Monthly Archives: February 2014

(WSJ) Yair Rosenberg–Religion: As Seen Inaccurately on Screen

Traditionally, members of religious communities misrepresented on screen have taken two approaches. The first is to complain. Pointing to the stereotypical portrait of the Arab world in “Homeland,” a Muslim critic at Salon labeled it “TV’s most Islamophobic show.” Similar sensitivities have surfaced about Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming movie “Noah,” with some Christians expressing concern that it may not fairly depict the biblical narrative.

But angry op-eds and petitions can only go so far. Many more people will see a flawed film than read the criticism of it. That’s why some believers have settled on a very different solution to combating caricatures of their faith: Make culture, not war.

This weekend, “Son of God,” a re-enactment of the life and resurrection of Jesus as told in the New Testament, will open across the country. The film, which has already made $4.1 million in advanced ticket sales, is the product of husband and wife Christian filmmakers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who produced the movie in consultation with faith leaders….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

Role of African churches 'absolutely critical' says Archbishop Welby

Archbishop Justin met the delegation during their visit to the UK to present the strategic priorities of the African Catholic bishops’ conferences and establish co-operation in addressing urgent issues on the African continent….

Archbishop Justin said: “I welcome the priority being given by SECAM to reconciliation and evangelisation and look forward to opportunities to collaborate in this work.

“As we approach 2015 and the shift from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals, the role of African churches is absolutely critical….”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) How Ad Targeting Works on Facebook

Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Science & Technology, Theology

ACL President: Statement on the Consecration of Rev Dr Sarah Macneil as bishop of Grafton

Dr Macneil’s Public Teaching
During a series of lenten sermons in 2013, whilst preaching on the parable of the Prodigal (Luke 15), Dr Macneil stated the following:

Although we tend to hear [the parable of the Prodigal] as a parable highlighting God’s welcome to all sinners, expecially those who have lurid pasts, like the younger son, its placement in the Gospel of Luke aims it straight at the religious authorities – the goody two shoes upholders of the faith. Will they join the party? Or will they stick to their rigid adherence to the Torah, tithing even the herbs in their cupboards, but neglecting mercy and compassion?

We can ask where it is that we are working within rules that neglect mercy and compassion.

Is it the Anglican Church of Australia’s reluctance to allow the ordination of gay people in same sex relationships?

While this is a rhetorical question, the intended meaning is transparent. Macneil is advocating for the ordination of people in same sex relationships as something that is good and godly “mercy and compassion”.

In a sermon at St Luke’s Enmore, Sydney, in October 2010, Dr Macneil gave a clear description of Penal Substitution and then labels it as ‘mechanistic and grim’.

It is clear from the gospel [Luke 10:1-9] and from Acts that Luke is not thinking of salvation and atonement in terms of what we now call penal substitution. This view uses the logic of retributive justice and argues that it was Jesus’ death on the cross that saved us from our sins and brought us into right relationship with God. A debt had to be paid for human sin and disobedience in order to satisfy God’s demands of justice. This is what made Christ’s death upon the cross necessary. In his great love for us, Christ is therefore said to had taken the punishment deserved by all humanity upon himself.

This rather mechanistic and grim understanding of atonement, prevalent not so very far from here, was not part of early Christian thought and clearly not part of Luke’s thought world. Nor does Luke regard Jesus’s death as a sacrifice or as an expiation for sin. His focus is more on Jesus’ life and on the wholeness that is brought to humanity through contact with the suffering Messiah.

There is no doubt in the gospel that Jesus is the Messiah, no doubt that he will suffer and die, but the wholeness that comes to people because of him, comes from their encounter with him.

Jesus’ presence is what brings life, peace, forgiveness of sins and right relationship to God

This same redefining of the atoning death of Jesus, is expressed in her Sermon for Christmas 2012:

Of course, some would argue that this is irrelevant – that Jesus’ sole purpose was to provide our passport to salvation, a mission he fulfilled very effectively, if somewhat mysteriously, by dying. He was, in short, a man born to die. If we believe that he is God, then everything will be OK. In this way of seeing things, the focus really belongs on his death and resurrection. The events of the 33 years or so between birth and death were pretty irrelevant really and just show us that he really was the long expected chosen one of God.

But I want to argue a very different kind of line. For I believe that the birth of Jesus as a human child, as one of us, has a much richer significance than that and is indeed infinitely more challenging. The incarnation is not some sort of crazy rescue plan; it is a systematic and timeless revelation to humanity about what it is to be human and about our relationship with God. Jesus’ life is not so much to show us who he is but rather to show us who we are, and who we are in relationship with God.

What Dr Macneil responds to here is a false dichotomy (that those who teach the atoning death of Jesus insist that his life is irrelevant), the same movement away from Jesus’ atoning death to an exemplar life, as she attempted to do at St Luke’s in 2010, is clear.

How Dr Macneil’s teaching conflicts with Anglican formularies and the Scriptures

Read it all from here

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

(WSJ) Nude Webcams and Diet Drugs: the Facebook Ads Teens Aren't Supposed to See

“Who do you like?” asked recent ads on Facebook…featuring young women in alluring poses.

Some of the ads were configured to reach young teens, who were invited to join an app called Ilikeq that let others rate their attractiveness, comment on their photos and say if they would like to date them.

That’s how 14-year-old Erica Lowder’s picture ended up on display to adult men online. Users of Ilikeq, one of Facebook’s fastest-growing “lifestyle” apps, were able to click through to the Indianapolis girl’s Facebook page.

“How can Facebook say here’s how we’re going to protect your kids, then sell all these ads to weird apps and sites that open kids up to terrible things?” asked Erica’s mother, Dawn Lowder.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Psychology, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Theology

Allan Haley: What Will the Supreme Court Do with The Falls Church Petition?

The docket sheet in the United States Supreme Court tells the tale. After receiving an extension of time, The Falls Church filed on October 9 in the Supreme Court its petition for writ of certiorari (or review) of the decision rendered by the Virginia Supreme Court last April 18 (and its denial of a rehearing on June 14).

The ever-cocky Episcopal Church (USA) and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, following its lead, declined to file responses to the petition. Four amici curiae (“friends of the court”, being organizations interested in the case) filed briefs in support of The Falls Church: ACNA, the Presbyterian Lay Committee, St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, CA, and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The case went to conference last December just on those briefs. And — lo and behold! — the Court ordered ECUSA and its Diocese to file a response before it ruled on the petition.

Such a request is noteworthy, because the Court’s Rules explain that the Court ordinarily does not grant a pending petition without first calling for a response to it. Had the Court taken no interest in the petition, on the other hand, it could have denied the petition outright at its December 6 conference…
Watch for the Court’s release of its “Order List” next Monday — and pray in the meantime that the Court be guided to grant review at its conference this Friday.

Read it all and see also SCOTUS Blog Petitions to watch – Conference of February 28 and Issue and Case File

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Why Anglican Church shut down schools in Enugu

Anglican priests in Enugu State on Thursday blocked the entry gates of eight primary and secondary schools, preventing academic activities.

The schools are located within an environment known as Women Training Centre. They include Urban Anglican Girls Secondary School, Metropolitan Anglican Secondary School and City Anglican Secondary School, as well as five primary schools.

The clerics were protesting an alleged directive to authorities of the schools by the state Ministry of Education that they should cease dealing with the Anglican Church on the ground that government had repossessed mission schools.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Daily Post) Enugu partially shuts down as Anglican Church battles Governor Chime

The simmering dispute between the Anglican Church and the Enugu State Government deepened on Thursday, leading to a shut-down of activities at some parts of the state.

The latest crisis followed moves by the Enugu State Government to reclaim some schools owned by the church.

Before now, the leadership of the Anlican Church in the State had consistently accused the Chime-led government of having some bias against it.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Anglican Church appoints first female bishop to lead an Australian diocese

There will be some notable absentees when history is made in Grafton tomorrow.

The Right Reverend Sarah Macneil will attend a ceremony in the Grafton Cathedral to be consecrated as Australia’s first female leader of an Anglican diocese.

But she says some senior figures in the church will not be attending…

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

(BBC) Ukraine crisis: 'Russians occupy' Crimea airports

Ukraine’s interior minister has accused Russian naval forces of occupying Sevastopol airport in the autonomous region of Crimea.

Arsen Avakov called their presence an “armed invasion”.

But Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has denied that Russian servicemen are taking part.

The other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, has also been occupied by armed men. The men are thought to be pro-Russia militia.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Theology, Ukraine, Violence

(CC) Isaac Villegas reviews Joshua Dubler's new book "Down in the Chapel"

The seven of us sit in a room in a maximum-security prison. I come and go weekly; they will be there for the rest of their lives. They tell me about their faith. One man has a calloused bump on his forehead, the result of his salat, bowing down to God, pressing his head into his rug, into the concrete floor of his cell: a dedication to prayer. “Allah found me in my cell,” he says. The other men nod their heads, even though they are not Muslims; they are Christians of various traditions: Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness. Yet each knows what it feels like for his God to find him in prison, regardless of profound differences in theological language and faith practices. When I’m with them, I’m within a religious pluralism unknown to me outside of prison.

In Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison, Joshua Dubler explores this phenomenon of religious pluralism within U.S. prisons by spending time with the various faith communities that congregate in the chapel at the maximum-security prison in Graterford, Pennsylvania. From the chapel, Dubler tracks the religious practices of the faithful among the 3,500 men confined inside Graterford’s walls. His book is a tapestry of scenes from worship services, small group discussions, and conversations with imprisoned men who open their spiritual lives to him. A Roman Catholic chaplain describes his visitation of the forgotten men on death row as a “ministry of presence”: “to have somebody drop in . . . to show them that they’re remembered.” A correctional officer engages in “Christian apologetics” while policing the chapel. A Muslim prisoner named Baraka’s discussions and debates enlighten the author’s observations of incarcerated life.

Dubler shows up at Graterford as a budding ethnographer and becomes a man captured by friendships””by relationships mediated through religious encounters in prison. “How truly bizarre that this awful place,” he reflects, “should afford such profound pleasure to those who feel called to enter into it and partake in its overflowing meaningfulness.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Church Times) House of Bishops' Sexuality ”˜fudge’ sticks in critics’ throats

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has described the House of Bishops’ pastoral statement on same-sex marriage, which he signed a fortnight ago, as “Anglican fudge”.

The Bishops have also been challenged over the accuracy of their guidance, issued on 15 February. In it, they reiterated the ban on same-sex marriages in church, and stated that clergy may not enter into gay marriages… Several priests have publicly declared their intention to defy the Bishops.

Dr Sentamu, speaking at a meeting of Jewish and Christian students in Durham in the middle of last week, said that the Church of England’s position was that “a clergy person has a right, an expectation, to live within the teaching of the Church, but for lay people and others they should be welcomed into the Church.

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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, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Expansion of Near Neighbours programme 'gives huge opportunities' says Archbishop Welby

During a visit to a community centre in South London…[yesterday] morning, the Archbishop of Canterbury praised the Near Neighbours programme and its grassroots approach to creating community ties across cultural and religious boundaries

Near Neighbours, a partnership between the Church Urban Fund and the Archbishop’s Council that provides small grants to multi-faith community projects, has been awarded an extra £3m by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The extra money will enable projects to expand into other parts of the country, including Luton, Leeds and the Black country.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, our heavenly Father, who so loved the world that thou didst give thine only Son to die upon the cross: Pour thy love into our hearts, we humbly beseech thee; that we loving thee above all things, may give up ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, to thy service; for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

–J. R. W. Stott

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to thy name; the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

–Psalm 140:13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) Prenups spark Do-It-Yourself divorce 'revolution'

Married couples will be able to draft their own DIY divorce settlements using an officially-approved financial formula without having to fight over details in court under plans put before ministers today.

Under proposals put forward by the Government’s legal reviewer, prenuptial agreements would become legally binding in England and Wales for the first time.

The Law Commission is also urging the Government to consider devising a specific numerical formula which separating couples could use to calculate how to divide their assets.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology

Archbishop Welby and Cardinal Nichols announce week of prayer for church social action projects

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster have launched a joint initiative this Lent to encourage people to pray for the work churches do to support people in need in their parishes and beyond.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Holy Week, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Statement from the Church Commissioners on Wells Palace

The Bishop’s Palace at Wells was discussed by the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners at its meeting last Tuesday (25th February). This was the first meeting of the Board since it made its decision at the end of November last year.

At the meeting the Commissioners were given an opportunity to read the correspondence received and examine the petition recently presented to the Secretary to the Commissioners. They were also provided with a report of the public meeting attended by Sir Tony Baldry MP.

During their discussion the Commissioners discussed the views of those opposed to their decision and acknowledged the strong feelings that the decision had aroused within the diocese. It was noted that there were also voices of support for the decision.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

S. Frederick Starr–Moderate Islam? Look to Central Asia

Unfortunately, in the eyes of many Central Asians, America’s interest does not extend beyond gas and oil. Washington’s decision to pull back from Afghanistan in 2014 will likely erode American influence at the very moment when it could do the most good ”” especially as rising prosperity increases pressure for governments to loosen their grip. Greater freedom presents great dangers, as the disillusions of the Arab Spring have so sadly demonstrated.

Yet it may be in Central Asia, rather than the Middle East, Pakistan or Indonesia, where the ideals that both Presidents Bush and Obama have espoused will be most actively pursued in coming years. This is not to suggest that Washington pay less attention to the Arab world, but perhaps it is time for us to listen to our own lectures on the possibilities of a peaceful and intellectually open version of Islam, and to back those societies that are trying most successfully to advance it today.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Forward in Faith North America: Nashotah House Statement

The National Council of FIFNA endorses and affirms the ACNA College of Bishops’ statement (See below) issued on Feb 25, 2014, regarding the invitation to Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach at Nashotah House.

In the interest of restoring “the trust that this particular invitation has seriously shaken,” we request that the invitation either be rescinded or that the venue be changed to an academic lecture by Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori in a non-liturgical context, followed by a time for discussion and response.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

GAFCON Chairman’s February pastoral letter

One of the marks of bold leadership is clarity. The faith we proclaim is the truth as it is revealed in Holy Scripture, not a human invention, and it presents us with a choice between two ways. One leads to life, the other to death. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls those who would follow him to enter by the narrow gate, not the wide gate that leads to destruction, (Matthew 7:13,14) and I believe it is significant that his warning about false prophets follows in the next verse. This is what false teaching in the Anglican Communion today is like. It is the wide gate that accommodates secular permissiveness and breaches biblical boundaries in doctrine and morals.

After the praise that greeted the news that Oxford University is to honour the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States with an honorary Doctorate in Divinity, it was helpful to be reminded of the sober facts in the Statement issued by the Global South Primates Steering Committee last week. It was recognized that ”˜the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003’ and the Communion’s London based institutions were described as ”˜dysfunctional’.

The breadth of the wide gate can be dangerously appealing as an easy choice, avoiding the need for theological discernment and church discipline. This is why I have already written a response ( earlier this month to the Statement of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York about pastoral care for people who engage in same sex relationships.

Sadly, the lack of clarity in that statement about the biblical understanding of such relationships has been repeated in the pastoral guidance issued subsequently by the Church of England’s House of Bishops as same sex ”˜marriage’ becomes legal in England and Wales next month. While the Church’s official teaching on marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman is affirmed, it is effectively contradicted by the permission given for prayers to be said for those entering same sex ’marriages’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(Mercury News) Rick Warren acts on mental health in son's death

Warren, founder of Saddleback Church and a best-selling author, will team with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host a daylong event next month focused on helping church leaders reach parishioners who are struggling with mental illness.

The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church grew out of private conversations Warren had with the local Catholic bishop, Bishop Kevin Vann, after his son’s death and his own writings in his journal as he processed his grief. Matthew Warren, 27, committed suicide last April after struggling with severe depression and suicidal thoughts for years.

“I’m certainly not going to waste this pain. One of the things I believe is that God never wastes a hurt and that oftentimes your greatest ministry comes out of your deepest pain,” Warren said Monday as he met with Vann to discuss the March 28 event. “I remember writing in my journal that in God’s garden of grace even broken trees bear fruit.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Mental Illness, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Suicide

The WSJ's Jonathan Cheng Argues that perhaps the Smartphone has reached Its Peak

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

Arcbp Cranmer Blog–inadequacy, ambiguity, obfuscation and internal contradictions in HoB Guide

As Prime Minister David Cameron enters into tortuous negotiations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the future shape of Europe; and as Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson threatens to resign over certain secret assurances given to Irish Republican terrorists classified as “On The Run”; and as the Ukraine descends into a bloody civil war about historic matters of ethnicity, identity, religion, and whether or not Russia is more Christian and free than the EU; and as Syria (remember that?) pours out a vast sea of destitute and diseased humanity, where Christians are beheaded and mothers die in childbirth; spare a thought for Church of England as it continues to agonise over the House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is trying to move on (with an ecumenical focus on social action projects), but the Bishop of Oxford has written a letter to his clergy in which he pours out his anguish and sorrow over the House of Bishops’ statement, and explains his personal torment and the torture deep within his soul over the limbo caused by the statement. For Bishop John, civil partnership is not and can never be the same thing as marriage, and he has long trodden a narrow path which has pleased neither wing of the sexuality divide. It is not so much a question of sheep and goats, as which pasture is most conducive for spiritual grazing and where the theological grass is greener. But the inadequacy, ambiguity, obfuscation and internal contradictions contained in the Bishops’ Dog’s Breakfast Pastoral Guidance would do Sir Humphrey proud. For some, it comes as a great relief; for others, it is cruel and absurd. God reveals Himself in His Word, which requires exegesis, interpretation and a grasp of its fundamental Sitz im Leben. But the Bishops cloak Him in shadowy puzzlement and shroud the Word in smog. Doing theology in this context is nigh impossible.

This guidance permits the Church of England to begin the facilitated conversations that were advocated in the Pilling Report. There is no predetermined outcome, but the distrust and suspicion on both sides clouds understanding, makes prayer a profound spiritual struggle, and fellowship a depressing hassle.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) Jenni Russell–We Must be Careful When Discussing Poverty and Responsibility

The impression is that if only poor people would organise their lives more effectively, work harder at work or at finding work, and help each other out a little more, the problems would disappear.

This is not just a comforting fantasy for the comfortably-off, it’s a dangerous delusion. It ignores the huge structural changes affecting the British economy, thanks to technology, international competition and immigration. The top 1 per cent have seen their share of earnings increase from 7 to 10 per cent in two decades, but median pay has been static or falling for ten years. The decline is sharpest for those at the bottom of the scale.

Poor people are getting poorer because full-time jobs are disappearing or wage rates are being cut. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the income of those in the bottom tenth of the income range peaked in 2004 and has been falling ever since. At the same time there have been above-inflation rises in essential costs. Since 2008 gas and electricity prices have risen by almost two thirds, food by a third, transport by a quarter. The result is that incomes and wealth are being squeezed as never before. Half of all families on average to low incomes have no savings whatsoever.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(LA Times Op-ed) Craig Garner–Another healthcare crisis: Closing hospitals

For healthcare reform to mature unimpeded, the debates surrounding the Affordable Care Act require concentrated, nonpartisan attention. And for reform to succeed, we also need hospitals to flourish, especially in places with few options.

Every hospital has a story to tell. Lower Oconee Community Hospital will not keep the nation’s attention for long, but its absence and that of other hospitals that close will certainly leave profound voids throughout their communities. Rather than ignore these continuing cracks in the foundation of our evolving healthcare system, there is much to be learned from these now-defunct facilities. We would do well to address the underlying problems behind the closures.

As any medical practitioner will tell you, it is wiser to treat the cause today than alleviate the symptoms tomorrow.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, City Government, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Anglican Ink) Presiding Bishop will not rule out possibility of a second term run

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori has not ruled out seeking a second nine year term as Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of the USA.

Her comments came amidst a wide ranging interview broadcast on 25 Feb 2014 interview Kansas City National Public Radio affiliate station KCUR.

Asked about the sharp decline in membership since the 1960s, Bishop Jefferts Schori said the decline did not worry her. While there were fewer Episcopalians today, they were nonetheless better Episcopalians. The “membership levels of 50 years ago are not reflective of the faith” of the people in the pews she noted.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Theology

( Baptist piano player turned priest writes history of Alabama Episcopalians

Leaders of the Episcopal Church in Alabama were vocal in their belief that slavery was a benign institution. “Its members tended to be disproportionaately slaveowners,” Vaughn said. “They believed there wasn’t any discrepancy between the Christian message and slave ownership. They didn’t see any conflict at all. They were blinded by their financial self-interests.”

One of the towering but controversial figures in Alabama’s church history was Bishop C.C.J. Carpenter, who was scolded by both the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and by Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who took part in marches in Selma in 1965 and was killed in Hayneville protecting a black girl from a shotgun blast. Daniels defied Carpenter, coming to Alabama in spite of Carpenter’s warning to outside agitators. Daniels and other Episcopal seminarians picketed Carpenter House, the diocesan headquarters in Birmingham, and wrote that “The Carpenter of Birmingham must not be allowed to forever deny the Carpenter of Nazareth,” in a harsh letter to Carpenter.

“I think Carpenter was a great bishop in many ways,” Vaughn said. “He’s remembered as a kindly, warm grandfatherly figure. He increased membership; he increased the budget. He just didn’t get it though when it came to the civil rights movement.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Peter Comensoli–How to Reform the Church: Learning the Lessons of Vatican II

The elements of Benedict’s “hermeneutic of reform” are nothing new in the life of the Church. Both Yves Congar in the 1960s and John Henry Newman in the late 1800s made exactly the same arguments for genuine reform: the application of a principle of internal ressourcement is the only way to a true expression of catholicity. Here I quote from Congar and Newman respectively:

“There are only two possible ways of bringing about renewal or updating. You can either make the new element that you want to put forward normative, or you can take as normative the existing reality that needs to be updated or renewed … You will end up with either a mechanical updating in danger of becoming both a novelty and a schismatic reform, on the one hand, or a genuine renewal (a true development) that is a reform in and of the Church, on the other hand.”

“Those [developments] which do but contradict and reverse the course of doctrine which has been developed before them, and out of which they spring, are certainly corrupt; for a corruption is a development in that very stage in which it ceases to illustrate, and begins to disturb, the acquisitions gained in its previous history.”

It is no mere coincidence that both Newman and Congar are universally recognised as being two of the great “prophets” who shaped the reforming agenda taken up by the Second Vatican Council.

Any analysis of the reception of the Council in the life of the Church today, any contemporary call for reform in the life of the Church precipitated by current events and times, and any reform proposed by Pope Francis, would do well to keep in mind the elements by which genuine ecclesial reform will happen. As a theological friend from outside of the Catholic tradition has recently put it, “No one who has not learned to be traditional can dare to innovate.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A list of priests and others murdered or kidnapped in Syria, compiled by Damascus Archbishop

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Middle East, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Seminary / Theological Education, Syria, Theology, Violence