Daily Archives: February 12, 2014

(F. Things) Dale Coulter–Evangelicals, Pop Culture and Mass Culture

Central to the Anglo-Catholic School was the dynamic between folk culture and Christianity in the formation of the person. This was at the heart of Christendom, not some monolithic church-state entity that oppressed people. I see this perspective as also being a central feature of Evangelicalism, especially in its revivalist wing. It also strikes me that Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture misses these connections in part because Niebuhr is caught up in an American narrative of the fracturing of mainline Protestantism. Sociologists such as Peter Berger have repeatedly emphasized how the global Pentecostal and charismatic movements have become adept at navigating the forms of modernity without succumbing to disenchantment. This is because by emphasizing the Spirit’s role in creation and redemption evangelical revivalism and its offshoot of the Pentecostal and charismatic movement have advanced a program that both democratizes Christianity and inculturates it in a way that preserves and fosters folk culture. Festivals, musical forms, and other features of folk culture are not denounced as antiquated features of authoritarianism that seek to destroy autonomy, which seems to be what the Frankfurt School thought about folk culture.

One of the important contributions of Christopher Lasch is his criticism of the Frankfurt School’s solutions to modern life. These solutions have been taken up into certain theoretical accounts in which the ideas of gender and family promoted by folk culture become part of the problem and therefore need to be destroyed. Since religion was a powerful rationale supporting folk culture it has become part of the problem for the Frankfurt School and its modern disciples. Lasch’s criticisms reveal the deep suspicion of “the common man” behind the Frankfurt School’s analyses and the impact this had on historians like Richard Hofstadter. The rise of McCarthyism, according to Lasch, confirmed in the minds of many liberal critics like Hofstadter that mass movements mask ingrained hatred of the other and therefore control must be taken from the people and the folk cultures they foster.

One of the problems I have with Mark Noll’s analysis of the Evangelical Mind is an uncritical embrace of Richard Hofstadter’s ideas about populist movements.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

CoE General Synod February 10th to 12th 2014 Links

This post will be updated from time to time
Press release about Agenda

Daily Agenda and Timetable and Brief Agenda and Papers

Live Video Feed when in session

Twitter: #synod and it may be worth following: @CofEgensyn, @C_of_E if interested

Wednesday February 12th
Report on Wednesday AM Business
Report on Wednesday PM Business
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address
Diocesan and Private Members Motions
Not later than 4:15 pm GMT [11:15 pm EST] Pilling Report and next steps

Tuesday February 11th – Women Bishops
Report on Tuesday AM business
Report on Tuesday PM business
Report on Women Bishops decisions on next steps
Order Paper

Monday February 10 2 pm to 7 pm London time [9 am to 2 pm EST]
Worship and Introductions
Progress of Measures and Statutory Instruments
Business Committee Report [GS 1931}
Dates for Future Sessions
Ethical Investment
Report on Gender Based Violence [GS 1932}
Report of Monday PM Business

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

(Boston Globe) John Allen–How Benedict XVI set the stage for Pope Francis

On Feb. 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI used a meeting of cardinals discussing new saints to deliver the stunning announcement that he planned to resign, effective 8 p.m. Rome time on Feb. 28. The news was a total surprise to everyone except a handful of papal intimates, and it set the stage for all the drama that’s followed.

One cardinal said afterward that he sat in the room well after the meeting broke up, still unable to comprehend what had just happened. He played Benedict’s Latin phrasing over and over again in his mind to be sure he’d understood.

Yes, a handful of popes had resigned before, most recently Gregory XII in 1415. The circumstances, however, were so wildly different as to make Benedict’s decision essentially unprecedented ”“ a pope not facing foreign armies or internal schism who decided voluntarily to step aside, while continuing to live on Vatican grounds and pledging “unconditional obedience” to whoever might succeed him.

Francis wins plaudits for his humble nature, but Benedict’s act was arguably the zenith of papal humility.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

In Nova Scotia, Church buildings bearing cross of rising costs, aging population

For those in positions of leadership in over a dozen churches in..[Pictou County] it’s been a tough job knowing when to do what.

Declining membership, coupled with population decline, migration, rising heating costs and a decline in those practising Christianity, has caused churches of all stripes to re-examine themselves, their mission and their facilities.

Archdeacon Peter Armstrong of Christ Anglican Church in Stellarton believes this is part of a continuing cultural shift that began 40 years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

ECB Executive Board member Benoît Cœuré says ECB is "considering very seriously" negative rates

To help money flow more evenly across the currency area, Coeure said the idea of cutting into negative territory the rate the ECB pays banks to hold their deposits overnight was “a very possible option”.

“That is something we are considering very seriously. But you should not expect too much of it,” he said of a negative deposit rate.

The ECB left policy on hold last week but President Mario Draghi put markets on alert for possible action in March, saying the Governing Council would have more information at its disposal by then, including new forecasts from the bank’s staff that will extend into 2016 for the first time.

Read it all from Reuters.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

Anglican Church of SE Asia commends Taib for ”˜Allah’ stand

The Anglican Church has commended Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud for his “bold and unambiguous stand” on the ”˜Allah’ controversy.

Archbishop of the Anglican Province of South East Asia the Most Reverend Datuk Bolly Lapok said he hoped that the state and Church would continue to enjoy the same partnership under the new chief minister.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, The Anglican Church in South East Asia

Archbishop Justin Welby's Presidential Address to the General Synod

The Church of England is not tidy, nor efficiently hierarchical. There are no popes, but there is a College of Bishops and there are Synods and collections and lobbies and groups and pressure and struggle. When it works well it works because love overcomes fear. When it works badly it is because fear overcomes love. The resources for more fear lie within us and the resources for more love lie within God and are readily available to all those who in repentance and humility stretch out and seek them. With Jesus every imperative rests on an indicative, every command springs from a promise. Do not fear.

Already I can hear the arguments being pushed back at me, about compromise, about the wishy-washiness of reconciliation, to quote something I read recently. But this sort of love, and the reconciliation between differing groups that it demands and implies, is not comfortable and soft and wishy-washy. Facilitated conversations may be a clumsy phrase, but it has at its heart a search for good disagreement. It is exceptionally hard edged, extraordinarily demanding and likely to lead in parts of the world around us to profound unpopularity or dismissal….

We have received a report with disagreement in it on sexuality, through the group led by Sir Joseph Pilling. There is great fear among some, here and round the world, that that will lead to the betrayal of our traditions, to the denial of the authority of scripture, to apostasy, not to use too strong a word. And there is also a great fear that our decisions will lead us to the rejection of LGBT people, to irrelevance in a changing society, to behaviour that many see akin to racism. Both those fears are alive and well in this room today.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(New Yorker) Adam Gopnik–When did faith start to fade?

What if, though, the whole battle of ayes and nays had never been subject to anything, really, except a simple rule of economic development? Perhaps the small waves of ideas and even moods are just bubbles on the one great big wave of increasing prosperity. It may be that the materialist explanation of the triumph of materialism is the one that counts. Just last year, the Princeton economist Angus Deaton, in his book “The Great Escape,” demonstrated that the enlargement of well-being in at least the northern half of the planet during the past couple of centuries is discontinuous with all previous times. The daily miseries of the Age of Faith scarcely exist in our Western Age of Fatuity. The horrors of normal life in times past, enumerated, are now almost inconceivable: women died in agony in childbirth, and their babies died, too; operations were performed without anesthesia. (The novelist Fanny Burney, recounting her surgery for a breast tumor: “I began a scream that lasted unremittingly during the whole time of the incision. . . . I felt the knife rackling against the breast bone, scraping it while I remained in torture.”) If God became the opiate of the many, it was because so many were in need of a drug.

As incomes go up, steeples come down. Matisse’s “Red Studio” may represent the room the artist retreats to after the churches close””but it is also a pleasant place to pass the time, with an Oriental carpet and central heating and space to work. Happiness arrives and God gets gone. “Happiness!” the Super-Naturalist cries. “Surely not just the animal happiness of more stuff!” But by happiness we need mean only less of pain. You don’t really have to pursue happiness; it is a subtractive quality. Anyone who has had a bad headache or a kidney stone or a toothache, and then hasn’t had it, knows what happiness is. The world had a toothache and a headache and a kidney stone for millennia. Not having them any longer is a very nice feeling. On much of the planet, we need no longer hold an invisible hand or bite an invisible bullet to get by.

Yet the wondering never quite comes to an end. Relatively peaceful and prosperous societies, we can establish, tend to have a declining belief in a deity. But did we first give up on God and so become calm and rich? Or did we become calm and rich, and so give up on God? Of such questions, such causes, no one can be certain. It would take an all-seeing eye in the sky to be sure.Read it all.

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

(NYT) In Wisconsin, Heroin’s Small-Town Toll, and a Mother’s Grief

In the wake of the prescription painkiller epidemic, heroin, much of it Mexican, has wormed its way into unsuspecting communities far from the Southwestern border as a cheaper and often more easily obtained alternative. Ms. Ivy’s was believed to be the seventh fatal heroin overdose in eight months in this town of 13,000 on the St. Croix River near Minneapolis. Two months after her death, and before yet another young Hudson woman died ”” at a “sober house” ”” of a heroin overdose in October, nearly 500 townspeople crowded into the First Presbyterian Church for a forum called “Heroin in Hudson: A Community in Crisis.”

Ms. Ivy’s death certificate, recently released, revealed that a mix of drugs was to blame; the police declined to specify the drugs since her death remains under investigation. But “Alysa was a heroin abuser, and her addiction to drugs killed her,” said Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner.

“It’s a tightknit community, and these kids all knew each other,” Ms. Schachtner said of those who overdosed. “They were not what you might expect. They were not the faces of heroin addiction we see on television.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Heavenly Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding, and true strength: We beseech thee look mercifully upon thy servants, and send thy Holy Spirit into their hearts, that when they must join to fight in the field for the glory of thy holy name, then they, strengthened with the defence of thy right hand, may manfully stand in the confession of thy faith, and continue in the same unto their lives’ end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Nicholas Ridley (1500-1555)

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

A Kendall Harmon Sermon on Romans 12:1-8

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

–Romans 12:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

How TEC funds Facilitated Conversations

Where does the money come from to fund the proposed “facilitated conversations” in the Anglican Communion? An insight can be gleaned from the blog of Rev. Susan B. Snook who is an Episcopal priest, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Scottsdale, Arizona, and a member of TEC’s Executive Council. She writes a detailed account of the meeting just finished in which we find the following statement:

In addition [to funding a digitization project], we expect to use $312,000 in 2015 to support the Anglican Communion Office, in response to a request from the Presiding Bishop. If approved, this will raise our ACO commitment from $700,000 for the triennium to $1,012,000. According to Presiding Bishop Katharine, her request came not only in recognition of greatly improved relations with the Communion, but also as a gesture of support for some very beneficial work, such as the continuing Indaba project and reconciliation work. We did not officially vote on this request at this meeting, because it affects the 2015 budget, which does not come up for an official vote until October. However, I expect we will approve it then. Note that our 2013 and 2014 payments to the ACO were made as if we were spreading a total of $1,012,000 over three years. If the increased 2015 budget is not approved in October, the ACO will experience a severe cut, to $25,333 in 2015. (from here and the ENS summary of Executive Council resolutions is here)

Very interesting. For “improved relations with the Communion” perhaps read “we can do business with Lambeth”? At any rate, we now have confirmation that TEC is committing large sums to fund “Indaba and reconciliation”. We now wait to hear what Archbishop Justin has to say in his Presidential Address to the CofE General Synod at 9.30am on Wednesday morning to join up the dots”¦.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

(TA) General Synod: Questions about ACNA and Tory Baucum

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Pew Research–The Rising Cost of Not Going to College

On virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment””from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the share employed full time””young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education. And when today’s young adults are compared with previous generations, the disparity in economic outcomes between college graduates and those with a high school diploma or less formal schooling has never been greater in the modern era.

These assessments are based on findings from a new nationally representative Pew Research Center survey of 2,002 adults supplemented by a Pew Research analysis of economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Stewardship, Young Adults

(C of E) General Synod approves next steps on Women in the Episcopate

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

Canon Phil Ashey: What was Justin Welby thinking?

But how can the Archbishop of Canterbury offer such fulsome praise for Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefforts Schori who, in defiance of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998), has accelerated the unilateral innovations of same-sex blessings and consecrations of same-sex partnered clergy as bishops that have brought terrible division to the Anglican Communion? How can Justin Welby say with any ecclesial integrity that she has “remarkable gifts of intellect dedicated to the service of Christ” when the unilateral innovations she has championed have destroyed that deeper spiritual unity in Christ for which Anglicans pray””that spiritual unity which is the highest good of the Anglican Communion and the very basis for its mission?

How can Justin Welby ascribe “remarkable intellectual gifts dedicated to the service of Christ” to a leader who has been challenged time and again over the last ten years by the Windsor Process itself, who has ignored the moratoria begged of her and TEC, and whose acceleration of those innovations was the very cause for the response of the Anglican Churches in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and elsewhere in the majority Global South which offered pastoral care and covering to those Episcopalians, now Anglicans, who would not submit to her innovations as a matter of conscience and fidelity to Biblical teaching and Lambeth Resolution 1.10?

Is such conduct really an expression of remarkable intellect in the service of Christ?
What possessed Justin Welby to say that Jefferts Schori “richly deserves” an honorary award for her “remarkable gift of compassion which she has dedicated to the service of Christ,” in the face of the following facts:

”¢On February 17, 2011, The American Anglican Council published a documented report of how Bishop Jefferts Schori and the leadership of TEC had violated the very text of its canons, due process and natural justice to inhibit and depose (at that time) 12 bishops and 404 deacons and priests. Since then, the estimate of total inhibitions and depositions of bishops, priests and deacons has risen to 700. This represents the largest exercise of penal discipline by any Presiding Bishop in the history of the TEC””and perhaps in the history of any Church in the Anglican Communion.

”¢In one notable case, Bishop Jefferts Schori deposed Bishop Henry Scriven of the Church of England! In another notable case, her “compassion” led her to inhibit retired Bishop Edward MacBurney (VII Quincy) on April 2, 2008. On April 4, his son died, leaving the grieving father and bishop unable to conduct his son’s funeral rites.

”¢Through her Chancellor, Bishop Jefferts Schori authorized and continues to authorize litigation against volunteer vestry (parish council) members and other volunteer leaders in church property cases…

Really-Is this “compassion dedicated to the service of Christ?”

Is it possible that the Archbishop of Canterbury is unaware of these facts? I think not; these facts have been available to him for quite some time. We have reason to believe that others have shared these facts with him directly and personally. As a leader committed to reconciliation, he must know that it is essential to know the facts on all sides of any dispute.

Some have suggested that The Archbishop of Canterbury did not write this nor did he see it. Yet it has been reported that a spokesman from Lambeth Palace confirmed that “the press release was issued with the full knowledge and endorsement of the Archbishop.” If true, this is devastating news for those who believe that Justin Welby could never ignore the facts along with the not-so-gentle rebuke he received last week from the Primates of Uganda and Kenya in response to the letter he and the Archbishop of York sent out about “homophobia.”

If it is true that Justin Welby fully endorsed this press release, as politically incompetent, offensive and insensitive to the facts as his congratulations may seem, then it appears that our only option is to believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury deliberately made the decision to congratulate Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori as he did. It will appear to many Anglicans who have been distressed by Bishop Schori’s leadership and the unilateral innovations she has championed that have deeply torn the fabric of the Communion that Justin Welby’s understanding of “gifts of Christian intellect and compassion” run in one direction only””in favor of those innovations. Unless, of course, he chooses to retract and revise the statement.

But his silence his deafening.

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

All Africa: Wabukala Questions UK Bishops Over Same-Sex Unions

February 5th, the Star, Nairobi
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala has questioned whether the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York “hold, personally, as well as in virtue of their office, to the collegial mind of the Anglican Communion.”

In a statement released yesterday, Wabukala appeared concerned that the leadership of the Anglican church might be preparing to backtrack on its rejection of gay marriage.

This month Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu criticised repressive anti-gay legislation passed by the Nigerian and Uganda parliaments.

Last week the English College of Bishops accepted a recommendation for two years of “facilitated conversation” about gay marriage.

Wabukala, the leader of the Anglican Church in Kenya, said that the “intervention” of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York “has served to encourage those who want to normalise homosexual lifestyles in Africa and has fuelled prejudice against African Anglicans.”

Read it all

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