Daily Archives: June 4, 2013

(RNS) ELCA Lutherans elect bishop in a same sex partnership

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has elected its first openly gay bishop, the Rev. R. Guy Erwin, to oversee churches in Southern California, four years after the church allowed openly gay men and lesbians to serve as clergy.

Following a wider trend within other mainline Protestant denominations to appoint gays and lesbians to leadership positions, the ELCA’s five-county Southwest California Synod elected Erwin on Friday (May 31) to a six-year term.

“It’s historic and a turning point, as was the ordination of women,” said Martin Marty, the dean of American church historians at the University of Chicago and a member of the ELCA. “This is just one of many indications that the culture has shifted.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) The Melanesian Brothers and Sisters visit Archbishop Justin Welby

Members of four Melanesian religious orders visited Archbishop Justin at Lambeth Palace on Thursday last week. Amid prayer, worship and song, the Brothers and Sisters pledged their desire to work for “peace and reconciliation in the Anglican Communion”.

rchbishop Justin welcomed a group of Brothers and Sisters from Melanesia to Lambeth Palace on Thursday night for an evening of prayer, conversation and Melanesian song.

The visit was part of the Melanesian Religious Orders’ mission to the UK, in which they visited five different diocese around the country. The theme of their mission was ”˜Simply Living’ in which they live the question ”˜How do we live the Gospel in relation to God, creation and one another?’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Text of Archbishop Justin's speech to the Lords on the government's same sex marriage Bill

It is …necessary to express, as has been done already, total rejection of homophobic language, which is wrong ”“ and more than that, sickening.

However, I and many of my colleagues remain with considerable hesitations about this Bill. My predecessor Lord Williams of Oystermouth showed clearly last summer, in evidence during the consultation period, that it has within it a series of category errors. It confuses marriage and weddings. It assumes that the rightful desire for equality ”“ to which I’ve referred supportively ”“ must mean uniformity, failing to understand that two things may be equal but different. And as a result it does not do what it sets out to do, my Lords. Schedule 4 distinguishes clearly between same gender and opposite gender marriage, thus not achieving true equality.

The result is confusion. Marriage is abolished, redefined and recreated, being different and unequal for different categories. The new marriage of the Bill is an awkward shape with same gender and different gender categories scrunched into it, neither fitting well. The concept of marriage as a normative place for procreation is lost. The idea of marriage as covenant is diminished. The family in its normal sense, predating the state and as our base community of society ”“ as we’ve already heard ”“ is weakened. These points will be expanded on by others in the debate, I’m sure, including those from these benches.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Guardian) Archbishop of Canterbury: Same Sex marriage bill will undermine family life

The archbishop made clear he shared [Lord] Dear’s concerns about the bill. Welby told peers the bill had created confusion, adding: “Marriage is abolished, redefined and recreated ”“ being different and unequal for different categories. The new marriage of the bill is an awkward shape with same gender and different gender categories scrunched into it ”“ neither fitting well.

“The concept of marriage as a normative place for procreation is lost. The idea of marriage as covenant is diminished. The family in its normal sense predating the state and as our base community of society is weakened.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

(America) John Carr–The 'Mind' and 'Heart' of Pope Francis on Ethics and Economics

On economic life, Pope Francis sees his responsibility in clear terms:

The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them. The Pope appeals for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-centred ethics in the world of finance and economics. (5/16/213)

This strong call for ethics in economics is not new. He stands in continuity with his predecessors, particularly Pope Benedict in Deus Caritas Est and Caritas in Veritate. Francis’ mind is with the Church and its constant teaching. Where Francis is unique is his directness, urgency and passion. It’s where he comes from and where he stands that makes a difference. Francis’ heart is with the poor; his feet were planted in the villas miseriasof Latin America. He calls for a Church “of and for the poor” that is not turned in on itself, but “in the streets.”

He has lived the Church’s social teaching in his own ministry so he speaks confidently and bluntly on its demands. Having challenged the Marxist temptations of some elements of liberation theology, he is more than comfortable challenging some elements of “savage capitalism” (5/21/13). He refused to worship at the altar of Marxist utopianism; he won’t bend a knee to the utilitarian advocates of the invisible hand of the market. As someone who challenged government corruption and overreach in Argentina, Francis recognizes the limitations of the state, but won’t abandon Catholic teaching on the obligation of government to protect the poor and seek the common good in economic life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(NY Times Op-Ed) T. M. Luhrmann–Belief Is the Least Part of Faith

To be clear, I am not arguing that belief is not important to Christians. It is obviously important. But secular Americans often think that the most important thing to understand about religion is why people believe in God, because we think that belief precedes action and explains choice. That’s part of our folk model of the mind: that belief comes first.

And that was not really what I saw after my years spending time in evangelical churches. I saw that people went to church to experience joy and to learn how to have more of it. These days I find that it is more helpful to think about faith as the questions people choose to focus on, rather than the propositions observers think they must hold.

If you can sidestep the problem of belief ”” and the related politics, which can be so distracting ”” it is easier to see that the evangelical view of the world is full of joy. God is good. The world is good. Things will be good, even if they don’t seem good now. That’s what draws people to church. It is understandably hard for secular observers to sidestep the problem of belief. But it is worth appreciating that in belief is the reach for joy, and the reason many people go to church in the first place.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sociology

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of John XXIII

Lord of all truth and peace, who didst raise up thy bishop John to be servant of the servants of God and bestowed on him wisdom to call for the work of renewing your Church: Grant that, following his example, we may reach out to other Christians to clasp them with the love of your Son, and labor throughout the nations of the world to kindle a desire for justice and peace; through Jesus Christ, who is alive and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Most merciful Lord, who hast taught us that the pure in heart shall see God: Cleanse our hearts from all impurity; give us such hatred of all that is evil, and such love of all that is beautiful and good, that we may be delivered from temptation, and become a strength to others who are tempted; for the glory of thy name.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Sama’ria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

–Luke 17:11-19

Posted in Uncategorized

Robert Cargill, Kenneth Atkinson & Hector Avalos–1 man and woman not the Bible's only view

The debate about marriage equality often centers, however discretely, on an appeal to the Bible. Unfortunately, such appeals often reflect a lack of biblical literacy on the part of those who use that complex collection of texts as an authority to enact modern social policy.

As academic biblical scholars, we wish to clarify that the biblical texts do not support the frequent claim that marriage between one man and one woman is the only type of marriage deemed acceptable by the Bible’s authors.

The fact that marriage is not defined as only that between one man and one woman is reflected in the entry on “marriage” in the authoritative Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (2000): “Marriage is one expression of kinship family patterns in which typically a man and at least one woman cohabitate publicly and permanently as a basic social unit” (p. 861).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Michael Ingham's 2013 Diocesan Synod Address

The second day of Synod… [in 1994] I turned towards the issue that would in many ways define the life and ministry of the diocese, as well as my own, for the next decade. These were some of my remarks on that Saturday…:

We are living in a time when issues of human sexuality have acquired a new urgency in our culture. We did not choose this, and many of us would like it to go away again. But sex is here before us, and we must accept the fact that we are the generation in the church that has to wrestle anew with this old, old question. What is human sexuality for? What has sexuality to do with God, and how can we understand it in the light of our creation by God and our redemption by Jesus Christ?

Little did we know back then al that would lie before us in our attempts to answer these questions faithfully and with compassion. In those days we had never heard of Lambeth Resolution 1:10; no one could have anticipated the Windsor Report; I had never been trained in seminary to spend two days on a witness stand in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

And yet now, twenty years later, many things have changed….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

(Uganda Daily Monitor) Thousands pray at Namugongo to celebrate Martyrs Day

Prayers are underway at Namugongo as thousands of Christians commemorate the day the Uganda Martyrs were killed some 127 years ago.

The martyrs who refused to reject their faith in Jesus Christ were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga in 1886.

Read it all (and what a picture!).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Uganda, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Uganda

Monday Mental Health Break–Alison Krauss sings "A Living Prayer"

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Music, Spirituality/Prayer