Daily Archives: April 8, 2014

(NYT) Nondenominational Florida Pastor Is Convicted of Trying to Sell Fake Damien Hirst Paintings

The trial illuminated the dangers awaiting amateurs like Mr. Sutherland who wade into the online art market. One of Britain’s most successful artists, Mr. Hirst is perhaps best known for his conceptual works, including sharks and other animals preserved in formaldehyde tanks, and diamond-encrusted human skulls, but his minimalist polka dot paintings named after drugs and abstract round “spin” paintings are relatively easy to copy. They are often produced by his assistants.

The key question facing jurors was whether Mr. Sutherland, 46, a pastor at the nondenominational Mosaic Miami Church, knew that one of the paintings he sold was fake and hid that knowledge from an undercover officer who bought it in February 2013, just a week after Sotheby’s auction house had rejected it as inauthentic.

Mr. Sutherland, who took the stand on Friday, told the jury he got into the art market in 2010, at first trading “cowboy art” on eBay. In August 2010, he bought a set of what he believed were dot prints by Mr. Hirst from a California lawyer named Byron Grace and resold them in Florida at a $7,000 profit.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Lambeth PR) Archbishop Justin Welby welcomes draft modern slavery bill

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has welcomed the publication today of the report and draft Bill by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery.

Archbishop Justin said: “I strongly welcome the report and draft Bill published today by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery, which has cross-party support. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Committee’s members for their efforts, and I would like to extend particular thanks to my colleague Alastair Redfern, the Bishop of Derby, for his participation in the Committee’s work.

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

(Ang. Journal) Canadian Anglican Bishop settles lawsuit with blogger

As a part of a mutually agreed court settlement of a defamation of character lawsuit, David Jenkins has apologized to Bishop Michael Bird of the diocese of Niagara “for any suffering he has experienced as a result of blog postings” on his blog Anglican Samizdat.

The settlement also stipulated that Jenkins would pay “a majority of the legal costs involved, remove the Bishop from his posts, and agree not to publish any similar posts about the Bishop in the future,” according to a release issued by the diocese of Niagara. In a related post on Anglican Samizdat, Jenkins noted that he had agreed to pay $18,000 toward legal costs, which Bird’s lawyer had stated were $24,000. Jenkins did not pay damages, which were listed as $400,000 in the original claim filed in February 2013.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Religion & Culture, Theology

A.S. Haley–South Carolina Supreme Court Takes Jurisdiction of Appeals

In a brief order filed…[yesterday], the Supreme Court of South Carolina has granted the motion filed earlier by Bishop Lawrence, his diocesan trustees and individual parishes to transfer to it jurisdiction of the current appeals brought by ECUSA and its rump group in an attempt to delay the trial of the main action set for next July in front of Judge Goodstein.

The Supreme Court’s action came just after ECUSA and its rump group had filed a petition for rehearing with the Court of Appeals, asking a full panel to overrule a single judge’s earlier order dismissing that appeal, which seeks review of an order by Judge Goodstein denying the rump group access to attorney-client communications between Bishop Lawrence and his counsel, Alan Runyon.

The appeal raises the question of whether the rump group may be seen in law as the continuing successor to the Episcopal Diocese, or whether it is a new entity that began its legal life with a special convention in January 2013 — regardless of whether ECUSA treats it for religious purposes as a continuing “diocese” in the Church. The rump group contends that they are the legal successor to the Diocese, and so are entitled to see prior communications between the Episcopal Diocese and its attorneys.

But the Episcopal Diocese is very much alive as a legal entity under South Carolina law, with its same Constitution and Canons (amended so as to remove any affiliations with ECUSA), as the rump group has found out in defeat after defeat these past fifteen months.

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

(RNS) Pastor of Florida megachurch resigns over ”˜moral failure’

Florida megachurch pastor Bob Coy has resigned from his 20,000-member Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale congregation over a “moral failing.”

A statement on the church’s website reported the news: ”On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985.”

A call to Coy on Sunday (April 6) was not returned. But it appears extramarital affairs may have been one reason.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(CT) Sarah Lebhar Hall–The Key to a Purposeful Life

While I hear 20-somethings asking, “What if my life doesn’t go anywhere?” I hear my peers sighing, “My life isn’t going where I thought it would go.” Somewhere along the line, we feel, things have gone off track.

In just the past month, I have heard several Christians articulate surprise at the turns their lives have taken: “I never thought adultery would happen to me,” “I never could have imagined myself as a widow,” “I don’t want to be the mother of a deceased daughter.” Each deviation from our expectations of “normalcy” can leave us confused and recalibrating. How do we cope with the suspense of life in such an unpredictable world? How do we deal with the fear that our lives will be disappointing””to us or to God?

The good news from the Scriptures is this: No follower of Jesus is an isolated entity, living out a solitary, potentially tragic plot line. The life story of a disciple is inextricably linked with the life story of Jesus. Each of us is connected to Jesus as a branch is connected to the vine, a body part is connected to the head, or a wife is connected to her husband (John 15; Eph. 4:15-16; Eph. 5:31-32). In fact, the truth gets even more shocking: As the Father is in Jesus, and he is in the Father, so are we “in” Christ, and he in us (John 17:20-26). In other words, in the same way that the Father and the Son are connected to one another, so we are connected with the Son by the work of his Spirit. We are “joined to the Lord” (1 Cor. 6:17, ESV).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

(CSM) Baby Book 2.0: Oversharing. There's nothing to 'Like' about that.

Once upon a time, we pasted photos of our babies and kids into scrapbooks. The scrapbook has increasingly moved online ”“ in many cases onto social media sites such as Facebook ”“ and the ease of filling up virtual page after virtual page is hard to overstate. This is not without consequences, of course.

These days, parents need to develop a strategy ”“ either through forethought or facts on the ground ”“ in order to use social media services such as Facebook as a way to document and share the moments of their kids’ lives. Err too far toward conservatism, and you lose a sense of community (and irritate the grandparents). Err too far in the other way, and some of your friends may view you as the equivalent of a polluter, clogging up their news feed with baby photo after baby photo.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Theology

(CC) Mark Granquist–Ways to be Lutheran: New churches experiment with polity

American Lutherans became a full part of American Protestantism just in time to participate in its decline. From its high of more than 9 million members in 1965, the total number of American Lutherans declined to just over 7 million in 2013, representing about 2 percent of the American population. Though Lutheran numbers generally plateaued through the 1970s and 1980s, both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church”“Missouri Synod have declined markedly over the past 25 years. The ELCA went from 5.2 million members in 1988 to 3.9 million in 2013; the LCMS declined less severely, from 2.7 million members in 1988 to 2.3 million in 2013. The decline in giving to the national programs and offices of these two denominations is also fairly dramatic, though more pronounced in the ELCA.

Besides suffering from the same negative demographic trends facing other mainline Protestant denominations in this period””aging membership and an inability to retain younger members””the ELCA since 2000 has witnessed the departure of nearly 500,000 members who have coalesced into two new and distinct centrist Lutheran denominations: the Lutheran Congre­ga­tions in Mission for Christ (2001) and the North American Luth­eran Church (2010). Though the scale of these departures is noteworthy in itself, this development is all the more interesting for the new patterns and new directions that these denominations are attempting to develop. Their rejection of the ELCA (and implicitly the LCMS) has forced them to experiment with new ways of being Lutheran Christians in the American context, and they are actively exploring these possibilities.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ecclesiology, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Christian Education: An Address in 1831 by William Augustus Muhlenberg for his Feast Day

Whether a lesson be mastered in obedience to conscience, or from a dread of punishment, from filial affection, or determination to beat a rival, is a question of little moment, I grant, in reference to the stock of knowledge acquired, but of incalculable consequence when asked in reference to the bearing upon moral character. The zeal to make scholars, should, in the minds of Christians at least, be tempered by the knowledge that it may repress a zeal for better things. The head should not be furnished at the expense of the heart. Surely, at most, it is exchanging fine gold for silver, when the culture of gracious affections and holy principle is neglected for any attainments of intellect, however brilliant or varied. What Christian parent, would wish his son to be a linguist or a mathematician, of the richest acquirements or the deepest science, if he must become so by a process, in which the improvement of his religious capabilities would be surrendered, or his mind accustomed to motives not recognised in the pure and self-denying discipline of the Gospel. Not that such discipline is unfriendly to intellectual superiority; on the contrary, the incentives to attain it, will be enduring, and consequently efficient, in proportion to their purity. The highest allurements to the cultivation of our rational nature, are peculiar to Christianity. Hence, literature and science have won their highest honors in the productions of minds most deeply imbued with its spirit. The effect, however, of exclusively Christian discipline in a seminary of learning, when fairly stated, is not so much to produce one or two prodigies, as to increase the average quantum of industry; to raise the standard of proficiency among the many of moderate abilities, rather than to multiply the opportunities of distinction for the gifted few.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Children, Church History, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayers

God of justice and truth, let not thy Church close its eyes to the plight of the poor and neglected, the homeless and destitute, the old and the sick, the lonely and those who have none to care for them. Give us that vision and compassion with which thou didst so richly endow William Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayers, that we may labor tirelessly to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, in whom we live and move and have our being, who hast made us for thyself, so that our hearts are restless till they rest in thee: Grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose, that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing thy will, no weakness from doing it; but that in thy light we may see light clearly, and in thy service find our perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Augustine

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 121

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Dutch Jesuit Priest Shot to Death in Syrian City of Homs

Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit priest who became a symbol of suffering and compassion in the war-ravaged Old City district of Homs, was shot to death Monday morning by a lone gunman, according to members of his order. The killing came amid growing disputes between Syrian insurgents blockaded in the Old City ”” those who want to accept an amnesty from the government in exchange for laying down their arms, and those who do not.

After Syrian government forces isolated and laid siege to the rebel-held Old City for more than a year, a truce in January allowed the evacuation of 1,500 people, both civilians and fighters. But Father Frans, as he was known, insisted on remaining in the monastery where he had lived for decades, offering refuge to Muslim and Christian families alike and sharing their deprivation and trauma.

The killer’s identity and motives were not known, but the attack carried a heavy symbolic importance. Though he was European, Father Frans, 72, had come to be considered part of Syrian society and was well known in and around Homs, including among local insurgents in the Old City.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Middle East, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Syria, Theology, Violence

(TECOPA) TEC Task Force on Study of Marriage reports on its continued work

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

New Dean appointed for Berkeley Divinity School

The Berkeley Divinity School, a partner of Yale Divinity School, has appointed a new Dean ”“ Andrew McGowan.

McGowan will take up the position of President and Dean of BDS, along with that of Associate Dean for Anglican Studies at YDS.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Notable and Quotable–The NY Times front Page on what Silicon Valley Won't Allow

In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself.

–The opener of a front page article from Friday saying so much more than the author thinks

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

SC Supreme Court Takes Jurisdiction Over TEC Appeals

The South Carolina Supreme Court has intervened in a lawsuit and granted the Diocese of South Carolina’s Motion to Transfer jurisdiction from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. This may effectively prevent The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), from using serial appeals to further delay a trial to prevent the two groups from seizing Diocese of South Carolina property.

The Supreme Court decision comes days after TEC and TECSC filed new appeals apparently aimed at delaying the discovery process in advance of the trial that is scheduled to start on July 7. While the Supreme Court ruling does not prevent the denomination from filing appeals, it eliminates the time-consuming step of first going to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

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