“Communication is evangelism….”
Ugh. Read it all.
“Communication is evangelism….”
Ugh. Read it all.
Update: A Washington Post article is there–read it all.
A NY Times article is now there.
A Statement says the House will consider the measure on Syrian military action the week of Sept. 9–check it out.
Final Update: the full text is now available–read it all.
Canon Meurig Williams writes:- “Bishop Geoffrey visited Armenia from Friday August 23rd until Tuesday 27th. This was a farewell visit to Catholicos Karekin II and the Armenian Apostolic Church before Bishop Geoffrey retires in November. In his role as Anglican co-chair of the theological dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox Churches of which the Armenian Church is one, Bishop Geoffrey has a long standing relationship going back many years. He has accompanied both Archbishops George Carey and Rowan Williams on their official visits to the Armenian Church and was present also at the 1700th anniversary of Armenian Christianity.
Read it alland enjoy the picture.
More than 100 South Carolina clergy received notices this week that they have been formally removed from the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church.
Union leaders have forgotten the religious roots of organized labor in this country. Terence Vincent Powderly, who led the Knights’ outreach across the nation, was a devout Catholic influenced by his Baptist lay preacher predecessor, Uriah Stephens. Powderly, a nonsmoking teetotaler, attributed the roots of the labor movement to Christianity.
Writing in 1893 on the history of the Labor Day observance ”” which had begun only the year before and wasn’t declared a national holiday until President Grover Cleveland acted in 1894 ”” Powderly recounted centuries of labor history:
“Trades-unionists, members of guilds, leagues and other organizations of workingmen embraced Christianity and proclaimed its doctrines as being especially advantageous to the welfare of the toiling poor,” he said.
According to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion released Friday, the Iker group asserted that the canon “does not create a trust under Texas Law, but that even if it does, it was revocable and the Diocese revoked it” when it amended its own canons.
The justices also noted that they addressed similar flaws in an earlier case, Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas.
In it, they said the canon, “simply does not contain language making the trust expressly irrevocable. … Even if the canon could be read to imply the trust was irrevocable, that is not good enough under Texas law.”
Read it all from the Star-Telegram.
“Our biggest problem is ignorance; we’re pretty ignorant about Syria,” said Ryan C. Crocker, a former ambassador to Syria and Lebanon, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.
The American strike could hit President Assad’s military without fundamentally changing the dynamic in a stalemated civil war that has already left more than 100,000 people dead. At the same time, few expect that a barrage of cruise missiles would prompt either side to work in earnest for a political settlement. Given that, the skeptics say it may not be worth the risks.
“I don’t see any advantage,” said a Western official who closely observes Syria.
In outlining its tentative plans, the Obama administration has left many questions unanswered.
Many of the leaks about U.S. strike plans for Syria, a copious flow of surprisingly specific information on ship dispositions and possible targets, have been authorized as a way for President Obama to signal the limited scope of operations to friends and foes.
But a number of leaks have been decidedly unauthorized — and, according to Obama administration sources, likely emanating from a Pentagon bureaucracy less enthusiastic about the prospect of an attack than, say, the State Department, National Security Council or Obama himself.
“Deeply unhelpful,” was how one West Winger described the drip-drip of doubt.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst give to thine apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word: Grant that thy Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God for ever and ever.
O Gracious God, whose blessed Son set forth thy love towards mankind, in his miracles of healing and mercy, making both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak: Grant that our ears may be opened to thy Word, and our tongues loosed to proclaim it to others, and to further the spreading of thy gospel among all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
“But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
We rejoice in today’s ruling by the Texas Supreme Court overturning the summary judgment in favor of The Episcopal Church. The Supreme Court ruled that the Trial Court erred in deferring to the TEC rather than subjecting TEC’s property claims to the same neutral principles of law that apply to everyone else. The Trial Court must now reconsider the merits of the case based upon neutral principles of law, and we are confident that we will prevail when TEC is subjected to neutral principles of Texas law. In sum, while today’s opinions are not a final victory, they indicate that a final victory is only a matter of time.
The decision in our case must be considered in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in a related case, also announced today ”“ that of the Church of the Good Shepherd, San Angelo. Here too the Court reversed lower court opinions in favor of TEC and directed the trial court to decide that case based upon neutral principles of law, rather than deference to an hierarchical church….
The Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, who has died aged 74, was described by Robert Lowell as “the most important Irish poet since Yeats”. Widely acclaimed for his many notable achievements, he was undoubtedly the most popular poet writing in English, and the only one assured of a place in the bestseller lists. His books sold, and continue to sell, in the tens of thousands, while hordes of “Heaneyboppers” flocked to his readings. His earliest influences, Robert Frost and Ted Hughes, are reflected throughout his work, but most especially in his first two collections, where he recollected images of his childhood on the family farm in Co Derry. Other poets, especially Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Wordsworth and Thomas Hardy, as well as Dante, also influenced his work….
[About him] the critic Helen Vendler wrote: “Seamus broadened my view of Ireland, north and south ”“ its geography, its history, its labour, its sounds, its euphemisms, its crises of conscience, its bog bodies, its bombs, its weather, its sectarian stand-offs, its twilights.” Poet and critic Robert Pinsky praised Heaney’s “gift for laughter and for friendship, a generosity entirely congruent with the qualities of his great gift and accomplishment in art”.
Today the Texas Supreme Court handed down decisions in the two ECUSA cases pending before it: No. 11-0265, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al. v. The Episcopal Church, et al.; and No. 11-0332, Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas. In the first case, the Court sided with Bishop Iker’s Diocese by a closely split vote of 5-4, reversed the summary judgment of Circuit Judge John Chupp which had awarded all of the property and assets of Bishop Iker’s Diocese to the Episcopal Church and its rump diocese, and sent the case back to the trial court. The majority held that the trial court had improperly failed to apply a “neutral principles of law” analysis to the issues. The four dissenters did not disagree with that result, but instead believed that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal from the trial court’s judgment in the case.
In the second case, the Court by a vote of 7-2 reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision requiring the Church of the Good Shepherd in San Angelo to turn over its building and all other assets to the Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court definitively ruled that all Texas courts must follow “neutral principles of law” (rather than deferring to an ecclesiastical hierarchy), and that based on such an analysis, the Dennis Canon was not effective under Texas law (or that if it were effective to create a trust, the trust was not expressly irrevocable, and so could be revoked by the parish in question).
Read it all and note you can read the full Supreme Court decision opinion in the Fort Worth case here and in the Good Shepherd case here – other documents and concurring/dissenting opinions may be found here
Update: Pastoral Letter from Bishop Iker is here
After the Mass [for the Death of my Father], people from the church gathered around to console. A priest friend accompanied me to the funeral home to work out the details of the wake. The parish where the funeral Mass was held assigned a laywoman volunteer who, in a very sensitive and knowledgeable way, helped me to plan the service. A contingent from my home parish in Brooklyn came to the wake and funeral. Sisters and others who work with my wife at a Catholic high school in Brooklyn arrived in large numbers.
I saw a theological term made real””that God’s people make up the Body of Christ, a mystical concept of the church that encompasses the living and the dead, the visible and invisible, my deceased father and me. As St. Paul wrote, if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer. This is the church I would not be lured to leave, even on the frequent occasions when its leaders disappoint me.
“Two of the most powerful insurgent factions in Syria are al-Qaeda factions,” Evan Kohlmann, senior partner at Flashpoint Partners in New York, said by telephone. “Even were the Assad regime to fall and there be some kind of takeover by rebels, there’s not a clear understanding that everyone here will be able to agree and form any kind of government.”
The Anglican Church of Southern Malawi Diocese has finally elected a new bishop to take over from Rev James Tengatenga who resigned last month after he was offered a lucrative job in the USA.
The new bishop of the diocese is Venerable Rev Canaan Alinafe Kalemba and was elected Saturday during a process that was attended by a high-level mission in Blantyre.
Until his election, the bishop-elect, a former principal of Leonard Kamungu Theological College in Zomba (first Anglican theological college in Malawi), was a parish priest for Chirimba Anglican Church in Blantyre.
I began my sabbatical by taking three online courses through a Johns Hopkins University distance-learning program for high school students: honors pre-calculus, honors chemistry and a writing class. It was amazing to learn on my laptop at my own pace. For example, in the math class, I would watch a seven-minute video on how to solve equations using logarithms, then tackle a few problems. After typing in each answer, I immediately found out whether it was correct. If it was wrong, I could try again or read how to solve the problem. If I was totally stumped, I could call or e-mail the instructor to get a more thorough explanation.
Instead of sitting in a specific seat at a specific time, listening to the same long lecture as everyone else, I could tailor the classes to my strengths and weaknesses. I could move through some material quickly but take as much time as I needed to absorb the difficult stuff. Not only did these courses free up time to shoot a movie, but their structure helped me learn the material as well as I would have in a classroom. In four months, I covered a year of math.
I don’t intend to repeat the powerful points that have been made on international law which is itself based on the Christian theory of Just War, and that has been said very eloquently. But I want to pick up a couple of points – first is, it has been said, quite rightly, that there is as much risk in inaction as there is in action. But as in a conflict in another part of the world, a civil conflict in which I was mediating some years ago, a general said to me “we have to learn that there are intermediate steps between being in barracks and opening fire”. And the reality is that until we are sure that all those intermediate steps have been pursued, Just War theory says that the step of opening fire is one that must only be taken when there is no possible alternative whatsoever, under any circumstances. Because, as the noble Lord Lord Alli just said very clearly and very eloquently, the consequences are totally out of our hands once it has started. And some consequences we can predict ”“ we’ve heard already about the Lebanon and about Iran, particularly the effect that an intervention would cause on the new government in Iran as it is humiliated by such an intervention.
But there is a further point, talking to a very senior Christian leader in the region yesterday, he said “intervention from abroad will declare open season on the Christian communities”. They have already been devastated, 2 million Christians in Iraq 12 years ago, less than half a million today. These are churches that don’t just go back to St Paul but, in the case of Damascus and Antioch, predate him. They will surely suffer terribly (as they already are) if action goes ahead.
The prospect of a U.S. military strike on Syria is putting pressure on political fault lines, and the tremors are being felt in South Carolina.
National security hawks like U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham see a lawless world in need of American leadership and, when the cause is just, its soldiers and bombs.
The Republican Party’s emergent libertarian wing, however, represented most prominently at the moment by Sen. Rand Paul, a possible presidential candidate, emphasizes the cost of foreign wars and their effect on U.S. public relations abroad.
The Obama administration’s plan to launch a military strike against Syria is being received with serious reservations by many in the U.S. military, which is coping with the scars of two lengthy wars and a rapidly contracting budget, according to current and former officers.
Having assumed for months that the United States was unlikely to intervene militarily in Syria, the Defense Department has been thrust onto a war footing that has made many in the armed services uneasy, according to interviews with more than a dozen military officers ranging from captains to a four-star general.
Former and current officers, many with the painful lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan on their minds, said the main reservations concern the potential unintended consequences of launching cruise missiles against Syria.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said on Wednesday that the Church must not become like a marriage in which a couple have drifted apart and are content with their independent lives.
Speaking at the opening of the Evangelical Alliance’s (EA) new headquarters in King’s Cross, London, Archbishop Welby said: “It is too easy for the Church to be comfortable in separation, like a bad marriage where the couple has drifted apart, but not to the point where they’ll divorce. They just sort of somehow live separate lives in the same house; they don’t talk much except what’s necessary to keep things running along. And they may not even notice that the separation is growing and deepening, but they live with it. And the Church can fall into that trap – in fact, over many years, has fallen into that trap.”
Episcopal priest Kathryn Banakis wants us to discover that Christianity wouldn’t be what it is without stories, and not just the Bible’s stories either. Our stories matter too. Banakis is particularly interested in showing how God didn’t stop revealing important lessons to us humans with the last page of the biblical text. God continues to speak through our lives today, and sometimes, what’s said is quite funny.
To show how stories can impart important lessons about faith, Banakis’s first book, Bubble Girl, is a blend of memoir and theology, teaching readers in a lighthearted way while making them laugh as she candidly discusses her own journey. Her book becomes an intriguing hybrid of genres, and I wanted to ask her more about it.
I had the pleasure to sit down with [the] Reverend Banakis and to hear her infectious laugh as I talked with her about her book. The transcript of that interview follows.
Southern church culture, including Birmingham, celebrates nearly anyone who claims to reach teenagers. We often assume the inherent goodness of any ministry that draws large numbers. And we idolize reaching the next generation to the point that we largely ignore what we are winning them with and what we are winning them to. Despite warning signs, youth pastors continued to take busloads of teenagers to The Basement and Christian radio relentlessly promoted Pitt’s meetings.
All the while The Basement’s theology was largely ignored. Viewing the videos on The Basement’s website reveals an exciting atmosphere that lacks substantial understanding of God as revealed in his Word. Pitt’s sermons might have been “in your face,” but they did not point teens to the Bible and the gospel message revealed in it. Much of the public also ignored the Bible’s teaching about character in leaders because Pitt claimed to have a “calling” from God to lead this ministry. And who could question his results?
But internal calling is only part of what it means to be a gospel minister.
As the Obama administration readies for a probable military strike against Syria, Religion News Service asked a panel of theologians and policy experts whether the U.S. should intervene in Syria in light of the regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. Would the “Just War” doctrine justify U.S. military action, and what is America’s moral responsibility? Here are their responses, which have been edited for clarity.
Take the time to read them all.
Most would breathe a sigh of relief that arguments over musical style are abating. But for C. Randall Bradley, the worship wars are only a prelude to a larger reformation in Church music. In From Memory to Imagination, Bradley argues that it is time for Church musicians and pastors to devise new forms of worship that respond to what he calls the postmodern cultural movement. The term postmodern has several possible meanings; in Bradley’s book it can be defined through a series of questions about the broader purpose that music serves: How can music reflect the narrative and values of the Church’s community? How can churches change worship so that it is community-directed, rather than guided by a leader? How can music further the specific mission for which God has placed the Church in its local context, while also reflecting the full gamut of human experience?
Bradley argues that the current tools that churches use for designing worship are, unfortunately, not yet capable of answering these questions. In a wide-ranging critique of contemporary worship practice, he notes that music and preaching are leader-centered, stifling a collaborative planning process. They tend to be male-centered. They are performance-driven, turning the congregation into a group of spectators. Most significantly, their legitimacy comes from the power of an academy that confers a professional degree, or from the power of commerce as it markets songs to churches. These structures do not allow Christians to take ownership of their worship experience.
Read it all from The Living Church.
We beseech thee, O Lord, to give us more love to thee, more joy in our worship, more peace at all times, more longsuffering, more kindness of heart and manner. Grant us the grace of meekness and the power of self-control. May we know something of what it is to be filled with the Holy Ghost; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved….Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore
Psalm 16: 7-8;11