Monthly Archives: April 2012

A BBC Radio Four Sunday Programme Section on the recent FCA Meeting

Herewith the BBC description of this section:

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, meeting in London, say they’ll offer alternative spiritual leadership to dissaffected members of the Church of England. They also want an alternative to the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman of the Anglican primates meeting. Is this a way of keeping the Anglican communion together or splitting it asunder?

It consists of a report by Gavin Drake in which the following people are quoted: John Ellison, retired bishop of Paraguay, Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, and Gregory Cameron, bishop of St. Asaph. Listen to it all (starts about 4:25 in and last about 6 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Church of Wales, CoE Bishops, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates

Paul Bagshaw looks at the FCA Meeting and offers some Thoughts

More significant was the view that the election of the Archbishop of Canterbury was a matter for England alone. It will be the leaders of the FoCA who decide whether or not to accept him as part of the Fellowship: no-one is acceptable (i.e. godly and Anglican) merely by virtue of their office.

* * *
Therefore there will be no schism in the sense of one organization separating itself out from another on a certain day, followed immediately by either or both bodies setting up new structures and legal identities.
Instead there will be a steady continued tearing of the fabric as distinct ecclesial units (parishes, dioceses and provinces as well as individuals) align themselves explicitly with the FoCA. The legalities will depend on the law of each country (property and pensions being governed by secular law) and on the ecclesiastical structure of each Church.

I anticipate that the FoCA churches will thrive, purposeful and enthusiastic for at least the medium-term foreseeable future. It will thus be self-legitimating.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Archbishop of Canterbury, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates, Globalization

(ACEN) Getting Started on the Genesis Covenant

In 2009, the Episcopal Church memorialized the Genesis Covenant, which is a national, ecumenical effort by religious communities to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from every facility they maintain by at least 50% within 10 years.
Most congregations find they save money when they implement the Genesis Covenant because they reduce their energy use. But the benefits go far beyond that. Community is built as people work together toward a common goal….

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Theology

(BBC Today) Sir Paul Coleridge, family court judge, launches a campaign to promote marriage

BBC description: “One of the top judges in the family court division, Sir Paul Coleridge, is launching a campaign to promote marriage. He tells John Humphrys why he believes Britain needs marriage.”

You can find the audio link at 07:42 on this page. Listen to it all (about 8 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family

Link for Profile and other Information on the N.H. Episcopal Nominees

Read it all (19 page pdf).

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

Boston Globe–New Hampshire Episcopalians may elect 2nd non-celibate gay bishop

Nine years after electing the first openly gay bishop in the history of their church, causing a rift in the worldwide Anglican Communion that remains unrepaired, New Hampshire Episcopalians may choose a second [non-celibate] gay man as their leader….

…some US church leaders remain optimistic about the future of the Anglican Communion. Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Diocese of Massachusetts said he believes it will survive – not because conservative and liberal dioceses will reach agreement on hot-button issues like sexuality, but because he believes they will be willing to grant one another greater autonomy.

“I think there is definitely a change, a movement in much of the African church not to recognize the blessing of same-sex unions, or to encourage gay partnerships, but a real acknowledgment that our cultures and pastoral situations are different,’’ he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology

Notable and Quotable

There was a certain style to the RJ [Reformed Journal]’s writing. First some current event or life experience grabbed the writer’s attention. Calvin English professor John J. Timmerman recounted a speech he heard by a vice-president of General Motors, launching GM’s annual “Parade of Progress.” Then the writer exegeted the deeper values driving the topic. The American way of life, Timmerman said, was being identified with an abundance of things. At the dramatic heart of the article, the author put out a tight statement of the core truth at stake. Timmerman, drawing on an enduring Puritan strain, insisted that “the real American sees beyond the means to the goals they should serve.” And then the deeper intellectual play commenced, riff upon riff, showing the varied ways the truth penetrates and bounces off the episode.
What saved these pieces from becoming tedious or predictable was their playfulness. They were more like jazz than like sonatas. Postwar conservative Protestants of various kinds were re-engaging American culture, but the neo-Calvinists seemed more skilled and confident about this mode of thinking. They were less uptight about making mistakes or straying too close to the boundaries of propriety, patriotism, or orthodoxy. I saw this difference being played out at a remarkable event, “A New Agenda for Evangelical Thought,” hosted at Wheaton in 1987. There was a panel of conservative evangelical theologians, including luminaries Carl F. H. Henry and Kenneth Kantzer. How earnestly they labored to keep the conversation rightly centered and bounded, and their body language underscored their efforts. Later came a panel of RJ types: Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., of Calvin Theological Seminary, and Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen and Nicholas Wolterstorff of Calvin College. They were relaxed, making jokes, trying on thoughts and arguments for size, gesturing and improvising freely in a brilliant intellectual jam session.

So the RJ conveyed orthodoxy with a forward view. It was Calvinism as an invitation to a conversation, not as a conversation stopper. It offered mixed feelings about American life, enjoying its bounty and creativity but bristling at its materialism and arrogance. Unlike Sojourners, which started publication as the Post-American, the RJ writers did not accuse the USA of being the main driver of evil in the world. Unlike Christianity Today writers, the RJ crowd readily saw and critiqued American individualism and its lack of regard for the power of history, institutions, systems, and structures.

–Joel Carpenter in Books and Culture, May/June 2012, page 5 (my emphasis)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Fleming Rutledge with a Reminder of the Importance of Biblical Anthropology

What leapt out at me [in a recent book review I was reading], though, was this, introduced by the reviewer’s observation that it is his “favorite sentence thus far in 2012”:

“I have never felt like a good person, but I think that, thanks to my father’s influence, I have sometimes managed to be a non-practicing bad person.”

I don’t know what that’s like in the original Spanish, but in English it’s a precise description of unredeemed human nature, and a good reason for the church’s practice of the confession of sin every day. Mr. Abad is under no illusions about “good people” and “bad people.” He does not go along with the much-misused thought of Anne Frank to the effect that people are essentially good at heart (and by the way, my files are full of critiques of the widespread sentimental fixation on that one sentence of Anne’s).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Michael Nazir-Ali–How to Save Marriage From Hitting the Rocks

The Christian church based its approach to marriage and the family, as it found it to be in different places, on the one-flesh union of man and woman. They were not only given a common mission (known as the cultural mandate in the world) and created and ordered towards one another for the birth and nurture of children, but also for their own fulfilment and security. It is very important to understand this.

Throughout the course of Christian history there have been many expressions of this view of marriage and the family, but I want to examine just one. His is a name difficult to avoid on the topic: St Augustine, the great Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. Augustine saw marriage first of all as the coming together of man and woman for the sake of children, but also for the sake of the security of the partners. This is what you might call the contractual view of marriage. It needed to be understood in a lifelong sense because, apart from anything else, the human child takes a long time to grow up.

But Augustine didn’t stop there. He went on to speak of the commitment that is necessary ”” contract is not enough ”” so that we do not use one another simply as a means to our own selfish ends, but commit ourselves to the other as a person.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Theology

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Hollande's 'Growth Bloc' spells end of German hegemony in Europe

The French-led counter-attack and rumblings of revolt through every branch of the EU institutions last week have brought this aberrant phase of the eurozone crisis to an abrupt end.

“It’s not for Germany to decide for the rest of Europe,” said François Hollande, soon to be French leader, unless he trips horribly next week. Strong words even for the hustings.

“If I am elected president, there will be a change in Europe’s construction. We’re not just any country: we can change the situation,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Where Are the Dads? Treating Richmond's Fatherless Epidemic

The numbers led [Donald ] Stern to the same “inescapable conclusion” made by scores of sociologists, pastors, and pundits observing the post-Jim Crow black family: “There is a crisis in gender relations in the African American community. This is a painful reality.”

Should a public health department””perceived as a government monolith unqualified to counsel individual men and women””try to change citizens’ gender relations, encouraging fidelity, responsibility, and stable two-parent families?

When it costs a city $205 million every year in taxpayer dollars, say Stern and a number of Christians in Richmond, the answer is clear.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Morning Musical Pick me up–Nickel Creek's This Side

Watch and listen to it all. The mandolin is just tremendous!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

John Flynn–British Report Calls for New Measures on The Internet and Pornography

Witnesses told the inquiry that the regular use of pornographic material desensitizes children and young people to violent or sexually aggressive acts and reduces their inhibitions, making them more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. In addition, exposure to pornography leads young people to early sexual involvement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Pornography

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, our Father, we are exceedingly frail, and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking: Strengthen our weakness, we beseech thee, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Augustine (354-430)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

–Matthew 5:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Chinese Christian High School in Alameda, California, Taps Into a Growing Demand

Going to a U.S. high school and learning to learn like Americans are what increasing numbers of students in China are hoping to do in order to improve their chances of getting into an American college, CCHS says. As an evangelical private high school with experience teaching students from China, CCHS has been taking in more of these overseas students and is starting to refer others to like-minded Christian high schools in the U.S.

Foreign students like Mr. [Tom] Zhou now make up about a third of the 217-person student body at CCHS, the U.S.’s oldest accredited school founded by and catering to evangelical Christians from China, according to superintendent Robin Sun Hom. The school also has students from Taiwan and even one Mandarin speaker from Venezuela.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Education, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth

The Latest from Anglican Unscripted

Kevin and George analyze today’s Anglican News — including breaking news from GAFCON in London and a new solution offered to AMiA Bishops and Clergy from ACNA. Episode 37 also discusses the Fort Worth Seven and the Settlement with Truro Church in Virginia. Alan Haley dissects TEC and we comment on our mailbag.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates

China Cracks Down After Chen Escape

The Chinese government clamped down on activists and online media in the wake of the dramatic escape of a blind human-rights advocate from home imprisonment, an embarrassing development for Beijing that could complicate U.S.-China relations if he is found to be in U.S. protective custody.

At least three activists were detained following the escape last week of Chen Guangcheng, a legal advocate who has fought forced abortions under China’s one-child policy.

Meanwhile, popular Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo blocked use of the words “blind man” and “UA898,” a United Airlines flight from Beijing to Washington that Mr. Chen was rumored to have taken out of China. News of his escape hasn’t appeared in major state-run media.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

In Pakistan, the Auxiliary of Lahore Speaks of Being a Tiny Minority in a Muslim Land

Q: Your Excellency, the Christians in Pakistan are a minority, less than 3% of the total population. How would you see your relationship with your Muslim compatriots?

Bishop Shah: In day-to-day life, Christians and a Muslims work together. It is not a problem. We certainly feel that we are a minority but at the same time, we feel that we too are Pakistanis. We are all Pakistanis. The problem occurs when a religious group creates some problems; for instance, in certain remote areas where an Imam preaches a biased teaching. But otherwise, even when I was in school where the majority of the students were Muslims, we were good friends. We would exchange information about Jesus, the Bible, The Prophet and the Koran. There was never a problem. It is only very recently that we feel a problem surfacing in our inter-relationships with the Muslims and we have to be very careful. People working in offices never discuss religion, which is a very new development and that is perhaps a good thing.

Q: ”¦that religion should not take part of the day to day?

Bishop Shah: ”¦ they [Muslim] and we [Christians] know that we are still friends. The problem is those groups that create problems and in certain villages, this is more apparent.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan

(Reuters) Suicides have Greeks on edge before election

On Monday, a 38-year-old geology lecturer hanged himself from a lamp post in Athens and on the same day a 35-year-old priest jumped to his death off his balcony in northern Greece. On Wednesday, a 23-year-old student shot himself in the head.

In a country that has had one of the lowest suicide rates in the world, a surge in the number of suicides in the wake of an economic crisis has shocked and gripped the Mediterranean nation – and its media – before a May 6 election.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Europe, Greece, Poverty, Psychology, Suicide

(Anglican Ink) Tom Sutcliffe on Rowan Williams time as ABC–Lost in the wilderness

At the end of 2012 when he retires to Magdalene College, Cambridge Rowan Williams will have been Primate of All England for a decade. He did not need to retire until June 14, 2020. Various commentators after the announcement of his return to academe in a prestigious but largely honorary role described the post of Archbishop of Canterbury, primus inter pares of the Anglican Communion, as an “impossible job”. But, sadly, it is Rowan whose tenure of the job has made it seem so.

His term of office has been in many ways disastrous, and it is important to consider why that should be so. In different ways both he and his predecessor George Carey have destabilized rather than stimulated the Church of England. Carey’s poorly conceived and insensitive managerial reform of the central church institutions added to the bureaucratic governance and undermined the existing representative structures, while Williams’s search for a new control mechanism to over-ride the existing auto-cephalous provincial authority would have created more problems than it solved. Neither archbishop seemed to possess a well-grounded vision of where the established Church of England was or should be going. But Carey and Williams were outsiders with little or no experience as diocesan bishops in the CofE or of the political aspects of “establishment”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

New Anglican Bishop of Wellington named

The Anglican Church needs to be ”dusted off” and it believes a dreadlocked, barefooted priest is the man to do it.

Justin Duckworth has been announced as the next Anglican Bishop of Wellington, replacing Bishop Tom Brown who recently retired.

The 44 year-old has been involved in christian work in Wellington since leaving school, although somewhat removed from the mainstream churches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces

Lloyd Steffen–Faith and Values: Religious experience and ordinary believers

The issue for faith is not whether we have had an experience like Moses with the burning bush or St. Paul on the Damascus road. The issue is whether we can be open to interpreting the experiences we have in ordinary life as so deeply meaningful that we are willing to claim them as religious.

Is it possible to find such an experience in the cup of coffee with a friend? Is it possible to find in the worship service you attend on a regular basis? Can something in the beauty of nature catch you up, or music, or the arresting vision that takes form in the stone Michelangelo chiseled?

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is the ego-dissolving experience upon which spiritual growth and development rests.

Read it all.

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

(Guardian Comment is Free) Mark Vernon–Goethe and the search for the spirit of science

Is it just me or has the dialogue between science and religion become a bit stale? I thought as much recently while taking part in a conference on the debate. We were all so well defended in our respective corners ”“ atheists, believers, agnostics. It seemed highly unlikely that what anyone said would seriously unsettle anyone else.

The smart and articulate apologists for theism were easily able to accommodate the challenges materialist science throws at faith. The smart and articulate atheists seemed content to accept the limits of the scientific worldview and not really be challenged by the insights of theology….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Joint Communiqué from Archbishop Rwaje of P.E.A.R. and Archbishop Duncan of the Anglican Church

While in London, we had the opportunity to talk at length together about the continuing turbulence from the separation of the Anglican Mission in America from its founding church, the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The House of Bishops of Rwanda has recently declared the establishment of a Missionary District in North America (PEARUSA) as its only continuing work on this continent and has offered a deadline of August 31 for clergy and churches to determine their future jurisdiction. There are three options available: remain with Rwanda through PEARUSA, transfer to another Anglican jurisdiction through letters dimissory, or follow the Anglican Mission into its new venture. Provision and procedure for each of these options is available or is being developed as rapidly as possible. (These materials will be available through the website as they are developed.)

At the same time, there has been a great deal of confusion recently around the issue of the resigned bishops of the AMiA, their relationship with Rwanda, and their possible relationship with ACNA. We write this communiqué together primarily to address that confusion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Continuum, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches

Bishop Nazir-Ali joins row over right to wear the cross

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, has written to the European Court of Human Rights in support of Christians who claim they suffered discrimination at work when they were banned from displaying the symbol.

He has been granted the status of an “intervener”, meaning the Strasbourg court will take account of his 11-page submission when it hears the case in September.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Scott Jones–General Conference as Doctrinal Authority for United Methodists

Thus, when we ask candidates for ordination, “Have you studied our doctrines? Will you preach and maintain them?” These are the beliefs we are referring to. It is General Conference that has the authority to establish our doctrine. In fact, for most of our history our book was called not the BOD, but “The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church”. It is a chargeable offense for clergy to disseminate teachings that are contrary to our doctrinal standards.

I hope that we will talk about doctrinal matters more and get a better understanding of what we believe. Many of the conversations about our church have doctrinal implications and the General Conference is engaged in those conversations in many different legislative committees.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches, Theology

(BBC) Deadly attack on Nigeria's Bayero university in Kano

At least six people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack at a university in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano, witnesses and police said.

A bomb squad and military units are searching for the gunmen who mounted the attack at Bayero University.

Reports suggest the violence may have targeted Christian students who were holding a religious service in one of the lecture theatres.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who hast taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in thine: Help us to attain to this liberty by continual surrender unto thee; that walking in the way which thou hast prepared for us, we may find our life in doing thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. So I have looked upon thee in the sanctuary, beholding thy power and glory. Because thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise thee.

–Psalm 63:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture