Daily Archives: January 31, 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