Daily Archives: November 22, 2010

Anglican Communion Bible in Life of the Church project moves into a new phase of its work

”˜Our personal stories indicate our experience of the transformative power of the biblical text.’

Gathering in Salt Rock, Durban, South Africa, 15-18 November 2010, members of the Steering Group of The Bible in the Life of the Church project were encouraged to hear about the work accomplished so far in regional groups and enjoyed making plans for the next phase.

During 2010, regional and user groups linked to this project have explored how we, as Anglicans, read the Bible, using the Fifth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion as our starting point. The Fifth Mark, which commits Anglicans ”˜to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’, was chosen as our initial case study because it relates to a major concern in our world today. It is also a topic for which, at least until recently, biblical resources have not been sufficiently explored.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Theology, Theology: Scripture

In Western Massachusetts, the Presiding Bishop urges focus on living the Gospel

Portrayed historically as the spiritual home of the well-to-do, it has produced 21 presidents and a batch of Supreme Court justices.

Yet, Bishop Jefferts Schori said, the Hispanic mother and father from California who were recently featured in an advertisement broadcast on a digital billboard in Manhattan’s Times Square are more representative of today’s church.

She said the American church is like a large spiritual umbrella and she wants to open it up further to welcome more.

“Our strength is diversity and that drives some crazy,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “We might struggle with the boundaries that define us as a church but we have to be welcoming of new groups. We cannot be monochromatic.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

Archbishop Longley: Anglican Ordinariate will not undermine ecumenical relations

Fears that the new Ordinariate being established by the Holy See for Anglicans who wish to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church will undermine good ecumenical relations were dismissed on Sunday by the Archbishop of Birmingham.

“Some have expressed fears that an Ordinariate may undermine good ecumenical relations but I believe those fears to be ill-founded,” said the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, the newly appointed Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Department of Dialogue and Unity.

“During his visit Pope Benedict emphasised that his offer, in response to the petitions he had received: ‘Should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics.’

“The Holy Father is clearly encouraging the Catholic community to welcome and receive any groups who choose to follow this path in a way that respects and learns from the Anglican patrimony they will bring,” said the Archbishop.

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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

Bishop Alan Wilson with still more on the Anglican Covenant–My fluttering Pelagiometer

If Christians are alienated from each other, culturally, sociologically and psychologically, how high a formal fence should they erect between themselves? Enough, surely to give reflective space to both and a chance to relate their partial interests in the whole gospel picture whilst they live in tension and await, in joyful hope, a new heaven and a new earth. But temporary fencing, as low and light as possible, has to offer the best way forward if it’s relationships that count.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Life for Soldiers in Afghanistan: Between Firefights, Jokes, Sweat, Tales and Tedium

For G.I.’s, life on the front lines has two sides. There are, of course, the adrenaline-fueled moments of fighting, when soldiers try to forget their fear, remember their training and watch one another’s backs.

And then there is everything else, the dirty, sweaty, unglamorous and frequently tedious work of being infantrymen. Filling sandbags. Stirring caldrons of burning waste. Lying in the dirt while on guard duty. Cleaning weapons. And more than anything else, waiting ”” for orders, for patrols, for the chance to sleep or eat. They even wait for the fighting they know will come.

It is a life of wild pendulum swings. One moment, their sergeants are barking at them to stay ready, eyes focused, rifles loaded, protective gear at hand. In the next, the soldiers are searching for amusement, killing time with the skill of people who have had plenty of practice.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

WSJ: Vatican Rushes to Clarify Pope's Comments in Book

The Vatican on Sunday rushed to clarify a recent interview by Pope Benedict XVI, in which the pontiff states for the first time that there may be some cases in which the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on condoms isn’t absolute.

The pope made the comments in a book-length interview over the summer with the German writer Peter Seewald that will be officially released this week. Mr. Seewald asked the pope about criticism of the Vatican’s perceived opposition to condom use to fight the spread of HIV-AIDS in Africa.

The pope’s response, while carefully couched, has ricocheted around the globe, reigniting one of the most tensely debated issues facing the Roman Catholic Church. To some, the interview signaled a radical shift in the Church’s approach to combating the spread of AIDS as well as an unprecedented departure from the Church’s long-time practice of condemning any form of condom use.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

FT–Pessimistic Federal Reserve to slash growth forecasts

The US Federal Reserve will slash its growth forecasts and predict higher unemployment when it releases updated economic projections this week.

The Fed will release the latest forecasts made by members of its rate-setting open market committee on Tuesday, alongside the minutes of their November meeting, giving a complete picture of why they launched a new $600bn round of asset purchases.

The revised forecasts will show how the Fed became much more pessimistic over the summer and also highlight fears among a few members of the FOMC that some of today’s 9.6 per cent unemployment rate is structural and will take years to cure.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, The U.S. Government

Monday Morning Open Thread–How has your Life Been Touched By C.S. Lewis?

Perhaps because I have been teaching a nine week class on C.S. Lewis and an introduction to Christian Apologetics this fall, I am particularly mindful of his influence. It is after all his feast day today! So let’s hear from you in terms of how C.S. Lewis has impacted your life in whatever way you choose to share it. Please remember that the more specific you are (what age were you, which Lewi’s book it was, etc.) the more the rest of us can enjoy it–KSH.

Posted in Uncategorized

George Sayer on C.S. Lewis

“He was a heavily built man who looked about forty, with a fleshy oval face and a ruddy complexion. His black hair had retreated from his forehead, which made him especially imposing. I knew nothing about him, except that he was the college English tutor. I did not know that he was the best lecturer in the department, nor had I read the only book that he had published under his own name (hardly anyone had). Even after I had been taught by him for three years, it never entered my mind that he could one day become an author whose books would sell at the rate of about two million copies a year. Since he never spoke of religion while I was his pupil, or until we had become friends 15 years later, it would have seemed incredible that he would become the means of bringing many back to the Christian faith.”

–George Sayer, Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times (Macmillan, 1998)

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

James I. Packer–Still Surprised by C.S. Lewis

The combination within him of insight with vitality, wisdom with wit, and imaginative power with analytical precision made Lewis a sparkling communicator of the everlasting gospel. Matching Aslan in the Narnia stories with (of course!) the living Christ of the Bible and of Lewis’s instructional books, and his presentation of Christ could hardly be more forthright. “We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying he disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed.” Then, on the basis of this belief and the future belief that he is risen and alive and so is personally there (that is, everywhere, which means here), we must “put on,” or as Lewis strikingly renders it, “dress up as” Christ””that is, give ourselves totally to Christ, so that he may be “formed in us,” and we may henceforth enjoy in him the status and character of adopted children in God’s family, or as again Lewis strikingly puts it, “little Christs.” “God looks at you as if you were a little Christ: Christ stands beside you to turn you into one.” Precisely.

Not just evangelicals, but all Christians, should celebrate Lewis, “the brilliant, quietly saintly, slightly rumpled Oxford don” as James Patrick describes him. He was a Christ-centered, great-tradition mainstream Christian whose stature a generation after his death seems greater than anyone ever thought while he was alive, and whose Christian writings are now seen as having classic status.

Long may we learn from the contents of his marvelous, indeed magical, mind! I doubt whether the full measure of him has been taken by anyone as yet.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Ministry of the Laity, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology

Kendall Harmon on C.S. Lewis

One of the few voices willing to defend a more traditional form of Christianity in the twentieth century is that of C.S. Lewis. Though primarily a scholar specialising in medieval and Renaissance literature, Lewis’ remarkable combination of imaginative and logical skills gave him a unique ability to portray the Christian worldview to contemporary readers. So pervasive has his influence been that Ralph Wood could write in 1991: “Lewis must be regarded as the chief Christian apologist for Christian faith in our century….[He is] our culture’s main Christian teacher.”

Heaven and hell play a vital role in C.S. Lewis’ thought in a manner highly unusual for a modern apologist….

–Kendall Harmon, Finally excluded from God? Some twentieth century theological explorations of the problem of hell and universalism with reference to the historical development of these doctrines (Oxford: Oxford University D. Phil., 1993), p.282

Posted in * By Kendall, Apologetics, Eschatology, Sermons & Teachings, Theology

Thomas Howard on Reading C.S. Lewis' Fiction

We have [the feeling] that the story we are reading is only a small part of a titanic drama, and that what we see here on stage begins and ends out in vistas infinitely larger than the size of the stage that we can see….Lewis’ fiction, we might say, reaches all the way to heaven and hell.

–“Terror and Sublimity for Everyman: C.S. Lewis’ Literary Achievement,” The Journal of Faith and Thought (Spring 1985), p. 3.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Eschatology, Poetry & Literature, Theology

C.S Lewis' Own Description of his Coming to Faith

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 * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of C.S. Lewis

O God of searing truth and surpassing beauty, we give thee thanks for Clive Staples Lewis whose sanctified imagination lighteth fires of faith in young and old alike; Surprise us also with thy joy and draw us into that new and abundant life which is ours in Christ Jesus, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

A Prayer to begin the Day

O God our Father,
in your Son Jesus Christ
you richly bless us with all that we need,
bread from the earth and the bread of heaven,
which gives life to the world.
Grant us through your Spirit one thing more:
grateful hearts to sing your praise,
in this world and the world to come. Amen.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

–Galatians 6:6-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishops warn David Cameron's Big Society will be undermined by welfare cuts

Church of England bishops have attacked the Government’s planned cuts to public spending, with one warning they will lead to the creation of “townships” in Britain.

The bishops said the Church is on a “collision course” with the Coalition as it seeks to protect those worst affected by the welfare reforms, with one saying the thought of the cuts made him “shudder”.

Another criticised the “double standards” which have left the deprived more affected by the cuts than the wealthy.

Their concerns will be raised at this week’s General Synod, the Church’s Parliament, which is debating David Cameron’s vision of a Big Society.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

One of the Largest Lutheran Parishes in the country says no to the new theology

Most members of the 5,800-member Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, which has three campuses, were troubled by what they viewed as the liberal drift of the ELCA, the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Jonathan Clatworthy on the Anglican Covenant–A Reply to Andrew Goddard

The most obvious disagreement is whether provinces will be subordinated to the international authorities and threatened with punishment if they do not obey. We wrote that the Covenant

was first proposed by the Windsor Report in 2004 to put pressure on the North American churches, after a diocese in the USA had elected an openly gay bishop and a diocese in Canada had approved a same-sex blessing service. Opponents had no legal way to expel the North Americans, so the Covenant is designed to achieve the same result by redefining the Anglican Communion to exclude them.

Goddard considers this a ‘highly implausible spin’. He does not explain why, but he does reply:

In fact, the Windsor Report’s stated aim was that a covenant ‘would make explicit and forceful the loyalty and bonds of affection which govern the relationships between the churches of the Communion’ (para 118).

Our point exactly! How one can force people to be loyal and affectionate has been one of the great puzzles of the project; clearly any talk of force is obviously meaningless without some kind of punishment.

Later, repeating the denial of any subordination or punishment, Goddard describes how the current text was established:

In fact, the Windsor Report’s stated aim was that a covenant ‘would make explicit and forceful the loyalty and bonds of affection which govern the relationships between the churches of the Communion’ (para 118).

Our point exactly! How one can force people to be loyal and affectionate has been one of the great puzzles of the project; clearly any talk of force is obviously meaningless without some kind of punishment.

Later, repeating the denial of any subordination or punishment, Goddard describes how the current text was established:

There was substantial resistance to the idea that there should be any development of a body which could be seen to be exercising universal jurisdiction in Anglican polity. Anglicans wished to keep the autonomy of their Churches. Secondly, it became clear that the processes of adoption of the Covenant would be immensely complicated if the Covenant were seen to interfere with or to necessitate a change to the Constitution and Canons of any Province… Section Four of the RCD is therefore constructed on the fundamental principle of the constitutional autonomy of each Church.

This too accords with our argument: the reason why the Covenant restricts its punitive proposals to the relationships between provinces is that legally it cannot do more.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Eschatology, Theology

George Weigel: A spiritual hollowness overtakes the United Kingdom

….As one lucid observer put it in the aftermath of the papal visit, “The British hierarchy didn’t do much wrong on this visit, but they did contain their enthusiasm until the secular press declared it a success, and then they joined in.” Five days after Benedict left, Archbishop Nichols of Westminster reflected on the visit in an article in L’Osservatore Romano and suggested that the thread uniting the pope’s various talks was that “faith in God plays an important role in modern pluralist societies.” That role should be played, the archbishop continued, with sensitivity, openness, and courtesy. All of this, he concluded, amounted to a “new agenda” for the Church in Great Britain.

Unobjectionable if not inspired, one might say. But Archbishop Nichols’ summary did seem to underplay several of the points that Benedict stressed in Britain. The first was the imperative of seeking holiness in truth, and speaking the truth in love. Then, and only then, will the Church’s place at the table of public conversation mean anything. As the pope noted in a pointed comment at a press conference on his plane en route to Britain: “A Church that seeks above all to be attractive is already on the wrong path.” In other words, a Church that takes the edge off the truth it bears will be unattractive evangelically and useless publicly.

And there was that business about cheap grace and costly grace, at the nocturnal vigil before Newman’s beatification: Will the “new agenda” of the British hierarchy include a call to bear the costs of a “passion for truth, intellectual honesty, and genuine conversion”?

That, one might suggest, is the only appropriate strategy in addressing the spiritual hollowness of the Britain Tony Blair left behind””a Britain whose current cultural crisis is less understood by its former prime minister than by the German pope who thanked the people of the United Kingdom for winning the Battle of Britain.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Membership decline leads to closing of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Michigan

Members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church recently received a letter from their priest, the Rev. Robin Smith, confirming that one of the community’s first churches will close following services on Christmas Eve.

The church was established in 1833, with a cornerstone laid in 1832, by the Rev. William Narcissus Lyster, an Irishman who had emigrated to America, who is said to have named the Irish Hills because they reminded him of his homeland. lyster was invited to the settlement by Musgrove Evans, J.W. Brown, and George Spofford and founded the first Episcopal Church west of the Alleghenies. The church will close its doors after marking just over 177 years in the Tecumseh community.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Parishes, Theology

Western New York Episcopalians pick church historian as new bishop

Area Episcopalians elected a church historian and former divinity school president as their 11th bishop Saturday evening after more than seven hours of voting.

The Rev. R. William Franklin, who has been a priest for just five years, but spent nearly 30 years in a variety of Episcopal lay ministry roles, received the majority of votes needed from both clergy and laity of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York on the seventh ballot.

Franklin edged out the Rev. Barbara J. Price, rector of St. Peter’s Church in Amherst and the only local candidate in the four-person race.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology