Monthly Archives: October 2009

A Vitally Important Reread–David Short's Are We Stronger than He on 1 Corinthians

An excerpt:

Gospel ministry is not just proclamation, evangelism, and pastoral care; it involves contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. If, at the end of the day, we have maintained Christian orthodoxy but failed to proclaim the gospel, we cannot claim to have pleased Christ nor fulfilled the New Testament ministry. In just the same way, if, at the end of the day we have proclaimed the gospel but failed to maintain Christian orthodoxy, we will have failed Christ.

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a brilliant example of contending for the faith. If the church is the temple of the living God and if that temple is holy, then tolerance of what God calls unholy will provoke his jealousy. There is an astonishing campaign at present in Canada and the USA to portray the blessing of same sex unions as a little in-house issue for the church, that those opposing this constitutionalization of sexual immorality are somehow missing the point and being side-tracked from gospel ministry. I received a letter this week from someone in the diocese of New Westminster who referred to the stance of biblically orthodox Anglicans as a “tedious and unnecessary conflict.” If that is the case then 1 Corinthians is a tedious and unnecessary book and the holiness of the people for whom Christ died is also tedious and unnecessary. We cannot just be pragmatic about this. We cannot believe those who say: “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Christian ministry which pleases Christ and is faithful to the New Testament will involve both gospel proclamation as well as contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Notable and Quotable (II)

Because an appetite for God is easily manipulated into a consumer activity, we need these wise, sane friends as guides and companions. There are entrepreneurs among us who see the widespread hunger for spirituality as a marketplace and are out there selling junk food. The gullibility of the unwary who bought relics from itinerant monks in the Middle Ages – splinters of wood from the true cross, finger bones from the saints, a few pieces of thread from Jesus’ seamless robe – is more than matched by North Americans in matters of spirituality.

We are trained from the cradle to be good consumers. It is understandable that we seek to satisfy our hunger for God along the lines in which we have been brought up. But it is not excusable, for we have clear counsel in the Gospels to steer away form this consumer world: “Blessed are the poor. ”¦ Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me. ”¦ Love not the world nor the things that are in the world.” And our Lord’s counsel is confirmed and expanded in numerous ways by our wise evangelical ancestors in the faith.

Spirituality is not the latest fad but the oldest truth. Spirituality, the alert attention we give to a living God and the faithful response we make to him in community, is at the heart of our Scriptures and is on display throughout the centuries of Israel and the church. We have been at this a long time. We have nearly four millennia of experience to draw upon. When someone hands you a new book, reach for an old one. Isaiah has far more to teach us about spirituality than Carl Jung.

Eugene Peterson, Subversive Spirituality

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

The First Two Ballots in Minnesota are Posted

Go here for those who wish to follow the election.

Update: The Rev. Doyle Turner and the Rev. Bonnie Perry withdrew after ballot 3

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Notable and Quotable (I)

“We used to go to church expecting very little and came away with nothing. This has now changed to expecting nothing and coming away with even less ”¦. [W]hat we want are services taken with a conviction and a passion for Christ.”

”“An unidentified middle-aged couple speaking of church life in Britain

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

The Archbishop of New York: Anti-Catholicism Is the Nation's Other Pastime

I do not mean to suggest that anti-Catholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-Catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops.

Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will not receive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands — in some cases tens of thousands — of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALL school-children and their parents to be treated equally?

The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Albert Scharbach: Why Some Take the Path From Anglican to Catholic

The main issue is the fact that the Anglican Church has no consistent doctrinal authority and often acts independently from the historical positions of the universal church. In light of this, the ordination of women and practicing homosexuals is merely symptomatic of much more fundamental problems with Anglican ecclesiology.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Cormac Murphy-O’Connor: Conversion offer to disaffected Anglicans was previously rejected

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said the move was discussed in the 1990s but would have been seen as “wanting to put out the net as far as one could”, at a time when only Anglo-Catholics within the Church of England wanted full communion with the Holy See.

He said the situation is different now as Anglicans worldwide have asked the Vatican for help, and added that he welcomed Pope Benedict XVI’s “generous” offer – although he still hopes for complete unity between the two Christian denominations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Episcopalians in Minnesota will elect new bishop today

Day No. 2 of the diocese’s annual convention includes a vote on five candidates, two of whom would represent a first: the first openly partnered lesbian to be elected a bishop, or the first Native American. Both insist that making history is not their primary motivation.

“I’m not a cause, I’m a candidate,” said the Rev. Bonnie Perry. The Rev. Doyle Turner struck a similar tone, noting that while he’s proud of his Ojibwe heritage, “I’m not the pastor of a Native American church, and it’s my church that has encouraged me [to run].”

The winner will succeed Bishop James Jelinek in overseeing 106 congregations representing 22,000 members. Jelinek is retiring in February.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Vatican issues 'clarification' of Anglican plan which does not rule out ordaining married laymen

The Vatican today issued a statement about its plans to create a personal Ordinariate for ex-Anglicans which discusses the possibility of ordaining married laymen on a case-by-case basis.

Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was seeking to quash speculation that the publication of the Apostolic Constitution had been held up by squabbles over the ordination of married men. Not true, he insists.

His statement makes clear that celibacy will be the norm for priests in the Ordinariate ”“ but does not rule out the possibility of married seminarians becoming priests, so long as the local Ordinary, the bishops’ conference and the Holy See agree that an exception should be made. My reading of this document is that it does not completely close the door on the possibility of future married seminarians being ordained.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Edward Fulford on the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia Court Fight

Christ Church in Savannah has always been locally owned. The church has never received financial support from the national organization. Savannahians paid for the construction of the church and the payment of its clergy.

A vote of the church membership – in the wake of serious doctrinal issues reaching even the unequivocal divinity of Christ – resulted in the separation of the local congregation from the national group.

The Episcopal Church, with the help of Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf, has seized property it neither paid for nor maintained in more than 275 years.

In any other circumstance, such an abrogation of the local congregation’s property rights would not be tolerated. That the seizure was carried out by religious leaders who have strayed from ironclad biblical teaching makes the heavy-handed action by both church and state that much harder to countenance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia

Canon Neal Michell's Diocese of Dallas Convention Address

We are in the ninth year of our Strategic Plan. We started out with a flurry of activity and accomplished much. After five years we got sidetracked by sexuality issues and the departures of several churches. In the face of the conflict in the larger church we have been faithfully living into various parts of the Strategic Plan.

Ӣ We have continued to plant churches. We have planted five churches and several new communities of faith, targeting Latinos, young adults, Koreans, and African Immigrants. Approximately ten percent of our average Sunday attendance is traceable to these new communities of faith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

From ENS: Anglican, Roman Catholic dialogue in the U.S. continues

According to the release, the members welcomed the Roman Catholic Church’s acknowledgement of a substantial overlap in faith and the legitimacy of many Anglican traditions, a recognition that is the fruit of over 40 years of official dialogue between the two churches. And members were encouraged by statements made by Roman Catholic and Anglican leaders that the official dialogue between the two churches will continue, according to the release.

“Most everyone seemed clear that there were negative as well as some positive aspects to the Vatican’s initiative,” said Bishop Christopher Epting, the Episcopal Church’s ecumenical and interfaith officer. “We thought it was important to wait until we’ve seen the actual text of the constitution before saying much more, but wanted to affirm both churches’ decisions to continue formal dialogue — through ARC-USA — with the only recognized province of the Anglican Communion in the United States (the Episcopal Church) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. That’s the official ecumenical dialogue, and that’s what’s important.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Episcopal Life Readers respond to articles about Vatican's proposal to welcome former Anglicans

Here is one from the Rev. Thomas Myers :

If the professor of ecclesiastical history at General Theological Seminary feels that the pope’s announcement is more for Britain, it is because the Episcopal Church is being run and overrun by anything but Episcopalians. His query as to whether or not the constitution would newly recognize Anglican orders is as shallow as the new wave theology in the Episcopal Church, and suggests it would include the apostasy that is driving the church apart. Shame on you, professor. The pope has extended his offer to those who desire to retain orthodox worship, theology and practice, and who understand that the unity of Christ’s body is ultimately more important

Read them all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Paganism, Just Another Religion for Military and Academia

In both guises, as an individual practitioner and a credentialed expert, Mr. [Michael] York embodies the increasing mainstream acceptance of Pagan religion. From academia to the military, in the person of chaplains and professors, through successful litigation and online networking, Paganism has done much in the last generation to overcome its perception as either Satanism or silliness.

“Academically, it’s much more open and accepted and respected,” said Mr. York, 70, who retired five years ago from the faculty of Bath Spa University in England. “And on a more personal level, we don’t proselytize or anything like that, but most of my friends know that I’m Pagan and most of them are not, and we can discuss it. They understand that there is a Pagan spirituality, and the misconceptions about it have diminished.”

Because the federal census does not ask about religious affiliation, and because ridicule or discrimination tended to keep Pagans closeted in the past, statistics on the number of adherents in the United States are imprecise and probably too low. Still, the recent growth is evident in surveys done in 1990 and 2001 by the City University of New York.

Over the course of those 11 years, the survey went from tabulating 8,000 Wiccans nationally ”” that branch of Paganism was the only one to turn up ”” to 134,000 Wiccans, 33,000 Druids and 140,000 Pagans.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

An Interesting Blog: Luke 14:33

So many interesting blogs, so little time. Sigh. Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry