Daily Archives: April 30, 2013

California Minister Samuel Rodriguez Draws Notice

The Latino evangelical Christian movement is ascending from a remote constituency to a force, while also striving to reshape culture and politics in our country.

Believers such as Rodriguez want to marry the righteousness of Billy Graham with the justice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Those two world views are not typically associated in a meaningful way but have found a nexus in Latino cultures, where people are comfortable with invoking God in everyday life while taking a less strident tone on immigration.

Given Latinos’ strong influence on the last presidential election, the work of faith leaders such as Rodriguez hint at greater changes within our political culture ”“ some of which could prove surprising.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Immigration, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Afghan Leader Confirms Cash Deliveries by C.I.A.

President Hamid Karzai acknowledged Monday that the Central Intelligence Agency has been dropping off bags of cash at his office for a decade, saying the money was used for “various purposes” and expressing gratitude to the United States for making the payments.

Mr. Karzai described the sums delivered by the C.I.A. as a “small amount,” though he offered few other details. But former and current advisers of the Afghan leader have said the C.I.A. cash deliveries have totaled tens of millions of dollars over the past decade and have been used to pay off warlords, lawmakers and others whose support the Afghan leader depends upon.

The payments are not universally supported in the United States government. American diplomats and soldiers expressed dismay on Monday about the C.I.A.’s cash deliveries, which some said fueled corruption. They spoke privately because the C.I.A. effort is classified.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Theology

(Time) Mary Eberstadt–In the War Over Christianity, Orthodoxy Is Winning

Small wonder, given the harrowing times recently, that news about a long-running property fight over a picturesque church in northern Virginia escaped most people’s notice. But the story of the struggle over the historic Falls Church is nonetheless worth a closer look. It’s one more telling example of a little-acknowledged truth: though religious traditionalism may be losing today’s political and legal battles, it remains poised to win the wider war over what Christianity will look like tomorrow.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Global South Churches & Primates, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Soteriology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, Theology, Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Theology: Scripture

TEC Administrator reflects on a career in parish life

Molly Ethridge, a Winnetka resident of 25 years, feels at home sitting on the church steps.

Yes, Christ Church at 470 Maple St. has been a home away from home for the 23 years she’s worked here as parish administrator.

Fittingly, at Easter this year, Ethridge celebrated her retirement among friends, colleagues and loved ones. Her accomplishments include comforting parishioners at very difficult times, often during devastating situations such as the death of a child. She has received several national awards through Episcopal Communicators, a professional organization. Her graphics art skills have assisted in the publishing of two Christ Church books with author and historian Bob Bradner.

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

Rules set for Oklahoma Episcopal parishes to offer same-gender blessings

Guidelines have been established for same-gender blessing ceremonies to be performed in Oklahoma Episcopal churches, a state leader with the denomination said.

The Rt. Rev. Ed Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, said three parishes already have expressed interest in starting the process so they can conduct such ceremonies, although he does not believe “there are large numbers of people out there waiting for this.” He declined to name the interested parishes, as they have yet to request formal approval.

“I don’t expect that this is going to be a floodgate of things. We will make it available and people will take advantage of it according to who they are,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Amanda Hess from Slate gives us Exhibit A Today of the Postmodern Soup into which Wst. Clt. has sunk

In the real world, we have relationships with individuals, not statistical gender profiles (or, thank God, Woody Allen characters). An individual’s sex drive can’t be predicted to fall at any particular point on the gender spectrum””and those drives also fluctuate based on the cultures we live in, the relationships we form, the age we’re at, and the circumstances of the evening. And, as Dan Savage has repeatedly advised frustrated partners, the Mowers’ model isn’t the only one””other people might find success opening their relationship to other people, or going their separate ways. It’s as much of a mistake to assume that a man needs sex constantly as it is to assume that a woman doesn’t. Better to talk about (and test-run) each partner’s respective sexual and emotional needs before getting hitched””or publishing a trend piece purporting to apply to all people.

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

Morning Question–How many Twitter Followers does Pope Francis Have?

No fair looking until you guess, then go and read it all.

Update: Since I know people are going to ask, you can find the Archbishop of Canterbury’s tweets here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis: A Worldly Church cannot transmit the Gospel

A worldly Church is a weak Church. The only way to stop this from happening is to entrust the Church to the Lord through constant prayer. This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily during Mass Tuesday morning, celebrated with staff from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, also known as APSA. Emer McCarthy reports:

“We can safeguard the Church, we can cure the Church, no? We do so with our work, but what’s most important is what the Lord does : He is the only One who can look into the face of evil and overcome it. The prince of the world comes but can do nothing against me: if we don’t want the prince of this world to take the Church into his hands, we must entrust it to the One who can defeat the prince of this world. Here the question arises: do we pray for the Church, for the entire Church? For our brothers and sisters whom we do not know, everywhere in the world? It is the Lord’s Church and in our prayer we say to the Lord: Lord, look at your Church … It’ s yours. Your Church is [made up of ] our brothers and sisters. This is a prayer that must come from our heart”.

Then, Pope Francis remarked that “it is easy to pray for the grace of the Lord”, “to thank Him” or when “we need something.” But it is fundamental that we also pray to the Lord for all, for those who have “received the same Baptism,” saying “they are Yours, they are ours, watch over them”.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Speaking of the Gospel, A Sermon by Yours Truly on Justification and what is the Gospel

A little while back I was in an online chat and was asked this question–do you have a recent sermon you have preached on (the doctirne of) justification? The person with whom I was chatting was in a theological argument with his brother on the topic. I had to think for a while, and found the following one that fits the bill. You can obtain the sermon here (it even comes with an outline)–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

What is the Gospel? NT Wright

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Christology, Education, England / UK, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Evangelical Alliance–The Confidence in the Gospel Campaign

Is the Church in the UK as confident in the gospel as it should be?

It appears that while mission is clearly at the heart of what many churches are doing, talking about our faith as Christians is proving increasingly difficult.

Our desire is to see churches throughout the UK have a renewed confidence in the gospel and engaged in creative evangelism which is producing lasting results. This timely campaign is not about providing busy churches with more programmes; rather it is about looking at how we can make small changes that will nurture a gospel-confident culture within our churches.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, eternal, righteous, and merciful, give us poor sinners to do for thy sake all that we know of thy will, and to will always what pleases thee; so that inwardly purified, enlightened, and kindled by the fire of thy Holy Spirit, we may follow in the steps of thy well-beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

–Francis of Assisi (c.1182-1226)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

–Psalm 61:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Living Church Interviews Bishop Tito Zavala, still in broken communion with TEC and Ang C of Can.

In 2003, after the Episcopal Church consecrated the first openly gay bishop within the Anglican Communion, the Province of the Southern Cone severed its relationship with the Episcopal Church. It also broke communion with the Anglican Church of Canada after one of its dioceses in 2002 authorized a rite for blessing same-sex unions. Are you still in broken communion with these two provinces?
Yes. In 2010 when an earthquake struck in Chile, I received many, many phone calls from [the Episcopal Church Center in] New York offering us money. But I said no; not out of arrogance but because we had broken communion with TEC and it would not be right to accept their money.

Did you ask permission of the local Anglican Church of Canada bishop to visit here?
No, because I am coming to another, different Anglican church.
n 2003, the Province of the Southern Cone offered Episcopal oversight to conservative Anglicans who had left the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada but who wanted to realign with another province. Does this make you a primate of the Anglican Church in North America along with its elected primate, Bob Duncan?

No. That is over. We provided temporary supervision. When ACNA was founded in Texas in 2008 the very next day I had breakfast with Bishop John Guernsey and said, “My churches in the States will now be under your supervision. Let me know what I should do to pass them to you.” Others like [Bishops] Frank Lyons of Bolivia and Greg Venables may have taken a bit more time but the Southern Cone decided to pass the [North American] churches to the new ACNA primate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Chile, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), South America, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Netflix Looks Back on Its Near-Death Spiral

Mr. [Reed] Hastings said he realized that the company’s attempt to both raise prices and separate into two companies, one the legacy DVD-by-mail business and the other the up-and-coming broadband streaming business, was trying to do too much too fast. Angry subscribers abandoned the company in droves (800,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone), revenue missed estimates and the stock plunged.

“I messed up,” Mr. Hastings wrote in an unusually forthright September 2011 blog post. Citing the precedents of AOL and Borders Books, which struggled or failed to make the digital transition, “my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming.” But in the rush to accelerate the transition, he wrote, “In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success.” He also made a video apology.

Mr. Hastings said he didn’t expect the apology alone to “turn it around,” adding, “I wasn’t naïve enough to think most customers care if the C.E.O. apologizes, but I thought it was honest and appropriate.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Movies & Television, Psychology, Science & Technology

Tim Keller offers Thoughts on John Newton, Change and Grace

For decades Kathy and I have profited immensely from the pastoral wisdom of the converted slave trader John Newton. As an 18th century Anglican minister, Newton was a good preacher, but it was as a pastor, counselor, and advisor that he excelled. His pastoral letters are a treasure chest. In one of his letters (entitled “Some Blemishes on Christian Character”) Newton points out that while most Christians succeed in avoiding more gross sins, many do not actually experience much in the way of actual spiritual growth.

Newton lays out a very convicting and specific example of the kinds of Christian people who coast on their strengths but do nothing about their weaknesses and so rob themselves and others of joy and God of his glory. These blemishes are often seen by their bearers as mere “foibles.” Newton says they “may not seem to violate any express command of Scripture” and yet, they are “properly sinful” because they are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit that believers are supposed to exhibit.

These “small faults” mean that large swaths of the Christian population have little influence on others for Christ….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)