Monthly Archives: November 2012

Joshua Swamidass: Senator Marco Rubio and the Age-of-Earth Question

As a Christian and career scientist, I see the episode as an opportunity for both Republicans and evangelicals to establish a more coherent policy on evolution, creation and science, for two reasons.

First, the age of the Earth and the rejection of evolution aren’t core Christian beliefs. Neither appears in the Nicene or Apostle’s Creed. Nor did Jesus teach them. Historical Christianity has not focused on how God created the universe, but on how God saves humanity through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Currently, a debate is unfolding in theological seminaries and conferences about the correct interpretation of the Bible’s Genesis account of creation. Echoing thinkers like St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, Mark Noll and Pope John Paul II, many of the conservative theologians in the debate believe that a serious reading of Genesis can be compatible with the scientific account of our origins.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, History, Media, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) U.S. judge dismisses suit against Santa Monica nativity ban

As expected, U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a church coalition seeking to challenge Santa Monica’s ban on nativity and other seasonal displays in public spaces.

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee had filed the suit in October after the Santa Monica City Council voted to prohibit private, unattended displays in city parks. Earlier this month, the court denied the committee’s request to allow the exhibition of nativity scenes in Palisades Park this year as the lawsuit progressed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Katrina Onstad–The real cost of our 'fast fashion' consumption culture

This week we learned of yet another fire in a garment factory in Bangladesh, this one killing more than 100 people. Before the nine-storey building blazed, workers at Tazreen Fashions Ltd. in Dhaka were making clothes for Wal-Mart and Walt Disney, among other retailers. The International Labor Rights Forum estimates that since 2005, more than 700 garment workers have died in Bangladesh as a result of safety violations in buildings. Survivors of the Tazreen fire told The Guardian that managers stopped workers from leaving the building after a fire alarm and locked the doors. Then came a panicked crush; bodies were charred beyond recognition. All this for a job that earned most workers less than $40 a month.

So this is the dark side of “more.” And we are consuming more, for less money, than we used to. In 1969, Canadians spent 10.5 per cent of household income on clothing and accessories; in 2010, that figure dropped to 6.5 per cent. An insatiable appetite for makeover shows and a mainstreaming of the fashionista ideal have coincided with a total transformation of clothing production. According to a recent article in The New York Times Magazine, it now takes “fast fashion” leader Zara two to three weeks to move an item from an idea in a studio to a hanger in a store….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Psychology, Theology

An Excerpt From Pope's Latest Book–'The question about Jesus' origin as a question about…mission'

John the evangelist, who repeatedly raises the question of Jesus’ provenance, does not present a genealogy at the begin­ning of his Gospel, but in the Prologue he grandly and em­phatically proposes an answer to that question. At the same time he expands his answer to the question into a definition of Christian life: on the basis of Jesus’ provenance he sheds light upon the identity of his followers.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt [pitched his tent] among us” ( Jn 1:1-14). The man Jesus is the dwelling-place of the Word, the eternal di­vine Word, in this world. Jesus’ “flesh,” his human existence, is the “dwelling” or “tent” of the Word: the reference to the sacred tent of Israel in the wilderness is unmistakable. Jesus is, so to speak, the tent of meeting-he is the reality for which the tent and the later Temple could only serve as signs. Jesus’ origin, his provenance, is the true “beginning”-the primordial source from which all things come, the “light” that makes the world into the cosmos. He comes from God. He is God. This “beginning” that has come to us opens up-as a beginning-a new manner of human existence. “For to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” ( Jn 1:12f.).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Christology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Church looks outside Christchurch for financial help with Transitional Cathedral

A piece of Christchurch’s cardboard cathedral is on display outside four major Anglican churches around the country as part of a new fundraising drive.
With the scheduled opening of the transitional cathedral just four months away, the church is exhibiting four giant cardboard tubes as it looks outside Christchurch for financial help.
“They’re huge and it gives us a real idea of what’s going on, lots of excitement and people coming in and going,” says Auckland Anglican Dean Reverend Jo Kelly-Moore.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry

(CNBC) What Empty Nest? Weak Economy Means Living at Home

The recession and weak recovery appears to be keeping many adult children from getting a home of their own, and that could have implications for the housing industry’s recovery.

A Census Bureau report released Wednesday found that between 2007 and 2011 there was a steady increase in the percentage of adults living in someone else’s house ”“ and that increase has mostly been driven by adult children moving in with mom and dad.

In 2011, Census Bureau researchers found that 17.9 percent of people 18 and older, or 41.2 million people, lived in a house in which they weren’t the head of the household or that person’s spouse or significant other. That’s up from 16 percent in 2007, before the nation went into recession.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

(WSJ) The Great Recession A Big Factor as the Birthrate Falls

A steep decline in births among immigrant women hard hit by the recent recession is the driving force behind the record low U.S. birthrate, according to the Pew Research Center.

The annual number of births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 dropped 8% in the U.S. from 2007 to 2010 to 64 births per 1,000, according to a report released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew center. The U.S. birthrate peaked during the baby boom, at 122.7 in 1957.

Immigrant women, both legal and illegal, still have a higher birthrate than the U.S. population as a whole. Yet the rate for foreign-born women dropped 14% between 2007 and 2010, to 87.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, compared with a 6% decline for U.S.-born women, to 58.9 births. The birthrate plunged 19% for immigrants of Hispanic origin during that period; among Mexicans, the largest group among Hispanics, the rate plunged 23%.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Church Times) C of E to set about resolving deadlock on women bishops

Prebendary [Rod] Thomas said on Monday that Reform would like the talks to be chaired by the Archbishop-designate, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby. “We feel very much that Justin Welby has been put by God in this place with a unique set of gifts to help us resolve this problem; he has our complete trust in seeking to move forward.”

Campaigners for women bishops who are angry at the outcome of last week’s vote have, however, indicated that they will press for a single-clause Measure, without provision for traditionalists enshrined in it.

The Rt Revd John Gladwin, a former Bishop of Chelmsford and the honorary vice-president of WATCH, said that opponents of the Measure had “blown up the bridge to any compromise solution”. The “only . . . route” that could now be taken, he said, “is the route which removes all discriminatory provisions from the life and ministry of the Church”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(Reuters) In Istanbul, a mosque fit for a Sultan

Tayyip Erdogan has described his third term as Turkish prime minister as that of a “master”, borrowing from the celebrated Ottoman architect Sinan and the last stage of his storied career after apprenticeship and graduation.

It’s a lofty allusion.
Sinan’s 16th-century creations came to define the Ottoman Empire at its apogee, the Suleymaniye Mosque, built for Sultan Suleiman, part of Istanbul’s unmistakable skyline.

Now, entering a second decade at the helm of a country revelling in its regional might, Erdogan wants to leave his own mark on the cityscape with what will be Turkey’s biggest mosque, a “giant mosque,” he says, “that will be visible from all across Istanbul.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Turkey

Totally Inspiring Friday Video–Kick of Hope from ESPN's Tom Rinaldi

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Sports, Teens / Youth

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Andrew

Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Be thou unto us at this time, O Lord, a tower of strength, a place of refuge, and a defence in our day of trouble. Keep us calm and brave, because our trust is in thee. Let thy comfort support us, thy mercy pardon us, and thy wisdom guide us; and give us, if it please thee, deliverance from all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name”; and again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; and further Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

–Romans 15:7-13

Posted in Uncategorized

Anglican Ink: Loyalist meeting learns Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is behind them

‘The presiding bishop’s attorney told the 15 Nov 2012 meeting of TEC loyalists the national church had been preparing for the fight with Bishop Lawrence and the majority faction in the diocese for some time.’
Questions over the presiding bishop’s actions have arisen in light of statements made by Mr. Tom Tisdale, a lawyer for Bishop Jefferts Schori given at a 15 Nov 2012 “clergy day” held at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Charleston. An open letter to the bishops of the Episcopal Church detailing her alleged violations of the canons prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute has also prompted questions.

The presiding bishop’s office has not responded to queries concerning the ACI’s open letter, nor is it known if Bishop Jefferts Schori has complied with Canon Iv.4(f), which requires her to self-report to “the Intake Officer all matters which may constitute an Offense as defined” in the canons.

Mr. Tisdale told Anglican Ink he too was unable to comment. My “inability to answer your questions is that I have consistently held to a long standing practice and policy of not engaging in press interviews on matters in which I am representing a client. The only exception to this practice would be when I am specifically requested to do so by the client.”

In his address to the approximately 40 clergy and lay members of the diocese present, Mr. Tisdale stated that in light of the suspension of Bishop Lawrence on 15 Oct 2012 by the presiding bishop and the vote by the standing committee to withdraw from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, there was no functioning ecclesiastical authority in South Carolina.

He stated he was legal counsel for the presiding bishop in South Carolina and a “few months ago” had been asked to organize a transition group by the national church in preparation for such an event.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Women, Sex and the Hookup Culture (III)–Matthew Lee Anderson responds to Emily Esfahani Smith

…I kind of understand the eagerness to stake out this sort of “middle of the road” position on sexual ethics. It’s the sort of “respectable” social conservatism that allows for everything sophisticated readers of The Atlantic might want”“seriousness and purpose without the backwardness of chastity.

Or at least the appearance of seriousness, anyway. It also presupposes the sort of “make your own meaning” approach to sex that stands beneath the sexual malaise in our culture. Consider this as a good rule of thumb: if you have to resort to describing your sex as “meaningful,” then maybe that’s because functionally its not. Meaning isn’t made: it’s discovered, lived out, revealed to us over the course of our lives. No writer sets out to write a “meaningful novel,” or no very good writer does anyway. Because the meaning of things aren’t determined by fiat. They inhere in things and we respond to them.

Of course, to say that drives one into the possibility that maybe sex has a meaning in our lives that we don’t get to decide. What that meaning is, of course, might be in question. The traditional Christian answer, I think, has been to tie sex to marriage, and marriage to babies. We’re clearly losing the stomach for that one, though, both inside and outside the church. Still, the advantage of the traditional Christian sexual ethic is that it offers us sex without qualifications: sex in itself, the meaning given not made, in all its distinctive glory and freedom.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

Women, Sex and the Hookup Culture (II)–Emily Esfahani Smith to Hanna Rosin–Make sex meaningful

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

Women, Sex and the Hookup Culture (I)–Hanna Rosin argues the milieu empowers women

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

(ACNS) In Zimbabwe, Anglicans returning to their property threatened by chain-wielding thugs

Writing to supporters around the Anglican Communion, Bp Chad Gandiya said that, despite a Supreme Court order recognising the cathedral as belonging to CPCA’s Diocese of Harare, excommunicated bishop, Nolbert Kunonga “did not leave willingly.”
“Yesterday Kunonga was evicted from the Diocesan Offices and Cathedral yesterday,” he wrote. “He refused to handover three diocesan cars in his possession. He came back later with thugs with chains who started chasing people beating some (some of the guards we had hired were beaten).
“When our people reported it to the police they were shunted from one office to the other because the police said, “they were too junior to deal with the Anglican matter”. Eventually they were served and riot police were sent who arrested some of the thugs and we are grateful for that.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence, Zimbabwe

Kendall Harmon–Morning Rant on America, the Fiscal Debate, and Losing Touch with Reality

I listened to NPR yesterday for over an hour back and forth from a doctors appointment.

The entire time they talked about President Obama’s proposal to implement the middle class tax cut now.
Everywhere I turn its middle class tax cut, middle class tax cut…

Except it isn’t but no one thinks about these things.

What is being proposed is not letting the current tax code STAY THE SAME.
So 98% of Americans WON”T HAVE A TAX INCREASE.

Since when is not having an increase a cut?

Anyone you know say I am getting the same number of days vacation this year as last year I am angry I get a benefits cut!

Posted in * By Kendall, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

The Roman Catholic African Bishops' Statement on Congo Violence

We, Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Africa and Bishop Presidents of National Caritas in Africa, coming from thirty four countries of the continent, gathered in a Conference on the identity and mission of Caritas in Kinshasa from November 20th to 22nd, 2012, express deep concern and solidarity with the Congolese people. We are outraged and shocked by the escalating armed violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo which is causing again a major human tragedy.

Thousands of men, women and children, the victims of this war which is imposed on them, are displaced and abandoned in destitution in Goma and its surroundings. They are exposed to the bad weather, hunger, rape and all kinds of abuses, including recruiting of children into the army. This constitutes an offence to their dignity as human beings and children of God.

We are convinced that the time is no longer for war or conquest, but rather to promote cooperation between peoples and that the territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of Congo must be protected and respected by all.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo, Roman Catholic, Violence

A.S. Haley on The Episcopal Church–Dysfunction Everywhere

So ECUSA, through its hopelessly conflicted Disciplinary Board for Bishops, blames the Bishop for the actions of the Diocese — even though he had no vote on them to begin with, and no Constitutional power to set aside the acts of the diocesan convention.

And then the Presiding Bishop, while trying with one hand to lure Bishop Lawrence into further mediation talks, uses her other hand to sign a certificate restricting his ministry — and then still wants to continue talks as scheduled while keeping his restriction “confidential.” (Oh, yes, that would certainly work.)

To top it off, she then claims that “her hands were tied,” and that once she received the certification that he personally had “abandoned” ECUSA by the actions the diocesan convention took, she had “no choice” but to restrict him.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(RNS) U.S. dominates list of world’s ”˜500 Most Influential Muslims’

There are more Muslims from America than any other country on this year’s “The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims,” compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, a respected think tank in Jordan, including two in the top 50.

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, a California-born convert who founded Zaytuna College, an Islamic college in Berkeley, Calif., and is a leading Islamic authority in America, ranked No. 42, two places ahead of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Islamic studies professor at George Washington University known for his work in Islamic philosophy.

America’s roughly 2.6 million Muslims are a tiny fraction of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, but they took 41 spots on the 500 list….

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

Carol Barnwell–An Interview with new Suffragan Bishop of Texas Jeff Fisher

CEB: What do you consider to be your spiritual gifts?
JWF: Preaching, encouraging and mentoring, energy and enthusiasm, creativity in imagining new ways in the faith.

CEB: How are these particularly matched with your new position and its demands?
JWF: The mix of my spiritual gifts can be useful for my new position. A bishop, however, is not just a bundle of gifts and skills. A bishop is a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered to be an agent of love and forgiveness. Bishop Doyle spoke most effectively about this in his sermon at my consecration. I believe that God called me to be a bishop””filled with the Holy Spirit, warts and all””and the person that I am today will not be the same as the bishop I will be tomorrow. God has always given me the gifts to do the ministry I am called to do. I am trusting that the same will continue to be true.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

Gavin Dunbar–Reformed and Catholic

In a previous…[written piece] I sketched the ancient Catholic roots of Anglicanism, and its 16th and 17th century development under the influence of the Reformation, such that the 17th century opposition of Presbyterian and Episcopalian reflected differences not so much about Faith as Polity (form of church government), Order, and Liturgy. The 17th century division points in two ways. On the one hand, Anglicans may and do hold reformed or evangelical convictions substantially the same as those found in Protestant churches. On the other, Anglicans of all stripes accept as parameters certain distinctives of Liturgy and Order – including ordination of presbyters (priests) by a bishop in historic succession. Thus alongside (and sometimes, as in the case of John Wesley, mingled with) the reformed or evangelical legacy Anglicanism is shaped by “high” churchmanship as well ”“ “high” in its regard for the church, its
worship, and ministry.

There were impeccable precedents among the 16th century reformers for the high churchmanship of the 17thcentury. Cranmer’s reformed theological views were grounded in a extensive and careful study of the ancient Catholic Fathers; Calvin’s influential teaching promoted a high view of the Sacraments and the Church (on which he took the same view as the St. Cyprian, extra ecclesiam nulla salus, “outside the church is no salvation”); Archbishops of “Calvinist” views like John Whitgift (d. 1604) vigorously defended episcopacy against presbyterian criticisms; and the Prayer Book and the Cathedrals maintained the Catholic liturgical tradition in its essentials. To these the high churchmen of the 17th
century added a concern for the outward beauty of the liturgy, as well as reverence for catholic antiquity.
In the 19thcentury Anglo-Catholic revival, such “high church” views were sharpened further. Against secularizing, utilitarian views, it affirmed the divine institution of the Church, its ministry and sacraments. Its faith, worship, and ministry are not something to be reinvented according to human agendas or utility. There followed a revival of medieval ceremonial (to a greater or lesser extent) as a means to express the sacred nature of the priesthood and sacraments, and also a sympathetic engagement with medieval doctrine and devotion.

These were developments of permanent value to Anglicanism. Unfortunately Anglo-Catholics became embroiled in a narrow and often unhistorical and untheological polemic against the Reformation, with the result that Evangelicals (and indeed High Churchmen of the old school) came to regard it as a betrayal to popery. The hostility and suspicion that warfare engendered has lived on long since.

My own theological mentors were Anglo-Catholics and Anglican Evangelicals who had not abandoned their core convictions, but were determined to look beyond party warfare, and discerned a shared heritage of ancient catholic faith,
as articulated in the western church chiefly by Saint Augustine, but enriched by countless others, including the great theological tradition of the Eastern church. Within that common heritage, western Catholics and Evangelicals have
much to share and to learn from one another.

Outside Anglicanism, the same acknowledgement of common ground in doctrine and mission has animated the religious conservatives in the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” movement. The Roman church, long a bastion of embattled polemic against other churches, has engaged sympathyetically with Christians outside its jurisdiction, including (explicitly) the churches that emerged from the Reformation, in which it acknowledges the presence of “elements of sanctification and truth”. In documents like the Papal Encyclical of John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint, the Roman Church, without giving up its historic claims, has committed itself to work for ecumenical reconciliation both theologically and

I do not take the Roman view of these matters as definitive: but they are suggestive. If we are secure in our identity as Anglicans, including our commitment to the legacy of Catholic Faith and Order as set forth in the 16th century Prayer Book and Articles of Religion, we can afford a generosity of spirit that looks beyond denominational or party lines.

I think this generosity of spirit is necessary to Christians both catholic and reformed. We do not commend one side by the disparagement of the other. Nor can we speak as if there are first- and second-class Christians. God bestows
the gifts of his grace in ways that confound our the boundaries of denomination, taste, and custom: it is surely a hint that we are meant to seek a deeper unity in the truth, both theologically and practically. God must give that unity, in and when he wills: it is not something we can fabricate or negotiate, nor do we have the right to surrender the distinctive of our patrimony – but it does mean that we are to acknowledge the unity that already exists, by learning from and
working with Christians who stand within the common inheritance we have received from our fathers in the faith.

—The Rev. Gavin Dunbar is rector of Saint John’s, Savannah, Georgia

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A C.S. Lewis Book Excerpt especially in reference to the previous Post

“Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?”[says the spirit character in the sceme]

“Well, that is a plan. I am perfectly ready to consider it. Of course I should require some assurances … I should want a guarantee that you are taking me to a place where I shall find a wider sphere of usefulness-and scope for the talents that God has given me-and an atmosphere of free inquiry-in short, all that one means by civilization and-er-the spiritual life.”[responds the ghost character in the scene]

“No,” said the other. “I can promise you none of these things. No sphere of usefulness: you are not needed there at all. No scope for your talents: only forgiveness for having perverted them. No atmosphere of inquiry, for I will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God.”

“Ah, but we must all interpret those beautiful words in our own way! For me there is no such thing as a final answer. The free wind of inquiry must always continue to blow through the mind, must it not? Trove all things’ . . . to travel hopefully is better than to arrive.”
“If that were true, and known to be true, how could anyone travel hopefully? There would be nothing to hope for.”

“But you must feel yourself that there is something stifling about the idea of finality? Stagnation, my dear boy, what is more soul-destroying than stagnation?”

“You think that, because hitherto you have experienced truth only with the abstract intellect. I will bring you where you can taste it like honey and be embraced by it as by a bridegroom. Your thirst shall be quenched.”

“Well, really, you know, I am not aware of a thirst for some ready-made truth which puts an end to intellectual activity in the way you seem to be describing. Will it leave me the free play of Mind, Dick? I must insist on that, you know.”

“Free, as a man is free to drink while he is drinking. He is not free still to be dry.” The Ghost seemed to think for a moment. “I can make nothing of that idea,” it said.

“Listen!” said the White Spirit. “Once you were a child. Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them. Become that child again: even now.”

“Ah, but when I became a man I put away childish things.”

“You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call the free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage.”

“If we cannot be reverent, there is at least no need to be obscene. The suggestion that I should return at my age to the mere factual inquisitiveness of boyhood strikes me as preposterous. In any case, that question-and-answer conception of thought only applies to matters of fact. Religious and speculative questions are surely on a different level.”

“We know nothing of religion here: we think only of Christ. We know nothing of speculation. Come and see. I will bring you to Eternal Fact, the Father of all other facthood.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, Chapter Five (my emphasis)

Posted in Uncategorized

An example of an American Reappraiser in a Promotional email for a new book by a parish minister

One occasionally receives emails promoting various books. Here is one from the inbox last night that caught my eye:

Is it possible to find values in all religions and in all people? 1 in 5 Americans – about 46 million people – are among the growing ranks of those who don’t identify with any religion. From the pulpit to the many corners of the world, Richard Leonard shares his liberal approach to religion and to life in his new book Ports of Call.
“This world is a vaster place than any of us can imagine, with tremendous variations of culture and human experience,” says Leonard. “Yet the human community is essentially one, physically, and tied into the interdependent but fragile web that sustains all life.”
Leonard has spent sixty years of ministry and is a minister of the All Souls Church of New York. In Ports of Call, Leonard shares with his audience stories, sermons and events from various experiences in his life. His ministry has included development of schools and camps, civil rights as well as music.
“My liberal approach to religion and to life, seeing values in all religions and in all people, will raise the hackles of those who believe there can only be one way of looking at things,” says Leonard.
This is an exquisite collection of sermons and other writings that not only instills wisdom into it’s readers, but also delivers an inside look to the life of a clergyman and how it is not much different than everyone else’s. Leonard hopes that his writings will convey knowledge, compassion and good humor to those that read this book.

Perhaps you wondered as I did about the parish in which the author seerved–check their website here and do not miss their self description–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Church plans new legislation to admit women bishops

The Church of England is to rush through legislation to consecrate women bishops after the defeat last week at the General Synod in London.
The Archbishops’ Council, the executive of the established Church, met behind closed doors this week to discuss the crisis. In a statement at the end of the two-day meeting, it said: “Many council members commented on the deep degree of sadness and shock that they had felt as a result of the vote and also of the need to affirm all women serving the Church ”” both lay and ordained ”” in their ministries.
“The council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013 … The council therefore recommended that the House of Bishops, during its meeting in a fortnight’s time, put in place a clear process for discussions in the new year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the synod in July.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(NPR) Mormonism: A Scrutinized, Yet Evolving Faith

Mormonism is a new religion, less than 200 years old, which means many of its claims can be easily confirmed or denied by modern science. For example, even most Mormon scholars agree there’s no archaeological evidence that Jews came to America in 600 B.C., as Joseph Smith claimed, or that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Mo.

Faced with those evidentiary challenges, some Mormons have felt betrayed and left the faith. Many others, like Joanna Brooks, are trying to reconcile their religion with the science. Brooks, who’s a professor at San Diego State University and author of The Book of Mormon Girl, says she focuses on the fundamentals, such as a belief in God, and in Jesus’ role as savior.

“Other sort of fine points of doctrine, I deal with privately,” says Brooks. “And that’s not uncommon in Mormonism.”

Read or listen to it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by thy Holy Spirit, that being ever mindful of the end of all things, and the day of thy just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here, and dwell with thee forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.

–(The) Lutheran Church

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

CofE General Synod – Links


This post will be updated regularly – Last updated November 28th at 4:00 PM GMT, 11:00 AM Eastern. Links to all T19 posts to do with this topic are here

UPDATE Wednesday 28th
Joint Press Statement From The Chairmen Of The Catholic Group And Reform
CofE: Statement on the Conclusion of the Meeting of the Archbishops’ Council November 2012
Dr Robert Morris: Women as bishops: should Parliament intervene? – legal analysis of relationship of church and state
Peter Ould: The Dys-Established Church
[There is a great deal of heat being generated at the moment in the aftermath of Synod, but not much light, so updates here will be selective]
Result of Women Bishops Vote was:

Bishops: For 44; Against 3; Abstained 2 – Passed in this house
Clergy: For 148; Against 45; Abstained 0 – Passed in this house
Laity: For 132; Against 74; Abstained 0 – Failed in this house

The Measure not having been approved by a 2/3 majority in each of the three houses, failed. Listen to Audio Part 1 and Part 2 and Vote

[See below for full details of Synod debates, reaction and Audio links where the debates can be listened to again]


[Update Friday 23rd – Veteran ex-Minister, Member of Parliament and Synod Frank Field says his advice to Reformers to take account of and deal with needs of objectors was ignored and led to failure of Women Bishops measure, and Bishop Tom Wright criticises ‘get with the program’ as a basis for church decision-making.

[Update Thursday 22nd – new items today include: press and other coverage from the last day of Synod yesterday; a Summary report from the Church Media Department; and see also the report from the Second Church Estates Commissioner to Parliament today and the ensuing debate]

Frank Field MP says Failure down to Reformers not meeting objections, against his advice – for UK readers only, the Newsnight interview with Frank Field can be watched here from 27 until 35 minutes in
Bishop Tom Wright: It’s About the Bible, Not Fake Ideas of Progress
The Atlantic: The Church of England Still Won’t Allow Female Bishops: Good for Them

For more UK Press coverage see Church of England Briefing, Anglican Mainstream and Thinking Anglicans

There is a pretty wide coverage of UK press articles from the Church of England here
Also press and other reaction is available on Anglican Mainstream and Thinking Anglicans

Telegraph: Editorial: Leave the Church Be and David Cameron is bullying the Church over women bishops, just as he will do over gay marriage; also Cranmer Mr Speaker ‘guides’ Labour MPs on Church of England equality

Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner in Parliament, answered a Parliamentary Question today and there was an ensuing debate in the House of Commons which can be watched here and the Hansard transcript is here and see also this BBC Report [h/t Thinking Anglicans]

Archbishop of York
Archbishop Wabukala of Kenya and Chairman of GAFCON
Church of England Evangelical Council
Church Society Together 4Ward campaign
Evangelical Alliance
Forward in Faith
The Catholic Group in Synod
Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda bishops

Affirming Catholicism


The Church of England General Synod took place between Monday November 19th and Wednesday November 21st 2012. Tuesday 20th was set aside for The Women Bishops debate. Synod agreed to meet next in 2013 on 5-9 July and 18-20 November.

You can listen to the live Audio stream here, and here are links to the Timetable, Agenda, and Papers. Summary Reports of each day’s business are available here and audio podcasts of the debates and votes here

Other Reports: Evangelicals Now – [Church Society], Thinking Anglicans, Anglican Mainstream, Church Times

Tweets: Main link for Synod is #Synod. Other tweets worth following may include:Church of England, Church Times, +Pete Broadbent and Ruth Gledhill [Times]

Wednesday Outline Agenda:
8:30 AM [London, 3:30 AM Eastern – not broadcast] Emergency House of Bishops Meeting
9.30 AM [London, 4:30 AM Eastern] Worship
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Statement on Yesterday’s Women in the Episcopate Vote and Audio
Diocesan Synod Motion: Southwell and Nottingham: Amendment to Canon B 12 and Regulations [GS1881A and GS1881B Distribution of Holy Communion] Audio of Debate
Private Member’s Motion: John Freeman: Living Wage [GS1882A and GS1882B Payment of by church bodies] Audio of Debate
Dates of groups of sessions in 2013

2.30 PM [London, 9:30 AM Eastern] Farewells
Youth unemployment [GS1883 and I am one in a million leaflet] Audio to this point
Farewell to the Archbishop of Canterbury Audio for the rest of the afternon session
Contingency business: Report of the Standing Orders Committee [GS 1884]

Wednesday Session Report – Audio for the debates can be listened to on the links above.


Vote Result on Motion 501 to approve Women Bishops in the Church of England under the current proposed provision:

Bishops: For 44; Against 3; Abstained 2 – Passed in this house
Clergy: For 148; Against 45; Abstained 0 – Passed in this house
Laity: For 132; Against 74; Abstained 0 – Failed in this house

The Measure not having been approved by a 2/3 majority in each of the three houses, fails. The consequential following motions 502 and 503 were not debated.

The Archbishop of York informed Synod that the issue may not be considered again in the duration of the life of this Synod until 2015; unless named officials of Synod decide otherwise

Afternoon Session Vote Report from the Church of England Media Center here and Audio of the Afternoon debate and vote may be listened to again here

Morning Session Report and Morning Session Audio

Tuesday Press Coverage
The Church of England has a useful roundup of today’s UK press coverage here

Tuesday Agenda
Holy Communion [Sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury Audio]
Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and Draft Amending Canon No.30
501 Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (GS 1708D) ”“ Draft Measure for Final Approval (resumed debate)
502 Draft Amending Canon No. 30 (GS 1709C) ”“ Draft Amending Canon for Final Approval
503 Draft Petition for Her Majesty”Ÿs Royal Assent and Licence (GS 1709E) ”“ for Adoption
[See also Reconsideration of Clause 5(1)(c) by the House of Bishops (GS1708-09ZZZ)]

Summary Report and all Audio files
Worship and formal business [Greeting by the Archbishop of Canterbury] Report by the Business Committee Audio
Anglican Consultative Council meeting: presentation and questions Audio
Anglican Communion Covenant: Report on the Reference to Dioceses Audio
Questions Audio

The links and reports from the last Synod in February are here

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