Daily Archives: February 5, 2011

(NPR) Religious Groups Tackle An X-Rated Secret

Pornography is the elephant in the pews, says Craig Gross, who produced the video and whose sermon is featured in it.

“The statistics say that 48 percent of Christian families are dealing with the issue of pornography in their home,” Gross says. “I would say the other 52 percent are just unaware of it being an issue in their house.”

Gross is the founder of XXXChurch.com, a Christian ministry that tries to help people resist pornography. He says Christians know there’s a problem: His website has as many as 300,000 visitors a week. But churches are squeamish.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Pornography, Religion & Culture

Anglican Communion Institute: Dublin Post-Mortem

Against this background, what is most remarkable about the Dublin meeting is that its working document on the Primates’ Meeting cites only the preliminary remarks of Archbishop [Donald] Coggan, but makes no mention whatsoever of the subsequent work done to implement those remarks by the Lambeth Conferences and the Covenant in specifying the role of the Primates’ Meeting, work that by now has been accepted by all the Instruments of Communion. As far as one can discern, this established understanding played no role at all in the deliberations at Dublin. While one might try to parse the provisions of the Dublin document to align it to greater or lesser extent with the accepted precedents, the simple fact is that those other sources were not acknowledged, were not quoted and were not even the subject of obvious paraphrase. Those meeting in Dublin staked no claim to continuity with the past, ignoring the will of the most authoritative of the Instruments of Communion””the Lambeth Conference of Bishops.

For all these reasons, the group of Primates who met in Dublin cannot be recognized as acting in accord with the accepted Communion understanding of the Primates’ Meeting as an Instrument of Communion. This Instrument thus joins the others as now being dysfunctional and lacking in communion credibility. The role of the Lambeth Conference as an Instrument of Communion is to “express episcopal collegiality worldwide.” But in 2008, when the bishops of most Anglicans “worldwide” were not present, it could not perform this function. It accomplished little of substance and is now regarded throughout much of the Communion as a symbol of futility. Similarly, the Anglican Consultative Council has been re-structured legally so that it is no longer recognizable as the Instrument defined in the Covenant or in past Anglican documents. The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as an Instrument of Communion is to function as “a primacy of honor and respect among the college of bishops,” as “a focus and means of unity,” and the one who “gathers” the Lambeth Conference and Primates’ Meetings. Whatever may be said about the cause of the disintegration, it is incontrovertible empirically that Canterbury has been unable to perform this function over the last three years. The Communion thus finds itself with no working Instrument that has been able to perform its necessary function, follow its rules, and garner credible acceptance from the majority of the Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Alabama Episcopal Service puts a new spin on a very old church tradition

The Super Bowl is Sunday evening, but members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Prattville hope that won’t keep people from coming out to enjoy a special service filled with fun music in a casual, relaxed at­mosphere.

The service, held by the church on the first Sunday of each month, is called “Even­song, With a Twist!” The service combines traditional liturgy with modern-day music and fea­tures the band Epiphany, which is made up of parish members.

A year ago, the church held a special service called a U2charist — a communion serv­ice that replaces traditional hymns with the famed Irish rock band U2’s most popular and spiritually moving songs. The U2charist service was open to the public, and proved to be very popular.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(ELCA News) Obama Announces Intention to Appoint ELCA Presiding Bishop to Council

President Barack Obama announced Feb. 4 his intention to appoint the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The advisory council brings together religious and secular leaders, as well as scholars and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations, to make recommendations to the government on how to improve partnerships, according to a White House news release.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord of the nations and God of love, who through thy Son Jesus Christ hast bidden us to lift up our eyes and look on the fields, white unto harvest: Mercifully enlarge our vision of the world’s great need, and of thy yet greater love. May thy Holy Spirit assist us now as we think and speak and plan together for the furtherance of the gospel and the work of the Church overseas. Show us, O Lord, what thou wouldest have us to do, and fill us with such burning love and zeal that we may not fail to fulfill whatever purpose thou hast for us. We ask it that thy power, thy glory, and the mightiness of thy kingdom might be known unto men, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Scripture 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 6:7-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Sermon at the University of Leuven

The intellectual community, and especially the Christian intellectual community, needs always to be engaged in the critique of triumphalism of any kind. That is why it is so significant a disaster when universities become mouthpieces for governments. The theologian may remember the shock felt by the twentieth century’s greatest Protestant theologian, Karl Barth, on reading the manifesto in support of German policy in the First World War signed by most of the leading German academics of the day. And ”“ given that the vocation and destiny of Europe is part of the focus of these celebrations ”“ there is here a clue about what the university, Christian or otherwise, has to say to our continent.

We have inherited a long record of European triumphalism; and while this may no longer be a political reality, its cultural echoes are still very clear ”“ not least in the bland assumption often made that European secularism is the destined future of the rest of the world. Universities like this have the responsibility to say to our culture that the light which enlightens the human world is not the product of European civilisation ”“ indeed, the opposite is more true, that European civilisation, with its high valuation of dialogue and critique and its suspicion of absolutism, is the product of the light that Symeon speaks of in the Nunc Dimittis. Our specific European legacy is precious, but precious as a gift among others. Freeze it into a self-image of finality and decisive authority for the rest of human culture, and it becomes an idol and a danger to the truth.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Belgium, Europe, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

(Zenit) Anglican-Catholic Dialogue Opens New Phase

The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) is opening a new phase of dialogue with a meeting scheduled for May 17-27.

A communiqué from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity noted that this new phase of work was mandated by Benedict XVI and the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at their meeting in November 2009.
The first meeting of the new phase of the commission will take place at the Monastery of Bose in northern Italy.

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

(AP) 1,500-year-old church found in Israel

Israeli archaeologists presented a newly uncovered 1,500-year-old church in the Judean hills on Wednesday, including an unusually well-preserved mosaic floor with images of lions, foxes, fish and peacocks.

The Byzantine church located southwest of Jerusalem, excavated over the last two months, will be visible only for another week before archaeologists cover it again with soil for its own protection.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, History, Israel, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Pittsburgh Anglican Diocese asks appeals court for Episcopal assets

The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Friday that its leaders will ask a state appeals court for another hearing to reconsider its ruling that $20 million in endowment assets will stay with the Episcopal diocese from which it split.

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