Casalotti of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. “We have seen local health departments being out there, trying to explain to folks what we do know, but also what we don’t know — and what the timeframe is, and what the process is for learning more.”

One official who’s getting out there is Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, a specialist in infectious diseases and the director of health for the city of St. Louis.

“The message is: There’s no need to panic,” she says. “We still need to learn, we still need to wait for science to do its thing. But in the meantime, we have tools available to keep ourselves and our community safe. We have safe and effective vaccines — so go out and get one — we know that masking works, we know that social distancing works, and we know that hand-washing works.”

In addition to the “don’t panic, do this instead” message, Vish Viswanath, professor of health communication at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health says Hlatshwayo Davis is also signaling to the community that she’s engaged and plans to keep them updated as scientists learn more about the new variant. He says her approach is “exactly what we need.”

“That sense of competence and action — ‘we are watching it, we are on top of it, we’ll work with you’ — it won’t eliminate, but it will abate many concerns,” he says.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Media, Science & Technology

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

December 8 Hearing; Prayer Vigil Organized

The importance, for the Diocese and its Parishes, of the December 8 South Carolina Supreme Court hearing cannot be overstated. For that reason, the clergy and people of the Diocese are strongly encouraged to keep the coming hearing in your prayers as the date approaches. Pray first for the shielding of Mr. Runyan and his legal team as they prepare for this hearing. Pray also that they be granted divine wisdom in preparing their arguments. Pray finally for the Justices (Donald W. Beatty, John W. Kittredge, John Cannon Few, George C. “Buck” James) that they be granted divine clarity in their preparations, in the hearing and, in their final ruling. Read more about the hearing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Media, Parish Ministry

A NYT article on Marvin Olasky and World Magzine

When Marvin Olasky gets angry emails from readers — more often than not about an exposé of wrongdoing at an evangelical church, or about a story that reflects poorly on Donald Trump — he has a stock reply.

“We think this is useful to the Church,” he tells disgruntled readers, “because we are also sinners.”

As the longtime editor of World, a Christian news organization that has a website, a biweekly magazine and a set of podcasts, Mr. Olasky has delivered a mix of hard news and watchdog articles about the evangelical realm under a journalistic philosophy he calls “biblical objectivity.”

It involves taking strong stands where the Bible is clear, which has led World to oppose abortion rights and support refugees, he says, and to follow reportable facts where the Bible doesn’t provide clear guidance.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

This past Saturday, October 16, 2021, during the special Electing Convention held at Christ Church in Mt. Pleasant, the Very Rev. Chip Edgar was elected Bishop Coadjutor of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina. Pending approval by the ACNA’s College of Bishops, who will meet in January 2022, Edgar will be in line to succeed Bishop Mark Lawrence who has served as the Diocesan Bishop since January of 2008….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Media, Parish Ministry

(BBC) Songs of Praise: Queen congratulates BBC show on 60th anniversary

The Queen has congratulated “all those involved” in BBC One’s Songs of Praise as the show celebrates 60 years on air.

Nearly 3,000 episodes of the world’s longest-running religious TV programme have aired since its first transmission, from Cardiff, in 1961.

In a message to be broadcast on Sunday’s show in Westminster Abbey, the Queen applauded the series for showing Christianity as “a living faith”.

Hosted by Aled Jones, the show will feature ex-presenters and star guests.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Media, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

The C of E announces there have been one million downloads for its Daily Prayer podcast

The Daily Prayer podcast, which is also integrated into the free Daily Prayer app, brings listeners together twice a day for short traditional services of Morning and Evening, usually led by the Revd Catherine Williams from Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.

The podcast, available both via the Daily Prayer app as well as all major podcasting platforms, has had just under a quarter of a million unique listeners since launching.

The atmospheric services follow the pattern set out in the Church of England’s Common Worship services, with readings recorded by people around the country and music from St Martin’s Voices, one of the choirs of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

The podcast, which was launched in March 2021, has now registered more than 1,000,000 downloads, with around 8,000 people listening a day.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

The Wedding Dress; And Why I Tithe….
By Susan Clarkson Keller, St. Philip’s Church, Charleston

I began tithing sometime after college, when I began my first job. Despite being a young believer, I understood that tithing was a way to show God how much I trusted Him to provide for me.

Then a speaker came to St. Philip’s in the mid-1980s, whose message greatly impacted my thinking about giving. I was challenged not only to tithe, but to see everything I had as God’s and to realize what a blessing it would be to give more and more to the work of the Kingdom, in and out of the church. I decided then to start tithing my gross income… which was a big step for me. Since that time, I have experienced the faithfulness of God in providing for me in some truly remarkable ways….

Read it all.

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

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Tune in to AXS TV July 7 at 6:30 p.m. to see the season premiere of “If These Walls Could Rock,” a new series featuring musical performances in historically significant venues along with conversations surrounding the history and meaning of the venue in which the artists perform. In the opening show, July 7, Performer Ty Taylor reflects on his experience performing at the Old Brick Church in conversation with the Rev. Hamilton Smith (Rector of St. Thomas, Mt. Pleasant) and the musical duo Finnegan Bell (Shane Williams and Warren Bazemore) which leads worship at St. Thomas. The connection was made through the STAC House shows, the critically acclaimed songwriter series hosted by St. Thomas which Finnegan Bell created and curates.

Watch a video conversation with the lead singer of Vintage Trouble, Ty Taylor.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Media, Parish Ministry

(First Things) Fr. Vincent Druding–Remembering Richard John Neuhaus

Upon his death, I joined Sr. John Mary, SV and a couple of the Sisters of Life at his bedside to pray and sing the Office of the Dead from the Liturgy of the Hours. Thousands of times, Fr. Richard would have repeated Simeon the Prophet’s words to God on the completion of his mission, “Lord now you let your servant go in peace…your word has been fulfilled.”

Fr. Richard’s last published words read: “The entirety of our prayer is ‘Your will be done’—not as a note of resignation but of desire beyond expression. To that end, I commend myself to your intercession, and that of all the saints and angels who accompany us each step through time toward home.”

Fr. Richard, we have interceded for you, and continue to do so, but now it is we who ask you to intercede for us at the throne of glory. As you knew so well, the darkness of our time and culture—and even the darkness that has crept into our own Church—is great. But we believe with you that the Light has entered the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. We proclaim with you the power and authority of Christ in all times and places, and in all circumstances. We ask your assistance, Fr. Richard, to persevere in trials, to carry the cross, and to witness joyfully to the power of the Resurrection, so that we may preach with our lives, teach as you taught, and imitate your example of giving glory to God by throwing your life away for Jesus Christ and joining that high adventure of living life on high in Christ. Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, thank you, we love you, pray for us.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Lutheran, Media, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Clergy Renewal of Vows, Tuesday May 18, 2021

The Cathedral of St. Luke & St. Paul

Note: This will be our last Clergy Renewal of Vows service with Bishop Lawrence.

We are eager to offer this opportunity to re-gather, and commit ourselves to the calling of ordained ministry together. The day will have some nuances, as the City of Charleston still has some directives we will incorporate into our day….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Media, Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

The Rev. Louise Weld, who serves as an Associate Rector at Saint James Church, Charleston, graced the cover of the Post and Courier this past Monday (March 29) holding a lamb and leading the children in a Palm Sunday procession.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Media, Parish Ministry

William Nye, Secretary General, Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England , pens a Response to an article in this week’s Spectator

In response to a cover story in the Spectator:Holy Relic – The Church of England as we know it is disappearing’ published 4 February 2021, William Nye, Secretary General, Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England has responded with the following Letter to the Editor (for publication). The letter reads as follows:

Sir,

As a longstanding and loyal reader of the Spectator, I was disappointed in your cover story about the Church of England.

I was amazed to read the ludicrous claim that the parish system is being dissolved like the monasteries, repeated without even a cursory check on whether this could possibly be true. We read of a supposed central take-over of independent dioceses and an imaginary national plan to roll out cuts and sell assets to fund more managers. The old canard that the Archbishops decided to suspend public worship last year at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, rather than the Government, did not even get a rudimentary qualification.

No one from the Spectator called the Church of England to ask whether any of these things were true.

This matters because truth matters. It matters because this kind of misinformation is damaging and demoralising to clergy and laity in every corner of England who have been worshipping God and serving their neighbours in extraordinary new ways, despite the restrictions we have all faced during this pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Matt Taibbi on the Mainstream Media–The Echo Chamber Era

By any standard, the press had a terrible four years, from the mangling of dozens of Russiagate tales to scandals like the New York Times “Caliphate” disaster and the underappreciated Covington High School story fiasco. Still, many in the business can’t see how bad it’s been, because they’ve walled themselves off so completely from potential critics.

Coupled with the enhanced aggressiveness of Silicon Valley in removing dissenting accounts across the spectrum — Facebook is taking down six Socialist Workers Party accounts in Britain as I write this, a day after zapping a series of Antifa accounts — reporters at places like the Post, the Times, and CNN every day have less and less to worry about in terms of audience blowback, and they know it. Just in the first few days of the Biden administration, we’ve seen editorial decisions that would never have been attempted once upon a time.

The Post just tried to remove seven paragraphs of their own archived article about Vice President Kamala Harris, which contained a cringeworthy scene of Harris and her sister joking about prisoners begging for water, only to restore it after an outcry. CNN meanwhile ran a story that incoming Biden officials had to “build everything from scratch” with regard to Covid-19 policy because the Trump administration had no plan for vaccine distribution at all — not a bad or even a terrible plan, but literally a “nonexistent” plan, despite the fact that 36 million vaccines had already been delivered.

In this rare case, rival media organizations cried foul, with reporters from both Politico and the Washington Post blasting the report as untrue and a “gambit to lower expectations” by the incoming administration. In an atmosphere where editors really feared discontent from outside demographics or rival party politicians, a story like that, with an over-the-top-to-impossible premise, would never even be tried.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Media

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

In lieu of this year’s cancelled Clergy Conference—Bishop Lawrence held two smaller gatherings October 19-21, the first held for Rectors and the second hosting Vicars, Associates & Deacons. The theme of the retreats was “Seeing Covid-19 as a Season of Exile.” The brief gatherings included teachings from Jeremiah—his life and writings and from insights gleaned from Eugene Peterson’s book, Run With the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best, small group discussions, fellowship, and personal time for reflection on the call of God.

Some of the questions they considered included:

1. How has Covid-19 been for you, your family, or your congregation?
2. How is your congregation adapting to this exilic environment?
3. Where are you in need of such a renewal and new commitment now?
4. What has God appointed you to do or be—to what work has he given you now?
5. When Jeremiah bought the field at Anathoth he was buying into God’s promise. During this time of Covid-19 and social unrest how is God calling you to buy into what you believe?

“It was time well spent!” said the Rev. Karl Burns, Rector of Church of Our Saviour, Johns Island, “The Bishop’s teaching from Jeremiah was relevant and it was just good to be with my fellow rectors in a relaxed environment. Just to be able to sit and share in the atmosphere of where we are was very good.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Pedro Gabriel–Those Pope Francis quotes: Video editing and media controversy

I find it interesting how the Pope spoke here about the media taking his words out of context. I also find it interesting that the Pope specifically said that none of this means approving homosexual acts. This completely alters the implication of the quote that was presented to us. Of course, if you read the entire interview, you will see the Pope railing against abortion and saying, explicitly, “I am a conservative.”

What is even more interesting is that the quotes that appear in the clip from the documentary are scrambled. Additionally, there is absolutely no mention of homosexual unions in the interview—or at least in the official transcript. When I have time, I will watch the full interview, but there is no reference to it in the Vatican News transcript.

If we watch the clip from the documentary, we can see that during the part where the Pope speaks about civil unions, the background is the same as that of the 2019 interview. It appears that the part where Francis talks about approving civil unions must have been edited out of the final product. (Although, again, this is a provisional conclusion on my part, it may change after I watch the full interview).

How did Evgeny Afineevsky, the director of the documentary, get his hands on footage that was apparently edited out of the interview? CNA reports that “the documentarian … was given unprecedented access to Pope Francis until filming completed in June.” Perhaps this explains how he obtained this previously unaired snippet.

Still, the way the video preview rearranges the order in which his words actually appear in the interview should give us pause. Maybe after we see the interview in its full context, we will have a different impression of his words altogether, especially since the Holy Father uses the Spanish term “convivencia civil,” which can be either “civil union” or “civil coexistence.” If he means the latter, he may simply be referring to laws that protect the human rights of homosexuals. Note that he mentions that “this way, they can be legally covered.”

This is just my theory, but I think it’s quite possible that the snippet about civil unions came from a different part of the interview than the discussion of the family. Maybe Francis was discussing his political role in Argentina during an attempt to legalize civil marriage there. This is plausible, because in the interview they do discuss his time as an archbishop in Argentina.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Tablet Magazine) American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology–Stop Being Shocked

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”—as in, the successor to liberalism.

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly—and then to explain it to others.

The new creed’s premise goes something like this: We are in a war in which the forces of justice and progress are arrayed against the forces of backwardness and oppression. And in a war, the normal rules of the game—due process; political compromise; the presumption of innocence; free speech; even reason itself—must be suspended. Indeed, those rules themselves were corrupt to begin with—designed, as they were, by dead white males in order to uphold their own power.

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” as the writer Audre Lorde put it. And the master’s house must be dismantled—because the house is rotted at its foundation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Media, Movies & Television, Philosophy, Politics in General, Secularism

(FT) Digital ad market set to eclipse traditional media for first time

Digital advertising on platforms such as Google, Facebook and Alibaba is set this year to overtake spending on traditional media for the first time, a historic shift in market share that has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Excluding online ads sold by old media outlets such as news publishers or broadcasters, digital marketing is predicted to account for more than half the $530bn global advertising industry in 2020, according to GroupM, the media buying agency owned by WPP.

Separate forecasts released last week by Magna, part of IPG Mediabrands, also expect 2020 to be the year traditional media is upstaged.

The digital revolution in marketing under way since the millennium, when the internet accounted for under 2 per cent of spending, has transformed the ad market at a pace and scale that far outstrips the advent of television in the 20th century.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

St. Andrew’s Mt. Pleasant and St. Michael’s, Charleston, are partnering together in offering a Christian Fellows program called “Holy City Fellows.” It is a a nine-month (September-May) Christian leadership program for women and men in their 20’s and early 30’s who want to bring their faith to bear in every dimension of their lives – relationships, family, church, work, and culture. This program is designed to develop emerging Christian leaders.

Now through the summer, they are taking applications for their next class of Fellows that begins in late August. They look for young adults from various local churches who love the Lord, are active in their church, exhibit maturity and humility, are teachable, are willing to apply themselves, have a desire to grow in leadership abilities, and can fulfill the program commitments. More info can be found on their website HolyCityFellows.com or hear several Fellows share their experience in this Zoom video chat.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Media, Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

In lieu of traditional camp sessions, Camp Saint Christopher is offering a Day Camp this summer. The sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday starting on June 22. Campers who have completed 2nd-8th grade have the option to register for the entire week or half a week (Monday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Friday). Each week will have a different theme with varying activities. Most weeks will include sailing, kayking, crabbing, camp games, a visit to St. Christopher’s Herpetarium, mud pit, chapel, and much, much more! Campers are welcome to register for multiple sessions….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(CT’s The Exchange) On Christians Spreading Corona Conspiracies: Gullibility is not a Spiritual Gift

Sadly, Christians seem to be disproportionately fooled by conspiracy theories. I’ve also said before that when Christians spread lies, they need to repent of those lies. Sharing fake news makes us look foolish and harms our witness.

We saw this in the last election when some of the troll factories focused on conservative, evangelical Christians. Here we go again.

What now?

First, we need to speak up— particularly to those fooled yet again— and lovingly say, “You need to go to trusted sources.” Social media news feeds are not a trusted source. That’s why we created coronavirusandthechurch.com, to provide credible information for pastors. But, there are plenty of credible news sources— generally from outlets that do not have a track record of conspiracy peddling.

Second, God has not called us to be easily fooled. Gullibility is not a Christian virtue. Believing and sharing conspiracies does not honor the Lord. It may make you feel better, like you are in the know, but it can end up harming others and it can hurt your witness.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Politics in General, Theology

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Leftover supplies donated by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina for Hurricane relief last year including 120 N95 respirators, 130 Tyvek suits and five boxes of exam gloves were donated to the Medical University of South Carolina this week. Hats off to Stephen Haynsworth, Diocesan Disaster Preparedness and Relief Coordinator, and Bill Anderson who took the supplies to the hospital.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Media, Parish Ministry

(Psephizo) Peter Ould–Do we know what Anglicans think about same-sex marriage?

I could go on, but the point is clear – the poll does not represent what the press release claims it does. It is not a reflection of Church of England members in the pews, it does not show any change in support for same-sex marriage in the past four years and it uses terms with little or no qualification in a manner that misleads the reader as to the meaning of the poll. That most of these issues have been pointed out on a previous occasion but have been ignored by the authors demonstrates a deliberate choice to perpetuate these errors for the sake of a political cause.

I close with a challenge to Jayne Ozanne and her self-referential Foundation. As described above, one very easy way to correct these errors would be to ask at least one extra question around church attendance. If Jayne Ozanne were to repeat the exercise, I will happily fund the asking of this extra question, the wording of which would be determined by a neutral third party to the agreement of both parties. My hypothesis is that by looking at church attendance statistics you would see that (a) the majority of these “Anglicans” are not active church members at all and (b) the active church members would hold statistically significantly different views on the subject to the non-church-attending respondents. In fact, this kind of work has been done before, by Mark Regnerus in the States. What he found was that nominal, non-church-attending respondents were indistinguishable from the general population, not only on this issue but on sexual morality more broadly, whilst it was active, church-attending members who held views on all these issues quite out of step with the wider culture. Were the Ozanne Foundation poll to make this kind of enquiry, and find something similar, then it would be significant—but rather awkward.

Proper academic inquiry, including in the area of quantitative study, is open to further information and to clarification and stratification in this manner. It adds to the body of human knowledge, it helps to deepen our understanding of sociological issues. There is no good reason why the Ozanne Foundation should refuse such an offer unless they were afraid that the results such an extra question would generate would undermine their position, but in the area of academic research that is not a good enough reason not to explore a subject in greater detail.

The challenge is clearly there – the issues with the poll have been on numerous occasions and now a cost free option exists to correct them.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sociology

(NYT) Coronavirus Weakens China’s Powerful Propaganda Machine

Exhausted medical workers with faces lined from hours of wearing goggles and surgical masks. Women with shaved heads, a gesture of devotion. Retirees who donate their life savings anonymously in government offices.

Beijing is tapping its old propaganda playbook as it battles the relentless coronavirus outbreak, the biggest challenge to its legitimacy in decades. State media is filling smartphones and airwaves with images and tales of unity and sacrifice aimed at uniting the people behind Beijing’s rule. It even briefly offered up cartoon mascots named Jiangshan Jiao and Hongqi Man, characters meant to stir patriotic feelings among the young during the crisis.

The problem for China’s leaders: This time, it isn’t working so well.

Online, people are openly criticizing state media. They have harshly condemned stories of individual sacrifice when front-line medical personnel still lack basic supplies like masks. They shouted down Jiangshan Jiao and Hongqi Man. They have heaped scorn on images of the women with shaved heads, asking whether the women were pressured to do it and wondering why similar images of men weren’t appearing.

One critical blog post was titled “News Coverage Should Stop Turning a Funeral Into a Wedding.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Politics in General

Sunday Afternoon Encouragement–(NBC) Beer can leads to Minnesota woman reuniting with missing dog after 3 years

A Minnesota woman was reunited with her dog, Hazel, this week after spotting her missing pet’s picture on a Florida brewery’s beer can.

The road back together for Monica Mathis, 33, and Hazel began last month when Mathis was scrolling through Facebook and saw a picture of a dog that looked familiar. It was Hazel, her mixed breed that had been missing for three years.

What Mathis had hit upon was a label posted on Facebook from Motorworks Brewing, of Bradenton, Florida, which featured four adoptable dogs, including Hazel. Proceeds from sales of the cans were destined for a fund to build a new county animal shelter.

Read it all or watch the video below (highly recommended).

Posted in Animals, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Corporations/Corporate Life, Marriage & Family, Media

(GR) Trinity Church Wall Street: Can reporters solve the case of the missing Episcopal rector?

It was a strange way to announce one’s resignation, I must admit.

On Jan. 5, the rector of the richest Episcopal church in the country was standing before his congregation in downtown Manhattan giving some rather banal parish announcements. Then, he added, he knew that some folks had heard that he was leaving and yes, this would be his last Sunday there. Comparing himself and his wife to the Mary, Joseph and Jesus trio in terms of being on the move toward Egypt (and away from Herod, one supposes), he said they were going to take a sabbatical and that he wished the church well.

It was clear that many in the church had no idea what was going on, including the choir that was awkwardly standing by, waiting to sing an anthem during the offering. (You can see all this go down in this video. Start at the 50-minute mark).

Read it all.

Posted in Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

(Sightings) Martin Marty–Are traditional holy days still something more than just any other day?

“Sunday Is Not the New Monday” shouted the headline of the “Success” section in a recent edition of our Chicago Tribune (Monday, December 30, 2019). Having many reasons—cultural, theological, traditional, personal, etc.—to care about Sunday (or analogues to it in Judaism, Adventism, Islam, and more) I took the bait and read on. Author John Boitnott opens the article with a description of what Sunday used to mean—or what he thinks it used to mean—and how it served: “Sunday used to be for relaxing, spending time with family and friends and catching up on personal tasks.” Boitnott says that he associates with “entrepreneurs” and authors of advice columns who encourage their readers to “stay available for work outside traditional business hours.”

Boitnott offers four clusters of advice in settings where “work” casts its shadow on Sundays: “Stop the guilt,” “Remove yourself from the work environment,” “Set limits and retrain those around you,” and “Plan for Monday on Friday.” So far, so good, if “workism” or “workaholism” is your problem. But is that all that is at stake and all that is to be offered to face the problem? We Sightings columnists are charged to notice those overlookable stories wherein religion or the religious may in fact be significant. Reread the Boitnott sentence again, the one about how “Sunday used to be for relaxing, spending time with family and friends and catching up on personal tasks.” Yes, but for tens of millions of North Americans, among others, Sundays (for Christians; Fridays for Muslims; Shabbat for Jews; etc.) were also for helping people tend to general and specific matters of the spirit and the soulful flourishing of life….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Media, Religion & Culture, Secularism

A Telegraph article on the first of a two-part documentary on BBC Two of the Peter Ball case

The disgraced paedophile bishop Peter Ball repeatedly mentioned his friendship with Prince Charles so he would seem “impregnable”, one of his victims has said.

In 2015 Ball, the former bishop of both Lewes and Gloucester was convicted of sexual offences against 17 teenagers and young men – one of whom took his own life. He was released from prison in February 2017 after serving half of his 32-month sentence. He died aged 87 in June 2019.

Speaking in a new documentary, part two of which airs tonight on BBC Two, one of Ball’s victims, Cliff James, who has waived his right to anonymity, spoke of how Ball would boast about his relationship with the heir to the throne.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(GR) Any darkness to report? The cathedral dean (and bishop) who led St. John the Divine to relevancy

[Dean James] Morton was a liberal Protestant hero who led an Episcopal sanctuary that served as a Maypole around which activists of many kinds danced. However, his career was closely connected with an even more famous liberal Christian hero — Bishop Paul Moore — who was hiding secrets.

Read it all and the NYT article to which it refers.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

(GR) Terry Mattingly–After decades of fighting, United Methodists avoid a visit from Ghost of the Episcopal Future?

Wait a minute. The crucial language that the “practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” was just approved this past February? That hasn’t been the language in church discipline documents for many years before 2019 and affirmed in multiple votes?

But here is the most crucial point. What, precisely, are the “fundamental differences” that the United Methodists involved in these negotiations — leaders from left and right — cited as the cause of the upcoming ecclesiastical divorce? Was it really LGBTQ issues, period?

Consider this commentary from David French (an evangelical Presbyterian) of The Dispatch:

The secular media will cast the divide primarily in the terms it understands — as focused on “LGBT issues” — but that’s incomplete. The true fracturing point between Mainline and Evangelical churches is over the authority and interpretation of scripture. The debate over LGBT issues is a consequence of the underlying dispute, not its primary cause. …

Thus, at heart, the disagreement between the Evangelical and Mainline branches of Christianity isn’t over issues — even hot-button cultural and political issues — but rather over theology. Indeed, the very first clause of the United Methodist Church’s nine-page separation plan states that church members “have fundamental differences regarding their understanding and interpretation of Scripture, theology and practice.”

Ah, there’s the rub. Who wants to put “Scripture, theology and practice” in a news report — especially at NBC Out and similar structures in other newsrooms — when you can blame the whole denominational war over conservatives refusing to evolve on LGBTQ issues?

Read it all.

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