Daily Archives: May 31, 2011

Mallory McDuff–How to put a good face on Christianity

It was a tough week to be a Christian. Within the safety of the sanctuary and the liturgical calendar, we were still in the Easter season, so the hymns were jubilant, the “Alleluias” loud and earnest.

But on Facebook, all anyone could talk about was the Rapture. I’ve never witnessed my atheist, agnostic, and “spiritual but not religious” friends make so many status updates about religion in a 24-hour period. It felt like a conversion for stand-up comics….

Perhaps we need a return to our traditional Christian stories, even if through the lens of a television. I want my children to know these stories, as well as the narrative of modern Christians on the front lines of injustice in our community. I don’t care how the stories are told ”” through dinner-table conversations, service projects, Sunday school classes, Facebook groups, Twitter or TV.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

Philip Turner–The Covenant: What Is It All About?

It seems to me that the understanding of communion that has shaped the proposed covenant is vastly superior to the theologically vacuous one favored by many with progressive views and to the impractical confessional one favored by many with more traditional convictions. It provides a way to sustain a thick form of communion within the changes and chances of history and within the conflicts occasioned by differences in culture. It provides a way through history that does not reduce communion (as in the progressive case) to the chance overlap of moral commitments or (as in the traditionalist case) to a fixed point in the history of the church that can serve as a theological north star. The ship that is the church is best guided by common immersion in Holy Scripture and mutual recognition born of a grace filled struggle in the light of scripture’s witness to arrive at truth. That is what the covenant is all about.

It saddens me that the chances for general ratification are in decline. I am still hopeful that most of the provinces will ratify the proposal. The recent actions of South East Asia and Ireland strengthen that hope. Nevertheless, hope in this case might disappoint. It is possible that the covenant will fail. If it does fail, the present disputants, because of the positions they hold, will miss the full scope of what has been lost. The great problem in the history of the church is how fidelity to the apostolic witness is to be maintained within the changes and chances of history. Anglicans have an answer to this question that the disputants in this fight have missed. It is a powerful answer, but it may indeed be lost without the disputants knowing what has actually happened….

I believe that Anglicans have addressed this question, though unwittingly, in a different and more adequate way””largely through a Book of Common Prayer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Covenant, Ecclesiology, Theology

Peter Ould on the Leaked Colin Slee Memo and the C of E standards on Same Sex Unions

Most readers of this blog would agree that it would be hypocritical for the Church of England to refuse to appoint Jeffrey John to a Bishopric whilst it continued to have bishops installed who were in identical situations as Dr John and his partner. But, I am led to believe, that is not the case and the bullet points above have been drawn up because they cover safely in their five points any of the men that some might wish to out in their angry response to the leaks of this week. If it were not so then the Church of England, quite rightly, would open itself wide up to the charge of blatant hypocrisy and despite the fact that people at Church House and in the highest echelons of the CofE do make mistakes, they do not deliberately make those kind of mistakes. Those kind of mistakes lead to resignations at the highest level. If that is all true, then what would the outing of gay bishops in the Church of England actually achieve?

Well firstly, it would expose to public view as homosexual a number of men who have been faithfully celibate and abiding to the church’s teaching steadfastly for all of their lives. They would be outed for the only reason that they were single and gay rather than single and straight, outed by folks who argue vociferously on their blogs and websites that people should not be singled out just because they were gay and for no other reason. Who at this point would be the hypocrites?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Anglican churches, including St. Matthew's in Abbotsford, lose court-costs appeal

St. Matthew’s Church in Abbotsford is among four Anglican churches that have lost an appeal on a ruling that they pay court costs to the Diocese of New Westminster.

Two of three justices on a B.C. Court of Appeal panel on May 19 upheld a B.C. Supreme Court decision from June 2010. That decision said the four parishes were responsible for paying approximately $120,000 in court costs to the diocese.

The two sides have been in conflict over the issue of same-sex blessings and who is entitled to the church properties.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Church in Wales makes Priest appeal

The Church in Wales is struggling to recruit new priests, with nearly one in three of clergy expected to go in the next five years.

A total of 166 clergy are due to retire within the half-decade, leaving the Anglican church with the challenge of finding a new generation of leaders at a time of shrinking congregations.

Next week the church will stage a “ministry and calling Sunday” to urge people to consider ordination. It will also encourage people to recommend a life in the church to others they feel have the skills to serve Welsh congregations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(USA Today) Economic problems stubbornly linger

Don’t look now, but the economic recovery that barely exists in the eyes of many Americans is 2 years old.

By historical standards, that should be a milestone signifying robust economic expansion and strong job gains, especially in light of the severity of the Great Recession, which officially ended in June 2009.

But instead of mimicking dramatic turnarounds that followed similarly bruising downturns in the 1970s and 1980s, the upswing looks more like the modest rebounds after milder recessions in the early 1990s and 2001. Like the recent slump, those were tainted by credit crises that gummed up critical gears of the economy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Giant Waterspout off Australia

I happened to catch this yesterday morning courtesy of the BBC News and when I showed it to family members last night the agreement was it was something else. Watch it all–KSH.

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

”˜Gracious Restraint’ Bishops of Canada

We are pleased to announce the establishment of an association of bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada who are committed to a policy of ”˜gracious restraint’, embodied in observing the three-fold moratoria as enjoined by the Windsor Report (1). Between ourselves we agree to observe the discipline of the Windsor moratoria until such time as there is clarity in the Communion about the final status of the Anglican Covenant and our mutual obligations.

The purposes of the association will be:

1. To provide fellowship, support and accountability for those who are committed to remaining within the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion;

2. To encourage some of our episcopal colleagues who are themselves in dioceses deeply conflicted on matters dividing the Church;

3. To preserve and promote the conditions for constructive discussion of the nature of Communion and the place of the Covenant, particularly in light of General Synod’s express will that we study the Anglican Covenant;

4. To respond to a call issuing from across the Church for greater episcopal leadership regarding matters threatening our fellowship; and

5. To issue a message to the wider Communion that there is an association of Canadian bishops who greatly value the efforts being made to strengthen our common life through the Covenant.

The association is open to any others who share in these commitments and purposes.

+Stephen Andrews (Algoma) +Fraser Lawton (Athabasca)
+William Anderson (Caledonia) +Andrew Atagotaaluk (Arctic)
+Michael Hawkins (Saskatchewan) +Larry Robertson (Yukon)

April 2011

(1)”˜Gracious restraint’ was urged on the Communion by the Primates’ (”˜A Letter from Alexandria to the Churches of the Anglican Communion’ (2009), para 12) and was a factor in developing the Anglican Covenant (see report of the Covenant Design Group, April 2009 (The Ridley Cambridge Report of the Covenant Design Group), para 3.2.5). The three-fold moratoria include: 1. consecration of clergy to the office of Bishop who are living in a same gender relationship, 2. the authorization of public rites of blessing for same gender unions, and 3. interventions by Bishops into ecclesiastical provinces other than their own. These were affirmed at ACC14 in Jamaica 2009.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

A Prayer for the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of thine incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst say that in thee we may have peace, and hast bidden us to be of good cheer, since thou hast overcome the world: Give ears to hear and faith to receive thy word; that in all the confusions and tensions of this present time, with mind serene and steadfast purpose, we may continue to abide in thee, who livest and wast dead and art alive for evermore.

–Frederick Macnutt

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

“Take heed lest you forget the LORD your God, by not keeping his commandments and his ordinances and his statutes, which I command you this day: lest, when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage…

–Deuteronomy 8:11-14

Posted in Uncategorized

A Litany from The Book of Worship for United States Forces (1974)

Leader: Let us give thanks to God for the land of our birth with all its chartered liberties. For all the wonder of our country’s story:


Leader: For leaders in nation and state, and for those who in days past and in these present times have labored for the commonwealth:


Leader: For those who in all times and places have been true and brave, and in the world’s common ways have lived upright lives and ministered to their fellows:


Leader: For those who served their country in its hour of need, and especially for those who gave even their lives in that service:


Leader: O almighty God and most merciful Father, as we remember these your servants, remembering with gratitude their courage and strength, we hold before you those who mourn them. Look upon your bereaved servants with your mercy. As this day brings them memories of those they have lost awhile, may it also bring your consolation and the assurance that their loved ones are alive now and forever in your living presence.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

The Silent Testimony of those who gave their lives Willingly

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

Yet, we must try to honor them — not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.

–President Ronald Reagan in remarks at Memorial Day Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in 1982

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

Virginia Wins the National Lacrosse Championship

Congratulations to them.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Men, Sports, Young Adults

They Shall Not Have Died in Vain

“”¦that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ”” that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain”¦”

”“Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President, Parish Ministry, Politics in General

A Memorial Day Reflection from a Connecticut 3rd grader

As the flowers rest on the decorated graves and the sunlight shines on the beautiful sailboats, Uncle Sam whispers in my ear about how we should care for the soldiers and remember the ones that have died. Swimming pools open, BBQs fry. Today is the day to think of what they have done for us. There are blurs of red, white and blue marching down the street and flags are lowered at half-mast. But we should always remember and never forget what set us free, from this very day on.

From Ali M. in 2001, a 3rd Grader at Academy Elementary School, in Madison, Connecticut

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

Music For Memorial Day (III): American Soldier by Toby Keith

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Music, Parish Ministry

(AP) 2011 Memorial Day Photos from Around the Country

Check out all 31.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

A Movie Scene for Memorial Day from Mr. Holland's Opus

Perhaps it is because both my parents were teachers, but this is my favorite scene from the movie. Watch it all–KSH. (It ties in with the finale as those of you who know the movie well know; it can be found here).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Young Adults