Daily Archives: February 18, 2014

Dr Robert Munday: The Reconciliation Thing

…Welby attempted to clarify his view of reconciliation:

“Reconciliation is extraordinarily painful for those involved in the conflict,” he admitted. He said his view of reconciliation is not a “fuzzy wuzzy tolerance, sort of fluffy, where it would all be nice if we were nice to each other sort of rubbish.”

Frankly, it is on this last point that I am going to need convincing. And the longer I see Dr. Welby in action, the more doubtful I become.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, we read:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Our ministry of reconciliation only exists because, in Christ, we have been reconciled to God; and this reconciliation is grounded in the fact that the Incarnate Son of God, who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Do we believe in Jesus’ substitutionary atonement for us, paying the penalty for the sins that separated us from God? If not, then we cannot be reconciled. Have we, in gratitude, submitted ourselves to Christ? Do we follow his commandments (John 14:21)? If not, then we cannot be reconciled to God, which is the only basis for our being reconciled to each other.

1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” Reconciliation is not living together despite our disagreements. The basis for reconciliation is agreement in the truth.

Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Friends, this is the sad state of the Anglican Communion–a house divided against itself. And unless there is agreement in the truth, talk of reconciliation is meaningless.

This is what the Anglican Communion must have if it is to survive: Not a leader who tries to hold a plurality of viewpoints together, but a leader who leads us in the truth revealed in Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures and who calls us to follow.

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

Christine Fletcher–Love in a Time of Adultery: The Moral Vision of Jane Austen and Dorothy Sayers

Here I want to discuss Jane Austen and Dorothy Sayers – and, in particular, Mansfield Park and Clouds of Witness – not as a literary critic, but as a moral philosopher.

Examining fiction is part of a trend in moral philosophy, especially in the work of Alasdair MacIntyre. In his book After Virtue, MacIntyre contrasted the subjectivist ethics of most modern philosophy with the older tradition of the virtues found in Aristotle, Aquinas and their heirs. He sought to re-establish the older tradition of the moral philosophy of the virtues. One of the key parts of his project is the narrative concept of the self as opposed to, for example, the empiricists’ “bundle” concept of self – that is, I am a bundle of my sense impressions.

The consequences of this concept of personal identity for ethics is shown in a story about Bertrand Russell, a philosophical descendent of British empiricism. He was cycling across Grantchester meadow, and realised that he was no longer the same person he was ten years ago. The Russell of ten years ago had married; but the present day Russell, he reasoned, could not be bound by those promises since he was now a different person. The narrative concept of the self would insist that the Russell cycling across the meadow was the same person as the Russell who married ten years ago: personal identity is a story of an individual life through time and space, interlocked with the narratives of other individuals. Hence, this Russell is bound by his promise.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Poetry & Literature, Theology

Allan Haley: How Much Has ECUSA Spent on Lawsuits? [$40 million+]

(Updated Jan. 2014)
In September 2010, I put up an analysis, based on ECUSA’s monthly statements and their annual audited statements through 2009, of how much ECUSA and its major dioceses had spent on attorneys’ fees and other costs associated with the (then) 60+ lawsuits as catalogued here (see pgs. 23-26). In order to give as complete a picture as possible, I also included the latest ECUSA budget projection of legal expenses through the triennium 2010-2012.

One has to realize that ECUSA does not make it easy to discover the amounts it spends on litigation — the leadership at 815 Second Avenue would obviously prefer that those who sit in the pews every Sunday and contribute their pledges not be aware of just how many millions have been squandered on ECUSA’s scorched-earth litigation policy.

I am fully aware that those are fighting words to all those who support the current administration at 815 Second Avenue: “Prove it!” they say. Well, in the course of this post, I intend to do just that. So please suspend your judgment until you have digested the entire piece, and checked out all the links to my sources — which are uniformly from ECUSA’s own published financial statements and official minutes. I am a lifelong Episcopalian myself, and I am utterly ashamed and outraged by what the Presiding Bishop and her cohorts are doing in our Church’s name.

Read it all and see also Allan Haley: Episcopal Church (USA) Annual Litigation Summary 2014

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

Allan Haley: Episcopal Church (USA) Annual Litigation Summary 2014

It is a fact well known to certain Episcopalians””both those who have left the Episcopal Church (USA) and those who have remained””that ECUSA and its dioceses have followed a pattern of suing any church that chooses to leave for another Anglican jurisdiction. But the full extent of the litigation that has ensued is not well known at all, either in the wider Church, or among the provinces of the Anglican Communion. (Otherwise — one would think — it would never have been deemed to be conduct to be rewarded by this honorary degree, rather than this one.)

Your Curmudgeon proposes to do what he can to rectify this situation, by publishing an annual update on this site of the current status of all past and present cases in which ECUSA or any of its dioceses has been or is involved, from 2000 to date. Feel free to link to this post, to email links to it to other Episcopalians, and to send it to your Bishop — and feel free to post any updates or corrections in the comments. In another update to be posted in the next few days, I will published a revised total for all of the money spent by ECUSA and its Dioceses to date on prosecuting all of these lawsuits (and, in the case of the second group below, defending them).

The lawsuits initiated by ECUSA and its dioceses to date are first listed below, followed by a list of the seven cases begun by a diocese or parish against the Episcopal Church (or a diocese). The listing endeavors to be as complete as I can make it. The first 83 cases, generally grouped by the State in which they each originated, are the legal actions filed since 2000 (of which I am aware) where the Episcopal Church (USA) and/or one of its dioceses played the role of plaintiff””the party who initiates a case in court by filing a complaint to seize the assets and real property of any church choosing to leave ECUSA. Please note that wherever possible the actual citation of any published decision in the case has been given. Also, please note the dates for the later cases, which demonstrate the acceleration of litigation by ECUSA and its dioceses in defiant rejection of the Primates’ call for a moratorium on litigation at the Dar es Salaam meeting

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

James Gibson: Justin the Unremarkable on the wrong side of history, again

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Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

(CT) Suicide Bus Bombing Kills South Korean Christians on Holy Land Pilgrimage

A bus full of South Korean Christians who saved money for years in order to visit biblical sites in Egypt and Israel were attacked Sunday by a suicide bomber.

Four people were killed in the bombing, including the Egyptian driver, a church member, and two South Korean guides. At least 14 others were injured, the Associated Press reports.

This is not the first time South Korean Christians have been the target of violence in a foreign country. In 2007, after a 43-day hostage situation left two South Korean missionaries dead in Afghanistan, South Korea subsequently banned citizens from traveling to certain majority-Muslim countries””which proved to be a blessing in disguise for Korean Christians.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Egypt, Evangelicals, Israel, Middle East, Other Churches, South Korea, Violence

The Anglican Church in Nigeria Ends its Prayer Summit in Owerri

A week-long rededication prayer summit, organised by the St. Peter Anglican Church, Irete in Owerri Diocese of Imo State, ended in a grand style last Sunday.

The summit, which commenced last Monday, February 3, 2014 with prayer, worship songs, praises, testimonies, bible expositions, counseling, drama, among other activities, ended on Sunday, February 9, 2014 with a thanksgiving and fundraising service for the development of the church.

Speaking on the theme of the summit titled, “Being like-minded in Christ,” the host Vicar Rev. Kenneth Chikere, called on the members of the church to be imitators of Christ in characters that express the gospel as true, practicable timeless and eminent in all believers.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Spirituality/Prayer

(Gallup) Unemployment Rises to the Top Problem in the U.S. for its citizens

Americans have a new No. 1 problem. Nearly one in four Americans mention jobs and unemployment as the most important problem facing the country, up from 16% in January. The government and politicians had topped the list since the government shutdown in October.

Prior to last fall, either jobs or the economy had led the “most important problem” list going back to February 2008, and these two have regained their top spots in the Feb. 6-9 poll.

Healthcare continues to rank among the top problems, with 15% naming it, unchanged from January. Mentions of the federal debt/budget deficit are stable at 8%, despite Congress’ increasing the debt ceiling in February.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(CC) Philip Jenkins–The full picture of 1517

In 2017 we will mark the half-millennium of the Reformation, and already the commemorations and academic conferences are taking shape. In light of recent trends, though, it’s reasonable to ask just what we are commemorating.

Nobody doubts the significance of Martin Luther, whose historic protest in 1517 sparked a religious revolution, one of the pivotal moments of Christian history. But we are today living through a different kind of revolution. The great centers of Christian population are not the European heartland but such countries as Brazil, Mexico, Congo, Ethiopia and the Philippines. Surprisingly, that global Christian world is also marking a series of critical anniversaries that take us back to Luther’s lifetime. As we remember the Reformation over the next couple of years, we should also recall its global context.

Even in Luther’s time, the Christian world stretched far beyond the regions of Western Europe.

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

(ThisDay) Over 1,000 Anglican Church Leaders Meet on the State of the Nation

About 1,000 delegates from the 178 Dioceses of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) will today storm Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to deliberate on the progress of the church and much more importantly, review the state of the nation.

The church, which is worried over the state of the nation’s economy and high level corruption in the country, would from today embark on a week-long conference to address the issues, with a view to proffering an enduring solution to the endemic situation.

The 1,000-member standing committee of the church, led by its Primate, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, according to Anglican Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Most Reverend Joseph Akinfenwa, who addressed journalists in Ibadan to herald the meeting, reeled out a tale of woes of the nation as regards the national polity but concluded that with divine intervention, the forthcoming 2015 general election would be a success story.

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

(NYT) Millennials Feel Trapped in a Cycle of Internships With Little Pay and No Job Offers

Like other 20-somethings seeking a career foothold, Andrew Lang, a graduate of Penn State, took an internship at an upstart Beverly Hills production company at age 29 as a way of breaking into movie production. It didn’t pay, but he hoped the exposure would open doors.

When that internship proved to be a dead end, Mr. Lang went to work at a second production company, again as an unpaid intern. When that went nowhere, he left for another, doing whatever was asked, like delivering bottles of wine to 27 offices before Christmas. But that company, too, could not afford to hire him, even part time.

A year later, Mr. Lang is on his fourth internship, this time for a company that produces reality TV shows. While this internship at least pays him (he makes $10 an hour, with few perks), Mr. Lang feels no closer to a real job and worries about being an intern forever. “No one hires interns,” said Mr. Lang, who sees himself as part of a “revolving class of people” who can’t break free of the intern cycle. “Is this any way to live?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology, Young Adults

(CBS' 60 minutes) Businessman Bill Browder's fight to expose corruption in Russia

Russia has been showing the world glistening scenes of the Winter Olympics. It’s a rare opportunity to brighten a national image that often skates on the thin ice of corruption. One authority estimates that 20 percent of the Russian economy is skimmed by graft and a lot of that by government officials. It may be that no one knows more about this than American-born businessman Bill Browder.

Browder tells a story of thievery, vengeance and death worthy of a Russian novel. He’s a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin and he has torn a rift between Moscow and Washington. When you hear what he has to say about Russia you’ll know why Russia thinks of Bill Browder as an enemy of the state.

Bill Browder: The Russian regime is a criminal regime. We’re dealing with a nuclear country run by a bunch of Mafia crooks. And we have to know that.

Read (or better watch) it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Russia, Theology

Martin Luther for his Feast Day–A Sermon on the Gospel of John 2:1-11

But see, how unkindly he turns away the humble request of his mother who addresses him with such great confidence. Now observe the nature of faith. What has it to rely on? Absolutely nothing, all is darkness. It feels its need and sees help nowhere; in addition, God turns against it like a stranger and does not recognize it, so that absolutely nothing is left. It is the same way with our conscience when we feel our sin and the lack of righteousness; or in the agony of death when we feel the lack of life; or in the dread of hell when eternal salvation seems to have left us. Then indeed there is humble longing and knocking, prayer and search, in order to be rid of sin, death and dread. And then he acts as if he had only begun to show us our sins, as if death were to continue, and hell never to cease. Just as he here treats his mother, by his refusal making the need greater and more distressing than it was before she came to him with her request; for now it seems everything is lost, since the one support on which she relied in her need is also gone.

This is where faith stands in the heat of battle. Now observe how his mother acts and here becomes our teacher. However harsh his words sound, however unkind he appears, she does not in her heart interpret this as anger, or as the opposite of kindness, but adheres firmly to the conviction that he is kind, refusing to give up this opinion because of the thrust she received, and unwilling to dishonor him in her heart by thinking him to be otherwise than kind and gracious–as they do who are without faith, who fall back at the first shock and think of God merely according to what they feel, like the horse and the mule, Ps 32, 9. For if Christ’s mother had allowed those harsh words to frighten her she would have gone away silently and displeased; but in ordering the servants to do what he might tell them she proves that she has overcome the rebuff and still expects of him nothing but kindness.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Martin Luther

O God, our refuge and our strength, who didst raise up thy servant Martin Luther to reform and renew thy Church in the light of thy word: Defend and purify the Church in our own day and grant that, through faith, we may boldly proclaim the riches of thy grace, which thou hast made known in Jesus Christ our Savior, who, with thee and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, heavenly Father, who by thy Son hast made all things in heaven and earth, and yet desirest to draw to thyself our uncompelled love and devotion: Grant us grace to understand the manifestation of thy Son Christ the Lord and Saviour of mankind, and to engage all our affections in thy service, and labour to spread the gospel among those who know him not; that when he shall come again in great glory he may find a people gladly awaiting his kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

–1 John 2:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

In Brooklyn, Friday Night Rites for Witches

Damon Stang, whom Mr. English affectionately calls the “shop witch,” is the resident tarot card reader. Mr. Stang, a 30-year-old South African, is the founder of Kings County Coven No. 1, and he leads the Witches’ Compass series with Katelan Foisy on each full moon.

“There’s been a magical revival happening in New York City for two to three years,” Mr. Stang said. “I think it’s a nostalgia that people have for a sense of enchantment with the world.”

Athena Dugan, 51, who came from Lincoln Square to play the drums during the ceremony, said the long trip was worth it. “The connection I get when I’m here, and the trueness and honesty that it creates to being pagan, Wiccan, is here,” she said. “The minute I walk in, it’s like I’m stepping into a different world.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Wicca / paganism

The Religious Affiliation of US Presidents–see if you can Guess the Top Three Church Bodies

You get a hint–the first has ten, the second eight, and the third four. Take a guess at which demonimations they are and then read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Religion & Culture

The Papers of George Washington Website at the University of Virginia

What a resource–check it out. One of the many I enjoyed was the Rules of Civility.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Office of the President, Politics in General