Daily Archives: March 14, 2014

(NYT Well Blog) To Keep Teenagers Alert, Schools Let Them Sleep In

Jilly Dos Santos really did try to get to school on time. She set three successive alarms on her phone. Skipped breakfast. Hastily applied makeup while her fuming father drove. But last year she rarely made it into the frantic scrum at the doors of Rock Bridge High School here by the first bell, at 7:50 a.m.

Then she heard that the school board was about to make the day start even earlier, at 7:20 a.m.

“I thought, if that happens, I will die,” recalled Jilly, 17. “I will drop out of school!”

That was when the sleep-deprived teenager turned into a sleep activist….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Health & Medicine, Teens / Youth

A Look Back (II)–The Jerusalem Declaration 2008

The meeting in Jerusalem this week was called in a sense of urgency that a false gospel has so paralysed the Anglican Communion that this crisis must be addressed. The chief threat of this dispute involves the compromising of the integrity of the church’s worldwide mission. The primary reason we have come to Jerusalem and issued this declaration is to free our churches to give clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ.

It is our hope that this Statement on the Global Anglican Future will be received with comfort and joy by many Anglicans around the world who have been distressed about the direction of the Communion. We believe the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations.

–From the final text on which i will be giving a presentation later today

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Israel, Middle East, Missions, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Look Back (I)-June 2003–In Blessing Same-Sex Unions, Canadian Anglican Bishop Courts a Schism

The fateful decision has brought on charges from conservatives that…[Bishop Michael Ingham] is a blasphemer who is willing to split the Anglican Church to suit his taste for social change. Since then, 15 of the Anglican Church’s 38 primates, the top Anglican leaders worldwide, have denounced Bishop Ingham’s action and have either suspended or entirely severed ecclesiastical relations with his diocese.

In a scornful statement, the primates — representing 38 million Anglicans from Africa, Asia and Latin America — wrote in June that Bishop Ingham’s decision to bless same-sex unions represented ”a defining moment in which the clear choice has to be made between remaining a communion or disintegrating into a federation of churches.”

In greater Vancouver, 8 of the 80 parishes have withheld payments to Bishop Ingham’s diocese and 7 of them have voted to have the conservative bishop of Yukon minister to them in what has become a virtual civil war within the diocese. ”The dispute over Bishop Ingham’s decision to bless same-sex unions is dangerously close to producing a worldwide schism,” said Stephen A. Kent, a sociologist of religion at the University of Alberta, ”reminiscent of the original Anglican schism from Catholicism in the 1500’s as a reaction to issues involving marriage, divorce, blessed unions and authority.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(WSJ) Raymond Arroyo–Pope Francis Shakes Up the Vatican

Francis knows that any reform must start in the hearts of his collaborators or all the administrative tinkering in the world will never succeed. He has called out “careerism” in the clergy and gone so far as to describe the Vatican court as the “leprosy of the papacy.” He has abolished the honorific title of “monsignor” and routinely encourages his co-workers to go out to the people on the periphery, to those who have been forgotten. He models this behavior at his weekly audiences and during parish visits.

Substantively, the pope has made one major change that has set teeth chattering in the Vatican’s offices: Last month, he appointed Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, a former rugby player not adverse to public combat, to lead the newly formed Secretariat for the Economy. This new body will have dominion over all the financial, economic and administrative affairs of the Vatican. The office seems to occupy the same plane of power as the Secretariat of State, marking a critical change at the heart of the Holy See’s organizational structure. To execute this change, Pope Francis couldn’t have chosen a churchman better versed in economics, culture or faith than Cardinal Pell. I am told it is the first of many such bold moves.

As Pope Francis begins his second year, it is difficult to forecast where this unpredictable pontiff is headed. But it is safe to assume that pastoral mercy, an insistence on elevating the forgotten, and an aversion to rigidity will distinguish the days to come””to say nothing of that tiny Ford Focus.

Read it all.

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

(Church Times) Westminster rules on Same-sex marriage in shared churches and chapels

Proposals to convert the House of Commons chapel, St Mary Undercroft, into a multifaith centre (News, 15 March 2013) so that MPs and peers could use it to solemnise same-sex marriages, have been blocked.

Black Rod, Lt. Gen. David Leakey, confirmed that the original suggestion that the chapel be converted into a multifaith centre had been modified “so that the chapel would be a multi-denominational chapel; in other words, still a Christian place of worship rather than multifaith. None the less, there are no plans to take the proposal forward.”

The chapel is a Royal Peculiar, under the care of Westminster Abbey, and one of the few remaining areas of the Palace of Westminster still under royal control. Chris Bryant, the MP who first put forward the idea, suggested that the proposal was personally blocked by the Queen, who visited the chapel in December. “She is a very conservative woman,” he said.Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Adult Education, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(UMNS) Two Differing Reactions to the outcome of the (Ogletree) same-sex wedding case

For those who are waiting for a full reversal of church prohibitions, the dismissal of the Ogletree complaint is not enough.

Dorothee Benz of Methodists in New Directions, an advocacy group that has provided direct support to the retired pastor, commended McLee’s “very bold step” to find “a new way out of this problem,” and said the time for complacency is over….

“I’m heartened, but we’re not there,” said Lyn Ellis, co-coordinator of Affirmation, a long-time advocacy group. “Justice can’t be served if this can happen again.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Good News) Good News' statement regarding the Ogletree case

Good News thanks the complainants, the Revs. Randall Paige and Roy Jacobsen, for their courageous attempt to maintain the church’s faithfulness to its doctrine and Discipline. They set an example for all of us to follow in their willingness to stand up publicly for biblical teaching. We cannot predict the future course of events, but when some parts of the church declare by their words and actions that they will no longer live by our agreed-upon way of discipleship, it puts the long-term viability of The United Methodist Church as a united body in grave jeopardy. – See more at: http://goodnewsmag.org/2014/03/good-news-statement-regarding-the-ogletree-case/#sthash.c3vf0lpZ.dpuf

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(JE) The Complainant in New York Methodist Same Sex Marriage Case Responds

I am disturbed that this settlement appears to represent a determination on the part of the New York Annual Conference leaders that they will no longer enforce or uphold the Discipline on this matter. While dialog and deep listening are good, they are no substitute for living up to the vows of obedience we took as United Methodist clergy, even when we disagree with the provisions we are asked to obey. Bishop McLee’s commitment to have no more trials for those accused of performing same-sex services means that numerous complaints that are in process will be held in abeyance, and further complaints will be discouraged.

The impact of this settlement today will be that faithful United Methodists who support the church’s teachings will feel ignored and will face their own crisis of conscience, as to whether they can continue to support a church that will not abide by its own rules. In addition, clergy in the New York Annual Conference and other like-minded annual conferences, are now given a green light to disobey the Discipline and perform same-sex services at will, without any consequences. Far from avoiding schism, today’s settlement increases the probability that schism will take place. For all these reasons, I cannot support this settlement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) Methodist Bishop to End Trials for Ministers Who Perform Same Sex Weddings

The head bishop of the United Methodist Church in New York on Monday committed to ending church trials in his region for ministers who perform same sex-marriages, essentially freeing them to conduct a ceremony still prohibited under his denomination’s laws.

As the first sitting United Methodist bishop to publicly make such a pledge, Bishop Martin D. McLee instantly became a leading figure in a decades-old movement within the United Methodist Church, the country’s second-largest Protestant denomination, to extend equal recognition and rights to gay and lesbian members. Though Bishop McLee said that he hoped his approach would heal the church’s deep divisions over homosexuality, more conservative Methodists warned that his actions would push the denomination closer to an irrevocable split.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and most merciful God, we acknowledge and confess that we have sinned against thee in thought, word, and deed; that we have not loved thee with all our heart and soul, with all our mind and strength; and that we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. We beseech thee, O God, to be forgiving to what we have been, to help us to amend what we are, and of thy mercy to direct what we shall be; so that we may henceforth walk in the way of thy commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’,
and again,
‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.’
So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

–1 Corinthians 3:16-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Missionaries from indigenous backgrounds may be the key to reaching the nations

4 years ago, missionary Doug Millar was frustrated by the lackluster amount of conversions in his Mayan village of Chan Chen, Mexico. Despite a steady stream of short-term mission teams, next to no one in the village had become a Christian.

Ministry partner Randy Carruth suggested a solution: Invite Native Americans.

In March 2013, after three such trips by Carruth’s I Am Able Ministries, 25 to 30 Mayans attended the village’s first worship service. Less than a year later, Millar’s church has grown to 200.

It’s not an isolated case. With many Native American communities reporting signs of revival and church growth, missions leaders are increasingly trying to send these missionaries to other indigenous groups worldwide.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Christology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Missions, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Bats in the belfry a serious matter for the Church of England

Bats are making life unbearable for congregations by defecating on worshippers from roofs as well as bell towers, according to a report to the Church Buildings Council of the Church of England.

“Bats in churches are no joke for those who have to clean up the mess behind,” said Anne Sloman, chair of the council. “Their presence in large numbers is making it impossible for us to open churches for a whole variety of social and community uses as well as making life miserable for worshippers, and we are seriously worried about the irreparable damage bats are causing to priceless church artifacts.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Provinces, Animals, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry