Daily Archives: February 15, 2015

(Local paper) While segregated churches remain the norm, efforts made to effect change

Three times now these two church congregations, one white and one black, have come together. Their religious traditions and worship styles are very different. Their backgrounds and experiences, too, overlap little.

One church, Circular Congregational, is a bastion of white, liberal Christianity in Charleston’s historic district. The other, Charity Missionary Baptist, is on Montague Avenue in the heart of the poor Liberty Hill neighborhood founded by freed slaves in 1871.

While their congregations agree on much, especially matters of social justice, their Sunday services, like most across the state, remain largely separated by race.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

GAFCON News: Living Reconciliation ”˜Deeply Problematic’

Dr Martin Davie, a widely respected Church of England theologian, has exposed serious flaws in ”˜Living Reconciliation’, a book published recently by the Anglican Communion Office to champion its ”˜Continuing Indaba’ project.

While recognizing that there are some helpful insights, he describes the book as ”˜sadly lacking’ because it offers a highly distorted account of reconciliation, one that is not grounded in the teaching of the Bible, despite the claim by the Anglican Communion Office that ”˜The Bible is central.’ See here.

Dr Davie shows that biblically the ministry of reconciliation is first and foremost evangelism and he writes ”˜The New Testament’s emphasis is not on people learning to live with what divides then, but learning to live out what unites them’. In sharp contrast, the writers of ”˜Living Reconciliation’ are focused inwards on what they see as the pressing need to live with difference within the institutional Church.

Furthermore, there seems to be no limit on what those differences may be. The book assumes that the deeply divisive teaching of such Anglican Churches as the Episcopal Church of the United States on same-sex sexual relationships are within the bounds of what is acceptable within a fellowship of Churches.

But the problem goes well beyond this particular flash point. Dr Davie sees that the ‘Continuing Indaba’ model of reconciliation actually undermines the Anglican Communion’s witness to the gospel because it is ”˜effectively a blank cheque for the acceptance of any and every possible form of deviation from New Testament Christianity.’

The review is published by the Church of England Evangelical Council and can be found at http://www.ceec.info. It is a powerful reminder of how essential GAFCON is for the future of the Anglican Communion when confusion about the gospel is actually being encouraged by its central institutions.

Read it all

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

Rick Warren–To my precious wife on Valentine’s Day

I know you better than any person on the planet, having now been married to you almost 40 years (June 21), so I say confidently you are the most extraordinary person I’ve ever met.

Of course I know your weaknesses, as you know mine, but they are NOTHING compared to your strengths. Your wisdom, your character, your gifts, and especially your willingness to always face the truth and never stop growing makes me want to be a better man, a better husband, father, and leader.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(ABC News Aus.) Barbara Darling, trail-blazing female Anglican Bishop, dies after suffering stroke

Barbara Darling, Australia’s second female Anglican bishop, has died in Melbourne after suffering from a stroke at the age of 67.

Bishop Darling, who had recently retired, was the first female to be appointed as bishop in Melbourne in April 2008, just eight days after Kay Goldsworthy was appointed to the position in Perth.

Her appointment came after the church’s highest legal authority, the Appellate Tribunal, ruled there was nothing in the church’s constitution to prevent the consecration of a woman priest as a bishop in September 2007.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

Fleming Rutledge–Another church is closed. Why?

This is happening all over New England. Church buildings everywhere have become community centers, art galleries and studios, antique shops, private residences. The saddest part of it all is that only a tiny fraction of the members of those congregations join other churches. Most of them stop going to church altogether. The loss of the memories is too painful. “I was baptized in that church, I was married in that church, I had always expected to be buried from that church.” There is an idolatry of church buildings, no question about that. I have been reading a history of the first two centuries of Christianity and it is hard not to conclude that there was great strength in those early congregations which had no buildings to meet in but were on fire with the good news of Jesus Christ the Lord. Yet today, when there are empty church buildings all over, it is easy for observers to conclude that faith is dead, that Christian worship has become irrelevant.

All of this has led me to reflect on a factor that has been bothering me for some years now. It is a pretty well-established fact that the most important factor in getting people to come to church and stay there is social. “Someone invited me.” “I was shown in to the coffee hour and introduced to people.” “People were friendly to me.” This is so obvious that it should be addressed with the highest priority in all congregations. I can speak with some authority on this, because I have attended Sunday worship virtually every Sunday of my adult life somewhere, from Hawaii to Washington state to Florida to Minnesota to Maine–literally–and it is very rare for anyone even to acknowledge my presence, let alone escort me to coffee hour. I can name on fewer than ten fingers the number of churches where I have received a friendly greeting. Literally. It’s easy to remember them because they were so few. Only one of them was an Episcopal church. Most recently, this past spring, Dick and I were amazed by the friendliness and vitality of the American (Protestant) Church in Paris. It made me want to join immediately. In contrast, I found the American Episcopal Church in Rome (St Paul’s Within the Walls) to be singularly unfriendly even though I attended for three consecutive Sundays. Passing the peace has had no effect on this problem. I pass the peace to all my neighbors around me in the pews, and as soon as the service is over they immediately turn away from me as if to get out of the pew as fast as possible.

And that little Baptist church? No one knew that I was an ordained minister. No one knew anything about me at all. I was just an ordinary person who was visiting, a potential new member perhaps. I must have been reasonably conspicuous as a newcomer among 20 people, all of whom knew each other well. I attended services there at least 15 times. I introduced myself, spoke pleasantly to people, praised the service. Did anyone ever make an effort to get to know me? No.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Stephen Freeman–Sex and the Moral Imagination

According to Christian understanding, in human existence, the personal is also capable of bearing the tragic, ground that is foreign to Modernity, its eradication being the goal of every Modern project. Boundaries are tragic for the ego ”“ they say “no” to its unfettered demands. The “tragic” is viewed as any undesirable event or result in Modernity. It is viewed as suffering and is to be avoided, controlled and minimized.

Classical Christianity understands that the Cross is the way of life and that its paradox turns the tragic inside-out. For the Cross is not an unfortunate requirement, something God is forced to do in order to rescue sinful man. The tragedy of the Cross is also the pattern of healing, wholeness, well-being and eternal life. It is the revelation of true personhood.

All of the arguments regarding new definitions of marriage, aggressive reproductive technologies, gender re-definitions, etc., are made within a model that views any and all suffering as both tragic, needless and unacceptable if at all possible of alleviation. Such a line of reasoning was inevitably on a collision course with an ethic originally rooted in the Cross. The Christian view of personhood is an invitation to voluntary suffering and self-sacrifice. Nothing could be less modern.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Peter Carrell responds to Paul Holloway on N. T. Wright

3. The phrase ‘trusts his work’ implies some body of sound research which one may trust without further examination. But that kind of research is not Wright’s mode of scholarship. That kind of research is (say) about here are some ancient papyri and here is my translation of them, or here are the results of my archaeological dig in the middle of the desert and from the kinds of pottery shards and coins present I propose the following conclusions. What Wright (mostly) does is take an overview of the scholarship of the NT, as well as digging deeply as an exegete into the detail of the text, and make proposals about some feature or another. Neither a papyrist nor a shardist is he. Thus his books argue for this about the resurrection and that about justification. He does not ask anyone to trust his work but to examine (critically!) his arguments. Actually, plenty of critics do examine his arguments. Some find them wanting, some find them mostly persuasive, few (in my experience) completely agree with him which is, er, what happens in, er, critical scholarship. The previous sentence applies to other giants of biblical scholarship such as Bultmann, Brueggeman, Childs and Dunn.

4. It is very surprising that Holloway misses the point of Wright’s role in NT scholarship which is to generate fresh discussion of familiar texts. Wright’s singular achievement is to make us think again – critically! – about what we read in the NT. Looking at Holloway’s professional career I don’t think that is going to be said about him! His output is of a different kind, and that is fine. But fifty year’s from now students will still be examining Wright’s writings for their doctoral theses and Holloway’s works – like most NT scholars that ever lived – will be in a dusty corner of the library.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Creedal Christian) Sewanee New Testament Professor Slams Bishop N. T. Wright

Setting aside the caustically contemptuous and intolerant tone of the letter, as well as its open hostility to Christian orthodoxy, here’s the gist of what Professor Holloway says: “N. T. Wright disagrees with my views on particular matters and he represents theological positions that contradict my own. That offends and embarrasses me. Therefore, Wright is not a real scholar and he doesn’t deserve an honorary degree.”

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in logic to see how silly this “argument” is.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from E.B. Pusey

O God, fountain of love, pour thy love into our souls, that we may love those whom thou lovest with the love thou givest us, and think and speak of them tenderly, meekly, lovingly; and so loving our brethren and sisters for thy sake, may grow in thy love, and dwelling in love may dwell in thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.

–Psalm 148:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Time Stands Still – William Byrd

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Sogno by Tosti

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

(NY Times) U.S. Is Escalating a Secretive War in Afghanistan

As an October chill fell on the mountain passes that separate the militant havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a small team of Afghan intelligence commandos and American Special Operations forces descended on a village where they believed a leader of Al Qaeda was hiding.

That night the Afghans and Americans got their man, Abu Bara al-Kuwaiti. They also came away with what officials from both countries say was an even bigger prize: a laptop computer and files detailing Qaeda operations on both sides of the border.

American military officials said the intelligence seized in the raid was possibly as significant as the information found in the computer and documents of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after members of the Navy SEALs killed him in 2011.

In the months since, the trove of intelligence has helped fuel a significant increase in night raids by American Special Operations forces and Afghan intelligence commandos, Afghan and American officials said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Terrorism, The U.S. Government, Theology

Jim Lewis–What it Means: Understanding Judge Goodstein's Ruling in South Carolina

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has already announced it will appeal this decision. This was expected.

The court has affirmed what everyone knew from the start was the legal precedent in South Carolina, that congregations and the Diocese have the right to chose their religious association. While we will have more work to do to confirm this, we have every reason to be confident the South Carolina courts will continue to do so through the appeals process. We will pursue that in as speedy fashion as possible and deal with the expected delays we know TEC will attempt. Justice may be delayed by those attempts, but we believe it will come.

Finally, it should be observed that it is God’s grace that has brought us to this day. Legal counsel has affirmed repeatedly that they have experienced God’s grace at work in this litigation from start to finish. To Him be the glory and praise and it is in His Name alone that we trust (Ps. 20:7). By that grace, I trust the Diocese of South Carolina will continue “Making biblical Anglicans for a Global Age” long into the future.

Read it all.

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

(Not another Episcopal Blog) On the strange Radio Silence in Upper SC abt the Dio. of SC

Traditional or conservative Episcopalians living in my part of South Carolina sometimes feel cut off from their brothers in the lower half of the state. News of what our friends are up to is never, I repeat never discussed except perhaps in mocking terms overheard at coffee hour. The last time I heard a high ranking clergy person in Upper South Carolina try to say anything nice about the “lower diocese” it was with a slightly derogatory tone, “I’m from there, but I can’t work there.”

Unless an Episcopalian reads the blogs, they will remain clueless.

Whatever happened to the idea of engaging in a listening process, or to the idea of sitting down with someone and learning more about them? Isn’t that what we have been told to do when faced with people holding different views on human sexuality and how it relates to the Church?

I guess the listening process is unidirectional.

As proof, I offer the following evidence: Each year, lay people, priests, bishops, and archbishops gather in Charleston South Carolina for a conference that goes by the benign sounding name of “Mere Anglicanism.” These conferences offer lectures featuring guest speakers from around the world on topics which should be of interest to all concerned Anglicans, and I include all concerned Episcopalians in that group….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology