Daily Archives: January 22, 2015

(Economist) Does the Church of England need to send her bishops to Business school?

The proposals are presented in a report written by Lord Green, a former British trade minister and HSBC chairman, and prepared with outside help from Christopher McLaverty, a former talent leadership chief at BP, an oil supermajor. As much as £2m ($3m) has been set aside to enact the “talent management programme”, which will provide 150 bishops with the means to study at INSEAD’s campus in Fontainebleau, France, over the next two years. The aim is that clergy, who often come into a high-profile post within the church with little training, are given more adequate preparation for their role, including the ability to build and manage a high-functioning support team. “Simply arriving at moments of appointment and then looking to see who might or might not, by a process of amounting to chance, have suitable preparation and gifting, is to abandon all responsibility,” Mr Welby wrote in support of the Green report.

Sending bishops to business school will kickstart a “culture change for the leadership of the church”, the report says. But it admits that the preponderance of phrases such as “talent pool” and “alumni network” peppered throughout the paper may put off more staunch theologians. Yet that hasn’t stopped the language of business breaching the pious institution. In an appendix of Lord Green’s report, the net promoter score (NPS), a loyalty metric developed by Bain & Company, a consultancy, is presented with a straight face as a hypothetical way of evaluating the benefit of the mini-MBA. With a fictionalised NPS of +75 (on a scale of -100 to +100), the church appears to be confident its plans will be well-received.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(JE) Anglican Building Boom Quietly Underway

A handful of other congregations, including All Saints Anglican Church in Charlotte, NC, Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, NC and Saint John’s Anglican Church of Americus, GA have also announced building plans. This summer All Saints’ Anglican Church in Springfield, MO and All Saints’ Anglican Church in Peachtree City, GA, completed and consecrated new church buildings.

The churches range from a modest colonial-revival brick building in the case of Restoration to a 30,000-square-foot gothic structure built for the congregation of St. Peter’s.

In addition to making the churches more visible in their communities and accommodating growth in the size of congregations, the new structures are allowing for new programs and events. St. Peter’s is partnering with Trinity School for Ministry to offer theological education far from the seminary’s Ambridge, Pennsylvania campus. Other congregations plan to use their news space for conferences, or to begin hosting programs such as Vacation Bible School which were impractical or not possible in leased spaces.

“Our new church is just the beginning of what we hope to build,” explained Fr. Andrew Rowell, associate rector of St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Economy, Evangelism and Church Growth, Housing/Real Estate Market, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Andrew Wilson reviews Tom Wright's new book Simply Good News

Reading N. T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes It Good (HarperOne), is somewhat like listening to a compilation album. All the classic hits are here: “the kingdom of God is for earth now,” “the gospel is the key moment in a story,” “resurrection is about bodies,” “something has happened,” and, of course, the well-loved ballad “fundamentalists and liberals are both missing the point.” For those who are new to Wright, Simply Good News will offer a helpful introduction to and summary of his work. For those who have read plenty of him already, or for those who dislike compilation albums in principle, it will probably have less to offer.

The focus of the book is admirably clear: to explain what the gospel is, and why we should think of it as good news. In eight succinct chapters, Wright explains the nature of good news (chapter one), the essence of what that good news is (chapters two and three) and is not (chapters four and five), and what it means for the way we live now (chapter six), think about God (chapter seven), and pray (chapter eight). Each of these chapters is readable and insightful, characterized by Wright’s familiar mixture of rich scholarship, vivid illustration, and contemporary application.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Christology, England / UK, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Thomas Friedman: You can't dance around the topic of radical Islam, say It Like It Is

I’ve never been a fan of global conferences to solve problems, but when I read that the Obama administration is organizing a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18, in response to the Paris killings, I had a visceral reaction: Is there a box on my tax returns that I can check so my tax dollars won’t go to pay for this?

When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Islam, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, The U.S. Government, Theology, Violence

(BBC) London hosts coalition talks on the best way to Combat ISIS

Foreign ministers from 21 countries are meeting in London to discuss ways to co-ordinate their efforts to combat the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

IS controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq and the US-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes since August.

But UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond insisted much more needed to be done.

He told the BBC that the countries wanted to find ways to halt the flow of recruits to IS, cut off its funding and “tackle the underlying narrative”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(TLC's Covenant) Matthew Olver–Confirmation of ACNA's revolutionary theology?

The text of the Preface regarding Confirmation is brief enough that I’ll print the text of the first three out of four paragraphs as I go, one paragraph at a time, followed by a few comments. The statement begins like this:

Anglicanism requires a public and personal profession of the Faith from every adult believer in Jesus Christ. Confirmation by a bishop is its liturgical expression. Confirmation is evident in Scripture: the Apostles prayed for, and laid their hands on those who had already been baptized (Acts 8:14-17; 19:6).

I keep toying with this first sentence in my mind. If they mean this to be an accurate description of how the majority of Anglicans think about confirmation, I think they may be correct. But if this is meant to be descriptive of Anglicanism in any historical sense, than it is certainly misleading and probably just flat out wrong. Why?

At least one implication of the practice of requiring both baptism and Confirmation before reception of Holy Communion in the English and American BCPs (until 1979) is that God administers something in Confirmation (as opposed to it being simply a ritual acknowledgement that one is now mature enough to willingly give themselves to the Christian faith). Or at least that there is a sacramental encounter with God in that moment (which, by definition, would mean that it is an encounter unique to that sacrament). Otherwise, why does the bishop pray not only for a strengthening of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, but for the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit? The petition that the candidate be defended “with thy heavenly grace” is also interesting, as it has no parallel in the baptism rites (that is, it’s not a repetition of something already requested in that ritual). In short, what the bishop petitions on behalf of the candidate are things not requested at baptism.

The rest of the ACNA statement reflects in many ways the tension that persists around this controverted rite, a tension that began in the twentieth century and endures into the twenty-first. While the adage that Confirmation is a “rite in search of a theology” is maybe a bit too cavalier, it is true that the intention of Confirmation and its relationship to baptism remain hotly contested.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Sacramental Theology, Theology

A letter from GAFCON Primates

Posted January 22, 2015
A Consultation of GAFCON Primates and Bishops of Africa was held in Nairobi on 3rd & 4th December 2014 to consider a response to the ”˜Transformation Through Friendship’ communiqué released from New York on 28th October, signed by five African Primates, including the Chairman of CAPA (the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa), Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
A letter was sent from the Nairobi meeting to Archbishop Ntahoturi, copied to the other African Primates and as no reply has been received, the letter is now being made public in order to avoid misunderstanding.

The New York Communiqué does not speak for the Anglican Provinces of Africa and it is a matter of very great regret that the ”˜Continuing Indaba’ strategy has led to the division of African Anglicans.

The text of the Nairobi Consultation letter follows. Click here for a copy of the letter as sent and the New York Communiqué can be found at there.

The Archbishop of Rwanda was unable to attend the Nairobi Consultation or send representatives as the House of Bishops were meeting at the same time.


The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi
Archbishop of Burundi
4th December 2014

Dear Archbishop Bernard,

Please receive our greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus.

We write with a profound sense of distress about your actions in regard to the ”Transformation Through Friendship” gathering. We take strong exception with numerous points.

First, the document itself is a manipulation. It is in fact, not principally about “Friendship” but is in fact an attempt to further advance the unbiblical and false teaching of The Episcopal Church.Second, we reject the characterisation that the communiqué represents “African Primates and Bishops.” Given that there is absolutely no acknowledgement that there are other African Primates and Bishops who do not agree, the document, of which you were a collaborator and signatory, presents itself falsely. It does not represent the faith of the overwhelming majority of African Christians. This is particularly offensive given your position as Chairman of CAPA. If you are to be able to continue in your position with integrity, we would need both an explanation and an apology. If you are not able to do so, we would ask you to step down as Chairman.

We are particularly grieved because “it is not an enemy that reproaches”¦ but it was you.” (Psalm 55:12-13) Given the fact that you are the Chairman of CAPA, and are supposed to represent the agreed positions of African Primates, your actions have created a tremendous obstacle to our participation in any CAPA gatherings until this can be properly sorted out.

Third, the theologically superficial approach of the “Friendship Communiqu锝 attempts to effect reconciliation without repentance. Not only did your presence validate unbiblical teaching and practice of The Episcopal Church (USA), but seeks to give momentum to a process which does not solve issues of salvific import. This is an example of teaching that is socially grounded rather than Biblically substantiated. By your presence, you validate unrepentant, unbiblical teaching and practice.

Fourth, we reject the process of “Indaba” as it is being implemented. Rather than seeking true resolution, it has been consistently manipulated only to recruit people to unbiblical positions. “Indaba” as currently practiced, is a fiction advancing human desires that are not informed by Gospel truth.

Fifth, the meeting uncritically proposes “Mission,” without recognising that there must be theological agreement about what purpose the mission pursues, as opposed to Biblical Mission which furthers the redemptive love of Christ through repentance and conversion.

Sixth, while we are certainly aware of the problem of poverty in Africa, we reject alliances that seek to capitalise on economic vulnerability to advance an agenda.

Dear Brother, we know that this agenda does not represent the faith of your Province, Diocese, or even your own heart. We call you to repentance and restoration to join with us in fellowship that is founded on Christ’s truth and is faithful to His Word. In keeping with our East African Revival heritage of repentance and confession, we long to have this resolved. Please know this letter comes not from malice but from a desire for godly fellowship to be restored.

The Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala
Primate, the Anglican Church of Kenya,
Chairman GAFCON Primates Council

The Most Rev’d Nicholas D Okoh
Primate Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion),
Vice Chairman GAFCON Primates Council

The Most Rev’d Henri Isingoma
Primate, The Anglican Church of Congo

The Most Rev’d Stanley Ntagali
Primate, Church of Uganda

Bishop Isaac Ater
For the Most Rev’d Daniel Deng Bul
Primate, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan

CC : The Most Rev. Albert Chama, ӬArchbishop of Central Africa; The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Southern Africa; The Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya,Ӭ Archbishop of Tanzania, The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo, Archbishop of West Africa; Rev Canon Grace Kaiso.

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, Featured (Sticky), GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

Reaction to S. Carolina Gov. Haley’s roads plan is mixed: A good start or not workable?

”˜Fixing our … roads … tremendously important’

“Education reform and infrastructure repairs are two of the most challenging economic issues we face. … Fixing our crumbling roads system is also tremendously important as it directly impacts economic development, which leads to job creation and higher wages.”

”” House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington

”˜Drop in the bucket’ “It’s just a drop in the bucket to solving the problem. … There’s many ways to do it, but this is just not going to deal with the real magnitude of the problem that we have.”

”” Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, Travel

The full text of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's State of the State Address

It is rare that you are able to be in the presence of a true American hero, but that is exactly what we have with us today in Kyle Carpenter.

Please stand and join me in showing our deepest gratitude for his service to our country and his bravery that has made us all so proud.

South Carolina continues to be a major success story when it comes to recruiting jobs to our state. We make it very clear to the companies that choose to invest here that they are joining our South Carolina family. The businesses we are honoring tonight could have invested and moved anywhere in the country, and they chose to join Team South Carolina. We should never take that for granted.

Tonight, representatives of a few of those success stories, from all across the world, are here with us. As I introduce them, please hold your applause until the end ”“ and then join me in giving them a warm South Carolina welcome.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Politics in General, State Government

(WSJ) Get Used to Cheap Oil. Why Lower Prices May Stick Around

Leonardo Maugeri, an associate professor at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and who predicted the current collapse in prices back in 2012, estimates world oil production capacity is about 101 million barrels a day. That’s nearly 10% more than expected demand next year.

Mr. Maugeri says U.S. shale and tight oil production is more resilient than many expected because of lower break-even costs and higher productivity levels. Service fees are also falling at the same time, as hedging still offers a cushion to shale producers until mid-2015, he said.

That resilience may force Saudi Arabia to keep up its price war well into the year before the strategy wrings out some of the oversupply.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Vincent

Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by thee, was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us, we beseech thee, to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

O Lord, whose way is perfect: Help us, we pray thee, always to trust in thy goodness; that walking with thee in faith, and following thee in all simplicity, we may possess quiet and contented minds, and cast all our care on thee, because thou carest for us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” And he said to them, “Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

–Mark 4:21-34

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Independent) Flood of jihadi volunteers to Syria is 'unstoppable', warns Turkish Prime Minister

The tide of foreign volunteers crossing from Turkey into Syria to fight for Isis cannot be stopped, the Turkish Prime Minister has warned, with authorities unable to close the porous 510-mile border between the two countries.

Ahmet Davutoglu, whose government has been accused of not doing enough to stop jihadi fighters from Britain and other countries crossing into Syria, told The Independent that Turkey could not put “soldiers everywhere on the border”. He added: “In any case, there isn’t any state on the other side [of the frontier].”

Turkey plays a crucial role in the Syrian crisis because of its long border with the country, part of which is now controlled by Isis. Mr Davutoglu described how Turkey’s close relations with Bashar al-Assad ”“ “I visited there 62 times in 10 years” ”“ soured in 2011 when “Assad started to kill his own people”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Travel, Turkey, Violence

(CSM) As the Nigerian election nears, Boko Haram looms large

Why did the Security Council condemn Boko Haram now?

The scale of the attack likely forced the council to adopt its first statement on the threat of Boko Haram, and was aimed directly at the Nigerian government’s sensitivity to foreign criticism, says Darren Kew, an expert on Nigeria at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

“The government is very sensitive to international embarrassment and this announcement will get its attention. With an upcoming election, it will push President Goodluck Jonathan to take more comprehensive action in Boko Haram,” Mr. Kew says.

The attacks have also involved troops of neighboring countries and bled over the Nigerian border, making the problem a regional one. Most recent was the seizure of hostages in Cameroon on Sunday, with about 24 later released.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Economist) How an insect (the tsetse fly) held back a continent

Economic historians have long supposed that Africa’s historically low population density shaped its development. Rulers struggled to exercise control over scattered populations, the theory goes. Malfunctioning states inhibited growth because property rights were insecure and infrastructure was worse.

But why was it that land in precolonial Africa was so abundant, and people were so scarce? A new paper* by Marcella Alsan of Stanford University blames the tsetse fly. The pest, much like the mosquito, lives off the blood of people and animals and in the process transmits disease, in this case a parasite that causes sleeping sickness. To domesticated animals, on which it likes to feed, its bite is fatal. Its prevalence, the paper argues, made it considerably harder for Africans to develop agriculture.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Animals, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(Reuters) Ebola end game in sight as new cases fall sharply in Sierra Leone

A military-style operation to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone has helped to dramatically reduce new cases, in what health officials say is a major step towards defeating the deadly disease.

Since it was launched about one month ago, the operation has doubled the number of ambulances for patients in the densely populated west of Sierra Leone, the worst-affected country where more than 3,000 people have died.

Police halt vehicles at checkpoints in the tumble-down streets to check temperatures, while posters proclaim in the local Krio language: “Togeda we go stop ebola.”

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