Daily Archives: March 24, 2014

Archbishop Justin Welby expresses sadness at death of supreme head of Syrian Orthodox Church

Archbishop Justin said: “We thank God for the extraordinary life and witness of His Holiness and pray for the Syrian Orthodox Church at this time of mourning and uncertainty. His Holiness will be sorely missed. We also continue to remember His Eminence Metropolitan Yohanna Ibrahim of Alleppo, who has been missing along with His Eminence Metropolitan Boulos since April 2013 and seek the mercy of Christ for his safe release.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Middle East, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Syria

Peter Carrell reads Gene Robinson and Worries He sees the Influence of John Spong

From Gene Robinson:

This column will also go far beyond Christianity. God is infinite, and it comes as no surprise to me that there have developed, over time, many credible and faithful approaches to understanding God. In the end, no religion holds a lock on the reality of God. Each religion grasps only a part of the infinite God and offers insight into God’s reality, and we would do well to exercise a good measure of humility in claiming we know God’s will. Better to begin each pronouncement we make about God with “In my experience”¦” or “From my perspective”¦” or simply “For me”¦.” At the end of the day, no matter how much we believe we know God’s will, we must acknowledge that each of us is only doing the best she/he can.”

Peter Carrell then responds:

Sounds like Spong. But it is not. More like ‘channelling Spong.’ The author is a bishop of an Anglican church. To that Anglican church the Diocese of South Carolina once belonged. Here is a useful illustration of why that Diocese has said Enough is enough. A bishop, intended within Anglican polity to be a teacher of the faith, belittles his own religion and its claim to have received the fullness of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ by declaring ‘Each religion grasps only a part of the infinite God.’ Further, as a bishop authorised by the church to proclaim the Word of God, the best he can do is boil down all proclamation of God’s truth to ‘In my experience.’

This is not Christianity. Nor is it Anglicanism as a manner of being Christian which is both catholic and reformed.

Read it all inclusive of the link and comments.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AFP) Guinea scrambles to contain deadly Ebola outbreak

Aid workers and medics battled Monday to contain west Africa’s first outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus as tests on suspected cases in Conakry allayed fears that it had spread to the capital.

More than 60 people have died in an outbreak of the virulent virus raging through Guinea’s southern forests but tests on three haemorrhagic fever cases — two of them fatal — in Conakry were negative, the government said.

“The Pasteur Institute in Dakar worked urgently all last night on samples taken from suspected cases here in Conakry which were all negative,” said Sakoba Keita, the health ministry’s chief disease prevention officer.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Guinea, Health & Medicine

The Latest Edition of Anglican Unscripted, Ep 95, with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger

00:00 The Pope a year in review
10:00 Global South adopts Diocese of South Carolina
18:10 ABC Canterbury year in review with Peter Ould
29:11 Why would anybody bring charges against Saint Schori?
38:14 R.I.P Terry Fullam
45:57 Closing and Bloopers

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Commentary, Global South Churches & Primates, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

The Snopes Top 25 Stories which are not True for today

Check it out and please, please do not believe everything you read on the Internet and learn to check your sources.

Notice this one today–(#2) Facebook ‘No Religion’ Campaign

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Bill Atwood–“You can’t stop the squeak by oiling the mouse”

No amount of investigation about the weather or the mechanical condition of the Malaysian Airlines plane will yield the truth if that is not the problem. From where I sit, it seems to me that there was a hijacking, either by passengers on the plane or a choice by the pilot(s) to fly somewhere else. Now that possibility is finally being examined, lots of information is surfacing. It may be that investigating a pilot with radical politics will yield answers. Perhaps examination of lax security will yield answers, but it appears that radicalism is at the heart of the situation either way. Now as that is investigated, there are all kinds of tidbits of information surfacing. I suspect that not just radicalism, but probably Islamic radicalism, will emerge as the cause. At least it is now being examined.

In Northern Nigeria, no amount of inquiry into “ethnic conflict” will produce answers. It is not an “ethnic conflict.” It is jihad by radical Muslims against Christians. It is Christians who are being attacked and killed. It is the homes and businesses of Christians that are being burned. It is Christians who are having to flee to preserve their lives. It is not tribal, it is not ethnic, it is not economic, it is a spiritual war. It has to be addressed for what it is if there is going to be any answer.

So”¦what are we to do?

We need to remember that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:10) We need to cultivate our relationship with the Lord through worship and time in the Word of God. We also need to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit by being obedient to what the Lord requires and commands us to do.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

Notable and Quotable–A.S. Haley on the Mismanagement and Stewardship of TEC's legal Wars

From here:

For [the National Episcopal Church at] 815 [Second Avenue in New York City] to continue to pour money into the current property litigation in both those States is nothing less than an actionable waste of charitable resources on a purely punitive mission, and as such is a breach of fiduciary duty at the highest level.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, Theology

A.S. Haley on the recent legal Rulings in the Episcopal Church's S.C. and Texas Legal Battles

In another recent but unpublished decision, the same [South Carolina] Court of Appeals disposed in one paragraph of an appeal by a Baptist Church Conference from a judgment finding it had no ownership or trust interest in the property of one of its churches (Haselden v. New Hope Church, No. 2012-213355, March 19, 2014) (h/t: commenter “Joe”). The per curiam opinion is self-explanatory:

The General Conference of the Free Will Baptist Church of the Pentecostal Faith (“the Conference”) appeals the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of New Hope Church (“New Hope”) on the grounds that New Hope owned the property on which it was situated free and clear of any legal interest claimed by the Conference. We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: Rule 56(c), SCRCP (stating that summary judgment is proper when no genuine issue exists as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law); Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595, 603 (1979) (stating that when resolving disputes over the ownership of church property, courts must rely “exclusively on objective, well-established concepts of trust and property law familiar to lawyers and judges.”); S.C. Code Ann. § 62-7401(a)(2) (Supp. 2013) (“To be valid, a trust of real property, created by transfer in trust or by declaration of trust, must be proved by some writing signed by the party creating the trust.”); All Saints Parish Waccamaw v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of S.C., 385 S.C. 428, 449, 685 S.E.2d 163, 174 (2009) (“It is an axiomatic principle of law that a person or entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another.”).


Since it is unpublished, the opinion has no precedential value (i.e., it cannot be cited to any other South Carolina court), but its summary disposition is still a strong indicator of the way the wind blows in South Carolina. The Court found applicable Jones v. Wolf’s holding that state courts may apply traditional concepts of trust and property law in resolving church property cases; a South Carolina statute setting out the legal requirements for a valid trust in the State; and the Supreme Court’s opinion in the All Saints Waccamaw case, which ruled against a similar argument made by ECUSA and the then-EDSC. Taken together, those three authorities are all a court needs to cite in order to find a Dennis-Canon type of claim invalid and of no consequence under South Carolina law.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, Theology

The Dean of Durham's Sermon Yesterday on St. Cuthbert and The Whole Armour of God

You’ll recognise the motifs on the badge from today’s 2nd lesson. ”˜Take up the whole armour of God’ says Ephesians: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. The author’s appeal to his readers is vivid and urgent. ”˜Be strong in the Lord”¦so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.’ Combative stuff. But it fits exactly into the world-view of the first and second generations of Christians. They believed themselves to be warriors of light and truth in an alien, hostile universe. And just as Christ in his descent into hell had harrowed it, ransoming his own and rescuing them from the demonic clutch of death and Satan, so now the church was called bravely to battle against evil by witnessing to the gospel’s redeeming power and by turning human lives round from the oppressions of terror and wickedness to the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Move the clock forward by six centuries, and we come to St Cuthbert whom we celebrated last week. There is a so-called ”˜Celtic’ perception of our northern saint, and there is the truth. The fantasy is that he was a kind of proto-romantic who took himself off to the Inner Farne for peace, quiet, and plenty of time to contemplate ducks. The more austere truth is that he went to the Farne to fight, Bede says, to ”˜seek out a remote battlefield farther away from his fellows’. For him, to be a hermit was to wrestle with evil, the demons within and those without. This warfare was not, or not principally, a private affair. It was an act of the church whereby the ever-threatening forces of chaos and disorder were kept at bay by those called, so to speak, to front-line service. The consolations of the Farne were, to quote the title of a book about desert spirituality, ”˜the solace of fierce landscapes’. There is nothing perfumed or rose-hued about Cuthbert’s struggle for the good, the life-giving and the just. Like all who are valiant for truth, like the prophets and apostles, like the desert fathers and Irish monks, like Jesus himself, it cost him everything. He lived for it, and in the end he died for it.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

(WSJ) U.S. Scurries to Shore Up Spying on Russia

U.S. military satellites spied Russian troops amassing within striking distance of Crimea last month. But intelligence analysts were surprised because they hadn’t intercepted any telltale communications where Russian leaders, military commanders or soldiers discussed plans to invade.

America’s vaunted global surveillance is a vital tool for U.S. intelligence services, especially as an early-warning system and as a way to corroborate other evidence. In Crimea, though, U.S. intelligence officials are concluding that Russian planners might have gotten a jump on the West by evading U.S. eavesdropping.

“Even though there was a warning, we didn’t have the information to be able to say exactly what was going to happen,” a senior U.S. official says.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Science & Technology

Ohio Priest dismissed from Episcopal Church after panel finds misuse of funds

Despite losing his orders as an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Brian S. Suntken is continuing his pastoral ministry.

Suntken, who said he resigned as pastor of Christ Church Hudson and renounced his orders from the Episcopal Church in December 2012, officially was “deposed and his ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church ended,” according to a church document dated Dec. 7, 2013.

The document, which was mailed anonymously to the Akron Beacon Journal, was signed by three members of a hearing panel of the Cleveland-based Episcopal Diocese of Ohio who found Suntken guilty of eight of nine allegations against him, including misuse of church funds and dishonesty.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, Theology

Methodist Minister Bill McElvaney suspended for performing same-sex wedding

Bishop Michael McKee has suspended the Rev. Bill McElvaney for performing a high-profile same-sex wedding in Dallas on March 1, 2014. News of the suspension was revealed in a message from McElvaney on the website of Northaven United Methodist Church, a congregation that was once led by the 85-year-old retired McElvaney.

In the posted message, McElvaney said he received a letter March 7 from Bishop Michael McKee informing him that the Rev. Camille Gaston, the district superintendent in the area, had filed a complaint against him. McElvaney reports that his clergy responsibilities had been suspended for 90 days.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Oscar Romero

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador, we may without fear or favor witness to thy Word who abideth, thy Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --El Salvador, Central America, Church History, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O almighty Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, who hast made the light of thy truth to shine in our hearts: Make us to walk as children of light in all goodness and righteousness, that we may have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–W. Walsham How

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Post-Gazette) Three churches to close in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

Parish mergers in the Diocese of Pittsburgh will mean the closure of two churches in East Pittsburgh and another in Monongahela next month, the result of dwindling numbers of parishioners and priests as well as financial concerns.

Bishop David Zubik broke the news in letters read at Masses over the weekend to hundreds of parishioners of Holy Cross Parish in East Pittsburgh and Good Shepherd Parish in Braddock, and in person during a Saturday Mass in St. Damien of Molokai Parish in Monongahela. The merger and closures will take effect April 28.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Urban/City Life and Issues

Lionel Messi becomes top El Clasico scorer as Barcelona beats Real Madrid in 4-3 thriller

Lionel Messi’s late first half goal made him the all-time leading El Clasico goal scorer on Sunday, and he scored twice more in the second half for a hat trick in Barcelona’s 4-3 win over Real Madrid.

Barca struck first thanks to a perfectly-weighted pass from Messi that found Andres Iniesta at full stride, and he lashed a left-footed laser into the upper netting. It was a powerful strike that put the visitors ahead in the 7th minute.

Cristiano Ronaldo was harassed, banged and brutalized early as Barca looked to intimidate the Portuguese superstar, but he was still effective early.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Spain, Sports

A Michigan Same-Sex Couple's vows won't be rooted in ruling

[TEC minister The Rev. Deon]…Johnson is one of at least three Livingston County clergy members who committed to performing same-sex marriages pending the outcome of the federal case.

He joins the Revs. Yvonne Schumacher Strejcek of the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton Township and Lynn Martin of Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Pinckney in agreeing to perform ceremonies, according to an Equality Michigan database.

Across county lines, there are several clergy in the Ann Arbor and Lansing areas who also agreed to perform same-sex weddings. Clergy in Dexter, Wixom, Waterford, Farmington Hills and Livonia, also plan to conduct ceremonies.

Johnson said same-sex marriage was discussed within the Episcopal Church decades before the issue reached the courts.

The church in 2009, spurred by growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, approved a ceremony that recognizes the unions within the church, regardless of legal recognition.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) Unwilling to Allow His Wife a Divorce, He Marries Another

The wedding was a modest affair, held in a reception hall overlooking an artificial lake tucked behind a suburban strip. But just minutes after it ended, the bride and groom hurriedly scurried past dozens of protesters here who were chanting “Bigamist!” and “Shame on you!”

One of the wedding guests on Thursday evening glared at the demonstrators, repeatedly hissing: “Mazel tov. Mazel tov. Mazel tov.” The bride, in a lace and sequin floor-length gown, grasped the hand of her husband and looked at the crowd in silence.

Meir Kin, the new husband, has been divorced for more than seven years, under California’s civil law. But he has refused to give his previous wife the document known as a “get,” as required by Orthodox Jewish law to end a marriage. In the eyes of religious authorities, the woman he married in 2000 is what is called an agunah ”” Hebrew for chained wife. Without the get, the woman, Lonna Kin, is forbidden under Jewish law to remarry.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Guardian) Vicars report greatest job satisfaction while publicans are least happy

Want to be happy in your work? Go to theological college and avoid a career pulling pints. That would seem to be one conclusion to draw from a new study into wellbeing and public policy, which found that employees reporting greatest job satisfaction were vicars, while publicans ”“ who on average earn almost £5,000 a year more ”“ were the least happy in their work.

Overall job satisfaction, in fact, has little to do with salary, according to the figures drawn from Office for National Statistics data. While company chief executives, earning £117,700 a year on average, were found to be the second happiest employees (mean clergy income by contrast is a mere £20,568), company secretaries, fitness instructors and school secretaries, all earning less than £19,000 a year, emerged among the top 20 most satisfying careers.

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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), Economy, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture

A revisit back to 2007–on Paul Greve, TEC and that Christians have different Kinds of Differences

…the biggest objection to the article is that he never really gets to the meat of why the present crisis is such a big deal. If Anglicanism is a via media between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism as he (thank the Lord) rightly says, then it is not a middle way to nowhere, nor is it a middle way between faith and life, or between all sorts of other false polarities which are suggested in a number of recent discussions. The heart of Anglicanism is as Marco Antonio De Dominis rightly said in essentials unity, in non essentials liberty, and in all things charity. But what happens when the ‘“big tent” of Anglicanism that comfortably accommodated a full range of conservative and liberal beliefs’ accommodates disagreements about matters which are not non-essential?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

(BBC) Catherine Fox for Lent–Power and Passion

As a novelist, I find it really annoying when other people tell me how to write. If it’s a copyeditor, I try to rein in my annoyance and address the list of queries I’ve been sent about my latest manuscript. I try not think, ”˜Write your own book, if you’re so clever.’ One thing I am not prepared to tolerate, though, is Word’s grammar check, with its impertinent squiggly green underlining my prose. Fragment. Consider revising. I know it’s a fragment. I did it on purpose. For effect. Because I’m a writer.

Besides fragments, one of the things grammar check sets its pedantic face against is the use of passive verb forms. ”˜Instead of “Catherine was hit by the ball”, consider “The ball hit Catherine”. Clearly, the sensible thing is for me to disable grammar check before the laptop is hit by Catherine, or””more properly””Catherine hits the laptop.

It turns out that no piece of prose, however venerable, escapes the vigilance of grammar check. Take these words from the Creed: ”˜He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate.’ For a livelier and more persuasive sentence, consider rewriting your sentence using an active verb! ”˜The Holy Ghost conceived Jesus. The Virgin Mary gave birth to him. Pontius Pilate made him suffer and crucified him.’ But even if we do rewrite the Creed in this livelier and more persuasive style, there’s still no getting round the fact that Christ is passive here. He is the object of the sentence, not the subject; the one things are done to, not the one doing things.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, England / UK, Lent, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology