Daily Archives: April 4, 2012

(Her.meneutics blog) Why Margaret Feinberg Bypasses the ”˜Gender Wars’

Ask Margaret Feinberg what she thinks of being one of the leading evangelical female voices in a mostly male arena, and she bypasses the issue of gender. “I don’t really think about it. I walk into a room and see amazing leaders, thoughtful presenters, and compelling communicators regardless of gender.” Feinberg is the author most recently of Hungry for God, which reflects on ways to recognize and satisfy our longings for holy relationship in the midst of our daily lives. Having penned more than two dozen books and Bible studies, including The Organic God (Zondervan), The Sacred Echo (Zondervan), and Scouting the Divine (Zondervan), Feinberg recently released the six-week John and Genesis Bible studies series (September 2011), and is considering developing another study on the Gospel of Luke….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

The Latest Numbers from Intrade on the Republican Nomination Process and the Fall Election

Mitt Romney to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012–95.2

Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012–60.8

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General

(BBC) Church of England dumbing down: Jersey parish minister Anthony Swindell

The Church of England is dumbing down and needs to revert to more traditional ways, a Jersey vicar has claimed.

The rector of St Saviour Dr Anthony Swindell said religion was being “over-simplified to make it more popular”.

He said people were too worried about salesmanship and not enough about Christianity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Archbishop Akrofi–Easter Moment Of Truth, Justice And Peace

In an Easter message copied to Ghana News Agency in Accra, he said death by crucifixion alone might suggest disgrace, disaster and defeat by the forces of evil “but with Easter it is a loud and clear message that by the power of God, death could not hold him. Beyond death there is life; beyond defeat and humiliation there can be victory and exaltation and joy, if we walk with God”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week

(FT) Evgeny Morozov–Beware the unholy alliance of state and internet

Surveillance means safety. This is the argument wherever and whenever governments seek new powers to monitor their citizens. Proposed legislation in the UK to enable police and intelligence services to access emails, Skype calls and Facebook messages is another such example. It is also another case of the unnecessary and dangerous expansion of state power, in collaboration with companies, into our online ”“ and offline ”“ lives.

The UK government has said that without a warrant it could only get “who, when and where” forms of data ”“ times, dates, numbers and addresses of communications ”“ not the content of emails, chat messages or Skype calls. The latter would still require a warrant, according to the government. Some critics are sceptical, and rightly so.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, Terrorism

Vatican Approves Blessing for Child in the Womb

The blessing was prepared to support parents awaiting the birth of a child, to encourage parish prayers for and recognition of the precious gift of the child in the womb, and to foster respect for human life within society. It can be offered within the context of the Mass as well as outside of Mass.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

(BBC) Where are you on the global pay scale?

The average wage, calculated by the International Labour Organization, is published here for the first time. It’s a rough figure based on data from 72 countries, omitting some of the world’s poorest nations. All figures are adjusted to reflect variations in the cost of living from one country to another….

Read it all and do your own calculation.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance

Kate Coleman–Are Churches Really Prepared for Future?

Church leadership in the 21st century involves making numerous decisions about the future of ministry, frequently against a backdrop of rapid change and poorly understood but increasingly challenging circumstances.

For example, at the beginning of the 21st century, a number of churches are either in decline or (by contrast) are experiencing significant numerical growth.

Churches are facing major decisions as to whether to sustain or expand their present facilities, continue to minister in the same way, relocate to another community, disband or even sell their property and facilities.

Austerity measures and declining budgets further compound these issues.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Evangelism and Church Growth, History, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(Christianity Today) Google Brings Churches Back into Nonprofit Program

While many of Google’s products are free to users and supported by advertising, Google for Nonprofits gives charities breaks on several products it charges for, including Google Apps (its competitor to Microsoft Office) and free advertising in its AdWords program. It is also rolling out some services first to its nonprofit members. Last week the company said it would first offer live streaming video on YouTube to its nonprofit members.

“We’re constantly evaluating our services,” said Google spokesman Parag Chokshi. “Since launching Google for Nonprofits as a consolidated offering last year, we’ve received feedback from many organizations and believe this change will allow us to help more organizations take advantage of Google services.”

Tim Postuma, web manager for the Christian Reformed Church in North America, said the change was unexpected but welcome.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Reuters) The Federal Reserve tones down talk of more monetary stimulus

Federal Reserve policymakers have backed away from the need for another round of monetary stimulus as the U.S. economy gradually improves.

Minutes of the central bank’s meeting published on Tuesday showed only two of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee’s 10 voting members saw the case for additional monetary stimulus.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

AKMA–On Orders and Renunciation (with special reference to TEC and Rwanda)

(In case some readers are not aware, A.K.M. Adam [AKMA] is currently serving as a Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow–KSH.)

Obviously Rwandan canons don’t affect the canon law or interpretation of the US Episcopal Church ”” but this interpretation of ”˜orders’ and ”˜transferring’ appears to make more sense. The bishops in question must (on this interpretation ”” I’m not arguing anything about their side of the disagreement) have a canonical relationship with one or another Anglican province, but that’s a separate question from whether their orders as bishops are valid. If on the other hand they have no relationship to another recognised Anglican body, the status of their request to withdraw from the Rwandan Church is canonically intelligible only as a request to be removed from the roll of actual bishops. If my situation were interpreted on this basis, we would say that I wish to move (”˜transfer’) my vows of obedience and allegiance to the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway and the Scottish Episcopal Church ”” not to renounce my orders altogether.

If I understand the interpretation of canon law from the US Episcopal hierarchy, my priesthood is not in question ”” they’re interpreting my ”˜orders’ as sort of ”˜the ordered relationship that binds me to my bishop and the doctrine, disciple, and whatever of this [US Episcopal] Church’. On their account, then, it would be possible for me to maintain my ordained status without having a canonical relationship with a particular Church (and, by extension, so would the US-Rwandan bishops, if in fact the US Episcopal Church recognised their episcopal orders in the first place) ”” though I would not be authorised by any Church to exercise that priesthood. The Rwandan interpretation (again, if I understand it correctly) is that apart from a relationship with a particular Church, the idea of ”˜orders’ is incoherent; the validity of orders depends on a living relationship of authority and accountability with a Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(Christian Century) Richard Lischer–Stripped bare: Holy Week and the art of losing

What Jesus offers this Holy Week is not an escape from loss but a better way of losing. In each Passion account, and especially in the Gospel of John, Jesus suffers humiliation and defeat but does not relinquish his identity as the Son of God. His final cry is addressed to his Father. His divinity is confirmed not by coming down from the cross but by his gestures of love while impaled upon it. From the cross he provides for his mother and forgives his tormentors. From the cross he draws a world of lost souls to himself. As it turns out, what remains in each of us is not the bravado of mastery but the vulnerability of love.

All our losses, however sharp or permanent they may be, deprive us of our ability to think and act beyond ourselves. They rob us of the very quality of love Jesus performed in the Upper Room and on the cross. Take grief, for example. Grief bears witness to no story or solution larger than itself. It shrinks your life to the exact size of your longing. The art of love is lost to you.

By God’s power, however, some break through the anguish and, in the midst of their own loss, find someone else to help or love. A boy dies of a drug overdose, and his parents take a new and active role in drug education for teens. A woman survives breast cancer, but instead of nesting with her own anxiety, reaches out to other women with the same disease. Poor people help other poor people. The bereaved understand and comfort the bereaved. This is the true art of losing. And it is an art or, as the apostle would say, a gift of the Spirit, no less a blessing than any of the other, better-known gifts. Jesus teaches the art of losing. It’s one of the reasons why some of us still sit in darkened churches on a Thursday and Friday night.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who didst spend this day in quiet retreat at Bethany, in preparation for thy coming passion: Help us ever to live mindful of our end; that when thou shalt call us to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, we may fear no evil, for thou art with us, who didst die that we might live with thee for ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. 2 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

–Mark 12:1-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) US ambassador warns Syria regime over violence

America’s ambassador to the UN has warned Syria not to intensify violence in the days leading up to a ceasefire proposed by the UN and Arab League.

Susan Rice said the Security Council must respond urgently if Syria failed to keep its pledge to end military operations by 10 April.

Syria says it will honour the deadline, but Ms Rice said she doubted this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

John Milbank–After Rowan: The Coherence and Future of Anglicanism

But perhaps even more urgent for the Church in England than addressing this issue is the need to amend the growing incompetence and theological incoherence on the ground. There are three crucial elements that stand out:

–Almost ubiquitous liturgical chaos, where many evangelicals and liberals alike have little sense of what worship is for.

–The increasing failure of many priests to perform their true priestly roles of pastoral care and mission outreach, in a predominantly “liberal” and managerialist ecclesial culture that encourages bureaucratisation and over-specialisation. This has often led to a staggering failure even to try to do the most obvious things – like publicising in the community an Easter egg hunt for children in the bishop’s palace grounds! To an unrecognised degree this kind of lapse explains why fewer and fewer people bother with church – though the underlying failure “even to try” has more to do with a post 1960s ethos that assumes decline and regards secularisation as basically a good thing, or even as providentially ordained since religion is supposedly a “private” and merely “personal” affair after all.

–Perhaps most decisive is the collapse of theological literacy among the clergy – again, this is partly a legacy of the 1960s and 70s (made all the worst by the illusion that this was a time of enlightening by sophisticated German Protestant influence), but it has now been compounded by the ever-easier admission of people to the priesthood with but minimal theological education, and often one in which doctrine is regarded almost as an optional extra.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology

Robert Hendrickson visits General Theological Seminary and Ponders TEC of which he is Part

(Blog readers please note that Father Henderson is a 2009 Graduate of General Theological Seminary currently serving a parish in Connecticut–KSH).

I joined a church that valued tradition and yet was engaged with modernity. I joined a church that embraced the timelessness of dignity and beauty. I joined a church that was engaged theologically and reasonably rather than emotionally in issues of doctrine and order. I joined a church that was a true blend of Catholic and Reformed. I joined a church that valued the uniformities of the Prayer Book even as it explored how to plumb its depths in manifold ways. I joined a church that was sacramentally grounded. I joined a church that believed that how we pray says something about what we believe.

Just as when I went to General [Seminary], finding the Episcopal Church was a joy and it felt exactly like where I was called to be. I felt at home and it was a place that made sense because there was a there there.

I am not sure where the there is now.

As I talk to priests too happy to ignore rubrics and ordination vows to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church because they have decided their sense of “welcome” is more important than the church’s call to common identity,

as I attended a Diocesan Convention at which we sang treacly hymns with narcissistic lyrics,

as I talk to priests in pitch battles in their dioceses about baptizing in the name of the Trinity,

as I attend Eucharists where priests make up the Eucharistic Prayer on the spot (“meal of power” not Body and Blood and “the systems of the world are broken” at the Fraction),

and as I watch the Church one more time hurtle into a divisive squabble, I am feeling profoundly out of place.

The Church that is slashing funding for Christian formation and youth ministry while hurtling toward… “[the Communion of the Unbaptized]” is not the Church I thought I was joining. The Church that has a diocesan convention at which we sing “Shine, Jesus Shine” and ignore the Prayer Book is not the Church I thought I was joining. The Church that is defining sainthood as anyone who has done something good and worthy rather than someone who has done good and worthy things because of their faith in Christ is not the Church I thought I was joining.

Read it carefully and read it all and many of the comments are well worth the time.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology