Daily Archives: March 3, 2014

(Telegraph) Jenny Jones–Carbon Fast: the Anglican Church's mission from God to slow climate change

Last week, sitting in a little pub in Dorset and about to sip my pint of Doombar, I was approached by the local vicar. He’d officiated at my daughter’s wedding last year and knew I was a Green, although he probably doesn’t know I’m an atheist.

He asked me if I had heard of the Diocese of Salisbury’s initiative called “Carbon Fast”, which aims to encourage parishioners to reduce the carbon footprint of their households but also their churches, by 40 per cent during the 40 days of Lent.

I hadn’t, but looked up the website, which says: “The result? Better stewardship, enhanced worship and witness, and new disciplines for the future. In response to globally recognised ecological concerns, dioceses across the South West are challenging a destructive culture of ease and wastefulness.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Energy, Natural Resources

Allan Haley: No Word Yet from SCOTUS on The Falls Church Case

The order list published this morning by the United States Supreme Court shows that it still has taken no final action on the petition for review in No. 13-449, The Falls Church v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, et al. Under its rules, the Court grants certiorari when at least four of the nine justices are interested in a given case; it takes five justices to make a majority. The postponement can mean only that either the justices are still discussing what disposition will be made of the case, or that there are one or more dissents from what has been decided (but not yet announced). If the latter is the case, we will eventually learn that less than four justices voted to grant review, and that they were taking the time to write a dissent to be published with the announcement.

As soon as the Court updates the docket sheet, we will have a better idea of which of these alternatives may be the case. The Court’s next conference is this Friday, March 7.

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

Monday Food for Thought–The Truth of All Things by Josef Pieper

If you study any philosophical treatise of our present era you will with almost absolute certainty not encounter the concept, and much less the expression, “the truth of all things.” This is no mere accident. The generally prevailing philosophical thinking of our time has no room at all for this concept; it is, as it were, “not provided for.” It makes sense to speak of truth with regard to thoughts, ideas, statements, opinions””but not with regard to things. Our judgments regarding reality may be true (or false); but to label as “true” reality itself, the “things,” appears to be rather meaningless, mere nonsense. Things are real, not “true”!

Looking at the historical development of this situation, we find that there is much more to it than the simple fact of a certain concept or expression not being used; we find not merely the “neutral” absence, as it were, of a certain way of thinking. No, the nonuse and absence of the concept, “the truth of all things,” is rather the result of a long process of biased discrimination and suppression or, to use a less aggressive term: of elimination.

–Josef Pieper: An Anthology (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989 E.T. of the 1981 original), pp. 95-96

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Philosophy, Roman Catholic

Menlo Park Presbyterian's John Ortberg Preaches Last Sunday–"Imagine"

A writer named Cheryl Forbes once said people who live imaginative lives are what if? people. They respond to ideas and events with a what if? attitude. They behave in what if? ways.

What if? is a big idea, as big as God, for it is the practice of God. That’s our God. Our God thinks, “What if I make a universe? What if I make people in my own image? What if, when they sin, I don’t give up on them?…”

You guys all know next week we’re going to walk together through a really important vote, and we’re asking every member of our church to pray, because we’re seeking together to discern God’s leading for our church. We’re asking all of you who are members to come back next weekend. Come early. Come at 8:30. We have to get registered. We have a 9:30 service. We’re asking everybody to come early….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Presbyterian

One of America's Largest and Most influential PCUSA Parishes Votes to Leave and Join ECO

After an extended, mediated negotiation, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, which has over 3,300 members, including former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University academia, and those in the Silicon Valley…[voted by 93% to]… move forward with the recommendation by their elders and pastors.

In a sermon delivered on Feb. 2, MPPC’s senior pastor John Ortberg explained how the $8.89 million was arrived and explained why the elders still voted unanimously against the option of simply staying in PCUSA.

“As you all know, we have a vision. We have a mission. We want to reach thousands of people for Jesus Christ around this Bay Area that needs him so much,” he said. “We want to launch new sites to help us do that.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop Welby's Pause for Thought on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show

…worries that keep you awake are usually really difficult to deal with. Fears that seem small at breakfast are really bad at three in the morning. Most of us can just about deal with it most of the time, but for many, perhaps one in five, something in your mind and brain and soul becomes a real problem, and depression or other mental illness attacks you. Then everything becomes overwhelming, and you need really good help.

Mental illness is just illness, no more or less bad. The problem is that it often does not involve physical signs and people with mental illness gets stigmatised, isolated, ignored and that makes them worse.
– See more at: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5259/archbishop-justin-gives-pause-for-thought-on-the-chris-evans-breakfast-show#sthash.98MRxrtT.dpuf

Read it all.

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

TEC Diocese of Mississippi announces 5 Final Nominees for bishop

Read it all and note you can click the profile link for a lot more information.

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

Bishop Ben Benitez' Obituary from the Houston Chronicle

In 1955 Bishop Benitez enrolled in St Luke’s School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee to study for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church. He was ordained in the Diocese of Florida in 1958 and assigned to St James Episcopal Church, Lake City, Florida. For two years (1961-62) he served as Canon Pastor of St John’s Cathedral, Jacksonville, Florida, before being called as Rector of Grace Church, Ocala, Florida.
His years in Ocala were challenging ones in the life of the Church. The tensions of the civil rights movement caused Bishop Benitez to receive threats and hate messages as he stood up boldly against segregation. His parish school was the first in the area to be integrated, a step taken well before the public school system did the same. Still, he was held in such wide respect that when the public system’s teachers later went on strike, he was asked by both sides to act as mediator of the dispute.
In 1968 he was called as Rector to Christ Church, San Antonio. There he introduced the exciting renewal program “Faith Alive!”, which soon spread successfully throughout Texas and beyond. During his time there, he was elected to serve first on the Board of Trustees and then the Board of Regents of The University of the South, Sewanee, TN. He was called to the Church of St John the Divine in Houston in 1974, where he continued to implement popular forms of Christian renewal and evangelism. He served as chair of the diocesan programs of Christian Stewardship in both the Diocese of Texas and West Texas. Both dioceses elected him several terms as clerical deputy (representative) to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention.
He was elected sixth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and was consecrated on September 13, 1980 in Houston. For fifteen years he loved the privilege and responsibility of leading one of the strongest dioceses in the nation. One of his greatest joys was to continue the long example by which Texas presented more people of all ages for confirmation than any other diocese in the Episcopal Church. His first years as bishop coincided with the massive national capital campaign known as Venture in Mission in which the Episcopal Church raised funds for missionary efforts at home and abroad. The Diocese of Texas led all dioceses in total funds raised.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

(Diocese of Texas) Bishop Maurice "Ben" Benitez RIP

The Rt. Rev. Maurice M. “Ben” Benitez, 6th Bishop of Texas, died Thursday, February 27 in Austin, TX. Please keep Bishop Benitez’s daughters, Jennifer Shand, Leslie Benitez, and Deborah Smith, and their families in your prayers.

Two funeral services for Bishop Benitez will be held on Monday, March 3 at 3 p.m. at St. Luke’s on the Lake, Austin (5600 Ranch Road 620 North), and on Thursday, March 6 at 12 p.m. at St. John the Divine, Houston (2450 River Oaks Blvd).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

(NYRB) Timothy Snyder–Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda

Whatever course the Russian intervention may take, it is not an attempt to stop a fascist coup, since nothing of the kind has taken place. What has taken place is a popular revolution, with all of the messiness, confusion, and opposition that entails. The young leaders of the Maidan, some of them radical leftists, have risked their lives to oppose a regime that represented, at an extreme, the inequalities that we criticize at home. They have an experience of revolution that we do not. Part of that experience, unfortunately, is that Westerners are provincial, gullible, and reactionary.

Thus far the new Ukrainian authorities have reacted with remarkable calm. It is entirely possible that a Russian attack on Ukraine will provoke a strong nationalist reaction: indeed, it would be rather surprising if it did not, since invasions have a way of bringing out the worst in people. If this is what does happen, we should see events for what they are: an entirely unprovoked attack by one nation upon the sovereign territory of another.

Insofar as we have accepted the presentation of the revolution as a fascist coup, we have delayed policies that might have stopped the killing earlier, and helped prepare the way for war. Insofar as we wish for peace and democracy, we are going to have to begin by getting the story right.

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

A Prayer of John Wesley for his Feast Day

O holy and ever-blessed Jesus, who being the eternal Son of God and most high in the glory of the Father, didst vouchsafe in love for us sinners to be born of a pure virgin, and didst humble thyself unto death, even the death of the cross : Deepen within us, we beseech thee, a due sense of thy infinite love; that adoring and believing in thee as our Lord and Saviour, we may trust in thy infinite merits, imitate thy holy example, obey thy commands, and finally enjoy thy promises; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Methodist, Other Churches, Spirituality/Prayer

Hark the Herald Angels Sing””the Original Lyrics from Charles Wesley on his Feast Day

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.

Mild He lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner Man:
O! to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.

You can find the 1940 Episcopal Hymnal version here (the 5th stanza is missing). The 1982 Episcopal Hymnal only includes the first three verses (with modified language)–KSH

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John and Charles Wesley

Lord God, who didst inspire thy servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and didst endow them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in thy Church, we beseech thee, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known thy Christ may turn to him and be saved; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Methodist, Other Churches, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant us, we beseech thee, Almighty God, a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hope in thy mercy, and a sincere love to thee and to all our fellow men and women; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lutheran Church

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:4-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) Any U.S. steps to punish Russia unlikely to alter course in Ukraine

The U.S. and its European allies can take steps to isolate Russia diplomatically, which would undermine Putin’s claim that his country is again ascendant as a world leader. They can also take steps that would pinch the Russian elite, which relishes its access to Western Europe.

Some of the moves would sting. But none is likely to greatly change the behavior of Putin, experts say.

“Putin is prepared for this kind of international backlash,” said Eugene Rumer of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who was the U.S. national intelligence officer for Russia until December. “In his mind, this won’t be paying too much of a price.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(Morning Star News) Sudan Arrests Pastor During Sermon, Threatens Him

Sudanese authorities arrested a pastor in Omdurman as he was preaching on Sunday (Feb. 23) and threatened that he would “face justice” unless he resigned his position, sources said.

Personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department entered the compound of Omdurman Evangelical Church and arrested the Rev. Yahya Abdelrahim Nalu as part of a government plan to take over properties of the church’s denomination, the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC), the sources said. Omdurman is opposite Khartoum on the River Nile.

The Federal Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments seeks to replace Nalu, senior leader at the church and moderator of the SPEC Synod, with a government-appointed committee that favors turning SPEC properties over to the government, they said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Violence

AnglicanTV interviews The Rev Dr Scrandrett about the new ACNA Catechism

Watch it all (a little over 10 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

New bishop to head TEC Diocese of Bethlehem

A special convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem elected the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe as the provisional bishop of Bethlehem, according to a diocese news release.

Rowe, 39, has been bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania for seven years and will continue in that role. His position in the Bethlehem diocese will be for three years.

“It’s a great day in the kingdom,” said Rowe, in the release. “I am humbled and count it a privilege to stand before you today as your bishop. I am excited about this opportunity to serve you.”

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

From the Do not Take Yourself too Seriously Department–Los Angeles Panics Over Rain

Please watch it all from Jimmy Kimmel–very funny.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Media, Movies & Television, Weather

(RD) James Alexander Thom–A Picture of Grief

It was early in the spring about 15 years ago””a day of pale sunlight and trees just beginning to bud. I was a young police reporter, driving to a scene I didn’t want to see. A man, the police dispatcher’s broadcast said, had accidentally backed his pickup truck over his baby granddaughter in the driveway of the family home. It was a fatality.

As I parked among police cars and TV news cruisers, I saw a stocky, white-haired man in cotton work clothes standing near a pickup. Cameras were trained on him, and reporters were sticking microphones in his face. Looking totally bewildered,he was trying to answer their questions. Mostly he was only moving his lips, blinking, and choking up.

After a while, the reporters gave up and followed the police into the small white house. I can still picture that devastated old man looking down at the place in the driveway where the child had been. Beside the house was a freshly spaded flower bed and nearby a pile of dark, rich earth.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Media, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography

Phil Ashey: Holiness of Life in the Anglican Communion

I’m realizing that the call to live a holy life, just as Jesus lived, is precisely what is at stake in the great conflicts within our Anglican realignment. Whether we are talking about church growth, church litigation, the promotion of varieties of sexual practice and expression outside of lifelong marriage between a man and a woman, or the crisis of false teaching within the global Anglican Communion, we find common in all these conflicts the challenge of the Bible to live a quality of life that Paul describes in those verses above from Romans 6. We call it holiness of life”“ and it is quite simply living our lives with the same holy commitment to God and his purposes that Jesus lived.

In his commentary on Romans, John Stott poses the question “Have we never caught ourselves making light of our failures on the ground that God will excuse and forgive them?” I certainly have: how about you? Stott goes on to lay out the argument in Romans 6 that Paul makes regarding why we have no freedom to do so:

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary