Daily Archives: January 9, 2013

Church of Nigeria Responds to the C of E Bishops and Civil Partnerships

1. The Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) meeting for their annual retreat held from Jan 7/11, 2013, at the Ibru Centre, Agbarha Otor, Delta State, Nigeria, heard with dismay the news of the recent action of the Church of England House of Bishops. The decision to permit homosexual clergy in civil partnerships to now be considered for the episcopacy is one step removed from the moral precipice that we have already witnessed in The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

2. When the Church of England failed to exercise its legal and moral right to opt out of the civil partnerships legislation in 2005 warnings were given in England and around the Anglican Communion that this was a first step towards the recognition and institutionalization of behaviour contrary to the plain teaching of scripture and reaffirmed for all Anglicans by the 1998 Lambeth Conference in its Resolution 1.10. Sadly those warnings were ignored and we now face the next step in a process that could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion.
3. We are also grieved by the timing of this decision coming only days before the retirement of Archbishop Rowan Williams and before Bishop Justin Welby becomes the new Archbishop of Canterbury. We urge the House of Bishops to reconsider their decision so as to allow for a full, prayerful and sober reflection on the call on all clergy, especially bishops, to live holy lives and not encourage what are, at best, morally ambiguous partnerships that make it impossible for a bishop to be a wholesome example to the flock. Especially since the supposed assurances of celibacy, while perhaps well intentioned, are both unworkable and unenforceable.

4. As a House of Bishops, while we acknowledge that we all fall short of God’s call to holiness, we dare not compromise the clear teaching of our Lord on faithfulness within Holy Matrimony and chastity outside of it. Sadly we must also declare that if the Church of England continues in this contrary direction we must further separate ourselves from it and we are prepared to take the same actions as those prompted by the decisions of The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada ten years ago.

5. In all of this we continue to give thanks for the mercy of God newly revealed to us in this season of The Epiphany and we are filled with gratitude for the millions of faithful Anglicans within the GAFCON/FCA community who have not ”˜bowed the knee’ to the contemporary idols of secularism and moral expediency.

6. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

In Christ’s service,

–(The Most Rev.) Nicholas D. Okoh is Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of Nogeria

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Church of Nigeria, CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) At the Consumer Electronics Show, getting into the fun of gadgetry

Even if you’re not going to the Consumer Electronics Show, running Tuesday through Friday in Las Vegas, you can still test drive one of the world’s newest gadgets this week.

With the right kind of smartphone you can find what’s hot at certain hotels and even find out when a big jackpot last hit on a particular slot machine.

The new product, called TecTile, will be unveiled Tuesday (today) at various Caesars Entertainment resorts on and near the Strip. The manufacturer, Samsung Mobile, is installing 4,500 programmable stickers throughout the various properties as a way to make information easier to access.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

Research suggests that a Higher % of American university students think they are something special

About nine million young people have filled out the American Freshman Survey, since it began in 1966.

It asks students to rate how they measure up to their peers in a number of basic skills areas – and over the past four decades, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being “above average” for academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability and self-confidence.

This was revealed in a new analysis of the survey data, by US psychologist Jean Twenge and colleagues.

Read it all from the BBC Magazine.

Follow up: An interesting ZDnet article on this is there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Young Adults

When will Justin Welby officially become Archbishop of Canterbury?

On 10th January 2013, the College of Canons will meet in the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral to elect Bishop Justin as the new Archbishop, having received the Congé d’Élire and Letter Missive from the Crown authorising the Election to take place.

A further legal ceremony, the Confirmation of Election, will take place on 4th February 2013 at St Paul’s Cathedral. The Dean of Canterbury will report to a commission of senior diocesan bishops chaired by the Archbishop of York that Bishop Justin has been elected according to statute, and the Archbishop of York, on behalf of his fellow bishops and the wider Church, will confer on him the ”˜spiritualities’ of the diocese of Canterbury.

At this point, he becomes the Archbishop of Canterbury – until then he remains Bishop of Durham.

Read it all

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

A. S. Haley–a 2013 Annual Litigation Summary for the Episcopal Church (USA)

It is a fact well known to certain Episcopalians””both those who have left the Episcopal Church (USA) and those who have remained””that ECUSA and its dioceses have followed a pattern of suing any church that chooses to leave for another Anglican jurisdiction. But the full extent of the litigation that has ensued is not well known at all, either in the wider Church, or among the provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Your Curmudgeon proposes to do what he can to rectify this situation, by publishing an annual update on this site of the current status of all past and present cases in which ECUSA or any of its dioceses has been or is involved, from 2000 to date. Feel free to link to this post, to email links to it to other Episcopalians, and to send it to your Bishop — and feel free to post any updates or corrections in the comments.

The lawsuits initiated by ECUSA and its dioceses to date are first listed below, followed by a list of the six cases begun by a diocese or parish against the Episcopal Church. The listing endeavors to be as complete as I can make it. The first 78 cases, grouped by the State in which they each originated, are the legal actions filed since 2000 (of which I am aware) where the Episcopal Church (USA) and/or one of its dioceses played the role of plaintiff….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, Theology

(RNS) God is alive and well in America, says Gallup chief

Despite a deep drop in the number of Americans who identify with a particular faith, the country could be on the cusp of a religious renaissance, says Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of The Gallup Poll.

Grounded in more than a million Gallup interviews, Newport’s new book, “God is Alive and Well,” argues that the aging of the baby boomers, the influx of Hispanic immigrants and the links between religion and health could portend a bright future for faith in America.

He spoke recently to Religion News Service about his Southern Baptist roots, why mainline Protestants need to have more babies, and why companies should reward employees who attend church.

Read it all.

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

A New Study Questions the Effectiveness of Therapy for Suicidal Teenagers

Most adolescents who plan or attempt suicide have already received at least some mental health treatment, raising questions about the effectiveness of current approaches to helping troubled youths, according to the largest in-depth analysis to date of suicidal behaviors in American teenagers.

The study, in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that 55 percent of suicidal teenagers had received some therapy before they thought about suicide, planned it or tried to kill themselves, contradicting the widely held belief that suicide is due in part to a lack of access to treatment.

The findings, based on interviews with a nationwide sample of more than 6,000 teenagers and at least one parent of each, linked suicidal behavior to complex combinations of mood disorders like depression and behavior problems like attention-deficit and eating disorders, as well as alcohol and drug abuse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Theology

David Bentley Hart–Jung’s Therapeutic Gnosticism

The book’s religious sensibility is thoroughly Gnostic, in a number of ways. It is, for one thing, simply saturated in imagery and concepts drawn from the Gnostic systems of late antiquity, and its narrative form””its incontinent mythopoeia, its rococo excesses, its figural syzygies and archons and aeons (or whatever one might call them)””has all the occult grotesquerie of authentic Gnostic myth. More to the point, its entire spiritual logic is one of “gnosis”: a saving wisdom vouchsafed through an entirely private revelation; a direct communication from a mysterious source that is also one’s own deepest ground, but from which one has become estranged; a truth attained not through the mediation of nature or culture, and certainly not through the moral “law,” but solely in the apocalyptic secrecy of the illuminated soul.

And yet, it is also almost wholly devoid of the special pathos that is the most enchanting, sympathetic, and human aspect of ancient Gnosticism: the desperate longing for escape, for final liberation, for a return to the God beyond. Jung’s scripture is, in the end, a gospel not of salvation, but of therapy””not of deliverance, but of conciliation””and in this sense it truly is a liber novus, a newer new testament, a “sacred” book of a kind that only our age could have produced.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, History, Other Faiths, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ACNS) Anglican University in Congo attacked

One of the member schools in Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) in Africa has been affected by the fighting in Congo.

Despite being 250 miles north from the fighting in Goma, the Université Anglicane du Congo experienced its first attack since its opening two years ago. The Revd Canon Daniel Sabiti Tibafa, the university vice chancellor, has sent the following report:

“Yes, the morning night of 22 December 2013 at around 2:00 am, armed people broke the door of our house threatening to kill all of us if we did not have any money on us. They forced the door with heavy stones”¦and the guns to destroy the lock of the door. In the house we managed to get $200 and they forced me to take them into my office where we got another $250. They beat me on the back and on my right hand. The right hand pain is still being dealt with by our lovely nurse Miss Kiiza Kahwa.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Anglican Provinces, Education, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo, Violence

Ken Myers of Mars Hill–A man’s quest to preserve and defend the good, the true, and the beautiful

Ken Myers grew up in a conservative Christian household in Beltsville, Maryland, during the 1960s. When he was in tenth grade, two important things happened to him.

His high school music teacher introduced him to the music of Bach, taking eight months to teach Myers and the rest of the boys’ choir how to sing the motet Jesu, meine Freunde. And he fell upon a copy of the Saturday Review.

Saturday Review is pretty much forgotten today. (A number of people still remember Bach.) The magazine began in the 1920s and flourished in the postwar years. Its writers ranged widely over the arts, from music and literature to painting and drama, cultivating a readership of strivers”‹”””‹professional and college educated, if not brainy by nature”‹”””‹who were eager for self-improvement and a kind of intellectual diversion that was sophisticated and accessible. The magazine was edited by a windy polymath named Norman Cousins, a model of the kind of well-meaning and high-minded public intellectual they don’t seem to make anymore.

“Everyone else in high school was discovering recreational drugs,” Myers told me not long ago. “I was discovering Norman Cousins.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Music, Parish Ministry, Philosophy, Poetry & Literature, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Indiana clergy group asks lawmakers to avoid marriage battle

An Indiana interfaith clergy group is repeatedly urging the state legislature to avoid any battle over gay marriage.

The Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination (ICON), which is based in Indianapolis, published a letter this week signed by more than 230 clergy and leaders of faith communities from throughout the state.

The letter asks the legislature to stop further action on the Marriage Discrimination Amendment, which was passed by the 2011 legislature and is eligible for consideration in the current biennium.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Jesus Christ, who in the offerings of the wise men didst receive an earnest of the worship of the nations: Grant that thy Church may never cease to proclaim the good news of thy love, that all men may come to worship thee as their Saviour and King, who livest and reignest world without end.

–George Appleton

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

“And to the angel of the church in Thyati’ra write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jez’ebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. But to the rest of you in Thyati’ra, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay upon you any other burden; only hold fast what you have, until I come. He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

–Revelation 2:18-29

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Maine Episcopal Diocese offers the town of Richmond St. Matthias church property for free

St. Matthias Episcopal Church property, including two buildings and a half-acre lot, has been offered to the town for free.

The church’s dwindling congregation voted last May to cease holding services at the church at 15 Spruce St., according to a spokeswoman for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.

Church officials said they offered the church and another building on the same lot to the town, hoping the property could continue to serve the community. One possibility might be as a food pantry, for which it has been used previously, said Heidi Shott, a diocese spokeswoman.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Rural/Town Life, TEC Parishes

Brad Hirschfield–First atheist church opens in London

While there may be no precedent for this kind of church in England, Americans have been playing with idea of church without God for generations. Perhaps best known, and most durable, among these experiments is the Society for Ethical Culture. Founded in 1877 by Felix Adler, the society did not actively embrace atheism. It simply pursued “deed over creed” and assumed that both theist and atheist beliefs were entirely personal and largely irrelevant.

That the society was founded not only by a Jew, but by the son of noted Reform rabbi Samuel Adler, also fits within a tradition in which arguing against the very right of God to be God goes back to the Genesis story of Abraham. Not to mention the fact that according to recent studies of the American spiritual landscape, Jews are the most highly secularized religious group in the nation. They would eschew the term religious, but functionally, that is what it is. They are part of a community of meaning, values and practice which draws on a shared past and identifies with a collective present and future.

Like their predecessors, the newly founded atheist church of England, seeks to create meaning and offer a sense of belonging for those who lack what one of its founders describes as “the good stuff of religion.”

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture