Monthly Archives: January 2014

(Mail Online) Atheists launch anti-prayer Super Bowl billboard near MetLife Stadium

A controversial billboard paid for by atheists near the site of Super Bowl 48 takes jabs at organized religion just as a recent survey showed more than half of football fans believe supernatural forces influence the big game.

The 14 feet by 48 feet billboard paid for by American Atheists is on one of the major highways around MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It shows a priest with a football and says ”˜A ”˜Hail Mary’ only works in football. Enjoy the game!’

This isn’t the first religion-based advertisement linked to the Super Bowl. A now-infamous anti-abortion television ad during Super Bowl 45, in 2010, featured then-college football star Tim Tebow and his mother.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Atheism, Media, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sports

(WSJ) Bob Smietana–How shall we think about Praying for a Super Bowl Win?

I live in Nashville, where the city hasn’t had a rooting interest in the Super Bowl since 1999, when the Tennessee Titans lost to the St. Louis Rams. So on Sunday I’ll leave the praying-for-victory to fans in Seattle and Denver. But I have certainly called on God’s sports help in the past.

The first time I prayed for my favorite team to win was in the summer of 1982. I was 17 and working at a church camp outside Keene, N.H. About two hours to the south, my grandfather lay dying in a hospital bed in my hometown, Attleboro, Mass. One of his few remaining pleasures was watching his beloved Red Sox. Like so many Boston fans, he longed to see them win the World Series just once in his lifetime.

In church I had heard that God cares even for the smallest things in life””sparrows, lilies of the field, even the hairs on my grandfather’s head. So I prayed for a World Series win. He died in August; the Red Sox didn’t even win their division.

That didn’t stop my sports prayers….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports

GAFCON Chairman responds to the statement by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

30th January 2014
Read it here and below the fold

See also:
GAFCON Chairman’s February pastoral letter
A Statement from the Global South Primates Steering Committee Cairo, Egypt 14-15 February 2014
CofE: House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage
How TEC funds Facilitated Conversations
Church of Uganda: Statement from Archbishop Ntagali
GAFCON Chairman’s Pastoral Statement
Archbishop Welby interviewed on Sexuality and the Anglican Communion with Transcript
A Statement from the C of E College of Bishops on the Pilling Report

Recent Featured Entries on the Pilling Report and Responses
Links to recent posts about alternative baptism liturgy for the Church of England

Robert Munday’s 5 part Series””Edward Salmon Invites the TEC PB to Preach at Nashotah House

A response to the statement by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York of 29th January 2014

This week, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York sought to remind the leadership of the Anglican Communion and the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda of the importance of friendship and care for homosexual people.

Christians should always show particular care for those who are vulnerable, but this cannot be separated from the whole fabric of biblical moral teaching in which the nature of marriage and family occupy a central place.

The Dromantine Communiqué from which the Archbishops quote also affirmed (Clause 17) the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 which states that ”˜homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture’ and that the conference ”˜cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions’.

Yet earlier this week, the English College of Bishops accepted the recommendation of the Pilling Report for two years of ”˜facilitated conversation’ because at least some of the bishops could not accept the historic teaching of the Church as reaffirmed in the Lambeth resolution.

Indeed, in making the case for such a debate, the Pilling Report observes ”˜In the House of Lords debate on same sex marriage, the Archbishop of York commended that the Church needed to think about the anomalies in a situation where it is willing to bless a tree or a sheep, but not a faithful human relationship.’ The anomaly only exists of course if it really is the case that a committed homosexual union can also be Christian.

The good advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York would carry much more weight if they were able to affirm that they hold, personally, as well as in virtue of their office, to the collegial mind of the Anglican Communion. At the moment I fear that we cannot be sure.

Regrettably, their intervention has served to encourage those who want to normalize homosexual lifestyles in Africa and has fuelled prejudice against African Anglicans. We are committed to biblical sexual morality and to biblical pastoral care, so we wholeheartedly stand by the assurance given in the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution that those who experience same sex attraction are ”˜loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.’

May God in his mercy grant that we may hold to the fullness of his truth and the fullness of his grace.

The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala

Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman, GAFCON Primates Council.

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Featured (Sticky)

(AI) Peter Mellgard: Netflix's The Square and the question of Egypt’s Never-ending Revolution

Ultimately, the film’s central question””who are the heroes of the revolution?””scarcely seems to matter. Its answer””the liberal democracy activists””seems dubious. And was it even a revolution? Today some activists are in jail or back on the street, protesting against the new regime. Others have joined a large majority of Egyptians to cheer for the army as it withholds many of the freedoms the activists fought and died for.

Peter Hessler, a winner of the Macarthur “Genius” grant who reports for the New Yorker from Cairo, heard a common refrain around the city on the day of the referendum on the army’s constitution: “The country needs to move forward.” There were very few “no” votes that day. On Twitter, journalists joked that a citizen willing to admit he or she voted “no” couldn’t be found anywhere. Very few Egyptians seem to be willing to jeopardize stability and security to experiment with the Western-style values of democracy and accountability preached by the activists.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Middle East, Movies & Television, Politics in General, Theology, Violence

(Indpndt) C of E appoints new specialist to review assets portfolio after Wonga embarrassment

The Church of England has appointed a New York-based specialist to screen its portfolio of assets in the wake of its embarrassing Wonga debacle last year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

The Church of England welcomes the Government's Energy Strategy

The Church of England has joined with a coalition of co-operatives, charities and community groups – providing a collective membership of 17 million – to welcome the UK’s first ever Community Energy Strategy, published this week, providing the opportunity for a scaling up of community energy.

The Community Energy Coalition (CEC) includes the Church of England, Co-operative Group, National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Energy Saving Trust, NUS, Co-operatives UK and more than 20 other civil society and sustainable energy organisations.

David Shreeve, Environmental Adviser for the Church of England said: “As a member of the Community Energy Coalition, the Church of England through its individual churches can play a pivotal role in helping develop community interest and action Its many buildings can provide excellent sites for renewable facilities. In addition, it supports the opportunity that community schemes could provide by enabling tariffs to be adjusted to benefit the fuel poor.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(CT) Bonhoeffer-Inspired cuban Pastor Arrested After Blogs, Tweets, and D.C. Trip

Travel keeps getting easier for Cuba’s surging Christian community even as practicing their faith keeps getting harder. Case in point: Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a Cuban Baptist pastor who once appeared on CT’s cover and has since become a Bonhoeffer-inspired activist blogger.

Last fall, Lleonart Barroso made an unusually high-profile trip to Washington, D.C., visiting the Congressional Caucus on Religious Freedom and issuing a 30-point challenge to his Communist government. Last weekend, he found his house in central Cuba surrounded by security police, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Security agents quickly seized the pastor as his wife and two children watched from inside the house.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Cuba, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(St. Michaels, Chstn) A Sermon from Al Zadig–Worship Is Not a Spectator Sport, But a Contact Sport


Shaping our lives according to….our highest worth!

Worship: Shaped by our highest worth!

So if Jesus is our highest worth , our highest priority in life, then true worship is offering our entire being to him, asking him to shape every part of who we are.

Read it all (an audio link is also available on the parish website, either for listening or download).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

(Church Times) Congregations expect to grow, but few parish members invite others to worship

Only one quarter of Anglicans who responded to a Church Times survey are in the habit of inviting people to church.

Just 27 per cent of laypeople responding to a questionnaire agreed with the proposition: “I often invite other people to come to my church”; 56 per cent disagreed. Six per cent agreed with the proposition: “I would never invite anyone to come to my church.”

Despite this, lay people continue to be optimistic about church growth: 40 per cent believed that their church would grow in the next 12 months; 42 per cent were uncertain, and only 18 per cent said that it would not.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Christology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

(Birmingham News) Baptist chaplain ordained as a TEC priest in a ceremony at UAB Hospital

…after 35 years as a Baptist minister, [Malcolm] Marler is now an Episcopal priest. In 2004, he married Mary Bea Sullivan, and they were members of Baptist Church of the Covenant near the UAB campus. In 2007, Sullivan, raised Catholic, told Marler she missed church liturgy. They became Episcopalians.

“I believe you can find God anywhere,” Marler said.

Sullivan felt called to the priesthood, and recently graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary. Marler looked into the possibility of becoming a priest. Since he already had a master’s and doctorate in theology from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., he enrolled in a special study program with the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

“They were very gracious to me, and welcoming,” Marler said. “I met with a priest on a monthly basis for a year. My bishop was really willing to be flexible.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(BP) Eric Metaxas–Is Faith Rising in the East, and Setting in the West? Europe and Christianity

If I asked you to describe the state of Christianity in Europe, you’d probably answer “not good.” And there’d be ample reason to do so. Most of us are familiar with the depressing statistics regarding church attendance in Western Europe and Scandinavia.

But there is more to Europe than Britain, France, and Sweden. And in Central and Eastern Europe, a different story is being written.

This story was the subject of a recent First Things article by Filip Mazurczak. In it, Mazurczak reveals to readers what is going on in former communist societies such as Hungary and Croatia. For instance, while the European Union notoriously omitted any mention of Europe’s Christian heritage in the preamble to its constitution, Hungary’s new constitution “ties Christianity to Hungarian nationhood.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Croatia, Europe, History, Hungary, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, whose way is perfect: Help us, we pray thee, always to trust in thy goodness; that walking with thee in faith, and following thee in all simplicity, we may possess quiet and contented minds, and cast all our care on thee, because thou carest for us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Christina Rossetti

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber’i-as. And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

–John 6:1-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(PewR) More than Half of Amercians Now See Failure rather than Success in Iraq, Afghanistan

After more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the public does not think the United States has achieved its goals in either country. About half of Americans (52%) say the U.S. has mostly failed to achieve its goals in Afghanistan while 38% say it has mostly succeeded. Opinions about the U.S. war in Iraq are virtually the same: 52% say the United States has mostly failed in reaching its goals there, while 37% say it has mostly succeeded.

In both cases, evaluations of the wars have turned more negative in recent years. In November 2011, as the U.S. was completing its military withdrawal from Iraq, a majority (56%) thought the U.S. had achieved its goals there.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Iraq War, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Theology, War in Afghanistan

(NPR) Report Alleges the Syrian Government Has Demolished Entire Neighborhoods

As the Syrian government and opposition forces try to make peace in Geneva, the group has issued a new report that accuses the regime of demolishing entire neighborhoods that were considered opposition strongholds.

The report, “,” was issued Thursday and said it found seven cases of “large scale demolitions” in neighborhoods in Damascus and Hama. The first one took place in July 2012 and the most recent was last November.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Theology, Violence

South Sudanese Church ”˜an example’ in speaking as one for peace, says Archbishop Welby

Arriving in the capital Juba, Archbishop Justin said: “All our prayers are with the people of South Sudan at this testing time for the young nation. I have come with my wife, Caroline, and my colleague Joanna Udal who has long experience here, bringing the greetings, love and encouragement of your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

“The South Sudanese Church is an example to us all in its consistent speaking with one voice for peace, for unity and to an ending to the violence so horrifically perpetrated against so many people. With the South Sudanese Church leaders, I urge political differences to be set aside for the sake of the urgent task of bringing healing and reconciliation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, --South Sudan, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Sudan, Violence

(CC) Charles Scriven reviews Andy Crouch's Playing God

Christians, Crouch contends, should embrace true power and use it as effectively as possible for God’s purposes. We must be “trustees,” vigorously guarding against cynicism and abuse of power, eager to take part in the renewal of institutional life, inside our churches and outside of them.

Crouch applies this way of thinking about embrace of power to a discussion of how Christians might deal constructively with issues like abortion and excessive incarceration rates. He defends evangelism even as he urges work for justice and peace. He also acknowledges the link between Christian teaching about power and questions of warfare and the military. But in this case he holds back. He mentions the debate between the Augustinian and Anabaptist traditions with respect to the use of force, only to say that because this territory is so “well-traveled,” he will not “retrace” it now. But a book on the Christian use of power certainly ought to weigh in on violence.

Overall, however, readers will find plenty of insight and inspiration here.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Books, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Church of Uganda: Statement from Archbishop Ntagali

Received by email and now online 30th January 2014
Archbishop Stanley Ntagali Comments on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the Church of England’s “Pilling Report,” and the Open Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
The Church of Uganda is encouraged by the work of Uganda’s Parliament in amending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, to reduce sentencing guidelines through a principle of proportionality, and to remove the clause on reporting homosexual behaviour, as we had recommended in our 2010 position statement on the Bill. This frees our clergy and church leaders to fulfill the 2008 resolution of our House of Bishops to “offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.”

Accordingly, we are grateful for the reminder of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to fulfill such commitments as stated in the 2005 Communique of the Primates Meeting held in Dromantine, Northern Ireland.

We would further like to remind them, as they lead their own church through the “facilitated conversations” recommended by the Pilling Report, that the teaching of the Anglican Communion from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, from Resolution 1.10, still stands. It states that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture,” and the conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

It was the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada’s violations of Lambeth 1.10 which caused the Church of Uganda to break communion with those Provinces more than ten years ago. We sincerely hope the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church.

Furthermore, as our new Archbishop of Canterbury looks toward future Primates Meetings and a possible 2018 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, we would also like to remind him of the 2007 Primates Communique from Dar es Salaam, which says that there are:

“consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion” for TEC and those Provinces which cannot
1. “Make an unequivocal common covenant that the Bishops will not authorize any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through” their governing body;
2. “Confirm”¦that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent.”

It is clear that the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada have not upheld these commitments, and so we do pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury as he considers whether or not to extend invitations to their Primates for the next Primates Meeting or to their Bishops for the 2018 Lambeth Conference. To withhold these invitations would be a clear signal of his intention to lead and uphold the fullness of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali


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

BBC Magazine–US marijuana laws: Will records be wiped clean?

Moves across the US to legalise marijuana have been greeted by reformers as heralding the end of the “war on drugs”. But what happens to people convicted of offences that no longer exist? And will the records of those arrested now be wiped clean?

This is a big year for American pot smokers. Business has been brisk at shops in Colorado where, for the first time, people can buy marijuana to smoke purely for pleasure. Stores in Washington state are set to open in a few months and others may follow, as authorities eye a new source of tax dollars from a policy that now has broad popular support.

Yet as the momentum for reform has gathered pace, one issue has largely been brushed aside – the fate of those arrested in the past.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

(TECOPA) TEC Office of Communication: 2013 by the numbers

For the Episcopal Church Office of Communication, 2013 was a remarkable year.

“The year 2013 showed continued dramatic growth in audiences for all of our digital publications, our website and our social media outlets,” noted Anne Rudig, Director of Communication. Our internal and external media relations efforts yielded some significant placements and much expanded activity.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Religion & Culture, TEC Data

Ian Paul (Former Dean of Studies, Saint John's Nttngham) Why the bishops have done the right thing

Why do I think College of Bishops have made the right decision? Well, most obviously because their response to Pilling is exactly the one I said in November was needed. The reason for this is more and more evident in public responses, particularly on social media, from all sides of the debate.

On the one hand, many ”˜conservatives’ say that there is nothing to be done, and no need any further discussion. I don’t think this takes into account sufficiently the need for the Church of England to develop more credible pastoral response, taking into account what Justin Welby described as the revolution in attitudes within society on this issue.

On the other hand, many ”˜revisionists’ agree there is no need for further discussion, but for exactly the opposite reason. It is clear what God is doing in society, and the Church needs to catch up without any further delay. You can see this very clearly in the fulminating responses to yesterday’s announcement on the Thinking Anglicans website (was there ever more irony in a website name?).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Andrew Symes–The College of Bishops’ Statement on the Pilling Report: a Response

On one hand, it’s disappointing both to conservatives and liberals that the Bishops can only state the obvious ”“ that people are divided over the issue of homosexuality ”“ and cannot give any clear lead on what the church should be teaching. On the other hand, it is encouraging that the diversity is recognized; that capitulation to Western cultural norms is not seen as inevitable; that the viewpoint of majority global Anglicanism is taken into account, and above all, that
the Church of England’s pastoral and liturgical practice remains unchanged during this process of facilitated conversation”¦No change to the Church of England’s teaching on marriage is proposed or envisaged.

This presumably means that Pilling’s most contentious proposal, namely that blessings of gay couples in church should commence at the same time as facilitated conversations, has been decisively rejected. It also appears not to leave the door ajar for the acceptance of gay marriage.

There was fear among conservatives that those of their number among the Bishops would be marginalized, especially in the wake of the Bishop of Fulham’s endorsement of Pilling. However it seems clear that some kind of stand – which may have been costly ”“ must have been made to ensure a collegiate pulling back from the brink. For that we can be grateful.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Telegraph) C of E Bishops–we agree on one thing ”“ that we can't agree on homosexuality

The Church of England’s bishops have finally reached agreement on homosexuality ”“ by saying that they might never be able to agree.

They emerged from a frank, day-long meeting behind closed doors, discussing their response to radical proposals to offer wedding-style blessing services for gay couples, and admitted they are deeply divided over the issues and are likely to remain so for years to come.

Read it all.

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

A BBC article on the letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, after being asked about laws there penalising gay people.

The letter said homosexual people were loved and valued by God and should not be victimised or diminished.

Nigeria and Uganda have both passed legislation targeting people with same-sex attraction.

The letter is also addressed to all primates (heads of national Churches) in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Uganda

Archbps recall commitment to pastoral care and friendship for all, regardless of sexual orientation

In their letter, the Archbishops recalled the words of the communiqué issued in 2005 after a meeting of Primates from across the Communion in Dromantine.

The text of the joint letter is as follows:

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

In recent days, questions have been asked about the Church of England’s attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction. In answer to these questions, we have recalled the common mind of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, as expressed in the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Nigeria, Uganda

J John–The Enduring Relevance of C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), who lectured in English literature at Oxford for most of his life, was a prolific writer in many areas and a man who powerfully and eloquently defended Christianity. Half a century after his death many of his books remain bestsellers: one, Mere Christianity, sells a quarter of a million copies a year.

Why have Lewis’s books endured? There are several reasons. For a start, he was a brilliant writer who used English to maximum effect. He was also an enormously intelligent and creative man capable of analysing problems from different angles, courageous enough to tackle difficult topics (for example, two of his books are called Miracles and The Problem of Pain) and creative enough to branch out into children’s fantasy (the Narnia Chronicles). Yet although these are all important in explaining the lasting popularity of C. S. Lewis, I think there are other factors and they are all to do with how he saw the world.

First, Lewis was always intensely aware of the past. There is a tendency in our culture to dismiss dead authors as ‘irrelevant’. Such views were alien to Lewis, a remarkably well-read man, even by the standards of his contemporaries at Oxford and Cambridge.

Read it all (I see it is also in this week’s Church of England Newspaper on page 7).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Books, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Theology

(RNS) Ruling may force Ireland to revamp Roman Catholic school monopoly

On Tuesday (Jan. 28), the European Court of Human Rights found the government was liable in a case in which a principal sexually abused a student, then 9 years old, when she attended a state-funded Catholic school in the 1970s. An Irish court had rejected her claims on the grounds that the school wasn’t public, but the European court decided the government had failed in its duty to protect children.

The ruling touched on an issue that has taken on greater urgency in recent years as sexual abuse scandals have rocked the church and more nonreligious people have immigrated to the staunchly Catholic country: Who should run Ireland’s schools?

The Catholic Church runs 90 percent of primary schools in Ireland. The rest are mainly Protestant, and about 4 percent are managed by the nonprofit Educate Together, which is nonsectarian.

The arrangement is unsettling to some parents who have little choice in where to send their children.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

David Brooks-the Silent Majority in Faith Communities in America: marked by empathy and moral demand

There must be something legalistic in the human makeup, because cold, rigid, unambiguous, unparadoxical belief is common, especially considering how fervently the Scriptures oppose it.

And yet there is a silent majority who experience a faith that is attractively marked by combinations of fervor and doubt, clarity and confusion, empathy and moral demand.

For example, Audrey Assad is a Catholic songwriter with a crystalline voice and a sober intensity to her stage presence. (You can see her perform her song “I Shall Not Want” on YouTube.) She writes the sort of emotionally drenched music that helps people who are in crisis. A surprising number of women tell her they listened to her music while in labor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, History, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Beer, Brats and Ice Fishing for the Biggest Catch in Minnesota

Every year Minnesota hosts the world’s largest ice fishing competition, offering the chance to win a pick-up truck… when it comes to winter, Minnesota people pretty much think the west of us are wimps. With a daytime high of two degree this past Saturday, almost 10,000 people showed up for the annual Brainerd (Minnesotae) event.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Rural/Town Life, Sports

Praise to Begin the Day

O Thou in whom all things live, who commandest us to seek thee, and art ever ready to be found: To know thee is life, to serve thee is freedom, to praise thee is our souls’ joy. We bless thee and adore thee, we worship thee and magnify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Augustine

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer