Daily Archives: June 8, 2012

Elmer Thiessen–The Offensiveness of Evangelism

The topic of evangelism made national headlines in Canada recently. It all started with a twelfth grade student in Nova Scotia wearing a T-shirt boldly emblazoned with the words, “Life is wasted without Jesus.” William Swinimer continued to wear his yellow T-shirt even after the vice-principal at his school asked him not to do so, after some students had complained that they found the message offensive. Swinimer’s refusal to obey led to a series of in-school suspensions, and finally a five-day at-home suspension. The normally shy 19-year-old refused to comply even though it might have meant permanent suspension and the loss of his chance of graduating. “I believe this is worth standing up for,” he said, “it’s not just standing up for religious rights, it’s standing up for my rights as a Canadian citizen; for freedom of speech, freedom of religion.”

The regional school board initially supported the actions of the school administration, with Superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake maintaining that repeated defiance of school authorities was justified grounds for suspending Swinimer. The school board issued a statement clarifying that “students may choose to wear clothing that embraces their beliefs.” However, “it is expected that students will not wear clothing with messages that may offend others’ beliefs, race, religion, culture or lifestyle.”

The nationwide debate ignited by this incident was most revealing….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Cardinal Ouellet–The Ecclesiology of Communion, 50 Years after the Opening of Vatican Council II

It is important to stress here that the ecclesiology of communion promoted by the Council takes its inspiration from the Eucharistic ecclesiology of the Orthodox, especially Afanassief, who is cited in the texts. The Council’s ecclesiology is thus of great ecumenical import. The intervention of John Zizioulas, the Metropolitan of Pergamon, at the 2005 Roman Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, testifies to this: “The ecclesiology of communion promoted by Vatican II and deepened further by eminent Roman Catholic theologians can make sense only if it derives from the eucharistic life of the Church. The Eucharist belongs not simply to the beneesse but to theesseof the Church. The whole life, word and structure of the Church iseucharistic in its very essence.” Walter Kasper agrees wholeheartedly and holds that “eucharistic ecclesiology has become one of the most important foundations of the ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches.”

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Eucharist, Ireland, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Alan Hawkins named Anglican 1000 vicar for ACNA

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has named the Rev. Alan Hawkins to serve as the Vicar of the Anglican 1000 movement, Archbishop Robert Duncan told delegates to the church’s 2nd Provincial Assembly.

Archbishop Duncan told delegates on the opening day of the 7-9 June 2012 meeting in Ridgecrest, N.C., that Mr. Hawkins, the rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Greensboro, NC, will supervise the province’s church planting initiative ”“ a work the archbishop characterized as being the “central” program of the province.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Robert Duncan Delivers State of the Church Address to ACNA Provincial Council

The dis-integration of the Anglican Mission in the Americas during this past year has been a challenge for North American Anglicanism and for Global Anglicanism. What was one of our founding jurisdictions, and distanced to became a ministry partner in June 2010, has gone through a season of re-definition and loss since June 2011 that has greatly diminished the AM and that has broken the hearts of many in this Council, across this Church and around the globe, not least that of your Archbishop. What will become of the remnant “Society for Mission and Apostolic Works” we cannot know, we only know that what has emerged does not look like the Anglican Mission, the AMiA, that was once so central to who and what we became as a Church. We continue in prayer for these now functionally separated brothers and sisters.

Two amazing things, at least, have come out of the adversity of this situation. One is that the vision given by God to us in the Common Cause days ”“ the vision of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America ”“ is owned by more of us than ever before. The dis-integration of AMiA has produced an amazing new partner in PEARUSA (Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda USA) whose bishops and representatives are here with us to take their place among us.

Yesterday, the College of Bishops adopted a three-way protocol (PEAR, ACNA, and PEARUSA) that effectively gives PEARUSA participation as if it were a diocese of this Church. Moreover, today this Council will be asked to approve a diocese in formation (called Christ the King and centered at Houston, Texas) composed of former AMiA congregations. In other parts of our two countries (Canada and the US) congregations that have been AM congregations are associating with existing dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop Todd Hunter of Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO) has joined us as a bishop with special mission and two of our dioceses have given “cover” to two other Anglican Mission bishops and their congregations ”“ with a third bishop and network in conversation ”“ as their relationships to the AM gets sorted out.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Librarian of Congress Appoints Natasha Trethewey New Poet Laureate

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today announced the appointment of Natasha Trethewey as the Library’s Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2012-2013.

Trethewey, the 19th Poet Laureate, will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library’s annual literary season with a reading of her work on Thursday, September 13 in the Coolidge Auditorium. Her term will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center and the 1937 establishment of the Consultant-in-Poetry position, which was changed by a federal law in 1986 to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

“Natasha Trethewey is an outstanding poet/historian in the mold of Robert Penn Warren, our first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry,” Billington said. “Her poems dig beneath the surface of history””personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago””to explore the human struggles that we all face.”

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

The Bishop's Presidential Address at Ely Diocesan Synod

Since we last met, there has been a meeting of the House of Bishops which voted by a majority to amend the draft legislation to ordain women to the episcopate. I supported the minor amendment about derivation and delegation. The other amendment is more controversial. I do not want to say much more than I have already written in a recent pastoral letter to the clergy which is also available on E-life. Suffice it to say that it is not just a yes/no option for the July Synod. The Convocations of York and Canterbury and the House of Laity will all meet hours before the Synod meeting and could refer the amended legislation back to the Bishops. Similarly, the debate could be adjourned at the Synod meeting and the Bishops would also be mandated to re-consider at an autumn meeting, with a fresh debate at the November Synod. Whatever we pray that the outcome will be, do contact our General Synod representatives and make your views known to them. They must vote according to their consciences, but we should all feel that we are participating in the discernment through both prayer and opinion. I have not yet decided how I shall vote at any stage and I ask for your prayers.

Read it all and please note you may find the remarks referred to in “E-life” over there.

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

(Church Times) Christians caught in the headlights of Syrian crisis

The diplomatic stalemate in Syria has been highlighted by three recent developments. First was last weekend’s defiant speech by President Bashar al-Assad. Then there came the decision by armed Syrian opposition groups to dis­regard the nominal ceasefire brokered by Kofi Annan. Third was the formation of yet another group opposing the Syrian regime, thus frac­tur­ing the already split opposition still more.

This stalemate and the attendant confusion are nudging Syria into civil war. Syrian Christians, for their part, are left as helpless observers, un­certain whether to commit themselves to a besieged regime or to opposition groups, often indistinguishable from radical Islamists, which present differing and sometimes worrying visions of the future.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

David Gibson–U.S. Bishops Still Stonewall on Sex Abuse Ten years after the 'Dallas charter'

Who will guard the guardians? Ten years after the Catholic hierarchy of the United States gathered in Dallas and adopted unprecedented policies to address the scourge of child sexual abuse by clergy, the question of accountability at the top remains unanswered….

The best answer the bishops had…in Dallas was a behind-the-scenes “fraternal correction” policy, by which a bishop would quietly pass along any concerns about another bishop to that bishop. Church tradition was invoked to preclude any external oversight by laypeople or other prelates. As always, each bishop would answer only to the pope, who alone had the authority to remove the head of a diocese.

Now, as the bishops gather next week in Atlanta for their annual spring meeting, they will hear an update on the Dallas charter but are unlikely to address this enormous loophole””despite events that make it all the more urgent.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(NPR) Generation Rent: Slamming Door Of Homeownership

In theory, fewer homeowners will mean municipalities will rake in less revenue from property taxes. But Pendall believes local governments will simply adjust to make rental properties “a larger share of the tax pie.”

And within those communities, some businesses will feel the pinch. Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, says a wave of renters would have an obvious impact on the massive consumer industry that supports homeownership.

“My subjective experience is that when people buy a house, they immediately start renovating and fixing it ”” going on Sunday afternoon to Home Depot, doing things that I think people would never do for houses that they rent,” he says.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Young Adults

(Washington Post) Europe’s troubles affect wide variety of U.S. firms

From manufacturers in the Midwest to upscale retail shops in Manhattan, a wide variety of American companies are feeling the pinch of Europe’s economic contraction, helping to hold back recovery in the United States.

Ford, the iconic U.S. car company, says that Europeans are not only buying fewer cars, but are replacing fewer parts. Kraft Foods, which is behind such brands as Swedish Fish and Dentyne, says sales of candy and gum in Europe are lagging. And jeweler Tiffany & Co. says fewer European tourists are shopping at its flagship Fifth Avenue store.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Necessity, Not Inclination, Is Edging Europe Closer Fiscally and Politically

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, with the euro under renewed pressure from Spanish banks and the coming Greek election, said on Thursday that the answer is “more Europe,” with moves “step by step” toward a fiscal and political union of countries using the euro.

But how much more Europe does Europe want?…

Further union implies more sacrifice of national sovereignty than leaders of many countries want ”” let alone their voters, who have an increasingly low opinion in general of “Brussels” and of its largely faceless and unelected technocrats.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Roland Allen in his own words on Mission and Saint Paul

In little more than ten years St. Paul established the Church in four provinces of the Empire, Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia. Before AD 47 there were no churches in these provinces; in AD 57 St. Paul could speak as if his work there was done, and could plan extensive tours into the far west without anxiety lest the churches which he had founded might perish in his absence for want of his guidance and support.

The work of the Apostle during these ten years can therefore be treated as a unity. Whatever assistance he may have received from the preaching of others, it is unquestioned that the establishment of the churches in these provinces was really his work. In the pages of the New Testament he, and he alone, stands forth as their founder. And the work which he did was really a completed work. So far as the foundation of the churches is concerned, it is perfectly clear that the writer of the Acts intends to represent St. Paul’s work as complete. The churches were really established. Whatever disasters fell upon them in later years, whatever failure there was, whatever ruin, that failure was not due to any insufficiency or lack of care and completeness in the Apostle’s teaching or organization. When he left them he left them because his work was fully accomplished.

This is truly an astonishing fact. That churches should be founded so rapidly, so securely, seems to us today, accustomed to the difficulties, the uncertainties, the failures, the disastrous relapses of our own missionary work, almost incredible. Many missionaries in later days have received a larger number of converts than St. Paul; many have preached over a wider area than he; but none have so established churches. We have long forgotten that such things could be. We have long accustomed ourselves to accept it as an axiom of missionary work that converts in a new country must be submitted to a very long probation and training, extending over generations before they can be expected to be able to stand alone. Today if a man ventures to suggest that there may be something in the methods by which St. Paul attained such wonderful results worthy of our careful attention, and perhaps of our imitation, he is in danger of being accused of revolutionary tendencies.

–Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours; A Study of The Church In The Four Provinces, Chapter One

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Missions, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Roland Allen

Almighty God, by whose Spirit the Scriptures were opened to thy servant Roland Allen, so that he might lead many to know, live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Give us grace to follow his example, that the variety of those to whom we reach out in love may receive thy saving Word and witness in their own languages and cultures to thy glorious Name; through Jesus Christ, thy Word made flesh, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God, in whom we live and move and have our being, open our eyes that we may behold thy fatherly presence ever about us. Draw our hearts to thee by the power of thy love. Teach us to be anxious for nothing, and when we have done what thou hast given us to do, help us, O God our Saviour, to leave the issue to thy wisdom. Take from us all doubt and mistrust. Lift our thoughts up to thee in heaven; and make us to know that all things are possible to us through thy Son, our Redeemer Jesus Christ.

–B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your voice, and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase, empty words grow many: but do you fear God.

–Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

How JTF, Boko Haram Fought for 20 Hours in Maiduguri

For over 20 hours between Tuesday and yesterday, there was a gun battle in Maiduguri between the Joint Task Force (JTF) and members of the Jama’atu Ahlil Sunnati Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, better known as Boko Haram. Daily Trust reports that the result of the gun duel was devastating because residents said there was “mass casualty” on both sides.

Witnesses said the confrontation, which started on Tuesday with terrifying sound of eight bomb blasts, has left “unforgettable scars on the civilian population” in many settlements in the affected areas.

During the ensuing crisis, many people were reportedly killed, houses, shops and vehicles vandalized and freedom of movement curtailed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Violence

Ireland's Archbishop Harper to Retire

The Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and Metropolitan, The Most Revd Alan Harper, OBE, has announced his intention to retire later this year. The decision will take effect from 1 October 2012.

Archbishop Harper, who is 68, has been a bishop for 10 years having served as Bishop of Connor from 2002 to 2007; he was elected as Archbishop of Armagh in January 2007 and enthroned in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on 16 March 2007.

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Posted in Uncategorized