Daily Archives: June 17, 2013

UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks–How One question, asked in faith, has the power to change a life

Whenever we come close to despair, the strongest lifeline is to think like Joseph. That is how psychotherapist Viktor Frankl saved the lives of several of his fellow prisoners in Auschwitz, by helping them realise that they had a task to perform or a mission to fulfil that they could only do by surviving. This gave them the will to live. People who have suffered tragedy have often found meaning by alleviating the suffering of others. The grief may not disappear but it is redeemed. The adagio, with its intense sadness, is not the last movement of the symphony.

Seen through the eyes of faith life is not what Joseph Heller called it: “a trashbag of random coincidences blown open in a wind.” Each of us is here for a reason, to do something only we can do, and all the pain and heartbreak are bearable if we can discern God’s purpose or hear, however muffled, His call. As Nietzsche used to say, “He who has a strong enough Why can bear almost any How.”

In crisis, the wrong question to ask is, “What have I done to deserve this?” The right one is, “What am I now being summoned to do?” Each of us has a task. Every life has a purpose. We can bear the pain of the past when we discover the future we are called on to make.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Representatives of 32 French chaplaincies and congregations hold annual Synod

Despite industrial action causing cancelled planes and trains in France delegates came for the 3 day event which included challenging Bible studies by Rev Dr Paul Vrolik, from the Aquitaine, on the life and fortunes of Jacob (see picture below). Dr Keith Clement gave a pan European setting to trends and developments as they affect Christians, and there were updates on Safeguarding, Communications and Environment news.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Europe, France, Parish Ministry

(Living Church) 2 Bishop Nominees in new Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest

Two priests are nominees to become bishop of the nascent Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest. The diocese in formation awaits approval by the Anglican Church in North America’s College of Bishops, which meets June 20-21 at Nashotah House Theological Seminary and Olympia Resort and Conference Center in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

The nominees are the Very Rev. Robert S. Munday, former dean and president of Nashotah House, and the Rev. Stewart Ruch III, rector of Church of the Resurrection, Wheaton. Under the ACNA’s canons the bishops may appoint one of the two nominees as bishop or choose another person.

Read it all.

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

(America) Suicide Becomes the leading cause of death through injury in the U.S. over the last Decade

Why? Although the evidence is inconclusive, most point to the failing economy and its social and psychological consequences: weakening bonds of family and friendship, damaged self-esteem and the shattered hopes of the unemployed. In a year that has already shown the destructive force of firearms, guns are the handiest means for committing suicide. While suicide is generally associated with teenagers and the elderly, since 1999 the rate among those between 35 and 64 rose by nearly 30 percent in the United States, especially among men in their 50s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Suicide

John Pond–What excites me about youth ministry today?

In the late 1990’s the face of youth ministry was this big, overblown monstrosity of thrills and excitement, and I was all in. I simply assumed that if there were more games than God, I would draw more students with the entertainment, and hope to keep them engaged. However, in recent years I discovered by listening to my students that they want more truth.

My leaders and students have a desire to make more of an emphasis on four things these days: the Gospel, the Scriptures, discipleship, and missions, which was not the case when I started in youth ministry fifteen years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

Univ. of South Car. basketball coach Frank Martin: Our most important job is being Dad

In the walk of manhood, we have tremendous responsibility and possibility for blame. As a child, I never understood the decisions that the men in my life made. But now as a man, I fully understand the kind of positions that they were placed in and the difficult choices they had to make. When we face these difficult choices, we make the wrong ones sometimes, and understandably so.

As men, we have been taught that we are supposed to fix everything. Hence when we make these wrong decisions we are not very good at asking for help. We should. It’s OK to ask for help, especially when it comes to our children. We don’t have to figure everything out on our own; we should always be willing to ask for help. There’s no shame in that.

As fathers, it is particularly important to understand that asking for help to do our job is OK. Making mistakes doing our job is OK. Neglecting our job as a father is not OK.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Marriage & Family, Men

Diocese of South Carolina's Camp St. Christopher celebrates 75th anniversary this week

St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, at the southern end of Seabrook Island, marks its 75th anniversary with a three-day celebration beginning June 22.

Most of the scheduled events are free and open to the public.

Read it all and please take the time to look at the special website for this event.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Church History, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

(The Tablet) Pope notes Anglicans' efforts to understand setting up of ordinariate

Pope Francis hinted today in his first meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury that he realised the establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate had not always been easy to comprehend.

But he told Archbishop Justin Welby he was “grateful” for “the sincere efforts the Church of England has made to understand the reasons that led my predecessor, Benedict XVI, to provide a canonical structure able to respond to the wishes of those groups of Anglicans who have asked to be received collectively into the Catholic Church”.

In a public address, following private talks that last just over 30 minutes, Francis said he was “sure” the Anglican Ordinariate, erected in 2009, would “enable the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral traditions that form the Anglican patrimony to be better known and appreciated in the Catholic world”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Church Times) Archbishop Welby and Pope Francis speak up for the poor at first meeting

Overcoming divisions between Anglicans and Roman Catholics will require a “self-giving love” characterised by “hospitality and love for the poor”, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Friday, at his first meeting with Pope Francis.

Archbishop Welby, accompanied by his wife, Caroline, met Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace on Friday morning, after meeting the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch. The Archbishop and the Pope had a private conversation, after which they gave public addresses and attended a service of midday prayer together.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Poverty, Roman Catholic

Pope Francis's Homily at Evengelium Vitae Mass Yesterday

What is the image we have of God? Perhaps he appears to us as a severe judge, as someone who curtails our freedom and the way we live our lives. But the Scriptures everywhere tell us that God is the Living One, the one who bestows life and points the way to fullness of life. I think of the beginning of the Book of Genesis: God fashions man out of the dust of the earth; he breathes in his nostrils the breath of life, and man becomes a living being (cf. 2:7). God is the source of life; thanks to his breath, man has life. God’s breath sustains the entire journey of our life on earth. I also think of the calling of Moses, where the Lord says that he is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of the living. When he sends Moses to Pharaoh to set his people free, he reveals his name: “I am who I am”, the God who enters into our history, sets us free from slavery and death, and brings life to his people because he is the Living One. I also think of the gift of the Ten Commandments: a path God points out to us towards a life which is truly free and fulfilling. The commandments are not a litany of prohibitions ”“ you must not do this, you must not do that, you must not do the other; on the contrary, they are a great “Yes!”: a yes to God, to Love, to life. Dear friends, our lives are fulfilled in God alone, because only he is the Living One!….

Today’s Gospel brings us another step forward. Jesus allows a woman who was a sinner to approach him during a meal in the house of a Pharisee, scandalizing those present. Not only does he let the woman approach but he even forgives her sins, saying: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Lk 7:47). Jesus is the incarnation of the Living God, the one who brings life amid so many deeds of death, amid sin, selfishness and self-absorption.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Christology, Life Ethics, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Francis, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Father's Day

Found here and used in worship yesterday:

God our Father,
you govern and protect your people
and shepherd them with a father’s love.
You place a father in a family as a sign
of your love, care, and constant protection.
May fathers everywhere be faithful to the
example shown in the Scriptures: steadfast
in love, forgiving transgressions, sustaining
the family, caring for those in need.
Give your wisdom to fathers
that they may encourage and guide their children.
Keep them healthy so they may support a family.
Guide every father with the Spirit of your love
that they may grow in holiness
and draw their family ever closer to you.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Men, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who, calling Abraham to go forth to a country which thou wouldest show him, didst promise that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed: Fulfill thy promise in us, we pray thee, giving us such faith in thee as thou shalt count unto us for righteousness; that in us and through us thy purpose may be fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Church of South India

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture